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European Union bottles it with electronic cigarette compromise
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Mark Benson Offline
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European Union bottles it with electronic cigarette compromise
While various elements of the European Union knew exactly what they wanted for the electronic cigarette industry, the European Parliament seems to have stood its ground in many ways and agreed a compromise. While the compromise deal will not be to the taste of everybody, it is perhaps the best that the electronic cigarette industry in Europe could hope for in the short-term. This now gives supporters time to gather their thoughts, take breath and consider the implications of today's announcement.

In simple terms restrictions which many within the European Union had wanted to implement have been ignored. There are those who wanted the market to be effectively regulated out of existence leaving a clear way for the tobacco cigarette industry to continue. So what exactly has happened?

Tobacco Products Directive

We have seen an array of new restrictions and regulations covering tobacco cigarettes introduced to the marketplace. The idea had been to bring together tobacco cigarettes and electronic cigarettes under the so-called Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) although no broad based agreement was in place by the deadline. There have been some changes to the nicotine concentration allowed in electronic cigarettes and indeed refillable cartridges will very much come into focus in the short, medium and longer term.

While this is something of a hollow victory for electronic cigarette supporters, with the devil in the detail, the alternative was a full-blown regulatory review which could have reclassified the products as medical devices or outlawed them completely.

Check the small print


Those who took time to read the results from the European Union meeting may or may not be aware that while electronic cigarettes will be regulated for general sale at EU level there will be some power given to member states. Indeed this power will allow member states to reclassify electronic cigarettes as medical devices or restrict their sales and the situation regarding refillable cartridges is also clouded in mystery.

Under the terms of the compromise agreement, if three member states were to outlaw specific types of refill cartridges for electronic cigarettes then the European Commission would be able to bring this ban in across-the-board without the approval of Parliament or member states. On the surface this seems to be something of a hatchet plan to control electronic cigarettes in the medium to long term and the fact that any arrangement, assuming three member states ban a particular type of product, would not even be voted upon seems bizarre. If this is democracy at its best, what can electronic cigarettes hope for in the future!

Conclusion

On the surface the electronic cigarette industry across Europe has escaped relatively unscathed at this moment in time although the reduction in nicotine concentration levels will have an impact. The European Commission has been pressurising the European Parliament to bring in stricter regulations and while they have not yet emerged there is every chance they could do so in the medium term. The idea that three member states could ban a particular type of product and this could then be unilaterally brought in across Europe, without a new vote, seems highly undemocratic.

The European Union has perhaps played a clever short-term game, effectively kicking electronic cigarette regulations into the long grass, leaving open the door by which it can bring in an array of unelected minority view regulations. When you bear in mind that the vast majority of the officials who voted for this compromise deal have not been elected by European Union voters, we can only ask who is pulling the strings behind the scenes?

For more information on OK Electronic Cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.
12-01-2014 09:24 PM
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Don Offline
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RE: European Union bottles it with electronic cigarette compromise
So do you see this more as a cause for concern than a victory?

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12-01-2014 09:45 PM
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Mark Benson Offline
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RE: European Union bottles it with electronic cigarette compromise
Hi Don

I think it is a short term victory but there are more battles ahead. The problem I think the EP has is that the ecig movement is growing stronger and more vocal each day and the resistance to major change is getting greater. Personally I think the EP will find it more and more difficult to justify over regulating the industry especially with recent medical trials turning more positive for the industry.

For more information on OK Electronic Cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.
13-01-2014 10:13 AM
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