The draft for new regulations regarding tobacco products has been passed by a majority of MEPs.
The new regulations include warning pictures and text over 65% of the packaging of tobacco cigarettes. Only packs of 20 cigarettes will be permitted, and slim-line ‘lipstick-style’ packaging will be banned and packaging may not display any promotional text or images.
Any cigarette that contains a flavour that is more prevalent than the flavour of tobacco will also be banned.
These are all great moves by the EU, and as many MEPs have stated on record, they will go a step further towards stopping the ‘recruitment of the new generation of smokers’.
Electronic cigarettes have come under fire too, sadly, with stricter guidelines to be put in place including warnings on packaging (reputable companies already do this, however), and a ban on advertising across the EU. Although it’s unsure what a ‘ban’ on advertising means, as an outright prohibition doesn’t look likely. ‘Cross-border’ advertising seems to be the thing to be banned.
Other guidelines to be enforced are the ‘consistent delivery of nicotine’, which no other product does, even tobacco cigarettes. Even NRT gives inconsistent doses.
A medical classification is mandatory for e-liquids with more than 20mg/ml of nicotine, which many scientists and e-cig advocates claim will be too low to entice heavy smokers away from traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The regulation of flavourings and areas in which electronic cigarettes can be used are to be left up to the discretion of member states.
Devices will need to be presented to Member States before going on the market and a push for better ‘quality control’ is in effect. Essentially, the idea is to limit the devices available on the grounds of ‘childproofing’, and a minimising of leakage and so on. Nobody is sure quite how this particular situation will play out.
The final draft version of these regulations will need to be agreed upon by member states in the coming months, and during that time there is expected to be a huge backlash from the vaping community and pro-electronic cigarette scientists. There is currently a petition ongoing at http://efvi.eu to have the electronic cigarette regulations reviewed and changed to better protect the people and businesses that make up the vaping world.