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Daily Mail: E-cigarettes could be outlawed by Brussels plan to treat them as tobacco products because they are ‘too realistic’

by Matt Chorley of the Daily Mail:

E-cigarettes could be banned under rules drawn up in Brussels to curb nicotine levels.

European officials claim the devices ‘normalise the action of smoking’ and should be subject to the same rules as other tobacco products.

But critics warn plans to impose nicotine limits mean all e-cigarettes currently on sale in Britain would be outlawed.

E-cigarettes with high levels of nicotine or which taste like tobacco could be banned under new EU rules. (Daily Mail)

E-cigarettes, which deliver a nicotine blast, were devised as a tool to help smokers wean themselves off tobacco. Now the products are becoming part of a lucrative market in their own right.

A report drawn up by the European Commission warns that there is a ‘risk that electronic cigarettes can develop into a gateway to normal cigarettes’, the Daily Telegraph reported.

While they do not contain tobacco, it is suggested they should be included in the EU’s’tobacco products directive’.

By 2017 e–cigarettes which taste like tobacco, have refillable cartridges or produce levels of nicotine above 20mg per ml would be banned.

Martin Callanan, a Conservative MEP, said: ‘Forcing e–cigarettes off the shelves would be crazy. It would remove a valuable support for people desperate to stop smoking and thus could potentially lead to needless deaths.’

The leaked report adds: ‘Electronic cigarettes are a tobacco–related product and should be regulated within this directive.

‘They simulate smoking behaviour and are increasingly used and marketed to young people and non–smokers.’

But a spokesman for the European Commission insisted there was no proposed ban on e-cigarettes.

She added: ‘There are indeed on-going discussions between EU institutions, following the adoption of the EP report by MEP McAvan early October.

‘The Commission tabled a proposal – a year ago – to classify e-cigarettes as pharmaceutical products (as from a certain threshold of nicotine). This approach was broadly supported by the Council, but not by the EP. That’s why the institutions are now negotiating.

‘We are still confident that the new legislation on Tobacco products (which will include e-cigarettes) could be adopted in the 1st quarter of 2014.’

This week Cancer Research UK warned that children are being tempted to use electronic cigarettes by a celebrity culture that is blurring the message that smoking kills.

Variety: The range of flavours is one of the attributes said to be enticing young people to try e-cigarettes (Daily Mail)

The charity called for advertising controls to prevent companies from making their products seem cool and fashionable to youngsters.

Researchers found the e-cigs are being promoted by celebrities, through online competitions, apps on mobile phones, and group discount vouchers.

Innovative packaging and flavours, such as strawberry or cherry, also appeal to young people, the report said.

Sponsorship of a range of sports, including motor racing, was also highlighted as a promotional strategy used by a number of companies. One firm even sponsored a football youth team’s strip.

Researchers found e-cigs were promoted en route to popular events such as Glastonbury and in busy locations such as Canary Wharf in London.

France is considering a nationwide ban on e-cigarettes in public places, while the mayor of Saint–Lo in the La Manche region of Normandy has already outlawed them after complaints about their use in libraries.

And the Dutch health ministry has sounded an early warning about the possible health risks of smoking electronic cigarettes.

The National Institute for Public Health said it was concerned about a lack of evidence on e-cigarettes, and advised that they should not be used by pregnant women or near children.

29 Nov 2013

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