According to electronic cigarettes manufacturer Totally Wicked Ltd, documents, not intended for public consumption, defined last week in Brussels set out proposals from the European Commission, that if implemented would see all currently available electronic cigarettes removed from the market. These Commission proposals have been drafted as part of the negotiations taking place behind closed doors in Brussels to revise the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
Among other things, the Commission proposes a ban on all refill liquids, a ban on refillable atomizers, a ban on almost all flavours, and arbitrary restrictions on nicotine levels without any justification. These proposals would subject electronic cigarettes to a significantly stricter regulatory regime than tobacco cigarettes.
Presently there are 10 million smokers in the UK. Every year, 114,000 UK citizens die from tobacco-related illnesses according to figures produced by the NHS. Policymakers need to focus on reducing this number, says Totally Wicked – conventional nicotine replacement therapies are not tackling this in any significant number, but electronic cigarettes are. Already 1.3 million UK smokers have switched to electronic cigarettes. If current growth rates continue, by 2017, when the revised TPD is due to come into force, there could be nearly five million former UK smokers using electronic cigarettes.
However, if the European Commission succeeds in having these proposals adopted there will be a shutdown of the general sale of currently available electronic cigarette products from 2017 throughout the UK and the wider EU.
This would leave tobacco cigarettes as the only freely available source of nicotine and those nearly five million e-cigarette users would be left with no option but to go back to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Totally Wicked Chief Executive Officer Fraser Cropper said:“Behind closed doors in Brussels, unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats are drafting proposals that will deny millions of existing and former smokers access to a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. These proposals are based on a total lack of knowledge of how an electronic cigarette functions, and more importantly these proposals are being drafted without any consultation with the people who rely on these products to prevent them returning to tobacco cigarettes.
“Gross incompetence, craven capitulation to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries or more sinister corrupt regulation, take your pick. However, what is absolutely clear is that these few individuals are attempting to destroy the utility of a truly remarkable product in the interests of perpetuating a sinister duopoly that is contrary to the interests of European public health and basic morality.
“Taken together, these proposals represent a ban on all currently available electronic cigarettes. This is contrary to the position taken by MEPs on the 8th of October who favoured preserving the market in its current form. Does the UK government support these proposals? We need to know and Parliament needs to have the opportunity to debate these proposals as a matter of priority.”
For a copy of the European Commission document, click here.