Last week, the European Parliament voted in favour of the latest Tobacco Products Directive(TPD) which includes the much discussed Article 18. As you probably already know Article 18 covers a number of proposed changes for e cigarettes including:
- 20mg/ml limit on nicotine
- An advertising ban
- 2ml maximum size for tanks
- Possibly ban on internet sales and flavoured e cigarettes.
The votes were – 49 for, 7 against and 4 abstentions. 60 members voted out of a total of 71.
In order for the bill to be passed, 10% of people would have needed to have vote. If you look at just the people who voted then this is easily this number (60 people voted, with 49 for it) however if you look at everyone who could have voted then they haven’t reached the number – 11 people did not vote at all so there is still a little more to be discussed.
What the electronic cigarette industry needs is for an MEP to take this up, amend Article 19 to suit us and see if we can get another 80+ MEP’s to agree with them. After this it goes to Plenary, where MEP’s vote and we have a chance to get an amended and or industry friendly version of Article 18 to be put through – or of course Article 18 to be dropped from TPD altogether.
Once we get to this point, we’re at the final leg of TPD journey through Parliament and the final decision would be made. There are still people who have never seen a policy go through so much change and amendment since it has been started. The original version of TPD asked for e cigarettes to be regulated as medicine, which is something that we were against.
Of course we have come along way to go since then, but there is still so much to do. The TPD hands the e cig industry to the tobacco industry which is something that we don’t want to see – we believe it will halt e cigarette innovation completely.