The Future of E Cigarettes Is In the Hands of One Man

Following on from the ENVI vote, it was thought that 10% of MEPS voted against the draft for TPD and that this would mean that the future for championing e cigarettes and having the dreaded Article 19 amended was bright – it seems we were mistaken.

It seems that due to a technicality, the vote isn’t quite what it seems. In fact the recent ENVI vote falls under rule 57. This means that “Only amendments tabled by the committee responsible and seeking to reach a compromise with the Commission shall be admissible at this stage.”

It is down to the ENVI to get the TPD through the EU – where Linda McAvan sits. This means that there is no chance that amendments will be tabled. In fact what happens next seems to be the last chance to get sensible regulations through the EU – We’re now awaiting something called Split and Separate votes.

We know that for a number of reasons, Article us not a good legislation. We know that in general e cigarette users were not asked for their experiences or their knowledge before this legislation was drawn up, which means it was put together by people who have no idea what it is like to be an e cigarette user. Of course they have the back up of ‘science’, but we know that this has been misinterpreted in many ways. The fact that they want small changes made, like no flavours listed on packages seem utterly ridiculous.

At the moment the TPD reading is due in March, however there are whispers that it could be bought forward to the end of February. At this stage the first reading is just a yes/no vote on the TPD issue as a whole – which deals with both tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Martin Schulz (martin.schulz@europarl.europa.eu) is a man with power – the power to grant the industry a fair hearing or to have it dismissed altogether. As the president of the European Parliament he gets to decide whether or not it can be put forward for split votes – which are something that the electronic cigarette industry desperately need. It is hoped that thanks to the letters of support he has had, he will open this up to the split vote, but ultimately the decision is his and the power is in his hands.

We have written to him and asked him to allow split votes. We feel that it is important that this gets looked at properly. If Article 18 goes through unedited then the world of e cigarettes will vastly change for retailers and the people who benefit from e cigarettes – which could mean that more people are tempted to go back to traditional tobacco cigarette smoking.