Dear Member of the European Parliament,
E-cigarettes and Trilogue
On the 8th of October e-cigarette users (vapers) welcomed the vote in the European Parliament, believing it to have been a sensible compromise. MEPs had listened to the genuine concerns of vapers throughout the EU and a cross party majority supported amendment 170.
Now the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is in trilogue and vapers are being kept in the dark. Vapers do not know what is being discussed and what regulatory proposals are gaining support. Many vapers feel frustrated and isolated. They hear rumours and read about leaked proposals, yet they feel totally impotent. They cannot influence proceedings even when they fear the wrong decisions may be being taken.
From the leaked documents we have seen, it is clear that the new proposals being put forward by the Council and Commission are more than simple amendments to aid the trilogue process; they amount to entirely new proposals for the regulation of e-cigarettes. As the EU protocol on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality makes clear, new proposals like these need to be forwarded to national parliaments for comment, with eight weeks for the national parliament to respond. The new proposals that we are aware of are also about as far removed from amendment 170 as is possible.
In a desire to conclude the TPD before Christmas, due process, legitimate concerns, and legal opinions are being ignored by many of those involved in the trilogue process. This is not how good legislation is made.
If trilogue and/or Parliament cannot deliver a regulatory regime for e-cigarettes that protects flavours and refillable tanks, and allows for the continued use of effective strengths of nicotine, then reluctantly we would have to come to the conclusion that Article 18 should be removed from the TPD and that the Commission should instead bring forward a new legislative proposal for the regulation of e-cigarettes. We believe that this will allow the TPD to be drawn to a rapid and satisfactory conclusion before Christmas.
In the interim the TPD should be used to send a strong signal to Member States that they should more forcefully apply and enforce existing regulations relating to e-cigarettes, as we believe that when correctly adhered to, they are robust and proportionate.
As a campaign representing vapers and their families, we endorse the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association Industry of Excellence Audit Programme and commend it to the e-cigarette industry and to policy makers. We would also like to see vendors doing more to keep their customers informed and up to date with proposed changes to the regulation surrounding e-cigarettes.
The Commission should use this interim period to consult with all those who have a genuine interest in the sale, manufacture, and, most importantly, use of e-cigarettes. They will then be in a good position to bring forward new legislative proposals (informed by the European Parliament’s position) with proper evidence based justification, impact assessment, consultation, and scrutiny.
Finally, may we take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.