Final vote on the TPD; what now for ecigs?



Guest Post from Rebecca Taylor MEP.

After several weeks of complicated discussions with colleagues, I was disappointed to hear yesterday that the Conference of Presidents (the leaders of the Parliament’s political groups) has not yet given the go-ahead to allow split or separate votes in next week’s final vote on the Tobacco Products Directive.

The current argument is about whether the split or separate votes should come before the single vote on the trilogue agreement or afterwards. If they come afterwards, they can only be voted in the unlikely event of the trilogue deal being rejected – so obviously they must come beforehand. I am of course working with colleagues to try to push for this. If there is the possibility to vote to remove certain parts of article 18 or reject the entire article, I will do that as will a number of ALDE colleagues.

So it is possible that on Wednesday MEPs may only have a single vote

(Yes/No/Abstain) on the entire TPD, with no opportunity to single out and remove specific parts of the text.

However, as I have already made clear numerous times, I will not vote against the Directive as a whole. Unlike some who have supported the case for sensible regulation of e-cigarettes, I also support the tobacco control measures in the directive (my voting record speaks for itself). I believe that tobacco control measures and e-cigarettes are two sides of the same coin; the tobacco control measures can discourage people from starting to smoke and sensible regulation of e-cigarettes can provide a way for smokers to quit their tobacco habit. I know that some e-cig users disagree with me about the tobacco control measures or consider them to be unimportant; there we can agree to disagree.

However, I believe that one of the key reasons that myself, Frédérique Ries and Chris Davies were able to get enough MEPs to vote in favour of the ALDE plenary amendment on e-cigarettes in the first place, is because none of us could be identified as MEPs who backed the tobacco industry line on the TPD.

This was against a backdrop of some opponents of e-cigarettes deliberately trying to blur smoking and vaping (and in fact some still are, which annoys me greatly).

So where does this leave e-cigarettes now?  Well, we must recognise that an awful lot of progress has been made compared to the initial Commission proposal, which would have seen across the board medicines regulation.

But the fact remains that there are parts of the agreed Article 18, which are far from satisfactory, and this is why the Liberal group negotiator

Frédérique Ries refused to sign up to the final deal. The problematic points include:

•   Continued option for Member States to regulate e-cigs as medicines “by function or presentation”

•    The arbitrary threshold of 20mg/ml of nicotine to be allowed in e-liquids;

•    The possibility for the European Commission to propose ban on a specific device in all Member States, if three or more countries remove it from their own markets.

This means that there is still work to do if the TPD is approved next week.

Implementation will be key and it is vital to ensure national governments take as flexible an approach to e-cigs as possible.

It is therefore necessary to keep up strong lobbying of national governments, so that ministers go for consumer product regulation of devices, which is set as a precedent by this Directive on a European level.

After reading clarifications of the technicalities involved in this

Directive provided by the Health Commissioner Tonio Borg (in response to questions from Chris Davies), I am optimistic that it would difficult for a

Member State to regulate a product under pharmaceutical rules, except where companies chose to opt for medicines regulation themselves. The wording of the article obliges governments to prove that an e-cig meets the definition of a medicinal product as set out in Directive 2001/83 EC – namely a substance must have properties for treating or preventing disease in human beings. Numerous courts across the EU have already rejected the application of this definition to e-cigs.

On the banning of devices across the EU, not only do three Member States have to prove that the devices have pose a ‘significant risk to human health’ (quite a high bar), but the Commission can only use this power through a procedure called ‘delegated acts’, which allows the Parliament to veto such a decision if enough MEPs disagree with it (and MEPs regularly reject delegated acts).

And finally, regarding the 20mg/ml threshold, this has been significantly raised from the original 4mg/ml suggested by the Commission, and the 2mg/ml put forward by national governments and, as we are told by a number of scientific experts that this will satisfy the majority of vapers, around 70% of whom use 20mg/ml or less. However, I accept that vapers who use a higher nicotine threshold may suffer unnecessarily because of this.

I understand and share consumers’ frustration and disappointment that the final text on e-cigarettes has enough caveats and loopholes to cause great concern. It is a massive improvement on the original proposal, but still not good enough.


10 thoughts on “Final vote on the TPD; what now for ecigs?

  1. Tobacco control and ecigs should be two ENTIRELY SEPERATE matters. They are not “two sides of the same coin” – they could not be more different! One contains 4000 odd chemicals KNOWN TO KILL and the other contains three – PG or VG, flavouring and nicotine and could SAVE millions of lives. Ecigs have NOTHING to do with tobacco and they should have never been called e”CIGS”. Nicorette Quickmist is freely advertised and contains FOURTEEN additives including Hydrochloric Acid. It’s an absolute no-brainer and some MEPs should be ashamed of themselves – for complete ignorance on ecigs and for not recognising that they have been presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the face of tobacco consumption forever.

  2. Reblogged this on Vapers Against The Ban and commented:
    The negative impact on millions of ecig users is astronomical, but pass the TPD in it’s current state is worth the lives of those millions right? I am so fed up with politics and politicians who are feigning positive public health agenda’s in order to toll the death bells for others.

  3. Politicians seem to believe human rights are optional.
    I guess the European court will have to explain to those eurocrats what human right are and I´m looking forward to see what those self glorifying ….. (fill in a fitting word of your choice) will say after the European court told them, they cannot violate basic rights.
    Not sure what the law gives for possibilities, but personally, from my subjective feeling for right and wrong, any restriction on ecigs will without a doubt drive many vapers back to smoking, prevent many smokers from switching to vaping and securely kill some of them, therefore any attempt to restrict ecigs should be considered premeditated murder.

  4. Ce n’est pas les mesures anti-tabac de la TPD qui changeront quelque chose. La seule arme contre BIG T , c’est l’ecig !! Ayez le courage de voter NON à la directive!

  5. Leaving the e-cigarette argument aside, a great deal is at stake by allowing such shoddy law to be passed. A frightening precedent; this in itself if enough reason to reject the TPD entirely.
    And let’s face it, who actually believes that the tobacco controls in the TPD are actually going to achieve anything. It’s a complete farce.
    Sorry Lib Dems, you fail to see the wood for the trees.

  6. Whoever wrote this (sounds like the style of Mr. Calanan) is not doing the public or the vapers any service at all. How come we are being ruled and regulated by amateurs with no idea about the subject at all? Why is this possible and who is responsible? There may be politicians within the E.U. wishing to curtail some of the E.U.’s legislative powers, but this does not fool anybody. The E.U. is a dictatorship and the sooner it fails the better.

  7. “the tobacco control measures can discourage people from starting to smoke and sensible regulation of e-cigarettes can provide a way for smokers to quit their tobacco habit”

    And here we see the basic problem with the nanny state control freakery that’s ultimately behind all this and so much else that comes from government these days, both at the EU and national level. I’m sorry if I seem ungrateful, as as far as vaping is concerned you’re basically on the right side, albeit for the wrong reasons in my opinion. The right reason to support vaping is because people enjoy it and have every right to be happy. The fact that it may also reduce smoking rates as a beneficial side effect is a secondary consideration.

    What I would really like to ask everyone behind this TPD is just what the hell you think it is that gives you the right to interfere in other peoples lives by making these decisions on their behalf? Some kind of unique wisdom or moral insight that we ordinary plebs lack perhaps? In my opinion such interference can only ever be justified if an individuals actions and lifestyle choices clearly harm someone other than themselves. Of course in the case of vapers there’s no real evidence of any significant self harm, let alone harm to others, which is what makes Article 18 so outrageous.

    Perhaps you should all ask yourselves why it is that support for parties like UKIP is on the rise. Perhaps you should all consider defending civil liberties by voting against the entire TPD, even if you personally detest smoking and despise smokers.

    OK, that’s my rant over. Don’t forget to vote UKIP folks 🙂

  8. “70% of vapers use 20mg or less”; maybe this is true; but how many did start in the initial period with this nicotine level; most vapers diminish the nicotine level after the symptoms of tobacco addiction have been overcome. So stating it would suit 20% of the starters would be largely overestimating it. The door will be nailed closed and shut not so much for me and many long term vaping activists but for all newcomers to vaping and that is all what matters isn’t, not to lose to much tax profit on tobacco sales. The EU that murders its citizens for money in a regular Sovjet democracy. We will remember in OUR vote and please stop taking us for stupid.

  9. Pingback: Have our MEPs lost all common sense? | Vapers Against The Ban

  10. Pingback: La Directive sur les produits du tabac sera approuvée ou rejetée mercredi prochain | Avis cigarette électronique

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