As a vaper you will have probably heard an awful lot about the TPD or Tobacco Products Directive over the last few weeks and months, but what’s it all about?
For the past ten years, the rules governing the manufacture, presentation, and sale of tobacco products have been administered by the Tobacco Product Directive, with rules about the limits of nicotine and the presence of health warnings on tobacco packaging as part of their remit.
Motivated by gaps and weaknesses in existing rules as well as by scientific and international developments, the European Commission sent a proposal to the Council and the European Parliament on 19 December 2012 urging a revised Directive.
The Council expects an improvement to the functioning of the internal market and improved public health to result from the change.
Smokers of electronic cigarettes are concerned that the ministers could decide to reclassify the devices as medicines and thus subject them to the same regulations as regular cigarettes – even though e-cigs are completely free from tobacco.
The big vote is coming up fast. If legislation changes after the plenary vote in September, e-cigarettes could become regulated. The vote aims to help smokers quit and prevent young people from taking up traditional tobacco smoking, which causes diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
The big players in the tobacco world have challenged it in court. Before the vote, e-cigarette lobbyists sent gifts of e-cigarettes and dinner invites in an attempt to sway the opinion of MEPs. Clearly, the outcome of this vote is dear to their hearts.
Social networking sites are alight with controversy, with e-cig users (aka ‘vapers’) fearing that e-cigs may be classed medicinal in the European Union. If that happens, the devices may only be obtainable in accredited pharmacies. Vapers say that if the freedom to use these alternative smoking products is made more difficult, addicted smokers will have much less of a chance to switch to a healthier lifestyle. That is why on July 10th concerned vapers led a peaceful protest in Brussels, bursting hundreds of black balloons, each one representing the death of another smoker who hadn’t had the chance to switch to electronic cigarettes.
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