“E-cigarettes have been a lifeline for many people, but this agreement will have the draconian effect of driving more 'vapers' back to full tobacco cigarettes... If the EU was truly interested in people’s health it would be helping to popularise rather than restrict e-cigarettes.” - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage. « Picture: Nigel Farage with Peter Oborne testing e-cigs at The Telegraph
• In negotiations last night (16.12.2013) in the European Parliament, MEPs along with representatives of national governments discussed proposals from the European Commission's EU Tobacco Products Directive. Tough new EU rules voted on could see the majority of e-cigarettes forced off the market, in a move which could have dramatic consequences for public health.
A provisional deal between MEPs and national governments could prompt a ban on refillable e-cigarettes and force manufacturers to rely on single-use low-nicotine alternatives.
The WSJ reports that according to official sources, under yesterday's draft compromise, refillable cartridges would remain legal for now, "but if problems appear in at least three member states, the European Commission, the EU's executive, could move to ban them."
The report adds that "negotiators from governments and Parliament have also agreed to limit the nicotine content of e-liquids to 20 milligrams per milliliter and forbid cartridges that contain more than 10 ml of e-liquids."
Responding in Brussels, today, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said:
“This will lead to another ridiculous ban from the EU on the majority of e-cigarettes which are better for the health of smokers and for British manufacturers of e-cigarettes.
“The EU should not be putting restrictions on a safer alternative to smoking.
“E-cigarettes have been a lifeline for many people but this agreement will have the draconian effect of driving more 'vapers'* back to full tobacco cigarettes.
“While the EU talks about guaranteeing direct subsidies to European tobacco growers from the EU budget, I suspect it also has its beady eye on the loss of tax revenues to national governments as people switch from tobacco to electronic cigarettes.
“If the EU was truly interested in people’s health it would be helping to popularise rather than restrict e-cigarettes.”
EU Tobacco subsidies
The EU produces around 280,000 tonnes of raw tobacco each year, equivalent to about 4 percent of global output. Italy is the bloc's biggest producer, followed by Bulgaria, Poland and Spain. (Reuters)
Tobacco farmers in 12 EU countries were receiving around £260million in subsidies before the old system was phased out in 2010 (Daily Mail)