Electronic Cigarettes and the European Union

Time and time again the European Union has attempted to disrupt the electronic cigarette market, talk down this relatively new technology and ignore any potential positive health implications. The latest attempt by European politicians is based upon a European Commission “E-cigarettes Myth Buster” report which it claims “shows” that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to tobacco cigarettes.

Only last week we saw a report issued by Cancer Research UK, and carried out in conjunction with University College London, which suggested there was minimal evidence that non-smokers are using electronic cigarettes. There was even less evidence to suggest that electronic cigarettes are a potential gateway to tobacco cigarettes. So why do the European Union continue to peddle these unsubstantiated claims?

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 Control, control, control

There is an ongoing debate within the European Union with regards to the regulatory approach needed to control the electronic cigarette market. Last year the European Parliament initially decided that no additional regulations were required although this was very quickly reversed during a behind closed-doors debate with members of the European Union. This resulted in the introduction of relatively soft touch short-term regulations although the fine print was very different with a relatively small number of EU members now able to club together and change regulations without going back to the European Parliament.

As we have touched on time and time again, the European Union, the US authorities and regulators around the world have been guilty of significant mistakes over the years. Many of them discounted electronic cigarettes as something of a “fad” which would very quickly come and go and have no impact upon the tobacco cigarette market. However, how wrong they were with the electronic cigarette market worth in excess of £1.3 billion across Europe in 2013 and showing significant growth in 2014.

 Facts and figures diluting rumours and myths

There has been a significant sea change in the approach taken by the worldwide media to the electronic cigarette industry and the vaping sector as a whole. This has resulted in rumours and myths being diluted by facts and figures, which is starting to irk politicians who seem to have an addiction for control. We could therefore see the introduction of further regulations in the short to medium term although perhaps the changing face of European politics, as seen in the recent European elections, could offer an interesting opportunity for the electronic cigarette industry?

UK politicians such as Nigel Farage have made great gains in the recent European elections and his love of electronic cigarettes has been well documented. The growing move to right-wing politics across Europe could lead to less control by the European Union and a more “people based” political arena. Whatever happens in the short to medium term there is no doubt that the central and left-wing parties will need to give up some ground to allay the fears of the voting public.

Has the European Union become too strong to quickly? Is the European Parliament undemocratic? Could electronic cigarettes benefit from a changing political arena?

Mark Benson

Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on OK Eliquids and other products available please visit the OKCigs website.

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