The European Parliament voted on the Tobacco Products Directive today, which aims to discourage younger people from taking up smoking.

A ban on flavourings and bigger health warnings were part of the proposals, along with tighter restrictions on e-cigarettes- including a potential ban on refillables and on e-cigs containing over 20mg/ml of nicotine.

If these changes are made, the only e-cigarettes allowed on the shelf would be below 20mg/ml, meaning many users would return to cigarettes in order to get the satisfactory nicotine ‘hit’.

Further, if three Member States ban refillables, this would trigger a clause in the legislation that would impose a ban on refillables across the EU. This comprises a large part of the e-cigs market and would throw the market’s future into uncertainty.

The device has a strong success rate in helping people to quit smoking and contains no carcinogens- these are the harmful substances found in common cigarettes and other tobacco products.

London MEP, Marina Yannakoudakis has fought over the past several months to ensure that e-cigs remain widely available to buy, and free from draconian attempts to ban their components. She successfully headed off attempts to reclassify them as medicinal along with the Conservative delegation in the Parliament last year.

Voting against the directive, Marina said “It is dishonourable of the European Commission to slip in this regulation and for the Parliament to accept it. E-cigarettes have helped thousands of people and have proven one of the most, if not the most, effective ways of quitting smoking”.

 “The Parliament should gather more information on e-cigs and since it has not been proven that e-cigarettes are harmful, restricting things like refillables or nicotine content seems ridiculous. There needs to be an effort to understand the science.”

 “It is excessive of the EU to hold e-cigarettes to ransom, if only three Member States vote to ban refillables, the rest of us have to suffer- three states will end up determining the law for the other twenty-five!”

 The ECR Group attempted to postpone the vote, but its calls were brushed aside. The group’s request for a split vote on e-cigs was allowed, but MEPs came down heavy against efforts to exempt them. The TPD was then passed in its entirety.