December 19, 2012 / WebMD / — Plans for e-cigarettes to be regulated for the first time and bigger health warnings on cigarette packets have been announced by the European Commission.
The plans have been welcomed by Cancer Research UK and the anti-smoking group ASH.
Tobacco products directive
The EC planned legislation tightens rules and introduces new measures on how tobacco products can be manufactured, marketed and sold.
In a press statement the commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg says: “Tobacco kills half of its users and is highly addictive. With 70% of the smokers starting before the age of 18, the ambition of today’s proposal is to make tobacco products and smoking less attractive and thus discourage tobacco initiation among young people.”
Packaging: Europe isn’t going as far as Australia in ordering plain packaging for cigarette packets, but a combined picture and health warning will have to cover 75% of the front and the back of the package. Member states can still introduce plain packaging if they want to. Tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide information will be replaced with a message stating that tobacco smoke contains more than 70 cancer causing substances.
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes: The rules are widened from just tobacco to include nicotine containing products, such as electronic cigarettes. Products delivering nicotine below a certain level will still be able to be sold unregulated as they are now, but with health warnings. E-cigarettes delivering higher levels of nicotine will be regulated as medicinal products in the same way as nicotine replacement therapies.