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BLACKBURN, United Kingdom -- The days of electronic cigarettes could be numbered if proposals from the European Commission that would effectively take all current e-cigarettes off the market move forward.
According to documents obtained by Totally Wicked Ltd., an electronic cigarette company based in the United Kingdom, the European Commission drafted proposals as part of the negotiations taking place in Brussels, Belgium, to revise the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). Among other things, the commission proposes a ban on all refill liquids, a ban on refillable atomizers, a ban on almost all flavors, and restrictions on nicotine levels.
"Behind closed doors in Brussels, unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats are drafting proposals that will deny millions of existing and former smokers access to a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes," said Fraser Cropper, CEO of Totally Wicked. "These proposals are based on a total lack of knowledge of how an electronic cigarette functions and, more importantly, these proposals are being drafted without any consultation with the people who rely on these products to prevent them returning to tobacco cigarettes."
Taken together, according to the company, these proposals represent a ban on all currently available e-cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes have been the subject of debate in the European Union lately. In early October, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted against regulating e-cigarettes as medicines. Instead, e-cigarettes will be regulated along the same lines as tobacco products.
In June, the U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said it will treat e-cigarettes as medicines, "so that people using these products have the confidence they are safe, are of the right quality and work." The agency will regulate other products containing nicotine in a similar fashion; however, cigarettes are exempt from the rule, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Health officials and the e-cigarette industry in the United Kingdom are now seeking to clarify what the European Parliament's moves mean.