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Conservative reply
04-05-2013, 07:50 PM
Post: #1
Conservative reply
Thank you for your email setting out your thoughts on a proposal issued by the European Commission to amend current European law concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products.



Among the products to be affected by the proposed changes are electronic inhalers, commonly known as personal vaporizers or e-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid solution containing nicotine into an aerosol mist which is then inhaled to simulate the act of smoking tobacco. The Commission proposes to limit the amount of nicotine in solutions sold for use in electronic cigarettes to four milligrams of nicotine per millilitre, unless the products have been classified as for medicinal use. This would render the solution too weak to be a viable source of nicotine for smokers or ex-smokers, or would require manufacturers to apply for a costly licence to manufacture medicinal products.



You are not alone in contacting me on this issue - many constituents feel similarly strongly. I have examined the arguments and I see the potential e-cigarettes offer as harm-reduction devices to improve human health. I understand that e-cigarettes offer concentrated nicotine to addicts without the 4000 toxins and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, that use of e-cigarettes removes the risk posed to non-smokers (and especially to children of smokers) by second hand smoke, that e-cigarettes appeal to adult smokers seeking to quit but not generally to children or those not yet addicted to nicotine, that traditional nicotine replacement therapies proposed by the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry have had very limited success in helping smokers quit permanently, and that thousands of British e-cigarette users (and millions across the EU and the world) are likely to return smoking if the directive is amended as foreseen and nicotine concentrations are limited to 4mg/ml. I have no doubt that this will lead to a large percentage of such users dying of smoking-related diseases that they might otherwise have avoided. Such arguments have led me to conclude that the proposed changes to limit permitted concentrations of nicotine solution sold in the EU are counter-productive and will do more harm than good.



As a member of the Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety I will put forward these arguments and work to convince other MEPs of the foolishness of diluting nicotine solution to the point of uselessness. I would also encourage you to raise awareness among others in the vaporising community. If you have not already done so I would also encourage you to write to your MP and request that they raise the matter in Westminster. If we bring to the attention of the public, the political world and the media the strong arguments in favour of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction device and the number of lives which can be saved through their use, we have a very strong chance of winning the argument.



Best wishes,



Jacqueline Foster MEP

Conservative MEP North West England
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11-05-2013, 10:56 AM
Post: #2
RE: Conservative reply
Dear

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch with me on the important issue of so-called 'e-cigs'. I have received a large number of emails, almost all from people who have personal experience of how these products have helped them to give up smoking. A number of medical professionals have also been in touch, expressing similar views.

I do not believe the proposals, as they currently stand, are acceptable as they would have a detrimental effect on a product that is being used perfectly safely by many people.

Two weeks ago, I visited one of the many businesses that are helping so many people to quit. First Stop E-Cigs in Nelson and Colne, Lancashire, is, like many similar stores, meeting the demand from smokers who have, until now, been unable to stop smoking. It was clear from my visit there that countless people would be adversely affected by the proposals as they currently stand.

On Wednesday, I had the great opportunity to put these points to EU Commissioner Tonio Borg. We had a very lengthy discussion and the information provided to me by my constituents was invaluable.

I stressed that it would be a mistake to class these products as a medicine. I also believe that, while there are, sadly, issues of some products being counterfeit or of a poor standard, I see no reason why existing consumer protection legislation cannot be invoked to deal with these issues. We have a robust trading standards framework across local government.

I am pleased to say, Commissioner Borg appeared to have an open mind. My suggestion was that e-cigs (and similar products) be removed from the Directive.

Since then, the Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee has also expressed its opinion that this part of the proposal should be deleted.

The Environment Committee will vote on the proposals on 10th-11th July and the final version of the legislation will then be voted on by all MEPs, most likely in September.

I will, of course, keep you informed of progress and you can also follow my updates on Twitter.

With best wishes,

Jacqueline Foster MEP
Conservative MEP for the North West of England
Conservative Spokesman on Transport & Tourism in the European Parliament

Fight the EU ecig/vaping ban!
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24-07-2013, 05:33 PM
Post: #3
RE: Conservative reply
Thank you for your email regarding the proposed legislation to amend current European law concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products ('the Tobacco Products Directive').

Various novel products have been brought into the scope of the proposed legislation, many of which make no use of tobacco. Among these novel products are e-cigarettes. Some in the European Parliament wish to follow the European Commission in classifying e-cigarettes as medicinal products and would regulate them under the Medicines Directive (2001/83/EC and associated legislation). This is inappropriate.

To classify e-cigarettes as medicinal products would limit their availability when a lethal alternative remains available in every corner shop. Classification of e-cigarettes as medicinal products would raise costs, reduce product diversity, slow down innovation, inhibit creativity and make the products less appealing to the very people we hope will switch to them. Tobacco product manufacturers would be protected from genuine competition and smokers would continue to die unnecessarily - surely an undesirable outcome.

It is not the case that E-cigarettes are currently unregulated. All products introduced to the EU single market must comply with an extensive framework of general consumer protection and safety legislation. This covers slight variations on old products and products which are genuinely new. It is incongruous to propose that the Tobacco Products Directive should set the legislative framework for a product which contains no tobacco. It is also inappropriate to propose that a product which makes no medicinal claim should be classified as a medicine and not as the general consumer product that it is.

The draftswoman leading this legislation through the European Parliament, Linda McAvan MEP, has come down heavily in favour of a burdensome and intrusive legislative framework. In contrast to this, British MEPs from the Conservative party have fought for a more sensible approach, submitting amendments that make the case for more appropriate legislation to reduce smoking rates and to save British lives. The Conservative and Liberal groups jointly submitted an Amendment to the legislative proposal calling for a light-touch regulatory approach to e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, this amendment fell in a Committee vote last Thursday 10th July. A rival amendment which favoured a medicinal approach to e-cigarettes drew sufficient support from the Socialist, Green and far-left groups to pass.

The dossier will now be voted on by the entire European Parliament in the autumn. It will be possible to submit amendments at this stage and Conservative MEPs will be working to gain support to ensure a sensible approach to legislation. Unfortunately, our own government's Department of Health supports the European Commission's approach to regulate e-cigarettes as medicines. It is vital that we build and demonstrate public support for e-cigarettes to change the policy of the Department of Health. To this end, I would encourage you to write to your Westminster MP to make your position on e-cigarettes known.

I can assure you I will continue to work to maintain the widespread availability and low prices of e-cigarettes.

Yours sincerely

Julie Girling
MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar
Chief Whip of the UK Conservative Party Delegation in the European Parliament
Agriculture and Rural Development
Environment, Public Health & Food Safety
Fisheries
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