For the past few years, the European Commission has been trying to enforce preventative measures to combat the health dangers of tobacco. The TPD has imposed multiple regulations on the tobacco industry, but most of these regulations can easily be circumvented.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, has protested the tobacco industry’s ability to evade regulations. Although all of the major tobacco companies respect laws that require health warnings on cigarette packs, many countries place these messages horizontally, highlighting their respective brand names instead ofthe health warnings.
The traceability of tobacco products has also led to debate between cigarette smokers and the European Commission. Manufacturers of both tobacco products and e-cigarette products have to obtain authorization for each step in their sales process. This has led to a black market, which while illegal has also helped manufacturers bypass tedious regulations.
Vaping in the crosshairs of the European Commission
If the public is convinced that vaping is much less dangerous to health than tobacco, confusion about the device’s safety still reigns supreme. Indeed, the European Commission equates tobacco heating devices with e-cigarettes, even though the latter contain no tobacco. Despite clear evidence that vaping is much less harmful—and less addictive—than products developed by the tobacco industry, the European Commission remains sceptical.
Far from acknowledging the crucial difference between the devices, Andriukaitis wants to toughen regulations around tobacco-heating devices as well as e-cigarettes. He has announced a forthcoming ban on advertising and online sale of e-cigarette products. He has also adopted harsh e-cigarette deterrence measures adopted by Italy, which only allows the sale of vaping products in tobacconists and other government-approved retailers.
Is the e-cigarette finally becoming the ugly duckling? Far from promoting the use of the e-cigarette to help quit smoking, the European Commission remains sceptical about the device.