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Is the electronic cigarette market about to go up in smoke? - report

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Is the electronic cigarette market about to go up in smoke? - report

Strict new EU rules on tobacco products are being delayed by a debate on how to regulate electronic cigarettes. The European parliament has pushed for a light-touch approach to what it regards as a less harmful alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. But with a lack of evidence on the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes, many EU governments have called for more restrictive rules, Euronews reports.

The deal was struck after governments and the European Parliament resolved a dispute over how tightly to regulate the booming market for e-cigarettes, which some analysts predict will eclipse the USD 700 billion-a-year regular cigarette market in 10 years.

Under the agreement, most e-cigarettes will be sold as consumer products rather than as more-tightly regulated medical devices, as governments had initially wanted. But while popular refillable e-cigarettes will be allowed, the European Commission could impose an EU-wide ban in future if three or more member states prohibit them on health grounds.

One of the main sticking points is flavours. A ban on menthol is expected before the new rules are finalised, as well as those particularly attractive to children, such as vanilla.

Another issue is parliament's demand that e-cigarettes can be sold with refillable nicotine cartridges. Many member states want single-use items.

Some governments, including Britain and Germany, are concerned that at the nicotine concentration level of 20 milligrams per millilitre being discussed, one 10 ml refill cartridge would contain more nicotine than a carton of 200 cigarettes.

The new anti-tobacco controls could be delayed by up to two years, unless negotiators can reach a compromise during talks taking place this week.


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