The future of E Liquid according to the European Union 0

The future of E Liquid according to the European Union

E-cigarettes are very popular. One of the reasons for their attractiveness and success is the variety of flavors. But it may be over soon. Because the European Commission wants to tighten up the Tobacco Directive. Far-reaching restrictions are approaching.

There is hardly any fruit that cannot be flavored in e-cigarette liquids. Melon, banana and peach are just as common as combinations of vanilla and wild berries. Even the taste of marzipan, Irish coffee or whiskey can be found in stores or online vaper shops, just like e-cigarette smokers talk to each other.

During production, other flavors are added to the regular tobacco flavor to make the cigarette fumes less harsh. For beginners, the most common admixture is menthol, which makes up about a third - which, unlike tobacco cigarettes in the country, is still allowed in electronic steam devices.

About one hundred and fifty thousand Irish people use the e-cigarette from time to time or regularly, and the trend is rising. Many of them previously belonged to some 17 million cigarette smokers in the country. The average e-cigarette industry expects sales of around half a billion euros this year.

One of the reasons for switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes is health: smoking e-cigarettes is much less dangerous when it comes to harm to health.

The devices do not burn tobacco, but the liquids are heated and vaporized. It is different with the content of nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco: the substance is just as addictive in an e-cigarette as it is in a tobacco cigarette. Under current EU regulations, up to 20 milligrams of nicotine is allowed per milliliter of fluid.

Restrictions on e-cigarettes

It is the variety of so-called e-liquids that makes e-cigarettes so attractive and so effective. And switching to vaporization can save the tobacco smoker survival. This is what lobbyists in the still young industry argue.

But it could end soon: the European Commission is working on a new version of the Tobacco Products Directive, and for the first time it could include far-reaching restrictions on e-cigarettes. After all, so far this has hardly been regulated compared to tobacco cigarettes - neither in products nor in retail.

Flavorings are a key point in the discussion of the new Tobacco Products Directive. They are critically assessed by the health policy of the European Commission.

The concerns relate primarily to the attractiveness of e-cigarettes among young people, who could taste, for example, the aromas of sweet fruit. Other topics in the revised product directive are standard packaging with no advertising and no smoking bans in public places, including vape cigarettes.

The flavors make the e-cigarette more attractive

In a trend-setting study commissioned by the European Commission, the Scheer Report (Scientific Committee on Health Risks, Environment and Emerging Risks), the e-cigarette is under discussion. Scientists claim, among other things, that flavors increase the attractiveness of e-cigarettes and encourage smoking. In summary, they recommend a ban on flavors because only through them will children and adolescents be encouraged to smoke these cigarettes.

The European plan to fight cancer (the European plan to fight cancer) also addresses the danger of aromas. In the case of menthol, the situation is already clear: the institute recommends including menthol-containing liquids in the list of prohibited substances.

Individual member states of the EU are already pushing ahead. Last year, Denmark imposed an extensive ban on flavors for the liquids, in the Netherlands it is to be implemented at the beginning of 2023 and in Sweden it is planned.

There is still a long way to go before the new version of the Tobacco Products Directive is passed and transposed into national law. Decisions are likely to be made in the middle of this decade. But now the course is being set for the content.

The EU Commission intends to publish its proposals by the end of 2022. The EU is currently interviewing consumers and stakeholders in a free consultation. This, in turn, promptly attracts lobbyists. The association of the e-cigarette trade has just called on e-cigarette smokers in an online campaign to speak out against a ban on aromas.

Industry wants to fight back against flavor ban

The fears of the industry associations are concrete. "Should the EU Commission plan far-reaching restrictions on flavors for the new version of the Tobacco Products Directive, we will defend ourselves with all our might," says Dustin Dahlmann, Chairman of the Alliance for Tobacco-Free Enjoyment. In his main job he is the owner and managing director of the industry company Innocigs.

The association will fight back to the last resort, if necessary by going to the European Court of Justice. A ban on flavors would be an "unjustified discrimination against a product that has been proven to be less harmful" compared to tobacco cigarettes.

In addition, it has been scientifically disproved that e-cigarettes seduce young people into smoking. About 99 percent of e-cigarette users are adults, according to a German study on smoking-related behavior (Debra's study).

Time is running out. - At this stage of the proceedings, this is our only chance to defend the tastes of e-cigarettes in the context of research and consultations of the European Commission - the variety of flavors contributes to the fact that vapers do not return to classic tobacco cigarettes.

In the event of a ban, another danger arises. E-cigarette smokers could then illegally obtain the banned product in their country and potentially pose a health risk.

Tax on e-cigarettes

In the meantime, the EU Commission is reluctant to make decisions on another issue that is important for the industry. There are no resolutions on the harmonization of the tax on e-cigarettes, which has been planned for years. 16 of the 27 EU member states have already introduced such a levy.

Added to this is sales tax. So far, 15 cents per milliliter of vapor liquid is under discussion as a specification from the EU Commission – but a decision has not yet been made.

The EU wants to reduce smoking rates

There are approximately 300 medium and small businesses operating in the e-cigarette business in Ireland. While the vast majority of liquids come from Irish or European production, most vaporizers are imported by wholesalers from China.

EU health policy aims to achieve a smoking rate in member states below five percent by 2040. Currently, it is 25 percent.

According to a long-term study conducted in Ireland on smoking-related behavior, this figure is now almost 35 percent. This is measured among residents aged 14 and over. However, that rate has risen by six percent in the past two years - a time when life has been severely limited by the crown pandemic.

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