EU Releases Tobacco Directive: Proposes Effective Ban on E-Cigarette Cartridges/Eliquid

Crude painted red X mark.

This will probably mark the first time in history that the public has had to go to the black market to buy healthier products as a result of government forcing them to choose the most dangerous products.

Source: ECCA UK Blog (Since removed)

The tobacco directive, which we’d hope would be shelved after its author was forced to resign following alleged corruption, has been released today. So far I haven’t seen the actual directive just a report of it in Malta Today which stated:

Electronic cigarettes below a certain nicotine threshold are allowed on the market, but must feature health warnings; above this threshold such products are only allowed if authorised as medicinal products, like nicotine replacement therapies.

Source: Malta Today

(Update: The text of the tobacco directive can be found here.)

According to Velvet Glove Iron Fist, the quantities of nicotine to be allowed in e-cigarette cartridges are to be so low they will be of no use to smokers:

To all intents and purposes, this amounts to a de facto ban on e-cigarette use. Typical nicotine content in e-cigarette juice is around 10mg and it often goes up to 18mg and beyond. It needs to be at this level to work as an effective substitute for smoking.

Source: Velvet Glove Iron Fist

(Update: Chris was exactly right – the maximum allowed will be 4 mg – for comparison, a medium strength cartridge will generally contain 12 mg and a low strength cartridge will contain 6mg.)

One reason to be optimistic is the timeline. According to Malta Today, the law would be likely to come into practice in 2015/16, which allows plenty of time for a campaign/legal challenge to be run against the law – in fact, there is no guarantee that the UK will be part of the EU in 2015, although that doesn’t help other parts of Europe.

As it is the liquid in cartridges rather than electronic cigarettes themselves that would be banned (assuming the leaked copy Velvet Glove Iron Fist is correct), we can also expect to see a black market supply starting. Unfortunately, these will not be subject to the same stringent regulations that legally sold cartridges and eliquid are today.

Disagree with this law? Why not let the EU know! Choobs over on UK vapers has shared a helpful email address: [email protected]

17 thoughts on “EU Releases Tobacco Directive: Proposes Effective Ban on E-Cigarette Cartridges/Eliquid”

    1. No real surprize here. The NRT market is worth millions to the pharma industry and they are most likely to be the hidden muscle behind this move. What we need is to use this to promote the benefits of electronic cigarettes, and we need proper clinical trails to establish the facts about e-cigs, e-liquids and vapour both inhaled and exhaled.

  1. I thought the bloody Kiwis were a bit daft at the idea that they’d rather we smoked than vaped.

    They haven’t the brains God gave Geese.

    1. Or could their be more sinister reasons behind it? Although the form of the proposed ban (allow ecigs but not in a form that anyone would actually enjoy) certainly does seem daft!

  2. This news is frightening, Why should they have a say in MY health problems. For once i have found a product that I feel may save my life. I have used these electric fags for a year, my health has improved beyond anything i could have hoped or imagined. In Hollond they can smoke dope legally, We know what damage that can do. The sooner we come out of this insane union the better. Vote for UKIP or BNP, There the only parties that have the common sense to see what this union is about.It is run by mad men, for the greedy. Reject the eu now.

    1. “Why should they have a say in MY health problems.”

      Quite – but the EU have also banned other less harmful alternatives to smoking such as Snus (despite decades of evidence Snus is safer than smoking.)

  3. I have been a heavy smoker since 1949. I have had several serious operations for conditions most likely caused, at least in part, by smoking. I have given up three times but always fallen by the wayside after several months. Ecigs have kept me off the real thing now for a couple of years, far longer than previously and I have no inclination to take up “proper” smoking again. If they ban ecigs I will undoubtedly take up smoking tobacco again. This seems crazy to me as it will undoubtedly hasten my demise.

    1. G B Freeman, glad to hear e-cigarettes have made such a big difference to you! My gut feeling is that even if we do persuade the EU to increase nicotine levels, you will still be able to order cartridges from abroad.

  4. I’m absolutely fed up with being dictated too by the EU!! The quicker we hold a referendum to opt out the better. My father fought in the second world war so this country could be freed from dictators such as the EU. We got rid of Hitler, so bring it on with the EU!!!

    1. Jocelyn, while this blog is not about the EU (when they are not legislating about e-cigarettes/THR) they certainly don’t seem to be winning any favours with the laws they are making, and they also seem to be worryingly corrupt (indeed the very author of this tobacco directive has resigned after being accused of soliciting huge bribes.)

  5. I’m fed up with being dictated to by the EU and all those NGO quangos too. I wish those busybody prodnoses would just go away and leave us alone (I feel like using much stronger language here but I’ll restrain myself!) What gives such people the right to decide that ‘they know best’ and to bully and harass individuals over their lifestyle choices. Killjoy anti-pleasure control-freak puritans!

    1. “What gives such people the right to decide that ‘they know best’ and to bully and harass individuals over their lifestyle choices.”

      Their democratic mandate, Jocelyn… oops, sorry, forgot this was the EU 😉 Guess just a feeling that they know best, and have the right to make decisions for us?

  6. After 50 years of smoking, I have at last found the solution to quitting. The e-cig is a fantastic innovation and after a few example tests from various suppliers, I decided JAC Vapour was an excellent solution and finished with cigarettes on Christmas eve.

    My primary driver for changing was cost recently highlighted by the purchase of 200 cigarettes after many months of dutyfrees and what a shock, at a cost of £77.60, enough was enough.

    The news about EU directives and, for that matter, the FDA attitude has just made my blood boil. This has confirm to me that the patronising attitudes of Governments is just Hippocritical and all they seem to be doing is raising taxes for revenue from cigarettes and encouraging usless solutions like patches etc to keep the revenues flowing in. Something must be done to stop this Drug Baron attitude.

    At least we have the E-Cig industry providing an excellent solution that provides individuals to choose what they want to do with their life.

    By the way, this is not a reaction because I’ve stopped smoking, the vapours are just as good if not better.

    1. Well done for switching, Ken, I hope you keep it up!

      I believe ECCA ( are drafting a template letter. I think we should also start a petition, but this needs planning so as to get the wording right and also not to overlap with several different petitons. I think not much has happened yet because of the holidays – will talk to a few people over the next few days to discuss best way forwards.

  7. It seems obvious to me, that money is the biggest driving force behind the actions of various governments and orginisations opposing the freedom to use E cigarettes. On the one hand, if governments regulate the strength and supply of e liquid and cartridges, the only winners will be those organisations with a vested interest in failure of e cigarette freedom, namely the tobacco industry, phamaceutical industry and the governments.

    The tobacco industry two fold:- Some people will turn back to smoking cigarettes, the result increased revenue. Others will be forced to buy overpriced, prefilled disposable cartomisers at a highly inflated price. These cartomisers no doubt produced by those companies in the tobacco industry who are already positioning themselves for the production of such devices in line with proposed regulatory standards, thus forcing smaller, less wealthy producers/suppliers out of business.

    The governments no doubt will tax such tobacco containing products, as they do cigarettes now, maintaining the money flow into their own coffers in the process. No doubt further revenue will also be gained through regulatory fees and certification.

    The pharmaceutical industry wish to continue being hailed as the altruistic saviour of smokers providing miracle cures (champix) or weaning products for us poor unfortunates. When really, they too are just feathering their own nest and no doubt putting pressure in the right places to ensure a continued flow of coinage into their purses.

  8. I don’t think it is the tobacco industry so much as the pharmaceutical industry. As the tobacco industry buy up ecig companies, it will be important for them to make sure that the minimum amount of nicotine contained is greater than 0.4%.

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