05 July 2016
- Tobacco & Smoking

Tobacco remains the most significant cause of premature death in the EU, responsible for almost 700,000 deaths every year. The EU Tobacco Products Directive introduced new provisions regarding health information and warnings, packaging, labelling, information on additives and manufacturing, and control of tobacco products.  However the directive does not specify how to regulate e-cigarettes. 

e-Cigarettes might pose risks to users and consumers, as they allow users to come into direct contact with refill liquids (e-liquids) containing nicotine and other ingredients that may have adverse health effects. EFA together with our partner the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP), had published guidelines to implement Europe regulation on e-cigarettes to Member States regulators, highlighting these concerns.

Some Member States have submitted information on user profiles and market developments regarding all types of e-cigarettes since risk and benefits are still in a potential stage. The Commission has thus identified four main risks related to the use of refillable e-cigarettes.

These risks are:

(1) ingesting e-liquids containing nicotine (especially for young children),

(2) skin reactions related to dermal contact with e-liquids containing nicotine and other skin irritants,

(3) risks associated with home mixture,

(4) risks due to using untested combinations of e-liquid and device or hardware customisation.

The Commission proposes that refill containers and e-cigarette devices should be child-resistant and sold with appropriate instructions for use and storage to ensure that users and others do not accidently come into contact with the e-liquid when handling e-cigarettes.

Other risks should also be prevented, such as the incorrect dilution of nicotine in the substance and the unsafety due to e-liquid injection during self-inhalation.

Further research on certain aspects of e-cigarettes relevant to refillables, such as emissions testing and the safety of flavors or mixtures of flavors, should also be carried out in the upcoming future.

Please access the full European Commission statement on e-cigarettes here.

For more information on e-cigarettes do not hesitate visiting our tobacco and smoking section.

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The EFA Team