• July 24, 2024

No harm-reduction urgency

 No harm-reduction urgency

The EU Commission has sidestepped – for five years at least – a question on ‘the potential of nicotine delivery devices to reduce the harm linked to smoking tobacco’.

In July, Carolina Punset, a Spanish member of the EU Parliament, said in a preamble to two questions posed to the Commission that nicotine-delivery devices had been regulated for the first time in the EU in 2014 through Directive 2014/40/EU.

‘The directive introduced a series of strict criteria concerning quality, safety, consumer information and sale, and recognised the differences between nicotine delivery devices and conventional tobacco products,’ she said.

‘Since the directive was adopted in 2014, a discrepancy in member states’ public policies on those products has been found, particularly with regard to the reduction of harm linked to tobacco consumption amongst smokers and its possible use in policies intended to combat the effects of smoking. Whilst some countries, such as the UK and France, are openly exploring the potential of nicotine delivery devices to complement their tobacco control policies, other countries are still sceptical of them.’

Punset then asked:

  1. ‘Does the Commission have data, based on member states’ experiences and figures, on the potential of nicotine delivery devices to reduce the harm linked to smoking tobacco?’; and
  2. ‘Have specific monitoring and follow-up mechanisms been introduced for those products to enable the member states to share best practices on the matter?’

In its answer, the Commission pointed out that the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) 2014/40/EU entered into force on May 20, 2016.

‘Article 20 of the TPD contains requirements relating to safety, quality and consumer protection of electronic cigarettes,’ it said.

‘The Commission monitors regulatory developments relating to electronic cigarettes. In this respect, it remains in close contact with member states, to enable the exchange of available information and experience, by means of different fora, including Expert Group on Tobacco Policy, its Subgroup on Electronic Cigarettes and the upcoming Joint Action on Tobacco Control.

‘The input received will feed into findings that will be presented as a part of the report on the application of the TPD, which is due in 2021, as required under Article 28(1) of the TPD.’