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The EU should rethink its ban on tobacco-products advertising because consumers need more information about how electronic cigarettes are much less harmful than are combustible cigarettes, and how the former could help them quit the latter, according to an opinion piece in the Parliament Magazine by the MEP Laima Andrikienė, who is a member of the EU Parliament’s international trade committee.
The Parliament Magazine has run a series of opinion pieces written by people advocating the imposition of e-cigarette standards, and much of Andrikienė’s piece was about the need for such standards.
She said that thousands of counterfeit products entered the EU market without any safety checks and in violation of the EU’s trade rules. These included all kinds of products, from toys, electrical devices, medicines, to cosmetics and tobacco.
Tobacco producers, she said, faced significant problems regarding the illegal trade. Novel tobacco products and e-cigarettes differed from conventional tobacco products in many ways, and there were many new products available on the market.
‘In general, a large variety of similar products is a good thing for consumers, but it is important to know if regulators are prepared for this level of complexity,’ she said. ‘What we know for sure is that there is no compliance structure in place at EU level.’
Andrikienė said that protecting consumers and ensuring products were safe – particularly those brought in from third countries – remained problematic and required urgent attention at EU level.
Safety started with standards, she said, and the European committee for standardisation was working on the issue. However, the process of standardisation was slow and further efforts by all EU member states were needed.
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