• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French doctors praise EU protection of e-cigarettes

The Local/AFP · 8 Oct 2013, 16:18

Published: 08 Oct 2013 16:18 GMT+02:00

European lawmakers on Tuesday approved a long-fought and divisive anti-smoking bill aimed at making cigarettes less attractive to youngsters but threw out a bid to curb sales of increasingly popular e-cigarettes.

The European Parliament refused to classify electronic cigarettes as medicinal products, which would have restricted their sale to pharmacies.

'A very wise decision'

E-cigarettes, which are booming worldwide, will therefore continue to be available in tobacco shops or specialist stores, but will be banned for sale to minors and no advertising will be allowed.

Dr. Philippe Presles, who led a group of ten French medical professionals in a joint statement to the European Parliament this week, in support of electronic cigarettes, praised Tuesday’s move.

“It’s a very wise decision,” Presles, a tobacco specialist at the Insitiut Moncey, told The Local. “This way, research can continue in order to improve e-cigarettes and e-liquids,” products he believes have a demonstrable record of helping tobacco-users to quit.

The group of doctors labelled conventional cigarette smoking “the most serious public health problem in the world,” and called on other medical professionals to get behind e-cigarettes as an alternative.

“If doubts and debates persist about whether or not certain ingredients in e-cigarettes are perfectly harmless over the long term, they should be contrasted with the absolutely certain dangers of tobacco use,” the statement said

SEE ALSO - E-cigarettes versus fags wars - Battle heads to French court

For his part, Darren Moon, the proprietor of the Vap Shop in Paris, told The Local he was delighted with the parliament’s vote.

“It’s a great decision. I mean, if e-cigarettes could only be sold at pharmacies it would put us out of business completely,” he said.

“But apart from that, it just wouldn’t work. Pharmacies wouldn’t be able to give our customers the kind of information and advice they need, especially if they’re trying e-cigarettes for the first time.”

“We actually want regulation, we want transparency. There should be proper labelling on e-liquids, and there should be ingredient information, because we want to be able to reassure our customers,” he added.

The EU law, which still must win approval from the 28 European Union states, will force tobacco firms to print large health warnings covering 65 percent of the packaging, with the name of the brand printed at the bottom.

That was less than the 75 percent originally proposed by the European Commission. Flavoured cigarettes popular with youngsters will be banned in line with the proposal.

But in a considerable watering down of the proposals, "slims" will remain on the market and menthol cigarettes will only be banned eight years after the law comes into effect.

The aim of the new legislation is to cut the number of smokers across the 500-million bloc "by two percent in the next five years," the EU's Health Commissioner Toni Borg said as he urged MEPs to be "daring" and support the plan.

E-cigarettes 'potentially carcinogenic'?

In August, French organization '60 Million Consumers' caused a stir with a report which claimed that e-cigarettes were "potentially carcinogenic" and not as safe as their manufacturers had made them out to be.

“In three cases out of ten, for products with or without nicotine, the content of formaldehyde was as much as the levels found in some conventional cigarettes,” the report said.

Story continues below…

Scientists also found traces of acrolein, a toxic molecule emmited in quantities “that exceeded the amount found in the smoke of some cigarettes” as well as traces of Acetaldehyde, another potentially toxic chemical.

However, cardiologist Konstantinos Farsalinos, who has published five studies on e-cigarettes, criticized the French report in an opinion piece for The Local.

"The level of these chemicals found in e-cigarettes is by an order of magnitude lower than in [normal] cigarettes,” he said, adding, "I don’t know why they announced that some chemicals were found in higher quantities than in normal cigarettes.”

“Findings such as these should always be compared to [the risks] of smoking ordinary cigarettes,” he said.

“The worry is that people will now go back to smoking tobacco products after reading the report. This is absolutely wrong and will have adverse effects on their health,” he added.

Earlier this year France’s Minister for Health Marisol Touraine struck a blow against the booming e-cigarette industry by announcing her intention to ban electronic cigarettes in public places as well as restricting their use to over 18s.

Don't miss a stories like this - join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
15 injured in Welsh bus accident in France
The bus ended on its side in a ditch. Two helicopters were dispatched to the site. Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Fifteen people were injured, two of them seriously, when a bus carrying teenagers from Wales rolled over on a motorway in eastern France on Saturday, the local gendarmerie said.

Libya armed groups urge fight against French troops
Dozens of protesters rallied Friday outside the GNA’s former headquarters in a Tripoli navy base. Photo: AFP

Armed groups including Islamists have urged Libyans to mobilise against French and other foreign troops deployed in the country, denouncing their presence as a “blatant aggression”.

EgyptAir flight broke up midair after fire: report
The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean. Photo: AFP

An EgyptAir flight that crashed into the Mediterranean in May likely broke up in midair after a fire erupted in or near the cockpit, the New York Times has reported.

IMF boss Lagarde to stand trial over $400 million payout
Lagarde will be the third successive IMF chief to face trial. Photo: AFP

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was ordered Friday to stand trial in France over a massive state payout to a colourful tycoon when she was French economy minister, dealing a setback to her stellar career.

Hollande defends minister under fire over Nice attack
The Nice assault was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months. Photo: AFP

French President Francois Hollande on Friday defended his government from accusations it relaxed its anti-terror defences after the Euro championships, and announced plans to arm the fight against the Islamic State group which claimed the Nice attack.

Why was Nice ordered to delete CCTV images of attack?
Photo: AFP

The fact that city authorities in Nice were asked to delete images of the truck attack has only given weight to those criticizing the government.

Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Photo: Runs With Scissors/Flickr

Struggling to learn French? Here are some free and easy ways to help you conquer the language once and for all.

32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
Photo: Tatyana A./Flickr

How many of these have you committed?

France to supply Iraq artillery as it steps up fight against Isis
Photo: AFP

France is stepping up its battle against Isis in the Middle East.

How to show solidarity with France? Don’t cancel your trip
Photo: AFP

The best way to show fraternity with France after the latest terror attack is not on Facebook or Twitter, but by coming to visit.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Ten reasons not to leave Paris this summer
Ten ways other expats in France drive you mad
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Very Stupid' village in France honoured for its silly name
Travel
Ten crazy things to do in France if you dare
Society
Paris: an obstacle course for wheelchair users
Brits ignore Brexit fears to make dream move to France
2,765
jobs available