Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products

Delivered in Plenary - 8 October 2013

Mr President

The issue of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has inspired much lobbying in my mailbag. This new EU legislation will do more to combat an activity which, sadly, contributes yearly to 700 000 cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory-caused deaths in Europe. Many TPD aspects regarding the size of health warnings, types of packaging and descriptors are indeed positive. However, the attempts to make e-cigarettes a medicinal product are counterproductive in my view.

E-cigarettes may not be totally harmless and require more research, of course, but not one death can be attributed to them. On the contrary, hundreds of Londoners have insisted to me that e-cigarettes are actually improving their lives, and fear that new restrictions making them into a pharmaceutical product would push them back towards smoking real cigarettes.

E-cigarettes may not be perfect, but they are preferable to thousands more dying needlessly in Britain and across the European Union. Therefore the fact that Amendment 170, which was proposed by my Group and others, was carried is something that I can take a great deal of delight in.