The European Parliament will soon vote on a proposal to revise the current Tobacco Products Directive.  The new directive would classify e-cigarettes as medicinal products. The directive would include a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes while requiring mandatory health warnings on the package. This would profoundly restrict present e-cigarettes users’ access to the product, specifically the access of children.

The European Union hopes to reduce the 700,000 deaths attributable to tobacco use across all member-states with the revision. There are not many studies discussing the health benefits or risks associated with e-cigarettes. The United Nations World Health Organization has said the safety of e-cigarettes “has not been scientifically demonstrated…and the potential risks they pose for the health of users remains undetermined.”  The Save E-cigs Campaign said the revision would condemn “Europe’s seven million e-cigarette users to a premature death.” Opponents of the revision claim regulation would raise costs, reduce innovation, and force millions back to tobacco use. Are e-cigarettes really saving lives as the opponents of the revision and certain studies claim? Does the European Union have the authority to enact broader regulation to the Tobacco Products Directive?

The European Court of Justice has stated that regulation on tobacco products to ensure a high level of health protection throughout the member-states is in accordance with the Treaties. Since science has yet to discover the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarette use, the European Union has a duty to regulate a product that could be doing more harm than good. The revision does not ban the product. It simply places them on the same platform as regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes had not gained popularity when the European Union passed the Tobacco Products Directive in 2001. Therefore, this revision is necessary to update the current concerns and trends of European consumers.