After 2 years of consultation, in December of 2012, The European Union has proposed that large restrictions be put on tobacco branding, packaging, warning labels and graphics, cigarette size, tobacco products with large amounts of flavoring, and restrictions and reclassification of electronic cigarettes. Yet this did not come easy, with the forceful industry lobbying that has been put upon the Union during this period of time. Even if the law is passed, based on public health grounds, finalizing could take up to two more years.

The Tobacco Products Directive’s main goal is to make smoking less alluring, and to dismay young people from picking up the dreadful tobacco smoking habit. Since Europe has the highest amount of smokers than any other region in the world, it is imperative that the youth be better informed of the risks associated with smoking. In hopes that the new regulations may lower this statistic in the years to come.

The Directive’s main belief is that tobacco products should taste and look how tobacco products actually taste and look. That the consumer should be aware of the actuality of the product, and not blind-sided by fancy brand names and young consumer driven packaging and design. If these new policies were to be passed, the bans on cigarettes containing large amounts of flavorings such as, vanilla and menthol, would be restricted. Reason being, the over use of flavoring in a tobacco product hides the real taste of the additives and chemicals that are actually in the cigarettes. Another, would be to continue the ban on the harmful chewing tobacco, Snus. Also, to restrict the sale of slimmer sized cigarets which are obviously marketed toward younger women.

If the European Parliament approves the new laws, graphic visual and written warnings must take up to at least 75 percent of the packaging, leaving only 25 percent for branding. The health warnings would reside on the front of packs, instead of on the sides, like they currently do now. The warnings on the front would have to be at least 30 percent. And the EU governments may also become free to completely band any form of branding, meaning plain packaging, which is the tobacco industry’s worst fear. The packs would then be completely covered with the graphic pictorial health warnings that are being issued. It has been proven that these images have greater impact than just the plain text warnings.

In recent years, the electronic cigarette industry has boomed in Europe, with especially German shops popping up all over. But the directive new policies would also require that e-cigs containing more than an appropriated amount of nicotine, would only be available in stores like pharmacies. Essentially making the reclassification of the product, for medicinal purposes only. Also, it would require that certain quantities of flavorings in the electronic cigarettes would be banned. Yet this change to making it a medicinal product is not necessary, and it would burden the industry’s opportunity at offering smokers a better alternative.

In closing, these new regulations, if passed, could have quite the impact on the tobacco and electronic cigarette industries. Yet, hopefully during revision of the new laws, the directive realizes that electronic cigarettes regulation and reclassification is not necessary nor ethical.

It seems that smoking has a great stigma that is getting really serious in many countries. Many different places, not just the United States are looking to ban smoking from nearly all public places. For some, this invasion of rights can really put a strain on the habit of enjoying a cigarette wherever they might go. It’s interest to see many are trying to quit because of the ban, while others are utilizing modern technology to deal with the bans. For millions of smokers trying to smoke or just trying to smoke when there is a ban, the electronic cigarette is the answer. Yes, modern technology has found a relatively safer way to enjoy smoking and no one can be the wiser.

An electronic cigarette works much different than traditional smoking. Smoking requires the burning of tobacco in a pipe or a paper. By burning the leaf and the paper many chemicals are released and a smell is noticeable by anyone in the near by areas. As more and more research shows that smoking causes lung cancer, and second hand smoke can lead to defects, many metropolitan areas are banning cigarettes, and many are on board with the decision. However, unlike traditional smoking methods, electronic forms do not release any toxins. In fact, many will be surprised that the smoke is not actually smoke, it is water vapor, and it is odorless.

Electronic cigarettes use a small heating apparatus that is self contained, to vaporize propylene glycol into an aerosol mist that people inhale. Much like a humidifier, the small cigarette emulates the sensation, taste, and act of smoking, helping people cope with any area that frowns on the act. The emulation doesn’t end with just the feeling, many of these options have nicotine solutions that are absorbed through the mouth.

The electronic cigarette was developed by a Chinese doctor in 2003 and has really set the smoking world ablaze. Anyone that is seriously thinking about quitting smoking, or simply wants to smoke in public areas, have found the electronic device to be cost effective, full flavored, and a serious contender for the best new product in modern smoking technology. Visit the e cigarette forum for further info.

People living in Germany, France, and the UK have started to praise the technology, as governments start putting pressure on local lawmakers to ban smoking from all public areas. It just takes one test drive to realize that these modern pieces of technology are here to stay, and whether it is helping people quit smoking or simply helping people continue the habit in a much safer and less stressful environment, it is truly welcomed.

The smoking culture in Europe

May 26th, 2011

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There are changes going on in Europe as far as smoking laws. When a country bans smoking in the workplace, that effectively bans smoking in most places. Some countries have banned smoking in restaurants, businesses and pubs, and most European countries now have a ban in place for the workplace. Ireland lead the way in March 2004 with legislation that bans smoking in workplaces and, therefore, places a ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants.

Italy and Norway followed Ireland’s lead. Now countries such as Portugal, Sweden and Britain have drafted legislation to establish their own smoking bans. Interestingly, Albania has the highest rate of smokers in Europe, and in the summer of 2006, the government approved a resolution to ban smoking in public places. Austria bans smoking in public places but not in the workplace. The country of Belgium has a ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces but allows smoking in designated areas if the employer chooses to create one. As of July 2011, Belgium will ban smoking in all public places.

Bulgaria has a weak ban in place while Croatia bans smoking in hospitals except psychiatric facilities. The ban includes all enclosed public places. Cyprus has a ban as well but allows bars, cafes, and restaurant owners to decide if they want to allow it in well-ventilated businesses. Denmark has a complete ban on smoking in public transportation but has a partial ban in bars, workplaces and restaurants.

While there is a complete ban of smoking on public transportation in Denmark, they are implementing a partial ban in bars, restaurants and workplaces. Estonia, Finland and France have complete smoke-free systems in all public places. Germany has a ban on smoking in large pubs and restaurants.

Greece and Hungry have a high rate of tobacco use, and both have a weak ban on smoking in public places. Iceland and Lithuania have been smoke-free since 2007. Latvia allows smoking in bars and restaurants, but owners must have no-smoking rooms. In the case of Luxembourg, they recently passed a ban on smoking in public places, but workplaces allow employers to protect employees from passive smoke. So that legislation is somewhat vague. Malta bans smoking in enclosed premises including bars and restaurants.

The Netherlands has a complete ban that covers the workplace but exempts small bars and restaurants, and Norway and Poland have smoking banned except in workplaces that have designated smoking areas while Romania and Scotland have a ban on smoking in all workplaces. Slovakia bans smoking in workplaces that have nonsmokers while Slovenia has a total ban in all enclosed public places with exemptions for separate smoking areas.

Spain prohibits smoking in the workplace with one of the toughest anti-smoking laws in Europe. Sweden and Switzerland have most workplaces banned from smoking, but they do allow separate well-ventilated smoking options. Finally, Wales has banned smoking in most public places.