In all countries where data is available, cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths. In the EU25, at least 1,000 people, including children and older people, are estimated to be killed each year. This estimate is conservative, and do not take account of the economic costs of fires. In the US, property losses from smoking material fires total hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Innocent lives, injuries and destruction of property could be prevented through the introduction of a fire safety standard for cigarettes cigarettes would extinguish themselves in most cases when not puffed. These cigarettes are commonly called RIP Cigarettes (Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarettes).

Despite conclusive evidence from New York State which introduced legislation in 2004 that lives have been saved, the tobacco industry is currently arguing against RIP cigarettes because of concerns that they would be sued if fires occurred. This, in the light of the fact that they had the technology for producing “RIP” cigarettes more than 20 years ago.

As more and more governments are pushing the European Union to introduce new standards, enforcing RIP cigarettes across the EU, the European RIP Alliance wants to hasten the trend.

Across Europe, many organisations have already expressed an interest in participating in a European campaign to regulate list of these organisations is growing every day.

“Last year, the Swedish Minister of Health, Morgan Johansson said that in five years’ time, a majority of EU countries would have smoke free laws. We hope it can happen even sooner,” says Fiona Godfrey, EU Policy Advisor, European Respiratory Society speaking on behalf of the Smoke Free Partnership.

Indeed, In view of the fact that it is technologically and economically feasible for cigarettes to meet fire safety standards, tobacco manufacturers should be required to produce and market only reduced ignition propensity cigarettes in the EU. Tobacco manufacturers should use the same standard as in New York and Canada (ASTM International) E2187 02b.

To join the European RIP Alliance

If you are interested in joining the European RIP Alliance, please contact

Florence Berteletti Kemp,

EPHA Vice President & Advocacy Officer, Smoke Free Partnership, ERS Brussels Office,

39/41 Rue d’Arlon, 1000 Brussels

E mail
Tel 32 2 238 53 63
Fax 32 2 238 53 61
Regulation of electronic cigarettes at the european level

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According to survey of over 20 000 Polish students, one fifth of them have tried e cigarettes. No one questions that electronic cigarettes have become more attractive recently to compare with nicotine replacement therapies. They are available to purchase in various retail channels and over the Internet. Consumers considered them as attractive substitute of normal cigarettes and start using them in social situation. However, the market for e cigarettes appears the next field where the interest of industry and the European Institutions are confronted.

How do electronic cigarettes work?

Electronic cigarettes are customized to needs of people who do not want smoke tobacco but cannot or do not want overcome their nicotine addiction. They do not contain tobacco and there is no combustion, and as a consequence there is no smoke and odour. Consumers inhale a vapour that usually consists of propylene glycol, nicotine and flavourings. Therefore, the users prefer to describe themselves as a vaper than smokers .

Although the market for electronic cigarettes is growing rapidly, there are not sufficient data concerning their safety. Only within the European Union the value of electronic cigarettes market is estimated at 400 500 million euros. However, the European Commission warns consumers against dishonest producers. It appears that many electronic cigarettes included traces of nicotine despite that some of them are labelled as nicotine free . Moreover, ingredients of the liquid are not often published and they are not controlled in terms of safety and quality.

Regulation of electronic cigarettes in the European Union

There is no common regulation concerning electronic cigarettes within the European Union so far. The particular Members States take different approaches to the issue. Greece and Lithuania chose the way of complete prohibition of these products due to lack of sufficient evidence of safety. Malta regulates electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, whereas other fourteen Members States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden) consider them as medicinal products. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom have no specific rules in this matter and treat electronic cigarettes as consumer products. Poland is the only one country in Europe that bans advertising for electronic cigarettes. The European Commission s proposals submitted to the European Parliament and Council aimed at revision of Tobacco Products Directive and classified electronic cigarettes as medicinal products. However, the electronic cigarettes industry claims that these products should be regulated as consumer products because they are neither tobacco nor medicinal products. Moreover, such regulation enables producers to attract consumers through appropriate design, labeling and advertising campaign. At this moment, Commission s proposal is discussed within the EP s Environment Committee.

Main References

Gregor Erbach, Library Briefing, Library of the European Parliament 27/03/2013