Today I abstained on the final Tobacco Products Directive vote.
My position on this Directive has always been clear: I wanted strong tobacco control measures and sensible regulation of e-cigarettes.
I was therefore not willing to vote against the Directive as it contains too many tobacco control measures which are essential to discourage people from taking up smoking, especially young people.
However, I could not vote in favour as I believe that the measures concerning e-cigarettes were just not good enough.
Tobacco control measures and e-cigarettes are two sides of the same coin – their aim is to reduce smoking. That is why Liberal Democrats have worked hard to prevent overly restrictive regulation of e-cigarettes that could reduce their availability and usefulness for ex-smokers.
Although today’s outcome isn’t everything that e-cig users wanted, we have to recognise that it is a tremendous improvement compared to the original proposals. Member States will have a difficult time in subjecting e-cigs to medicinal regulation, and the nicotine limit is five times higher than originally proposed.
Focus must now be placed on national governments to ensure that this Directive is implemented fairly and appropriately. I will now fight for sensible implementation of consumer regulation of e-cigs in the UK.