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Public Health (20-05-2016)

E-cigarettes: refillable e-cigarettes could be harmful to health, concludes Commission report

Fulfilling its commitment under Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive, the Commission today adopted a report for the European Parliament and the Council on “the potential risks to public health associated with the use of refillable electronic cigarettes”. The report included input from an external study that analysed physical samples, scientific literature and data from poison centres in eight EU countries. The study also surveyed the e-cigarette industry on their perception of the risks.
The report concludes that the use of refillable electronic e-cigarettes, and the potential exposure to e-liquids containing nicotine, may pose risks to public health.

There are four main risks related to the use of refillable e-cigarettes:

  1. poisoning from ingesting e-liquids containing nicotine (especially for young children);
  2. skin reactions related to dermal contact with e-liquids containing nicotine and other skin irritants; 
  3. risks associated with home blending; and
  4. risks due to using untested combinations of e-liquid and device or hardware customisation.

The report further concludes that although the measures for refillable e-cigarettes set out in the Tobacco Products Directive and secondary legislation, combined with national regulation, provides an adequate and proportionate framework for mitigating health risks, further study of these products is needed.