The European Parliament voted last week to toughen regulations on the marketing and sale of tobacco that puts the Continent ahead of the United States in discouraging smoking, particularly among children.
Tobacco companies lobbied European lawmakers heavily to dilute the new rules, and some changes made at the last minute weakened an earlier proposal. But the guidelines still represent a big improvement from current European rules.
The most controversial part of the European rules concerned electronic cigarettes, the battery-powered devices that people use to inhale nicotine vapors. These devices are safer than conventional cigarettes because they do not contain carcinogens and other toxic substances from burning tobacco. But nicotine in any form is highly addictive and can be dangerous, especially to young people. Under pressure from the makers of e-cigarettes, European lawmakers rejected a proposal to regulate those products as drug-delivery devices. But they did vote to confine their sale to adults and applied the same marketing and advertising rules to these products that apply to conventional cigarettes — a significant improvement.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE NEW YORK TIMES