The European Union has made a deal which could stop the electronic cigarettes market dead in its tracks.

Negotiations between the EU governments and the European Parliament resulted in an agreement on Tuesday (December 17) that refillable e-cigarettes could be banned across Europe if three countries decide on prohibition, it is understood.

MEPs blasted the changes made under the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, saying it was ludicrous to legislate against something that is helping smokers to quit.

Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader and self-admitted chain smoker, said: “This will lead to another ridiculous ban from the EU on the majority of e-cigarettes which are better for the health of smokers and for British manufacturers of e-cigarettes.”

Liberal Democrat MEP Rebecca Taylor said: “This is the exact opposite of what the tobacco directive is supposed to achieve. The fight is now on to show that it would not be justifiable to ban refillable cartridges on health and safety grounds.”