eCig Victory – but for who?

There is a sentiment being expressed via social media that the “compromise agreement” reached at the end of the EU’s TPD Trialogue process could be hailed as some sort of victory. But for who? It certainly isn’t for vapers.

The premise for this claim is that what we have isn’t quite as bad as it could have been, which saddens me as I genuinely thought that some of the people claiming this “victory” really understood what was at stake for vapers. I was clearly wrong.

Let’s take a look at some of the “highlights” of the proposals as they stand, now agreed and seemingly supported by everybody involved in trialogue except the ECR group and the truly wonderful Frederique Ries – who still refuses to accept this “compromise”. Sadly, some of her ALDE colleagues seem less inclined to fight and look destined to capitulate and vote with the compromise. The fact that they seem to be claiming credit for the appalling, shameful outcome is frankly baffling to those of us who placed our faith in them.

A reminder of what that “victory” / compromise looks like:

  • Nicotine liquid of over 20mg per ml concentration is banned.
  • Bottles of liquid of over 10ml are banned.
  • Clearomisers / tanks etc over 2ml in capacity are banned.
  • Whatever’s left will be subject to 6 month advance notification periods and a set of requirements that bear a remarkable similarity to med regs.
  • “Contributed” (ie ecig advertising supported) forums and blogs are banned.
  • Sponsored radio / TV channels (like RY4 Radio and www.vapourtrails.tv) are banned.
  • Technically – recommending ecigs to your friends is banned.

And if the above wasn’t enough, it goes on:

  • Member states are still free to classify ecigs as medicinal products anyway.
  • There’s a two year review period before the EU Health Commission could, in theory, use the “3 nation” rule to ban products without the inconvenience of a debate and vote.

As a vaper that uses large mods with higher than 20mg per ml liquid, EVERYTHING I currently use will be outlawed by the above, and I will be faced with the same choice as everyone else – back to cigarettes or the black market. The failure of compliant devices and liquids to sustain vapers will have knock on effects:

  • Vapers will return to tobacco.
  • A black market will appear
  • EU ecig industry jobs will be lost

The only people who may truly view this agreement as a victory are likely to be Tobacco and Pharma company executives. They will see the innovation and development of these ground-breaking products slowed down to pace at which they can compete and ultimately dominate, whilst maintaining the demand for smoking induced healthcare. It’s a hell of a victory for them, at the expense of smokers and vapers.

It’s difficult to find the right words to sum up the proposals as they stand whilst remaining civil, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to expect that it might not actually happen. However, we must continue to fight, make noise, take part in community actions and most of all continue to exert pressure on our MEPs and MPs. Electronic cigarettes should bever have been included in the TPD, and the only sensible way forward is to remove them from the TPD. Article 18 is a farce that if enforcable will kill thousands of people.

In the meantime, it would be helpful if certain high profile politicians were to stop trying to convince casual onlookers that there was some kind of “Victory for Vapers” this week – because there really wasn’t and its starting to grate now…..

#NOecigBAN #ShameonEU

 

December 19th, 2013 by