In a piece in the Newcastle Journal, Jonathan Arnott, Ukip MEP for the North East says that “If we get the decision on e-cigarettes wrong it could cost many lives.” Which is very true. I have only one issue with this statement. The fact is that The EU and the TPD have already got the decision on e-cigarettes wrong.
Back in May last year, vapers and our allies were banging on about the TPD and the harm it would do to vaping and Tobacco Harm Reduction. We were told that we were spouting nonsense. We were accused of being shills, astroturf, fake advocates paid to spout an opinion. We were shouted down and article 20 of the TPD was passed into EU law to be acted on by member states by 2016. A lot of us are still incredibly angry about this. We weren’t listened to. The process appeared to be suspect. Doors had been shut in our faces and a horrendous outcome was the result. Many of us became disheartened. A few of us stuck a single finger up at the sheer idiocy of the decision made and began to stockpile supplies against TPD-Day. I wrote heartfelt blogs on how this would affect us. In general it felt as if no one was listening.
Now we can see how the TPD is being implemented in places like Denmark. [Editing here to give you a link to the facts there.] I’m horrified to tell you that it’s worse than even I could see. The way it’s being implemented really is a defacto ban on absolutely everything we vapers currently use. And yet there seems to be little that ordinary vapers can do about it. Our personal stories are dismissed as anecdotes. Our MPs pat us on the head with canned responses about how the ‘forthcoming regulation will improve the situation’. The press scaremongers over every last little imagined danger with blazing headlines, and the grassroots of vaping activists are still being dismissed as shills and trolls. We watch as our harm reduction products are vilified and banned.
If any of them tell me that I’m producing their ‘scream test’ reaction here I am actually liable to lose my temper. I’m talking about the ability of tobacco harm reduction to save lives. Snus was banned so long ago that I have never even had the chance to try it. That might have let me switch away from lit tobacco years ago. Now the actual fallout of the TPD is that e-cigarettes look set to go the same way. Can you not understand why I’m starting to sound desperate; my pleas are falling on deaf ears. Why? Because the Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealots have an abstinence only program which will not allow me to make the best choice for me. My best choice is to continue using nicotine in a way that reduces the potential for harm. My worst choice is to try and stop nicotine use altogether; my quality of life goes down the toilet.
All of us involved in tobacco control need to keep that prize in mind as we redouble efforts to make up for 50 years of ignoring the simple truth that smoking kills — and nicotine does not.
The TPD, as it stands, will signal the end of the e-cigarette in the UK and Europe. Everyone involved in tobacco control needs to stand up and fight with us now to ensure that this doesn’t happen. We need to work together to see that sensible and proportional legislation is put in place which works to support harm reduction, not eliminate it.
Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.
Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.