Gilbert Ross writes on The Parliament Blog
By Gilbert Ross – 9th December 2013
Europe’s ‘Vapers’ must unite against the EU’s ‘unelected and unaccountable’ attempts to sabotage the use and availability of eCigarettes, warns Gilbert Ross.
Two months ago, when the European parliament took up deliberations on the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), things were looking mighty bleak for ex-smokers who had escaped cigarette enslavement via eCigarettes.
All signs pointed to a veritable ban of this new technology, based upon the EU’s deeply-ingrained, fundamentalist disdain for allowing smokers to keep using nicotine divorced from the toxic products of tobacco combustion: the smoke. Such a ban would surely have not been based on sound science.
So, have the public health agencies and health ministries globally proclaimed the Age of Gold, applauding the potential miracle of reducing the frightful toll of smoking? Quite the opposite: citing various “concerns,” ranging from hypothetical risks of vaping over the course of years or decades, to “re-normalising” smoking because of the similarity in appearance of eCigarettes and vaping to actual cigarette smoking, to the addictive danger of nicotine (especially for young people), governments and NGOs worldwide have waffled between hyper-caution and outright alarmism.
Which brings us to the current disturbing situation. The momentum to ban or severely restrict eCigarettes seemed insurmountable, but vapers throughout Europe demonstrated loudly over the past summer, and the salutary culmination – or so we thought – was a ringing veto of the eCigarette ban by MEPs on October 8.
Devotees of public health and anti-smoking groups (such as mine, The American Council on Science and Health) were beside ourselves with surprise and joy, but not so much as the vapers themselves, seeing what appeared to be victory snatched from the jaws of defeat.
Not so fast: the proponents of rendering Europe free of eCigarettes, or rendering them impotent, still held sway at the European commission and in the Council of Ministers, with whom the parliament would have to negotiate the final TPD.