The European Commission released its report on May 20 on the application of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The vaping community has been anxiously expecting this report for a while, as it sets the tone for the TPD revision expected within the next year. The report is vague when it comes to e-cigarettes, and bases a lot of its assumptions and recommendations on the very poor, widely criticised SCHEER report.
Fundamentally, SCHEER has been proven to be based on weak evidence at best (read our take on it here – and if you don’t believe us, here’s Clive Bates with a detailed take down). Using unsubstantiated claims, weak evidence and cherry-picked studies, the report is not helping to reach a logical conclusion or a science-based approach to regulating vaping.
But why you may be asking is this application report important to vapers when it’s about rules on tobacco products? This is because the EU has yet to differentiate e-cigarettes from conventional cigarettes. Unfortunately, the discussions on any future rules on vaping will be tangled up with discussions on tobacco products. This application report gives us a first glimpse at what direction the EU is planning to go on e-cigarettes. What is worrying is that it seems to hugely criticise flavours and the potential of vaping for smoking cessation. Even more worryingly, the conversation seems to indicate that the EU has not decided if e-cigarettes are a consumer product or a medical one.
In an act of blatant arrogance, in this same report, the Commission is singing its own praises. Their report shamelessly states that the reason for reduced smoking rates in Europe rests fully with the Tobacco Products Directive. It ignores the millions who have switched from smoking to vaping, ignores science and facts and our voices. They believe their agenda of tax hikes and plain packaging was successful all by itself, and forget the incredible influence less harmful alternatives like vaping have had over declining smoking rates in Europe.
But, thankfully, the Commission cannot act alone to make this reality. Elected officials in the European Parliament and national governments will scrutinize this report, together with other relevant information they receive.
So, it’s up to us, vapers, and pro-vaping advocates to make them understand that taking a prohibitionist approach to vaping, opening the door to bans, increasing prices is a path to damnation and will force many millions of European vapers back to smoking.
Click here to write to your MEP and tell them that vaping saves lives!