A group of vapers has written an open letter to the chairman of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, Matthias Groote, calling for a rethink on the European Commission’s proposal for regulating electronic cigarettes.
The committee is due to vote tomorrow on the totality of the commission’s proposals for revising the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which include the electronic cigarette proposal.
The group says that for 5 million to 7 million people within the EU, electronic cigarettes have and continue to provide a viable alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
And it asked Groote and his committee to imagine how many lives could be saved if electronic cigarettes were allowed to continue to flourish.
However, the group expressed concern that what it called this positive story was about to come to an abrupt halt because of the commission’s proposals to amend the TPD. Under these proposals, electronic cigarettes could be placed on the market only if they were authorized pursuant to the Medicinal Products Directive. “By regulating e-cigarettes as a medicinal product, and by banning flavours, the Commission and its supporters in Parliament and Council are effectively banning e-cigarettes, as the Parliament’s own Legal Affairs Committee has made clear,” it said.
The group made the point that whereas electronic cigarettes were safe, tobacco cigarettes killed 700,000 people in the EU each year and neither the commission nor Parliament were proposing to ban them.
“The key health benefit of e-cigarettes is determined by how many smokers switch to them or use them as a staging post to quitting completely,” the group said in its letter. “It is therefore vital that e-cigarettes continue to be regulated as a consumer product. Many of us have tried numerous times to quit smoking using conventional nicotine replacement therapies and have failed; however, with e-cigarettes we have all cut down our smoking or stopped completely. Without anyone in the professional public health field doing anything and without spending any public money, smokers like us have been quitting, switching and cutting down through the use of e-cigarettes. This is something that should be celebrated, not a cause for concern.”
The group posed the following question to the committee: “Why would the EU want to intervene to prevent or obstruct a smoker having access to products that could potentially save his or her life?”
And it followed up that question with another: “Do MEPs really want to protect an industry that kills 700,000 people at the expense of a market-based, consumer-led public health revolution that has the potential to save millions of lives?”
The group urged the committee to reject the electronic cigarettes proposal.
“We believe it is poorly thought through, contains an arbitrary and pointless threshold, takes an easy shortcut by applying medicines regulation rather than designing appropriate regulation, and has been prepared without proper consultation of the industry and users like us,” the group said. “Members of your committee should insist that the Commission starts again and does a thorough job, looking properly at all the regulatory options and only once it has done the necessary work, bring forward proposals.
“In the meantime, Member States should enforce the existing legislation properly and report on what they are doing.
“For the sake of 7 million e-cigarette users and the millions of potential e-cigarette users, we urge you to do the right thing.”
The letter can be read in full at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/152389430/Open-Letter-From-Electronic-Cigarette-Users-From-Across-the-European-Union.