It's from Julie Girling MEP and it's clear that she's not best pleased with the TPD Article 20, more in line with the view expressed yesterday by +David Cameron at PMQs.
Dear Mr Summers,
Thank you very much for your message regarding the Tobacco Products Directive.
As a member of the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee, this was an issue that I followed very closely when it was going through Parliament in 2013 as part of the Tobacco Products Directive and thus is a matter I appreciate you raising with me.
At that stage, I was disappointed that the European Parliament regulated electronic cigarettes so heavily because I see them as a useful means for smokers to reduce their consumption of cigarettes. MEPs voted to introduce 14 pages of new red tape on e-cigarettes (which deliver nicotine using vapour and avoid many of the harmful side effects of smoking such as tar, smoke and carbon monoxide). The new rules banned 'refillable' e-cigs (which comprise a large component of the e-cigs market), if only three EU countries were to ban them. It also restricted all but the weaker e-cigarettes (20 mg/ml nicotine), which would risk cigarette users going back to cigarettes in order to achieve the same nicotine 'hit'. This does not satisfy the need to ensure that these beneficial products are accessible to user. Instead this proposal limits the usability, convenience and attractiveness of a product which has the potential to help public health. Unfortunately Parliament voted for this with 478 in favour, 130 against and 26 abstentions.
The UK Conservatives fought a long campaign for e-cigarettes to be regulated in a manner proportionate to the evidence that exists on them. In October 2013, when the matter first came to a vote in the Parliament, we fought off efforts to force e-cigs to undergo a medicinal authorisation procedure that would have placed many small manufacturers under threat.
However, despite the vote of the Parliament in favour of e-cigarettes, the Commission and a few MEPs took it upon themselves to add a whole new article to the Directive during the late night closed-doors negotiations between the Parliament and National Governments seeking the agreement necessary to pass the proposals into law.It's heartening to see an MEP who has actually looked into the issues and actually understands them. I'm going to reply shortly, and ask if there's anything else we can do to help.
I personally received thousands of emails and letters from users who argued that the products had enabled them to move off tobacco and as such, I was compelled to vote against this draconian deal.
I recognise that we have to find ways to help people quit smoking and to stop young people from starting. I feel that e-cigarettes are a useful and practical solution to many people across the EU. It is my concern that, rather than discouraging younger people from taking up smoking, last year's result could also have the perverse effect of pushing people who have moved from real cigarettes to electronic cigarettes back to the more harmful option.
Currently the Commission is in the process of completing the report on e-cigarettes and the implementing act regarding the specific technical requirements with respect to the refill mechanism, the reporting format and the packing design. I eagerly anticipate the release of these in 2016 and look forward to seeing the Commission's conclusions.
MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar
Environment, Public Health & Food Safety
Agriculture and Rural Development
Women's Rights & Gender Equality
Please, take the opportunity to write to you MP, MEPs, AM or even local member of the House of Lords. We need as much awareness and understanding as we can get to have this travesty reversed.
#Vapesafe and #Vapeon