I've received a prompt reply from +Richard Graham on our call for support to EDM 1441. It seems that MPs don't like Early Day Motions as they are often abused. My reply follows.
Please, contact your MPs via www.writetothem.com and let them know of your fears of the harm the TPD Article 20 is likely to cause. It takes minutes but could make a massive difference. #VapeOn
I understand and sympathise with your view on this.
I don't sign EDMs on principle - there are about 17,000 of them and life is too short - but I think it would be useful for you to be in touch with our excellent Gloucestershire MEP Julie Girling so she can help us both understand what happens now in the EU process and what our Parliament can do.
So am copying Julie on this mail.
PS Twitter is not the place to answer anything much, with only 140 characters, so thank you for mailing as well as tweeting"
thank-you for your reply. It's a shame as for once it's an EDM that's not a nonsense. Julie is someone who has previously engaged on the subject without resorting to the copy/paste tactic taken by some.
I find it incredibly disheartening that the UK has so far led on Tobacco Harm Reduction, yet we receive little to no public political support apart from the occasional soundbite. This is a health issue with a fix that could save the UK health services literally billions of pounds.
What can we do? So far. as a community, we've pursued the evidence, worked with the APPG, legitimate public health organisations (Public Health England, Cancer Research UK, RCP, UKCTAS, NCSCT, Care Commissioning Services and local Stop Smoking services), rallied, petitioned, written, spoken.... Yet we're still facing a directive that puts a non-tobacco product into anti-tobacco legislation. We need support
A month ago I attended (as a volunteer, at my own cost) the training given by Public Health England, UKCTAS, ASH England and the NCSCT to SW region directors of Public Health, Tobacco Controllers, Care Commissioners and Stop Smoking leads. There, as I have over the last few years, I offered my view as an ex smoker & vaper, insight into what the equipment is etc. I listened to the evidence update, of how the "95% safer" figure is worst case and it's more realistically much closer to 99%, of how the commonly believed toxicity level for nicotine is not only wrong by a factor of 20+ but has actually been proven to be fictional (as was the person the level was attributed to)!
That nicotine level is of course the one that the 10ml EU limit on eliquid bottle size was based on, as was the 20mg/ml concentration limit. Despite the level having been roundly dis-proven both theoretically and practically the EU is entrenched in a misguided battle with vaping as a replacement for the tobacco that it has been successfully displacing. That misguided behaviour has more than one cause, not least a lack of understanding.
This week the European Court of Justice rejected a challenge to Article 20 brought on points of Law and Constitution. However the dismissal was not based on those same points and instead followed rhetoric and the same bad evidence and misguided belief, in the same week that the Royal College of Physicians published their evidence review stating that the TPD Article 20 had many features that would prove counter to the public health and act to break vaping as a disruptive technology. Intended or not the ultimate action of the TPD is to hand the ecig/vaping market over to the Tobacco and Pharmaceutical industries, whilst gaining no meaningful improvements in safety or efficacy.
This does not bode well given the EU Ombudsman's findings on illicit meetings between the EU and Tobacco companies in breach of its UN Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) responsibilities. Responsibilities that, as a signatory, the EU has further ignored by re-instating Tobacco growing subsidies.
I'm not in any way anti-European or anti-EU, but I am against the way that the EU has been behaving. I do not view this as a "single issue vote" scenario, rather we cannot trust the EU if it behaves in this way and refuses to listen to its populace or evidence, follow its own rules & international law and by its actions places its constituents at risk of harm. It will leave the UK vaping community with no option but to vote leave.
We would be grateful therefore if you could consider what options or actions we can take next, what UK MPs and government can do.