Press releas from IG-ED to the new proposal of the Commission
A recently leaked EU commission document of unverified origin shows that the EU commission plans to curb the democratic right to free speech in a coup de main at the next trialogue meetings between 3rd and 16th December.
What is it about?
Over the last 2 years, the EU has been working on a revision of the tobacco products directive (TPD2). At the recommendation of the WHO framework of the tobacco control (FCTC) they now also want to regulate the e-cigarette within the tobacco directive; in order to bring the consumption under the same regulations control mechanisms which previously already have been applied to the consumption of tobacco and to forbid them step by step.
Thus, a non-tobacco containing product, which hasn’t been approved as a medical product, shall be treated in a tobacco directive more restrictively than the tobacco product itself – though it doesn’t even contain any tobacco.
However, this contradiction doesn’t bar the EU Commission from sticking to their plans. The e-cigarette is a new product, widely unknown to the Members of European Parliament, and before it can even develop any noteworthy market potential, one strives to rather prohibit them on the quiet with the help of deceptive media campaigns and debatable statements of “experts”, the latter often being merely self-appointed.
What they didn’t envisage though were well-informed, partly scientifically experienced, and convinced users of the e-cigarette (generally known as vapers), who had a first-hand experience of the positive effects of the switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes. They couldn’t put anything over on them; moreover those users ensured popularity, technical progress, scientific researches and finally initialized a transboundary consumer initiative against the prohibition efforts.
As a consequence, the European Parliament contradicts the plans of the EU-Commission and leaves the e-cigarette within the tobacco directive TPD2 – wrongly so, and contrary to the distinct advice of JURI, the European Legal Committee – as a non-tobacco product, however also decides for a moderate regulation which the vapers could have accepted for the time being, even though gnashing their teeth.
As the Parliament has to find an agreement with both the European Commission and the Council, the Commission engineers a new scheme: in a very predictive paragraph, the citizen shall be deterred in the future to gather their own information, to build pan-European information channels or even, to use existing ones. Under the cloak of the ban on advertising, the Commission claims brazenly to remove the right to free information as well as the freedom of speech!
In the new claims regarding the TPD2 and hidden within the ban on advertising there is a passage which reads:
“d) any form of public or private contribution to radio programmes with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes is prohibited;
e) any form of public or private contribution to any event, activity or individual with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting electronic cigarettes and involving or taking place in several Member States or otherwise having cross-border effects is prohibited;”
This means nothing else but a factual ban of e-cigarette forums, blogs, facebook groups, youtube channels, as well as consumers’ associations and interest groups related to the e-cigarette!
The Vaping Community is well linked-up Europe-wide, they help each other with technical problems, invent novelties, discard useless junk, and above all agitate politically against the regulation frenzy of the EU as in the above-mentioned consumers’ campaign.
Interest groups and consumers’ associations like the IG-ED e.V. in Germany (http://www.ig-ed.org/) are organized by languages and not by national borders, and subsequently would then be forbidden to ever speak out in any media at all.
This is a clear violation of the fundamental democratic right of freedom of expression!
Possibly, this would never have been known to the public, if the EU-Commission had not tried to sell its further claims as a compromise. The truth however, is that they are trying to defend the sinecures of the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries against the e-cigarette: they lay down rules which exclude any of the existing and well-working products and therefore destroy everything which adversely affects their own concepts. “By cheer chance” by these rules only completely outdated and disputable products of the tobacco industry would get a chance, an industy which currently has begun to edge into the booming market. Noticeably, the pharmaceutical industry seems to be reserved and probably will not enter the market until it can feel safe enough to do so.
- Ban of refillable atomizers and of liquid refills
The technical development and progress has gained momentum by leaps and bounds in the past few years. From the initial cartridge technology, vapers have long moved on to sophisticated and well-performing tank atomizer systems. In these however, the tobacco companies have only little interest; afer all you can reutilize them nearly without limit, and therefore then own a permanently enduring product – which is not desirable as seen from the perspective of competition and profiteering. The pharmaceutical industry, on the other hand, knows how to fill little cartidges a million times. They only have to know what extactly they will be allowed to fill them with.
- Ban of nearly all flavours which aren’t also used in NRTs
Without any scientific reasoning and therefore, meaningless. Mostly the argument is urged that tasty liquids beguile kids to vaping and subsequently, smoking. Several studies have already conclusively falsified this assumption.
- Limitation of nicotine concentration in liquids at 20 mg/ml
Not backed up by science. On the contrary, studies show that sometimes even higher concentrations of nicotine might be recommendable for the switch from tobacco to vapor. The boundary value suggested by the EU Commission has been set merely gratuitiously and lacks any scientific basis.
- Limitation of nicotine volume in liquids at 10 mg/ml per packaging unit
The only purpose of this rule would be to enable a complete ban of everything but the (completely outdated) cartridge systems of the tobacco industry.
- Ban of cross-border trading as well as internet trade
Obviously the Commission is eager to regress the EU back in to the 1960s.
- Steady output of nicotine
Why should a harm-reduced product be able to do something which the really harmful product can’t do either? For the time being, there is no semi-luxury product available which would fulfill the requirement of a steady output of the effective agent, something that is typical and normal for pharmaceuticals only. So then, why should this be any different in the distinctly harmreduced alternative to cigarettes?
Here, the EU Commission is doing blatantly and tastelessly the very thing that Commissioner Tonio Borg falsely accused some EU-MEPs of: lobbying for the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries.
Regardless of any health consequences the Commission is trying to destroy a useful product in order to codify the tobacco industry monopoly on nicotine as well as to continuously guarantee the pharmaceutical industry their safe revenues which they generate with almost ineffective nicotine substitutes. Scientific findings pro e-vaping are constantly being ignored and maliciously negated.
Critical and informed users and citizens would be gagged in the future and quite obviously be deprived of their basic civil rights. In general, the freedom of speech is being limited in this way only by political systems that previously had appeared to be extinct in European culture. But the European Commission manages to turn democracies gradually and insidiously into a European dictatorship ("Eurokratur").
© IG-ED e.V. December 1st, 2013 --- free for publishing in your country; we would be grateful for indication of source