Just in time before the possible next trialogue meeting on December 3rd, 2013 IG-ED is sending out a mail to all Members of the European Parliament.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The IG-ED e.V. is the first consumer’s organisation of German speaking e-vapers (that’s how the users of e-cigarettes call themselves). We work voluntarily and independently of producers and dealers, and our goal is to inform about the e-cigarette as well as to correct the manifoldly circulated misunderstandings and faulted information. We would like to point out that we don’t represent any commercial interests – our activities are solely based on membership fees, donations and many personal contributions of our members.
Possibly you remember other letters from us with respect to this subject and also our presence at the workshop of May 7th, 2013 in the European Parliament.
Surely, you are aware of the existence of a non-official (leaked) document by the Commission, which obviously will serve as their negotiation basis at the trialogue on December 3rd.
Essentially, in this paper they are claiming the following regulations:
- Ban of all refillable liquids
- Ban of repairable atomizers
- Ban of nearly all flavours
- Limitation of nicotine concentration by 20 mg/ml
- Restriction of nicotine content per packing unit at 10 mg
- Ban of cross-border trade
- Steady nicotine output
- Ban of positive references in the media and the web
All these points fundamentally contradict the draft amendment which the European Parliament approved. We, the consumers, are indignant towards the open willingness of the Council and the Commission to completely ignore the democratic process and obviously, to reach their own agreement. It is conspicuous that the Commission’s draft comes just in time when the tobacco industry announces their comprehensive entrance into the e-cigarette business and wondrously, is able to satisfy most of the above mentioned parameters off the cuff. This is something the budding small and medium-sized European businesses will not be able to do successfully! Having said that, the noticeable constraint by the pharmaceutical industry seems irritating, but then, as a complacent tool of the WHO, they surely know when it is safe for them to enter the business unharmedly.
In the course of discussion, we very often heard the point that the youth must be protected from getting started with e-cigarettes. The tobacco industry however, will predominantly push “cig-alikes” onto the market which are disproportionately more attractive to the youth due to their low prices and their likeness to real cigarettes than the presently widespread big vaping devices! And we don’t even want to elaborate on the increase of mountains of garbage which must be expected from these products!
According to the German traders organisation for electronic cigarettes, VdeH, the present market share of “cig-alikes” is a mere 7%. If the Commission however succeeds with their envisioned plan, it will open all doors to well-financed large-scale concerns into a profitable market. We as consumers are very critical of this point, not least, because among us, there are numerous people who, over the years have been badly affected by the business practices of the tobacco industry.
Apart from the raised level of nicotine, the Commission’s proposal is essentially the same as it was in the beginning of the TPD2 proceedings. This is completely unacceptable to us, the consumers. Most vapers succeed in switching to the e-cigarette because of the big variety in tastes and hardware, and because of the freely selectable level of nicotine. Meanwhile it’s also a well-established fact that the consumption of nicotine using atomizers is many times less harmful than the consumption of tobacco. It’s not for nothing that 100 French physicians unanimously campaign for the e-cigarette!
A non-tobacco product which is not registered as a medicine should now be more strictly regulated within a tobacco directive than the tobacco itself? Please don’t laugh, but just for a moment imagine the following: Smokers and the tobacco industry will be forbidden to get/produce cigars, cigarillos, pipes, snuff, chewing tobacco and tobacco for rolling cigarettes – only a uniform filter cigarette would be allowed into the market. A storm of indignation by sensualists as well as the lobby would descend upon Brussels; and it would be followed by first queries of coffee and wine drinkers, from when on they also must be prepared for a regulation of their favourite semiluxury product. In addition, the Commission seems to be willing to relocate Europe back into the times before even the EEC was founded, by restricting the trade of e-cigarettes to domestic traffic only!
As a matter of fact, if the Commission succeeded in their endeavour as planned, numerous lawsuits by organisations as well as private persons will be filed at the European Court of Justice, and we as a consumer's organisation will join such a lawsuit. Right before that can happen, the internationally working, cross-linked vapers community is planned to be muzzled –hidden in a ban of positive information about e-cigarettes- and this shows a political ignorance of the digital era which can hardly be topped by anything!
We appeal to you, the members of the European Parliament:
Respect the wishes of the consumers, your voters, the people who you represent in Brussels!
If you did vote for a more liberal handling of the e-cigarette, you were right to do so, as the e-cigarette has the potential to enable millions of smokers to opt out from the consumption of tobacco – but NOT with a disposable article from the tobacco industry which will be constructed in a way that after several failed switchovers smokers will come to the conclusion that they’d rather stick to their tobacco cigarettes!
Maintain the dialogue with consumers, and help us to establish a separate directive for the e-cigarette in the mid-term.
Make use of our expertise in order to provide Europe in a liberal way with a product which has the potential to curb the consumption of tobacco within a rather short time!
For any queries we will be gladly available at any time.
We would like to make you aware that we will make this letter available to the public.