The last few months have been some of the most fraught and frustrating for electronic cigarette users throughout the World due to the seemingly incessant stream of laws, restrictions and regulations being proposed by various authorities as well as the varied dubious scientific studies that have been fed into the media.
These proposals and ‘revelations’ have led to electronic cigarettes existing as something of a threatened species in recent times, alienated and endangered by those who had not yet witnessed first-hand their huge potential.
This makes the recent decision of the European Parliament not to regulate e cigs as medicinal products in the Tobacco Product Directive even more significant. Having initially passed the proposal earlier this year, MEPs were the target of widespread lobbying by the electronic cigarette community. Initiatives and schemes have been organised by individual vapers, e cig suppliers and sympathisers in an attempt to educate MEPs of the negative effects that regulating electronic cigarettes as medicinal products would have.
Had this move come to pass, the electronic cigarette industry may have effectively died – restricting millions of people’s right to vape.
One of the most prominent initiatives was Totally Wicked’s ‘A Call to Action’. This strong campaign included interviews with North West MEP Chris Davies and an open letter to all of the representatives of the European Parliament complete with the signatures of the company’s widespread vaping fanbase and other e cig aficionados.
The revised regulations placed upon electronic cigarettes mirror perfectly the conditions that these schemes and vaping groups were hoping for. This new approach demonstrates a far greater amount of common sense, prioritising more important subject matter and eschewing the counter-productive regulations of the initial Tobacco Product Directive draft.
These new regulations will make it illegal for retails to sell electronic cigarette products to people under the age of 18 and will ensure that all manufacturers and retailers list e cig product ingredients to the relevant authorities. These two policies both fall perfectly in-line with the demands of the general vaping public who lobbied and petitioned so vehemently.
The vote in Brussels this week and the one earlier in the year both played host to a large number of protestors concerned about the potentially damaging restrictions that were proposed to be placed upon electronic cigarettes. The vaping community roused themselves and took the fight to the bureaucrats in Brussels who ultimately had no choice but to consider their demands.
The intelligent and measured approach by the vaping community ensured that their response was careful, tactile and subsequently successful. Rather than demanding Heaven and Earth, the realistic and beneficial demands of Europe’s vapers ensured that their pleas were considered when the voting proceeded.
Electronic cigarette’s successes during the recent Tobacco Product Directive vote were further emphasised by even tighter laws being placed on traditional tobacco products. A ban has been placed on menthol cigarettes throughout the EU and on packets of less than 20 cigarettes. Perhaps if the tobacco industry had their own version of Save E Cigs to galvanise smokers – then these regulations may have been successfully countered too.
Now however is not the time for vapers of the e cig community to rest on their laurels, kick their feet up and top up their Double Mint e liquid. There are still battles to be won and counter-productive arguments to respond to. The widely confused approach to electronic cigarettes from authorities will ensure that the electronic cigarette community still has a lot more educating to do, but this victory provides a great foundation for future endeavours.
The result of this vaping action will hopefully inspire vapers from around their World to fight for their right to vape and that victory can be sought by simply educating groups about e cigs, what they contain, their long-term ramifications and the lives that they have changed.Chris Balme
About Chris Balme
Hi, I’ll be contributing to Spinfuel on a semi-regular basis. Using my contacts within Electronic Cigarette Campaign Groups such as Save E Cigs and E Cigarette Companies, I will bring you in-depth looks the latest issues surrounding the vaping world. My articles will also contain ways in which you can help the wider vaping community.