Today MEPs had the opportunity to vote to take Article 18 out of the TPD without jeopardising the passage of the wider Directive. This would have been the right thing to do. It would have been in keeping with the publicly expressed views of scientists and public health experts. It was what the overwhelming majority of responsible e-cigarette manufacturers were calling for, and most importantly of all it is what the EU’s 12 million vapers have been calling for for nearly a year.
However, when it came to the vote, MEPs voted by a whopping 478 votes to 130 votes in favour of Article 18 remaining in the TPD! To the 130 MEPs, which included regular Save E-cigs blog contributors, Martin Callanan MEP, Nikki Sinclair MEP, and Rebecca Taylor MEP, who did the right thing, we simply say a huge thank you, not just for today, but for all your support over the last year or more. To those 478 MEPs who vote for the retention of Article 18 as part of the TPD, we simply ask why?
Why would any right-minded politician vote for Article 18 when it is so flawed?
- It is based on a misrepresentation of scientific evidence,
- It subjects e-cigarettes to a stricter regulatory regime than tobacco cigarettes,
- It bans e-liquid bottles exceeding 10ml in volume,
- It bans tanks exceeding 2ml in volume,
- It forces manufacturers to wait six months before putting new products on the market,
- It poses restrictions on cross-border sales,
- It bans all promotion of e-cigarettes, and
- It bans e-cigarettes and e-liquids with nicotine concentrations above 20mg/ml.
The last point is perhaps the most important as independent research published this week by the respected economic consultancy, London Economics, demonstrated that the TPD’s ban on higher strength e-cigarettes, used by 2.5 million Europeans, will increase tobacco smoking by 9.6 million cigarettes a day and result in the deaths of an extra 105,000 people every year.
Where do we go from here?
As a campaign representing vapers, their friends, and their families, we will not give up. We have a number of very exciting plans which we will be updating you about very soon.
For now, we will publish the full list of the 130 MEPs who voted to have Article 18 removed from the TPD and the full list of the 478 MEPs who voted to keep it in; vapers can then use it as a resource when deciding how to vote in the European Elections later this year.