What else do we have to do?

The Welsh Health and Social Care Committee gave their report on the new Welsh Bill that will ban vaping in public and enclosed public spaces last week.

We were expecting a yes/no response – yes we agree or no we don’t, i.e. throw the vaping ban out.

What we didn’t expect was a no consensus answer, a ‘no direction’ answer. This means that the Assembly Members are gong to have to work it out for themselves; what they know about e-cigs, what they believe and want to do re banning vaping in public places.

Reading the report for the second time, I had a realisation as to why there was no consensus.

And I’m not 100% convinced it is because of party politics, though I am sure this has played a large part.

Could it be that many of the AMs are simply scared of making the wrong decision?

Reading the first part on e-cigarettes, there were three ‘bodies’ for the ban, 7 against it.

How did the minority that had no evidence have more of an effect than those with evidence?

Could it be that those tasked with regulating are scared of saying yes to e-cigs because of the tobacco industry and the history there? Because of the way that Tobacco Control has so successfully manipulated all our thinking around smoking?

Smokers are portrayed as bad, smelly, lazy, good for nothing people – (sorry Einstein and Churchill). The Tobacco Industry is portrayed as evil, they want to kill you for money and they lie and cheat. Nicotine is supposedly as addictive as heroine and the children are going to become hooked.

Have we all been so brow beaten in to believing this that anything that looks like smoking is evil, that even a product that is at most conservative guess is 95% safer than smoking, but looks a little like it, should be banned because people are scared of history repeating itself?

Only a few regulators will take that risk.

It doesn’t matter that expert witnesses sat in front of the committee, expert witnesses that have spent their entire careers studying tobacco control and who told the committee that banning e-cigarettes in public was a bad idea. The committee couldn’t come to a consensus, couldn’t agree, and as such could not put forward any recommendations.

This is troubling, because we now have regulations that could come into force because of a ‘possibility’. A possibility of harms, not any actual proof, and nor is the credible researching even hinting at this.

What we have is a possibility that at some time in the future there may be harms.

But how long into the future are we looking? The majority of vapers have been smoking for decades, how will we know if any of the harms are due to smoking or vaping or both? Vaping will, if this ban goes through along with the TPD be nothing more than another NRT, one that will no doubt have the same dismal success rates after all the innovation has been regulated out of it.

Non smokers are not interested in vaping, this has been shown again and again, both here and in the USA – but this is still a fear – a ‘potential disbenfit’ that vaping renormalizes smoking. Public Health in Wales believes that it will, in their minds it looks like smoking, so it will encourage smoking. Again the experts outnumbered the generalists, but the fear got in the way of the AMs – it could ‘potentially’ happen.

What of the gateway theory that should have been put to bed a long time ago? Again we have the experts against the generalists – the generalist; all 2 of them plus the Minister based their reasoning on poor, debunked science. The experts, all 4 of them, stated they are not a gateway.

The HSC Committee’s response to this? “ The Committee acknowledges that limited evidence is available about whether the use of e-cigarettes is acting as a gateway to smoking tobacco products. Nevertheless, it is concerned to learn of examples of e-cigarette marketing being targeted at children and young people.”

I could continue, but the rest of the report is in the same vein; the committee acknowledge the lack of evidence to back up the Ministers claims but they remained concerned or want more monitoring.

How is it that the experts have not managed to convince them?

Why is it that to us, the benefits are as clear as the noses on our faces?

Somehow we have ended up dealing with ideology, one that has a Health Minister when responding to the claim that if vaping is lumped in with smoking, then vapers will be put in harms way said, “people are making choices here, and nobody is forced to use an e- cigarette or a conventional cigarette or to stand next to anybody else who is using either”.

You can’t fight that mind-set with facts, or research, because it’s not based on either. It’s based on an emotion, a belief; a belief that smoking is horrible and you shouldn’t do it. It doesn’t matter if that ‘smoking’ is 95% less harmful – you still shouldn’t do it.

And the committee is seems are basing their responses on emotions too, because despite robust positive evidence, given by experts, they remain concerned.

5 AM’s supported the proposed ban, 5 would amend the proposed ban, 4 oppose it. Looking at the numbers there is still a chance that the ban may be defeated and I guess this is a hope we must cling to.

Meanwhile you can still do your bit. You all have your own story, and now would be a great time to tell it. Tell your AM how many you smoked and for how long, tell them how many times you tried and failed to quit using SSS or NRT, but finally vaping helped you.

Make it clear that for you it is a choice between vaping and smoking as everything else has failed, and when you look at it that way; vaping is clearly the better option.

 

 

Our sector needs tidying up; it does not need destroying

Fraser Cropper, CEO of Totally Wicked explains why TW is taking the EU to court.

Join us in saying NO

The electronic cigarette, personal vapouriser, call them what you will, is in my humble opinion a product group that has the potential to be a global catalyser of positive change that is deserving of Nobel appreciation.

However, we may never see its true potential due to the campaign of misinformation and craven capitulative regulation that is attempting to cripple the nascent begins of the vaping phenomenon. The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), in its attempt to regulate these products under the auspice of existing tobacco product regulation, is one of the most ill-judged, morally questionable and divisive pieces of legislation that the EU has the arrogance to commit to law.

It is wrong on so many counts that one has to judge its framing on a level beyond sheer incompetence. It will have the potential to destroy what has been created in the past 6 years.

There is no reputable academic evidence that suggests these products are delivering a risk to health that requires such punitive regulation, nor evidence that the millions of users have been harmed by these products. Quite the contrary, all evidence, empirical and theoretical clearly concludes, that for smokers, the transfer to vaping products will transform their health outcome.

Here I risk the wrath of the Pharma clan ‘thought police’. That I, a mere ‘citizen’, never mind business leader, should have the temerity to associate the use of vaping products to the now irrefutable consequences of a self-determined improvement in ones probabilistic life outcome, is not mine to make. But, I will throw caution to the wind and state it nonetheless. However, I categorically do not represent a business that sells, markets or otherwise associates our products or customers to medicines or patients. Nor do I sell tobacco products.

Vaping products sit on neither of these ‘stools’. And I do not even mean with buttocks slightly askew on the seat, fundamentally not sat at all. (Forgive the poor metaphor).

I am very proud of the business that I have inherited the leadership of. I am proud of Totally Wicked, in large part because of what I believe our business stands for. Ignore the commercial considerations for a moment, as I have no intentions of marketing our business in this piece.

We are an independent business, owned by shareholders who share a simple common belief that our business will be a free spirit, answerable only to our customers. Our customers can buy their products from wherever they please, that they chose Totally Wicked makes our business responsible to them. I have promised that their patronage will never be assumed and taken for granted, specifically, they have invested in our business, it is a partnership, and I have a reciprocal responsibility to deliver my part of the partnership equation.

There is no more fundamental responsibility within this equation, than to ensure our customers can continue to find the products that they need and have the legitimate right to purchase and use. The TPD threatens this basic premise, and it does so from no moral or legal base. Every vaper should be eyes open to the agendas being played out in front of us. The young disaggregated industry base and atomized (no pun intended) user base and the resultant lack of collective power and influence is being exploited by the control driven bureaucrats and dizzy headed politicians; unwittingly (one hopes) to destroy this ‘vaping interloper’ that is threatening to destroy the previously unedifying tacit duopoly of the two big business incumbents that prey on the shackled 20% of smokers. So, (I know never start a sentence with ‘So’, but if politicians can start theirs with ‘Look’ than I can with ‘So’), if our business recognises this, and we are true to our word, we had no option other than to take the fight to the source of the TPD and demand that sense is brought to this matter with a court hearing in the European Courts of Justice.

Believe me or not, you will have to judge for yourself, but I will state the following knowing at least to myself the integrity behind the words. Our measure of success is to be allowed to operate within a sector that enables all ethical and professional vaping businesses, large and small, who are willing and able to comply with balanced and customer orientated responsibilities. This requires regulation that protects against the limited objective risk and suitably informs to enable considered choice, and allows trade that meets consumers’ needs.

Our sector needs tidying up; it does not need destroying.

I want Totally Wicked to be every day challenged by true competition that will test our ability to meet customers’ needs. I do not want to run a business that exploits regulation to the detriment of the consumer or legitimate smaller businesses. I have no issue with Tobacco companies selling electronic cigarettes, as long as they are not able to influence and constrain the sector to deliver a recovered monopoly. I back our business, that in a truly competitive environment, that, places customers first we can succeed and build a strong ethical and commercially viable business that can and will compete successfully with either the behemoth tobacco owned or small owner operated vaping stores or artisanal manufacturers.

I believe our case is a Vapers’ case not a simply a Totally Wicked case. Our success is everyone’s success, and I urge all those who care about our vaping future to get involved as necessary and specifically provide your name to the legal challenge site so you can be counted along with like-minded, concerned and threaten vapers.

 

You can sign up and support the legal challenge against the TPD here: http://article20legalchallenge.com/support-the-legal-challenge/

 

Save e-cigs – a year in review.

2014, a year to remember.

Here are just a few of the things that happened:

Writing letters

We wrote hundreds of letters. At times it felt as if we were writing letters almost every day, but I know that’s not strictly true. We did though write copious letters to the press each and every time we saw an article that was misinforming the public re e-cigarettes. As the year progressed it was encouraging to see these letters being published, with some even being turned into articles! It does seem to have helped, as it is now gratifying to see the reporting of battery issues changing to be reported as the wrong charger/battery etc. instead of the screaming ‘e-cig explodes!’ headlines.

Fighting vaping bans

We saw plenty of e-cig bans creep in over the year, the Commonwealth Games being one of the more prominent ones. We fought hard to prevent any that we saw. The Welsh Government is still very keen to impose a vaping ban in public places. We have been writing letters, sending briefings, speaking with the media, having articles published in the press, organising petitions, and meeting with as many Assembly Members that will see us. The highlight of our campaign against this proposed ban had to be the delivery of our petition to the Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee. It was great to see so many Assembly Members turn out to either support us or to simply hear our arguments. Next week we will meet with senior officials at the Welsh Department of Health. These meetings are changing minds and winning us fresh support. We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the team of Welsh vapers who have collected petition signatures and attended meetings with AMs. Thank you for all you have done!

In 2015 we will continue the fight against vaping bans and are already very busy in Scotland!

Politician of the week

We started a politician of the week to highlight those politicians that have come out in support of vaping/vapers, and to say thank you to them. We had several politicians write blog posts for us, and we were very thankful to Martin Callanan for all his efforts and information during the last weeks of the TPD, when it all changed rather drastically and we saw Trilogue discussions taking place behind closed doors, split and separate votes and the commission getting what they wanted, not what the MEPs voted through.

In the European elections in May a number of our strongest supporters in the European Parliament either stood down or lost their seats. We were particularly sorry to see Chris Davies and Martin Callanan lose their seats. However, Martin was recently ennobled and now sits in the House of Lords as Lord Callanan of Low Fell. Already he is standing up for vapers and vaping in Westminster and was the main speaker at the recent launch of the e-cigarette APPG.

Media

2014 also saw crazy crazy news reporting confusing the hell out of most of us, and, the sad result is that now many people believe the scare stories about e-cigarettes. But, we will continue to inform and educate and can only hope that 2015 will see a wind change as the facts now far outweigh the fear.

Guest posts

There were guest posts from Scientists, from commentators, MPs, interviews with advocates and Industry, we tried to keep a broad stance and garner all opinions and views. We were lucky enough to go to Warsaw and see first hand the incredible work that is being done by many passionate advocates of e-cigarettes, and it was a breath of fresh air to be there, among people that understand e-cigarettes and how they change lives for the better.

The WHO

The WHO report was a low point, and I could write reams about the funding of that organisation, the failures they have incurred, but I won’t. Instead I will just say that the truth will out, and then the WHO will have to change its stance. They did a lot of damage, but we are very grateful to the scientists and advocates that wrote letters and published their opposition to the WHO in the press.

Faculty of Public Health

Another low point was the Faculty of Public Health’s shenanigans on twitter. That was very disturbing to see, and yet more disturbing the whitewash of an apology and then Public Health trying to state they were the victims!

I can certainly say that working for Save e–cigs has been a huge eye opener and sometimes what we see is not that pleasant.

Totally Wicked Legal Challenge.

A higher point was the Totally Wicked court case. They have been granted permission by the UK court to challenge article 20 of the TPD. They will have their day in the EU Courts of Justice later on this year – and I know we all wish them the best of luck.

And what of the year to come?

Already more letters and more briefings have been written and sent. We will continue to lobby for the proposed vaping ban in Wales to be dropped, we will be working with vapers on Scotland as they now face the same the hurdles as Wales, and we will keep on keeping on.

But wouldn’t it be lovely – as a new years wish – that Save e-cigs won’t be needed by the end of the year because the regulators will have a road to Damascus realisation that e-cigarettes are a force for the better, regulate them as such, and then we can all get back to living our lives, vaping, relaxing and not worrying that our e-cigs are going to be taken from us!

That’s certainly my wish for 2015. Happy New Year everyone.

And you thought job interviews were tough! Meetings with politicians by Rhydian Mann.

Interview

On Weds 22nd Oct I met Antoinette Sandbach for the Save e-cigs campaign. Antoinette  is a Welsh Conservative Assembly Member representing North Wales . She has a rather positive voting history if applied to vaping and she comes across as being on our side, and  she mentioned that she has always voted against any regulation proposals.

Normally I am rather prepared for discussions with people regarding e-cigs, but this time dealing with a politician was a completely new and somewhat daunting event to prepare for, especially around my normal day job.

So what did I have to contend with?

After the introductions, I asked Antoinette what she wanted to know in order to judge her knowledge of ecigs rather than bursting into why are ecigs are amazing, healthier etc. Turns out she wanted a general background to start off with, however she also mentioned that ecigs are not medically tested. This is a situation I am always prepared for, I always carry with me a 1st gen ciggalike, a general gen 2 device and then there is my gen 3 device which I all placed on her desk. I gave a brief description of what each device was and the difference between them in terms of performance.

She then threw me off a bit by asking “what information is there to say that one is actually better than the other?” That’s something I will have to actually get into my head, however I told her that from personal experience I can say that gen 1 is not as good as the other generations. (Throw off semi averted).

Antoinette then expressed concerns about product safety which fell into 2 separate areas; e-liquid and hardware, especially batteries after recent stories in the media. She also felt that there was a lack of information regarding the actual amount of nicotine being inhaled by the users and a general lack of information about the products.

Let’s start with the batteries. Instead of unleashing the “people are stupid and use wrong chargers” approach, which could have been rather easy for me, I went on to state that all reputable vendors show exactly how to set up devices properly and how to charge them properly. I emphasised that reputable vendors give all necessary advice and kits include instructions.

Antoinette accepted this but still enquired that the products are unregulated. This is completely not true as us vapers know. For starters e-cigs have to meet 17 (forgive me if this incorrect) EU consumer products regulations including getting certification as electrical products which are the CE and RoHS markings on devices and batteries or their packaging. I went to say that ECITA are testing batteries to purposefully make them go beyond normal working parameters. So far the information from ECITA made available via their blog has shown that no batteries are able to “explode” on their own. So all these “explosions” are a result of user error.

Then onto e-liquid safety. Antoinette said that “there is no way of knowing how much nicotine a user inhales  compared to a pack of cigarettes, which has the nicotine content labelled”. This is an open door I didn’t exactly barge through at the time. I should have gone down the route of “actually tobacco pack labelling is wrong, cigarettes have up to 50mg or more according to Dr F” which my mind wanted me to say but I actually replied “tobacco smokers don’t know either, they don’t smoke an entire one in one breath” Maybe not the best I could have been. 

I then gave her a fully labelled bottle of e-liquid to have a look at. She seemed shocked by the safety phrases on the bottle. Especially “fatal if swallowed” and “fatal in contact with skin”. I then clarified that this label was from before the poison reclassification of e-liquid nicotine to the same level as washing up liquid. I then stated that the 10ml bottle had a concentration of 6mg/ml and has no more than 60mg in it and would cause nothing worse than vomiting if swallowed. She questioned “how would the nicotine concentration be true against the label?” or words similar.  My answer was testing, as reputable e liquid companies and  ECITA members get their liquids tested.

After much to-ing and fro-ing about quality, testing and even the TPD got thrown in to put some aspects of the conversation into some perspective, Antoinette dropped the question I half expected to get but always treat with some trepidation. That question being…

“Would you want to see regulation of electronic cigarettes?”

I gave my personal opinion and emphasised that it was. Of course I want regulation which can mean safer hardware and good quality e-liquids but not so much regulation that the market is crippled and user are not able to get products that satisfy them.

I was actually running out of steam, pardon the pun, with almost 30mins of discussion passed. Then mentioning the Welsh Government proposals brought out some rather good advice from Antoinette. She said that the best way to get the minds changing on the proposals is to get meetings with members of the health committee and get as many face to face meetings with constituency AMs as possible.

That is very good advice indeed from Antoinette. This is something that all Welsh vapers should do. If you are able, arrange a meeting with your local AM, the vaping community have a voice and it should be heard.

But what did I personally get out of this meeting?

1 – never go into a meeting politician with a pre-determined idea of what will be discussed.
2 – always have a good understanding of the science that we have on our side
3 – never be daunted, a politician is just a person and a consumer at the end of the day.
4 – don’t over complicate the topic, it can lead both of you into confusion.
5 – always hold back your first reaction to any questions.

 

Editors note : A big thanks to Rhydian for not only attending this meeting on behalf of Save e cigs, but for also writing this excellent post!

Good COP bad COP.

 Good cop Bad Cop

 

We’ve all seen the tweets from Drew Johnson from his time in Moscow when he was reporting on the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC)– if you’ve not seen them, then follow him on twitter @Drews_Views.

Drew is a journalist and despite being frogmarched out of some FCTC meetings he managed to report what was going on – i.e. the removal of the press, the removal of the public and the holding down of dissenting delegates. He also told us about e cig discussions held behind closed doors – and we can all draw a parallel with the EU TPD there.

But what did COP6 do for vaping?

Did they head any of the warnings and letters that were sent?

Yes, yes they did.

They took note of all the ones that hate e-cigs.

We sent them a briefing – you can read it here:

Now, words have power – just say the word should, and then say the word love – and you will hopefully feel a difference in the way you feel and react. Should will probably make you tense a little, love will hopefully help you to relax. Words have a profound effect on how you feel and respond.

So, bearing this power in mind – why have the WHO FCTC coined the acronym ENDS when discussing electronic cigarettes. Are they subliminally telling us something?

But back to COP6 and was it a good COP or bad COP scenario?

Starting out with the good COP (to soften you up, make you relax a little – have a tea and some donuts…)

Did the WHO FCTC do anything good in relation to e cigs?

Well, they want to prevent e cigs ending up in young non-smokers hands – they don’t want a new generation of nicotine addicts.

They want to prevent unproven health claims for e cigarettes.

But that’s it – (remove said tea and donuts and let the heavy take over…)

Bad COP wants to ‘monitor’ e cigarettes, he wants to ban them, ban the advertising of them, and destroy the tobacco industry, (I’m paraphrasing here but you get the idea). He also wants make e cigs a tobacco product so the FCTC can destroy those too.

Now, there have been a great many articles written about the WHO’s FCTC COP6 meeting, and the usual phrases have been trotted out to defend these awful decisions –i.e., ‘they are protecting the children’, plus a nice new one – they are also protecting women and foetuses.

But what will the effects of these e cig policies be? Bearing in mind that signatories of the FCTC are obliged to implement them – and that includes good old Blighty.

The majority of the suggestions made are already in the TPD, so nothing too new – except the desire to ban e cigarettes if possible and to make them a tobacco product.

And these are bad things because they will warn people away from e cigarettes.

People do still give the WHO the credence it no longer deserves, they do listen to what comes out of the WHO media, and surprisingly, many see them as an authority on health.

I know, I know.

Essentially what the FCTC is doing though is telling people that switching to a product that is in the realms of 95% less harmful than tobacco is not the right thing to do – and they are doing it on the grounds of poor research and listening to people who just don’t like e cigs – its an ideology, much like communism or libertarianism.

It’s a belief.

But a belief that will harm people. People will carry on smoking instead of switching.

We at Save e-cigs think global health is far more important than implementing ideology, and it is a sad day for Public Health and the FCTC that they can come up with regulations like these.

Looks like Bad COP wins the day.

Why we feel we are left with no option but to place our contentions in front of the judiciary.

Guest post from Fraser Cropper, CEO of Totally Wicked.

Judiciary

 

Totally Wicked, as some readers may be aware, has filed a challenge against the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and I want to take this opportunity on the Save e cigs blog to explain a little more about what we have done and why we feel we are left with no option but to place our contentions in front of the judiciary.

Firstly we haven’t taken the decision to challenge the TPD lightly, and we would not have undertaken this if we didn’t believe that a) we are doing the right thing, and b) that we have what we believe to be a solid case.

Our legal challenge is essentially questioning why the TPD mandates that e- cigarette laws should be stricter than tobacco laws. Article 20, the article that relates specifically to electronic cigarettes, to our mind represents a disproportionate impediment to the free movement of goods and the free provision of services. It places electronic cigarettes at an unjustified competitive disadvantage to tobacco products; it fails to comply with the general EU principle of equality, and breaches the fundamental rights of electronic cigarette manufacturers.

Therefore as a company are asking that the EU courts consider the TPD and pass its objective judgement on the regulatory framework that the TPD has delivered.

Article 20 will place unnecessary burdens on the industry, while at the same time completely ignoring the core needs of the user, those of diversity of product range, varying nicotine strengths and a vibrant community to encourage and support. All of these will be removed by the TPD.

We want all consumers to have enough information to make a judged decision and make sure that quality is of a standard that is acceptable. We want regulation that protects customers from ingredients and product deficiencies that could cause them harm, and this can easily be achieved through regulation that is proportionate, that gives the sector the justifiable opportunity it needs to have to give people a realistic option other than conventional cigarettes.

There is enough compelling evidence and research that proves e cigarettes are hundreds of time safer than conventional cigarettes, so our basic premise is this:why should our product be placed under greater regulatory constraint than a product that has killed many hundreds of thousands of people, and continues to do so? Where is the regulation that reflects the value these products are bringing? 2.5. million users in the UK have independently chosen to use e cigs, but nowhere in the TPD is the transformational potential recognised and engaged constructively.

It is a fallacy to suggest there is no ability for the government to affect the necessary controls, because there absolutely is enough control within the consumer regulations to suitably regulate electronic cigarettes, however the government have not chosen to utilise them. There are problems; there are imports that are not acceptable, yet the current regulatory environment could do away with them, if there was a will. Instead the TPD instructs disproportionate regulation that will significantly adversely affect a creative and paradigm changing nascent industry that deserves to be supported.

We want to grow as a business, we are an ethical company, we employ over 150 people directly and many hundreds more through our reselling base, but we have an illegitimate threat hanging over us. We are in the process of opening a new fluid production facility here in the UK that will provide jobs, and produce e liquid of the highest quality and standards, yet we have no idea how the TPD will impact this.

We are optimistic about the hearing in the Administrative courts on the 6th October, we expect to be heard in the CJEU next year, and we very much hope that the outcome will be a Tobacco Products Directive that reflects the reality of e cigarettes, the value they are providing, has them in a context that reflects the users needs and ultimately lets us get on with running our business – one of selling excellent quality products that have transformed many thousands of users’ lives.

 

 

 

 

The Global Forum on Nicotine… was it worth it?

Global Forum on Nicotine

 

This was my first e cigarette ‘event’ so I had no pre-conceived ideas as to how it would go, who would be there and what the outcome would be. The line up looked interesting and the programme pretty compelling and I was delighted to be there.

It turned out to be two days packed to the rafters with talks and discussions, many conversations were held during the breaks, (where we had fabulous snacks and food, thank you Marriot Hotel) and much was learnt. There wasn’t an awful lot about nicotine if I am honest, but then this was always going to be about e cigarettes; where we are globally, and where we hope to go.

Deborah Arnott from ASH attended, she was on a fact-finding mission for the FCT. She gave a presentation at the end of the conference.  Sadly she still supports med regs, yet accepts the twin track approach agreed by the TPD, but then that presentation was made before she attended. I guess we can cling to a vain hope that she may still change her mind and have a road to Damascus conversion, and realise that e cigs should be pretty much left alone to innovate and get folks away from the dreaded weed.

All the eminent scientists were there, and it was lovely to finally meet them, see them in person and hear what they had to say without reading long and rather dull scientific papers. Prof Hajek is just lovely!

The well- know vapers were there in force, Dave Dorn, Lorien Jollye, Sarah Jakes, Dick Puddlecoat and more, with plenty of wine and beer flowing in the evenings amongst clouds of vapour. (Did anyone know that DD is a trained Opera singer?)

 

But what did Save e-cigs come away with from the Forum?

That Public Health can absolutely see the benefits of e cigs, but can they ethically allow the prescription of them on the NHS, if the Tobacco Industry makes them?

That Vapers, without a shadow of a doubt made the difference at the TPD. Rebecca Taylor MEP made this abundantly clear. Because of vapers getting involved and telling their story, MEPs had to respond. And somehow we need to keep this involvement up.

The reason why snus is still banned? They didn’t lobby, and they didn’t/don’t have the people power behind them. The travesty that is the snus ban was continually referred to, and it is incredulous that it is still banned. It makes absolutely no logical sense.

Working together. This was the common theme and common thread, and was heartening to hear. We all have to put egos’, differences etc. behind us. The TPD could have been better if we had been united. A divided house falls, and we need to ensure that that doesn’t happen again.

 

So what’s next for e cigs? In the words of the world famous fish Dory – we have to ‘just keep swimming’, there’s nothing else for it – keep writing, keep campaigning, and keep on keeping on!

Just keep swimming

Just keep swimming

There are moves afoot for there to be a Global Forum on Nicotine the same time, same venue next year. Let’s hope that the e cigarette industry and community will be able to come together again then, but this time with plenty of progress to report in the regulatory area. Good progress too, in our favour.

So was the GFN worth it? absolutely.

But one final note: Warsaw is lovely, very cheap, but quality cheap, full of culture and if you ever get the chance – go!