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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Tobacco Control - Lib Dem response - AFTER the fact! Parrots, Politics and Petitions

28th AUGUST 2013 SENT AS TEMPLATE VIA NO THANK EU PETITIONS

Dear Mr Tim Farron MP,

As one of your constituents I am writing to express my opposition to the EU’s proposed revisions to the Tobacco Products Directive. 

I agree that children should be discouraged from smoking but prohibiting adults from purchasing products they have bought legally for many years is neither fair nor reasonable.
In my opinion the EU has no right to stop adults buying slim or menthol cigarettes. Nor should unelected bureaucrats dictate the size and shape of a pack or pouch. 
There are other more effective ways to tackle youth smoking rates. They include a ban on proxy purchasing and better enforcement of existing laws to stop shopkeepers selling tobacco to children.
Smoking is a legal activity and I am concerned that attempts to over-regulate the tobacco market may have serious unintended consequences with counterfeiters and illicit traders set to profit from public demand for products that have been banned or excessively regulated. When the Tobacco Products Directive is voted upon in the European Parliament I hope you will take into account the views of adults like me who believe that the revisions to the Directive will make very little difference to public health but will alienate and antagonise a great many consumers throughout Europe. 
I look forward to hearing from you.

25th OCTOBER 2013 (AFTER THE DIRECTIVE ACCEPTANCE ON 8TH OCTOBER 2013)

Dear Elizabeth

Thank you very much for your recent email with regard to your call for the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive to be scrapped.

The use of tobacco remains one of our most significant public health challenges. As you’ll be aware, smoking causes nearly 80,000 premature deaths each year and is the single biggest preventable cause of death in England. Around 20% of the adult population in England smoke, with rates in some areas even higher. I think it is very important that the health impacts of smoking are taken into consideration in the revised Tobacco Products Directive.

The European Commission published its proposal for a revised Tobacco Products Directive in December 2012. The Department of Health is currently coordinating the Coalition Government’s negotiating position on the Directive.

We welcome the Commission’s intention to strengthen the functioning of the internal market in tobacco products. This will help protect public health, particularly by reducing the uptake of tobacco use by young people. We will make sure that the final text of the Directive is proportionate and based on evidence.

It is important to note that there will be around two years of negotiations and possible amendments ahead in the European Parliament and among the 27 EU Member States. The final text that we adopt may look significantly different from the European Commission’s current proposal.

With best wishes 

______________

I am not voting for you Mr Farron - ever. You told me nothing in this template email that I hadn't already heard, over and over and over again EXCEPT, EXCEPT  "smoking causes nearly 80,000 premature deaths each year and is the single biggest preventable cause of death in England." 
  
Using round down or round up rules in Math - the figure is 79 000  (correctly) according to ASH  - whats another 1 000 people? 


So - just playing with numbers - roughly -  20% of 63 million people inthe UK smoke. 12.6 million people smoke. According to Tobacco Control, half of all smokers die because of smoking. So, according to my thinking 6.3 MILLION people should die from smoking. 79 000 people died from smoking in 2011. If smokers have "shortened life expectancy" then many of the 79 000 were old people (up to 100 years old). They died prematurely? I wonder how many? It doesn't say.


 12.6 million consumers and voters are a hefty chunk of our population. I hope they haven't been beaten into total submission by the drip drip drip of persecution and that, when it comes to the election, they use their votes  wisely.

The last paragraph from my template reply of Lib Dem Policy for constituents is "It is important to note that there will be around two years of negotiations and possible amendments ahead in the European Parliament and among the 27 EU Member States. The final text that we adopt may look significantly different from the European Commission’s current proposal."

Mmm - I thought October 8th action was the acceptance of the proposals which eventually get into legislation by the EU Parliament?  ARE there further "negotiations and possible amendments?

If there are - then us vapers might have to mobilise again! Otherwise "there are around two years of further negotiations and possible amendments" is just fobbing me off. 

For me, both these letters are how not to do things. I think the NO THANK EU form letter is not the way to petition anyone. Us vapers have proved it needs thousands of hours of personal effort, approaching each MP or MEP with our own wording, personality and stories.

I think I deserved the form reply I got. It simply outlined Lib Dem Policy and exposed to me they aren't going to do a damn thing now, or ever, in consideration of consumers using a legal product. The illogicality of stopping tobacco being sold in small amounts - 10 cigarettes and 25gm RYO pouches - forcing smokers to buy MORE and not less has completely passed them by. In fact, I don't think Tim Farron has the foggiest clue. He's just a parrot in a flock of parrots.