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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Why I won't sign the save ecigs letter

Here follows the save ecigs letter which people/vapers/smapers/smokers might sign in greater numbers if it wasn't so offensive. The sections I have highlighted in bold, give me the total creeps. It is offensive to smokers and dual users. It is Tobacco Control codswallop, and for that reason I will not sign this letter. I am simply sharing the reason I am not signing this - its my own sensibility that is offended because I am a smoker that vapes, not a vaper that doesn't want to smoke out of guilt, shame, or social manipulation. Vapers have an Achilles heel in that, to Tobacco Control, vaping is seen as normalising smoking. See....Thoughts on Tobacco Control and the enemies of vaping and saving vaping - please ACT!

Otherwise, I think this letter is great! I wish I could sign it! 

Jane Ellison MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health
Department of Health,
Richmond House,
79 Whitehall, London,
London SW1A 2NS

Dear Minister,

Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive

For 1.5 million people in the UK and 12 million people throughout the EU, e-cigarettes have and continue to provide a viable alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.  They have enabled smokers to leave smoking behind, either on a full or part-time basis.

However, we are genuinely concerned about proposals to amend the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that could see e-cigarettes only being allowed on the market if they are authorised pursuant to Directive 2001/83/EC (the Medicinal Products Directive).

As you will be aware, a cross party majority of MEPs from across the European Parliament, including UK Conservative and Liberal Democrat MEPs, recently voted against the medicinal regulation of e-cigarettes.  Whilst we are obviously delighted by the result, we know that this vote is only one part of a wider process.

As far as we are aware, it is still the policy of the Department for Health to support the medicinal regulation of electronic cigarettes.  We clearly hope that the Department of Health will listen to the wishes of the democratically elected European Parliament and not the wishes of the unelected and unaccountable MHRA.

We hope that the UK Government will join with their colleagues in the European Parliament in rejecting the medicinal regulation of e-cigarettes.  France and others have already made their reservations clear so the UK would not be alone.

Why is this important?

We the undersigned are not just e-cigarette users; we are also the friends and family of some of the UK’s 1.5 million e-cigarette users.  We are the forgotten people in the debate surrounding the revision of the TPD.  

When someone smokes those close to them are also affected.  Consequently, when a smoker switches to e-cigarettes their friends and family benefit too.

As the friends and families of e-cigarette users, we lived with the daily consequences of close contact with our loved ones when they smoked.  For some of us, we even nursed our loved ones and cared for them as they died prematurely of smoking related illnesses.  E-cigarettes have therefore been a revelation, not just for those that use them but also for a far wider group of people.

It is vital that you understand that e-cigarettes are not a medicinal product; users do not see themselves as ill or in treatment. They are adults who have made an informed decision.

Thousands of smokers every year try and fail numerous times to quit using conventional nicotine replacement therapies (NRT).  This is unsurprising as NRTs are proven to have up to a 95 per cent failure rate.  We know first-hand how depressing this is.  However by switching to e-cigarettes, to date, 1.5 million smokers have cut down the amount of tobacco cigarettes they smoke or stopped completely.  This is something that should be celebrated and encouraged, not a cause for concern.

E-cigarettes are though not some form of more effective nicotine replacement therapy they are completely different.  E-cigarettes are an alternative to smoking.  Users must be allowed the freedom to find the correct device and nicotine level that suits their needs, there is no one size fits all e-cigarette, there is no one flavour that suits everyone, there has to be flexibility, there has to be innovation.  These are the very reasons why the e-cigarette is proving so popular.  Medicinal regulation by its very nature will take all this away.  Medical regulation will control and quantify dosage, control and quantify administration, control and quantify the device.  Medicines have to be monitored by medical practitioners, there can be no room for individuality, for finding the right flavour, strength, and device, plus medical regulations cast the shadow of shame and disease on people who are not ill.  It pours more shame on people castigated for a habit.  Ultimately, medicines regulation, as the MHRA has made clear on several occasions, will lead to a ban of all currently available e-cigarettes.  We urge you to look at the difference between what medicines are, and what a recreational device is – look beyond the entrenched view that just because it moves people away from smoking it must be a therapy.

E-cigarettes are simply an alternative to smoking, they deliver clean nicotine – without the tar, carbon monoxide, and volatile hot gases of cigarettes – and as a way of taking nicotine they are pretty near harmless to health.  

E-cigarettes are safe.  By contrast tobacco cigarettes according to your department’s own figures kill 700,000 people each and every year throughout the EU and policy makers are not proposing to ban them.  

We urge you to support the proportionate and robust consumer regulation of e-cigarettes that won the support of MEPs from across the political spectrum on the 8th of October.

The law of unintended consequence in this situation, if you continue to support medicinal regulation, will be to see thousands and thousands of e-cigarette users going back to smoking tobacco cigarettes and consequently dying prematurely.  As a Health Minister you may not like to read this, but it is the truth, and you and your colleagues in the Department of Health need to be aware of this.  If you vote for medicinal regulation in trilogue more people will smoke and more people will die.

Not just for the sake of 1.5 million electronic cigarette users, but for the sake, also, of their friends and family we urge you to do the right thing.  

Yours sincerely