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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Remember all our hard work in Brussels?

I have never heard of the group

Corporate Europe Observatory


They expose corporate lobbying at the European Union. That's a good thing, yes?

In their leader, they say 
'Brussels is at the centre of EU decision-making and as such attracts thousands of lobbyists promoting the interests of big business. In this section you can find basic information about this corporate lobbying and how it affects you as a citizen.'
That's a good thing, yes?

So, I did a bit of surfing around on their site looking for 'Smokefree', ASH and other lobby groups.

Well, they don't seem to be lobby groups - just NGO's.

I see my protest blogging started in 2012 with posts called


By 2013, us vapers and smokers were working hard - HARD! 

HURRY,HURRY,HURRY Vapoteurs! Links to share on my behalf- pleeeese!


Our guts were pouring out in the end. Some of us just collapsed under the strain. Other stubborn ones carried on. They are still at it! I thank them all for fighting so hard - the vapoteurs united! Every single small action by a ton of ordinary folk led to a tsunami of citizens  across the European Union trying to change our future as the death knell sounded for US by decree from World Rulers - Tobacco Control.

Would you like to know what was thought about us in the European Union?

I quote -

Paul Murphy MEP explained that in the Parliament, MEPs “are subjected to a lot of astroturf campaigning in the sense that it is manufactured. We get emails from so-called ordinary constituents about electronic cigarettes. But they are really detailed about the Directive.”
‘Astroturf’ is the name given to seemingly grass roots campaigns, that have actually been established, encouraged and sometimes funded by companies and corporate lobby groups interested in their success. One MEP assistant told CEO: “They have organised online, created electronic cigarette forums. They’re quite an aggressive lobby”. Another said: “We get a lot of abuse on Twitter about calling for more legislation on electronic cigarettes.”
Totally Wicked, another UK electronic cigarette firm, sent every MEP an e-cigarette. One MEP commented incredulously that “They are sending addictive drugs to MEPs. It is quite incredible”. Jutta Haug MEP from the S&D said she had been “strongly lobbied by electronic cigarette users”. The rapporteur on the Tobacco Products Directive, Linda McAvan MEP, has also said that “There is a very aggressive attitude.”
>>>
Conclusions
The tobacco lobby – and e-cigarette industry – has been intensifying its lobbying offensive towards the European Parliament. Their tactics and strategies have included frequent calls, emails and invitations for drinks and meals; the distribution to MEPs of product samples; turning up to MEP offices without prior arrangements; putting pressure on MEPs to table amendments that are in their interests; orchestrating email and social media campaigns; and, indirect lobbying through small retailers, anti-counterfeiting firms and farmers’ groups. All of this should be seen in the context of the UN FCTC – which prohibits contacts between public health policy-makers and the tobacco industry unless strictly necessary to regulate it, and then only under complete public transparency.
The bulk of our research, including contacts with MEPs, has indicated that:
  • Many MEPs, their assistants and advisers have described an intense or even 'aggressive' lobby from tobacco industry representatives, particularly in regards to high numbers of telephone calls, emails and requests for meetings. Others seem to be less targeted, and note public health NGOs, although far fewer in number and resources, also have a prominent lobby presence.
  • It is apparent that the tobacco lobby knows who to target to achieve the best results (for its interests), in particular targeting MEPs that they see as more receptive to their arguments as well as those on opinion giving – rather than the lead committee on the Tobacco Products Directive – committees.
  • The electronic cigarette industry has in recent months represented a particularly vociferous lobby, notably using social media campaigns, ‘astro turfing’ tactics as well as the distribution of free samples.
  • Only some political groupings, as well as certain individual MEPs – notably including the rapporteur on the Directive - are publicly disclosing meetings and contacts with tobacco industry representatives. There is not yet a consistent implementation of the UN FCTC rules on contacts with tobacco lobbyists by the European Parliament. There have even – very worryingly – been signals from the Parliament that suggest they do not consider the FCTC to be legally binding on them and consequently see no need for a consistent approach to transparency around tobacco contacts.
  • There is evidence that industry-sourced amendments have made their way more or less word-for-word into the amendments proposed by some MEPs. Two MEPs in particular appear to have largely copy-pasted from the documents showing amendments in the industry's favour – and contrary to the strengthening of public health policy.
With a key European Parliament ENVI committee vote on new tobacco legislation taking place later this week, this report is a curtain-raiser on the scale and intensity of tobacco industry lobbying that has been going on in the Parliament in recent months. The tobacco industry has a long record of manipulation and disinformation, which has - uniquely - resulted in international law intended to minimise interactions between the tobacco industry and public-health policy makers. The lobby battle around the EU's new Tobacco Products Directive however shows considerable activity from traditional tobacco lobbyists as well as e-cigarette companies, resulting in numerous contacts between policy-makers and the tobacco industry, many of which are subject to little or no transparency. The concerns expressed by many MEPs about the apparent tobacco industry amendments tabled via their Parliamentary colleagues, indicates that the tobacco lobby is having significant success where it should not even be having significant access.
For every vaper/smoker/non-vaper/non-smoker/friends/families that personally sacrificed their time, their money, their relationships, the 'astroturfers' all, that fought in this campaign, I salute you!

Tobacco Industry? My foot!

In actual fact the 'astroturfers' you ignored - millions of us - yes millions - were just ordinary people like me.