I am putting this in general chat because it is not beer related, but I do think it should be of concern to us all.
At the outset I would like to make it clear that I neither smoke nor vape, but I feel very strongly about peoples right to choose what they put in their bodies and if this stands, how long before the beer I love is in similar cross-hairs?
A little while ago the European Parliament voted not to regulate e-cigarettes as medical devices.
This is a good thing, because it means that these devices, which are a much safer way of consuming nicotine than tobacco, need to be easily available to consumers, (like cigarettes already are) and not restricted to pharmacies, banned from on-line sales, etc.
The bad news is that the European Commission seems to be getting ready to regulate e-cigarettes to death despite what the European Parliament says.
There are a lot of regulations in the leaked EC document[/url:3kuupv8v] which will ban the liquid used to fill existing devices, restrict the size of cartridges and limit them to single use, restrict the concentration of nicotine deliverable by the device, limit the flavours available, ban on-line sales, ban all advertising including on the internet, require nicotine levels be uniform and not user controlled as they are now, etc.
The upshot of these regulations is to combine to ban every e-cig/vaping device currently on the market and make it next to impossible for any effective devices to be developed and marketed in the EU.
This will benefit only the tobacco companies and the pharmaceutical companies who make the less effective NRT devices. Smokers will not be allowed to chose the safer option of vaping. Many will go back to cigarettes and many of those will die because of this regulation.
All of this is going ahead despite the fact that the European Parliament voted NOT to regulate these devices as medicines. The European Commission is going to kill e-cigs even though the MEPs we elected to represent us decided not to.
I sent the following email to every Irish MEP today. Maybe you could send something similar, or contact your TD, or a newspaper, or tweet, or whatever to make a bit of noise.
[quote:3kuupv8v]I am writing to you because I am concerned by recent developments within the EU. This leaked proposal for electronic cigarette regulation (pdf)[/url:3kuupv8v] by the European commission makes it clear that despite the decision by the European Parliament not to regulate e-cigarettes as medicines, they will be subject to the same regulation as medicines, plus some of the more restrictive regulation to which tobacco products are subject.
I am informed by people who know more of the technical side of such devices that these regulations would make every existing electronic cigarette device on the market illegal and would make the future design of such devices difficult, if not impossible. This will only serve the interests of the tobacco companies by forcing people to keep smoking. It will cost lives.
I am not a smoker, nor do I use nicotine containing products of any kind, but I am deeply troubled by this development. Our elected officials have voted and decided not to regulate these products as medicines. That was a good decision, because smokers deserve the right to choose a less harmful way of meeting their need for nicotine and medicinal regulation would only throw barriers up.
If the European Parliament can make such a decision and the European Commission can then go ahead and design regulations so draconian that they amount to a ban on all such devices in existence, I have to wonder what the purpose of the European Parliament is at all.
If the decisions of our elected representatives can effectively be ignored, then democracy is a sham. Please show me this is not the case. Please demonstrate that the decision you and your fellow MEPs made will not be ignored.
For more information have a look at what Clive Bates[/url:3kuupv8v] has to say.