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The European Parliament endorsed two pieces of draft legislation this week. One makes complete sense and the other seems to make no sense what-so-ever.
A law ensuring 65% of all tobacco based ‘traditional’ cigarette packaging must carry health warnings is sensible and welcomed by anyone outside of the tobacco industry. Tobacco cigarettes kill – the toxins and carcinogenic compounds, which number over 4000, do untold damage to the body and wreck lives.
The second part of the legislation which would regulate electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and e-liquids as medicines or even tobacco products is categorically absurd.
The decision is even more unfathomable when you consider that 15 prominent EU scientists have stated to the Commission that "If wisely regulated, e-cigarettes have the potential to make cigarettes obsolete and save millions of lives worldwide," as mentioned by journalist Andy Cochlan in his review of the EU action in the New Scientist. The scientists have accused the EU regulators of misinterpreting their results. The favourable arguments made by the scientists for e-cigarettes and vaping include:
In Ireland, Health Minister James Reilly is still reviewing his stance on electronic cigarettes, but is set to legislate that they should only be available to over 18’s. Any responsible e-cigarette business in Ireland would agree with this legislation and would not want to see the products in the hands of minors.
However, before any further regulatory decisions are made it is purplebox’s opinion that Dr. Reilly should engage with the Irish vaping community. Listen to the current scientific findings, invite medical professionals to state their opinions both for and against, talk to the distributors and allow e-cigarette and vaping enthusiasts to state their case.
It is acknowledged that research on the long-term effects of inhaling VG and PG in the juices and vapourising nicotine are still being researched – but it would be irresponsible to legislate on a worst case scenario when the facts are unknown. Legislating now could destroy the possibility of writing sensible legislation when the true findings become available.
We believe much of the political thought process is being governed by the fact that e-cigarettes are associated with their conventional alternatives. It is accepted, by all parties, that nicotine is an addictive drug, a hormonal stimulus that affects the neurotransmitters of the brain, forcing the release of ‘feel-good’ chemicals – hence the addictive effects as the brain wishes to repeat the feeling.
Caffeine and alcohol have similar effects on the brain and we can’t help thinking that this debate would be null and void if nicotine was simply a drink ingredient. Tobacco cigarettes are toxic and carcinogenic – but it is not the nicotine that makes them so.
Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are legal drugs – and abuse of any drug is dangerous but evidence is mounting that vapourising nicotine will not cause as much damage as long-term alcohol use, for example.
E-cigarettes and vaping will not stop a person smoking – they have to make that decision for themselves. No e-cigarette manufacturer or distributor is making the claim that the products are a cessation device but they are a much healthier nicotine delivery system. As such, adults should be able to make a personal decision as to their method of stimulation. Do non-drinkers lobby for the closing of all pubs and bars, of course not, because if you want alcohol that is your personal choice.
Regulating electronic cigarettes as a medicine or a tobacco product, when no tobacco is even present, would be a mistake. Legislation should be based on the product itself, not on its connotation or associations. As a medical professional Dr. Reilly should be supporting the growing vaping community and looking to move all smokers towards this revolution, which will save the health system millions of Euro in the future.
It is our responsibility as vapers to lobby the minister with the facts and ensure vaping remains a viable and accessible alternative to ex-smokers and new vapers alike.
Next time a TD knocks on your door around election time make your views known – or better still, start your letter to the Minister today.
Tell us your thoughts and we’ll start compiling a log of pro-vaping arguments.
The tobacco industry is notoriously untrustworthy and resorts to many surreptitious methods to increase sales and its profits. Their marketing budgets stretch to - covertly funding media organisations, even health initiatives and actively lobbying or threatening governments to not “rock the boat” when it comes to tobacco marketing – as we witnessed recently in Ireland regarding the plan for plain cigarette packaging.
In his recent article (21/02/15) in The Spectator, Derek Yach, Executive Director of the Vitality Institute and former head of tobacco control at the World Health Organisation (WHO), rationalises his distrust of the tobacco industry but warns against tarnishing e-cigarettes with the same hostile brush.
"When electronic cigarettes came to the U.S. about 2007, I was skeptical. My assumption was they were a ploy by the tobacco industry to hook more people into smoking under the guise of being a safer product - the notorious low-tar cigarette scam all over again. But as I talked to many e-cigarette users, known as “vapers,” conducted research (Journal of Public Health Policy, 2011) and reviewed a growing body of scientific evidence, I became convinced that e-cigarettes have dramatic potential for reducing disease and death caused by smoking". Dr Seigel
Once again, it seems, the Media enjoy the opportunity of presenting a one-sided point of view on e-cigarettes and vaping.
The most recent claims stem from a study by the University of Southern California (USC) that found traces of chromium, nickel and zinc in e-cigarette vapour.
However, the articles were not followed by further editorial expressing the horrific terror that awaits anybody that eats their dinner! Why? Because an average meal cooked in a pan contains a lot more chromium and nickel than e-cig vapour! Shocking and horrific headlines ensued – that all vapers are doomed to a nasty end from putting such chemicals into their bodies.