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It’s War!

Euro politicians declare war on Big Tobacco – vapers set to become the collateral damage

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The ties linking parliamentary process to tobacco firms has been known for decades. Some such as Tory MP Ken Clarke (who sat on the board of British American Tobacco) tie a tobacco income to their ministerial salary. With this entrenched influence at the highest level, what can anyone do?

According to the Parliament Magazine, MEPs have declared war on tobacco firms. Amusingly the cross-party group is to combat “growing” influence, ignoring that it is already endemic. Gilles Pargneaux, who put the group together, said: “Our main focus is to make sure the tobacco products directive is implemented in all member states,” which is sure to have the likes of Phillip Morris quaking. This is the same Phillip Morris company that gives €1.9billion a year to the European Union.

MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo might have said that “we are at war,” but to onlookers it is distinctly unclear whom the attack is being launched at. Just last week, Planet of the Vapes wrote about how the TPD is being interpreted in Denmark and the taxation in Italy. Far from addressing tobacco companies, the entire thrust of the proposed legislative moves appears to be directed against small independent companies and vapers.

Using arguments that flavours appeal to children and then lead them into proper grown-up cigarettes is how Senate Bill 539 was passed in Indiana last month, requiring producers of liquids to obtain permits, limit the ingredients and (sensibly) force the adoption of child-proof containers. Even this doesn’t go far enough for Greg Zoeller who was seeking to have ecigs taxed at the same level as cigarettes. If there is a global war on Big Tobacco then it appears to be as poorly implemented as the failing one on drugs.

Sarah Milov, writing from Atlantic City, embodies the confusion rampant among those opposed to vaping – seeing nicotine as a synonym for cigarette. “This ‘juice’ is a misleadingly benign euphemism for a flavoured nicotine solution,” she says implying that an eliquid is a bad thing. She goes on to mention the potential for vaping but discounts the possibility because “the safety and health claims of e-cigarettes have not been proven.” One wonders how much proof of the reduced harm offered by electronic cigarettes she requires?

She makes the ridiculous assertion that “E-cigarettes are frequently advertised as proven tools of public health.” What does she base this nonsense on? It will come as no surprise that the false advertising guff eminates from Professor Glantz’ chums at the University of California-San Francisco. Milov’s scientific credentials are limited to her position as an assistant professor of history.

And unreliable advocates run to the heart of Ireland’s Independent newspaper’s editorial. In discussing how the country should approach tobacco and alcohol, they point out: “We must not allow the alcohol lobby access to our schools and the Government must resist the bullies of global tobacco with all its resources.”

How can you wage a war when your generals are in the pockets of pharmaceutical and tobacco companies? How can you wage a war when your military tacticians are unqualified, ignorant or in the pay of the enemy? If we imagine that the EU’s proposed war is like WWII: it is as though, the second after announcing the outbreak of conflict, Chamberlain sent bombers to obliterate the county of Northamptonshire.

Time to pop the tin hats on, vapers.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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