D-day for Vaping

Posted 21st May 2016 by Dave Cross
Months of action, debate and protest come to an end as Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is implemented. The day arrived against a backdrop of hope sparked by the moves in the House of Lords and news of the first casualty for the independent sector. Some we thought were allies to the vaping cause have betrayed their true colours, those we thought would be opposed have suddenly spoken out in our favour – like a football team battling relegation, despite appearances to the contrary, our season is not yet over.

The official government position remains the same today as it was when they welcomed the TPD. Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for Health, is quoted in the Hansard record: “Whilst the Government recognises the potential benefits of e-cigarettes, the quality of products on the market remains variable. It is right therefore that proportionate regulation is introduced to introduce minimum standards for safety and quality of all e-cigarettes and e-liquids and that information is provided to consumers so that they can make informed choices. This is the aim of the regulatory framework set out in the revised Tobacco Products Directive.”

They cling to the nebulous and undefined term “quality” because they know it is a catchall. The legislation is a hotchpotch of poor science and blinkered thinking that runs contrary to common sense and harm reduction. Oddly, ASH UK have come out in support of the legislation despite of the NHS’ impact assessment stating that vapers returning to smoking is a distinct possibility.

Clive Bates has written extensively on how the new law will cause harm. He opens with a withering attack in his latest blog post: “Apparently, there are still people in public health trying to defend the EU Tobacco Products Directive as it applies to vaping! It’s a ludicrous measure, that protects the cigarette trade, has costs and risks that vastly outweigh the non-existent benefits. ASH (London) appears relaxed about the nicotine strength limit: New EU rules on nicotine strength not a problem for most vapers it declares this morning (16 May 2016).”

The changes are being felt; British vapers have been receiving notices from their vendors over the last fortnight warning them of how the changes will affect them. “Any customers with loyalty points outstanding who wish to redeem them will need to do so by 6PM Thursday in order for us to be able to honour them. Any points not claimed by this time cannot be claimed or retrieved,” wrote Vanilla Vapes. The company also advised customers that multibuy offers have also been consigned to the bin as they are deemed to be incentives banned under the TPD.

Sadly, today also marked the final day of trading for 8-bit Eliquids. In an interview with Motherboard, owner Tom Johnson said: “I think we're certainly one of the first as the laws that come in right now hit us more directly than others. Other shops are mainly limited to registering new products and things like that, but it isn't financially viable for us to do that for every order we take.”

But, at the eleventh hour, a ray of light shines through the murky window. We recommend you read this article about Lord Callanan’s House of Lords motion. Vapers, their friends and families can back his action by tweeting support using the hashtag #LordsVapeVote to @Number10gov @jeremycorbyn @MartinCallanan.  Also, make sure you and everybody you’ve ever met signs the Petition to Parliament.

Gerry Stimson adds it is “essential that you write to Lords http://www.theyworkforyou.com/... stating how vaping has helped you and asking them to support Callanan's motion. Tweeting is not enough!”


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker