This is a guest post by Evan B.
Leaked documents from European Union Health Commissioner John Dalli include a plan to ban all electronic cigarettes as part of the Tobacco Product Directive.
The directive, set to appear in front of a World Health Organization meeting later this year, shows that the EU is seeking a complete ban on all forms of smokeless tobacco and nicotine delivery systems including electronic cigarettes. The directive would make all tobacco cigarettes a standardized length, and ban shopkeepers from displaying more than one variety of each brand. The EU would also instate a 75-percent surface cover on all packs of cigarettes.
E cigs are the most groundbreaking piece of harm reduction technology created in the last 20 years. HDTVs, tablets and refrigerators with built-in apps are impressive, but e cigs possess the power to reduce harm levels to billions of smokers worldwide. It’s hard to fathom why the EU would direct people toward more hazardous types of smoking, when they could reduce harm with e cigs. Merely a month ago, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos published proof showing the insignificant effects of e cigs on the human heart. It’s imperative that the EU and WHO consider the increasing amount of encouraging evidence showing the minute effects of e cigs.
Since e cigarettes are smoke free, the directive lacks good reason to ban e cigs. It’s possible that the EU is taking a preventative health stance. It’s more likely, however, that funding from tobacco and pharmaceutical companies has tainted the water. Critics of any ban on e cigs are quick to point out ties between lawmakers and pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer. Pfizer sells smoking cessation products that countries like the United States and Britain have deemed worthy by their respective national health organizations. Pfizer and their lobbyists have wedged themselves in the pockets of politicians even deeper, it seems, than tobacco companies.
The directive goes in front of a panel at the WHO Framework Conventions on Tobacco Control November 12, 2012. A total EU ban would likely send mixed signals to the international community, while sparking major controversy. Let us not fail to mention the harm reduction to a smoker’s wallet. E cigs save consumers a considerable amount of money over tobacco cigarettes, especially disposables. Depending on location, a single pack of regular cigarettes costs $7-$12 USD. A disposable e cigarette, which is the equivalent of two packs of tobacco cigarettes, retails for less than $8.
If you’re a European e cig consumer, let your voice be heard. Post on the social media sites of the WHO telling them how you feel about this ban.
How do you feel about the Tobacco Product Directive? Tell us in the comments below:
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.