Precautionary Principle Gone Wrong
The fact is, the precautionary principle is supposed to be what guides European legislation, yet in this case it is setting limits that have no scientific basis and are, perhaps, based instead on protecting the profits of tobacco companies' efficient nicotine delivery products (burnt tobacco) and pharmaceutical companies' inefficient nicotine delivery products (patches, gums, inhalers, suicide-inducing-pills, etc.)
On the same day the Tobacco Products Directive was passed, a study was published that stated the following in the abstract:
The use of 18 mg/ml nicotine-concentration liquid probably compromises ECs' [electronic cigarettes] effectiveness as smoking substitutes; this study supports the need for higher levels of nicotine-containing liquids (approximately 50 mg/ml) in order to deliver nicotine more effectively and approach the nicotine-delivery profile of tobacco cigarettes.
So much for amending the limits when new evidence comes to light.
European Citizens' Initiatives
A European Citizens' Initiative requires 1,000,000 supporters from at least 7 EU countries with a threshold number of supporters being met in at least 7 EU countries.
Let me explain by giving the actual numbers needed. At least 7 of these thresholds must be met, and at least 1,000,000 signatories (total) are required:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
As of the time of this writing, there are 32,377 signatories from all 28 EU countries. No country has reached the threshold yet. There are 3,013 signatories from the UK - 51,737 still needed to meet the threshold for the UK.
The European Parliament, European Commission, and Most of my MEPs Ignore Science
1,480 days after first writing to my MEPs and other related parties (such as my MP) about my concerns over the apparent path legislation/regulation was taking, they don't appear to have listened at all. 20 mg/ml is better than the 2 mg/ml that they originally wanted the limit to be in the TPD, and better than the proposed ban/medicalisation, but it is still going too far and has no scientific basis, whether based on risk or another metric.
There is only one way they will listen.
There are 300 million eligible voters in the EU. In the 2009 European Parliament elections 15,072,325 people voted in the UK. 20% of the UK adult population smokes, therefore 45,315,669 (2009 registered voters) × 0.2 = 9,063,133 potential signatories - smokers may not want to try e‑cigs now, but they could well sign so the option isn't taken away from them later.
This is what I would like to see: 100,000,000 signatories to the European Free Vaping Initiative. Vapers, Smokers, Non-Smokers, Anti-Smokers (at least those that believe someone exhaling nicotine vapour is less harmful than someone shooting at them with a shotgun, or someone shouting "Come on kids! Climbing electricity pylons is fun!") alike.
There are only 2 ways left to deal with our rulers:
- Show public opinion is overwhelmingly against them.
- Take the European Parliament to court.
Taking an evidentiary approach didn't work. Scientific facts didn't work. Public opinion and the justice system are all that are left.