Freedom of Choice for Smokers sign now

We the undersigned petition the Members of the European Commission to: 'ensure that electronic cigarette products (and their use, hereinafter referred to as vaping) are classified correctly as General Sales Products and regulated appropriately for recreational purposes, rather than seek to define vaping as smoking, tobacco use or medical therapy.'

Electronic cigarettes are products which offer a genuine alternative for smokers which can satisfy the smoking habit without the significant and well-documented risks of smoking tobacco products. These life saving products have been widely available for over seven years and no serious harmful effects have been reported anywhere. They are considered by respected international harm reduction experts to be at least 99\% safer than smoking. Many millions of smokers around the world have switched away from smoking tobacco products to using electronic cigarettes some or all of the time. (Some continue to smoke while also vaping, but this at least represents a reduction in their smoking.)
These products have been developed, manufactured, distributed and sold by the Electronic Cigarette Industry, and have no association with the Tobacco Industry or the Pharmaceutical Industry. We believe that inappropriate and/or disproportionate regulation will put the public at risk in several ways:
by discouraging use, which will make an effective and attractive alternative to smoking as ineffective as NRT, such as gums and patches which are known to fail 93\% in the longer term;
by encouraging an unregulated black market; and
by removing a reduced harm option for smokers who have no intention or desire to quit, forcing them to continue smoking, with the concomitant risk of passive smoking for those around them.

EC legislation already provides for suitable regulations for these products, with appropriate enforcement available for non-compliance. The UK Electronic Cigarette Industry has been working closely with its regulators, Trading Standards, to ensure compliance with the law as set out in these statutory instruments. Trading Standards agree that this is the correct and appropriate regulatory framework for these products.

The avoidance of inappropriate and/or disproportionate regulation is of considerable importance to the EC, as it is to the Member States of the EU. We are confident that you will seek to ensure that the correct classification is applied to these products. There is no need to create a new set of regulations for these new and innovative products, since they are sufficiently covered under existing legislation and regulations.

Proposals to classify such products as tobacco products or medicinal products are not based on fact, common sense, or the law. Electronic cigarettes involve no combustion, there is no tobacco, smoke or burning, so they cannot appropriately be classified as tobacco products. Equally, there is no sensible way to bend the legal definition of a medicinal product to include a recreational product such as this, which neither claims to be a medicine, nor has any medicinal effect. Electronic cigarettes do not cure tobacco or nicotine addiction; rather they provide the user with a much safer way of continuing to use nicotine.

Sale of these products in the EU is already covered by the GPSR 2005, CHIP standards (for packaging and labelling), CE mark regulations and Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, et al. The vast majority of electronic cigarette retailers already have policies in place to ensure that there are no sales to minors. We expect this to become standard practice across the industry.

Nicotine is not a controlled substance. On the contrary, it is readily available all over the EU. We suggest that making a legal action illegal, or regulating products like these out of existence with deliberately burdensome and unachievable regulation, because of moral judgements, misinformation or confusion with something perceived to be undesirable, is unjustifiable and morally corrupt.

Vaping (using an ecig) is a recreational alternative to smoking which should be regulated and enforced appropriately. Adult citizens can make their own informed decisions about the options available to them, i.e. smoking, medicinal interventions such as NRT, or recreational nicotine from using electronic cigarettes.

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Ashley BauerBy:
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Members of the European Commission


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