Trilogue is the ‘secretive’ phase of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) where Council, Commission and representatives of the MEPs meet behind closed doors to discuss, negotiate, horse trade and barter in order to come to a consensus.
What we have learned from these secret meetings,( for that read from leaked documents) has been alarming and dramatically far removed from the amendment 170 that the MEPs voted through on the 8th October.
The latest leak from the 13th December trilogue meeting can be found on Clive Bates blog the counterfactual, but this is essentially the nuts and bolts of it:
20mg/ml nicotine level is the upper limit of nicotine allowed; this has dropped from the 30mg/ml that MEPs voted in.
Flavours are to be allowed, but looks like member states will have the final say on what can be sold in their respective country.
Consistent dosing, testing, notification and nicotine delivery – these are mentioned as required, but more details need to be released regarding what exactly all this will entail. At one point during trilogue e cigarettes were to have more stringent testing and dosing that tobacco cigarettes.
Age restrictions seem to have fallen by the wayside. In 170 there was a no sales to under 18’s. This for some reason has gone, and is now up to member states.
Advertising restrictions – these are not good for vendor or vaper. Advertising would be the same as for tobacco cigarettes, so essentially banned, there are rumours and some interpretations of the law that blogs and forums would also be banned.
The final trilogue meeting about e cigarettes takes place on Monday, 16th Dec, starting at 18:30 Brussels time – which is 17:30 UK time.
This meeting will be between representatives of the MEPs and the Presidency of the European Council, currently held by Lithuania. It is understood that this meeting will essentially agree the text of the TPD to be put back to the MEPs and Council. The MEPs take it back to Parliament, the Presidency take it to the EU Council members, and, if there is agreement on both sides – it becomes law, and just has to be voted through in the Spring of 2014.
However, there is no guarantee that they will agree, there are still a few checks and balances in place, still opportunities for negotiations, and rumours that e-cigs may get thrown out of the TPD altogether, but I stress, these are rumours.
I guess we have to hope that the MEPs will stand firm on the amendment they voted through -170, and any changes to this will be denied. I guess we will know more in the next few days if this apparently EU wide harmonising TPD is really about harmony and health or not.
Forget the silly costumes or garish makeup; one man drew attention to himself amidst the thousands of runners with his electronic cigarette.
Jim Oliver, vape lounge owner and Criminal Defence Attorney ran and vaped his way around the New York Marathon, all 26.2 miles of it in an impressive 5 hours.
Jim posted on his Facebook page that he would be ‘running for the vape , and his impressive run proves that since he has switched to vaping, he has no problems running long distances. By drawing attention to vaping in such a novel way, Jim has also very cleverly brought e cigs in to the media in a positive light, as they are under threat in the USA pretty much the same way they are here.
Jim is a member of the Marathon Maniacs Runners Club, (one can only wonder that that means) and his experience vaping during the NY Marathon has made him think about launching a running vapers group, where vapers can meet, run and vape, essentially joining two passions together. He has apparently already invited vapers to join him in training for a 5K race next spring.
Although the NY Marathon was the first time Oliver has used an e-cigarette during a race, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Jim took the time to chat to onlookers and curious runners, and explain vaping and electronic cigarettes to them. He intends to make it a common habit to vape during his races to continue raising awareness about the benefits of switching to electronic cigarettes.
One commentator at the marathon noted that Jim got into the paper for vaping and running, the first man ever seen to be doing this, something he certainly wouldn’t have if he’d been wearing a simple nicotine patch.
Amendment 170 is the part of the draft Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which is specifically related to electronic cigarettes, and was voted in by the members of the European Parliament.
As many of you are aware, the TPD started out with wanting to medicalise electronic cigarettes, but after some strong lobbying by the vaping community and the help of several supportive MEPs, this was changed to propose some robust but fair regulation.
So what does 170 look like – and what will it mean for e cigarettes?
170 has tried to cover all the concerns that are raised by opponents of electronic cigarettes.
1) E cigs will not be sold to anyone under the age of 18. At present this is a voluntary code, but will now be made law.
2) Upper limit of 30mg of Nicotine. Nothing above this level will be allowed.
3) Advertising. The main concern of the regulators is that e cigarettes ‘re-normalise’ smoking, and they feel seeing Hollywood actors vaping makes e cigs look cool, and this will encourage children to start smoking. We know that e cigarettes are not a gateway product, but under 170, e cigarettes will be subject to the same advertising rules as tobacco cigarettes.
4) No health claims will be allowed. We do not make any claims, but unfortunately some vendors have done. Should any vendor make a claim that their electronic cigarettes can benefit your health, their products will then be subject to medicinal licencing.
5) Health warnings. All electronic cigarette packaging will have to include a health warning to state that it is intended for use by smokers, and contains nicotine that is an addictive substance.
6) 170 calls for further research and a review of this proposed regime in 3 years time.
7) 170 Calls for certain EU manufacturing processes and standards to be adhered to.
As you can see, these regulations are proportionate, appropriate and cover all the concerns that have been raised by those against electronic cigarettes.
E cigs are not a nicotine replacement therapy, they are an alternative to smoking, and amendment 170 recognises this fact. This will allow the industry to grow, and will not burden the industry with costs and regulations that would essentially shut it down.
It is important that all vapers are aware of this proposal, as we are in a process called trilogue at the moment, which is the process of re-negotiation within the EU, where the final kinks in the TPD are ironed out. 170 is on the table as the proposed regulations for e cigarettes, and we need it to stay there, to ensure we all have a bright vaping future.
We know this as the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of Health Jane Ellison MP has stated it herself.
The EU voted against medicalization on the 8th October by a fairly large majority, and instead voted in amendment 170, that sets out pretty robust regulation for electronic cigarettes. No sales to under 18′s, an upper limit of 30mg’s of nicotine in the e liquid, advertising on a par with tobacco and a 3 year ‘watch and learn’ time frame, when they will be re-assesed. Flavours will be allowed.
However, we are currently in the process of trilogue, and things can and are often re –negotiated during this time. Trilogue is when the Council of Ministers – in this case all 28 Health Ministers from the EU nations, discuss with the Commissioner and representatives of the MEPs to ensure they come up with a Tobacco Products Directive they can all agree on. Council and Commission wanted to medicalise electronic cigarettes, MEPs didn’t.
It might be that the Tobacco Product Directive is not re –negotiated much more, but that member states will instead be allowed to take further measures if they wish and implement their own laws. This is what Anna Soubry the former Parliamentary Under Secretary of Health wanted, and was so determined to get it that she went against Parliamentary protocol to achieve it.
If this is allowed, then the current UK government will move to medicalise electronic cigarettes, which is not a good thing. Medicalization will mean all current e cigs will be removed from the market. We know this for a fact as the MHRA have stated no e cigs are currently medicines or medical devices, so will not be granted a licence should they apply for one. E cigs are in the ludicrous position of being expected to apply for a licence to be something they are not.
This, should it go through will be a ban on current e cigarettes.
What we as vapers now need to do is go and talk to our MPs. The Members of the European Parliament have done pretty much all they can, they have stood firm with us, have listened and realised that electronic cigarettes are not medical devices and voted accordingly.
However, many believe that the UK MPs are not as informed about electronic cigarettes as they could be – and are probably taking their information from places such as the Daily Mail (Daily Fail), the party whip and the anti tobacco movement that are having knee jerk reactions to e cigs left right and centre.
It is therefore imperative that vapers go and sit in front of their MP – face to face, with their electronic cigarette and tell them their personal story – as this is THE most effective thing to do – show the human side to this – come out of the shadows and no longer be a statistic.
We are not out of the woods yet people, so please, take some action.
It seems many e cig companies are now sponsoring Football and Rugby grounds, having stands names after them, having their logos emblazoned for all to see along the tops and sides of said stands. TW led the way, and now others are following suit.
(There´s always a but isn´t there?)
The anti -smoking lobby don´t like e cig companies sponsoring sports grounds. Why, you might ask – aren’t e cigs now proven to be 99% less harmful than cigarettes?
Well, the disliking has got nothing to do with the harm or harm reduction, no – it´s because vaping looks too much like smoking, and this allegedly normalizes smoking – even though the LED´s at the end of the e-cigs glow green or blue – and everyone knows you are NOT smoking.
(I have to admit to a personal abhorrence for the terminology normalization and de normalization – these words to me seem robotic and manipulated and treat us all like dumb sheep)
But why are these partnerships being made? Why do the sports stadia believe it to be a good idea irrespective of what the anti´s think?
It´s simple, it´s about safety.
The cynics amongst you will be saying yeah – right – whatever – it´s about money – and yes – it is about money – but it´s about safety first. What is one of the most hazardous things that go on in sports grounds?
Illicict smoking is dangerous for everyone – it’s dangerous for those doing it – as we all know the harm caused by smoking, it´s unpleasant going to the loo at halftime due to the smoking – but it´s dangerous for every single person as illicit smoking is a fire risk, and one that the clubs take very seriously indeed.
So doesn´t it make sense to swap illicit smoking for legal e cigs? Doesn´t everybody win? Isn´t this a responsible move by the sports clubs in question?