Or why EFVI is worth supporting
By Tom Pruen
We hear a great deal about (and have had more than a little evidence of) the rather poor way in which the EU represents the wishes of its citizens. There is, however, a means by which the European Commission actively seeks engagement with the ordinary citizens – the European Citizens Initiative (ECI)
On the face of it, this sounds like it would be a fairly easy thing to do, but as explained on the Boiling Frog blog , it is a far from simple process.
Which brings us to the European Free Vaping Initiative (EFVI), for the EFVI are an ECI that is about the availability of e-cigs.
In their own words:
“We, the vapers of Europe and supporters of the subject, demand electronic cigarettes and its related products, regardless of its nicotine content, to be classified as general purpose recreational products through legislation, once and for all, and strictly not as medicinal, tobacco or any other kind of products that would limit or impair the vapers’ access to and use of electronic cigarettes and related products.
The potential outcome of the classification of electronic cigarettes and related products other than general purpose recreational products would effectively lock electronic cigarette related small businesses out of the market by handing the future of vaping into the hands of an industrial group that is not just simply not interested in sustaining the current quality levels and wide range of selection, but it is counter-interested in serving the needs of users of vaping devices.
Vapers made an adult, responsible and private decision when they chose this young but very effective alternative that made possible for them to leave or ease up a deadly habit that claims hundreds of thousands of lives of EU citizens each and every year. The fact that vaping poses no harm to the vicinity of the vaper makes this hobby a private matter of no public interest, therefore any kind of attempt towards the regulation of electronic cigarettes and related products is interpreted as serious offense against our private sphere and personal rights. The matter of electronic cigarettes is intriguing solely for vapers, their close environment, manufacturers and vendors, no other parties should be concerned, in which scope the recent attempts for regulation and the whole overly serious approach towards electronic cigarettes make no sense at all.
The vast majority of vapers keep vaping as a hobby after successfully stopped smoking. We would love to make it very clear: it is not a smoking cessation device, it is a device for recreational purposes that makes it utterly easy to stop smoking and stop seriously harming yourself and your environment while you do it, effectively ending up with a harmless and fun activity.
Anyone who actually knows these devices, their effectiveness and its positive impact on quality of life, vapers have been experiencing for years, cannot find a reason born in good faith that justifies a classification as a medicinal or tobacco product. Especially so since other products with well known and proven harmful effects are kept being freely available to the public.
We do understand however, that in the long run it imposes a serious threat on government treasury incomes and profits of industrial groups intertwined with public health. We understand it and we could not care less. What we care for is our free will, the freedom of choice, and the real protection of the health of ourselves and others in our environment.”
We think the EFVI is a great idea, and would encourage everyone who agrees with its aims to sign up to it.
ECITA is a trade association, and as such we represent our members, rather than the consumers (although clearly our interests are aligned in most cases, and we certainly have closer ties with the vaping community than other trade associations who claim to represent everybody, despite not even representing a majority of the industry). The EFVI is an opportunity for the ordinary vapers to have a voice that MUST be heard (although there is no guarantee that it will result in any change) and the difficulty in getting an ECI through the process will add significant emphasis to the whole debate.
The online signing process isn’t too complicated, and can be found via the EFVI website: http://www.efvi.eu/ so if vaping matters to you, your family and friends, go and sign up!