By Tom Pruen
A press release has been issued by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). CEO describe themselves as “a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making”
To the outrage of everyone here at ECITA, they appear to have assumed (on the basis of no evidence) that the electronic cigarette industry and the tobacco lobby are at least allied, and possibly one and the same.
The truth is that there are very few tobacco companies currently investing in the EU electronic cigarette market – and none of the ones who are is a member of ECITA. In point of fact, the only major e-cig company owned by a tobacco company is also the only one currently seeking approval for its products as a medicine. The tobacco lobby and the e-cig industry are not fighting the same corner here.
To put it simply, the current EU proposal to regulate e-cigs as medicines is APPROVED BY BIG TOBACCO – and OPPOSED BY THE E-CIG INDUSTRY.
Millions of Euros are quoted for the funding of big tobacco lobbying, but other than by implication, no mention is made of how much the e-cig industry is spending. Now, I cannot speak for those companies outside of ECITA, but for those within it: Our spend on ‘lobbying’ (much of which is spent on travel to and from Brussels for meetings) is in the low tens of thousands. We are not some sort of troll-like corporate giant, bludgeoning people with sacks of money – we are the little guy in this fight.
As for the talk of ‘Astroturfing’ – all of us here at ECITA find this extremely offensive! The community of e-cig users (vapers) PREDATES the forming of our association. All of us were members of that community before forming the trade association to help OUR suppliers. All of us still emotionally belong to that community – not the other way round!
And on that note, I dread to think how completely outraged the community is going to be by this.
This is the thing that the pencil pushers of all ilks seem unaware of – the community of vapers is active, and extremely passionate. I cannot think of any other product that has such huge support from its users, not because the industry has brain-washed them, but because these are people who feel that these products have really changed their lives – and maybe even saved them. These are people who have read the scientific research, done the homework – and REALLY, REALLY care about this issue.
This press release is an insult to not only the electronic cigarette industry (we can take it) but it is a deathly insult to the millions of everyday vapers who have attempted to engage with the political process – exactly as they are supposed to!
CEO has clearly failed to do any research at all – and their prejudice is insulting to me, my colleagues, and ESPECIALLY to the ordinary vapers.
This press release is a travesty.