David Davies (Monmouth, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the definition of e-cigarettes as tobacco products under the terms of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Jane Ellison (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health; Battersea, Conservative)
Electronic cigarettes are not defined as tobacco products under the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The regulation of e-cigarettes, is however, scheduled for discussion at the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on 13–18 October 2014.It would appear to be an extremely well worded question from Davies (whose stance on e-cigs I have no clue) which winkles out a fundamental aspect all but forgotten in the debate over EU and WHO pronouncements on e-cigs.
E-cigs are - Jane Ellison confirms - not defined as a tobacco product under the terms of the WHO FCTC which was ratified by the UK government, neither was it defined as a tobacco product when any other of the 160+ countries ratified it. So anything they demand for e-cigs should be ignored entirely.
In fact, the WHO shouldn't - by its own rules - even be discussing e-cigs until such time as all governments involved have agreed that they should be allowed to.
For a coalition government - led by Conservatives who claim that they want to tackle red tape, intrusions on liberty and unnecessary state interference, and supported by Lib Dems who claim to be supportive of e-cigs - this should be a slam dunk. They can simply tell the WHO that e-cigs are none of their business; that they aren't defined as tobacco products in the document the UK signed; and that the delegates can wibble on about e-cigs in Moscow as much as they like but nothing they say will apply in the UK.
They won't, of course, but that's why politicians of the old parties are widely ridiculed and despised, and why the electorate of Clacton will be returning the first UKIP MP next month. Just sayin'.
Still, the UK will also be represented by a group who purport to being in favour of e-cigs - they'll most certainly tell the WHO to butt out, won't they?
@Olddodderer Our CEO will be attending. I'm sure other will too @DHgovuk @PHE_uk
— ASH (@ASH_LDN) September 1, 2014
I won't hold my breath.