Wednesday, 6 May 2015

E-Cigs And The Election

Granted I haven't been on the radar much this past week or so but I haven't seen much guidance by the usual vaping advocates - that's if there has been any - as to who e-cig users should be thinking of voting for tomorrow. So here are a few nuggets of info gathered from the archives here.

The only party to specifically mention e-cigs in their manifesto for this election has been the Lib Dems
"Carefully monitor the growing evidence base around electronic cigarettes, which appear to be a route by which many people are quitting tobacco, and ensure restrictions on marketing and use are proportionate and evidence-based. For example, we support restrictions on advertising which risks promoting tobacco or targets under 18s, such as those introduced in 2014, but would rule out a statutory ban on ‘vaping’ in public places."
All very touchy-feely, except when you remember that their party stepped aside and allowed Article 20 of the TPD to pass unhindered. Apparently, their political geniuses think that it is somehow workable despite it effectively banning every single device currently on the market in its current form.

It's all very well their promising to "carefully monitor" e-cigs, but when the EU's abomination is ratified in 2016, there will be nothing to bloody advertise, and nothing to 'vape in public places'. 

As for Labour, the experience of vapers who tried to engage with their MEPs during the TPD negotiations cannot be emphasised enough. Firstly, the huge level of voter engagement was dismissed by Labour as merely astroturfing, that's if the MEP concerned could even be bothered to reply. Personally, my reply from my local Labour MEP was to say that they despised smoking and were 100% behind the TPD ... yes, they didn't even understand what was being asked of them! 

The TPD, of course, was led through Brussels by Labour's Linda McAvan, who has links to pharma and who seemed mostly upset that e-cig companies were earning "huge profits". She also believes all of the misinformation about e-cigs being a gateway to smoking, and I fully expect her equally ignorant party colleagues will be of the same opinion, especially since the main detractors in 'public health' are rancid anti-business socialists like McKee, Scally, Capewell etc on whose every mendacious word the Labour party tend to hang. 

I would also expect Labour politicians to believe every word that the doctors union, the BMA, say on the subject. And since the BMA has been caught lying openly on the BBC about e-cigs, that'll be the way they go on the matter. You can also almost guarantee - with a deficit to tackle - that e-cigs will be taxed to the hilt by Labour, as has already been suggested by their fellow lefties in other countries

Lastly, if you want to see how a Labour politician would handle e-cigarettes once granted office and the levers of legislation, you only have to peer over the border to Wales where there is one already in power. Over there, Labour's Mark Drakeford has been furiously trying to demonise e-cigs and using every piece of anti-vaping propaganda he can lay his hands on in doing so. 

If there's one piece of advice every UK vaper should take to the polls tomorrow, it should be that Labour are not to be trusted and that a vote for them is almost certainly a vote for the end of vaping in this country.

On a more optimistic note, the Conservatives promise to be far less condemnatory about e-cigs should they come to power. It was to his credit, for example, that - unlike the LibDems - Conservative MEP Martin Callanan was scathing about the TPD when it was passed back in 2013. 
“This is a perverse decision that risks sending more people back to real, more harmful, cigarettes.

“Refillable e-cigarettes would almost certainly be banned, and only the weakest products will be generally available. As many smokers begin on stronger e-cigs and gradually reduce their dosage, making stronger e-cigs harder to come across will encourage smokers to stay on tobacco.  
“E-cigarettes have helped people give up tobacco. They are not completely safe and they may need regulation but they are a great deal safer than cigarettes and this agreement will make them harder for smokers to obtain."
Now that's someone who truly understands what an appalling piece of legislation the EU's TPD is for e-cigs. Callanan is no longer an MEP but is still active in politics and was recently spotted at the launch of the APPG on E-cigarettes in Westminster. It is also very much worth noting that the APPG is chaired by Conservative Mark Pawsey and populated mostly by Tory MPs as far as I can see. In Wales, too, the main antidote to Mark Drakeford's hogwash on e-cigs has consistently come from Conservative AM Darren Millar

The last variable is UKIP, who we can't judge on their Westminster efforts except to say that their complement of two delivered by voting against plain packaging recently. On that evidence, we can expect the party to be supportive of e-cigs just as they are in the EU despite messing up their TPD voting somewhat

UKIP was involved in the funniest smear story of all time when the Guardian threw mud about their receiving a donation from Totally Wicked ... despite admitting that the party was opposed to regulations against e-cigs and always has been, and Nigel Farage has been seen out and about on the campaign trail this year puffing away on his second generation e-cig. Indeed, he was forthright in his support in this clip from a couple of years ago.

This is alongside issuing unequivocal statements on the stupidity of restricting vaping.
“E-cigarettes have been a lifeline for many people, but this agreement will have the draconian effect of driving more 'vapers' back to full tobacco cigarettes... If the EU was truly interested in people’s health it would be helping to popularise rather than restrict e-cigarettes.” 
I think it might be safe to say, on that evidence, that vapers could vote UKIP with confidence that a stitch-up isn't in the offing.

Apart from that, I suppose it's up to the personal views of your local candidates, though I've not seen any mention in the election coverage so far, so unless one has knocked on your door and it's been raised, that is much of a mystery. If anyone has any personal comments from candidates to add, I'd be most interested.

It's also important to add that just because there is no mention in manifestos of banning e-cigs in public places, for example, or introducing advertising bans or taxation, it doesn't mean that it won't happen if the wrong people get into Westminster. The smoking ban, tobacco display ban, bans on smoking in cars and plain packaging are all examples of laws which are now on the statute book but were never presented to the public as a solid manifesto commitment.

Of course, if you're in Bristol Kingswood or Barnsley East, you've got a dedicated vaping candidate to vote for, so fill your boots.


JLTrader said...

“E-cigarettes have helped people give up tobacco. They are not completely safe and they may need regulation...'' What does the term 'completely safe' even mean? Is breathing the polluted air outside 'completely safe' ?

Russell Vincent Richard Ord said...

Good luck to Liam and Billy :) Kingswood and Barnsley East may not generate many votes, but if we get over 77 in either, Simon Clark is buying the drinks ;)

Fleabag said...

When I emailed Labpur MP for West Derby, Stephen Twigg, he responded with a quote from his Wavertree colleague who said that 400,000 people had quit smoking with ecigs and that Labour supported medical licensing for the product.
This position is clearly outdated, with the medical regulation proposal going out of the window with article 20 and ASH reporting 700,000 vapers who had quit smoking by April 2014.
This tells me that Labour have paid little consideration to ecigs, and will apply the TPD as strictly as they can.
It's also relevant that this communication with Mr Twigg was the second time I emailed him on the issue; the first being in the weeks ahead of the TPD. He didn't bother to reply on that occasion.

truckerlyn said...

Is breathing in the hot air expelled by any of the Lib/Lab/Cons safe? I prefer to take my chances on smoking being safer!

Manifestos have no bearing whatsoever on what any of these will actually do should they be elected, as we have experienced in the past.

To have any chance of reducing the nannying and gaining a smidgen of common sense in parliament we need to vote in decent candidates from other parties who are more in touch with us ordinary folk and who will stand up for us rather than the upper class scum the main parties grovel to.

Vote for the same old parties and we will get nothing by the same old, same old crap!

Longrider said...

Well, Liam got mine.

jmshigham said...

How will the eventual election result affect all this?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Marvellous! :)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Good question. I'd been thinking about that today and was going to write something on it when I have time.

jmshigham said...

Shall await.