Wednesday 31 May 2017

Congratulating The Fox For Killing The Livestock

Today is World No Tobacco Day and to mark the occasion the Brussels-based Smoke Free Partnership - whose members include ASH and Cancer Research UK - held a lunchtime event at the EU parliament. 

The keynote speaker was Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Lithuanian Health Commissioner. If you are a vaper, you may be staggered as to what he said. Here is an edited excerpt of the speech which you can read here
How can we 'ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages' – our worldwide sustainable development goal for 2030 – without reducing smoking?  
How can we reach the specific target of "reducing by one third deaths linked to chronic diseases" without reducing one of the main causes of such diseases – smoking? 
And finally, how can we succeed in achieving "no poverty" or "zero hunger" – other related goals – without reducing the harm that tobacco causes? 
The answer is: We can't!
And to whom did he address this heart-rending rhetoric?
I am talking here about the revised Tobacco Products Directive that Linda and I negotiated: Linda as the rapporteur at the time and myself as the Health Minister of the country holding the EU Presidency. 
And I would like to thank once more Linda - and also the Smoke Free Partnership - for their tireless work and commitment to this cause.
The Linda in question is Linda McAvan, Labour MEP and the woman who stubbornly drove through the disgraceful regulations on e-cigs which have hampered take-up of the devices in this country and - in some cases - led to draconian measures in other EU member states which amount to a de facto ban. 

E-cigs are proving to be a huge success in tempting smokers away from tobacco - which Andriukaitis seems to want very much, they have already led to more people quitting smoking than the entire TPD Impact Assessment hoped would occur. Yet today he was congratulating McAvan, a person who did everything in her power to have e-cigs eradicated from the EU, and thereby whose actions have protected the tobacco trade more than any other individual in the whole of Europe. 

This is like a farmer watching his chickens get slaughtered then giving an award to the fox that did it. You simply couldn't make such cretinous ignorance up!

Interestingly, Andriukaitis had very little to say at all about e-cigs specifically, just this one-liner. 
And of course we need to consider carefully how to address eCigarettes or novel tobacco products.
"Consider carefully"? Isn't that something that should have been done when the directive was being drawn up, not now four years later when you've dumped a whole load of fuckwitted arsebiscuitry on an entire continent. 

His brief and evasive mention of e-cigs also suggests - as the evidence piles up as to plummeting smoking rates due to vaping - that they're just a little bit ashamed of themselves, don't you think?

The EU seems to be packed with low-grade, low-intellect, broomsticks-in-suits like Andriukaitis; thick as a whale sandwich yet handed power over half a billion people. Roll on March 29th 2019.

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