Entitled “Vaping is NOT Tobacco”, a new initiative is being launched to defend vaping enthusiasts. The goal of the project is to remove e-cigarettes from the new European directive on the subject of tobacco products. A petition along with an online platform are now live to build this movement. France Vapotage, a young, pro-vaping association, is working to show support.
This European Citizen Initiative (ECI) has just been rolled out to call for new EU measures that are specific to vaping. The online platform (Vapingisnottobacco.eu) is the beating heart of the initiative. To get the ball rolling on changing EU regulations, one million signatures will be required before February 20th, 2020.
It is critical that vaping enthusiasts, estimated around 17 million in Europe, make their voices heard. This is the message that France Vapotage wants to broadcast to the world, via a recent statement. They are calling for massive mobilisation to help create a distinct legal framework for tobacco on one side, and vaping on the other.
An initiative with unknown consequences
British public health authorities consider vaping to be “95 % less harmful to health than tobacco”. It is simply absurd that e-cigarettes be weighed down with the same restrictive regulations that apply to traditional cigarettes. Especially given the fact that e-cigarettes represent the most effective nicotine substitute for smokers wishing to quit.
The petition, which is already online, appears as a first step towards policy reform. The whole point of “Vaping is NOT Tobacco” is to influence European Union representatives to consider what vaping really is. With this in mind, it is important that both activist associations and everyday e-cig consumers show their support.
However, one can also question the real motivations of the France Vapotage association. Founded in December 2018, the association was created by some of the largest tobacco companies. British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and Landewyck are all among the founding members.
On the ECI website, there is an interesting line in the footer:
Now more than ever, the future of EU policy around vaping remains uncertain.