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I am an electronic cigarette user I want to talk to you today as a member of the European parliament about e-cigarettes and the upcoming tobacco products directive workshop and amendments and votes and on what's going on purely and simply in terms of electronic cigarettes.
I need you to know a number of things. An electronic cigarette does not perform an medicinal function. E-cig users do not use them to cure themselves of an illness because they don't consider that they have an illness and indeed they don't. They do, however, enjoy the benefits of using nicotine and nicotine, when it's not combined with cigarette smoke,
is a relatively harmless drug. This is evidenced by the MHRA in the UK, Professor John Britain of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr Marie Laurison of Health New Zealand and a great many other eminent scientists that understand that nicotine, separated from tobacco smoke, is not a dangerous or desirable substance.
I do not use an electronic cigarette that looks like a cigarette in any way shape or form. Indeed the electronic cigarette I use looks nothing whatsoever like a traditional cigarette. The only similarity that you would see, in someone that doesn't know what an e cigarette is,is that it does look like one might be giving out smoke.
This is why the electronic cigarette actually works. Not only does the user get the nicotine they desire, but they also get to replicate the hand to mouth action and the inhalation and exhalation of a visible vapour. That vapour that they exhale poses no problem to any bystanders in any shape or form. There is no problem with what you might call 'secondhand vapour'.
Martin Dockrel, of Action on Smoking and Health in the UK, in a recent radio program said that what e-cigarette use normalises is not smoking, it is using a credible and viable alternative to lit tobacco.
What I need you to understand, is that for between five and seven million people throughout the European Union, electronic cigarettes have proved a viable and credible alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. It has been enabled them to leave cigarette smoking behind. Whether that's on a full-time basis or on a part-time basis, whichever way you care look at it though, those people are smoking a lot less and indeed the figures now show that.
If you look at the American market for instance, which does not have as many electric cigarette uses as the European Union, you will see that Altria (the people behind Philip Morris and Marlboro) have seen a six-and-a-half percent decline in the number of cigarettes smoked and this has been attributed particularly to electronic cigarettes.
A six and a half percent decline over the course of one year! If you take that over the next ten years, it could mean
that's sixty five to seventy percent fewer cigarettes will be smoked if electronic cigarettes are allowed to continue with as few restrictions as is possible.
What this means is, the European Union really needs to look more carefully at electronic cigarettes than has already been done by the commission in these proposals. For revisions to the tobacco products directive, it would seem that the European Parliament The Commission, the Council of Ministers has not yet been fully informed of what the potential for electronic cigarette use means over the next ten to fifteen years.
It seems sensible, therefore, that you as an MEP would back a motion or an amendment to ask the commission to look further into electronic cigarettes and look further at what it could mean over the next ten to fifteen years if they are allowed to continue unfettered.
I also hear about harmonisation how everywhere in the EU should treat electronic cigarettes the same. To some degree I would agree with that but at the moment the European union is pretty well harmonized. And it's pretty well harmonized because no matter what the rules and regulations in each member state are, citizens of that member state are allowed to buy their electronic cigarettes supplies, their e-juice from vendors in other countries. This means they can customize their experience to suit what they need in order to avoid smoking cigarettes. I would like to cover that in just a small
amount more detail.
When I say that a customizable experience is what keeps people away from smoking cigarettes what I mean is pretty much as follows. I like a lot vapour. I'm not too worried about flavor, but do like quite a lot of nicotine. Because of the way I can set my system up I have the choice of concentration of nicotine, I have the choice of a myriad flavors and I have the choice of how hot or how cool my electronic cigarette burns. I can customize the experience to suit myself.
You may have heard that medicinal regulation would mean that everyone could have the same experience. The fact of the matter is, every electronic cigarette user is different. Every electric cigarette user a needs the different experience. They may, for instance like not too much nicotine but awful lot of vapour and they may like it hot or cooler or they may like various different flavours. It is those flavors that prevent them from going back to smoking cigarettes, because flavoring and electronic cigarettes is not the gateway to youngsters picking these things up and then moving on to tobacco
they are in fact a locked door. They are a barrier to either relapse or entry into smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Thank you for reading so far.
I don't want to take up any more of your time, I would just beg of you either that you vote to take electronic cigarettes completely out of the tobacco products directive or that you ask the commission to go away do a lot more research fund some studies, and come back in two to three years and report on what the situation is then. At that point in time you'll have much more information at your fingertips in order to make a decision that is not not going to result in potentially seven hundred thousand lives per year being terminated early because you, as an MEP, voted to effectively ban E-cigs as they currently are, from the market in Europe
I speak on behalf of electronic cigarette users across Europe.
Please vote wisely.