I am the most fervent anti-smoker and anything that stops people puffing on the filthy cancer sticks is great by me. I have never touched a cigarette so I am not a reformed holier-than-thou ex-smoker. Yet, I find that the EU is interfering again by trying to regulate e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are designed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Many cigarette smokers have found this product acceptable as it delivers the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette without containing tobacco, smoke, tar or the 4,000 toxins found in tobacco smoke.
This apparently successful Ersatz of cigarette is threatened by a new piece of EU legislation and more specifically the Chapter V Article 18 of the European Products Directive and electronic cigarettes. Indeed it states that "Nicotine containing products that either have nicotine level exceeding 2mg, a nicotine concentration exceeding 4mg per ml or whose intended use results in a mean maximum peak plasma concentration exceeding 4mg per ml may be placed on the market only if they have been authorised as medicinal products.."
It's summed by Ukip's Godfrey Bloom, who will be voting against this later in September:
"This new piece of legislation made in Brussels is so counterproductive and illogical one must ask oneself the question, who is really behind it?"
"In fact I would even go further by adding you'd really have to be extremely naive not to understand their game. I know the EU technocrats have a liking in telling us how to live our lives but this case is more pernicious, it is about money and money only.
"By demanding that e-cigs be authorised as medicinal products, it means that the market will be literally taken over by the pharmaceutical industry preventing the small companies selling the product to compete by lack of human resource or money.
"Think about it, these e-cigs are in direct competition with nicotine patches or even anti-depressants. They are seriously threatening their business, aren't they?"
Godders has got something here. There are 10,000 lobbyists prowling the corridors of the EU, all with vested corporate interests. They are there to undermine the little businesses that make a trade from these products, the capitalists that make money and employ the majority of people. They did it with vitamins and supplements.
Yet, the Royal College of Physicians is on the side of e-cigarettes and the pro-choice lobby and says, "Nicotine itself is not a particularly hazardous drug ... it's something on a par with the effects you get from caffeine.
"If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save five million deaths in people who are alive today. It's a massive potential public health prize".
Yes, and as I walk down the street, enter a building, a train station or pub, my lungs might be less likely to be assaulted by the smokers who congregate to get their fix.
Interestingly, attempts were made by Holland and Germany to regulate the industry but were overturned in court.
So, who do the vested corporate interests turn to, the EU of course. I think it's more of a labelling issue. If we label our food, vitamins & supplements, e-cigarettes and anything else that consumers buy, then we make an informed choice. But that's not what the corporates want and as the EU is run by the vested interests of lobbyists and who they represent, they will get their way.
In addition, those EU officials and MEPs who fervently believe that they know better than the voters who put them there, the nanny-state will prevail along with a fat tax, minimum alcohol pricing and probably a tax on e-cigarettes. All are designed by the ruling middle classes, resulting in higher consumer costs, hitting the poorest working classes the hardest.