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MEP Letter, (yes a real 'letter')
27-07-2013, 03:06 PM
Post: #1
MEP Letter, (yes a real 'letter')
I received a real 'letter' in the actual 'post' from one of my MEP's today, i was very surprised when i saw an envelope with european parliament printed all over the top of it, it looked very official indeed! In fact it was a reply to an email i'd sent to Michael Cashman CBE, the reply read as follows:

Dear Mr ....

Thank you for contacting me about e-cigarettes.

I have had many emails and letters from people like yourself, who have found e-cigarettes to really work in helping them to cut down on smoking, and i am aware that many people feel strongly that their access to these products should not be limited in any way.

There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about a proposed ban on e-cigarettes. It might be worth underlining what has been said in parliament so far: nobody wants to ban e-cigarettes, and that is certainly not my intention. On the contrary: I see e-cigarettes as a promising development in smoking cessation, and i have spoken to many doctors who specialise in tobacco related illnesses and who have been recommending them to their patients.

Since e-cigarettes are such a new development, there is no specific legislation to cover them, and at the moment they are largely unregulated. It is exactly because of the potential of e-cigarettes that i think it is important that consumers can be confident that the products they buy are tested, safe, meet quality standards, and deliver to users what they claim on the package.

The UK Government has been looking at this issue for several years, and has recently concluded that e-cigarettes should be regulated in the same way as nicotine gums and patches - i.e. under light-touch medicines legislation. In a vote in the Health committee of the European Parliament on Wednesday, a majority of MEP's agreed with this approach.

The "medicines" label would change very little in terms of the availability of e-cigarettes in the UK: over-the-counter products like paracetamol are already widely sold in supermarkets, corner shops and garages, as well as in pharmacies. As nicotine is already a well-known substance, e-cigarettes would not be required to undertake costly clinical trials, which may have pushed the price up, and there are even some advantages in terms of a lower VAT rate, and the possibility of e-cigarettes being available free to patients on prescription. Some constituents have raised concerns about extra-strong and flavoured e-cigs being banned under the medicines route, but this would be a decision for the UK regulator - I would be in favour of maintaining a wide choice for consumers, as long as the safety and quality of the product is proven. (Nicotine gum and inhalors in different flavours and in strengths of up to 15mg are already available in the UK.)

Health organisations including Cancer Research, The British Heart Foundation, ASH, and doctors associations all support the UK government medicines approach, as this would ensure that e-cigarettes are not promoted to children or non-smokers, creating a new generation of nicotine addicts (there have already been some press reports about schools having to ban e-cigarettes from the classroom). It would also mean that the products are monitored, as little is known about long-term effects.

We are still a long way away from any changes - the final legislation will only be agreed following a negotiation process involving MEP's and national ministers. Even once a deal is reached, i am working to ensure that e-cigarette companies will have several extra years in which to adapt to the new rules, so that there are no interruptions on the market.

I hope this information is helpful.

Yours Sincerely,
Michael Cashman CBE
Labour MEP for the West Midlands.

..........and relax! Ok, now i've had a blast of some 36mg RY3, it seems to me that letter is a carbon copy of the Linda McAvan interview that Marco did not long back. Have all the labour politicians been brainwashed with the same info? Seems that way to me. Now, any advice on how i should respond to this? I think it only right that i should reply with a 'real' letter myself and not email. But what's the best info to put in the letter? I've got a good idea myself, but four letter expletives aren't going to get us very far i don't think, so any suggestions?

Ecigs: A Choice not a Therapy. A lifestyle not a Treatment. Educate and Liberate.
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29-07-2013, 05:35 PM
Post: #2
RE: MEP Letter, (yes a real 'letter')
Well i've had a reply from my local MP Mr Ian Austen. The email reads as follows:

Dear Mr ....

Many thanks for your email, it was really interesting to hear your views on this issue.

I don't think the EU has any place banning e-cigarettes in the UK, and this should be something that the UK Government decides for itself.

Personally, this sort of thing is one of the reasons why I think we should have an in / out referendum on Britain's EU membership. I would keep a free-trade single market but we should decide on social legislation like this ourselves.

Unfortunately, the Government has already decided to line up behind EU proposals to regulate e-cigarettes as medicines.

You may be encouraged to learn that this would not mean an outright ban on e-cigarettes, and the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has said on record that its aim is not to ban e-cigarettes. However, this change could make e-cigarettes more difficult consumers and manufacturers to buy and sell.

The Government says e-cigarettes must be regulated in this way because their risks are still largely unknown, and that it may be necessary to limit advertising of e-cigarettes, particularly to children.

I appreciate the need to ensure that e-cigarettes are safe, but it seems ridiculous to make them harder to get hold of when cigarettes will continue to available in every shop and supermarket in the country.

Currently 25 per cent of all attempts to quit smoking are made using e-cigarettes, making them the most popular aid. The Government has to look closely at the wider health benefits that this has, along with savings for the NHS.

I hope you will be pleased to hear that I have written to Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, on your behalf. I have set out your concerns and asked him to address them on behalf the Government.

I will write again as soon as I receive a response. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any other concerns or if there is anything that I can do to help.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Yours sincerely,


"...this would not mean an outright ban on e-cigarettes.", i think you'll find Mr Austen, that it pretty much would. From what Mr Austen says in his email, the government has already made up their mind on this issue. I think not, there's a long way to go yet, and the fight is certainly not over, not by a long shot.

Ecigs: A Choice not a Therapy. A lifestyle not a Treatment. Educate and Liberate.
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14-08-2013, 01:54 PM
Post: #3
RE: MEP Letter, (yes a real 'letter')
Ive had a VERY positive reply from another one of my MEP's today Anthea Mcintyre, it reads as follows:

Dear Mr ....,

Thank you for your email of 23rd July setting out your thoughts on a proposal issued by the European Commission to amend current European law concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products.

The West Midlands region is represented by three Conservative MEPs: me, Philip Bradbourn OBE MEP and Malcolm Harbour CBE MEP. We have therefore divided the region geographically between the three of us, and since I am responsible for Dudley, I take this opportunity to reply on behalf of all three.

Among the products to be affected by the proposed changes are electronic inhalers, commonly known as personal vaporizers or e-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid solution containing nicotine into an aerosol mist which is then inhaled to simulate the act of smoking tobacco. The Commission proposes to limit the amount of nicotine in solutions sold for use in electronic cigarettes to four milligrams of nicotine per millilitre, unless the products have been classified as for medicinal use. This would render the solution too weak to be a viable source of nicotine for smokers or ex-smokers, or would require manufacturers to apply for a costly licence to manufacture medicinal products.

You are not alone in contacting me on this issue - many constituents feel similarly strongly. I have examined the arguments and I see the potential e-cigarettes offer as harm-reduction devices to improve human health. I understand that e-cigarettes offer concentrated nicotine to addicts without the 4000 toxins and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, that use of e-cigarettes removes the risk posed to non-smokers (and especially to children of smokers) by second hand smoke, that e-cigarettes appeal to adult smokers seeking to quit but not generally to children or those not yet addicted to nicotine, that traditional nicotine replacement therapies proposed by the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry have had very limited success in helping smokers quit permanently, and that thousands of British e-cigarette users (and millions across the EU and the world) are likely to return smoking if the directive is amended as foreseen and nicotine concentrations are limited to 4mg/ml. Such arguments have led me to conclude that the proposed changes to limit permitted concentrations of nicotine solution sold in the EU are counter-productive and will do more harm than good.

My Conservative colleagues, who sit on the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety are putting forward these arguments and working to convince other MEPs of the foolishness of diluting nicotine solution to the point of uselessness, or of limiting the availability of e-cigarettes by classifying them as a medical device. I would also encourage you to raise awareness among others in the vapourizing community. If you have not already done so I would encourage you to write to your MP and request that they also raise the matter in Westminster. If we bring to the attention of the public, the political world and the media the strong arguments in favour of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction device and the number of lives which can be saved through their use, we have a very strong chance of winning the argument.

The Parliamentary committee vote on revision of the Tobacco Products Directive is now within sight and so I would be happy to receive your comments and suggestions as we move through the committee stage.

Thank you again for writing to me.

I think you'll agree, very positive indeed! Big Grin

Ecigs: A Choice not a Therapy. A lifestyle not a Treatment. Educate and Liberate.
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