Prohibition does not work. In the 1920’s alcohol consumption was made illegal in the USA, this did not stop Americans drinking it simply lead to the illegal supply of alcohol and a gangster culture which although romanticised through the looking-glass of time was in fact a brutal and ugly development. For many years the supply of recreational drugs has been illegal throughout most of the world however many people still use drugs and again the prohibition has lead to a gangster supply economy.
I’m not making an argument for anarchy. When smoking was banned in confined public spaces it reduced my freedom (given that at the time I was a smoker and loved going to pubs) however along with the population as a whole I accepted the ban because although it restricted my freedom it also enhanced the freedom of the non-smoking majority to enjoy their pint without having to passive smoke at the same time. The same point is true of drink/drive legislation, restricting the freedom of people to drive while under the influence of alcohol to give the freedom of safer roads to the majority.
Would adding restrictions to ecigs via the ratification of a European Directive effect your freedom to vape? Clearly it would, but it will not bestow any real freedoms to the majority of the population that do not vape, there is no quid pro quo. As a result of this it seems predictable that attempting to enforce law in this area would be unproductive and ineffective.
We do not yet know ‘exactly’ what restrictions to Ecig sales the European Parliament will be asked to accept or reject within the Tobacco Directive but we do know that the draft proposal suggests that ejuice above 4mg should be subject to licensing as a medical product and we know that a European Council examining the draft has gone further by suggesting that all ejuice containing any nicotine at all should be treated as a medicine. Furthermore it has been suggested that flavours in ejuice should not be allowed. Forcing us to vape only products licensed as medicines would amount to a virtual ban, clinical trials and medical licensing is a very complex and very expensive procedure which would stop new products coming to market and prohibit existing ones.
Particulars & Practicalities
How would a ‘ban’ work in practice? Firstly let us consider the hardware (the batteries, cartridges, atomisers, et al), these can and sometimes are used for vaping zero nicotine ejuice and as such no justification could be made for restricting their sale or use. Secondly vaping flavours could be banned but as many food flavourings can be used in ejuice this would be impractical. Lastly ejuice containing nicotine could be required to have medical licensing but this would look very strange when tobacco containing nicotine AND TAR is legally sold with the catastrophic dangers to health that are well known however never underestimate the stupidity of our elected representatives. There are already many countries in the world that severally control or ban products that contain nicotine but not tobacco products like cigarettes.
Much of the impetus behind the attempts to control vapers originated with opinions expressed that suggested that vaping could ‘normalise’ the act of smoking while more recently there has been a claim that ecigs are a potential ‘gateway’ to smoking. Let us be clear, these opinions are not from experts in the use of ecigs, there are no experts yet because the product is too new to have been thoroughly studied. What we do have is users, people who vape regularly, you and I. We know more about usage patterns than anyone else and I’m sure that we would all agree that vaping is used by us as a cheaper alternative to tobacco and that it is likely that consuming nicotine without the tar from tobacco is probably safer. I can’t imagine a non-smoker thinking that they would like to become a vaper and the idea that they would then follow on and become a smoker as a consequence in just plain dumb.
The above article represents my personal views which are not necessarily those of Ecig Wizard.