In the House of Lords Lord Callanan has put down a motion which if passed would stop implementation of the TPD in the UK. This is a critical development.
Why this is different
Lord Callanan: is a hugely experienced senior politician. In the European Parliament he both advised us how to campaign against medicalisation and led the successful campaign to block regulation that would have wiped out e-cigarettes. Nobody has been more effective at defending vaping than him.
Unless Lord Callanan is forced by pressure from Downing Street to withdraw his motion there will be a debate and a vote. Under parliamentary rules if the Lords agree to this motion the statutory instrument implementing the TPD in the UK will fall. Such procedures are called “fatal motions” because the regulations get killed outright and do not go back to the Commons.
(For geeks: the Lords have until 10 June to vote against this delegated legislation. That will be the end of the 40 days of “praying time” during which a successful motion can block the statutory instrument. This is the case even though the law has previously gone into effect as the TPD will on 20 May.)
The Lords are strongly against the TPD rules on vaping as was shown in last week’s debate in the House of Lords.
Government and Opposition
They know there are severe problems with the TPD’s rules on vaping. Government officials have acknowledged that they could increase smoking and the health minister told the Lords that he hoped enforcement would be more 'Italian' than traditional British.
The shadow minister said that he could not understand why e-cigarettes were included in the TPD and described opposition to vaping as “bonkers”. Two years ago his boss, Jeremy Corbyn, signed a parliamentary motion against the TPD rules on vaping.
As politicians see increasing vaper pressure they are already trying to be creative in finding a solution. Technically the EU could start “infraction proceedings” against the UK for not fully implementing Article 20, but this would prove bad timing. This is not the time encourage anti-EU sentiment!
Why we will succeed
There are more of us.
In 2013, despite huge pressure from the EU commission, vaper power helped swing the day. At that time there were 1.3 million vapers in the UK. Now there are 2.8 million of us.
Westminster and Brussels have reasons to be helpful. With top doctors such as the Royal College of Physicians coming out strongly in support of e-cigarettes, politicians are finally seeing the evidence that some of the rules are no longer fit for purpose.
As we saw last week, a majority of vapers want to leave the EU. Politicians (at least those who are in favour of the UK remaining in the EU) will not want to see vapers decide their referendum votes on this issue.
What you can do
If ever there was a day for vaper power this is it! Last time round, it was the letters and social media support that won so many MEPs to our cause.
So let us respectfully urge our leaders to use the opportunity provided by Lord Callanan’s motion to rethink the specific problems we have with TPD.
Tweet: send your support for the #LordsVapeVote to @Number10gov @jeremycorbyn @MartinCallanan. (Update: #LordsVapeVote is now trending on twitter!)
Petition: Here is one ready to go, and in just a few hours it has already attracted 1000's of signatures. Add yours now: Petition to Parliament
When vapers work together they are an unstoppable force. If we do not take today’s opportunity presented by Lord Callanan’s initiative then we could have to wait until around 2026 for the next Tobacco Products Directive to be implemented for even a chance of improvement.
So wait ten years - or tweet today like you have never tweeted before.