Ever wondered how the EU does business? Ever wanted to see how our elected MEP’s present themselves on a day to day basis? You can, you know. Because the EU being a transparent democratic institution, broadcasts its goings on on the web. https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/home That’s nice of them. It’s not exactly riveting viewing, in fact it counts as a sedative or possibly tranquilizer if consumed in large enough doses. Better to stick to small pieces at a time.
This week one of the highlights for me was the ENVI Committee Meeting, specifically item 16. Yes, we have a exciting life here in our house. No Netflix needed when the EU committees are available. https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/envi-committee-meeting_20200218-1430-COMMITTEE-ENVI_vd
In all seriousness, I watched this because item 16 was “an exchange of views on e-cigs by members” or some such title. They gave 40 minutes or so to the subject and to be frank very little was to be learned from this. Little apart from how poorly informed MEP’s are and that they seem to depend on crib sheets a lot, sheets which they seem to have received just as they walked in and hadn’t read or understood. I say most because their were notable exceptions. There were also exceptions who didn’t care what information they were provided, they were going on a solo run anyway.
I’ll recap the highlights and get to the point of this as quick as posible because I don’t want to inflict on you the suffering I went through watching this waste of time.
Cesar Luena Lopez from Spain chaired the meeting and introduced Andrzej Rys from Poland who brought us up to speed on e-cig regulation in the EU, he did a good job of covering how the EU’s regulation had saved us from the EVALI outbreak as happened in the US. However he failed to mention that THC was a major component of this ‘outbreak’ .
Next up was our own Mairead McGuinness, (VP EU Parliament). Mairead’s performance was disappointing to say the least, she reiterated all the anti points, youth use, health problems in the US, again not mentioning THC’s role. She puts on the green jersey and gives a mention of the Coombe study on pregnant smokers versus pregnant vapers but I got the impression this was for the home audience. Mairead knows the facts, her office is well informed and I was disappointed she never offered any of this information to the committee. An exchange of views should include some pertinent information instead of framing everything as a question.
This questioning seem to be the order of the day as all the speakers asked questions, none asked directly about the EVALI but one guy Peter Liese – Germany did directly ask if the commission had anything to offer about the US situation. I got the impression he knew the answer and was asking for it to be ‘read into the record‘. However even he didn’t mention THC or cannabis. Someone tried to shut him up but he insisted he had lots of time and continued. Fair play.
The chair studiously avoided answering his questions, instead saying CBD may be tainted with Vitamin E and CBD needed to be brought under the TPD or some guff. I’m getting suspicious that mentioning THC or cannabis has been forbidden by someone.
Veronique Trillet-Lenoir – France, Basically read her crib sheet and sat down. Obvious she hadn’t a clue because several of her talking points contradicted each other, e.g. e-cigs have contributed to a 6 % drop in smoking, followed by we should ban them from public places. Yeah, it almost sounds like you want to protect smoking.
Then Michele Rivasa from the Greens spoke. Oh lord! Not only did she not know anything about e-cigs but she wants a full ban, a flavor ban, a tax, whatever and generally she doesn’t like them. She did waive her arms about a lot and seemed to get quite excited. She’s the solo run I referred to earlier, at least I hope it was a solo run and not green policy because it came across as ill informed prohibitionism.
The rest just repeated the same questions we had already had and also studiously avoided mentioning THC or cannabis though all mentioned CBD. Hmmmm..
Then back to Andrzej Rys to round up the answers and offer some information to the muppets… sorry, MEP’s who attended. Again he defended the TPD as it stands, admitted the current panic is driven by the situation in the US and half mentioned cannabis, though he lowered his voice and quickly moved on after ths slip.
One interesting piece of info from his answer was the fact the FCTC has classed heated tobacco products as E-Cigs. In a way they are right, it’s not smoking but it’s also not a vaping product in the sense e-cigs are. It contains tobacco so is an actual tobacco product. The EU is miffed about this as they want the tax revenue due on tobacco products. The EU is consulting with the ‘best people’ the FDA and the WHO as to the scientific evidence.
Not promising as all these are staunchly anti vaping. What can I say? If this is the level of ‘views’ then it’s not encouraging. Our MEP’s seem to be ignorant of any fact, fed nonsense by their advisers and have no hope of getting correct information as no one would mention the elephant in the room; THC pens. This is part of the wind up to the TPD3 so it doesn’t look good. Along with the push from various cancer, respiratory and lung bodies for an all out ban. Vaping could be in trouble come 2022.
Time to contact your MEP and set them right, remember TPD3 will be adopted by a vote of the EU parlament, we stopped medical regulation last time by contacting MEP and we will have to do it again. This time there are far more of us.