Vapers of the EU Unite: Why European Vapers Need to Work Together to Stop an EU Ban on Electronic Cigarettes

James Dunworth
by James Dunworth
February 8, 2013

Two 3d characters shaking hands.

Perhaps because of a common language, there is a lot of knowledge transfer between US, Australian, Canadian and UK bloggers.

Campaigning tips are regularly shared, efforts to ban e-cigarettes have been opposed and the countering of misinformation has involved enthusiasts from all four nations. We may not be able to sign each others petitions, but we have certainly made sure they are spread around the web. And from everywhere to Facebook to forums, from Reddit to Google Plus, vapers are offering each other encouragement, advice and campaigning tips.

(At one point, Professor Carl Phillips, then based in Canada, even offered to present directly to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – although when the MHRA heard, they suprisingly changed their consultation dates!)


The European Flag

Unfortunately, this cooperation does not seem to extend to vapers of the European Untion. Yet, nowhere is this co-operation more imperative than in Europe.

In an EU directive pieced together by an EU commissioner since fired for alleged corruption – a minister who allegedly told a tobacco company that a bribe was necessary because approving reduced harm alternatives was “political suicide” – the EU is proposing an effective ban on e-cigarettes by banning eliquid with a strength higher than 0.4%.

In the UK, a campaign against this is being advised by former director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) UK, Clive Bates.

Under his direction, UK vapers are writing to the MPs and MEPs to express their dismay at the move, and urging politicians to lobby on his behalf.

A number of vapers have already received positive replies and promises to oppose this in the EU parliament.

Yet knowledge of this campaign seems limited to English speaking vapers.

Indeed, when I mentioned this to French blogger, Ghyslain Armand, it was the first he had heard of it.

Imagine how much better it would be if MEPs in EVERY EU country received letters, emails and calls from vapers who are desperate not to be forced back to tobacco cigarettes.

What to do:

3d man stands next to question mark.

It is imperative that we work together to foil the well oiled, well financed and money-motivated campaign to ban the e-cigarette in favour of NRT aids.

Some moves are already taking place. I’m in contact with some French and Greek vapers, and I have seen a call to action in Portugal. But more needs to be done.

Here are a few ideas of what we could do:

  • Explain to vapers in foreign countries what we can do to fight a ban on e-cigarettes.
  • Liaise with electronic cigarette communities abroad where possible – there are usually a good number who can speak English and translate calls to action into their own language.
  • Point foreign vapers towards Clive Bate’s post on fighting the European Union ban.
  • Emphasise the urgency – Clive says we need to get responses in before the 25th February, when the ENVI committee of the European Parliament is meeting to discuss the directive proposal
  • Encourage suppliers abroad to contact their customers and explain that electronic cigarettes are under threat, and how to counter this threat!

Any other ideas? Let me know in the comments!

James Dunworth has been writing about electronic cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction for the Ashtray Blog since 2008, and is a co-author of a University of Alberta study: Electronic Cigarettes (E Cigarettes) as potential harm reduction products.


43 Responses to “Vapers of the EU Unite: Why European Vapers Need to Work Together to Stop an EU Ban on Electronic Cigarettes”

      Johnathan Brown (Sepsis) on February 8th, 2013 11:22 pm

      This is a very, very awesome blog post. Thanks for sharing. I agree we need to do all we can to help keep these bans opposed in EVERY country. Just because its in Europe doesnt mean we can’t do SOMETHING. It is our responsibility as vapers to see that we do all we can.

        Donald Hammond on February 9th, 2013 12:34 am

        Thanks for sharing. we all need to stick together

          Steve Mitchell on February 9th, 2013 3:36 am

          we all need to stick together, if they ban them there they can try and ban them here

            Sabrina Mitchell on February 9th, 2013 3:47 am

            here here

              slap_maxwell on February 9th, 2013 5:46 am

              Great information…there are many powerfreaks and greedheads out to screw vapers over given half a chance…from the local to the state to the national to international. It’s a hell of a fight, but if we don’t do it, no one else will — and we’ll only have ourselves to blame when the sh*t train leaves the station heading in our general direction….

                Ante on February 9th, 2013 7:14 am

                ppl in eu are too pasive about it and they are in smaller numbers unlike in usa.if fda lose in usa,than maybe that can help in eu because they often use usa in croatia and there is not to many vapers so we often dont have problems with e-cigs.but when they ban cigs from bars lots of ppl smoked in regardles that they can pay very high no inspection goes in bars to punnish ppl but ban still stand in eyes of not sure if ppl in eu would do something like we did

                  JamesDunworth on February 9th, 2013 10:23 am

                  Hi Ante, there are a surprising amount of vapers in the EU, and in some countries, like Germany, vaping is huge. The problem is we are disparate, and also that (in the UK at least) consumers are not as organised as in the US – but more is getting done now and an email campaign is starting to take off.

                    saboinia on February 9th, 2013 1:57 pm

                    agreed we need uniTy

                      John "Shub" Fellhoelter on February 9th, 2013 4:34 pm

                      Once one country jumps on this bandwagon, others might as well.
                      Great article

                        Michelle on February 9th, 2013 5:10 pm

                        I agree!!

                          JamesDunworth on February 9th, 2013 5:24 pm

                          “Once one country jumps on this bandwagon, others might as well.” I have seen a very good letter sent by a German vaping group to the EU (see – I’ve emailed them as well to see if they can get people writing to their MEP’s.

                            jimpo42 on February 9th, 2013 8:21 pm

                            good luck guys

                              robovape on February 9th, 2013 9:42 pm

                              i really hope our friends across the pond stop trying to set the nasty precedent for the rest of the civilized world…

                                GhOsT DoGg 79 on February 10th, 2013 3:15 am


                                  gewre on February 10th, 2013 7:51 am
                                    Morrinb on February 11th, 2013 5:21 am

                                    Great article, we do have to work together, regardless of where we are from. Thanks for sharing.

                                      Holden on February 11th, 2013 7:11 am


                                        Holden on February 11th, 2013 7:11 am


                                          Holden on February 11th, 2013 7:12 am

                                          Thats a good review i like it

                                            French Campaign to Save E-Cigs Gets Going - And a Gift for UK Vapers! on February 11th, 2013 11:17 am

                                            […] days after I suggested we needed a Europe wide campaign to fight an EU ban on safer alternatives to smoking, two French bloggers have joined the campaign to save ecigs, urging French vapers to write to their […]

                                              GhOsT DoGg 79 on February 11th, 2013 10:09 pm

                                              very nice i say

                                                Holden on February 13th, 2013 6:52 pm


                                                  Holden on February 13th, 2013 6:53 pm

                                                  good job

                                                    Holden on February 13th, 2013 6:53 pm

                                                    well done

                                                      mrcrunch08 on February 14th, 2013 1:39 am

                                                      Thanks for letting every one know what is going on. Some are having more problems then us.

                                                        Ralph on February 14th, 2013 3:17 am

                                                        damn, why do people gotta pick on vapers. damn ignorant governments

                                                          chuckss on February 14th, 2013 11:30 pm

                                                          Keep up the fight.

                                                            GhOsT DoGg 79 on February 15th, 2013 1:59 pm


                                                              Todd on February 16th, 2013 6:08 am

                                                              One big family indeed! I look forward to where the ban stick comes out less and less (prayers to the vape gods that be!)

                                                                Philippe Caron-Boutin on February 16th, 2013 11:53 pm

                                                                same thing in canada

                                                                  Dai on February 17th, 2013 12:21 am

                                                                  Here’s a good article from the Telegraph that makes a case for ecigs”

                                                                  “The EU situation is more unsettling still. The pharmaceutical industry profits from popular but far less effective methods for quitting tobacco such as patches and gums, and spends more than €40m a year lobbying the EU. In the UK in 2011, nicotine replacement therapies were worth £117m in turnover, largely due to NHS freebies. It’s in Big Pharma’s interest to quash the e-cig, now that 7% of Europeans have tried one and in 2013 they are expected to attract more than a million Britons.

                                                                  Keep an eye on the UK, whose politicians talk righteously, but whose coffers benefit from a whopping £9bn annually in tobacco taxes, dwarfing the £2.7bn smokers cost the NHS each year. (Yet because smokers die seven to 10 years younger, and place little demand on the service once dead, smoking may actually save the NHS money.) If all British smokers switched to e-cigs overnight, the Treasury would be traumatised. The government will never admit to banning e-cigs because it needs the taxes it rakes in from you killing yourself, but watch this space.”

                                                                    Holden on March 1st, 2013 10:42 am


                                                                      Mike Z (WindLvr) on March 23rd, 2013 1:50 am

                                                                      When I started vaping I never thought I would meet the people that I have met. I met a lot more vaping than I ever did smoking. A common goal for all of us is reason enough to stick together!

                                                                        Vapourmate on April 4th, 2013 1:11 pm

                                                                        whats gonna happen when they ban e-liquid in the eu? Will it be banned instantly or will it take time?

                                                                          Monsignore on July 25th, 2014 3:40 am

                                                                          European Free Vaping Initiative:

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