Overwhelmed Underdog: Thoughts from the All Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigs

A guest blog post from Ian Green ( @ECigologist )

A tipple and vape in London (photo Ian Green)

It wasn’t my intention to blog about my day in London on Monday the 7th of December. I had however intended to provide a quick update via a continuing thread on a vaping Facebook group that provoked many thoughts on the impact of the TPD last weekend.

I’d been invited to attend a couple of events. First was a presentation by Ian Jones PhD, Corporate, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Vice President, Emerging Markets- JTI.

The presentation looked at how the industry would manage as the TPD deadlines move ever closer.
It was a very interesting couple of hours that focussed on the need for due diligence, product stewardship, supplier cooperation and other practical issues that need to be addressed.  It wasn’t an all “doom and gloom” affair. Far from it. It did however emphasise the need for anyone seriously contemplating their future within the vaping industry to take a deep breath and prepare for a somewhat frustrating and uncertain few years. There were many helpful suggestions made to help overcome some of the more complex hurdles and an open debate followed due to several of us interpreting sections of the TPD documents very differently!  I’ll touch on that again soon.

At this venue, Church House on Great Smith Street at the rear of the Houses of Parliament,  I met some familiar faces from within the vaping industry and became acquainted with many more.

 photo Westminister Mod_zps3aneba8g.png
Houses of Parliament, London (image by Abigail Cottrill)

We then moved into the Houses of Parliament itself for a drinks reception held in the Strangers Dining Room. The reception was hosted by the APPG, The All Party Parliamentary Group on E-Cigarettes. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after a high level security check-in, just like airport customs, we met with MPs, Lords, vaping advocates and other industry colleagues. Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby, addressed the attendees, confirmed his support for vaping and acknowledged the need for change in the way vapers are treated.

Now I’m not sure where all this is going but I’m prepared to get involved as I’ve been invited to attend and contribute at futute meetings.  I’ll provide updates via FB and or Twitter.

Now all this sounds very cordial and informative I’m sure. But what was confirmed to me throughout the day, is why there’s so much confusion on the subject of the TPD.

It’s because EVERYONE’S confused!!!!

Should I use the word confused? Surely being confused is when there are too many clear options available?  Perhaps, simply dazzled by the complexity of the TPD.   Every document I’ve ever seen  is as clear as mud.

So I’m not sure!

On a serious note and, despite many things still requiring clarification (hence the lack of understanding), there was a lot of optimism on display.

Now I’m optimistic; I’m optimistic that one day soon I too will understand the full implications of the TPD without giving a toss what anyone else thinks. By that I mean:  not needing to ask for a second,third or fourth opinion.  I can already hear the laughter.

Because it’s all so ambiguous:  a grand reception room in the Houses Of Parliament containing some of the most clued up people with an interest in the whole Vaping saga,  they couldn’t clearly interpret it!

However, they agree to disagree.
It all appeared most agreeable!

For the record, I understand the frustrations kicking about; the sense of anger & the probable impact of this bureaucratic EU lunacy. However, we have to keep positive and work with what we have at the moment. It’s a long game being played. That’s a given.

Do I really think it’s all over? No I don’t. Do the people I met on Monday think it’s all over. No THEY don’t! Are the next 18 months going to be easy? No they’re not.

I’m in favour of “rallying the troops” not “retiring with a bloody nose”.

The Advocates that have been setting the example over the past four or so years (and there are too many to name here) deserve better than that. And so do the smokers yet to discover the benefits and joys of Vaping.

Negatives and Positives; they need each other. Most vapers understand that logic surely? So I’m happy to read and hear opposing opinions. That’s how we learn and develop our understanding.

At the moment there are more questions than answers and I for one appreciate the commentaries being transmitted that attempt to unravel the mysteries of how this world works.

Never in a million years did I see myself caught up in political cross-fire, and it’s obvious to most that it goes beyond just the moral injustices that vaping endures.

Finally, I’ve openly admitted before that I find this arena completely overwhelming and I’ve also taken onboard the observations that this is an uphill struggle. It won’t be any suprise that I take a great deal of comfort knowing that we’re all part of an underdog community taking on the might of bureaucracy and powerful industries that normally crush everything beneath them!

I’d also like fellow vapers to consider this too: being an underdog goes hand in hand with being underestimated. That’s one fact that doesn’t confuse me!

Vapefest 2015 (Ian Green)
Vapefest 2015 (photo Ian Green)

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