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MEP left fuming over EU plans for e-cigarettes
A WEST Midlands MEP is campaigning on behalf of e-cigarette users and businesses to stop the European Parliament from over-regulating the industry.
We Demand a Referendum Now MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who represents Wyre Forest, has criticised proposals made in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) as she said it could lead to too many regulations, causing an effective ban.
Despite an outright ban being rejected last year, Miss Sinclaire claims that the Parliament seems "determined" to make it happen which would be damaging to the health of many e-cigarette users, known as vapers.
She said: "Although the TPD aims to discourage younger people from smoking and looks to make smoking as a whole less attractive, an effective ban on e-cigarettes would actually push many of the vapers to start smoking traditional cigarettes again."
A Stourport e-cigarette franchise owner echoed Miss Sinclaire's concerns. George Makry, of Vape HQ, said he believed about 80 per cent of users would resort back to traditional cigarettes if a ban went ahead.
There is an estimated 1.3 million current users of e-cigarettes in the UK.
This week, the Government announced it would ban under 18s from buying e-cigarettes but many businesses, including Vape HQ, already have their own over 18 policy.
Miss Sinclaire added: "Thousands upon thousands of e-cigarettes users have contacted me in despair at the thought that e-cigarettes could be taken off the market.
"For many of these people, this has been the only way of effectively quitting cigarettes - other stop smoking methods simply have not worked.
"What isn't surprising is how hard the tobacco lobby is pushing for a ban on e-cigarettes. The tobacco industry will benefit from an e-cigarette ban.
"Here in the West Midlands I also see e-cigarette retailers opening in every area - a ban on e-cigarettes would also kill off these thriving businesses."
Mr Makry added: "Obviously I'd be against a EU-wide ban. There are a lot of people that are going from 40-a-day smokers down to zero.
"I believe that people that come back in to see us look a lot healthier for vaping. You can see it in their skin, its more hydrated."
Kidderminster-based charity Forces Support, which offers the bereaved families of servicemen and women assistance, raises money from the sale of e-cigarettes due to its partnership with Bromsgrove-based E-Lites.
E-Lites donated £10,000 worth of stock to the charity and is also sponsoring a fund-raising football tournament in May.
Forces Support founder Bill McCance said: "It's a much appreciated donation. From what I understand from the research I've done, they are not harmful.
"If there was anything harmful in there we would have said 'no thank you'. If that changes, we would change too."
The charity has so far raised £3,000 from the sale of the E-Lites at its eight shops across the West Midlands.
Miss Sinclaire, who is one of seven MEPs representing the West Midlands, is also calling on e-cigarette users to lobby their MEPS on the issue.
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