Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Who is eCig friendly in the 2015 General Election?

Let's start by being very clear; none of the major parties are eCig friendly. Looking at all the party manifestos shows a complete lack of interest in vapers. Good you may be thinking but with the British exchequer losing so much money to eCigs any party could end up attacking vapers in the future.

What the manifestos say.

The Conservative manifesto says nothing about eCigs and although they haven't attacked vaping whilst in power, they haven't always been the most sensible of governments. Pasty Tax, anyone?

The one openly hostile party is Plaid Cymru saying: "We will introduce better regulation, including stricter marketing rules, on e-cigarettes". Exactly what it is about eCigs that needs "better regulation" is left to your imagination. "Stricter marketing rules" suggests they are supporting the scare stories that vaping appeals to under 18s, obviously it does in a limited way but since they can't buy eCigs it's not an issue and I can't help but find this manifesto pledge troublesome.

The only other Party to mention vaping in their manifesto is the Lib Dems, saying they will "carefully monitor the growing evidence around electronic cigarettes", and adding that they are "a route by which many people are quitting tobacco". Again "growing evidence" is so vague it's hard to know if they are friendly or hostile but since the scientific evidence is consistently positive this may indicate a friendly attitude, at least they acknowledge it helps people quit smoking.

Are there other hints about were the Parties lie.

Another Party often assumed to be friendly is UKIP, they don't mention eCigs in their manifesto but their leader is a smoker and could be described as standing up for smokers' and by extension vapers' rights. His party has been clear they would bring back smoking in pubs and reverse plans to outlaw branding on cigarette packs.

That leaves Labour and SNP as the two parties likely to carry weight after the election and with nothing to say about us vapers. Labour do however have plans to introduce a £150m levy on the profits of tobacco companies to fund improvements in the NHS - a policy backed by the SNP. I have no idea how encouraging Tobacco companies to move to another country helps anything but it's an example of the type of fantasist thinking that may well see eCigs attacked with counter-productive taxes.

One more Party worth considering are Vapers in Power who without question support people using eCigs and if you see them on your ballot paper I'd wholeheartedly encourage you to vote for them. They are a newly formed single-issue political party, who realistically have little chance of winning any seats. A vote for them does however send a very clear message to other politicians on what they can do to win your vote in the future.

Friendly Parties Ranked, based on what little we know.

Vapers in Power - Very Positive.
Lib Dem - Positive-ish (Although they've disappointed many before).
UKIP - Assumed to be positive by many.
Conservatives - Neutral.
Labour - Assumed to be Negative.
SNP - Assumed to be Negative.
Plaid Cymru - Openly Hostile.

Of course the reality is this General Election is going to be a very tight race and issues like the economy, defence, living standards and equality are going to be the deciding factors when we show up at the ballot box. I myself live in a swing seat so a tactical vote based on who I think is better for the economy means I probably won't be able to vote for an eCig friendly party.