Monday, 9 November 2015

Lest we forget EFVI (European Free Vaping Initiative)

This appears to be a timely reminder to all who participated,or wish to find out about the Efvi,approaching it's anniversary on November 25th

Efvi was part of a European Citizens Initiative(ECI) http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/basic-facts that roughly condensed,states that if citizens gain 1 million signatures to a proposal, the European Commission must examine and give valid reasoning for acceptance or rejection,but that it was not obliged to adopt the measure.

I don't wish to write up all of the background to the establishment of the Efvi, or be overly detailed in charting its progress, but rather highlight certain key stages that were memorable to myself

Summer 2013 Establishment of Efvi committee under chairmanship of the instigator Krisztian Pifko, whose task was to prepare the proposed ECI for acceptance

November 25th 2013 ECI Accepted and the 1 year collection timescale(to collect 1 million signatures) begins. However,due to administrative problems in the EU electronic data collection  this start date was delayed until

January 8th 2014 Actual start date

Feb 27th Vapour Trails TV http://www.vapourtrails.tv/ featured this via a very passionate, persuasive Dave Dorn(Hifistud), and the campaign in the UK that had been flagging, started to gain traction.

Early March Efvi-UK (along with other National Efvi eg Efvi -Fr,De,Dk,Es) was initiated to support the Efvi, this involved starting a Fb page,twitter account etc

Early April  Slim Ukv  via  http://ukvapers.org/ Literally hatched an excellent idea:- the Dodobox  which comprised a small cute collection box, supplied to various retail outlets with a purpose made signature sheet. Subsequently a crowdfunding appeal quickly raised ~£2300, and boxes with signature sheets distributed via Regional Co-Ordinators to willing participants.

Early May With collection boxes in place, many hundreds of  signatures were collected(and inputted by unsung volunteers) on a daily basis.The scheme  was so successful that the concept  was offered to other countries, many accepted UK collection boxes with a local language signature collection sheet, or produced their own versions of the box.

June-early July Despite great early success,three events happened that ultimately had a large influence on the success or otherwise of the Efvi signature collection in the UK.

1)  VapefestUK 2014 Organisers refused Efvi-UK a presence at the event, this caused a schism throughout Vaping circles in the UK

2)  A protracted  damaging debate commenced on UKV regarding the legality of the collection scheme introduced via the Dodobox

3) Slim Ukv - the main driving force and instigator of the Dodobox was unable to continue due to his work commitments overseas

From this time onwards,despite continued efforts from all who remained, the number of signatures collected on a daily basis dwindled.


November 25th 2014  The final total  collected from the UK was ~39,000 out of the required minimum total of 54,200(the threshold target that 7 EU countries needed to achieve as part of the 1 million total)

In my opinion this was a fantastic effort from those who were directly involved, and was by far the most successful effort at attempting to mobilise the latent numbers of ~3.8 million UK vapers.Trying to organise anything in the Vaping World has been likened to 'cat-herding' and this albeit briefly bucked that trend.

However,it must be acknowledged that it was of course a FAILURE, it did demonstrate a proof of concept in the Dodobox method of gathering support. Large retailers such as Liberty Flights and Totally Wicked were able to gather thousands of signatures(for an all too brief period) and some bricks and mortar retailers collected up to 400 from a single store.

Summary A great effort made by very enthusiastic amateurs,that was ultimately a failure.Hindsight shows, that no ECI out of all 52 submitted to the EU has achieved any change in policy,sadly a farcical reminder of non- transparency in action!

But was it worth the effort?  YES  

updated 

As a footnote and not wishing to open an argument, some critics were of the opinion that Advocates of the Efvi were obsessed with this, at the expense of all other available actions, such as meeting and letter writing to MP. I can state with certainty,in the case of this author,that was most certainly not the case. Many positives,as highlighted in the commentary below resulted from this ECI, probably the greatest was finding many new like-minded European friends and colleagues.

Another positive,and as a direct result of the Efvi collaboration,was the establishing of  the Daily News service from  http://vapers.org.uk/ which has an ever growing following around the World not just the UK,