The EPRS is the in-house research service of the European Parliament, which provides independent, objective briefing on EU issues, policy & law. The aim is forwarding this unbiased data is sent to all Members of the European Parliament as background material to assist them in their parliamentary work. So it is an important piece of information for MEPs and their staff.
Towards a ‘tobacco-free generation’ by 2040
Documents leaked earlier this year pertaining to the EC’s “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan” (EBCP), indicated a goal of creating a ‘tobacco-free generation’ by 2040. According to these documents the plan is based on four key pillars: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care – with seven flagship initiatives and a number of supporting actions.
The official draft was presented to Europe’s Health Ministers on the 16th of March, allowing for an exchange of views on the plan. Meanwhile, the document has raised alarm amongst Europe’s tobacco harm reduction and vaping groups.
The plan ignores tobacco harm reduction
“Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is a historic chance to beat cancer and the Commission is about to botch it. Vaping is not the same as smoking and treating the two as the same is a mistake that could prevent thousands of smokers from quitting. What we have seen in the leaked plan is very concerning and I hope that the version announced will correct this flawed approach,” said World Vapers Association (WVA) Director, Michael Landl.
The WVA had revealed that the plan seeks to implement the following:
- extend taxation to “novel tobacco products”, including vaping
- extend the coverage of the smoking bans indoor and outdoor to e-cigarettes
- ban flavours.
The EPRS report lists the reactions to the plan, and sadly only a minority of the stakeholders seemed to identify the problematic aspects of this plan. The WVA was quoted as follows: “The World Vapers’ Alliance is concerned about the bias the plan demonstrates against vaping, and that it ‘is allowing ideology to get in the way of science’ and ‘ignores the wealth of evidence showing that vaping represents only less than half of one percent of the cancer risk that smoking does’. According to the alliance, in addition to ignoring the evidence supporting vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking, the plan equates vaping to smoking in some of its parts. The alliance argues that, if vaping is subject to the same rules as cigarettes, then those who give up smoking thanks to vaping will see smoking become, relatively speaking, more appealing, which goes against what the EU is hoping to achieve.”