The voting took place on the 16th of February and this is the first time that the European institution has publicly acknowledged the potential of vaping products as smoking cessation tools. On the other hand, highlighted a press release by the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA), the MEPs did not rule out possible future flavour bans. This despite the fact that science has proven that flavoured products are key in enticing smokers to switch from cigarettes to safer alternatives.
Commenting on the development, WVA Director Michael Landl, said that this first step is instrumental in creating a shift towards tobacco harm reduction. “Finally, an EU institution acknowledges that vaping helps smokers to quit. That is a significant step forward in our fight to save lives by reducing the harms caused by smoking. It shows the power of the voice of individual consumers coming together. Now it is the Commission’s turn to no longer ignore science and the experience of millions of consumers.”
Will this vote influence the TPD?
Discussing the fact that MEPs requested flavoured products are labeled as “appealing to children,” President of ANPVU Italy and WVA Advisory Board member, Carmine Canino, said that data have clearly shown the consequences of flavour bans. “Scientists, harm reduction experts as well as consumers have been clear about the negative consequences of banning or even restricting flavours. Again and again research has shown that flavours are essential to reducing smoking among adults. We need our policymakers to listen and act.”
Landl added that these are early days and that it remains to be seen whether this vote will have any impact on the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). “It is crucial that experts and consumers keep raising their voices. It is our hope that the Commission’s future proposals acknowledge harm reduction. We will continue to advocate for our members, ensuring their voices are heard,” concluded Landl.