Share:

 

The Dutch Minister for Health is proposing to ban all e liquid flavours (except for tobacco flavour).

There is a consultation open until 19 January so please give your views.

It is an easy consultation to do - you only have to answer this one question:

“What do you think of the draft regulations?”

You can either type your answer into the text box or upload a document.
After putting your details in you will be presented with some settings, including whether to make your response public. Please make your response public if you wish it to be included on the consultation webpage.

After submitting your response you will receive an email and you will need to click on the hyperlink in there to confirm your submission.

The Overheid.nl website is only available in Dutch so please use Google translate or similar to translate the page into your language. Here it is in English:

 

We consumers know better than anyone that flavours are key to vaping’s success and we need to tell the politicians this. Even Nicotine Replacement Products come in different flavours!

Sadly, Denmark voted to ban e liquid flavours in December. Having two member states banning flavours just before the TPD review could have disastrous consequences Europe-wide.

Please take just a few minutes to oppose this flavour ban.

DON’T FORGET TO CLICK ON THE HYPERLINK IN THE EMAIL TO CONFIRM YOUR SUBMISSION

Links

Consultation page
https://www.internetconsultatie.nl/smaakjes/reageren

Acvoda article on why the basis for the ban is wrong
The flavour ban - regulations based on an inadequate fact sheet / Het Smaakverbod – Regelgeving gebaseerd op ondeugdelijke factsheet.

The proposals (Dutch)
Besluit van Staatssecretaris van Volksgezondheid,Welzijn en Sport van houdende de regulering van smaken voor e-sigaretten can be downloaded from this page

The proposals (English translation)
Decree of the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport of regulating ecigarette flavors [link]

English translation for the NET factsheet [link]

ETHRA’s letter from July
Proposed flavour ban in the Netherlands - letter

Image credit: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Share:

 

2020 has been a busy year for tobacco harm reduction in Europe. Here we give you some of the news from December and look ahead to what is expected in 2021. Most importantly, there are 3 calls to action: 1) give your feedback to the EU tax roadmap, 2) respond to the NL consultation and 3) share our big consumer survey.

 

Tobacco Harm Reduction needs YOU!

Please take these 3 actions over the holidays:

 

1. EU tax roadmap

The EU Tax Directive is being revised and the Commission are considering the inclusion of vaping and “novel tobacco products” in the Directive. 
You can give your feedback to the roadmap consultation for tax (link) before 5 January. 
All the feedback submitted so far is here (link), including ETHRA’s (link).
See Vapolitique’s article for more information (link).

 

2. Netherlands flavour ban consultation

Please respond to the public consultation on banning most e-liquid flavours, ends 16 January (CONSULTATION LINK). 

ETHRA wrote this letter to protest against the ban in July (link)
Dr Farsalinos and colleagues also wrote, their letter is here (link)
The translation for the NET factsheet used to justify the ban (link), and the original (link)
Follow Acvoda (link) and ETHRA (link) on Twitter for updates.

 

3. ETHRA survey

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make our EU Nicotine Users survey so successful. 34,000 consumers have already participated, which is fantastic. Please help to get even more impressive numbers by sharing the survey far and wide. Survey ends on 31st December.
https://euronicotinesurvey.urlweb.pro/s/index.php?a=JTk2cSU5QWolOTglQUU=&id=JTk3ciU5N2glOUQlQUQ=

 

News updates

 

Denmark

On 15 December the Danish Parliament voted to adopt the Bill which will ban most e-liquid flavours, mandate plain packaging for vaping products and ban displays and advertising.
For updates please follow DADAFO on Facebook, here .
We will also be adding news as it comes in to our If you tolerate this then YOUR flavours will be next article.

 

Estonia

Very good news from Estonia where the Parliament has voted to suspend collection taxes on eliquids, in order to reduce illicit trade. See NNA Smokefree Estonia’s press release for the full story (link).

 

Italy

A tax on eliquids and heated tobacco products has just been voted in. The taxes could increase by 300%, see this table from ANPVU:

 Italy taxation

 

See Sigmagazine for more information (link).

 

Netherlands

Vapers are now cut off from their supplies as vape shops are closed under the current COVID-19 lockdown and online sales are banned. Austrian vapers will soon be in the same position when their 3rd lockdown begins after Christmas, as online sales are also banned there.

 

Spain
As we reported recently (link) the Spanish government recently released a biased and inaccurate report into vaping. ANESVAP warns that the report is paving the way for harsh restrictions, expected to be introduced early next year.

 

UK
The UK is leaving the EU on 1st January. A public consultation into the domestic legislation for the TPD, the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (link) is now overdue. The review should be held in May 2021. The APPG on vaping has recently launched “COP INQUIRY” a consultation relating to FCTC’s COP (link).

 

What is coming up in 2021?

 

Relax as much as you can over the holidays because 2021 will be even busier than 2020.

The SCHEER final opinion is now overdue with SCHEER planning to adopt the final opinion at the next SCHEER plenary meeting on 3-4 March 2021 (link). We hope that the delay is due to the report getting a drastic rewrite, after the widespread condemnation of the preliminary opinion.

The report for Europe’s Beating Cancer plan is also overdue, so we can expect to see that in the New Year too.

There will be a public consultation into the tax directive, as mentioned on the current roadmap consultation page (link).

The TPD review (link) will be published in May 2021. Everyone who supports tobacco harm reduction will need to be ready to fight for it when this review is published.

The FCTC’s COP9 (link) is due to be held in the Netherlands in October. Expect the outcome of the TPD review to have a big influence on COP.

 

Finally, we would like to thank you all for your support and wish you a very Happy Christmas!

Seasons greetings

 Original image Krisjanis Mezulis on Unsplash

 

Share:

 

On Wednesday 2nd December, the Special Committee on Beating Cancer of the European Parliament (BECA) convened a hearing with leading specialists in cancer prevention entitled “Facilitating a healthy lifestyle: how to reduce cancer related lifestyle risk factors.” This was the first committee hearing to focus on prevention.

Before introducing the experts, Chair of the BECA, Bartosz Arłukowicz, opened the hearing by stressing the importance of preventative measures in combating cancer, stating that 40% of cancer cases in Europe are preventable.

Expert speakers

Professor Ute Mons got to the crux of the problem right away by pointing out that cigarettes are the most dangerous consumer product on the market due to combustion, and that smoking causes one in five cancers in the EU. Mons’ presentation was very focused on tobacco control measures and she extolled the virtues of the FCTC guidelines and MPOWER in reducing smoking. Plain packaging in particular, she suggested, had been very effective in reducing smoking rates and she proposed that this should be made mandatory for tobacco products. She finished by saying there is scope to strengthen EU legislation, especially the Tax Directive and Tobacco Products Directive. Professor Mons couldn’t stay for questions but invited the members of the Committee to submit questions in writing, which would be answered and published on the Committee’s website.

Professor Nataliya Chilingirova also spoke about lung cancer and prevention, reiterating Prof Mons’ earlier point that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women, with smoking responsible for 90% of lung cancers. For this reason, she said, prevention strategies play a key role in fighting cancer, smoking cessation being the most important. Regarding novel tobacco products she said that although the WHO takes a restrictive approach to novel products and does not endorse them, exposure to toxicants is reliably lower and this difference in risk should be reflected in legislation.

With the expert presentations completed the hearing moved on to questions and comments from MEP’s. Most of the MEPs referred to tobacco as a cause (the culprit is combustion, not tobacco per se) but there were a few notable contributions which addressed risk reduction and vaping.

MEP contributions

Kateřina Konečná talked about the complex problem of reaching left behind groups and those on the fringes of society. Konečná said that although complete abstinence may be the goal of public health it is unrealistic, and so harm reduction should be considered.

Directing questions to Professor Mons, rapporteur of the Beating Cancer committee Véronique Trillet-Lenoir asked about neutral packaging, mandatory health warnings and banning flavours for tobacco products.

Sarah Cerdas wanted to know what the experts’ opinions were on new tobacco products and what evidence was available to MEP’s to enable them to reach informed decisions when legislating for these new products.

Next to speak was Peter Liese, whose contribution was the most positive towards harm reduction thus far. Liese opened by saying that lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking, can provide the greatest benefit in reducing the risks of cancer. Pointing out the difficulty some people have in giving up smoking, he suggested that the committee need to be more open towards e-cigarettes. To further make the point he recalled comments from WHO expert Dr Shultz to the health working group in February where he said, “there is no scenario in which e-cigarettes are more dangerous than tobacco (smoking).” He ended by saying that there is a need to make sure that e-cigarettes are not more difficult to access than tobacco, and asked the speakers their opinions on this.

Echoing earlier contributions, Dolors Montserrat said that there is a need to examine ways of reducing risk for tobacco users.

Pietro Fiocchi wasted no time in getting to the point with his first question. “Vaping – we know it has some negative effects, but scientific studies show a much lower incidence of lung cancer. What is your position (Prof Mons) on this, considering the negative position taken by Commissioner Kyriakides on this topic?” He went on to ask about studies on the effects of high taxation on tobacco and alcohol products, saying that some studies show they are counterproductive, especially for young people.

Tomislav Sokol focused on the broader topic of tobacco harm reduction, including snus. He enquired if, given the EU’s scepticism towards THR products and the alleged lack of evidence, there should be more EU funded research on the topic in order to facilitate a common EU policy.

The final MEP to speak was Andrey Slabakov, who emphasised the importance of cancer prevention, and asked what strategies could be employed to help those groups of long term smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking.

The floor was then handed back to Professor Chilingirova to address some of the questions raised by the MEP’s. Her thoughts on harm reduction and novel tobacco products were especially insightful: she said that alternatives are important as restrictions do not work for those who have made a personal choice to smoke, that stigmatisation is not a helpful tactic and that restrictions which apply to cigarettes should not be placed on novel products. She added that the data to date shows that novel products are reduced risk products and they are a good option for smokers that don’t want to quit.

Overall, the hearing was more positive than expected. The fact that several members of this very important and influential committee recognised the need for harm reduction strategies is a positive development and one to be cautiously optimistic about. The opportunity is now there for consumers and advocates to build on this by contacting their MEP’s and getting the message across that harm reduction matters.

 

Beating Cancer Plan timeline

Mr Bartosz Arłukowicz, BECA Chair, confirmed the Cancer Plan has been delayed from December 2020 to the beginning of 2021

 

Resources

Professor Mons' replies to written questions from MEP's [link]

Presentations from the BECA hearing [link]

Facilitating a healthy lifestyle: how to reduce cancer related lifestyle risk factors, public hearing [link]

Share:

 

Guest post from ANESVAP, Spanish THR consumer association and ETHRA partner.

Last week the Spanish Ministry of Health published a horrifyingly biased report on e-cigarettes. We believe that the purpose of the report is to justify e-liquid flavour bans and punitive taxation on vaping products, proposals which are expected in 2021.

The Spanish government’s report shares striking similarities with the recently published SCHEER preliminary Opinion on e-cigarettes, a key element of the review report of TPD2. Scientists and other experts have roundly criticised the SCHEER  preliminary Opinion for lacking objectivity and ignoring evidence. We are now waiting to see if SCHEER can redeem their reputation with the final Opinion, expected next month. Unfortunately, there is no such hope for the Spanish report, as the final version - which was issued without any public consultation - is already published.

COVID has shown us how vital it is for governments to issue accurate and evidence-based information on matters of science, but the Spanish Health Ministry has ignored this lesson. The report makes many false statements and cherry picks evidence in order to justify its conclusions that vaping products should be regulated in the same way as combustible tobacco products. Here are some of the report’s failings:

  • Ignores huge volume of studies which show that vaping helps smokers to quit
  • Attempts to show that restrictive regulations are needed to avoid youth uptake, when there is no evidence of the so-called “gateway effect” in Europe
  • Uses “EVALI” as a scare tactic, despite the lung disease outbreak being isolated to the US and having nothing to do with e-cigarettes
  • Falsely presents Public Health England’s findings that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking as a minority opinion
  • Hides that PHE’s position has been updated 5 times since 2015 and pretends that evidence has disproved it
  • Refers in several places to the effects of combustion, despite there being no combustion involved in vaping
  • Says that e-cigarettes are “advertised as harmless” when any such advertising is prohibited under the TPD
  • Claims that nicotine has an adverse effect on Covid, when the evidence so far suggests the opposite
  • Says that harm reduction is a commercial strategy, conveniently ignoring the experiences of an estimated 68m vapers worldwide, who have chosen to adopt the far less harmful alternative to smoking.

A possible economic motive for denigrating these very popular alternatives to cigarettes is revealed by the report’s recommendation that vaping products should be taxed along the same lines as combustible tobacco products.

Spain has a very real smoking problem: 34% of the population smokes every day and smoking rates are at the same level as in 2005. France and the UK, by contrast, have seen smoking rates drop, as governments there are open to the opportunities offered by tobacco harm reduction.

Anesvap’s Ángeles Muntadas-Prim Lafita is appalled that her government should want to restrict access to the popular and effective exit ramp from smoking:

“The Spanish Ministry of Health, facing the scandal of having its smoking rates escalating to reach those of 2005, diverts its responsibility with a biased and unscientific report that requires the immediate resignation of its General Director of Public Health, Pilar Aparicio. A position statement in which PHE is slandered, where a Machiavellian use of the Estudes data is made and almost completely based on the SCHEER draft which has not even reached its final conclusion by the EU, is simply a report that lacks a scientific basis and denies the real experiences of hundreds of thousands of people who have managed to give up smoking thanks to these products. It is from the successful experiences of the consumers that we know of the effectiveness of vaping as a mechanism for smoking cessation, just as it is from a scientific point of view that we know of its merits as a harm reduction tool to fight smoking. The Ministry of Health will find us users in the front line, armed with the scientific evidence and our successful experiences.”

The mood music in Europe is now extremely worrying, with Denmark and the Netherlands also expected to bring in anti tobacco harm reduction laws next year. These national level policies will have regional and even global effects, as member state positions influence the TPD2 review, and the outcome of the review will determine the EU’s position for WHO’s COP9, in November 2021. We should all be very concerned.

 

LINKS

ANESVAP website (LINK), Facebook page (LINK), Twitter (LINK)

The report: INFORME SOBRE LOS CIGARRILLOS ELECTRÓNICOS: SITUACIÓN ACTUAL, EVIDENCIA DISPONIBLE Y REGULACIÓN (LINK)

The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020 report estimates there are 68m vapers worldwide (LINK)