ETHRA’s monthly roundup of news: Scandinavian plans to ban - Dutch delay on flavour restrictions - Positives for nicotine pouches - Vape tax rollback - NNA letters & recommendations - ETHRA contributes to BECA - Good news about smoking is bad news for anti-smoking groups - Flawed science challenged. Read on for more.
Heated tobacco products flavour ban
At the 18th meeting of the group of experts on tobacco policy the European Commission proposed a delegated act which would see heated tobacco products treated the same as combustible tobacco. If approved it would mean a ban on flavoured HTPs, and the products would have to carry the same health warnings as combustible tobacco.
A ban of flavoured heated tobacco products would negatively impact 600,000 consumers in Poland alone:
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan has been added to the organisation chart for DG SANTE. Note that the chart includes an adviser for stakeholder relations.
The Advocates Voice Shorts series
Over the next two months the Advocates Voice (TAV) will run a series of fortnightly seminars to bring tobacco harm reduction advocates together and advance safer nicotine products globally. Each seminar will start with a short video presentation followed by a live Q&A.
Watch the promotional video here:
Check out the first episode in the series:
The Advocates Voice - The Art of Self Care
Watch TAV shorts here:
Denmark’s Ministry of Health has announced plans to ban the sale of all tobacco and nicotine containing products to anyone born after 2010.
Snus smuggling has become big business for criminals according to Finnish customs authorities. Statistics just released show that customs seized more than 9000 kilos of snus last year compared to just 30 kilos in 2011.
Read more here:
Sixteen experts have called on the government to support vaping. The call is in response to the HCSP (Haut Conseil de la santé publique) updated Opinion which stated that vaping should not be recommended to smokers who wish to quit.
Newly released data from the German Smoking Behaviour Survey (DEBRA) has found that youth vaping has fallen to 0.5%. Of those young people who vape only 0.6% were never smokers.
Read more at the links:
Access the DEBRA study:
More from Germany
The independent German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has recently published an updated opinion on the health risks of nicotine pouches. The Opinion acknowledges that switching from smoking to nicotine pouches represents a reduction in risk for smokers.
Read the opinion here:
The Minister of Health, Willum Þór Þórsson, has proposed an amendment to the law on e-cigarettes and refills which would ban flavours in nicotine products such as vapes and nicotine pouches.
Positive news for Italian vapers. Tax rates will return to 2021 levels on 1 April, after the 2022 increase was repealed. Tax on nicotine e-liquids will decrease from €0.175/ml to €0.13, non-nicotine e-liquids will decrease from €0.13/ml to €0.08.
The Dutch flavour ban has been postponed by 6 months because RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) put several carcinogenic ingredients on the allowed list of flavourings. Also on the approved list are several oil-soluble flavourings.
A study conducted by Sigma Dos, on behalf of the Union of Vaping Promoters and Entrepreneurs (UPEV), has found that 76% of current vapers have completely quit smoking.
The presentation of the Sweden flavour ban bill has been delayed until 31 March. Consumers are being urged to get involved with the various campaigns which have been launched to save flavours.
The New Nicotine Alliance has made a submission to the Independent Review of tobacco policy in England. In it they outline 20 policy proposals which address smoking and health disparities.
More from the NNA
The NNA wrote to the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency with suggestions which would make life easier for millions of UK vapers, and also help the government in its goal of achieving smokefree status by 2030.
More from the UK
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, has urged the government to cut the rate of VAT on vaping products from 20% to 5%. The move would incentivise smokers to transition to low-risk alternatives to smoking.
ETHRA contribution to BECA
In February 2021 the Special Committee on Beating Cancer held a public consultation on the Impact of COVID19 on cancer prevention, health services, cancer patients and research. The key recommendations have now been published in an overview report of the outcomes, work & activities of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer. ETHRA is listed as a contributor (pages 319 & 334).
“Furthermore, most respondents emphasised the escalated use of combustible tobacco products and posed their concerns regarding the health effects. In light of the imposed lockdowns and quarantines, some organisations highlighted the limited access to noncombustible tobacco products and/or other nicotine products in multiple European countries”
Read ETHRA's submission here:
See the BECA activity report here:
When the good news about smoking is bad news for anti-smoking groups
March saw the publication of the much anticipated National Youth Tobacco Survey in the USA. The headline news was that frequent smoking among high school students has almost disappeared, at just 0.4%. However, rather than celebrate this win for public health, anti-tobacco groups took the opportunity to attack tobacco harm reduction products.
A team of international researchers examined the most frequently cited vaping studies and found that the majority were methodologically flawed. Tobacco control research is in need of serious and urgent reform.
Relative risk study, reviewed
A review of a recent study which claimed that vaping could be a third as harmful as smoking has led to calls for the paper to be retracted.
Cigarettes sales rise in US states that banned vaping
Banning low-risk alternatives to smoking leads to an increase in cigarette sales - shock report finds.
Read the study here:
Gateway debunked, again
A study examining vaping among young adults in England has found no evidence of a gateway from vaping to smoking.
Something to watch:
Watch all the videos here: