In this guest post ETHRA partner Sovape writes on the adoption of the Subcommittee on Public Health report on non-communicable diseases by the ENVI Committee in the European Parliament. The original article, in French, is available here.
The ENVI Committee of the European Parliament has voted on a report on non-communicable diseases, recognising the role of vaping in smoking cessation and making harm reduction a pillar of public health policies. SOVAPE welcomes this progress while remaining vigilant about certain ambiguous points.
On November 8, 2023, Members of the European Parliament in the ENVI Committee (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) adopted a Report1 aimed at preventing and reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the European Union (EU).
Addressing numerous serious health conditions, including cancers, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases, for which smoking is a major risk factor. The report proposes various measures to combat NCDs, with a focus on harm reduction as a pillar of public health policies. It represents a strong and welcome shift toward harm reduction by the European Parliament, as demonstrated by:
- The significant importance of policies integrating harm reduction to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs);
- The role of vaping in smoking cessation;
- The significance of science, evidence-based data, and sharing best practices in the development of public health policies.
If the current wording remains for the plenary session (vote expected on December 112), then the European Parliament would send a signal for the consideration of harm reduction in health policy. Thus, the European Commission would find it difficult to ignore the principle of harm reduction in the development of the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD)3, which regulates vaping products.
There are other factors in the text which will impact vaping that we must pay close attention to: support for a revision of the directive on tobacco taxes (TED) without public debates, which is strange from a democratic perspective and concerning for harm reduction products 4; the demand for the "full implementation" of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organization (WHO), without a debate on the European role in its orientation5.
We should also consider the influence of various lobbying groups.6
- Sub-Committee on Public Health Report on NCDs Final Compromise Amendments
- MEPs call for a holistic and integrated EU strategy on non-communicable diseases
- SOVAPE appelle la Commission à respecter la réduction des risques / SOVAPE calls on the Commission to respect harm reduction
- Rapport sur l’EU NICOTINE USERS SURVEY 2020 : l’essor de la réduction des risques / EU NICOTINE USERS SURVEY 2020 report: the rise of harm reduction
- Réduction des risques : Lettre ouverte au Haut-commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits humains / Harm reduction: Open letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Menaces de l’OMS sur le vapotage, quatre associations lancent l’alerte / WHO threats to vaping, four associations sound the alarm