happy new year

ETHRA’s monthly roundup of news: ETHRA in the European Parliament - NCD report adopted - Irish vape consultation - Merci la vape - COP10 postponed -   Valuable Vaping Guide for Health & Social Service Providers - Dr Colin Mendelsohn retires - Lots of country updates. Read on for more.









ETHRA in the European Parliament
On Tuesday 5 December ETHRA and our partners from Sovape, Anesvap and NNA Ireland were invited by the European Parliament for an event hosted by Johann Nissinen MEP.  The event was titled “Harm reduction – the road to a smoke free Europe” and included consumer advocates from Ireland, France and Spain as well as ETHRA’s public health expert Clive Bates. The event focused on consumers' experience of quitting smoking with safer nicotine products, and the significant role these low-risk alternatives to smoking can play in achieving the goal set out in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan of achieving a smoke free EU by 2040.
Harm reduction the road to a smoke free Europe invitation


See more here:

See the event agenda here

European Parliament Panel discussion on Harm reduction – the road to a smoke free Europe:


SANT report on non-communicable diseases
On Wednesday 13 December, the European Parliament’s plenary session adopted the SANT/ENVI report on non-communicable diseases, with 578 votes in favour. The good news for tobacco harm reduction is that the report echoes the BECA report in acknowledging the role safer nicotine products can play in reducing the harms from smoking. 

Read more here:

See Sovape’s article on the report here:


Parliamentary question on the harmfulness of tobacco products
MEP Andżelika Anna Możdżanowska asks the Commission what data and reports it has in relation to the harmfulness of tobacco products, and what preventive measures the Commission proposes to reduce smoking. 

See the PQ here:


Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission
In a reply that won’t come as a surprise to THR advocates Ms Kyriakides refers to the deeply flawed SCHEER Opinion and the WHO as ‘useful’ resources. 

Read the answer here:

See our article for more information on the SCHEER Opinion:
ETHRA's view on the SCHEER Opinion



COP10 due to take place in November, postponed, new dates Monday, 5 February to Saturday, 10 February 2024

Read more here:



Health experts at a high-level panel discussion in the Association of Social Democratic Academics (BSA) agree that tobacco harm reduction strategies could be key to achieving smoke free targets. 

Read more here:
Gesundheitsexpert:innen im BSA sind sich beim Thema Rauchen einig: Konzept zur Schadensminderung könnte Österreich rauchfrei machen / Health experts in the BSA agree on the topic of smoking: a harm reduction concept could make Austria smoke-free


Minister for Health Frank Vandenbroucke will introduce an excise tax of 15 cents per ml for e-liquids. The tax will take effect from January 2024.

Read more here:
Vapen wordt vanaf januari tot de helft duurder / Vaping will become more expensive by up to half from January

Professor of psychology Frank Baeyens outlines why this is a terrible idea:

More from Belgium
The Flemish Institute for Healthy Living and Kom op tegen Kanker (Cancer Society) are urging the Belgian Government to lift the ban on e-cigarettes in prison. Detainees are currently allowed to smoke in their own cell. 

Read more here:
Hef het e-sigaretverbod in de gevangenis op / Lift the e-cigarette ban in prison


Public health experts say that tobacco harm reduction strategies could be the solution to reducing Croatia’s high smoking prevalence. 

Read more here:
Alternativni proizvodi kao ruka spasa okorjelim pušačima. Evo što kažu stručnjaci / Alternative products as a saving grace for hardened smokers. Here's what the experts say


The Danish Government is set to introduce a range of measures in an attempt to discourage youth nicotine use. One of the measures is a DKK 12 tax on nicotine pouches. 

Read more here:
Politikernes plan om dyrere nikotinposer omgås på billige webshops: 'Aftalepartierne har spillet fallit' / The politicians' plan for more expensive nicotine pouches is bypassed on cheap webshops: 'The agreement parties have failed'

Danish tobacco harm reduction advocate Kim Dabelstein Petersen called the developments horrible and scary


Vapers Finland respond to the draft law on the regulation of nicotine pouches. 

Read more here:
Vapers Finland ry:n lausunto nikotiinipussien sääntelyä koskevaan lakiluonnokseen / Vapers Finland opinion on the draft law regarding the regulation of nicotine pouches


ETHRA partner Sovape reacts to the latest National Tobacco Control Plan. "This plan contradicts the positions of French elected officials (Report of the Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices) and those of European deputies (BECA Report and NCDs Report) all recognizing the role played by vaping in the exit from smoking and the urgent need to adopt a risk reduction policy."

Read more here:
PNLT : le gouvernement croit combattre le tabagisme en s’attaquant au vapotage / PNLT: the government believes it is combating smoking by tackling vaping


The Hungarian government notified the European Commission about a bill to regulate nicotine pouches. The Bill would limit nicotine content to 17 mg per pouch and can contents to a maximum of 20 pouches. . 

Read more here:


Ireland’s Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, launched a public consultation on vapes with the aim of reducing youth use. Some of the areas where views are being sought include flavours, plain packaging and product display. The consultation will close on 5 January.

Read more here:

Access the consultation here:


The government of Slovenia has proposed a ban on all vaping flavours other than tobacco and menthol. The ban would apply to nicotine and non-nicotine containing e-liquids.

Read more here:


The UK government’s consultation on plans to create a smokefree generation and reduce youth vaping ended on 6 December, having attracted a huge number of responses. Widely viewed as a move by prime minister Rishi Sunak to secure his legacy, the proposals had featured in the King's Speech.

The consultation pages can be viewed here:

ETHRA public health partner Clive Bates published his full response here:



A Valuable Vaping Guide for Health and Social Service Providers
The UK’s National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training, released: “Vaping: a guide for health and social care professionals.” It combines a summary of best available evidence with recommendations for how practitioners should act on this knowledge.

Read more here:


Dr Colin Mendelsohn retires
Dr Mendelsohn, a giant in the field of tobacco harm reduction, announces his retirement in a farewell blog and examines the hostile attitude THR advocates face in Australia. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Mendelsohn for his tireless work over the years and wish him a happy retirement. 

Read more here:


Experts Fault WHO’s Approach To Tobacco Control
International experts criticised the WHO’s approach to tobacco control, especially its opposition to tobacco harm reduction. 

Read more here:


Key Insights from the E-Cigarette Summit 2023
James Dunworth provides in-depth coverage of this year's E-Cigarette Summit which took place on 16 November at the Royal College of Physicians London. 

Read more here:


The [un]intended consequences of flavour bans
“Merci la vape”  a recent survey from four French associations (Aiduce, Sovape,La Vape du Coeur and Fivape) revealed that if vape flavours were banned over 50% of French vapers would turn to the black market or buy cigarettes from abroad, while 25% would consider a return to smoking. 40,000 people responded to the survey.  

Read more here:



Something to watch:

Clive Bates discusses public health’s pursuit of a nicotine endgame

December 2023 newsletter