breaking news April

ETHRA’s monthly roundup of news: UK vape tax call to action - Sovape presents to the Senate - Spain flavour ban consultation - Debunking Anti-Vaping Claims - Lethal miscommunication - The WHO: Masters of misinformation - Country updates. Read on for more.








The European Parliament has emphasised the importance of evidence-based policies in combating cancer and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including addressing risk factors like smoking. Despite citizens and MEPs advocating for evidence based harm reduction strategies, there's concern that the European Commission is not listening to these voices. As the revision of tobacco legislation unfolds, it's crucial for future directives to reflect evidence-based practices and prioritise harm reduction. 

Read more here:



Despite very large increases in tobacco taxes since 2018, smoking in France remains at a high level. To prepare a report on behavioural taxation, a French Senate committee heard from the consumer association and ETHRA partner SOVAPE.  SOVAPE  presented its analysis of this failure and advised that integrating harm reduction, particularly with vaping, would help to break this deadlock. 

Read more here:
SOVAPE auditionné par le Sénat sur l’inefficacité de la politique antitabac française / SOVAPE heard by the Senate on the ineffectiveness of France's anti-smoking policy


Slovakia’s Finance Minister Ladislav Kamenický announced that a tax on vapes and nicotine pouches will be introduced next year. Kamenický said the tax will generate €15 million in 2025, and a further €126 million in 2026.

Read more here:
Smokers and people with sweet tooth to pay more for their vices, consolidation shows 

The National Assembly has unanimously passed a bill banning flavourings, apart from tobacco, in vapes and heated tobacco products. The ban will apply to nicotine-containing and non-nicotine-containing e-liquids. 

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On 8 April, the Spanish Ministry of Health launched a public consultation on a Draft Royal Decree which aimed to introduce plain packaging and a flavour ban for vapes. The consultation received many submissions from THR consumer associations and experts in tobacco and nicotine science & policy, which you can read below. 

ETHRA: ETHRA submission to Spain's Draft Royal Decree on tobacco and related products

Anesvap: La prohibición de los sabores en el vapeo: un paso atrás en la lucha contra el tabaquismo 

Sovape: Aportación de Sovape a la consulta pública sobre el proyecto de modificación del Real Decreto 579/2017 

Clive Bates: Policymakers must recognise that smoking and vaping are substitutes

Konstantinos Farsalinos: Submission for Spain’s Draft Royal Decree amending Draft Decree 579/2017

Information on the Draft Royal Decree: Sanidad inicia los trámites para establecer el empaquetado genérico del tabaco / Health initiates steps to establish plain packaging of tobacco products


The use of safer nicotine products and harm reduction could be an important issue in the upcoming European Parliament elections, according to Swedish parliamentarian Tobias Andersson.

Read more here:
EU-valet: ”Regeringen förstår inte hur viktig frågan om nikotin egentligen är” / EU elections: ‘The government doesn't understand how important the nicotine issue really is’

More from Sweden
Proposals which would severely restrict or even ban nicotine pouches would be detrimental to public health, warns Swedish MEP Johan Nissinen.

Read more here:
Sverige förtjänar ett Europa som respekterar snuset / Sweden deserves a Europe that respects snus


Tobacco and Vapes Bill 

(i) The New Nicotine Alliance wrote to the Regulatory Policy Committee to express its concerns about the Impact Assessment for the Tobacco and Vapes Bill. The consumer association stated that the impact assessment “does not adequately reflect the balance of benefits and detriments and will have the effect of supporting legislation for which there is an extremely weak rationale and major scope for unintended consequences.”

Read more here:

(ii) At the time of writing the Commons General Committee is hearing oral evidence for the  Tobacco and Vapes Bill, but not one person with lived experience has been invited to speak.  

A new website launched by the New Nicotine Alliance UK and provides guidance for consumers on how to oppose the vape tax proposal by participating in the government consultation and writing to MPs.

The NNA has produced a guide on how to make a submission:

You can also send in your opinion on the vape tax proposals, to be uploaded to the Our Stories page. 

Read more here:

Visit the website:

Researchers from London South Bank University warn that a high tax on vapes could increase smoking:



Debunking Anti-Vaping Claims in the Senate Inquiry
Dr Colin Mendelsohn examined submissions to Australia’s Senate Inquiry into Vaping. Dr Mendelsohn concluded: “Many anti-vaping submissions to the Senate Inquiry confuse correlation with causation, exaggerate risks, cherry pick data, draw false conclusions and rely on discredited sources”

Read more here:


Lethal miscommunication: FDA fails to explain the relative risks of tobacco products
The US Food and Drug Administration recently published a new risk communication page, The Relative Risks of Tobacco Products. Clive Bates provides a detailed critique of the many problems within the document. 

Read more here:


Elon Musk’s ‘Community Notes’ are exposing the WHO’s lies
Over the past number of weeks Twitter users were subjected to a flood of misinformation on safer nicotine products coming from the WHO and its regional offices. Fortunately, ‘Community Notes’ were soon attached to add important context and corrections. 

Read more here:

The WHO: Masters of misinformation:



Something to watch:

Clive Bates - the arguments for vaping and for lifting a prohibition. A 3minute 5-point video submission on Brazil's vaping prohibition.