ETHRA’s monthly roundup of news: Expert letter to FCTC delegates calls for change – COP9 goes online – BECA updates – COPWatch: a consumer guide to FCTC COP - sCOPe Livestream Event - Fighting the last war: The WHO and international tobacco control – country updates. Read on for more.
BECA draft report
On Thursday 14 October, the Special Committee on Beating Cancer met to consider the 1537 amendments to the BECA draft report. A number of MEPs expressed their support for tobacco harm reduction measures, and highlighted the positive impact safer nicotine products can have on reducing smoking rates. However, there were also calls for the precautionary principle to be applied to safer nicotine products.
Read more here:
Check the link for meeting information and to watch the meeting:
BECA MEP’s visit WHO Headquarters
A delegation of 7 MEP’s, which includes key members of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer, will travel to Geneva and Lyon from 2 - 4 November. The party will visit WHO headquarters and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, where discussions on strengthening the fight against cancer will take place.
FCTC COP9 will be held virtually from 8 - 13 November.
WHO FCTC’s COP 9 website page is here:
For a consumers explanation of what FCTC COP is, see here:
COPWATCH is a new website written and published by consumers of safer nicotine products. They write that: “We are dismayed at the lack of transparency around the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the Conference Of the Parties (COP) and at WHO’s efforts to deny smokers access to lifesaving “novel” products such as vapes, heated tobacco products and snus. The aim of this website is to demystify the workings of FCTC and COP.”
sCOPe Livestream Event
A 24 hour live streaming event, which will run from 8 - 12 November, has been organised by CAPHRA. sCOPe is a consumer event which will include panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and presentations. The event was developed to inform, educate, and support the public, the media and all the consumers of safer nicotine products in Asia Pacific and beyond.
Check the link to participate in this fantastic consumer initiative:
The European Ombudsman details how it dealt with a complaint from the Danish Vape Business Association (BECIG), regarding a vape flavour ban.
Read more here:
Daily smoking is declining and snus use is rising, according to the Tobacco Statistics 2020 survey published by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
ETHRA partner Sovape have released the results of their third annual survey on the risk perceptions of vaping compared to smoking, and misperceptions around nicotine and cancer. In light of their findings Sovape are calling on doctors and public health authorities to support vaping in the fight against cancer. 117 doctors have already supported their call.
Read the press release here:
More from France
A French translation of the landmark paper, "Balancing Consideration of the Risks and Benefits of E-Cigarettes," which was written by 15 past presidents of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, is now available.
Proposed amendments to the ‘Tobacco Damage Act’ would raise the vaping age to 25, and prohibit all e-liquid flavours apart from tobacco. Norwegian Institute of Public Health researcher, Karl Erik Lund, has cautioned that such changes could force people back to smoking.
It has been widely reported that vaping products may soon be available on prescription in the UK.
Read more here:
Prominent UK scientists react to the announcement here:
expert reaction to Department of Health press release ‘e-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in world first’
In our September news roundup we called out an error in the Summary report of the Public consultation on the taxation of tobacco products and new products, which incorrectly stated that the prevailing view among stakeholder was that heated tobacco products should be taxed at the same rate as fine cut tobacco. The Commission has corrected the mistake and the section now reads:
“The prevailing view among all categories of stakeholders was that an EU minima for heated tobacco products should be set at a level lower than fine cut tobacco and that e-cigarettes should be taxed at the lower proposed levels (EUR 0.10 per ml) or according to consumers themselves at a zero minimum rate. The adequate level of minima for smokeless tobacco products for oral / nasal use was generally deemed equal to that of heated tobacco products”
Link to summary report: https://circabc.europa.eu/ui/group/fc89cf69-90c4-4f4a-8e2f-e08d0aae768d
The next meeting of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer will take place on 8 November from 13:45 - 15:45 (CET). The Committee will consider amendments to the BECA draft report for the second time, with a final vote on the report due on 6 December.
Expert letter to FCTC delegates calls for change
100 specialists in nicotine science, policy and practice have come together to call on the 182 parties (countries) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to take a more positive stance on tobacco harm reduction. The letter pushes back against WHO’s misguided and unscientific drive for prohibition or excessive regulation and taxation of vaping products, heated and smokeless tobacco products, and novel oral nicotine products, such as pouches.
Supporting statements by signatories to the letter.
Something to watch:
Fighting the last war: The WHO and international tobacco control
Wednesday 27 October saw the launch of the latest report from the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction. The report argues that there is an urgent need for tobacco control, and the WHO, to move away from current prohibitionist policies in relation to safer nicotine products, and instead embrace the opportunities tobacco harm reduction offers in reducing the burden on health from smoking. Check the links for two unmissable panel discussions from the launch event.
The text for NNA Ireland trustee Tom Gleeson’s powerful and eloquent talk can be viewed on NNA Ireland’s website, here:
‘Our health – Consumers the often forgotten majority’
4th Scientific Summit. Tobacco Harm Reduction: Novel products, Research & Policy
Bengt Wilberg gives a fascinating talk on the Swedish experience with snus, which has resulted in Sweden having the lowest smoking rates in the EU, and the lowest tobacco related mortality.