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EU Parliament becomes world’s first elected chamber to endorse tobacco harm reduction

February 18, 2022

Photo: iStock

The European Parliament on Wednesday (16) became the first elected chamber anywhere in the world to endorse tobacco harm reduction.

Parliament adopted – by a margin of 652 votes to 15 – a report on Cancer prevention and Treatment which notes that “electronic cigarettes could allow some smokers to progressively quit smoking”.

Parliament also rejected attempts by one political faction to water down the draft report’s important harm reduction declaration.

This is crucial because many studies have shown that vaping has a much lower potential for harm than smoking. According to Public Health England (PHE), e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than tobacco and the risk of cancer drops by 99.6 percent.

Dustin Dahlmann, President of Independent European Vape Alliance (IEVA), said: “This is a landmark declaration by the European Parliament, which should go a long way to reassuring smokers of the health benefits that a switch to vaping can bring. We now encourage the other EU institutions – and in particular the European Commission – to take this on board and ensure that policy follows science, not the other way around”.

In addition to many important measures to reduce cancer incidence, the committee’s report places a special focus on the serious health effects of smoking.

The report also stresses the need for further research on vaping to be viewed in relative terms, given that tobacco smoking kills and vaping does not.

The final text of the report also includes a mention of further assessment of flavors “particularly attractive to minors and non-smokers” and a possible ban on them in the context of the review of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

The variety of flavors is one of the top reasons for adult smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and for vapers not to return to smoking.

Dustin Dahlmann, President of IEVA: “Research into the impact of flavor bans shows that many vapers return to smoking as a result. This must be prevented. We agree that steps must be taken to curtail inappropriate marketing, while recognising the crucial role flavors play in helping smokers quit.”