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EU parliamentarians lack knowledge on new nicotine products: survey

March 2, 2023

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg (Photo: iStock)

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) are less aware of key issues surrounding new nicotine products than in previous years, despite being asked to vote on important new legislation concerning the topic in the coming months, according to a new survey.

The third annual survey, conducted by business intelligence researcher Tamarind Intelligence, shows that the more MEPs know about new nicotine products (e-cigarettes, nicotine pouches and heated tobacco), the more likely they are to consider that these products are less harmful than cigarettes.

Among its key findings, the report shows that:

  • MEPs rarely believe that new nicotine products are as harmful as smoking – only 19 per cent of responses, the lowest number since the annual survey was launched in 2020 – and a majority believe they are less harmful than smoking.
  • MEPs with no knowledge of new nicotine products are becoming far more likely to acknowledge that they don’t know the risks. In previous years MEPs were quick to adopt a position in one direction or the other, but in 2022 half of MEPs with no knowledge said they didn’t know the risks of these products.
  • MEPs with some knowledge of new nicotine products strongly tend to believe (76%) that they are less harmful than smoking.
  • While very few MEPs consider that new nicotine products should be more restricted than traditional tobacco, and a majority believe online sales should be allowed for adults (with age verification), more MEPs are unsure how they should be regulated than in previous years.

“Our third annual MEP Survey results are particularly relevant given the recent launch of the European Commission’s public consultation on evaluating the legislative framework for tobacco control at the end of February 2023, and the adoption by the European Parliament of the BECA committee’s recommendations over a year ago,” Tim Phillips, managing director of Tamarind Intelligence, commented.

“As some of the questions in the Commission’s consultation are similar to the ones we asked in our MEP Survey, it will be fascinating to see if MEPs views on the topic of new nicotine products will be in line with responses to the public consultation.”

The survey was sent to all MEPs (from all member states and political parties) and responses were obtained from 43 MEPs representing 6 per cent of the European Parliament.