1 June. Brussels, Belgium — Today, on 1 June, SANT (Subcommittee on Public Health) held a hearing on “Preventing non-communicable diseases” to focus on possible solutions. With nicotine consumption being one of of the focus topics of the discussion, it becomes clear that there is still a lot of misinformation and innate prejudice towards harm reduction among the EU decision-makers, says Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, an association that amplifies voices of vapers worldwide.
“While non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, chronic lung illnesses, and cancer should be the cornerstone of the EU public health agenda, it is also crucial to pursue evidence-based and science-based approaches. We need to reduce actual harms and not fight nicotine consumption per se. The real public-health threat comes from cigarette smoking. Alternative products such as snus, vaping, and nicotine pouches are reducing smoking induced illnesses, because they effectively help smokers to quit. Fighting nicotine consumption instead of actual harms will have much more harmful consequences,” said Michael Landl.
Among the addressed misconceptions about the role of harm reduction, stood out comments of MEP González Casares and MEP Trillet-Lenoir. MEP González Casares commented: “One thing we do know that makes everything worse and increases mortality from cardiovascular disease is smoking. What we heard here is some defence of technique or devices in a broader world of tobacco consumption. Not long ago, there was a ban on vaping in some states. Some people say it helps you kick the habit, but if we talk about prevention, we talk about people not smoking or not getting a habit in the first place and this is the risk we should not take.”
MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir commented: “We are here to address public health in a serious, science-based manner.” Yet, MEP addressed the study on the role of nicotine and snus in helping smokers quit, “as clearly the promotion of the harmful product, maybe not as much cancerogenic as tobacco but harmful however.”
“Several studies, wide consumer preferences, and actual real-life examples such as the Swedish smoke-free goal achievement 17 years ahead of the EU target are strong evidence that harm reduction works and can succeed in preventing non-communicable diseases.” added Landl.
Following today’s discussion, World Vapers alliance urges the SANT committee to look into the BECA conclusion and embrace harm reduction tools.
World Vapers’ Alliance has released a comprehensive harm reduction fact sheet that contains a compilation of scientific studies covering nicotine use, role of flavours in e-cigarettes, and the impact of taxation on public health. Learn more here