18.01.2023 Rome, Italy — Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci announced new measures against traditional cigarettes and novel tobacco and nicotine products to achieve the European Cancer Plan’s goals. The new measures, announced yesterday in a hearing before the Chamber’s Social Affairs Commission, include a ban on indoor vaping, smoking in open-air places, and further plans to extend advertising ban on nicotine products.
Michael Land, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA), said that the Health Minister’s measures contradict scientific evidence of the positive impact of vaping on fighting tobacco:
“There is no evidence that second-hand vaping is harmful. But there is scientific proof that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking and is the best alternative to tobacco smoking. Vaping should be excluded from the planned smoking bans. Yet again, Italy is making another grave mistake in its efforts to fight cancer – vaping is not an enemy, it does not contain tobacco and should be embraced as a tool to achieve a “tobacco-free generation”.”
Last October, World Vapers’ Alliance presented a 7-step plan for reducing smoking-induced death for the new Italian government in Rome. The plan included the recommendation to at least allow vaping in areas where smoking is still allowed at the moment. Vaping should be exempted from further extensions of non-smoking areas to incentivise smokers to switch to safer alternatives.
“The challenge we are facing in Italy is the widespread misinformation that vaping and passive smoking are the same thing, which is not true. Therefore, vaping should not be treated equally. All the data available so far indicate that consumers see access to reduced-risk products as an essential element in supporting their path to a less risky alternative to cigarette smoking,’ said Carmine Canino, president of the National Association for United Vapers and WVA Advisory Board member.
“This is not the right approach because you cannot equate vaping with traditional tobacco. Vaping is a harm reduction tool for people who smoke traditional cigarettes. We need to open a technical round table to discuss with those who are familiar with a market that is expanding worldwide. All of us at ANPVU are trying to promote correct information on e-cigarettes and we hope to finally see the Italian Ministry of Health approve, support and incentivise the use of harm reduction tools, such as vaping,” added Carmine Canino.
“Italy has the potential to be a world leading country in fighting smoking. Instead, further restrictions on tobacco harm reduction tools risk pushing more people back to smoking. The Italian government should reevaluate its approach towards vaping and finally listen to science and consumers,” added Landl.