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Open letter to the Health Ministers of the European Union

Dear Ministers of Health,

On 16 March, you will hold an exchange of views on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan put forward by the Commission. As Minister of Health and an avid health policy advocate, you hold an incredible responsibility to cancer patients and European citizens throughout the union. This is why we are reaching out to you before the upcoming meeting with the EU Commission.

We believe that this plan does not adequately consider tobacco and smoking-related cancers. The plan shuts the door for smokers trying to quit using novel tobacco products, specifically vaping, by picking abstentionism over harm reduction.

The Commission’s cancer plan has suggested taxing vaping in the same way as tobacco, banning vaping in public spaces and treating vaping products and vape flavours as the same as tobacco. This is a misguided and dangerous policy.

Studies show that vapers are twice as likely to quit smoking permanently than those using nicotine patches or gums, and there is scientific proof that vapers are exposed to 0.4% of the lifetime cancer risk of smokers. By banning these devices, the Commission’s cancer plan ignores hundreds of thousands of vapers throughout Europe.

At the World Vapers’ Alliance, we know that our 13,000 vapers and 23 partner organisations are very concerned about the development of vaping legislation at a European level. If the Commission’s current direction on vaping products is kept, it will lead to increased smoking rates and curb any progress made towards a cancer-free society. This plan would also have regulatory knock-on effects around the world. Therefore, we urge you to push back on the EU Commission’s current version of the Plan because it would have catastrophic consequences for public health, as you can see in the document below.