EU mulls restrictions on vaping to create smoke-free generation by 2040 and reduce cancer rates

Other measures being considered in draft paper seen by The Telegraph include restrictions on promoting red meat and alcohol.

The European Commission will recommend EU countries introduce new rules to ban vaping in public places as part of a push to ensure only 5 percent of the bloc’s population uses tobacco by 2040.

Brussels’ plans for stricter rules for new smoking products, such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products, were revealed in a leaked draft obtained by The Telegraph about a European strategy to beat cancer.

Under the plans, the EU would also stop public money being used to promote red and processed meat and cancel subsidies to market alcohol.

Michael Landl, the director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, said the plan would “botch a historic opportunity for Europe”.

“The UK and other countries have demonstrated that vaping can help millions of smokers quit,” he said.

“Vaping is not the same as smoking and treating the two as the same is a mistake that could prevent thousands of smokers from quitting.”

The plan says it demonstrates “the EU’s political commitment to leave no stone unturned in the fight against cancer.”

It cites research that tobacco is the leading preventable cause of cancer, with 27 percent of all cancers attributed to tobacco use.

By eliminating it, 90 percent of lung cancers could be avoided, it suggests.

The commission is considering updating EU recommendations on smoke-free environments by 2023 to include “emerging products, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.”

The recommendations call on EU member states to ban smoking in public places, workplaces and public transport.

Brussels can only recommend the ban because such a decision would be a national power.

The EU would also impose existing minimum taxation rates on tobacco to novel tobacco products, according to the draft, which is subject to change.

The paper pledges to overhaul existing EU tobacco laws to make smoking and vaping less attractive to young people, including by enforcing rules on plain packaging, a ban on flavours and tackling online and social media advertising.

The draft plan, first reported by the EurActiv website, said some of those measures could be taken this year.

Similar measures are planned on taxation and advertising for alcohol to curb harmful consumption.

Legislation for mandatory health warnings on labels will be proposed by 2023, according to the plan, which is expected to be launched in February.

“The Commission will also propose to stop stimulating consumption of alcohol via the EU promotion programme for agricultural products,” the draft paper said.

EU subsidies to promote alcoholic drinks are worth about €183 million in 2021, while Brussels spent about €60m in the last three years marketing meat.

The plan is the first step in a long process towards possibly introducing binding rules. Once the commission has a sense of how EU member states will react to the strategy, it will develop and propose legislation.

After bills are proposed, they are debated and amended separately by the European Parliament and EU governments in the Council of Ministers.

Those two institutions must then negotiate an identical text before a bill can become EU law.

Brussels will not be able to enforce every aspect of the plan in member states, which retain national powers in some areas.

The wide-ranging plan further calls for action to promote healthy eating and exercise as well as better early detection of cancer.

It also sets out initiatives aimed at reducing exposure to carcinogenic substances in food and in the wider environment from factors such as air pollution.

 

Originally published here.