ETHRA Makes SCHEER Report Call

Posted 5th October 2020 by Dave Cross
The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) organisation has called on vapers and advocates to respond to The European Commission and its Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) consultation in response to last week’s woeful “preliminary opinion on electronic cigarettes”.

We reported that the SCHEER opinion concluded:

  • The evidence for risks of local irritative damage to the respiratory tract is moderate for heavy users not to be excluded for average and light users
  • The evidence for risks of long-term systemic effects on the cardiovascular system is strong
  • The evidence for risks of carcinogenicity of the respiratory tract is weak to moderate
  • The evidence for risks of poisoning and injuries due to burns and explosion is strong
  • There is no evidence that flavourings pose health risks but may enhance attractiveness
  • They think there is moderate evidence that second-hand vaping exists, poses a threat to bystanders and can be carcinogenic to them
  • The committee thinks there is strong evidence that vaping is a gateway to tobacco use, especially in youth
  • It says there is weak evidence to support the idea that vaping works as a quit smoking tool

The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) warned: The preliminary opinion paper overlooks credible facts. The report ignores a large swathe of scientific evidence supporting vaping and the clear evidence from millions of European Citizens who have quit thanks to e-cigarettes.

“The opinion does nothing more than vilify vapers and e-cigarettes, while basing much of its evidence on what they admit is ‘weak to moderate evidence’. Acting upon this report to restrict or ban e-cigarettes will do nothing but cost lives.”

ETHRA has highlighted that there’s now a public consultation for the Opinion, which ends on 26th October, and, “Every minute you can spend on this will be a minute well spent.”

The advocacy organisation says: “We are concerned by the report and fear it will be used to argue for harsher restrictions in the EU TPD, including e-liquid flavour bans. Our first reading of the Preliminary Opinion leaves us with the impression that it is heavily biased and has huge flaws.”

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It notes: “The authors fail to examine vaping in the European context. There is a heavy reliance on US data yet relevant European data is ignored, despite the purpose of the Opinion being to report on the effectiveness of TPD2, which is a European directive.

“Various WHO communications are referred to, but WHO communications are rarely evidence based. The conclusion that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking can only be an opinion, as this theory is not supported by evidence. Indeed, there is published peer-reviewed evidence that points to vaping being a route away from smoking.

“The report is written from the biased perspective that vaping is a net harm and defaults to assuming harm where no evidence is available. Some references are misrepresented as showing effects that they do not even measure or show. The approach to flavours is very questionable.

“The conclusions drawn in the abstract and summary are not supported by what is stated in the body of the report. This report is an abuse of science and will cause harm if left unchallenged.”

ETHRA has called on vapers, harm reduction advocates, and other interested parties to take part in the consultation process by The European Commission’s webpage (linked below) and filling in the form.

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ETHRA says: “It may look like a big task but in fact you do not even need to read the whole report – if you are short of time you could just comment on the Abstract, which is on a single page (page two).”

It goes on to add a request: “Please respond in as a polite, respectful and as relevant a manner as possible. This is important so that contributions are not excluded.”

If anybody has any questions about completing the form, ETHRA has said it is happy to help and you can get in touch by using their contact page on their website.

Related:

  • Public consultation SCHEER Preliminary Opinion on electronic cigarettes – [link]
  • European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) – [link]
  • World Vapers’ Alliance – [link]
  • SCHEER Report – [link]­­
  • The Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks – [link]


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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