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Italian MEP Promotes Vaping

A ground-breaking event at the EU Parliament has led to a brace of powerful articles aimed at European politicians and decision makers.

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First, the Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF) organised an event at the European Parliament to discuss the benefits of vaping. As a result, Giovanni La Via, an Italian MEP, has penned a powerful argument supporting the use of electronic cigarettes in The Parliament Magazine.

The Parliament Magazine is a fortnightly EU politics magazine covering European Parliament news, opinion and comment. It is distributed to all MEP’s, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. Having Giovanni La Via write a supportive article is excellent news, but there’s also a piece by Riccardo Polosa too.

La Via has been an MEP since 2009. He is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy at Catania University, and is responsible for agriculture and forestry with the Sicily Regional Executive. He was asked to host an event organised by LIAF, in March.

At the time, LIAF said: “Use of e-cigarettes in the world is growing continuously. However, Europe is falling behind. It is essential that Europe exploits the potential of this technology to reduce the impact of smoking on European Public Health. For this reason, [we are] bringing experts and policymakers to the European Parliament to discuss the benefits of electronic cigarettes.”

The speakers included:

  • Agnieszka Kozakiewicz, European Commission
  • Riccardo Polosa, Institute of Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology, University of Catania, Italy: “Health effects of vaping”
  • Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy, Director of the Institute for Social Marketing and Dean of Research (Impact) at the University of Stirling: “Youth and vaping. Gateway in or out of smoking”
  • Frank Baeyens, professor of experimental psychology at the KU Leuven: “Effectiveness of electronic cigarettes for smoking substitution”
  • Bernd Mayer, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Graz, Austria: “Nicotine, everything you need to know but have never been told”
  • Karl Fagerstrom, Clinical psychologist of Smokers Information Centre, Sweden: “Accelerating the end of the tobacco epidemic. Tobacco harm reduction”

The event was an important opportunity for MEPs and speakers to work together, sharing scientific perspectives and establishing tools that could successfully be exploited in the drive to reduce smoking in Europe.

La Via’s article builds on this event, and he states unequivocally: “eCigarettes are part of the solution to one of Europe's most serious health problems,” and that they are “redefining how we should think about public health policy.”

He calls out for something that has been sadly lacking over the last five years: “Ignoring the science that tells us that eCigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes is a mistake. Incorporating eCigarettes as part of the solution to stopping smoking is a step that Europe needs to take.”

“Looking at the encouraging scientific evidence, EU regulation must acknowledge that eCigarettes provide us with an unmissable public health opportunity. Taking a conservative approach to public health policy, which ignores the rising consensus within the public health community, has not solved the issue of smoking and related diseases. Let’s trust the science.”

Riccardo Polosa echoes La Via’s sentiments: “There has been much scaremongering around the increased uptake of eCigarettes, but the science speaks for itself. This may be a new phenomenon in Europe, but for over 10 years, scientists worldwide have been evaluating electronic cigarettes.”

“The EU’s silence on this opportunity for public health is unacceptable. The European Parliament should work together with the scientific community to protect European citizens - both smokers and non-smokers alike - by implementing a harm reduction strategy.”

Let’s hope that the EU is paying attention.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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