ETHRA Denounces Finland

Posted 31st October 2019 by Dave Cross
The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) organisation recently warned of an article in the Tobacco Control Journal by Eeva Ollila, a Finnish public health advocate, that urges the EU to change its policy towards vaping products in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

ETHRA is a collection of European consumer groups, set up to promote discussion and the exchange of information and potential actions to reduce exposure to tobacco-related harm.

In her article, Ollila, who works for the Cancer Society of Finland, rejoiced in the fact that Finland doesn’t support tobacco harm reduction: “The aim of Finnish tobacco policy is to end the use of tobacco and other nicotine-containing products by 2030. Towards that end, the regulation of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in Finland is stricter than that in other European Union (EU) countries, including a ban on characterising flavours in e-cigarette liquids as well as on marketing e-cigarettes.”

“Mounting evidence suggests that regulating flavours in e-cigarettes to protect youth is wise although not easy,” she adds. “Many counties are currently considering further regulations on e-cigarettes and so should the EU.”

ETHRA said it was “shocked that a member state can attempt to impose its extreme position on others in the EU by advocating for prohibitions not welcome elsewhere.”

“Finland may wish to eradicate nicotine use, but it is arrogant to presume that all 27 member states should do the same. The EU has sensible regulation under the TPD which is working to reduce smoking. Finland is an extreme outlier and should not be dictating their outlandish and evidence-light view of harm reduction to more enlightened countries,” it continued.

Jari Ollikka, Vapers Finland, said: “Ms Ollila is out of step with the rest of Europe. It is already damaging to the Finnish public to pursue a thoughtless anti-nicotine policy which deters smokers from switching to safer products, but to attempt to export ignorant policy-making to other member states is an embarrassment to our country.”

“Far from trying to impose an extremist anti-nicotine policy on others by way of draconian EU legislation, Finland should be taking a lead from a majority of their neighbours who recognise harm reduction as a way of encouraging smokers to migrate to less harmful products.”

“Vapers Finland urges the public health community to engage with Finnish consumers to learn how safer nicotine products are not a threat to our public’s health, but rather a benefit. We stand ready to meet with the government and regulators at any time to give our insights as to how vaping has helped many thousands of our citizens to quit tobacco use. We do not lead Europe by advocating mindless anti-nicotine rhetoric, instead we sadly trail other nations by not recognising that the modern world has new solutions that we should also be embracing.”

Related:

  • “See you in court: obstacles to enforcing the ban on electronic cigarette flavours and marketing in Finland” by Eeva Ollila – [link]
  • ETHRA – [link]
  • Vapers Finland – [link]


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