Celebrations for ETHRA

Posted 9th December 2019 by Dave Cross
European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) continues to flourish as it expands to twenty members, joining together “to promote sensible regulation of innovative solutions for those who wish to continue using nicotine in a far safer form.” ETHRA is also celebrating the Norwegian government’s announcement that it will lift its ban on e-cigarettes.

The Vapers Association of Slovenia, Združenje vejperjev Slovenije, has become the twentieth consumer group to join ETHRA in its collective fight for common sense approaches to nicotine product regulation and the promotion of truth.

ETHRA has grown rapidly since its inception and is the leading body uniting groups concerned with tobacco harm reduction and the promotion of consumer choice. Given the new impending iteration of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), this couldn’t come at a more fortuitous time.

The organisation is bolstered by the great news from Norway that the “government has declared that it will lift its ban on e-cigarettes with nicotine and replace it with an authorisation system as it belatedly moves to implement the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive. Manufacturers of e-cigarettes and new tobacco products will have to apply for authorisation at least six months before they intend to put their product on the market, as the TPD requires. The government is also planning to allow e-cigarettes and refill containers to be advertised at the point of sale and be presented online neutrally, unlike cigarettes.”

ETHRA adds: “The Norwegian Directorate of Health, which will evaluate the applications, will look at ‘whether the product will contribute to tobacco harm reduction;’ whether it appeals to youngsters; whether it will lead to the initiation and re-normalisation of tobacco use; and whether it’s addictive, according to draft rules sent to notify the European Commission at the end of November. The directorate will then decide whether the e-cigarette or novel tobacco product is defined as a nicotine or smokeless tobacco product, or a tobacco product for smoking, and which regulations should apply to it. This measure goes beyond the scope of the TPD.”

Trond Meier, of Norsk Dampselskap (the Norwegian Union of Vapers), said: “Legalising vaping in Norway is a welcoming development and we congratulate our government for aligning with the EU’s TPD, however, there is still much negative publicity around vaping in the media and many details still to become clear so our welcome must be cautious for now. There is still more work for us and our ETHRA partners to do.

André Bendigtsen, of Nikan, a Norwegian tobacco harm reduction consumer group, added: “We understand that these proposals will be implemented during 2020 and we would suggest that the government includes consumers of reduced risk products in the process at every stage.”, André continues, “these products offer a lifeline to many former smokers and can lead to better outcomes for the public’s health in Norway in the future. Consumers are ready and available to offer our experience and knowledge to regulators in order to maximise the many benefits of safer nicotine use.”

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