ETHRA “promotes discussion and the exchange of information and potential actions to reduce exposure to tobacco-related harm. It complements existing organisations by offering European advocates a platform for exchanging information (particularly at European policy level) and for sharing experiences and local initiatives, in support of tobacco harm reduction.”
The presidency of the EU Council rotates among the member states every 6 months. During this period, the presidency chairs Council meetings, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU's work.
In advance of it taking the Presidency, Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer said: “We have to make mobility in Europe more modern and more innovative. Climate change is transforming our world, and we have to tackle the enormous challenge it poses and rethink mobility. Our New Mobility Approach is to be a single approach comprising three pillars: sustainability, mobility and digital transformation. We have to take climate friendliness as the starting point of our endeavours and as a stimulus for innovations in Europe. The corona issue will also continue to preoccupy us. We have to learn from the crisis and emerge from it strengthened and united. To this end, we intend to develop a European pandemic contingency plan for freight transport. Because so far there have been no Europe-wide arrangements for the key transport infrastructures and modes of transport to be taken in the event of pandemics. I am going to change that and introduce uniform standards and procedures.”
But no mention of the toll tobacco-related disease has on the continent.
What has come to light is the lamentations of German federal drug commissioner Daniela Ludwig, who told the Die Welt newspaper, “Believe me, brutal lobbying has been done” in regard to their including vaping in new national legislation.
And she spoke about her plans for the future of vaping: “We will push the regulation forward. It has to be made even clearer that e-cigarettes are just as addictive and also contain pollutants.”
“We have the opportunity to talk to the countries about this. I would have already prepared a catalogue for the e-cigarette. For example, the rules on taxation or ingredients should be standardised.”
As Clive Bates pointed out last week, despite the United Kingdom being a part of the Union and having the ability to make its own regulation, the influence the EU has on global legislation shouldn’t be underestimated – and placing juice flavours in the crosshairs in an ominous cloud on the horizon.
ETHRA has said it is “concerned at the possibility of damaging policies Germany’s Presidency may generate for vapers in EU member states and would hope that it uses its term of office wisely instead of installing naïve and unthinking regulation across the continent.”
Hendrik Broxtermann of ETHRA partner ExRaucher (IG) commented: “It is disappointing that Ms Ludwig wishes to see failed policies from Germany transferred to the EU as a whole. Regulation of vaping under the current EU Tobacco Products Directive is not perfect but may just be acceptable. We should be seeking to improve the regulation we have by liberalising in some areas, not imposing more restrictions which can only protect the cigarette trade.
“Taxation of vaping products will deter millions of smokers from trying out safer products; banning or restricting flavours will take away a major factor in the appeal of vaping as a substitute for tobacco smoking; and banning advertising will make vastly safer products invisible to the very people who need to see them in order to facilitate more uptake for the good of Europe’s health.
"What Ms Ludwig should be doing is engaging with the people who use these products instead of pronouncing from an ideological position, while also ignoring her own scientific experts on the subject.”