Anti-Vape MEP Heading Up Working Group

Posted 19th November 2020 by Dave Cross
The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) consumer organisation is warning that the anti-vaping MEP Michèle Rivasi has been placed in charge of the Tobacco Products Directive informal working group. Rivasi has a chequered past that has seen her oppose vaccinations and support evidence-free homeopathy.

Michèle Rivasi used to be a biology teacher in France before founding an “independent” commission for looking at research and information about the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy. She initially ran as an independent politician before joining the Green party.

She describes herself as a “vaccination sceptic” and as a “strong supporter of alternative medicine and homeopathy”. Consequently, it is fair to say she values her own feelings on issues over and above what the scientific can evidence.

Despite being refuted by all major scientists involved in the area, and the initial by Dr Andrew Wakefield paper having been retracted [link], Rivasi persists in the notion that there is a “causal link between the MMR vaccine and autism” even though she admits it “has yet to be scientifically proven”.

She refutes the term “anti-vaxxer”, yet seven years after Wakefield was struck off as a doctor in the UK by the General Medical Council, Rivasi invited the fraud to the European Parliament to screen his film.

Rivasi has already issued a letter to European authorities, according to the consumer advocacy group, calling for "stricter supervision of e-cigarettes after the notice of harmfulness issued by the World Health Organization in July 2020".

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ETHRA comments: “It is unclear which WHO “notice” Rivasi is referring to, but it is clearly not WHO Europe’s brief from May, which is supportive of tobacco harm reduction”.

It adds that in February she called for “an immediate ban on vaping flavours” and a raft of measures that were actually already in place under the current Tobacco Products Directive.

Not just ignorant of the European regulatory environment for vaping,” says ETHRA, “Rivasi also revealed that she is quite unfamiliar with the science too, proclaiming that ‘we know nothing’.”

ETHRA adds: “It is very worrying that this informal TPD working group - working on a public health issue which affects a quarter of the European population - is led by such a personality. By taking orders from an openly anti-harm reduction activist, the working group is on course to reject the data, the reality on the ground and the experience of users. The experiences of tens of millions of consumers and thousands of health professionals working in the field will be ignored, along with the science.”

Work on TPD3 is underway [link] and, although the UK will have left and be forming its own tobacco legislation, many experts believe how Europe decides to legislate vaping will have an impact on how our parliament moves forward in future [link] [link].

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Related:

  • European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) – [link]


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