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Europe Takes Draconian Stance

Last week, the European Commission presented its ‘Beating Cancer Plan’ on World Cancer Day which heralded some draconian measures on vaping

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The European Commission presented the ‘Beating Cancer Plan’ on World Cancer Day, last week, heralding some draconian measures on vaping. Some of the aspects had been leaked prior to publication but the reality was far worse. We will be covering the plan and the responses to it across this week on Planet of the Vapes.

Main points:

  • Classifying vape products as tobacco products
  • Plain packaging
  • A full flavour ban
  • Additional taxation on vape products
  • Further restrictions on advertising
  • Further restrictions on promotion
  • Further restrictions on sponsorship
  • Further restrictions on the internet and social media
  • A ban on vaping in outdoor spaces in line with the prohibition on smoking
  • Somehow clamping down on under-age sale that are already illegal
  • “Better enforce legislation” on smoking cessation campaigns
  • Implementing a track and trace system

On achieving a tobacco-free Europe, the full text from the report states: “Tobacco consumption continues to be the leading cause of preventable cancer, with 27% of all cancers attributed to tobacco use. By eliminating tobacco use, nine out every ten cases of lung cancer could be avoided.

Through rigorous enforcement of the EU tobacco control framework and its adaptation to new developments and market trends, including stricter rules on novel products, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will put forward actions from 2021 to help create a ‘Tobacco-Free Generation’ where less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040, compared to around 25% today. The interim goal is to reach the WHO target of a 30% relative reduction in tobacco use by 2025 as compared to 2010, corresponding to a smoking prevalence of around 20% in the EU. The Commission will continue to prioritise protecting young people from the harmful effects of tobacco and related products.

EU-level regulatory instruments will be strengthened to achieve these objectives. Tobacco taxation is one of the most effective instruments to fight tobacco consumption, particularly in deterring young people from taking up smoking. Decisive action will be taken by reviewing the Tobacco Products Directive, the Tobacco Taxation Directive and the legal framework on cross-border purchases of tobacco by private individuals. This includes working in full transparency towards plain packaging and a full ban on flavours, using existing EU agencies to improve the assessment of ingredients, extending taxation to novel tobacco products, and tackling tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship on the internet and social media.

By 2023, the Commission will propose to update the Council Recommendation on SmokeFree Environments both extending its coverage to emerging products, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and expanding smoke-free environments, including outdoor spaces. The Cancer Plan will create momentum to better enforce legislation in Member States’ national tobacco control strategies, especially as regards sales to minors and campaigns on giving up smoking. This will make for better implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, including the obligations on transparency and taking fully into account the principles of the Transparency register. In addition, the EU track and trace system will be extended to all tobacco products by 2024.”

Part of a €4 billion budget is going to be allocated to put these plans into place. Some of the funds will be used to set up a new Knowledge Centre on Cancer.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “Honouring one of this Commission's central pledges, we present today an anthropocentric Plan for cancer that addresses all angles: prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. This Plan is unique because it is based on a ‘health in all policies' approach, pooling all strings together under a common goal, beating cancer. It is about health but beyond health policy. A whole-of-society effort. In a strong European Health Union, cancer becomes a shared political, operational and scientific priority.”

It appears that the consultation period for the new Tobacco Products Directive will be one in name only as the outcomes have been clearly signposted in this document. The vape community has been warned, it has a large fight on its hands.

UK vapers believing they are insulated from the impact due to Brexit would be wise to heed the warning words of Clive Bates, acknowledged expert in such matters, in a New Nicotine Alliance webcast [link].


  • The Beating Cancer Plan, European Commission – [link]
  • Mark Pawsey MP Calls For Action, Planet of the Vapes – [link]

Photo Credit:

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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