Commenting on the launch of the plan, Michael Landl, Director of the WVA said: “Today’s plan shows that the European Commission is allowing ideology to get in the way of science. The aim of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is to reduce the cancer burden for patients, their families and health systems, yet it ignores the wealth of evidence showing that vaping represents only less than half of one percent of the cancer risk that smoking does.”
If ignoring the evidence supporting vaping as a less harmful alternative to vaping isn’t bad enough, Landl added, the plan equates vaping to smoking in parts of the plan. In reaction to this false equivalence, Landl continued: “Smoking and vaping are not the same and the Commission knows this. However, due to an ideological approach, they are neglecting their duty to pursue policies in the best interest of all EU citizens. Treating the two as the same is a mistake that could prevent thousands of smokers from quitting smoking. After all, we know that vaping is twice as effective as other methods to stop smoking.”
The organisation calls the report “a move against vaping”, and adds that it believes Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan sets out steps to systematically curb vaping using the same techniques used to curb tobacco use.
The plan proposes:
- 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
Speaking about these anti-vaping proposals, Landl stated: “If vaping is subject to the same rules as cigarettes - higher taxes, bans in certain places etc - then those that gave up smoking thanks to vaping will see smoking become, relatively speaking, more appealing. That’s a disaster and flies in the face of what the EU is hoping to achieve.
“If the EU is concerned about young people taking up vaping, then let’s enforce age restrictions but making vaping more expensive and less enjoyable is a sure-fire way to drive current vapers straight back to the old habit.
“Returning back to smoking is also a key concern amongst our members which have been mobilised ahead of this plan with 7540 petition signatures in support of vaping and 229 emails to MEPs. We also conducted a survey which concluded that 94% of our members feel that vaping helped them reduce or completely quit smoking. Vapers’ cannot be ignored as they will be the first ones to suffer at the hands of this plan.”
The WVA says EU Health Commissioner Kyriakides’s flagship initiative will be subject to review and input by the European Parliament. It is here where Landl will hope that MEPs point out the mistakes made by the Commission and they rectify them in their own plan which will be published later this year.
“The Parliament is yet to publish their version of the plan and we call on all MEPs to take heed of the failures in the Commission’s plan. We hope that they will treat vaping correctly and embrace it as the cessation tool that it is. We do not need another healthcare catastrophe like the ones we have seen in recent weeks.”