Polish BECA Chairperson Bartosz Arłukowicz said: “Over the last few years, fighting cancer has been high on the Parliament’s agenda, culminating in setting up our Special Committee on Beating Cancer. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot forget about the disease that kills 1.3 million Europeans every year, and for which there is no vaccination that can eliminate it altogether.”
The European Commission has set in motion plans to treat “emerging products, such as e-cigarettes” like smoking, restrict outdoor use of devices, adopt plain packaging and banning almost all flavours. It contends this is necessary to prevent young people taking up vaping.
A German language blog [link] points out that a good example of the negative impact of imposing higher levels of taxation on reduced harm products can be seen in the US state of Minnesota. Due to the continual negative ant-vape campaign there, the “sin tax” has resulted in more smokers, strengthening the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and harming public health.
None of that appears to matter to Arłukowicz: “We want to undertake the enormous task of beating cancer together, as a Union. Shared knowledge and databases, support for screening programmes, co-financing of HPV vaccinations, are among the many steps we will not hesitate to take on our path to finally beating cancer. We must embark on this ambitious project together. Our Union can beat cancer!”
France’s BECA Rapporteur Véronique Trillet-Lenoir added: “Cancer is a disease underpinned by social injustice. We are unequal in terms of prevention, unequally protected against environmental carcinogens, unequally educated in what constitutes risky behaviour, unequally armed against disinformation. EU countries have unequal access to quality care. Finally, once we have recovered from illness, we are not all able to return to work, to be financially independent and to lead a harmonious social and private life. For all these reasons, I fully support the establishment of a Cancer Inequalities Registry to identify challenges and specific areas of action at EU and national levels.
“More than 40% of all cancers are preventable if individual, social, environmental and commercial health risk factors are addressed. Ambitious legislative proposals to reduce tobacco and alcohol consumption, to promote a healthy diet and physical activity are steps in the right direction. We should propose stronger measures and clear targets to fight against environmental pollution, to ensure health and safety at work, to limit the exposure to carcinogens and mutagens and to take into account the cumulative effect of hazardous chemicals.”
Quite how BECA, Arłukowicz, and Trillet-Lenoir believe that demonising a product 95% safer than tobacco helps reduce smoking and cancer rates defies all logic and evidence.
- The Beating Cancer Plan, European Commission – [link]