ETHRA Pushes Flavour Case

Posted 19th November 2021 by Dave Cross
The Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) produces advisory reports investigating “the actions and policies the EU can support and undertake to fight cancer.” The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) has written to it opposing the increasing use of language to banning e-liquid flavours in the European Union.

ETHRA is the voice of 27 million EU consumers of safer nicotine products. ETHRA is a consortium of 23 grassroots consumer associations in 16 European countries, supported by experts in the field of tobacco control and nicotine research. It is a voluntary operation, with no industry funding or conflicts of interest.

ETHRA says: “There are increasing references to banning e-liquid flavours in the discourse around vaping in the EU. It would be disastrous if Europe’s Beating Cancer plan included suggestions for a ban on flavours for low-risk alternatives to smoking, such as vaping.   

“The current focus on youth use ignores the fact that the most at-risk groups for developing smoking related cancers are citizens who are elderly and middle aged. Concerns about a possible gateway effect are understandable but the evidence is pointing in the opposite direction. Vaping is a gateway out of smoking and has helped millions of adults quit smoking.  We also know that a primary risk factor for youth smoking is whether someone in the family smokes, so allowing adults to use appealing products to quit smoking is actually preventative against youth smoking.”

ETHRA points out the pressing need to consider unintended consequences of extreme action. The organisation notes that the banning of flavoured e-liquids in San Francisco resulted in “a significant rise in youth smoking”.

The reality is that the ban created smoking rates almost double that found in neighbouring districts that had not implemented a ban. [link]

Vape Club

Other potential negative consequences include people using unregulated products (the black market), or home mixing using flavourings not suitable for inhalation. It is clear to us that the potential unintended consequences of a vape flavour ban in the EU have not been examined.”

In a survey of over 37,000 respondents conducted by ETHRA last year, 94.6% of people currently vaping stated that they use flavours other than tobacco. [link]

The importance of flavours for displacing smoking is also borne out in the data from Special Eurobarometer 506, which found that fruit flavours were the preference for adults who had completely switched from smoking to vaping.”

ETHRA continues: “Flavours in e-liquids are complex formulations, usually containing a blend of flavourings. Regulating flavour descriptors, rather than flavours, would make more sense.  However, extreme caution would still need to be taken over considering which descriptors are ‘child appealing’, to minimise negative consequences to the adults who are most at risk of developing smoking related disease.”

References:


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Liberty Flights