The Independent European Vape Alliance (IEVA) welcomes and supports the “EU Beating Cancer Plan” presented today by the European Commission. The plan is extremely important in order to significantly reduce the number of cancer-related deaths.

However, the new EU strategy neglects an important instrument for public health: Harm Reduction.

Almost one third of cancer cases in Europe are caused by smoking:

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.[1]

It is therefore more important than ever to use all means at hand to minimize smoking rates. Tobacco harm reduction is rated as a very good opportunity to significantly reduce the number of smokers. That is why it has to be included in an impactful EU Beating Cancer plan:

When it comes to smoking cessation, the EU Commission is once again concentrating on the ‘quit or die’ approach instead of creating a realistic addiction policy.“, says Prof Heino Stöver from the German Institute for Addiction Research at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. And further: “Great Britain, New Zealand and Canada are putting the e- Cigarette as a main tool in the fight against tobacco use and have been shown to be very successful.[2]

Cancer potencies: 0.5% of the risk of smoking

In embracing harm reduction the UK shows a better and more effective strategy to decrease the number of smokers. With broad education on harm-reducing alternatives, British health policy has drastically reduced the smoking rate within a few years. In 2011, 20 percent of the British still smoked, in 2019 it was around 14 percent.[3]

In 2018, the government agency Public Health England (PHE) published a report with data on e-cigarettes. According to PHE, vapers have a 99.5 percent lower risk of cancer than smokers. Overall, PHE estimates that e-cigarettes are at least 95 percent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.[4]

Dustin Dahlmann, Chairman of IEVA: “We welcome the EU Beating Cancer Plan. The strategy needs to consider all means available to reduce the burden of cancer related risks: It is of utmost importance that preventive measures are flanked by tobacco harm reduction. Otherwise, millions of smokers might miss the opportunity to tremendously reduce their risk of cancer.

[1] EU Beating Cancer Plan, 2021. Link

[2] Prof Heino Stöver, Press release, February 03, 2021. Link

[3] Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2019. Link

[4] “Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products”, Public Health England 2018. Link

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