The European Commission has reported on the application of the Tobacco Products Directive, suggesting that further restrictions on vapers might be proposed. Read the full report here. IEVA is concerned by both the content and tone of the report; and by the potential effect of its conclusions on public health and the vaping public.
- The effect of the Commission’s proposals would be to ban most vaping products on the market today.
While the Commission is careful not to say it out loud, its proposals would effectively ban most vaping products available today. It suggests revising all of the unjustifiable limits the last TPD set downwards, removing most flavours and banning many of the devices commonly used today. Vapers in the EU would lose most of the products they use to stay away from cigarettes today. A flavour ban alone would, according to the Commission’s own figures, remove two thirds of today’s vaping market.
- The report fails to acknowledge the concept of harm reduction.
The report fails to acknowledge any of the evidence on the relative risks of vaping and smoking. This is despite Member State governments running campaigns trying to encourage smokers to switch to Vaping. Santé Publique France, for example, has launched an anti smoking campaign called “Je choisis la vapotage” (“I choose vaping”) which makes clear that “you can use vaping products without taking short-term health risks”. The Commission must take account of best practice in the EU, not ignore it. Learn more here.
- Some proposals on vaping could lead to more young people smoking.
Shortly after this report was published, Yale University released the first real world study on the effect of flavour bans on youth smoking prevalence. In the City of San Francisco flavoured vaping products were banned in 2018. Since then, smoking has doubled among high school students in the area relative to trends in districts without the ban, even when adjusting for individual demographics and other tobacco policies. This study was funded by the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. There was no industry involvement in the study. Read the study here.
- There is not enough focus on the real enemy of public health – smoking.
While the Commission does question whether the nicotine threshold for vaping products should be lower, it has brushed aside calls from Members of the European Parliament to adapt the method for measuring tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in cigarette smoke. This combination of policies would ensure that cigarettes deliver far more nicotine – an addictive substance – than vaping products. While there have been no reported deaths in Europe caused by vaping TPD regulated products, smoking kills half of its regular users.