In May, the EU Commission launched a call for evidence to assess its legislative framework for tobacco control. This was part of the process to evaluate if current tobacco control legislation has fulfilled its goals towards the proposed EU Beating Cancer Plan goal of achieving a tobacco free generation by 2040.
The NNA urged supporters to respond to the consultation in our web article here. We are more than pleased to report that many of you did just that and that the consultation received a record number of responses, according to EU Political Report this week.
The Commission’s “Call for Evidence” on the legislative framework for tobacco control received an unprecedented level of feedback, with consumers of alternatives to tobacco products – vaping, heated tobacco and oral nicotine pouches – making their voices heard in huge numbers.
More than 24,000 EU citizens responded to the call, launched by the Commission as part of its ongoing evaluation of what future EU tobacco laws will look like through revision of the Tobacco Products Directive.
The massive interest in the issue may surprise some and may put the European Commission on the back foot as has been seen by some as having previously failed to support ‘tobacco harm reduction’.
90% of responses were from EU citizens and an “overwhelming majority” supported tobacco harm reduction. This should be a wake-up call for the EU Commission which is ideologically opposed to reduced risk products in any form – and, as a result, cherry picks biased evidence to support its pre-conceived stance - despite their proven success in reducing smoking rates across the continent.
It is testament to the power of the consumer voice that such a response is considered “problematic” for the EU Commission. It shows that our voices count, and that we should continue to put pressure on authorities to recognise the potential of harm reduction and regulate safer nicotine products accordingly.
A 12-week consultation process will follow so consumers will need to be ready to make our voices heard once again to oppose unnecessary and counterproductive over-regulation of vaping products, heated tobacco and nicotine pouches, and to call for sensible regulation of snus instead of the counterproductive EU-wide ban which currently exists. When that consultation process begins, we will be sure to inform and guide consumers as best we can.
In the meantime, 20th July is the closing date for the EU’s call for evidence on extending smoke-free environments to outdoor spaces such as hospitality and widening their scope to include vaping products and heated tobacco, so do consider responding to that today. You can read our guide on how to do so here.