The EU Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) final report on e-cigarettes is a step backward for Europe, according to the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA). Based on weak data, it ignores crucial scientific evidence, experience from consumers and the expert opinions received in the consultation period, the advocacy group said in a statement.
“This report is a tragedy for public health and will have dire consequences for smokers and vapers alike,” said Michael Landl, director of the WVA. “SCHEER ignores a large amount of scientific evidence on vaping, all of which was provided by experts and consumers to SCHEER during their consultation earlier this year. They chose to ignore it. This is a slap in the face of vapers and of common sense.”
According to the WVA, the report does not consider crucial independent evidence from Public Health England, which shows that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than smoking and recently found that vaping is the most used means to quit smoking.
“Countries like the U.K. and France are actively encouraging smokers to use vaping and switch to this less harmful alternative,” said Landl. “If the EU really wants to tackle smoking-related illnesses, it needs to look very carefully at all of the evidence. Unfortunately, the SCHEER report is biased against vaping, and its recommendations, if transposed into legislation, will damage public health.”
The next few months will see further legislation updates in the EU as outlined in Europe’s Beating Cancer plan, including updates to the Tobacco Products Directive and the Tobacco Excise Directive. In this context, the findings of the SCHEER committee may ultimately be detrimental to the health of Europe’s citizens.
“It seems like the main objective has been overlooked: reducing the number of smokers and tackling smoking-induced illnesses,” said Landl. “Vaping is not smoking and must not be treated the same. Regulation must be drafted in a way that encourages current smokers to switch. The EU needs to focus on practical solutions to reduce harm, and this major point is missing from the SCHEER analysis. Vaping can help smokers quit, but this report ignores that and compares vaping to nonsmoking. So it is unsurprising that the results don’t echo reality.”
The full SCHEER report is here.