• April 23, 2024

EU Urged to Embrace THR

 EU Urged to Embrace THR

Photo: Teo

Photo: Teo

Ahead of this year’s EU State of the Union address on Sept. 13 in Strasbourg, France, the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) urged President Ursula von der Leyen to tackle the devastating impact of smoking-related diseases in the European Union. The association proposes the EU Commission’s president embrace a coherent EU-wide harm reduction strategy that includes evidence-based approaches to vaping and nicotine pouches, which have been shown to significantly reduce harm compared to smoking.

“We implore Ursula von der Leyen to finally address the far-reaching impacts of smoking,” said WVA Director Michael Landl in a statement. “Smoking is a public health problem requiring immediate attention, causing more than 700,000 deaths in the EU annually. Evidence is clear that alternative nicotine products, such as vaping and nicotine pouches, can be a game changer in the battle against smoking. The time for brave leadership is now.”

According to the World Vapers’ Alliance, Sweden has become a bright example that a coherent harm reduction strategy is the key to successfully addressing smoking-related illnesses. Not only is Sweden the first country in the world to reach the smoke-free goal (17 years ahead of the EU targets), but it keeps its commitment to favor harm reduction. Last week, the Swedish government announced its plan to reduce the tax on snus, a smokeless tobacco product similar to modern nicotine pouches, by 20 percent while increasing the tax on cigarettes and smoking tobacco by 9 percent.

Vaping is still a recommended means of quitting for smokers in France, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, according to the WVA. This April, the U.K. government launched a “Swap-to-Stop” program aimed to incentivize smokers to quit by exchanging their cigarettes for free vape devices. Following Sweden’s recent move to reduce the tax rate on snus based on a risk-based regulatory approach and the U.K.’s full endorsement of vaping as a tool for smoking cessation, the WVA calls on the European Union to follow their lead in adopting a coherent harm reduction strategy.

“In Sweden and the U.K., we’ve seen the incredible impact that a harm reduction approach can have on reducing smoking rates and improving public health. These countries lead by example, using a balanced risk-based strategy that includes vaping and nicotine pouches as safer alternatives to smoking. It’s time for the European Union to follow their lead. President von der Leyen has an unparalleled opportunity to set a new course for the EU in her State of the Union speech—one that embraces innovative, evidence-based solutions to tackle the smoking crisis,” added Landl.