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An article in the Tobacco Control Journal by a Finnish public health advocate has urged the EU to change its policy towards vaping products in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). ETHRA fully rejects the reasoning contained in the article and we are shocked that a member state can attempt to impose its extreme position on others in the EU by advocating for prohibitions not welcome elsewhere.

Eeva Ollila of the Cancer Society of Finland boasts that her country’s extreme anti-nicotine policy is being inconvenienced by the EU treading a path which accepts reduced risk products as a valid option for smokers seeking to quit. Her insistence that Finland’s approach should be forced on other member states by imploring the EU to change sensible regulation in favour of restrictions which go against the considered policies of many in the EU who are comfortable with the TPD is wrong.

Finland may wish to eradicate nicotine use, but it is arrogant to presume that all 27 member states should do the same. The EU has sensible regulation under the TPD which is working to reduce smoking. Finland is an extreme outlier and should not be dictating their outlandish and evidence-light view of harm reduction to more enlightened countries.

A race to the precautionary bottom is not how the EU works at its most efficient for its population. Regulators in Brussels should roundly dismiss the bully-boy tactics of a member state which chooses blind prejudice instead of a progressive and modern approach to reducing harm from tobacco use, which the EU, wisely, chose to implement in its TPD in 2014.

“Ms Ollila is out of step with the rest of Europe,”,says Jari Ollikka, of Vapers Finland, “it is already damaging to the Finnish public to pursue a thoughtless anti-nicotine policy which deters smokers from switching to safer products, but to attempt to export ignorant policy-making to other member states is an embarrassment to our country.”

“Far from trying to impose an extremist anti-nicotine policy on others by way of draconian EU legislation, Finland should be taking a lead from a majority of their neighbours who recognise harm reduction as a way of encouraging smokers to migrate to less harmful products.

“Vapers Finland urges the public health community to engage with Finnish consumers to learn how safer nicotine products are not a threat to our public’s health, but rather a benefit.”, Jari Ollikka continues, “We stand ready to meet with the government and regulators at any time to give our insights as to how vaping has helped many thousands of our citizens to quit tobacco use. We do not lead Europe by advocating mindless anti-nicotine rhetoric, instead we sadly trail other nations by not recognising that the modern world has new solutions that we should also be embracing.”

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