ETHRA founder partner, the New Nicotine Alliance in the UK, is calling on European Harm Reduction Advocates to prepare for worrying developments in the new year.
In an article just before Christmas, they urged vapers, especially, to “prepare for battle” in the coming year. The European Union is currently gathering evidence for a review of the Tobacco Products Directive and meetings have already been planned to discuss how misinformation emanating from the US can be used to close down the sensible regulations Europe has enjoyed since 2014.
As the NNA put it: “The war on harm reduction in the EU is starting again. Much sooner than you realise, minds will be closed, and positions taken. By the time any of us are asked for comment on this, policy proposals will already have been made. We are expecting the first significant discussions to start in the European Parliament as soon as the end of January 2020.”
It is important that all partners take this threat seriously. Harm reduction in Europe is under imminent threat and we will have to mobilise consumers as we did for the last iteration of the TPD. Five years ago, it took a lot of pressure from vapers to educate the EU as to how important vaping products were and to head off counterproductive regulations which would affect the choices of European smokers wishing to quit.
2020 will see major threats to the sensible regulations that we fought so hard for under TPD2, but it would appear that the EU wishes to erase them and introduce the same damaging proposals that they were forced to abandon before.
We must all resist this by reminding the EU that the most important voice on this subject in Europe is that of those of us who have derived tangible and life-changing benefits from harm reduction. ETHRA is committed to galvanising the consumer voice in our region and will be asking for your help in a major campaign in 2020 to remind the EU why they prohibit reduced risk products at their peril. They would prefer we stay silent and be rule-takers, we must make them realise that we will not sit idly by as they dismantle what we know is working.
We cannot just let ill-informed bureaucrats play games with our lives, please be prepared to mobilise all European consumers in 2020.
New Nicotine Alliance UK is a registered charity which raises awareness about tobacco harm reduction. The Board of NNA and Associates include ex-smokers, most of whom have succeeded in giving up smoking through the use of other nicotine delivery systems. NNA can be contacted here.