Brussels 20 March 2018 – The panel discussion at the EU Parliament recognises the potential benefits of electronic cigarettes and for European countries to treat these products as regular consumer products to ensure equal access for all Europeans.
Following a debate in which leading scientific experts presented the state-of-the-art evidence around e-cigarettes, it became clear that public health is increasingly moving on from an approach that solely advocates ‘quit-or-die’ to a harm reduction strategy.
“I’m glad to have brought the Parliament attention to this important issue for public health. Today we have listened to the results of scientific studies and researches from a high-level expert’s roundtable, which have illustrated to us the advantages of electronic cigarettes and the potential public health benefits that these products pose when compared to the conventional cigarettes. As decision-makers, we need to take into considerations these results, confront with all the relevant actors involved in the process, and offer to these innovative products a clear regulatory environment.” – Giovanni La Via, Member of the European Parliament.
Research presented during the debate shows that e-cigarettes play a significant role in helping smokers to quit. Evidence presented also showed that there is no conclusive evidence supporting fears about the ‘gateway effect’, but that youth smoking in countries where e-cigarettes have been supported is in decline.
“There is currently no evidence that e-cigarettes are undermining efforts to reduce youth smoking in Europe. It is important that unfounded fears about ‘the gateway effect’ do not detract from the contribution that e-cigarettes can make in helping current smokers to quit. In the UK, where e-cigarette use has been particularly common, youth smoking rates continue to decline” – Professor Linda Bauld, University of Stirling.
“The EU needs to work together with the scientific community to ensure an evidence-based approach which promotes a harm reduction strategy for the good of European citizens. This is an opportunity that Europe has so far missed out on. It’s an opportunity for society to battle one of the most serious public health issues in Europe. It is encouraging to witness the growing political will to change this” – Professor Riccardo Polosa, University of Catania.