Brussels, 19 March 2018 – Use of e-cigarettes in the world is growing continuously. However, Europe is falling behind. It is essential that Europe exploits the potential of this technology to reduce the impact of smoking on European Public Health. For this reason, the Italian Anti-Smoking League (Lega Italiana Anti Fumo – LIAF), hosted by MEP Giovanni La Via (former Chair of the ENVI Committee), is bringing experts and policymakers to the European Parliament to discuss the benefits of electronic cigarettes. The event takes place on 20 March 2018 at 12.30 p.m. and will allow experts to exchange views on the potential of e-cigarettes to help reshape European health.
Though this is a very important public health issue, the discussion has been absent from the European agenda. With cigarettes killing more than half a million smokers a month globally and almost 6 million Europeans now using e-cigarettes to move away from smoking, providing scientific evidence to shift the balance from an ‘abstinence-only’ agenda to a harm reduction strategy is vital in bringing down smoking deaths.
Recent reports have led key public health institutions to take a positive stance on e-cigarettes. Well-respected bodies, such as Public Health England (PHE), Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), recognise the potential of e-cigarettes to reduce the health effects of smoking. PHE’s recent report on e-cigarettes (February 2018) concludes that vaping or using e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking tobacco. Moreover, the report shows that while smoking rates among young people continue to fall, there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. The same research found that e-cigarettes are used almost exclusively by those who have already smoked.
This event will be an important opportunity for MEPs and speakers to work together, share scientific perspectives and establish tools that can successfully be exploited in the drive to reduce smoking in Europe.