European advocacy groups and organizations have teamed to up form a new body aimed at being the voice and lobbying arm of Europe’s growing alternative nicotine product users, including vapers.
The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates [ETHRA] was launched yesterday and includes some of the biggest players in tobacco harm reduction circles including the New Nicotine Alliance based here in the UK.
Despite vaping deemed as ‘safe’ in Europe, there’s change in the wind with the EU currently reviewing the controversial Tobacco Products Directive [TPD] and the World Health Organization continuing its vehement anti-vaping stance.
The WHO is holding its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of the Parties in the Netherlands in a little over a years time. It’s expected they’ll continue attacking not only e-cigarettes but also Snus.
With the current ‘war on vaping raging in America, it’s perfect timing for a group like ETHRA to form – a case of not resting on harm reduction laurels in Europe – unlike in the states where some might say advocates most definitely dropped the ball.
ETHRA’s Five Core Principle
The main aims of ETHRA is to share information at regional and national levels and to coordinate responses as and when the need applies.
The group has 5 core principles:
- We support tobacco harm reduction.
- We know from personal experience and science that a variety of delivery methods and flavours enhances the ability of smokers to quit, and oppose any regulation that restricts this.
- Regulation must always consider the minimal risks of harm reduced products versus the large risks of smoking and ensure that these are reflected.
- We believe that the health and lives of adult smokers and ex-smokers should always be taken into account when quantifying the risk to young people.
- Reduced risk products need to be affordable and there is no case to apply tobacco excise duties to products that offer a much safer alternative to smoking.
It’s great to see such powerful groups come together and with more support they will most definitely become Europe’s first defense for vapers and other alternative nicotine product users.
ETHRA Needs More Partners!
An ETHRA spokesman said:
Reduced risk products are providing a gateway out of smoking for millions of Europeans but they face many threats.
Today sees the launch of ETHRA, a new group formed by consumers and other advocates, to promote sensible regulation of innovative solutions for those who wish to continue using nicotine in a far safer form.
ETHRA membership is growing fast and already includes not only the NNA, but also a dozen partners from across Europe including: EU for Snus – NNA Ireland – Sovape – Vapers.org.uk and Vapers Finland.
Former chair of the NNA UK – Sarah Jakes, welcomed the formation of the group adding:
Tobacco harm reduction has been an unprecedented success story in enlightened European states, yet the EU and the WHO appear eager to wind back the clock and impose harsh and ill-conceived restrictions on products which are saving lives.
ETHRA is a welcome new consumer voice for the European region to fight for the rights of smokers and ex-smokers against counterproductive policy-making of nicotine use.
She was joined by Mark Oates, founder of the Snus Users Association UK, who said:
At a time when lower risk products are being attacked from all sides around the world it is vital we have a platform to engage with both policy makers and the general public to explain how harm reduction works to save lives.
Whilst Bengt Wiberg and Uwe Hille, the two founders of EUforsnus – the consumer crowd movement which campaigns to allow snus in the European Union – said:
We decided to join ETHRA as soon as we heard about it.
We started #EUforsnus almost two years ago, to share the life vital information of The Swedish Experience of snus as a formidable lower risk alternative to smoking and we are pleased that partnering with ETHRA will enable us to work with other European consumer groups with an interest in tobacco harm reduction.
Anyone interested in joining forces with ETHRA – and you really should be – can contact them at: [email protected]
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