The European Parliament’s first debate on the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA)’s report into how to strengthen Europe’s fight against cancer will take place next week. The full Parliament will consider on 15th February whether to approve the report’s recommendations in full or to propose further changes.
Members will discuss and vote on whether to adopt a number of recommendations in the report that could have a significant impact on the future of vaping in the EU. This will include whether or not to support the proposal of a flavour ban in the upcoming revision of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
A group of 11 European health organisations have written to MEPs urging them to adopt the report without weakening its recommendations on cancer prevention.
“It is of long-term importance that the report maintain its level of ambition and strong language, in particular when it comes to the main, well-known and preventable risk factors of cancer and other major chronic diseases,” the letter says.
Carmine Canino, president of the Italian National Association of E-cigarette Consumers (ANPVU), told ECigIntelligence he was optimistic about the BECA report’s chance of being approved at next Tuesday’s plenary session.
The report was approved by 29 out of 34 committee members in a vote last year. It included some “compromise amendments”, such as on alternative tobacco products.
For example, MEPs said that e-cigarettes “could allow some smokers to quit smoking progressively” but that these products “should not be attractive to minors and non-smokers”. The committee wanted a further investigation into which flavours might be particularly attractive to minors as well as non-smokers and seemed minded to propose a ban on those that were.
The report’s final version also included a recommendation to the European Commission that it should fund programmes that promote smoking cessation and impose an increase in the minimum excise duties on all tobacco products.
The possible limitation on selected flavours has created some uncertainty among the European vaping sector despite the positive signs from MEPs on vaping as a tool for smoking cessation.
The Independent European Vape Alliance (IEVA) remained concerned that “it leaves the door open to a flavour ban in the EU”. The World Vapers’ Alliance said the EU Parliament’s acknowledgement that vaping allows smokers to quit is “a significant step forward”.
However, it added: “Risking vapers’ access to flavour choices means that this positive step forward is overshadowed by uncertainty.”
Likewise, the ANPVU pointed out that limiting flavours would make the switch to e-cigarettes less attractive for smokers.
– Antonia Di Lorenzo ECigIntelligence staff
Photo: Philippe Stirnweiss, © European Union 2022