Towards Smoke-Free Europe: Reducing Harm and Empowering Consumers

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European Parliament held a conference on December 5, 2023, discussing harm reduction and the path to a smoke-free Europe.

According to a report by Filtermag on January 3rd, 2023, the European Parliament held a conference on December 5th with the theme “Harm Reduction: Path to a Smoke-Free Europe” in Brussels, Belgium.

The meeting was chaired by Swedish European Parliament member John Nissen and invited British smoke-free advocate Clive Bates among others as guest speakers. This was not only a conference to discuss how smokers can transition to safer nicotine alternatives, but also the first time that the European Parliament officially listened to the perspectives of consumers advocating for tobacco harm reduction (THR).

During the event, Clive Bates strongly criticized European institutions for consistently placing consumers in a subordinate position. He emphasized that consumers are the most important stakeholders and called for granting them the right to be heard and respected through public hearings.

Julio Ruádez Esteban, representative of the Spanish e-cigarette association (ANESVAP), has highlighted the impact of tobacco market regulation errors on the health and lives of the 600,000 e-cigarette users in Spain.

Tom Gleeson, spokesperson for the Irish New Nicotine Alliance, revealed the impact of e-cigarettes on his life, stating that since purchasing his first e-cigarette, he has completely quit smoking and has reduced his consumption by 131,490 cigarettes.

Philippe Poirson, spokesperson for the French Association for the Reduction of Tobacco Harm (SOVAPE), recently shared his successful experience of quitting smoking, highlighting the role of e-cigarettes during his 28-year smoking addiction.

The consumers, experts, and relevant organizations attending the meeting unanimously believe that establishing the right European Union policies is crucial for reducing tobacco harm in the future. This conference marks an important step towards formulating more scientific and humane tobacco policies in Europe.

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