MEPs call for the EU to adopt the Swedish harm reduction model

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Press conference hosted by the World Vapers’ Alliance on the Swedish smoke-free achievement, Brussels, Belgium

BRUSSELS, June 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On World No Tobacco Day, Members of the European Parliament expressed their concern with the EU’s approach towards smoking cessation and emphasised the need for a sensible, risk-based approach, following the Swedish smoke-free policies. MEPs Charlie Weimers and Johan Nissinen called for a more open approach towards harm reduction in the EU at the press conference in Brussels, hosted by the World Vapers’ Alliance.

“The Swedish case presents the third and final determining pillar in the pro-harm reduction argument. The science, the experience of the consumers, and now the Swedish example are proof that harm reduction works in achieving a smoke-free society. Now we have an undeniable case that the EU-wide regulation must be risk-based and evidence-supported,” said Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance.

“Policy should be evidence based. WHO will soon classify Sweden as Europe’s first smoke-free country because of harm reduction policies and widespread use of snus. Sweden has a wide range of harm reduction products: we have snus, nicotine pouches, vaping, etc. People are given a choice!” commented MEP Charlie Weimers. “Sweden is reducing harm and it’s working very well,” concluded MEP Weimers.

To reinforce the impact of the Swedish model, MEP Johann Nissinen said: “It is clear that smoking kills, and we need to do everything we can to prevent those unnecessary deaths. Sweden is the best example of how this is achievable, namely with a pragmatic harm reduction approach. It is the only country in the EU where snus is legal and popular with 18% of the population using it. Consuming snus instead of cigarettes saved many Swedish lives. It is time that the EU Commission expects this reality and starts acting accordingly.”

Snus has been used since the 1800s, so we have more than two hundred years of a case study that proved that tobacco harm reduction works. Snus is a great way to continue consuming nicotine without harmful chemicals you take from the traditional combustible cigarettes,” said Carissa Düring, the Director of the Considerate Poachers. “Many countries in Europe are trying to overregulate or ban alternative nicotine products. Policymakers believe that banning something will make them disappear. We know that it is not true.”

“World No Tobacco Day is a sad reminder that a new approach in the fight against smoking is needed. Instead of fighting less harmful alternatives like vaping or pouches, the EU must start accepting reality: harm reduction works! Only with the harm reduction approach as a centrepiece of the new Tobacco Products Regulation, so the EU can achieve its smoking-free goals before the target,” concluded Landl.

Following the press conference, the World Vapers’ Alliance hosted an installation called Beat Smoking Like The Swedes, with vikings deflating the 5-metre tall cigarette as a symbol of the Swedish success in achieving smoke-free status.

The original article is available here

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