Consultations

Official CCC Reponses and Consultations.

[EU] Public Consultation on the Taxation of Tobacco Products and New Products

As a global consumer group representing millions of consumers in Europe and globally, we have been working on spreading the harm reduction message to help spread awareness about vaping as a life-saving tool both among smokers and non-smokers. In light of the EU Beating Cancer plan, Dutch vape flavour ban, and proposed German tax on nicotine e-liquids, it appears that the European Union and Member states have decided to turn a blind eye to smokers and push them into abstinence through coercion. Such an approach is disastrous and should be reconsidered.

We urge the EU Commission to follow science and keep the interests of smokers and former smokers in mind as well as the economic costs of excessive taxation of both vaping and tobacco products.

Vaping is a lifesaving tool

Vaping has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking and has been endorsed by multiple international health bodies as a safer alternative. While some critics have argued that vaping is a gateway to smoking, the opposite is true. Vaping is a gateway from smoking, and has been used by millions of adults to reduce the health risks associated with tobacco consumption. 

Higher taxes on vaping products are particularly harmful to the lower income brackets of the population

The highest proportion of current smokers are from low income population segments. “[Higher taxes on] vaping liquid would raise the proportion of adults who smoke cigarettes daily by approximately 1 percentage point, translating to 2.5 million extra adult daily smokers” in the United States. With tax increases in the EU, similar consequences would be seen in Europe.

Overregulation of tobacco products boosts illicit trade

Smoking should be seen as a matter of consumer choice and personal responsibility. Tobacco products should not see any further scrutiny. The evidence regarding the effectiveness of taxes, marketing and other restrictions is too weak to justify such drastic interventions. Furthermore, such policies encourage illicit trade. Tobacco price disparity between the EU and other countries in Europe is a contributing factor; however, that also demonstrates that despite anti-tobacco efforts, demand for cigarettes doesn’t go away. 

Adult consumers should be encouraged to make responsible choices bearing in mind the consequences of their actions. Policies based on respect for consumer choice such as education should be preferred over restrictions.

Response:

[EU] First phase consultation of social partners under Article 154 TFEU on possible action addressing the challenges related to working conditions in platform work

This position is in response to the 1st-phase consultation on platform work regulation by the European Commission. The Consumer Choice Center is a consumer organisation, thus not amongst the categories called upon to react to this consultation. That said, with this response we express the urgent call that the consumer point of view is very important in the regulation of platform work, and that we deserve our place in upcoming considerations of the European Commission. Given the status of organisation as a consumer group, we cannot speak in detail on the specific labour regulations. That said, regulation on one area has vertical ramifications on other sectors, meaning that the regulation of platform work has the side-effect of altering, in a positive or negative way, the availability of products and services to consumers.We therefore ask you to consider our point of view in the upcoming consultation process.

  1. Do you consider that the European Commission has correctly and sufficiently identified the issues and the possible areas for EU action?

    The European Commission has provided an extensive overview on the issue, and has contextualised the challenges associated with the issue. The quotes from the document underline this fact. “At the macro-level, not addressing the issues faced by people working through plat-forms in the EU may have repercussions for European labour markets and societies aggravating labour market segmentation and inequalities and potentially leading to a diminished fiscal base for EU governments and thus reducing the effectiveness of social security systems.”

    and

    “Overly restrictive regulation could have a stifling effect on innovation and job creation potential, especially for smaller-scale European scale-ups and start-ups and self-employed persons, depending on its scope.”

    This displays a differentiated view on the issue of platform work and the implications of incoming regulation. However, we believe that the Commission has underestimated the consumer perspective in its analysis. All actors, including platform workers themselves, are benefactors of the sharing economy — through its potential for reducing cost and efficiency, as well as thorough environmental benefits.

    Ride-sharing platforms have given the opportunity to reduce costs for all consumers in major cities, allowing market entry to a new set of consumers, i.e. those consumers who were previously unable to afford a ride in the traditional taxi market.

    This does not only apply to short rides with platforms such as Uber, Bolt, or Heetch, but also to long-distance travel through carpooling sites such as BlaBlaCar. These services have enabled a more social experience, all while being more environmentally-friendly due to the optimisation of resources.

    Other sharing economy services have provided more flexibility and work-life balance to all consumers and those who use the services, for instance through co-working spaces. Adding to that, businesses have found new opportunities, such as through the connection of smart delivery services. The European Commission should account for the added value of platform work for consumers.
  2. Do you consider that EU action is needed to effectively address the identified is-sues and achieve the objectives presented?

    EU action can help facilitate coordination between member states, particularly when a service crosses borders. For instance, an Uber crossing from one country to another. That said, we do not believe that there is a legitimate need for EU action on this topic, due to the diverse nature of sharing economy services. Member states face different challenges in the area of housing, mobility, and other consumer products and services, and therefore a blanket legislative approach would not be appropriate. Each member state should make the necessary regulatory decisions.

    This does not only apply to the question of consumer policy, but also in the realm of labour regulations. Knowing that there are different social security requirements in all member states, a regulatory alignment in one sector could excessively complicate the interior rules system of each country. Adding to that, this approach does not allow for regional specificities. For instance, the mobility sector might be burdened with a restrictive licensing system, which can only be alleviated with the introduction of a ride-sharing platform. Making it more difficult for the latter to be introduced would hurt consumers.

    If we are to follow the principles of the single market, the European Commission should uphold the legality of ride-sharing services throughout the bloc.

[UK] A consultation on the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015

Health text and picture warnings

Question 1: How far do you agree or disagree that the introduction of rotating combined (photo and text) health warnings on cigarette and hand rolling tobacco has encouraged smokers to quit?

  • strongly agree
  • agree
  • neither agree or disagree
  • disagree
  • strongly disagree
  • don’t know

Disagree. Despite a persistent belief that nannying consumers out of smoking, health warning labels haven’t proved to be effective in helping smokers quit. For example, in 2012, the US Court of Appeal stated the following: “The Food and Drug Administration has not provided a shred of evidence—much less the “substantial evidence”— showing that the graphic warnings will “directly advance” its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.” Сonsumers are already knowledgeable about the harms and risks associated with smoking, which is why there isn’t much evidence to suggest that the warnings actually deter tobacco use.

It is especially difficult to establish a clear causal relationship between the introduction of health warning labels and its impact on the reduction of smoking rates. Furthermore, the potential causality is complicated by the distinction between heavy and non-heavy smokers, and how they respond to health warning labels. The very same applies to all sorts of marketing and branding bans.

A 2019 experiment published in Health Education Research found that the presence of graphic health warning labels did not influence participants’ purchase of cigarettes as a main effect. The said study also found that smokers who were highly dependent on nicotine dependence were slightly more likely to purchase cigarettes when graphic health warning labels were present. It might also be likely that health warning labels have the opposite effect and entice defensive reaction and, in the end, fail to achieve the expected goal of reducing the smoking rates.

Further scientific research in the United Kingdom would be necessary to determine whether a decline in adult smoking cessation can be related to display bans.

Tobacco products should not see any further scrutiny. The evidence regarding the effectiveness of health warning labels is, therefore, inconclusive. Adult consumers should be encouraged to make responsible choices bearing in mind the consequences of their actions. Long-shot policies based on respect for consumer choice such as education should be preferred over health warning labels. 

Question 2: How far do you agree or disagree that the introduction of rotating combined (photo and text) health warnings on cigarette and hand rolling tobacco has deterred young people from smoking?

Disagree.

First, taking into account the arguments mentioned above, health warnings on cigarettes haven’t proved to be successful in deterring smokers, especially heavy smokers, from smoking. Young people should be educated about smoking and freedom to choose so that they become responsible adult consumers later in life. 

For instance, a 2019 study conducted in Australia found that both smoking and non-smoking university students perceived current cigarette packaging warnings in Australia as having lost much of their effectiveness as tobacco control interventions. Non-smokers perceived health warnings on cigarettes as preventive and needed to raise awareness about smoking. Smokers, on the contrary, were pessimistic about such interventions.

Question 3: Should all tobacco products have a combined (photo and text) health warning on their packaging?

Characterising flavours

Question 4: How far do you agree or disagree that the prohibition of characterising flavours has helped smokers quit smoking?

Question 5: How far do you agree or disagree that the prohibition of characterising flavours has deterred young people from taking up smoking?

E-cigarettes

Question 6: How far do you agree or disagree that the current regulations on e-cigarettes have been proportionate in protecting young people from taking up use of these products?

A report commissioned by PHE in early 2020 affirmed that nearly two-thirds of 11-to-17-year-olds in the United Kingdom who currently vape more than once a month had bought products themselves. Numbers like this often lead to prohibitionist calls for further bans and restrictions on vaping products. However, it is crucial to strike a balance between the need to ensure that teens should not be able to purchase vaping products while encouraging adult smokers to quit.

Another report commissioned by the PHE showed that 38% of smokers believed that vaping is as harmful as smoking while 15% believed that vaping is more harmful. This misconception of risk is a huge concern, because it discourages many current smokers to switch to the less harmful alternative – vaping. It is crucial that smokers are educated about the possibility to switch and reduce health risks associated with conventional smoking. Marketing of vaping products needs to be encouraged so that consumers have access to the necessary information about vaping as means to quit.

Further bans of vaping products will drive more consumers to illegal products on the unregulated black market, where there is no guarantee of safety or quality. A larger black market will make it even easier for minors to purchase vaping products with no age verifications at all. 

However, the use of vaping products among adolescents isn’t widespread. Out of 11-18 year olds never smokers only 0.1% vape more than once a week. 

Question 7: How far do you agree or disagree that the current regulations have ensured that e-cigarettes are available for those smokers who wish to switch to these products?

Agree. The UK’s pro-vaping approach should be applauded: it saves lives, and other countries should follow the UK’s example. In particular, that concerns other European countries since as long as the UK continues to remain open to innovation aimed at reducing rates, there is a chance that they might choose to drift away from paternalism that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Despite calls to restrict access to vaping, in particular those that seek to frame vaping as a gateway to smoking, the UK should preserve its role as a global harm reduction advocate.

An analysis of 61 countries showed that 196 million smokers could switch to vaping if other countries treated vaping in the same way as the UK.

However, the UK should further improve its current regulatory framework to achieve its smoke-free 2030 goal (see question 8).

Question 8: What effect do you think the regulations have had on smokers considering switching to e-cigarettes?

Unfortunately, as was mentioned previously, 38% of smokers in the UK believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking while 15% believed that vaping is more harmful. Many regulations have made it more difficult for current smokers to obtain correct information about vaping. The EU Tobacco Products Directive has prevented switching efforts, and after Brexit, the UK has a unique chance to walk away from the EU’s restrictive approach. Excessive bans on advertising of vaping should be lifted in order to ensure smokers – especially heavy smokers – are able to gain all the necessary information about vaping. Significant communication efforts should be channeled to help raise awareness about vaping as a safe means to quit smoking.

Question 9: Do you consider the restrictions on e-cigarette advertising to be an effective way to discourage young people and non-smokers from using e-cigarettes?

Agree, we should not tolerate teen vaping, and any rise in numbers is concerning. Still, we cannot at the same time deprive millions of adult smokers of safer alternatives (according to Public Health England, vaping is at least 95% less harmful than traditional smoking) because of activities that are already illegal. All studies and surveys show that regular use among minors is rare, so the effort should be placed on helping adult smokers quit or for those who do not want to or are not able to quit to switch to vaping or similar alternatives. It is, therefore, crucial to distinguish between communication regarding age restrictions and access to e-cigarettes for minors as such and that aimed at adult smokers.

Novel tobacco products

Question 10: How far do you agree or disagree that the requirements of TRPR on novel tobacco products are proportionate?

Strongly agree, it is crucial that the ucomining legislation update distinguishes between TRPR and conventional tobacco. Vaping was initially invented as a safer alternative aimed at reducing health-associated risks and should be seen as such. We need an on-ramp for harm reduction that is vaping: endorse e-cigarettes as an effective tool to help smokers move to a safer alternative to consume nicotine and eventually quit if they desire to do so.

Enforcement

Question 11: Do you agree or disagree that the penalties for a breach of the regulations are an effective deterrent to ensure compliance with the regulations?

Agree. In the United Kingdom, a video game seller can be fined up to 20,000 GBP for selling age-restricted games to underaged customers. At the same time, a vendor selling vaping liquids to minors comes with a maximum fine of merely 2,500 GBP, an eighth compared to video games. Given that one study found that 5 out of 9 shops sell vaping products to minors, the UK’s fines might need to be adjusted upwards.

The UK should abstain from stricter regulation that target adults, and consequently discourage them from switching. Better and smarter enforcement of existing restrictions on sales should be the focus.

Other question

Question 12: How far do you agree or disagree that there has been an economic impact of TRPR, either positive, negative or both?

Anything else on TRPR?

Question 13: Is there anything else you would like to share on negative or positive impacts the regulations have had on topics not covered above? If so, please explain and include any evidence and research you may have to back your response.

As a global consumer group representing millions of consumers in Europe and globally, we have been working on spreading the harm reduction message to help spread awareness about vaping as a life-saving tool both among smokers and non-smokers. We applaud the UK’s progressive approach to vaping and believe it can do even better after Brexit. In particular, that concerns advertising restrictions and stricter enforcement of the rules concerned with teen vaping. 

We are hopeful that the UK doesn’t give in to scientifically unjustified calls against vaping, and remains an advocate of harm reduction. Added to that, it is also crucial to ensure that the upcoming legislation doesn’t unintentionally target adult smokers in pursuit of reducing vaping rates among teens. Although the UK is the example for Europe and the world, there is room for improvement.

SPoT requirements

Question 14: How far do you agree or disagree that the requirements on the packaging and labelling of tobacco products have been an effective way to protect young people from taking up smoking?

Neither agree or disagree. The only way to protect young people from taking up smoking is through education and enforcement of age restrictions. Moreover, plain packaging as a policy hasn’t proved to be effective in the long.

Question 15: How far do you agree or disagree that the requirements on the packaging and labelling of tobacco products have helped existing smokers quit?

Regardless of noble motives in place, the failures of plain packaging are numerous and evident. In 2012, Australia passed a nation-wide plain packaging decree. The goal was to reduce smoking rates. During the first years of the ban, more young people started to smoke. The smoking rates among Australians in the age range of 12-24-year-olds increased from 12 per cent in 2012 to 16 per cent in 2013. Little or no improvement was made among people aged 30 or older between 2013 and 2016. People aged 40–49 continued to be the age group most likely to smoke daily (16.9%) and the smoking rates among this age group went up from 16.2% in 2013. At the same time, Australia has seen an enormous increase in roll-your-own cigarettes: 26% in 2007, to 33% in 2013 and to 36% in 2016. 

Plain packaging, like taxation, is intended to push consumers away from particular products considered by governments to be harmful, unhealthy and detrimental to the wellbeing of society. What policymakers tend to overlook, though, is that demand for cigarettes is inelastic and thus neither taxes nor branding bans can substantially affect consumer behaviour. 

Question 16: SPoT regulations apply to cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco. How far do you agree or disagree that SPoT regulations should be restricted to cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco (and not other tobacco products)?

Pack size

Question 17: How far do you agree or disagree that the introduction of a minimum pack size or weight is an effective way to protect young people from taking up smoking?

The UK government should abstain from introduction of further interventions not only because those are costly and paternalistic, but also because they haven’t proved to be successful in achieving the set goal. Instead, the government should focus on endorsing vaping as a means to quit smoking

Appearance of cigarettes

Question 18: How far do you agree or disagree that the requirements on the appearance of cigarettes are proportionate?

Enforcement

Question 19: Do you agree or disagree that the penalties for a breach of the regulations are an effective deterrent to ensure compliance with the regulations?

  • agree
  • disagree
  • don’t know

Other question

Question 20: How far do you agree or disagree that there has been an economic impact of SPoT, either positive, negative or both?

Anything else on SPoT?

Question 21: Is there anything else you would like to share on negative or positive impacts the regulations have had on topics not covered above? If so, please explain and include any evidence and research you may have to back your response.

CONSULTATION IS AVAILABLE HERE

[AGGP COP9] Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC)

1) WHAT PROBLEM ARE THESE POLICIES AND POSITIONS SUPPOSED TO ADDRESS?

At present, the FCTC organization refrains from recommending or even positively mentioning electronic nicotine delivery systems, or vaping devices. One of the latest briefs, dated 24. May 2018, they claim at the evidence on vaping devices is “inconclusive,” and “urge the COP not to engage in lengthy debate on this topic”.

What’s more, they have specifically claimed that ENDS devices do not have enough research or evidence to prove that they are less harmful than traditional combustion tobacco.

This claim is directly contradictory to Public Health England’s own research and official position, which has time and time again found that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. 

At the 2018 FCTC COP8 meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Anne Bucher, director-general of the EU’s Health and Food Safety Directorate, mentioned that despite containing no tobacco, vaping and e-cigarette devices should be considered ‘tobacco products’, subject to all the same laws, restrictions, and bans. The treaty itself sought to enforce the same restrictions on vaping and e-cigarettes as cigarettes and cigars. This will actually hamper people’s ability to quit smoking, and thus is antithetical to the mission and statements of the United Kingdom’s own public health agencies.

The FCTC’s treaty proposals aim to equate vaping products with traditional tobacco products, which is a claim that does not hold up to scrutiny and should be outright objected to by the UK member delegates at COP9.

Rather, the FCTC must revisit its recommendations on ENDS products in order to differentiate them completely from traditional tobacco and to encourage member states to implement the research conducted by bodies such as Public Health England that greenlight vaping as a powerful harm reduction tool for smokers.

2) JUSTIFICATION OF PROPOSALS

The FCTC is a global treaty organized by the World Health Organization. It claims its authority from the Conference of the Parties member countries, as well as the Convention Secretariat. As such, all recommendations that come from the delegation debates and discussions are based merely on topics and scientific evidence that is accepted by the Convention Secretariat, rather than proposed by the individual member countries.

This is antithetical to the United Kingdom’s broader democratic goals domestically, and its commitment to further evidence-based policy in treaty-making organizations abroad.

The main decision-making authorities within the COP process come to their conclusions based on political considerations rather than scientific ones, outright rejecting peer-reviewed scientific claims that seek to amplify broader voices of tobacco harm reduction. Rather, the FCTC and the COP are mostly focused on tobacco control and eradication, rather than harm mitigation and reduction.

3) TRANSPARENCY AND CONSULTATION

The vast majority of the advice and evidence accepted by the FCTC and COP is submitted by nongovernmental organisation members and member states. Most, if not all, nongovernmental organisations that are also members of the COP are strictly tobacco control groups that also do not discuss the advantages or life-saving potential of harm-reducing technologies such as vaping. 

Groups such as the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations have had their observer status to the COP rejected on such frivolous grounds. Because the entire mission of their organisation is not “the eradication of tobacco” in name, it is not allowed to participate or even witness the proceedings. This is also true of our organisation, the Consumer Choice Center.

The only scientific evidence on vaping that has been allowed into the proceedings are drafted, funded, and proposed by tobacco control groups. To no one’s surprise, much of this evidence posits that ENDS and vaping devices “have no proven potential” to be a safer alternative to traditional tobacco.

In addition, the FCTC’s COP, in recent years, has committed large sections of its programming and delegate member time to decide whether journalists should be allowed to sit on or reports on various proceedings of the parties in attendance. This has resulted in dozens of journalists being stripped of their accreditations and forcibly removed from the physical event. This stands against the UK’s defence of freedom of speech.

This rejection of current scientific evidence and consensus, especially from the UK’s own health bodies, is a troubling and problematic state of affairs for the entire FCTC COP procedure. As is the growing “closed-door” proceedings that do not allow in a free press. This must be challenged on all fronts.

4) EXPLORE THE THREAT OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF PROPOSALS WITHIN COP9.

Public health policies in the United Kingdom are harmed by the FCTC because the treaty mechanism serves to disincentivise policies that endorse general harm reduction via vaping devices. Seen by the COP, the UK’s policies that encourage smokers to switch to vaping are seen as problematic and could result in sanctions and penalties by the global health body.

What’s more, the stated recommendations of largely outlawing or discouraging vaping devices and vaping technology by the treaty attach compliance with “implementation funds”. That means that member countries that pass restrictions on vaping products are “rewarded” with hundreds of millions of pounds. This was the case with the Republic of Georgia in 2017, which received millions of pounds in exchange for passing a tough anti-tobacco law which also targeted vaping devices. By passing the bill, the Georgian government received promises that it would vastly increase its chances of future European Union accession. The vast majority of the money offered came from British taxpayers, by way of the British delegation to the FCTC.

In this way, the UK’s membership in the FCTC’s COP is not only helping support health policies that directly contradict its own public health establishment, but it also means that British taxpayer dollars are being used as an incentive for countries to implement policies that discourage vaping and make it more difficult. The FCTC’s policies and grants are also being used to coerce current and hopeful member countries that are in large need of developmental funds to grow their economies.

5) FIT FOR PURPOSE.

  1. Because of the evidence stated above, the FCTC protocol has become more of a tool for political power and control rather than considerate public health policies. The goal of harm reduction, which is key to the United Kingdom’s policies toward smokers, is now completely abandoned by the FCTC, if not outright rejected in a hostile manner when brought up by researchers and member countries.
  1. The WHO’s FCTC has strayed from its original intent on helping switch from tobacco to become an organisation that is wholly concentrated on eradicating all alternatives that could help save lives. Reduced-risk products are innovative tools that have helped millions of ordinary Britons and even more people around the world, but the status quo within the FCTC COP ensures that these products cannot get a fair hearing.
  1. Rather than serving as an international platform to discuss smarter and more effective ways to reduce tobacco consumption, the FCTC has instead become an insular sounding board for tobacco control groups and member country delegations that wish to centralise and bureaucratise efforts to reduce smoking, all the while denying the very real positive impacts associated with alternative nicotine delivery products such as vaping. The revolution of harm reduction has so far been championed by UK public health authorities and has encouraged millions of entrepreneurs to creatively offer these products to former smokers. For the FCTC and affiliated organisations, this robust private sector revolution is a movement to be condemned and thwarted. The United Kingdom can longer afford to tacitly agree with the direction of this organisation and is recommended to champion the scientific cause and purpose of harm-reducing technologies such as vaping. With the United Kingdom’s influence, the FCTC could once more achieve its purpose of reducing tobacco consumption around the world.

[BR] Advertências sanitárias (63281)

O Consumer Choice Center está contribuindo com recomendações que identificamos em diversos países do mundo sobre Advertências sanitárias na embalagem de produtos fumígenos.

Colaboramos com informações que irão ajudar os consumidores a fazerem as melhores escolhas em seus hábitos em prol de uma sociedade mais saudável, mas ao mesmo tempo que respeite a liberdade de escolha dos consumidores e do livre mercado.

Contribuímos no passado com o Ministério da Saúde do Governo da Dinamarca, com a agência Nacional de Saúde (NHS) do Reino Unido e com a agência reguladora dos Estados Unidos da América (FDA). 

Estamos à disposição para apresentar nossas idéias neste assunto.

Proibição na divulgação e publicidade

No Reino Unido, as evidências científicas existentes apontam para o fato de que a suscetibilidade ao fumo entre os jovens diminuiu após a introdução da proibição da exibição do tabaco em pequenas e grandes lojas. 

Uma diminuição na suscetibilidade ao fumo não significa necessariamente um declínio nas taxas de tabagismo, uma vez que essa diminuição também se correlaciona com uma série de outros fatores, tanto do lado regulatório quanto educacional, bem como inovações como produtos redutores de danos. Um efeito colateral negativo de uma proibição de exibição pode ser que fumar é percebido como um ato sinistro e secreto, o que encoraja certos jovens a pegá-lo. De forma comparável, as substâncias entorpecentes ilícitas também são compradas em grande número por jovens, sem qualquer publicidade ou exibição. Sabemos por meio de evidências em países que legalizaram ou descriminalizaram essas substâncias (particularmente no caso da cannabis) que as taxas de consumo dos jovens se normalizam à medida que o manuseio da substância atinge aceitação social.

Não seria aconselhável que o governo Brasileiro recriasse os maus efeitos colaterais da proibição no caso do tabaco. As evidências científicas apresentadas pela Organização Mundial da Saúde (OMS) apontam para o exemplo da Nova Zelândia, onde a proibição da exibição coincidiu com uma diminuição da prevalência do tabagismo de 9% para 7%. No entanto, correlação não significa causalidade. A medida também tem sobreposição com as medidas regulatórias e educacionais, bem como com inovações, como produtos redutores de danos.

Somando-se a este ponto, também acreditamos que é imprudente para o governo Brasileiro tratar os cigarros eletrônicos e outros produtos de redução de danos da mesma forma que os cigarros de combustão convencionais. Acreditamos que produtos redutores de danos, como cigarros eletrônicos, representam uma forma inovadora de parar de fumar. A abordagem permissiva do Reino Unido aos cigarros eletrônicos mostrou um impacto positivo. De acordo com o NHS, entre 2011 e 2017, o número de fumantes no Reino Unido caiu de 19,8% para 14,9%. Ao mesmo tempo, o número de usuários de cigarros eletrônicos aumentou: quase metade desses consumidores usa cigarros eletrônicos como meio de parar de fumar.

Embora nem todos os líquidos do vaporizador contenham nicotina, a substância química viciante é a principal atração para os fumantes que desejam parar de fumar. Em comparação com outras alternativas, como os adesivos e medicamentos da Terapia de Reposição de Nicotina, a vaporização foi considerada mais eficaz para ajudar os fumantes a parar de fumar. 

Também discordamos da avaliação apresentada na avaliação de impacto que afirma:

“Os consumidores habituais de produtos de tabaco sabem quais produtos e marcas preferem; eles não precisam de lembretes visuais.”

Fora do fato de que tal abordagem paralisa a existência de concorrência leal – particularmente no que se refere a entradas de novos produtos – esta conclusão dificultaria a mudança dos usuários de tabaco convencional para alternativas de redução de danos, uma vez que estariam menos expostos a estes produtos.

Dada a quantidade insuficiente de evidências sobre a questão da eficácia e os riscos claros que o Consumer Choice Center listou em uma resposta sobre o impacto da proibição de exibição, não acreditamos que as medidas constituam uma forma eficaz de proteger crianças e jovens de começar a fumar e apoiar aqueles que desejam parar.

Pacotes padronizados (no label)

Com base na experiência existente no campo das embalagens simples de tabaco, discordamos da implementação de tal medida.

A Austrália foi o primeiro país a introduzir embalagens simples. O governo australiano afirma que foi um sucesso, mas um estudo de 2016 da Universidade RMIT de Melbourne descreveu a política como um fracasso total. Ele mostrou que a avaliação do governo sobre a política era tendenciosa e falhou em representar com precisão os dados que coletou e foi realizada pelos mesmos grupos de defesa que haviam convocado a política em primeiro lugar. As taxas de tabagismo realmente diminuíram na Austrália desde que a política de embalagem comum foi introduzida em 2012. Mas estavam já caindo antes disso. Na verdade, o declínio na taxa de fumantes diminuiu desde que as embalagens comuns chegaram. As embalagens lisas foram introduzidas ao mesmo tempo que os altos aumentos de impostos sobre produtos de tabaco, mas nenhum dos dois parece ter causado um grande impacto nas taxas de fumantes.

Então, por que a embalagem simples teve tão pouco efeito? Talvez porque um dos poucos beneficiários da apólice pareça ser os falsificadores. Como os maços comuns são mais fáceis de copiar do que as alternativas de marca, o comércio de cigarros ilícitos está prosperando. Na Austrália, de 2012 a 2017, a proporção de cigarros vendidos ilegalmente aumentou de 12 por cento para 17 por cento. É difícil dizer se as embalagens simples ou os aumentos de impostos são os maiores responsáveis ​​por esse aumento. Mas é certo que embalagens lisas facilitam o trabalho de quem vende cigarros ilegais e mais baratos para consumidores de baixa renda. Em 2018, o governo australiano prometeu reprimir a economia paralela e o comércio de tabaco ilícito era seu maior alvo.

É uma história semelhante na França, que introduziu a embalagem comum em janeiro de 2017. Nos primeiros seis meses da apólice, houve um ligeiro aumento nas vendas de cigarros de 0,9 por cento, em comparação com o mesmo período do ano anterior. Além disso, as vendas de tabaco de enrolar aumentaram 3,6 por cento nos primeiros três meses de 2017, mesmo após a introdução de um novo imposto sobre o produto. O governo francês planeja aumentar o preço dos cigarros para € 10 por maço em três anos. Mas, mais uma vez, mesmo que isso consiga diminuir as vendas nas tabacarias locais, aumentará a probabilidade dos consumidores mudarem para cigarros ilícitos. De acordo com as estimativas atuais, um terço dos cigarros já são vendidos no mercado negro da França.

Nossos relatórios:

[BR] Regularização de produtos fumígenos (63283)

O Consumer Choice Center está contribuindo com recomendações que identificamos em diversos países do mundo sobre Regularização de produtos fumígenos, em particular, produtos de redução de danos à saúde como os vaporizadores.

Colaboramos com informações que irão ajudar os consumidores a fazerem as melhores escolhas em seus hábitos em prol de uma sociedade mais saudável, mas ao mesmo tempo que respeite a liberdade de escolha dos consumidores e do livre mercado.

Contribuímos no passado com o Ministério da Saúde do Governo da Dinamarca, com a Agência Nacional de Saúde (NHS) do Reino Unido e com a agência reguladora dos Estados Unidos da América (FDA). 

Vaporização (Vaping):

Quando se trata de políticas de vaporização, é importante ter em mente que a vaporização foi inventada como uma alternativa mais segura ao fumo convencional e, portanto, seu principal público-alvo são os consumidores de tabaco. Existem muitas variáveis ​​que contribuem para as taxas de tabagismo entre os jovens, e muitos estudos recentes que concluíram que a vaporização é uma porta de entrada para o fumo não levaram isso em consideração. Por exemplo, um estudo descobriu que adolescentes que estavam menos satisfeitos com sua vida, em geral, eram mais propensos a buscar experiências arriscadas e têm uma tendência maior de usar substâncias ilícitas regularmente. Os legisladores devem, portanto, se concentrar na solução de questões como comércio ilícito e saúde mental e garantir que as restrições de idade sejam cumpridas. 

O principal órgão de saúde do Reino Unido, Public Health England, disse repetidamente que fumar e fumar são 95% menos nocivos do que fumar. A mesma conclusão foi tirada pelo Ministério da Saúde da Nova Zelândia e Ministério da Saúde do Canadá, que lançou iniciativas públicas implorando que os fumantes voltem a usar vaporizadores.

Sabores e Vaporizadores:

Os sabores desempenham um papel fundamental em ajudar os fumantes a parar de fumar. A legislação sobre sabores vaporizados deve levar este fato em consideração. Um estudo publicado no New England Journal of Medicine em 2019 (https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779) designou participantes em grupos de cigarros eletrônicos e de reposição de nicotina e descobriu que a vaporização era duas vezes mais eficaz do que produtos de reposição de nicotina para ajudar os fumantes a parar de fumar. Crucialmente, os participantes do grupo de cigarros eletrônicos foram incentivados a fazer experiências com líquidos eletrônicos de diferentes dosagens e sabores. Entre os participantes do estudo que não pararam totalmente de fumar, os do grupo do cigarro eletrônico tinham maior probabilidade de reduzir a ingestão de fumo do que os do grupo da reposição de nicotina. Resultados da pesquisa do Um estudo de pesquisa longitudinal da Escola de Saúde Pública de Yale descobriu que “em relação aos sabores de dos produtos vaping (vaporizadores/cigarros eletrônicos), não foi associado ao aumento da iniciação do tabagismo pelos jovens, mas foi associado a um aumento nas chances de cessação do tabagismo adulto”.

Riscos à Saúde:

Nicotina, também encontrada em cigarros eletrônicos e usada na terapia de reposição de nicotina convencional, não aumenta o risco de doenças graves (ataque cardíaco, derrame) ou mortalidade. O Serviço Nacional de Saúde Britânico mantém a seguinte visão: “Embora a nicotina seja a substância que vicia nos cigarros, ela é relativamente inofensiva. Quase todos os malefícios do fumo vêm dos milhares de outros produtos químicos presentes na fumaça do tabaco, muitos dos quais são tóxicos.

Uma análise mais detalhada do resultado da pesquisa mostra que apenas 2,1% dos não fumantes indivíduos pesquisados ​​usavam cigarros eletrônicos com frequência. A Ação sobre Tabagismo e Saúde (ASH) UK relata descobertas semelhantes e afirma que as taxas de tabagismo entre os jovens estão em níveis mais baixos e o uso de cigarros eletrônicos pelos jovens é raro, e a maioria dos usuários são fumantes ou ex-fumantes. 

Public Health England estabeleceu já em 2015 que a vaporização é 95% menos prejudicial – e confirmou em 2020 que a vaporização tem uma pequena fração dos riscos do tabagismo. A mesma conclusão foi tirada peloda Ministério da SaúdeNova Zelândia e Saúde do Canadá, que lançou iniciativas públicas implorando que os fumantes voltem a usar cigarros eletronicos (vaporizadores/vaping). Vaping foi endossado por Joachim Schüz, chefe de meio ambiente e radiação da agência de pesquisa do câncer da OMS, a Agência Internacional de Pesquisa sobre o Câncer, durante seu discurso no Comitê do Meio Ambiente, Saúde Pública e Segurança Alimentar do Parlamento Europeu em fevereiro de 2020. Em sua opinião, os cigarros eletrônicos “não são tão prejudiciais” quanto os cigarros de tabaco e podem ajudar os fumantes pesados ​​a parar de fumar.    

Adultos que usam vaping e e-cigarros como um meio para parar de fumar estão melhorando muito suas chances de vida longa, saudável e uma vida produtiva porque escolhendo vaping eles têm a oportunidade de mudar e parar de fumar. Um estudo descobriu que o aumento no uso de cigarros eletrônicos entre os fumantes adultos nos Estados Unidos foi associado a um aumento estatisticamente significativo na taxa de cessação do tabagismo em nível populacional. Outro estudo, conduzido pelo professor Peter Hajek da Queen Mary University de Londres, descobriu que os produtos a vapor são quase duas vezes mais eficazes para parar de fumar do que a terapia de reposição de nicotina. 

Ninguém argumenta que não existem riscos para a saúde. No entanto, os riscos associados à vaporização devem ser comparados com aqueles relacionados ao fumo convencional. Também está estabelecido que  o risco de câncer devido aos cigarros eletrônicos em comparação com o fumo é inferior a meio por cento. Portanto, a vaporização é uma ferramenta importante para melhorar a saúde pública.

Vaporização e Menores de Idade:

A principal motivação por trás das proibições de sabores proposta é proteger os menores, que são supostamente atraídos pela miríade de sabores do vapor. Mas considerando que todos os menores que usam esses produtos os estão adquirindo fora do mercado legal, é claro que o impacto mais imediato será sobre os vapers adultos responsáveis ​​que preferem esses sabores. 

O último CDC nos números dos EUA mostra que 20,8% dos alunos do ensino médio vaporizaram pelo menos uma vez nos últimos 30 dias. Mas quase metade desses estavam vaporizando cannabis em vez de nicotina, geralmente produtos adquiridos ilegalmente.

Conforme já mencionado, apenas 2,1% dos não fumantes indivíduos pesquisados ​​usavam cigarros eletrônicos com frequência. Os dados da Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) UK relatam descobertas semelhantes e afirmam que as taxas de tabagismo entre os jovens estão em níveis mais baixos e o uso de cigarros eletrônicos pelos jovens é raro e a maioria dos usuários são fumantes atuais ou ex-fumantes. 

Concordamos com o relatório de que limites de idade e restrições de compra para adolescentes são necessários. Os menores não devem ser autorizados a comprar produtos de vaporização, por isso é importante criar e manter as condições sob as quais não haja incentivos para que procurem cigarros eletrônicos em outro lugar. Os regulamentos de vaporização devem ser inteligentes e garantir que as restrições de idade necessárias sejam implementadas. Reduzir as atividades do mercado negro e o comércio ilícito são vitais para reduzir a vaporização por menores. No entanto, a recomendação de proibir os sabores causará mais danos do que quaisquer benefícios. A proibição dos sabores teria um efeito profundamente negativo na sociedade, empurrando os fumantes de volta aos cigarros ou ao mercado negro, o que já aconteceu, por exemplo, em alguns estados dos Estados Unidos que implementaram tais proibições, como mostra este relatório.

Conclusão:

Para desenvolver uma estrutura de vaporização coerente, não é suficiente olhar para um lado da moeda. Como foi mencionado, há uma evidência científica esmagadora provando que [1] “Os cigarros eletrônicos foram mais eficazes para parar de fumar do que a terapia de reposição de nicotina” e [2] que “O aumento substancial no uso de cigarros eletrônicos entre os fumantes adultos nos EUA foi associado a um aumento estatisticamente significativo na taxa de cessação do tabagismo no nível da população. ”

Além disso, uma revisão sistemática recente da Cochrane de mais de 50 estudos e mais de 12.000 participantes descobriu que os cigarros eletrônicos com nicotina podem ajudar mais pessoas a parar de fumar do que a terapia tradicional de reposição de nicotina (como gomas ou adesivos) ou cigarros eletrônicos sem nicotina .

[1] – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14656 

[2] – https://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3262 

Concordamos absolutamente que os cigarros eletrônicos não são isentos de riscos. No entanto, vemos como uma característica principal que falta neste parecer preliminar uma comparação em termos do nível de dano exibido pelos cigarros eletrônicos em comparação com os cigarros tradicionais. Há fortes evidências de vários estudos de que os cigarros eletrônicos são em grande medida menos prejudiciais do que os cigarros tradicionais. 

Os sabores desempenham um papel fundamental para ajudar os fumantes a parar. A legislação sobre sabores vaporizados deve levar este fato em consideração. Resultados da pesquisa do Um estudo de pesquisa longitudinal da Escola de Saúde Pública de Yale descobriu que “em relação aos sabores de tabaco vaping, vaping cigarros eletrônicos sem sabor de tabaco não foi associado ao aumento da iniciação do tabagismo pelos jovens, mas foi associado a um aumento nas chances de cessação do tabagismo adulto”.

Um estudo da Escola de Saúde Pública de Yale descobriu que os sabores frutados e doces têm duas vezes mais chances de ajudar os fumantes a parar de fumar.

A alegação de que os não fumantes seriam introduzidos em massa ao tabagismo devido à vaporização parece não ser apoiada pelos dados do mais recente relatório da Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) do Reino Unido. Afirma que “apenas 0,3% dos nunca fumantes são vapers atuais (correspondendo a 2,9% dos vapers), ante 0,8% em 2019”.

Um estudo conduzido pela University College London em 2019 analisou dados de mais de 50.000 fumantes de 2006 a 2017 e descobriu que o uso de cigarros eletrônicos para parar de fumar estava positivamente associado às taxas de sucesso de abandono, com cada 1 por cento de aumento no uso de e -cigs associados a um aumento de 0,06% na taxa de sucesso de abandono.

Uma revisão de evidências da Public Health England descobriu que “os cigarros eletrônicos podem estar contribuindo para pelo menos 20.000 novas tentativas de abandono bem-sucedidas por ano e possivelmente muito mais, o uso de cigarros eletrônicos está associado a taxas de sucesso de abandono melhores no último ano e uma queda acelerada no taxas de tabagismo em todo o país, muitos milhares de fumantes acreditam incorretamente que vaping é tão prejudicial quanto fumar; cerca de 40% dos fumantes nem sequer experimentou um cigarro eletrônico.

Além disso, a Federação Francesa sobre Dependências (FFA) publicou um relatório oficial reconhecendo que os cigarros eletrônicos são “uma ferramenta complementar na redução de riscos que permitiu a um grande número de fumantes reduzir significativamente os efeitos negativos do tabaco”. 

Outra revisão sistemática e metanálises avaliou os achados de seis estudos, envolvendo 7.551 participantes, que relataram a cessação do tabagismo após o uso de e-cigarros constataram que o uso de e-cigarros está associado à cessação e redução do tabagismo. 

Para adicionar a este ponto, um estudo financiado pelo Cancer Research UK pela University College London (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31117151/), no Reino Unido, descobriu que os usuários de produtos a vapor têm 95% mais chances de ter sucesso em parar de fumar do que aqueles que não usam produtos a vapor. 

Com base em dados longitudinais robustos sobre a cessação, existem estudos nesse sentido que a European Heart Network não teve em consideração. De acordo com um estudo longitudinal que avaliou o comportamento de 844 usuários de cigarros eletrônicos ao longo de 12 meses, a conclusão foi que “os cigarros eletrônicos podem contribuir para a prevenção de recaídas em ex-fumantes e a cessação do tabagismo em fumantes atuais”.

[UK] ADVANCING OUR HEALTH: PREVENTION IN THE 2020s

What ideas should the government consider to raise funds for helping people stop smoking?

We believe that innovate harm-reducing alternatives can not only help people reduce harmful exposure, and even help them quit smoking regular tobacco, but also achieve that goal without the need for government funds. 

The UK’s permissive approach to e-cigarettes has shown a positive impact. According to the NHS, between 2011 and 2017, the number of UK smokers fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking. Public Health England has confirmed that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than conventional cigarettes. Therefore, consumers should be afforded the choice of vaping. 

We also do not believe that an aggressive approach to the matter will help with smoking cessation. Strict anti-tobacco measures have shown to be regressive, and tend to push and seal consumers in the black market for a long time. Smoking cessation is a difficult task, that can be achieved through harm reducing alternatives, such as e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products, or snus (which is illegal in the European Union, except for Sweden). 

How can we do more to support mothers to breastfeed?

While breastfeeding is commendable, as it might advance the physical well-being of the child, it should be noted that not all mothers are able to provide the necessary quantity. This can lead to dehydration of the infant, leading to serious medical conditions. For those mothers, infant formula is a necessary alternative. We therefore support the continued zero-rating for VAT on baby milk.

Furthermore, the CCC supports the continuation of the Equality Act 2010, which allows mothers to breastfeed in all public places.

However, breastfeeding remains an individual choice of the mother, and can and should not be imposed. This is an intimate choice to be made by a mother, in which law-makers should not have a say.

How can we better support families with children aged 0 to 5 years to eat well?

It remains a continuous challenge to improve the nutrition of young children. This responsibility lies with the parents, you serve the function of caretakers and educators. In the age range of 0 to 5, this responsibility is most pronounced, and should be taken seriously. The Consumer Choice Center believes that parents have a moral obligation to inform themselves about healthy nutrition for their children. However, the reversal of the food pyramid has shown that institutionalised nutritional guidance can lead to adverse effects. The Harvard School of Public Health has pointed out that the food pyramid “conveyed the wrong dietary advice”. It also says: “With an overstuffed breadbasket as its base, the Food Guide Pyramid failed to show that whole wheat, brown rice, and other whole grains are healthier than refined grains.” The CCC is therefore sceptical about the idea of government-advised diets for children.

The obligation of parents to make informed choices about the nutrition of their children does not end at the age of 5. Quite on the contrary, as children get to the age of being able to be active in sports, they need to be encouraged to do so.

In October last year, Public Health England indicated that more than 37 percent of 10 and 11 year-olds in London are overweight or obese. It is often mistakenly argued, for this age, that this is caused by high energy intake, but the obesity rates are dependent on the physical activity, which according to Public Health England has decreased by 24 per cent since the 1960s. Daily calorie intake in the UK is also decreasing each decade.

Furthermore, the government should look towards relieving regulatory measures that increase the price of healthy foods.

How else can we help people reach and stay at a healthier weight?

It is often mistakenly argued that the obesity crisis is caused by high energy intake, but the obesity rates are dependent on the physical activity, which according to Public Health England has decreased by 24 per cent since the 1960s. Daily calorie intake in the UK is also decreasing each decade.

Physical activity is therefore paramount. Local government should foster and encourage the creation of outdoor fitness places, and facilitate the creation of interesting and safe public walkways, which can be used for physical exercise. The CCC also believes that community sports programmes should be a part of the government strategy on tackling obesity.

Have you got examples or ideas that would help people to do more strength and balance exercises?

Physical activity is paramount. Local government should foster and encourage the creation of outdoor fitness places, and facilitate the creation of interesting and safe public walkways, which can be used for physical exercise. The CCC also believes that community sports programmes should be a part of the government strategy on tackling obesity.

What are the top 3 things you’d like to see covered in a future strategy on sexual and reproductive health?

As of now, the UK applies a VAT rate of 5% on condoms. The Consumer Choice Center supports an exemption of these products from VAT. Condoms are not luxury sanitary products — they are essentially for advancing sexual and reproductive health, and guarantees the choice of consumers.

[UK] The regulation of genetic technologies

Currently, organisms developed using genetic technologies such as GE are regulated as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) even if their genetic change(s) could have been produced through traditional breeding. Do you agree with this?

Answer: No – they should not continue to be regulated a GMO

Please explain your answer, providing specific evidence where appropriate. This may include suggestions for an alternative regulatory approach.

The United Kingdom should strive to be in line with the Cartagena Protocol, and not treat organism developed using GE as GMOs, if they could have been produced through traditional breeding. An accurate risk-assessment should be based on the individual organism, not on the technology that produced it. In that sense, the UK should diverge from existing EU legislation, and the associated ECJ ruling of 2018.

Do organisms produced by GE or other genetic technologies pose a similar, lesser or greater risk of harm to human health or the environment compared with their traditionally bred counterparts as a result of how they were produced?

Please provide evidence to support your response including details of the genetic technology, the specific risks and why they do or do not differ. Please also state which applications/areas your answer relates to (for example: does it apply to the cultivation of crop plants, breeding of farmed animals, human food, animal feed, human and veterinary medicines, other applications/ areas).

The question does not do the complexity of the issue justice. Making general statements of safety for all products derived through genetic engineering is not possible, nor desirable. In fact, the perspective of regulating by technology, not by organism, is a failure of EU policy, which should be revisited. The technology of genetic engineering is a means to an end, of which we cannot make blanket statements.

Are there any non-safety issues to consider (e.g. impacts on trade, consumer choice, intellectual property, regulatory, animal welfare or others), if organisms produced by GE or other genetic technologies, which could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding methods, were not regulated as GMOs?

 Yes

Please provide evidence to support your response and expand on what these non-safety issues are.

Non-safety issues that are to consider is the legality of GMOs restrictions in the jurisdictions of trading partners. If the European Union does not allow for the import of gene-edited organisms because of its GMO Directive, then this has trade implications that can activate international dispute mechanisms.

There are a number of existing, non-GM regulations that control the use of organisms and/or products derived from them. The GMO legislation applies additional controls when the organism or product has been developed using particular technologies. Do you think existing, non-GM legislation is sufficient to deal with all organisms irrespective of the way that they were produced or is additional legislation needed? Please indicate in the table whether, yes, the existing non-GMO legislation is sufficient, or no, existing non-GMO legislation is insufficient and additional governance measures (regulatory or non-regulatory) are needed. Please answer Y/N for each of the following sectors/activities:

Cultivation of crop plants: Yes
Breeding farmed animals: Yes
Human food: Yes
Animal food: Yes
Human and veterinary medicines: Yes
Other sectors/activities: Yes

Source: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agri-food-chain-directorate/the-regulation-of-genetic-technologies/

[EU] Tobacco taxation – excise duties for manufactured tobacco products

To whom it may concern,

Beating cancer in the EU remains one of our biggest priorities as a society and therefore, we need to approach this issue in a smart way using a science-based approach that enhances consumer choice.

Taxation is intended to push consumers away from particular products – in this case, cigarettes. What policymakers tend to overlook, though, is that demand for cigarettes is inelastic and taxes – along with other restrictions and bans – cannot substantially affect consumer behaviour. Consumers should be seen as individuals responsible for their wellbeing who make a voluntary informed decision to smoke. The EU should seek to preserve consumer choice and encouragement might be a more balanced way forward.

Moreover, high tobacco taxes drive illicit trade in tobacco products. According to European Union Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), cigarette smuggling and other illicit trade forms in tobacco products cause an estimated EUR 10 billion loss to the EU and national budgets every year. In the legal supply chain, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retailers and consumers are all affected by illicit trade. The black market of tobacco targets vulnerable groups in society, undermining strategies for the effort of harm reduction products.

To prevent these risks, the European Union should limit taxation, and do not increase taxation, on tobacco products. Tax increases incentivise consumers to purchase illegal products and make black market alternatives more attractive. Excessive regulation and taxation of tobacco products reduce access to and availability of them without driving down the demand.

The effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool is undeniable, keeping in mind that it targets smokers as opposed to non-smokers. Vaping is a life-saving tool, and it has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking. International health bodies, Public Health England, New Zealand Ministry of Health and Health Canada have also endorsed vaping for encouraging smokers to switch.

The new tobacco excise strategy should take these facts into consideration and develop a separate regulatory framework for vaping. The United States provides a valuable lesson of the damage that can be caused by excise taxes on e-cigarettes. US researchers found that “a proposed national e-cigarette tax of $1.65 per millilitre of vaping liquid would raise the proportion of adults who smoke cigarettes daily by approximately 1 percentage point, translating to 2.5 million extra adult daily smokers compared to the counterfactual of not having the tax.” We shouldn’t forget that our goal is to beat cancer in the EU, and in order to do that, we needn’t be blind to foreign experience and evidence at hand.

Most importantly, in order to reduce cancer rates, it is vital to ensure that vaping is not only accessible price-wise, but also that smokers are aware of the possibility to switch to a safer alternative that can reduce various health-associated risks. The EU has to encourage the marketing and branding of safe and legal vaping products. Consumer information is necessary in order to help beat cancer in the EU through vaping.

Given the aforementioned arguments, we strongly recommend abstaining from further increases in tobacco excise taxes in order not to incentivise the black market. We also call on the Commission to follow science and be mindful of the fact that vaping – as an effective smoking cessation tool – should be treated differently than conventional smoking. Tighter restrictions and higher taxes will not help us beat cancer in the EU, but putting together a science-based and consumer-friendly framework in regard to smoking and vaping will.

Kind regards,

Maria Chaplia
European Affairs Associate
Consumer Choice Center

Originally published here.

[UK] Advertising Ban

Introducing a total online advertising restriction for products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS)

Last month, the UK government launched a consultation on the proposed ban of of all online advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and/or salt (HFSS) which would include everything from promotional emails to Google adverts. 

HFSS products would be classed in scope of the sugar and calorie reduction programmes. Some of the products covered will be ready meals, pizzas, meat products, savoury snack products, sauces and dressings, prepared sandwiches. The plan comes as an extension of the ‘better health’ strategy launched in July.

The scope of advertising restrictions is not limited to but includes commercial newsletters, in-app advertising, mid-roll video ads, and advertisements which are pushed electronically to devices.

Obesity is a pressing issue in the UK. Taking the path of more lifestyle interventionism in the form of taxes and ad bans seems straightforward and is usually pursued out of noble motives. However, such an approach all too often lacks economic and ethical judgement. 

The link between advertising and childhood obesity is too weak to justify ad bans mainly because of several factors at play. When we consider the effects of advertising, we need to also take into account genetics, energy expenditure, parental style, and availability of the advertised product.

We at the Consumer Choice Center do not support the presented proposals. In our view, in order to tackle obesity, the UK should focus on education and innovation instead of opting for interventionist policies that undermine consumer choice.

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