The EU’s plastics strategy should advise on actual effectiveness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
Bill Wirtz
Policy Analyst
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

The EU’s plastics strategy should advise on actual effectiveness

Brussels, BE – The European Parliament’s environment committee approved a report on the Commission’s proposal to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastic goods. This would now also ban plastic bags, products made of oxodegradable plastics, and takeaway boxes and cups made of styrofoam.

Bill Wirtz, Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) says that EU lawmakers should check for the effectiveness of this policy in the effort to prevent pollution. “If you don’t compare environmental impact of different bags in accordance with reuse rate, you’re not actually engaging in informed public policy-making,” said Wirtz.

“In 2011, the UK’s Environment Agency published an earlier-drafted life cycle assessment of supermarket carrier bags. Their findings are crucial. Despite the rates of environmental impact of alternative bags being comparatively lower than conventional bags, people just don’t reuse them enough for it to even break even with the single-use plastic bag.

“The example on styrofoam – expanded polystyrene (EPS) – is similar: some people could claim that they do not care for the jobs lost and the increased consumer prices, because ultimately, these bans will be good for the environment. Here again, the evidence is not there. When we compare polystyrene foam to paper cups, we find that paper uses more petroleum, more steam, more electric power, more cooling water, more wastewater, and more mass to landfill.

“We should not only judge policies by their intentions, but by their actual effects”, said Wirtz.

***CCC’s Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Jeff Stier’s ‘recipe for a better world’

Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow of the Consumer Choice Center, will today call on the private sector and the public health community to innovate their way towards a better world.

Speaking at the annual industry conference, the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum, in London, the innovation and harm reduction advocate will call on companies to follow the example set by Impossible Foods, the US makers of The Impossible Burger

Stier will point out that Impossible Foods founder, Dr. Patrick Brown, recognized in 2009 that the academic and regulatory approach to harm reduction wasn’t working, and that his response to that was to raise the necessary investment, recruit experts, and spend the next five years developing The Impossible Burger. Through innovation Impossible Foods have recreated the taste, look, sizzle, texture, and smell of a traditional beef burger, which even “bleeds” like one, but is made with plants-based products, and no animal products.

Stier will tell delegates that the “Recipe for a Better World” is to follow the example of the Impossible Burger by innovating in the same way to reduce the harmful impact that products such as combustible tobacco can have on people:

  • Whereas The Impossible Burger uses leghemoglobin to replicate the taste of a traditional burger, Stier will say that tobacco and nicotine companies should continue to innovate in the same way to develop a product that replicates the same sensations of cigarettes until every last smoker is satisfied with a reduced -risk product.

He will add that innovation should replace regulation as the primary method of reducing harm, as it has proven far more effective than any intervention by State regulators in changing the behavior of consumers:

  • The rise in e-cigarettes over the past five years is proof that innovation works, while the introduction of TPDII by EU regulators is being blamed for the slower growth in products replacing cigarettes;
  • Regulators should instead follow the example set by the FDA in the US which acknowledged that leghemoglobin contained in The Impossible Burger was generally recognized as safe, instead of rushing to overregulate or ban it.

SPEECH AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS

Jeff Stier will speak at 14.20 UK time today at the Rosewood Hotel. If you wish to interview Jeff Stier we will do everything we can to accommodate you. Please either submit your request for interview by email ([email protected] / [email protected]) or WhatsApp on +44(0)7757 719 948 / +44(0)7909 036 011.

 

The Consumer Choice Center nominates INNCO for the 2018 EU Health Award

CONTACT:

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

The Consumer Choice Center nominates INNCO for the 2018 EU Health Award

The Consumer Choice Center welcomes DG SANTE’s decision to focus the 2018 EU Health Award for NGOs around the criteria to prevent tobacco use among young Europeans.

CCC Deputy Director Yael Ossowski said INNCO, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations, is most deserving of the prize.

“The emergence of innovative and harm reducing technologies such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products allows consumers to switch from traditional cigarettes to these new products that are according to the Royal College of Physicians up to 95% less harmful than legacy tobacco products.

“Many of these innovative products are even tobacco-free and are able to deliver nicotine without any tobacco consumption. It represents yet another instance of innovation and technology delivering a solution to the problem of tobacco addiction,” said Ossowski.

A civic movement for choice

While many regulators still have a hard time understanding the massive benefits of harm reducing tobacco and nicotine intake, some civil society organizations and million of vapers around the world remain committed to advocating for allowing harm reduction to happen in the market place.

In order to acknowledge these often boot-strapped efforts of the harm reduction community, the Consumer Choice Center nominates INNCO for the 2018 EU Health Award.

CCC’s Senior Fellow Jeff Stier, who recently testified on harm reduction at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adds: “INNCO has been spearheading the European debate on harm reduction for years. Their members realized early on that allowing harm reduction can save millions of lives.”

Harm reduction knows no borders

Stier continues: “While INNCO does not meet the formal criteria as it is based in Switzerland and not the EU, we still think that it is deserving of the prize. We need a  stronger dialogue on the benefits of harm reduction.

“The instinct of many tobacco control activists to demonize everything that contains tobacco or nicotine, even if they are alternative proven to be healthier, is bad for public health. While public health officials in the UK seem to lead the way to sound harm reduction, smokers in countries that ban the promotion of these new technologies are not even aware that there are safer methods of consuming nicotine.

“Awarding INNCO and other harm reduction groups with the EU Health Award would demonstrate that DG SANTE actually cares about smokers and does not want to fight an ideological war against tobacco and nicotine,” said Stier.

 ***CCC Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski and Senior Fellow Jeff Stier are available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Cancer Warnings On Coffee Is A Mistake

CONTACT:
Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
Consumer Choice Center

Cancer Warnings On Coffee Is A Mistake

Washington, D.C. –Last week a California Judge ruled that coffee companies such as Starbucks will be required to place cancer warnings on coffee sold in the State of California. The ruling has come after Starbucks, and other coffee companies were sued for allegedly violating California law which mandates that companies warn consumers if cancer-causing chemicals are present in their products. The chemical in question for coffee is acrylamide, which is a byproduct of the roasting process.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Senior Fellow Jeff Stier criticized the move, stating the broad acceptance of IARC classifications challenges the very meaning of the word “carcinogen”. Stier said ”IARC monographs are hazard assessments, which ask whether something could potentially cause cancer.”

“That designation is of little value to the public without a risk assessment, which takes into account factors such as the level of exposure to the hazard. Think of it this way: Getting hit by a subway car is a hazard. If you live in the desert, getting hit by a subway is still a hazard – it’s just not a risk you should worry about where you live. Yet in the U.S, IARC’s hazard assessments are routinely used by zealous environmentalists as an acceptable substitute for risk assessments. And they are now being embedded into American consumer law,” said Stier

“The biggest example is California’s Proposition 65, a law that requires cancer and birth defect warning labels on a range of products containing chemicals thought to be dangerous. The list of chemicals covered by the 1986 law has ballooned to more than 900, in part because unelected California bureaucrats decided to rely on IARC for identifying those to be added to the list. Ubiquitous California warning labels have become meaningless to consumers, cost businesses millions of dollars each year, and are a boon only to class-action lawyers.”

***CCC Senior Fellow Jeff Stier is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Taxi strike in Brussels: cities need to defend consumer choice in ridesharing

CONTACT:

Bill Wirtz

Policy Analyst

Consumer Choice Center

Taxi strike in Brussels: cities need to defend consumer choice in ridesharing

Brussels, BE – On March 27, Brussels’ taxi drivers are organising a strike which will lead to considerable traffic jams within Belgium’s capital. They are protesting against ‘unfair practices’ through ridesharing apps such as Uber, Taxify, and more, and demand immediate action by local authorities.

Bill Wirtz, Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) says that this strike action is a public display of old industries’ resentment against innovation:

“Ridesharing platforms such as Uber, Taxify, or Heetch have reduced prices for consumers by making the market more competitive. We should welcome their operations,” said Wirtz.

“These companies aren’t only competing with taxis. They also attract new consumers who wouldn’t use conventional taxis to begin with. This includes students and low-income consumers. Reducing the choices of these groups would be fundamentally unjust.

“If taxi drivers want to protest unfair practices, they should argue against the licensing system that is over regulating their profession. We can create a level playing field by allowing all actors to compete on the market.

“Blocking large parts of a major European city in order to maintain a monopoly is not a legitimate way of expressing concerns over public policy,” said Wirtz.

***CCC’s Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***
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The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

New Cannabis Packaging Regulations Threaten Consumer Choice And Consumer Safety

CONTACT:

David Clement

North American Affairs Manager

Consumer Choice Center

[email protected]

 

New Cannabis Packaging Regulations Threaten Consumer Choice And Consumer Safety

Ottawa, ON – Yesterday the federal government released the results of their public consultation regarding how legal cannabis will be packaged. In the proposal, the government included restrictions on the colour of cannabis packaging and the depiction of branding (see attached). In addition, the federal government will mandate that cannabis packaging can only have one additional branding element on the package, aside from the brand name itself.

The Consumer Choice Center warns that limiting branding significantly impacts consumer choice, consumer knowledge, and ultimately emboldens the black market.

“As we warned on the CBC in April of 2017, significantly limiting branding threatens consumer knowledge, consumer choice, and emboldens the black market. Branding and marketing are essential for consumers to make informed decisions. Limiting branding will make it more difficult for consumers to make appropriate and informed decisions when purchasing legal cannabis. In addition to that, we know from branding bans on other products that uniform packaging restrictions make it significantly easier for black market actors to pass their contraband as a legal product. Given that the goal of legalization is to stamp out the black market, these restrictions are a step in the wrong direction,” said David Clement, Toronto based North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center

“The branding and packaging restrictions are even more problematic when you consider the fact that we do not have those regulations for alcohol. I see no reason why legal cannabis packaging should be more heavily regulated than alcohol,” David Clement

***CCC North America Affairs Manager David Clement is available to speak with accredited media on cannabis regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

FDA Creates Cigarette Confusion – Calls for Science To Back Up Policy

CONTACT:
Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

FDA Creates Cigarette Confusion- Calls For Science To Back Up Policy

Washington, D.C. –The FDA today announced a plan to move forward to develop a regulation that would mandate a reduction in nicotine in combustible cigarettes to a very low level. The FDA justified the move by stating that such a mandate could help current smokers quit, and prevent experimental users from becoming regular smokers.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Senior Fellow Jeff Stier criticized the move, stating that the FDA is seeking science to back up its policy, rather than crafting policy based on science. Stier explained “It seems that FDA is pushing a policy agenda and looking for science to support it. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

“The FDA concedes that a ban on today’s cigarettes could have significant unintended consequence, leading to compensatory smoking, where smokers inhale more dangerous chemicals in an effort to get the nicotine they crave. The agency also fails to address the obvious risk that this potential change would cause an explosion in the already-significant illicit trade in cigarettes,” said Stier.

“Although the FDA is seeking comments on these issues, today’s announcement makes it clear that the agency is intent on moving forward with the plan. The FDA should instead be working quickly to develop product standards and create transparent rules which would make it easier to bring lower-risk non-combustible nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco to market.

“The agency needs to do a better job making sure consumers are fully informed about the differing risks of an emerging and diverse range of lower-risk nicotine products. In order for that to happen, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control, local governments and leading public health organizations will have to correct the widespread misperceptions they have created about lower-risk products.”

***CCC Senior Fellow Jeff Stier is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

European Parliament approves new framework for digital taxation: consumers will pay the bill

CONTACT:

Bill Wirtz

Policy Analyst

Consumer Choice Center

European Parliament approves new framework for digital taxation: consumers will pay the bill

Brussels, BE – In an attempt to create a “clear and fair” corporate tax regime for the European Union, the European Parliament approved a resolution for a tax plan which will identify the “digital presence” of companies in individual member states.

Digital companies will be judged on their digital activities and even the value of the personal information they hold from users, in order to determine their corporate taxation.

The resolution by the European Parliament is in line with an announcement by the European Commission to reveal a plan for so-called “digital taxation” next week.

Bill Wirtz, Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) said this push by the European Union raises substantial concerns for consumers.

“Reducing tax competition in the EU will inevitably increase the tax burden on digital companies over time. We can’t close our eyes to the fact that it is consumers who will pick up the tab, through rising prices,” said Wirtz.

“We don’t know enough about the scale in which the “digital presence” framework would operate. Depending on the size, it could disincentive small and medium-sized companies in the digital sector to operate internationally in high-tax countries.

“The future of Europe’s market economy undeniably lies in the digital sector. The idea of attempting to increasingly tax online businesses is not a promising objective, neither for the states nor their consumers,” said Wirtz.

***CCC Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

 

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Rejection Of Right To Try Bill Is Cruel And Inhumane

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:

David Clement

North American Affairs Manager

Consumer Choice Center

[email protected]

 

Rejection Of Right To Try Bill Is Cruel And Inhumane

Washington DC – Yesterday, the House rejected a bill that would have given terminally ill patients the right to experimental medicines. The bill required 2/3rds support but failed to reach that mark having 259 vote in favor, and 140 vote in opposition. The majority of the opposition votes came from House Democrats, with Rep. Frank Pallone Jr stating “By defeating this bill tonight, we protected patients and supported F.D.A.’s continued role in approving experimental treatments that may help save a patient’s life”

The Consumer Choice Center condemns the rejection of “right to try” legislation and states that such prohibitions do nothing to protect terminally ill patients.

“Those who oppose the right to try, on patient protection grounds, fail to realize that we are talking about terminally ill patients. Denying those patients the right to try experimental drugs sentences them to succumb to their illness. To call that protecting patients is inhumane. Preventing a competent, consenting adult from taking a risk to save their life is both disgustingly paternalistic and incredibly cruel” David Clement, North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center

 ***CCC North America Affairs Manager David Clement is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and patient choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

France’s tobacco branding ban fails to deliver: An alternative approach is needed

CONTACT:

Luca Bertoletti

European Affairs Manager

Consumer Choice Center

 

France’s tobacco branding ban fails to deliver: An alternative approach is needed

Brussels, BE – After more than a year with a branding ban on tobacco products, new numbers published by the French Observatory for Drugs and Addiction reveal that cigarette sales have been cut by less than 0.7 percent.

Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said this represents a failure on the part of the French government and should prompt them to turn course.

“After more than a year of plain packaging for tobacco products in France, the policy has failed to significantly reduce smoking rates,” said Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC).

“Removing brands from the packs doesn’t change the behavior of the consumers, but instead promotes sales on the black market. That is troubling for public health advocates and consumers alike.

“If the French government wants to reduce the numbers of smokers it should embrace the use of harm-reducing nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and not ban brands. Brands are a powerful source of information for consumers that help them navigate among different levels of quality and price. Other countries should learn from the failure of plain packaging in France and drop this misguided policy,” said Bertoletti.

***CCC European Affairs Manager Luca Bertoletti is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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About Luca Bertoletti

Luca graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan in December 2014. He worked as a Business Economics Analyst for the Italian magazine TheFielder in Milan and as Think Thank Coordinator for the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. He is a fellow of Competere Institute in Rome, a columnist for Atlantico Quotidiano, and he sits on the scientific board of New Direction Italia. He has been featured in the New York Times, Radio RAI, RAI 1, El Economista, The National and many other newspapers.