Dear Commissioner Andriukaitis,
On 30 November 2009, the Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments was adopted, as the result of a consultation and legislative process, calling on Member States to act in three main fronts:
having any specific directive from the European Commission or strong
obligations, the majority of EU countries have adopted comprehensive
national smoke-free laws in public and workplaces. Among these, Ireland,
the UK, Romania, Bulgaria, Malta, Spain and Hungary have the strictest
smoke-free provisions with a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public
places, on public transport and in workplaces, with only limited
exceptions allowed. Belgium, Spain and Poland are undeniable examples of
countries where the adoption of comprehensive legislation led to very
significant drops in tobacco smoke exposure within a short time period.
But this incredible progress and fantastic results are currently being threatened at national level by the tobacco industry, which you are fully aware, is pushing for the normalisation and the widespread use of tobacco and related products (including electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco) in public and workplaces.
In addition to the increased number of industry-sponsored events to lobby policy makers, tobacco companies are writing directly to government representatives misinforming them about the effectiveness of those new products as smoking cessation tools, minimising their negative health effects[i]and pushing for a review of existing smokefree legislations[ii]. Also, loopholes in existing smokefree legislations are being used to advertise those falsely so called “safer products” to young people[iii]and to renormalise tobacco use in public and work places.
Indeed, in many countries where there is a smoking ban, tobacco companies are advocating for governments to allow the use of novel products in public and workplaces, as they do not produce smoke. This would be totally counter productive and would defeat the purpose of all smokefree legislations, which have the objective to protect the citizens from exposure to second-hand smoke and therefore to any other hazardous substances such as heated tobacco vapour.
Despite claims from the tobacco industry that those new products can reduce harm up to 90-95% compared to conventional cigarettes, independent research has confirmed high levels of carcinogenic substances[iv]and similar levels of nicotine and tar than conventional cigarettes[v].
With the current scientific evidence, national and international organisations including the European Respiratory Society or the French Alliance Against Tobacco[vi]have demonstrated that heated tobacco products are shown to: 1) be harmful and addictive; 2) undermine smokers’ wish to quit; 3) undermine ex-smokers’ wish to stay smoke-free; 4) be a temptation for non-smokers and minors; 5) impose a risk of re-normalisation of smoking; and 6) impose a risk of dual use with conventional cigarettes.
In order to protect European citizens’ health as well as preserving the vital progress achieved through the adoption of comprehensive tobacco control legislations in most of EU members states, the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) and its 60 members are strongly urging the EU Commission to initiate the legislative process in order to adopt a European Union Directive for a total ban of the use of tobacco and related products in public and work places, with clear indication for heated tobacco products and electronic cigarettes to be treated as conventional cigarettes.
European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention - ENSP
[iv]Auer R, Concha-Lozano N, Jacot-Sadowski I, et al. Heat-Not-Burn Tobacco Cigarettes: Smoke by Any Other Name. JAMA internal medicine2017;177(7):1050-52. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1419 [published Online First: 2017/05/23]
[v]Li X, Luo Y, Jiang X, et al. Chemical Analysis and Simulated Pyrolysis of Tobacco Heating System 2.2 Compared to Conventional Cigarettes. Nicotine Tob Res2018 doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty005 [published Online First: 2018/01/11]