Fighting for e-cigarettes in Europe

ETHRA fights for users' interests in the EU

The conditions for e-cigarettes and vejping could change drastically in the coming years. Flavour restrictions, heavy taxation and outright bans are on the agenda as the EU revises its directives. However, the organisation ETHRA is on the front line, protecting users' rights to harm reduction products in the future.

At the same time World Vape Day takes place the organisation ETHRA releases a manifesto to promote vejping and other harm reduction methods in the EU. The aim is to give voice to the millions of ex-smokers who have now quit with the help of e-cigarettes and snus.

"We represent the users"

Jessica Harding, active in the New Nicotine Alliance UK, is a spokesperson for ETHRA.

"The EU and the WHO are currently planning measures to restrict the availability of all harm reduction products. In spite of their proven positive impact on public health. They are doing this without any scientific support and without any consideration for those who use the products to quit smoking. We represent the users. It is a large group in society, which should be hard to ignore." Says Jessica Harding to Vejpkollen.

"Loud speeches don't change anything"

Although several countries have vibrant vejp associations, legislation, both locally and at EU level, has gradually become more and more extensive. And according to ETHRA, it is extremely important that vejpers also organise themselves internationally. Especially now, when several countries are considering even tougher restrictions. The Danish ban on flavours in e-juice and the Swedish taxation are examples of legislation that easily spills over from one country to another. Ultimately, it affects the entire EU.

"Travellers are very passionate and vocal on social media. But simply reacting to misleading information and other propaganda will unfortunately not lead to real change." Says Jessica Harding.

"It is important that we are involved and have an impact"

ETHRA is a lobbying organisation, authorised to represent snus and e-cigarette users as a group before the EU Health and Food Directorate. Behind ETHRA are consumer-driven organisations from across Europe.

"We can achieve a lot by working together in Europe, especially when it comes to the upcoming revision of the TPD, the EU Tobacco Directive (which includes e-cigarettes). Many people probably haven't realised what changes are coming. Or how important it is that we are involved and influence in some way," says Jessica Harding.

Looking for sensible legislation

ETHRA is funded by its local members and does not accept contributions from retailers. But with the help of its manifesto (which you can read in Swedish here), they hope to contribute to more restrained legislation on e-cigarettes and other harm reduction products in the EU.

"The regulation of e-cigarettes should be sensible. We want a regulation that recognises the benefits of this technology, which has become so important for millions of Europeans. Not to mention the millions of smokers who would be able to quit with the help of this technology in the future," said Mr Van Rompuy. Jessica Harding to Vejpkollen.

The EU and its approach to e-cigarettes
European Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ETHRA)

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