An Italian anti-smoking organization is today staging an event at the EU Parliament during which experts and policymakers are due to discuss the benefits of electronic cigarettes.
In a press note issued through Business Wire, the Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF) said that while the use of e-cigarettes was growing continuously, worldwide, Europe was falling behind.
It was essential that Europe exploited the potential of this technology to reduce the impact of smoking on European public health, it said.
The LIAF is being hosted by the Italian MEP Giovanni La Via, who is a former chairperson of the parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee.
‘Though this is a very important public health issue, the discussion has been absent from the European agenda,’ the LIAF said in a press note.
‘With cigarettes killing more than half a million smokers a month globally and almost six million Europeans now using e-cigarettes to move away from smoking, providing scientific evidence to shift the balance from an “abstinence-only” agenda to a harm reduction strategy is vital in bringing down smoking deaths.’
“Europe is at a crossroads in the fight against smoking,” La Via was quoted as saying. “A growing body of evidence shows that there is a huge opportunity for public health in promoting the use of e-cigarettes to help people stop smoking. Health policymakers in Europe have a duty to provide the public with all of the facts on e-cigarettes, and to provide the best regulatory environment to help smokers quit completely.”
The press note said that recent reports had led key public health institutions to take a positive stance on e-cigarettes.
‘Well-respected bodies, such as Public Health England (PHE), Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), recognise the potential of e-cigarettes to reduce the health effects of smoking,’ the note said. ‘PHE’s recent report on e-cigarettes (February 2018) concludes that vaping or using e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than smoking tobacco.
‘Moreover, the report shows that while smoking rates among young people continue to fall, there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. The same research found that e-cigarettes are used almost exclusively by those who have already smoked.’