Tuesday 26 March 2019

EU Health Commissioner wants med regs for e-cigarettes

Some things never change. The EU Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, who has previously claimed that vaping is 'a danger for public health', wants e-cigarettes regulated like medicines...

'If one uses electronic cigarettes as a method to stop smoking, it has to be managed by medical doctors and specialists, to be sold in pharmacies and not in supermarkets.'

It seemed as if the argument on e-cigarette regulation had been won a few years ago. All the EU countries which regulated e-cigs like medicines, such as Denmark, legalised them as consumer products and the EU stepped back from its plans to introduce med regs in the Tobacco Products Directive. And yet here is this nanny state dinosaur banging on as if it's still 2011.


Andriukaitis insisted it was better to use smoking cessation aid such as Nicorette.

That's the kind of claim that can be tested empirically, as it was in the New England Journal of Medicine recently...

A total of 886 participants underwent randomization. The 1-year abstinence rate was 18.0% in the e-cigarette group, as compared with 9.9% in the nicotine-replacement group...

It's a shame Andriukaitis doesn't keep abreast of the scientific literature. He could have asked the EU's Chief Scientific Officer about it if the position hadn't been abolished after lobbying from anti-science NGOs.

One liberal argument against Brexit is that British politicians are often even keener to trample on freedom than the control freaks in Brussels. There is some truth in that, but at least if we leave the EU there is the possibility of things getting better. There is no chance of the EU becoming more liberal and on the issue of vaping and tobacco harm reduction, it is a near certainty that an independent Britain would be freer than an EU member state.

And don't bother trying to tell me that Andriukaitis is one bad apple having a rant. He's the Health Commissioner and the problem is institutional. Let's not forget that his second-in-command comes out with gems like this:

'There are scientific reports saying that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes. But it’s still tobacco.'

After I tweeted about this earlier, this little charmer from the European Commission popped up in the timeline...

The UK has the second lowest smoking rate in the EU, after Sweden which managed to swerve the EU ban on snus.

Every time I start to think that staying in the EU might not be that bad, another of these grubby little bureaucrats opens his mouth. Can we leave now, please?

No comments: