The European Commission has opened a new call for evidence as part of an ongoing assessment of whether current tobacco control legislation has kept up with the “rapid rise” in new products.
Officially launched on February 21st 2023, the latest public consultation on tobacco policy comes just months after the completion of a similar process carried out last year that resulted in a record number of responses from citizens, industry groups, and NGOs.
Individual EU citizens accounted for more than 90 percent of responses to the 2022 call for evidence suggesting the issue is high on EU consumers’ agendas. Submissions can be viewed and analysed in detail using Snusforumet’s exclusive Call for Evidence Database.
The new call for evidence aims to collect input on the EU’s current tobacco control framework, including the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and Tobacco Advertising Directive (TAD).
ETHRA: participation ‘essential’
It’s part of a “broader evaluation” of current legislation, covering a range of areas including product regulation, advertising, and sponsorship as they relate to tobacco control policies. The goal is to better understand how well the framework has “fulfilled its established goals and objectives”.
“This is one of the most important public consultations to date and it is essential that a large number of consumers and consumer associations take part,” said consumer advocacy group European Tobacco Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) in a statement.
ETHRA called on stakeholders and members to “match or better” the more than 24,000 responses submitted to the previous call for evidence. The “targeted stakeholder consultation” will close at midnight on May 16th, meaning interested parties still have ample time to submit their views.
As of March 6th, nearly 650 responses had been submitted, 96 percent of which came from EU citizens. Nearly two-thirds of the submissions – 403 – were from Italy, with 99 coming from France and 41 from Germany.
Swedes have a responsibility to respond
Patrik Strömer, head of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers, hopes to see citizens and organisations from Sweden step up and ensure EU policymakers understand the public health benefits that come with ensuring consumers have access to reduced-risk products.
“Swedes and Swedish harm reduction groups need to make their voices heard in Brussels,” he says.
“We have a responsibility to spread the word about the Swedish Experience with tobacco harm reduction. Sweden already has two smoke-free generations and plenty of knowledge to share. It would be a shame if the EU missed out on this opportunity to learn from Sweden’s success.”
Submitting the consultation is a straightforward process. ETHRA also has an easy-to-follow guide to make it even easier for those interested in participating.