In light of the imminent update of the EU Tobacco Products Directive and the implementation of the Portuguese Plan to reduce cancer (ENLCC), the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) presented Portugal with a plan to combat cigarette consumption.
“Smoking is responsible for over 13,000 deaths in Portugal every year.”
The 7-step plan was presented by the WVA, together with their Portuguese partners Associação Portuguesa de Vaporizadores (APORVAP) and Ohms do Vapor. It includes the following recommendations:
1.Portugal’s clear commitment to the concept of tobacco harm reduction.
2.Promoting vaping as a smoking cessation tool.
3.Exclude vaping from smoke-free area restrictions.
4.Abstain from imposing higher taxes on vaping products and reduce the excessive taxation on e-liquids as soon as possible.
5.Reject flavour bans and not restrict choice in nicotine levels for vaping liquids.
6.Keep vaping available for adults while enforcing age restrictions to prevent adolescent use.
7.Promoting tobacco harm reduction in the EU institutions and legislations.
WVA director Michael Landl encourages Portugal to become a leader in tobacco harm reduction. “Smoking is responsible for over 13,000 deaths in Portugal every year. Multiple ways have been effective in helping smokers quit, and vaping has proven to be the most successful tool so far. We need a modern, open regulatory framework to fit these alternatives to reduce cancer rates successfully. While the Portuguese government is designing the ENLCC strategy, we offer 7 comprehensive steps for the government to succeed in the fight against tobacco-induced cancer. Portugal can become a global tobacco harm reduction leader by implementing consumer-friendly vaping regulation.”
Portugal has the highest e-liquid excise tax in Europe
However, APORVAP president Cristiano Batista, highlighted that sadly the contrary is currently the case. “Today, Portugal has the highest excise tax on e-liquids in Europe, which adds up to EUR 3.23 per 10ml liquid, and the government intends to increase this rate in 2023. Such taxation rules discourage consumers from purchasing e-liquids and, therefore, switch to less harmful alternatives than traditional smoking. Portugal needs a modern, risk-based tax regulation that will remove the burden from consumers and support Portuguese public health goals.”
While a spokesperson for Ohms do Vapor said that an educational campaign on vaping is required nationally. “Unfortunately, we see a lot of misconceptions about vaping and e-cigarettes among the media, policymakers, and health professionals. At Ohms do Vapor, we provide reliable information to the public about tobacco alternatives, but it is not enough. Portugal needs a country-wide educational campaign on the benefits of tobacco harm reduction if the government wants to achieve their set goals. The 7-step plan developed by WVA supports public awareness needs and should be taken into account by the government.”