For her first day at the head of the European Commission, Anne Bucher gave a strong impression. At the WHO’s anti-smoking conference (COP8FCTC), she surprised everyone with her harsh words. In effect, the health director clearly ignored the well-established distinction between vaping and smoking.
89% of those who responded to European Commission’s recent inquiry were able to distinguish the differences between vaping and smoking. The Commission will soon decide whether or not to abolish taxes for vaping products. Anne Bucher is taking a step backwards, however, by siding with those who refuse to acknowledge the benefits of vaping.
Bucher’s statements have caused a major reaction
Vaping supporters are trying to make it clear that vaping is harmless, but they continue to face an uphill battle. Some even tried at the COP8FCTC to criticize the WHO, accusing it of taking an anti-vaping position. However, the reluctance surrounding an acknowledgement of the benefits of vaping continues to work in Big Tobacco’s favor.
Some members of an anti-smoking network devoted to promoting the benefits of vaping preferred to use humor as their weapon. These vaping advocates sent a letter of “congratulations” to those who attended the COP8FCTC, a letter that highlighted, in an ironic tone, the recent rise in tobacco sales thanks to the WHO’s stance on vaping.
Indeed, the European Commission continues to stall on recognizing the difference between smoking and vaping, a difference that science has already proven. This is why vaping products are erroneously equated with tobacco products, and are taxed the same rate as traditional cigarettes. Of course, this does not come without serious consequences, since tobacco manufacturers tend to benefit from a decline in vaping.
There are two opposing sides: consumers who recognize the safety of vaping products and skeptics who continue to compare vaping to smoking. Anne Bucher’s recent statements are a perfect reflection of the current times, and there are legitimate fears that the European Commission now sides with the skeptics who want to continue to tax vaping products as tobacco products. Sadly, the recent drop in smoking rates as a direct result of vaping products may be short-lived…