Skip links

European Harm Reduction Group Launches Manifesto on Behalf of Former Smokers


The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (Ethra) has started a manifesto on behalf of millions of smokers who have managed to quit smoking or reduce its harm because of much safer alternatives such as e-cigarettes and snus. 

ETHRA consists of 21 consumer associations in 16 European countries. Last May, a manifesto was started on behalf of 27 million consumers across Europe who have managed to quit smoking thanks to safer products, and this manifesto encouraged policymakers to recognize the benefits of tobacco harm reduction in advance of World No Tobacco Day.

Although there is evidence in favor of the use of safer products such as snus and e-cigarettes in order to quit smoking and reduce harm, some European countries put restrictions on the products and ban them. Therefore, the ETHRA Manifesto promotes sensible regulations for the people who want to continue using reduced-risk products for smoking cessation and harm reduction. 

ETHRA explained “Tobacco harm reduction refers to public health and other evidence-based policies, designed to lessen the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with smoking. It endorses the use of novel nicotine products and supports research into their safety and efficacy.” 

The 21 partners of ETHRA – representing millions of consumers in 16 countries – urge the EU, the WHO, and governments in Europe and beyond to consider these important principles when forming their policies.

  • Access to harm reduction, including tobacco harm reduction, must be recognized as a human right.
  • Consumers of safer nicotine products must be recognized as essential stakeholders in discussions of policy.
  • Regulation for safer nicotine products must reflect the risks relative to the risks of smoking.
  • Regulators must recognize that having a wide choice of products and flavors is key to the success of safer nicotine products in enabling people to stop smoking.
  • Regulation must consider the harm to adults when considering bans intended to protect youth.
  • Tax policy must take into account that high taxation of safer nicotine product increases rates of smoking.

Consumers of Safer Alternatives Are Forced to Swim Against the Current

ETHRA concurs “Regulators should be aware of the overwhelmingly beneficial effect of reduced risk nicotine products to attract smokers away from lit tobacco,” said Rob de Lange of ACVODA, a Dutch consumer association, and partner of ETHRA, “Smoking rates in countries which regulate alternative nicotine products sensibly have collapsed, yet consumers are constantly fighting against public health organizations who seem to favor an ill-informed precautionary approach which can only perpetuate smoking and protect the most harmful nicotine delivery system of all, the cigarette.”

Peter Stigaard, of Danish consumer association DADAFO, said: Tobacco harm reduction has been an unprecedented success story in enlightened European states, yet the EU and the WHO appears eager to wind back the clock and impose harsh and ill-conceived restrictions on products which are saving lives.”

As you can see, e-cigarettes and snus are much safer products and they help people quit smoking and reduce harm. It is clear that most smokers use reduced-risk products such as snus and e-cigarettes for smoking cessation and harm reduction.