“Use of e-cigarettes in the world is growing continuously. However, Europe is falling behind,” write the Lega Italiana Anti Fumo in a press release urging European lawmakers to recognise the technology e-cigs offer to help smokers quit.

The Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF) are an anti-smoking group that regularly post blogs and news to help people understand the dangers of smoking on their website and aim to strengthen smoking cessation programmes, such as e-cigarettes.

Active since 2003, LIAF wrote: “It is essential that Europe exploits the potential of this technology to reduce the impact of smoking on European Public Health.”

To help raise awareness among policymakers, LIAF, with the help of MEP Giovanni La Lia, brought experts and lawmakers together in European Parliament to discuss e-cigarettes on 20 March.

“Though this is a very important public health issue, the discussion has been absent from the European agenda. With cigarettes killing more than half a million smokers a month globally and almost 6 million Europeans now using e-cigarettes to move away from smoking, providing scientific evidence to shift the balance from an ‘abstinence-only’ agenda to a harm reduction strategy is vital in bringing down smoking deaths.”

“Recent reports have led key public health institutions to take a positive stance on e-cigarettes. Well-respected bodies, such as Public Health England (PHE), Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), recognise the potential of e-cigarettes to reduce the health effects of smoking.”

PHE’s recent report on e-cigarettes (February 2018) concludes that vaping or using e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking tobacco. Moreover, the report shows that while smoking rates among young people continue to fall, there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. The same research found that e-cigarettes are used almost exclusively by those who have already smoked,” said LIAF.