In total contradiction with the report of SCHEER which could have a strong impact on the future TPD2 (Directive on tobacco products), today we are proposing the report of ETHRA (European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) which for its part is clearly in favor of vaping and snus in the fight against smoking.
RISK REDUCTION, "THE" SOLUTION TO END TOBACCO!
While the future sometimes seems “dark” for vaping in Europe, there are signs that nothing is set in stone yet. If the recent SCHEER report which concluded that vaping does not help to quit smoking and that the flavors attract young people to nicotine will serve as a basis for the future TPD2 (Tobacco Products Directive), we can be delighted to have data available today in total contradiction with this position.
In fact, from October 12 to December 31, 2020, more than 37 people responded to the online survey of ETHRA on nicotine users in Europe. Today, we present to you the analysis report which details the results of 35 participants from 296 EU countries subject to the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
How the ETHRA survey works :
Each participant took an average of 11 minutes to complete the questionnaire. The 44 questions asked about the use of nicotine by consumers. Topics covered included smoking and the desire to quit smoking, the use of snus, vaping and obstacles to quitting smoking, particularly related to the TPD directive and national regulations.
REDUCTION OF RISKS, TAXES AND TPD… WHAT SUMMARY FOR THE PUBLIC?
According to the new report from the'ETHRA (European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates), risk reduction is clearly a solution to quitting smoking.
- Risk reduction products are a massive help in quitting smoking. Among those who have smoked in their lifetime, 73,7 % snus users and 83,5 % of vapers have quit smoking.
Risk reduction is the most cited reason for adopting snus (75 %) and vaping (93 %), followed by stopping smoking for 60 % of snus users and over 90 % vapers. Reducing costs, flavors, product availability and, in particular, the ability to adjust vaping products, are important factors for consumers when adopting harm reduction products.
Over 31 % of current smokers say they are interested in trying snus if it were legalized in the EU.
Regarding vaping taxes, the ban on vaping flavors and the lack of access, according to the ETHRA report, these are obstacles to smoking cessation!
- More than 67 % of smokers want to quit. However, these smokers face barriers in their desire to be non-smokers. First, almost a quarter (24,3 %) of EU smokers who wish to quit are deterred by the high price of low-risk alternatives. This proportion reaches 34,5 % in the 12 EU countries where vaping was taxed in 2020, and 44,7 % in the three countries where vaping is heavily taxed (Finland, Portugal and Estonia).
- Taxes on vaping products are a significant barrier to quitting smoking for people who vape and smoke (“dual users”). The proportion of dual users in the 12 countries with a tax on vaping who are blocked by the cost to switch exclusively to vaping (28,1 %) is more than three times that of dual users from 16 countries without vape tax (8,6 %).
The ban on vaping flavors in Finland and Estonia, and the state monopoly on the sale of vape in Hungary, make it more difficult to quit smoking. One of the main consequences of this ban is to push consumers into the black market, other alternative sources or purchases abroad. In these three countries, only 45 % of vapers use a local conventional source to obtain their e-liquids, while they are 92,8 % in countries without tax or ban on vaping flavors.
The ETHRA report highlights the fact that the limits imposed by the TPD have undesirable consequences on the consumption of vapers.
- Compared to a large online survey carried out in 20131, before the implementation of the current PDT, the average volume of e-liquid used per day has increased considerably (it has increased from 3 ml / day in 2013 to 10 ml / day in 2020) while the nicotine concentration of these e-liquids has considerably decreased (from 12 mg / ml in 2013 to 5 mg / ml in 2020).
Two thirds (65,9%) of vapers use e-liquids with a nicotine concentration of less than 6 mg / ml. This trend appears to be largely a consequence of the 20 mg / ml nicotine concentration limit and 10 ml volume limit imposed by the TPD for e-liquid vials. Due to the self-titration phenomenon of inhaled nicotine, vapers who use e-liquids with a low concentration of nicotine are likely to compensate by consuming a greater volume.
• If the 20 mg / ml nicotine limit were increased, 24% of vapers said they would consume less e-liquids and 30,3% of people who vape and smoke think they could quit smoking altogether.
• If the 10ml limit were repealed, 87% of vapers would buy larger vials to reduce cost and 89% to reduce plastic waste, while only 35,5% say they would likely continue to buy ' shortfills' and add the nicotine themselves. These limits could be reformed or repealed during the next revision of the TPD.
The alarm bells are also sounded by the ETHRA report, A tax and / or ban on vaping flavors in the EU would fuel black and gray markets.
- The survey also asked participants about other possible changes to European directives. As for the cost issue, a large part of vapers would not or could not tolerate price increases. If a high excise tax were applied to e-liquid across the EU, more than 60% of users would look for parallel untaxed sources.
- If vaping flavors were banned, more than 71% of vapers would look for alternative sources to the legal market.
According to the ETHRA report, vapers from the European Union want access to clear and objective information.
- On the other hand, a large majority of vapers are in favor of public access to EU databases on vaping products, concerning e-liquid ingredients (83%), resistance elements (66%) and the characteristics of integrated circuits (56%). In addition, 74% would find a vaping information page useful, as New Zealand has done.
WHAT DOES ETHRA RECOMMEND FOLLOWING THIS REPORT?
The lifting of the snus ban in the EU. Snus enabled Swedish nicotine consumers to opt for harm reduction, leading to the biggest drop in smoking-related illnesses in the entire EU. Snus has been fully recognized as a reduced risk product by the US FDA. Even if only a fraction of smokers adopted snus, it would reduce the burden of smoking-related illnesses and premature death for millions of Europeans.
The limitation of the TPD of vials of e-liquid to 10 ml must be repealed urgently to allow vapers to buy e-liquids in normal volumes with an adequate level of nicotine and allow a large part of them to reduce their consumption of e-liquid.
The upward revision of the maximum concentration of nicotine in e-liquids would allow a quarter of vapers to reduce their e-liquid consumption, and allow smokers to have access to a more effective reduced risk product. Despite the promises made in 2013 during the debates on PDT, no vaping product with more than 20 mg / ml of nicotine is available in the pharmaceutical network in 2021.
Taxes, aroma bans and state selling monopolies on vaping are barriers to quitting smoking in the countries which apply them. These measures also fuel a massive recourse to the black market or other alternative sources and purchases abroad, with the health insecurity that these situations cause, they push more people to smoke and they discredit the political and health authorities. . Member States and the EU must stop moving in this extremely dangerous direction.
The vast majority of low-risk nicotine users want the European administration provides honest, open and accessible information on risk reduction alternatives to smoking.
To consult the ETHRA full report, go to the official websiteEuropean Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates.