Press release: 105,000 Smokers Will Be Killed Every Year By TPD Ban On E-Cigarettes
The planned EU ban on higher strength e-cigarettes used by 2.5 million Europeans will increase tobacco smoking and lead to 105,000 extra deaths every year according to the respected economics consultancy, London Economics. The report shows that 210,000 fewer smokers a year will successfully quit smoking as a result of the ban with 9.6 million extra tobacco cigarettes being smoked every day.
The ban is contained in the Tobacco Products Directive due to be voted by MEPs tomorrow, Wednesday 26th February. It would ban all e-cigarettes containing more than 20mg/ml of nicotine - a level scientists say is equivalent to less than a 1/3 of the nicotine in a standard tobacco cigarette. Currently 25% of e-cigarette users currently use higher strength e-cigarettes to help them switch from tobacco.
“Typically these are highly dependent smokers whose history of heavy tobacco use makes them very vulnerable to fatal outcomes if they revert back to tobacco,” says Aaron Taylor, MD of Ecigwizard.com (Electronic Cigarettes Ltd) which helped fund the report.
London Economics found that along with e-cigarette users reverting back to tobacco, the ban would also lead to less people quitting as the weaker strengths of e-cigarettes would not be sufficient for them to transition from tobacco to e-cigarettes which repeated scientific studies have found to be vastly safer than tobacco cigarettes.
This ban in the TPD has already been denounced by the world’s top nicotine scientists in a letter to Commission. Some of them had been quoted by the Commission as allegedly backing its policy. But instead the scientists published a line-by-line rebuttal of the TPD’s measures (Scientists' Letter , New Scientist) showing that the Commission had made basic calculation errors in banning the stronger e-cigarettes. They also made clear that the 20mg/ml is far below toxic levels.
“When the Commission ignores the science, it’s no surprise that the real world impact of their policies is so serious. MEPs surprised the Commission by voting against plans to heavily regulate e-cigarettes in October 2013. Tomorrow’s vote is the chance for MEPs to show that they are not puppets but care deeply about the impact on these 2.5 million smokers who are trying to quit by using these devices. Europe’s 10 million vaping voters will be watching carefully how their MEPS vote tomorrow,” says Oliver Kershaw, Managing Director of the world’s biggest e-cigarette website, E-Cigarette Forum.
Big pharma companies like GSK have joined tobacco companies in lobbying strongly against e-cigarettes. Their profits have been hit by the huge popularity of e-cigarettes whose sales doubled last year. (see Pharma lobbying and slides 4 and 8 of Monthly tracking study)
Questions for government officials:
Why have officials not done any economic modelling of the health impact of their ban on higher nicotine e-cigarettes?
Why have they stood by the 20mg/ml figure when it has been denounced by the world’s top nicotine scientists as a blatant miscalculation?
How many meetings have Commission officials had with pharmaceutical lobbyists over the last year?
Notes for Journalists
E-Cigarettes Gain Support
- “many regulators are banning e-cigarettes or encumbering them with so many restrictions that they are unlikely to be taken up on the scale required to cut significantly the number of smokers” FT, January 2014
- “Now doctors say e-cigarettes do help you quit - and could save millions of lives... so why are petty bureaucrats intent on banning them from public places?” Mail on Sunday - January 2014
- “E-cigarettes will save lives if we keep them out of the itching regulatory hands of the health nannies” The Times, October 2013
- “It is not that often that we find ourselves in agreement with a vote in the European Parliament.” Daily Telegraph, October 2013
- “Careless regulation costs lives… Politicians should stand back and let a thousand e-cig brands bloom.” The Economist, September 2013
Tobacco volumes are plunging
- In Europe (Philip Morris sales in Europe fall 7%, October 2013, Philip Morris Cigarette Sales BAT sales in Europe fall 9%, October 2013 BAT Cigarette Sales ). This is coinciding with the explosive growth in the use of e-cigarettes for quit attempts. The monthly tracking data in the official Smoking Toolkit Study shows (slide 4) a roughly 800% increase in smokers using e-cigarettes to quit over the past year.
- "We have increased conviction that consumption of e-cigarettes could surpass consumption of conventional cigarettes within the next decade.” Wells Fargo, June 2013
- “Through the whole of my career in more than 30 years working in the field of tobacco research the best we have been able to achieve in terms of getting smoking prevalence down is around 1% a year. Now with electronic-cigarettes we have an opportunity to end the tobacco epidemic in my lifetime. This is something that I never thought I would see.” Professor Robert West, speaking on ITV, January 2014
E-Cigarettes Are Not A Gateway Into Tobacco
- "There is not as yet any sign that non-smokers are taking up e-cigarettes, even amongst young people their products are tried by smokers," ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott, Marketing Magazine, February 2014
- In this Oklahoma Study only one of 43 students whose first use of nicotine was an e-cigarette went on to become a tobacco user.
- Scientific research indicates around 20% of UK 15 year olds are regular tobacco smokers.
- Alternative nicotine sources like e-cigarettes are less addictive than tobacco Fagerstrom, December 2013
E-Cigarettes are Safe:
- “There is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns Drexel University Study, January 2014
- “The chemicals that make cigarettes dangerous are either absent in electronic cigarettes or present only in trace concentrations” Lancet, July 2013
- “The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions” Inhalation Toxicology, October 2012
- “The risk is negligible, and compared with smoking there is no contest” Professor Robert West, University College London, July 2013
- “If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths” Professor John Britton, Royal College of Physicians, February 2013
- The toxicity of vapour in e-cigarettes is “one thousandth of that in cigarette smoke” NHS Website
Competing Against Pharmaceutical Products:
- Electronic cigarettes could be the "greatest health advance since vaccinations," Professor David Nutt, BBC News, February 2014
- E-Cigarettes buyers are “more likely” to be able to quit than if buying nicotine gum and patches SRNT research, February 2014
- “E-cigarettes are by far the most credible alternative to tobacco cigarettes” Goldman Sachs, August 2013