E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Researchers Accuse EU Commission of Ignoring Science on E-Cigarettes

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that electronic cigarettes are a much less harmful alternative to smoking tobacco, lawmakers continue to ignore facts, preferring instead to make all sorts of ridiculous claims that make absolutely no sense, either out of ignorance or to support their agenda.

Earlier this month, Arūnas Vinčiūnas, the head of cabinet of EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, took a jab at electronic cigarettes, saying that even though scientific reports are saying they are less harmful than cigarettes, “they are still tobacco”. He then doubled down, comparing vaping to poison.

“There are scientific reports saying that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes, but it’s still tobacco. You can drink less poison, but it is still poison in the end,” the EU official said at an even hosted by EURACTIV. “There is a much simpler solution than the electronic cigarette, which is to stop smoking.”

He makes it sound so easy, doesn’t he? Yes, why don’t we all just simply stop smoking? There is such ignorance in this statement that I don’t even know where to begin. Forget about the highly addicting nature of nicotine, a health commissioner saying that the e-cigarette is still tobacco is just outrageous. Lawmakers may have categorized it as a tobacco product, but there is no actual tobacco in it. Ok, the nicotine may come from plants in the tobacco family (though not the tobacco that is in cigarettes), but it’s the same nicotine contained in medicines like nicotine patches, gum or sprays. Are those tobacco too?

Vinčiūnas’ statement has prompted a reaction from the scientific community, specifically researchers who have been involved in vaping studies and know a lot more about e-cigarettes than any EU official. Two of them, Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and Dr Konstantinos Poulas from the department of pharmacy at the University of Patras in Greece, recently wrote a letter criticizing Arūnas Vinčiūnas’ statement as inaccurate and adding that it does not reflect the established knowledge on these products in terms of safety and intended use.

“Furthermore, it generates confusing messages to smokers who need, deserve and should have the right to access to less harmful products in an effort to quit smoking, a highly dependent behaviour,” the two researchers wrote. “While it has now become universally accepted within the EU that harm reduction is a necessary and effective approach in reducing the adverse health consequences of recreational drug use, there is a lot of resistance in accepting a similar approach for smoking.”

The German Association of Electronic Cigarettes Trade (VdeH) also reacted to Vinčiūnas’ attack, criticizing him for his obvious lack of expertise on vaping.

“It is very worrying that the chief of staff of the responsible European Commissioner shows such a lack of expertise. The key advantage of e-cigarettes is that they do not contain any tobacco, which obviously means that there is no combustion when they are consumed ,” VdeH President Michal Dobrajc said.

Unfortunately, EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis appears to share the view of his chief of staff. In an interview with Euractiv, back in May of 2018, he said that electronic cigarettes were not the way to quit smoking and definitely not good for public health.

“Is it good for health to smoke e-cigarettes? Who would advocate this is very good for health?” Andriukaitis wondered, advocating instead for conventional nicotine replacement therapies and counseling. “If they use it as a cessation method then one can be under the scrutiny of medical doctors. They know how to help you. Not do it yourself.”

Sure, because smoking cessation medication and counseling worked so well before e-cigarettes came along and ruined everything, right?

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