Scientists from the University of Patras-Greece, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, in Greece, and their French colleague from the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research analyzed the data from the 2014 Special Eurobarometer survey on smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes.
Their study concerns 27,460 EU citizens aged 15 years and more and constitutes one of the largest population ever interrogated on this topic, as noticed by one of the co-authors, Pr K. Poulas who points out the the power of the Eurobarometer questionnaire in assessing electronic cigarette use in the European Union.
“The questionnaire of the Eurobarometer is probably one of the most detailed ever used in analyzing electronic cigarette use on a population level. It provides detailed information about the frequency of use, differentiates experimentation from regular use and examines the use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes. Moreover, the survey enrolled a large sample of Europeans which was representative of the total EU population. A similar design should be used in all population studies.”
What do we know about non-smokers?
In a word of controversy over the use of the electronic cigarettes by non-smokers and a potential gateway to smoking, European researchers are reassuring. Are non-smokers attracted by the e-cigarette or at risk of being addicted to it?
To this question, Jacques Le Houezec explains: “In non-smokers we observed some experimentation with electronic cigarettes, but regular use is minimal. Just 1.3% of non-smokers reported current use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and 0.09% reported daily use. Practically, there is no current or regular use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes by non-smokers, so the concern that electronic cigarettes can be a gateway to smoking is largely rejected by our findings.”
For Public Health, what is the impact of the e-cigarette?
Konstantinos Farsalinos answers: “The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons:
- High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and
- Electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by non-smokers.“
During his oral presentation at the Vapexpo event, September 2015, in Paris, the scientist described these unambiguous results, especially for France. He pointed out that vaping could not be considered as a gateway to tobacco in France, a snapshot of what he was preparing over the entire EU. In this presentation, he also demonstrated how official conclusions from the EU could be very different from those of specialists.
Farsalinos KE, Poulas K, Voudris V, Le Houezec J. Electronic cigarette use in the European Union: analysis of a representative sample 2 of 27 460 Europeans from 28 countries. Addiction 2016.