“I can organise a guide to an oncological department to see what they are doing because they’ve never been there. The industry never understood the suffering of people. Especially, if you have cancer patients in front of you,” said Andriukaitis about the tobacco industry. The problem with this statement is that the commissioner insists on viewing smoking and vaping and their respective industries as one and the same.
“We have two issues: one is to collect information about electronic cigarettes but also different novel tobacco products. They will have a lot of work to do. They need to show how the TPD works in reality and explore possibilities to improve it,” said Andriukaitis about compiling the report which would support the TPD.
Health Commissioner excused for calling e-cigs poison
Data from the UK has shown that As predicted, following the TPD implementation, for the first time in years, smoking rates amongst adults have increased.
The head of Andriukaitis’s cabinet, Arūnas Vinčiūnas, recently came under fire recently for comparing electronic cigarettes to “poison” but Andriukaitis dismissed those criticisms. “It would be strange if the industry did not accuse the head of my cabinet. I’d be surprised,” he said, adding “My question to the industry is the following: is it harmful or not to smoke? Does it cause cancer or not? Harm is harm. No matter if it’s less or more,” he added.
The commissioner added that if the products can truly be used for smoking cessation, then they should be regulated as medical products. “If one uses electronic cigarettes as a method to stop smoking, it has to be managed by medical doctors and specialists, to be sold in pharmacies and not in supermarkets.”
“But in reality, you see a different picture. The industry proposes dangerous products and they use different loopholes in the directive. And they use different advocates to say they are less harmful. Young adolescents who have never smoked before try to smoke electronic cigarettes. It’s ridiculous,” stated Andriukaitis inaccurately.
The TPD has led to an increase in UK smoking rates
Meanwhile many public health experts in the UK had been concerned that with all the restrictions set in place by the TPD, those seasoned smokers who had switched to vaping, would revert back to smoking. And sadly, recent data indicate that this may just be the case.
The Office for National Statistics’ annual publication release in 2018, Adult Smoking Habits in Great Britain, with data for 2017, pointed out that while smoking rates amongst young adults have dipped further, those for older adults have for the first time in years, increased slightly, as predicted.
The EU tobacco regulations are failing former smokers
Besides the bad publicity that e-cigarettes are subjected to, which naturally leads to many smokers being misinformed about the relative benefits of the devices, the TPD regulation banning sales of nicotine containing e-liquids above 20 mg/ml, has been making it hard for many smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.
It is a known fact that when smokers first turn to vaping, they first start with higher doses of nicotine to match the hit they were getting from their cigarettes, and then proceed to wean themselves slowly in order to curb their addiction. Therefore the ban on nicotine doses over 20mg/ml, is putting a stumbling block in that first step of a smoker’s journey to a smoke free life.
Read Further: Euractiv