Sadly, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, the SCHEER report also said that e-cigarettes act as a Gateway to smoking. “Regarding the role of electronic cigarettes as a gateway to smoking/the initiation of smoking, particularly for young people, the SCHEER concludes that there is strong evidence that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to smoking for young people. There is also strong evidence that nicotine in e-liquids is implicated in the development of addiction and that flavours have a relevant contribution for attractiveness of use of electronic cigarettes and initiation.”
Research indicating the effectiveness of e-cigs for smoking cessation refuted
Finally, the paper refutes all the research indicating the effectiveness of vaping products as smoking cessation devices and says that the evidence indicating this is weak. “Regarding the role of electronic cigarettes in cessation of traditional tobacco smoking, the SCHEER concludes that there is weak evidence for the support of electronic cigarettes’ effectiveness in helping smokers to quit while the evidence on smoking reduction is assessed as weak to moderate.”
For all these allegations, the paper was criticized for being selective in the findings it reported. However, the EC maintains that the study was based on the latest and up-to-date evidence. “The SCHEER committee takes into consideration the most recent and up-to-date scientific evidence and technical developments and, as appropriate, the existing provisions concerning e-cigarettes under the TPD (in particular Article 20(3)), and the evolution of new products on the market,” said an EU spokesperson.
“The scientific opinion addresses considerations relevant both at individual level and at population level, from a public health perspective and reply to specific questions from mandating DG only (cf. mandate),” added the spokesperson.
Naturally, renowned for its anti-vaping stance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) concurred. “However, it is too early to provide a clear answer on the long-term impact of using them or being exposed to them,” said the UN agency.
Ignoring scientific data
Meanwhile, multiple reliable public health entities such as Public Health England (PHE) insist on the relative benefits of the products. “Current vaping is mainly concentrated in young people who have experience of smoking. Less than 1% of young people who have never smoked are current vapers.”
Communicating with renowned and award winning researcher and professor Riccardo Polosa, who is also the director of the Center of Excellence for the acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR), European independent media network EURACTIV was informed that the “Opinion did not take much time to evaluate cessation – less than two pages in the report”.
Anyway a person can stop smoking is good
Soon after the paper was published, added Polosa, the “well-respected Cochrane review” came out with an update that suggested moderate evidence of effectiveness. “Science has a high bar for proof, which is right. At the same time, any way a person can stop smoking is good – chewing gum, sucking lollipops. It is well known in harm reduction that substitution is easier to achieve than abstinence, so that is why e-cigarettes have worked for many people to stop smoking,” he concluded.