The electronic cigarette hasn’t been getting any favors from the EU’s public authorities, and a recent declaration by the European Commission has further alarmed researchers and vaping professionals. By comparing the e-cigarette to “poison,” European authorities are ignoring much of the scientific evidence that has come to light in recent years.
Arūnas Vinčiūnas is the chief of staff for the European health commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis. At the end of January, on the Euractiv platform, he stated that the electronic cigarette is “poisonous.” He also cited the unfounded argument that vaping leads to tobacco addiction.
Two Greek researchers, Konstantinos Farsalinos and Konstantinos Poulas, set out to oppose these remarks, deploring the “confusing message” presented to smokers. According to these two researchers, less harmful products like e-cigarettes should be supported, not demonized. They say that “risk reduction” is essential in the fight against tobacco addiction.
An alternative to tobacco that should be encouraged
Every year, tobacco causes over 700,000 deaths in the European Union. The e-cigarette is both a healthier alternative to smoking and can also be used as a means of quitting smoking altogether. In their letter, the two Greek researchers mentioned numerous studies demonstrating the e-cigarette’s effectiveness as a tobacco alternative.
However, Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European health commissioner, is fiercely opposed to vaping. In 2018, he confirmed on Euractiv that vaping “was not a way to stop smoking.” Instead, he advocated methods that can be found in pharmacies, despite the fact that numerous studies have proven their ineffectiveness.
Comparing e-cigarettes to “poison” suggest a total lack of knowledge about the subject. For Germany’s Electronic Cigarette Commerce Association, such a declaration is “very worrying.” Although vaping is much less dangerous than smoking, it still has a long way to go before being fairly judged by the European Commission.