E-cigarettes: misconception of vaping dangers in the UK

Research from King’s College London, UK, finds smokers and ex-smokers overestimate the vaping dangers of e-cigarettes.

The Cancer Research UK-funded study assessed the knowledge about nicotine, perceptions of the relative harms of smoking, and vaping dangers, e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). With fewer than 6 out of 10 accurately believing that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.

Dr Leonie Brose, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, and lead researcher said: “Tobacco cigarettes kill over half of those who smoke long-term, yet very few people know that nicotine is not the direct cause of smoking-related death and disease.”

“We found those people who think nicotine is to blame for harms from smoking are more likely to think e-cigarettes and NRT are just as bad as smoking.”

Source: E-cigarettes: misconception of vaping dangers in the UK

Turkey and e-cigarettes

In a public statement made at the Turkish Grand National Assembly Commission on Planning and Budget, Minister of Finance Naci Ağbal stated that plans to allow the importation and production of heat-not-burn tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems  in Turkey were withdrawn. He confirmed that these products would not be sold or produced in the country.

The announcement followed a press conference and strong public reaction to the threats posed by the tobacco industry’s proposals to begin importing and producing heat-not-burn and ENDS products in the country. The press conference, held in Ankara, Turkey, saw WHO and prominent academics and health specialists jointly voicing their condemnation of the tobacco industry’s proposed new strategy.

To read more about this announcement and the reasons behind it on the WHO Europe website to go:  http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/tobacco/news/news/2017/10/turkey-withdraws-plans-to-loosen-tobacco-control-laws

25% of Europeans still smoke

A recent survey shows no decrease in the overall smoking rate in the EU since 2014, with more than one in four Europeans still smoking. Amongst people aged 15 to 24 the rate has increased from 25% in 2014 to 29% in 2017.

Significant differences exist between EU countries, with the highest smoking rates in Greece (37%), Bulgaria, France (both 36%) and Croatia (35%). At 7%, Sweden has the lowest smoking rate in the EU. Regular e-cigarette use remains stable at 2%, with 15% having tried such products at some point. With regard to attitudes to tobacco and e-cigarette control measures, the majority of those surveyed (63%) think e-cigarette use should be banned in places where there are smoking bans; and 46% are in favour of plain packaging for cigarettes.

To read the full Eurobarometer on attitudes of Europeans to smoking and e-cigarettes on the ec.europa.eu website

Ex smokers are unstoppable

The European Commission’s 3-year initiative ‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable’ has now finished but it proved enormously successful with one in three of the 480,000 registered users stopping smoking after three months.

The centre-piece of the programme was the iCoach, a digital health coach which was free and available both online and as a mobile app for Apple and Android devices in 23 languages.

It guided users through five progressive phases to quit smoking but also incorporated several personal, phase-specific challenges e.g.

  • Keep track of how many cigarettes you smoke a day as you may be underestimating your habit
  • Postpone the “nicest” cigarette of the day 10 times for 10 minutes and then for 20 minutes
  • Leave your cigarettes at home when you need to run a short errand

These challenges enabled users to set themselves small, attainable goals which once achieved, encouraged them to take on further challenges and gain control over their habit.

To read more about ‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable‘ on the ec.europa.eu website

E-cigarettes harmful to health

Refillable electronic e-cigarettes, and the potential exposure to e-liquids containing nicotine, may pose risks to public health, according to a report recently adopted by the European Commission.

The report included input from an external study that analysed physical samples, scientific literature and data from poison centres in eight EU countries. The study also surveyed the e-cigarette industry on their perception of the risks.

The report found four main risks with refillable e-cigarettes:

  • poisoning from ingesting e-liquids containing nicotine (especially for young children);
  • skin reactions related to dermal contact with e-liquids containing nicotine and other skin irritants;
  • risks associated with home blending
  • risks due to using untested combinations of e-liquid and device or hardware customisation.

The report concludes that although the measures for refillable e-cigarettes set out in the Tobacco Products Directive and secondary legislation, combined with national regulation, provide an adequate and proportionate framework for mitigating health risks, further study of these products is needed.

To read the full report on the risks of electronic cigarettes on the eur-lex.europa.eu website


10 key changes for tobacco products sold in the EU

As a result of EU legislation, there are 10 changes to the way tobacco products can be sold in Europe:

  • Graphic pictorial health warnings will cover 65% of the packaging
  • Ban on cigarettes and roll-your-own with characterising flavours such as menthol that mask the taste and smell of tobacco
  • Labelling will now include the fact that ‘tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer’
  • No promotional or misleading packages and no packs of less than 10 cigarettes
  • Mandatory electronic reporting on ingredients by manufacturers and importers
  • Safety and quality requirements for e-cigarettes
  • Packaging and labelling rules for e-cigarettes
  • Monitoring and reporting of developments related to e-cigarettes
  • EU countries may ban cross-border sales
  • Measures to combat illicit trade

For more information about these 10 changes in tobacco trade on the europa.eu website

E-cigarettes and secondary school children

There has been a rapid rise in the retail availability of e-cigarettes in the UK and this study looks at the relationship between e-cigarette point-of-sale displays and e-cigarette use in young people.

A cross sectional survey was conducted in four high schools in Scotland and a response rate of 87 % and a total sample of 3808 was achieved. The survey found that adolescents who recalled seeing e-cigarettes in small shops or supermarkets were more likely to have tried an e-cigarette or intended to try them in the next six months.

To read all the details of this e-cigarette survey on the bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com website

Vaping suppresses the immune system

The annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington was presented with evidence that vaping suppresses 6 times as many immune genes as smoking. After comparing genetic information swabbed from the noses of smokers, vapers, and non-users of both, researchers found that while smoking suppresses the activity of 53 genes involved in the immune system, vaping suppresses those and another 305.

Though research on the significance of that gene suppression is still ongoing, the initial results suggest that e-cig users may have compromised immune responses, making them potentially more vulnerable to infections and diseases.

To read more about the research findings on the arstechnica website.

Smoking in cars banned in England and Wales

It is now illegal to smoke in cars and other vehicles if someone under the age of 18 is present. It is also illegal for a driver to not stop someone else smoking in these circumstances and the fine for either offence is £50.

This new law applies to any private vehicle enclosed by a roof, even if the window is open, the air conditioning is on, or the smoker is sitting in the open doorway of the vehicle (presumably when it is stationary!).

The laws don’t apply to e-cigarettes or convertible cars that have the roof completely down.

For more information, click here on www.gov.uk

Tobacco Policy in a Changing World: Plain packaging and e-cigarettes

February 2015. This seminar  brought together policy-makers and practitioners for a stimulating and informative overview of the situation in Europe and the UK with regard to tobacco use and legislation. Our speakers – Hazel Cheeseman from ASH and Kate Knight from SmokeFree South West – are experts in both the rise of e-cigarettes and the legal battles being waged by the tobacco industry against plain packaging.

The programme gives an outline of the seminar and brief biographies of the speakers, while the full presentation covers this subject in fascinating detail.