Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association

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Email : support@ecita.org.uk

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ECITA comment on ASH statement "New EU rules on nicotine strength not a problem for most vapers"

16, May, 2016

ECITA were very disappointed to read that the anti-smoking charity ASH have ignored much of the data on nicotine use.

They state that "Only 9% of vapers report using e-liquid containing 19mg/ml or more of nicotine"

However this fails to take into account both the absolute number (that is nearly quarter of a million vapers in the UK) and the huge number of people who only made the switch away from smoking due to higher nicotine products. Many of those who successfully transition start with higher strengths, and reduce their nicotine strength over time, often in combination with using e-cigs which deliver nicotine more effectively.

The level set in the Tobacco Products Directive seems likely to reduce the number of people who successfully make the transition to vaping. Since dual users have significantly lower health benefits than those who stop inhaling smoke, this is clearly not something that the vaping industry, or ASH, would want. It seems odd, therefore, to find them defending it.

As far as the vaping industry is concerned, the TPD is the law and we must abide by it. However, it contains a number of arbitrary restrictions, such as the 20mg/ml limit on nicotine level, which hinder our ability to compete with nicotine delivered through smoke, and this risks reducing the public health benefits that vaping could deliver.

Earl Cathcart spoke for many existing vapers when he spoke in a debate in the House of Lords about the TPD and said:

“I hope that when I run out of my 2.4% nicotine supply and I am forced to use the weaker nicotine, I do not switch back to smoking. That is the danger for many e-cigarette users. Perhaps by the time I run out of my 2.4% nicotine supply, stronger nicotine may be available on the black market, with all the dangers that that will entail.”

When a converted smoker can stand up in the House of Lords, and express a hope that higher strength products will be available on the black market, it is a strong indication that this is a far from perfect regulation, and one that charities, wanting to reduce smoking rates, should be less quick to embrace.

Chief Scientific Officer of ECITA, Tom Pruen, said:

“Nicotine in electronic cigarettes poses little risk, with the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency describing it as “a very safe drug”, and it is implausible to suggest that an overdose could be achieved through vaping.“

“As a long term vaper who uses 2.4% nicotine myself, it is somewhat galling to be dismissed as a member of an unimportant minority. The industry is concerned that the limit set in the TPD may disadvantage some users, and it is a shame this concern is not more widely shared.”