The recently published Eurobarometer report on “Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes” should be another wake up call to policymakers.
The Eurobarometer is a series of public opinion surveys regularly published by the EU Commission. The latest edition of the survey on e-cigarettes and tobacco shows more people are using vaping to quit smoking, especially with the use of flavours.
Equating vaping with smoking, higher taxes or tougher regulation not only defy scientific evidence but also ignore the real-life experience of millions of vapers.
Vaping is an important tool in the quest to quit smoking
The great majority of respondents used electronic cigarettes to quit smoking (57%) or because they believed that vaping is less harmful than smoking (37%). Compared to 2017, more smokers said they are aware of the benefits of vaping and electronic cigarettes. Crucially, more people than three years ago were successful in fully quitting smoking or reducing smoking because of vaping. 31% were able to quit due to the use of e-cigarettes and another 27% reduced smoking, double the numbers from three years ago.
Vaping is not a gateway to smoking
The Eurobarometer also shows that among all current smokers almost all (87%) started with cigarettes while only 2% tried vaping before they started smoking, far from the “epidemic” that many claim is currently ongoing with vaping. Over 98% of people did not use a vape in their lifetime.
Yet another clear quantitative proof that vaping is not a door towards smoking is revealed to us in this Eurobarometer, adding to the countless scientific studies and other surveys that show the exact same thing.
With one of our partners, the Consumer Choice Center, we brought together current research which shows that vaping is a gateway out of smoking and not vice-versa.
Flavours help smokers to quit
Flavours is another topic of debate amongst policymakers and anti-vaping groups. What they seem to constantly ignore is that most former smokers are able to stay off cigarettes by vaping flavours that do not remind them of the taste of tobacco. As a former smoker and current vapers, I can wholeheartedly confirm this – I don’t even remember the last time I tried tobacco flavours. Banning flavours will ruin the experience and send many back to smoking. What we need is choice and variety!
Facts before impacts
I think it is time to stop the scaremongering and get back to the facts. Vaping does what countless lawmakers, tobacco control and public health groups failed to do: it helps current smokers to quit. This should be our common goal and vaping clearly plays a key role in this.
The points above reinforce what we have been telling the EU lawmakers for a while: we need to include vaping in the EU Beating Cancer plan because it clearly works. After the launch of the plan, the European Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said that the regulation of vaping will be based on science and research.
This is a perfect moment to take into account the research done in fact on behalf of the Commission through this survey.
And while the lawmakers mull over these new facts, read our take on the Cancer Plan proposal, and also see what you can do to ensure that together we can #BackVapingBeatCancer