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In the last few weeks, the main online sites are reporting the extraordinary news that the Italian Government is about to present a law tailor made for Philip Morris.
The long standing saga concerning the pros and cons of the electronic cigarettes has now reached absurd proportions.
It is now universally known that the electronic cigarettes are not as harmful as traditional cigarettes, as it is equally common knowledge that the war waged by the Italian Government against the electronic cigarettes is to safeguard the tax on conventional cigarettes.
Obviously the Italian Government has tried, and it’s still trying, to destroy the ecig market in favour of the traditional cigarettes which generate millions of Euro in tax every month. When it became clear that by switching to the ecigs people gradually stopped smoking regular cigarettes, and therefore paying less taxes, the Italian Government started reacting. Injunctions without any scientific proofs, enforcement of irrational tax regulations, newspaper articles that spread unfounded general alarm.
All this up to recently, but now, suddenly, things have changed. Not for everyone, though.
Daily newspapers are now releasing positive reports regarding a mysterious electronic cigarette described “of a new generation”. A cigarette identical to the “normal” cigarettes, that heats up the tobacco and emits nicotine. Where is “the new generation”? To understand the unexpected u turn of the Italian politics and press it’s sufficient to say that the new ecigarette is produced by Philip Morris. The name Philip Morris has been crucial in changing the previous views towards electronic smoking, which now seems suddenly (but only the Philip Morris brand, of course!) be given priority, unaffected by bans and disproportional taxes.
The Sole24Ore reports:” The new generation of ecigarettes, that is the one containing tobacco, will most likely be used in public places such as bars and restaurants and will be freely advertised. This is what is declared in article 1 of the draft of the legislative decree on tobacco taxation, now being studied by the ministry of Economy according to which, the new electronic cigarette is to be considered a “product for inhalation” and not a “product for smoking” in spite of containing tobacco”.
Let us be clear: only Philip Morris brand ecigarettes will be classified as products “for inhalation”, all other electronic cigarettes will remain products “for smoking”, against any logics and common sense, as stated by a previous decree.
The electronic cigarettes are not classified as a conventional smoking method and, therefore, are not subject to the current tobacco regulations. This has been established by the Paris Supreme Court rejecting the motion presented by the National Confederation of French Tobacconist (CNBF) on behalf of two tobacconists who tried to obstruct a e-cigarette brand. In their motion they requested the ban on publicity and, above all, the sale of the e-cigarettes through outlets in the proximity of their shops in Caen and Paris.
France make a stand to the contradictory requests of the tobacconists in trying to exclusively protect their economic interests, by hindering the development of a fundamental product against addiction to tobacco. The motion, instigated by the powerful tobacco lobby, has put at risk thousands of jobs created in the research, production, development and sale of the e-cigarettes.
The Supreme court has clarified some fundamental points. Firstly that the e-cigarette is not subject to customs duties as applied to tobacco products. Secondly, the Court has embraced the findings of the French Office Fight Against Smoking, which state that “ no European country has classified the e-cigarette as a derivative of tobacco”
The economic gain in this dispute is considerable. According to a report by OFDT (Observatoire Francais des Drogues et des Toxicomanies) in 2013, there were 1 million smokers of e-cigarettes in France, generating an income of about 100million euros, with a 15% monthly increase.
The most important advantage linked to the commercial expansion of the e-cigarette is the decrease in the number of heavy smokers who have either quitted smoking or cut down on conventional cigarettes, drastically reducing the risk of illnesses directly linked to smoking, saving the national health substantial sums of money
Health experts in Britain are urging the World Health Organisation not to ‘control and suppress’ e-cigarettes. This article, which appeared in the daily newspaper Metro, declares that more than 50 researchers and public health specialists have sent a letter to the organisation claiming the devices could save millions of lives.
According to the researchers and experts the electronic cigarettes should not be subject to regulations similar to those imposed on conventional cigarettes. The move came as the WHO prepares to publish global guidelines on the devices.
In the letter sent by the English researchers and experts it says that this product could be among the most significant health innovations of the 21st century, as it could save hundreds of millions of lives.
The letter’s signatories include Prof Robert West, a health expert at University College London, and advisers to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Recent research by Prof West said e-cigarettes can improve the success rate for people trying to quit smoking by 60 per cent compared to other type of aids available such as nicotine patches or gum.
Extract of a long interview made by “E-Cigarette Forum” in which dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos talks about ecigs.
“If you’re expressing your opinion about e-cigarettes in public, you should know what you’re talking about…”
Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos is a Greek cardiovascular specialist who in recent years has become increasingly high-profile internationally on account of his groundbreaking clinical research into e-cigarettes and the effects of their use.
He spoke to ECF as he embarked on a study into the ingredients of e-liquids that was made possible through crowdfunding by vapers and e-cigarette companies.
We talked to him about his work, the future of vaping and how not all the reputed experts are telling the truth.
(…) A large number of people in the medical field seem to have taken an automatic stance against e-cigarettes. Does it feel like you and your team are treading a lonely path?
Last year, I felt quite lonely. There were just a handful of us conducting e-cigarette research and we were probably considered crazy by most of the others in our field. But we are growing; e-cigarettes get more backing every day. In the last few months we’ve had more and more people from the scientific and medical fields support us
Why are those people coming around now?
There’s still not enough data from research yet, but there is far more than what was available in previous years. During that time the public has really taken to e-cigarettes too, despite the negative publicity. I think these factors have convinced people to look closer.
I believe most of the people expressing negative opinion about e-cigarettes don’t really have any deep knowledge about the products. If you’re expressing your opinion about e-cigarettes in public you should know what you’re talking about, because the things we say as scientists influence a lot of people.
I know a lot of smokers who were put off right at the point of trying an e-cigarette. Even worse, I’ve seen a lot of vapers go back to smoking after hearing scientists discuss the potential hazards of e-cigarettes – the problem is that they often forget to mention the dangers of smoking.
(…) It’s important to be clear that we’re not saying e-cigarettes are a good thing overall. They’re a good thing for a smoker, they’re not a good thing for everyone else. I wouldn’t suggest non-smokers take up vaping. But for smokers, considering the devastating effects of tobacco, there is no comparison. It’s a complete revolution in tobacco harm reduction. Although the ideal thing would be for vaping to be just a bridge to quitting smoking, where at the end you stop vaping too. The biggest difference between smoking and vaping is that tobacco cigarettes were made to turn non-smokers into smokers. Since the beginning, e-cigarettes have been marketed for smokers to become vapers, not for non-smokers to become vapers. E-cigarette companies don’t need to target youngsters or non-smokers and that’s the big difference that Tobacco Control refuses to accept.
Yet the press often runs stories about children vaping, or how vaping is considered cool amongst their peers, just like smoking. Is there any truth in that?
We have data from the USA and the UK on this, but the headlines don’t match the results once you look at them properly – the best example being the latest CDC study. Some very vocal people at the CDC are making out that we are witnessing a new nicotine epidemic from e-cigarettes. But they weren’t asking these young people if they were regular users. The results were based on the question ‘have you tried an e-cigarette in the last 30 days?’ According to the CDC you’re a user if you’ve had even one puff in the last 30 days. Yet if you took the number of young people who were not smokers but had tried an e-cigarette over the last 30 days, the number was just 0.5%. They presented that result as a problem, which it is not. According to common sense, 0.5% is almost non-existent. Others have exaggerated the results even more. I won’t name anyone simply because I don’t want to give them the oxygen of publicity, but there are professors of medicine in the United States whose statements on this make them look ridiculous. Unfortunately they’re using the official websites of universities to do it, so they’re ridiculing the universities too. It’s something I just can’t understand, I would never disgrace myself in that way. You only need to check the numbers to see that the public statements they make after these studies are nonsense.
(…) I’ve done two studies on nicotine absorption from e-cigarettes, including the only study that used a third generation device at 9w with a clearomizer. Although we used experienced vapers, the levels of absorption were around one third of that from tobacco – you’d need to vape for 35 minutes to get plasma nicotine levels similar to smoking one tobacco cigarette in five minutes. This shows that e-cigarettes are inefficient at providing nicotine at the same level, especially at the same speed, as tobacco cigarettes.
(…) The latest studies show that nicotine needs some other chemicals present in tobacco to be really addictive. It’s not as addictive on its own as we thought. I’m not saying that it’s not addictive at all of course, but it seems that other alkaloids largely potentiate the addictive properties of nicotine. These are not present in e-cigarettes. I doubt that a non-smoker could be addicted to e-cigarettes. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I think it’s very difficult.
(you can read the full interview here)
“The vapour emitted from the e-cigarettes is not dangerous”. This was published by the “Inhalation toxicology” magazine, based on a research made by the “Consulting for Health, Air, Nature and Green Environment” the Center for Air Resources Science and Engineering Clarkson University U.S.A.
According to the American researchers, the vapour emitted by the electronic cigarettes it is not harmful to people and doesn’t alter the quality of the air if smoked in a closed environment. Therefore the electronic cigarette doesn’t cause passive smoking.
Michael Siegel, researcher of the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, with a 25 year experience in this field, declares that with the electronic cigarettes the problem of passive smoking doesn’t arise.
Based on this eminent findings, Ovale, world leader company for the projection, production and distribution of electronic cigarettes, believes that the banning of electronic smoking, which discriminates the ecigarette, it’s absolutely unfair. Passive smoking is not an issue, as the electronic cigarette only emits steam.
Seven years ago Ovale Europe, which is based in Desenzano del Garda, was the first company in Italy and in Europe to invest in the creation of the electronic cigarette.
With over one million Ovale smokers and more than 400 shops opened in the last year creating well over 1500 jobs, Ovale is considered the Italian and European leader in this field.