For immediate release June 16, 2014

Boston, MA Most Europeans who have tried electronic cigarettes (e cigarettes) are young, current smokers, or those who recently tried quitting regular cigarettes, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Nearly 30 million Europeans have tried the battery operated cigarettes, in spite of the fact that not much is known about their potential risks to health or whether they help smokers trying to quit.

The study will appear online on June 16, 2014 in Tobacco Control. It is the largest study to date on e cigarette use in the European Union.

As e cigarettes represent an emerging market in which the tobacco industry has extensively invested, it is imperative to identify the population subgroups that are more likely to use them and the subsequent implications this might have on public health, said Constantine Vardavas, senior research scientist at HSPH s Center for Global Tobacco Control (CGTC), in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. These new findings show that millions including many young people and smokers trying to quit are trying e cigarettes, which underscores the importance of assessing their potential harm or benefits.

Among smokers, e cigarette use was more likely among 15 24 year olds in comparison with older smokers, and among heavier smokers (6 10 or more cigarettes per day) in comparison with light smokers (5 or fewer cigarettes per day). Notably, the study also indicated that smokers may be experimenting with e cigarettes as smoking cessation devices, as those who tried to quit in the past year were twice as likely to have ever used e cigarettes as smokers who had not tried to quit.

E cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine and to mimic the sensory perception of smoking without combustion. But their use is controversial Some think e cigarettes could be a useful tool in helping people to stop smoking, while others think that those who vape e cigarettes and thus continue to be addicted to nicotine might move on to either smoking regular cigarettes or using e cigarettes in conjunction with conventional tobacco. There is also concern about potential toxins in e cigarette fluid or vapor and the short term health effects.

Researchers analyzed data from a 2012 Eurobarometer survey about Europeans attitudes towards tobacco including 26,566 youth and adults from 27 European countries to determine the prevalence of e cigarette use in Europe and who is most likely to use them. They found that one in five current smokers (20.3%), one in 20 ex smokers (4.4%), and one in 100 (1.1%) of those who have never smoked have tried e cigarettes at least once. Extrapolating the data, the authors estimate that in 2012, over 29 million European adults had tried e cigarettes a staggering number, especially taking into account that this was before the significant boom of the industry.

The study s results show potentially both sides of the coin in the miracle vs. menace debate over e cigarettes, said Vardavas. On one side, switching to e cigarettes has been discussed as a harm reduction strategy on the other, the renormalization of smoking or vaping in this context and maintained nicotine addiction at a population level may significantly hinder tobacco endgame efforts, he said.

Vardavas said more research is needed to determine e cigarettes impact on individual and population health, on nicotine addiction, and on quitting smoking all of which could help inform government regulatory standards regarding the manufacturing and marketing of the products.

Other HSPH authors include Israel Agaku and Filippos Filippidis, who both worked on the study while at the CGTC.

Determinants and prevalence of e cigarette use throughout the European Union a secondary analysis of 26 566 youth and adults from 27 Countries, Constantine I. Vardavas, Filippos Filippidis, Israel T. Agaku, Tobacco Control, doi 10.1136/tobaccocontrol 2013 051394, online June 16, 2014

For more information
Marge Dwyer
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Harvard School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people s lives not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at HSPH teach 1,000 plus full time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America s oldest professional training program in public health.

European commission – olaf – cigarette smuggling

Cigarettes online Blog Archive Marlboro gold regular cigarettes – cigarettes

Smuggling of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes results in loss of customs duties and VAT and excise duties for national governments.

The OLAF Cigarettes Task Group investigates and coordinates criminal cases relating to large scale, international cigarette smuggling.

Both genuine and counterfeit cigarettes are smuggled into the EU in shipping containers, by road, air or parcel post.

What is OLAF’s role?

OLAF works in close cooperation with national law enforcement agencies and customs services both inside and outside the EU to prevent, detect, investigate and collect evidence so that evaded duties can be recovered and perpetrators prosecuted.

Agreements with tobacco manufacturers

To address the problem of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes, OLAF has signed legally binding and enforceable agreements with the world’s 4 largest tobacco manufacturers, in which they agree

  • to pay a collective total of $2.15 billion to the EU and countries participating in the agreement
  • to prevent their products from falling into the hands of criminals by
    • supplying only those quantities required by the legitimate market
    • taking care that they sell to legitimate clients only
    • implementing a tracking system to help law enforcement authorities if cigarettes are traded illegally.

Philip Morris International (2004)

Japan Tobacco (2007)

British American Tobacco (BAT) (2010)

Imperial Tobacco Limited (ITL) (2010)

OLAF is also representing the EU in negotiations on the proposed World Health Organization Protocol to eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products. Negotiations are expected to continue until December 2012.

New documents

Speaking points of Commissioner emeta on Tobacco AgreementsAll available translations. (CONT Committee 7.10.2014).

Other counterfeit goods

When the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF) recently changed its organisation and working methods, it was decided that OLAF’s activities should be extended to cover investigations on fraudrelated to Intellectual Property Rights. OLAF has long been investigating the illegal trade in counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco products but its scope will from now also include other counterfeit goods that enter the EU through its external borders.