ERS President Francesco Blasi will take part in a European Parliament Workshop focusing on electronic cigarettes. The Workshop is organized by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee as part of ongoing discussions on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) are designed to deliver nicotine to the respiratory system. There has been a significant increase in EU distribution & sales of these products since their arrival on the market.

The scientific evidence on the potential benefits and/or risks of these products is inconclusive. In particular, the long terms effects are unknown. More evidence is needed on the positive or negative effects of these products. Until we know more we should act with caution. We support the Board of Science and the Occupational Medicine Committee of the British Medical Association who state

while ENDS “have the potential to reduce tobacco related harm (by helping smokers to cut down and quit), a strong regulatory framework is required for the sale and use of e cigarettes to

  • ensure they are safe, quality assured and effective at helping smokers to cut down or quit,
  • restrict their marketing, sale and promotion so that it is only targeted at smokers as a way of cutting down and quitting, and does not appeal to non smokers, in particular children and young people,
  • prohibit their use in workplaces and public places to limit second hand exposure to the vapour exhaled by the user, and to ensure their use does not undermine smoking prevention and cessation by reinforcing the normalcy of cigarette use”.

Member States should recall Article 14 guidelines of the UN WHO Treaty which state that countries should prioritise cessation (quit) treatments “strongly based on scientific evidence”. Any regulation of ENDS should be science based. It is important that we have independent EU supported research into these products. This should include medium and long term independent clinical trials, behavioural studies and individual/population post marketing studies.

A report of the meeting is available here.

Judge rejects european suit on cigarettes – new york times

The truth about the safety of e-cigarettes

A federal judge in Brooklyn yesterday dismissed an unusual lawsuit by European countries against American tobacco companies that had asserted that the companies used fraud and money laundering to smuggle American cigarettes into their countries.

The filing of the case in federal court more than a year ago drew international attention because of accusations by the European Community that its members lose billions of dollars in tax revenues because American cigarette makers use narcotics traffickers and money launderers to help transport and sell contraband cigarettes.

The companies that were sued, Philip Morris and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, denied those assertions in the racketeering suit.

In his ruling yesterday, the judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis of United States District Court, did not make any findings on the smuggling contentions. Instead, he dismissed the suits, citing a rule with roots in the 18th century that says courts of one country will not enforce tax claims of another country.