The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates report back on its EU Nicotine Users Survey where it amassed an incredible 35,000 responses.
European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) has published a report on its huge EU Nicotine Users Survey. The results – from more than 35,000 EU respondents – confirm that there is an unstoppable movement towards harm reduction in Europe and that harm reduction products help with quitting tobacco use.
What is the report for?
ETHRA launched the survey online in the last quarter of 2020. The questionnaire looked at the consumer use of nicotine products and examined smoking, the desire to quit, the use of safer nicotine products like electronic cigarettes and what barriers to switching were being caused by national and European rules and regulations.
Who responded to the survey?
A massive 37,000 people took part of which over 35,000 were EU and UK residents.
What did ETHRA find?
Many who are opposed to vaping, claim that it doesn’t work as a smoking quit tool. ETHRA discovered that over 27,000 of the respondents had completely stopped using tobacco since trying electronic cigarettes instead. This equated to a massive 83.5% of people who were now ex-smokers thanks to vaping.
Why did people switch?
93% of e-cigarette users said they wanted to reduce the harm they were exposed to by smoking, adding that they also wanted to feel healthier.
Respondents also stated that vaping is cheaper than smoking, they enjoyed having a range of flavoured e-liquids to choose from, they liked the variety of products they could buy, and that being able to adjust how and what they vaped enabled them to personalise the experience.
But what about those who haven’t stopped smoking?
67% of smokers who responded to the survey said that they would love to stop smoking but they struggled to access reduced harm products.
Some countries have banned products like snus despite it working so well to reduce smoking rates in Sweden. Thanks to some countries adopting silly taxes on vape products, a quarter of smokers replying said that the price of things like e-liquid was a barrier to switching – with that number rising to almost 50% of respondents from high-tax countries such as Finland and Portugal.
ETHRA says: “The TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) restrictions of a maximum nicotine concentration of 20mg/ml and a maximum bottle volume of 10ml have led to a shift in consumer behaviour, where vapers have moved to use very low nicotine e-liquids. More than 30% of people who vape and smoke (‘dual users’) believed they could completely quit smoking if the EU nicotine limit was increased.”
What does ETHRA recommend?
ETHRA concluded: “In light of the results from the EU Nicotine Users Survey 2020, ETHRA recommends the lifting of the EU ban on the sale of snus, revising upwards the 10ml refill bottle and 20mg/ml nicotine concentration limits, and the publication of databases on vaping products.
“The repeal of vaping taxes in 12 countries and the lifting of flavour bans in Estonia, Finland and Hungary are also necessary to allow European smokers to have the freedom to quit smoking using low-risk products.”
Does this apply to the UK?
UK citizens took part in the survey as we had not left the Union, but now we are drafting our own vape legislation. Currently, the government has said it is looking at legalising snus and it seems as though restrictions on bottle size and tank capacity may be relaxed. It has said it has no plans to place an additional tax on e-liquid although it probably won’t increase the maximum nicotine concentration over 20mg/ml.