On June 9, 2017, the Royal Decree was approved in the Council of Ministers of Spain, which regulates, among other things, the transposition of the European Law (TPD) on electronic cigarettes, which in a few months will stop sell atomizers of more than 2 ml capacity and e-liquid containers of more than 10 ml capacity in Spain.
Now, the Government of Spain has prepared a new Bill, which, if passed in Parliament, will prohibit the on-line sale of e-liquids, vaping devices and all its accessories.
From VapVip we would like to thank the allegations of the different Associations and the help of International Associations to avoid that this law in Spain is approved
We congratulate all of them for the correctness in their arguments and for the contribution of scientific studies.
These are the allegations of the Associations to the Draft SANITARY MEASURES ACT AND THE PROHIBITION OF THE ON-LINE SALES OF ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES AND ACCESSORIES OF VAPEO that is to be approved this year 2017:
Sorry for the translation by Google translator:
TO THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH, SOCIAL SERVICES AND EQUALITY
THE SPANISH ASSOCIATION OF USERS OF PERSONAL VAPORIZERS, ANESVAP. With CIF G66203639 and with address for effect of notifications in C / LUIS DE SALAZAR No. 9 2º H (28002) Madrid, and in his name as legal representative and president of the same Ms. ÁNGELES MUNTADAS-PRIM LAFITA, before that Ministry I appear and as Best proceed in law SIGN:
FIRST. - That ANESVAP is a non-profit association of national character whose object is the defense and protection of the free use of personal vaporizers, badly called electronic cigarettes, and the defense of the interests of its users called vapeadores. As well as the divulgation of the scientific results that prove that these devices represent the greatest current tool for the reduction of damage derived from smoking.
SECOND. - That showing the status of interested and having been aware of the processing of the draft bill that is processed in that Ministry of Health, which amends Law 28/2005 of December 26, on health measures against smoking and regulatory Of the sale, supply, consumption and advertising of tobacco products, by means of this letter, we have made the necessary contributions to said draft bill in accordance with the following
FIRST. - As stated above, our association has among its aims the protection and support of people who have been using their personal vaporizers for more than ten years as an effective remedy to overcome the diseases they suffered as a result of smoking, having received Different types of health treatments to overcome their addiction, and diseases derived from it, which simply failed.
However, they found in personal vaporizers an alternative that dramatically improved their health and quality of life, as day-to-day experience of our associates and sympathizers proves, just as science has shown that the use of personal vaporizers is between a 95 % And 99% more secure than tobacco. All this has been possible thanks to the development of an entire virtual community at an international level that has brought users of personal vaporizers in contact with each other and with the developers and marketers of liquids and devices, generating an intricate community of people who Through their knowledge and experience have given rise to the latest generation devices, which are assuming a real revolution. The new devices are allowing to reduce the consumption of nicotine to its minimal expression, as well as showing cessation rates never before registered, reason for which we consider enormously injurious for our present and potential associates part of the present articulation of the draft bill in relation to the Modification of Article 10.
Article 10a. Limitations on the sale and supply of devices capable of releasing nicotine and recharging containers.
2. Only the sale of devices capable of releasing nicotine and recharging containers can be carried out at specialized retail outlets and stores. In any case, it is prohibited to sell at a distance or through the services of the information society.
Our association strongly opposes the sale of personal vaporizers only through specialized physical stores or what the draft bill calls "dispensing" and prohibition of distance selling or through services of the company The information for the following reasons:
First, we consider the definition of the indeterminate legal concept "dispensed" to be unfortunate; As the Ministry knows, vaporizers are technological products of considerable sophistication, above all, the latest generation devices which have multiple moving parts and which, with due respect and in strict terms of defense, can not be " Dispatch "as a" quarter "of tobacco. We assume that this Ministry defines the so-called dispensers as establishments where tobacco or tobacconists are sold; Well, we argue that the sale of personal vaporizers favoring tobacconists, with its huge distribution network compared to the specialized stores, is a real nonsense. On the one hand, because the tobacconist's staff is completely lacking in training to advise the vapers about the devices and liquids they need to quit, which are achieved by both specialized stores and online stores that provide very Detailed and accurate to our associates and, on the other hand, because it is perverse that the sale of vaporizers is mostly available to people who base their business on tobacco, and whose objective should obviously be the end of personal vaporizers to increase the Number of smokers, so we maintain that such regulation is simply an absurd.
Second, there is clear discrimination against users away from large urban centers; As the Ministry undoubtedly knows, the number of specialized stores is completely non-existent in small urban centers and in areas with a low population density, so depriving our users of the acquisition of their liquids and devices through the Internet will imply forcing them to Having to travel hundreds of miles to specialized stores. Since most of our advanced, non-smoking long-term users access their personal vaporizers and their specific liquids through the internet, the present regulation provided in the preliminary draft will pose a risk to rural consumers that may lead them to fall into Smoking because there are no physical stores near their homes where their specific liquids and spares are available and their third and fourth generation devices, which are the ones that have really demonstrated a spectacular effectiveness in quitting smoking. ANESVAP also intends to look after its handicapped partners (who unfortunately are many) and who have begged us to fight especially at this point, since the lack of mobility would completely prevent them from accessing the devices that keep them away from tobacco.
Thirdly, we maintain that our association's commitment to public health and to the protection of minors is absolute, so if what concerns that Ministry is really the access of minors to personal vaporizers we are sure that this Ministry may impose the necessary measures so that the sector can articulate efficient systems of electronic signature for the verification of age that undoubtedly prove the age of the users, so it is not justified prohibition of online sales at the same time Which causes unprecedented damage to public health by favoring the relapse of thousands of users in smoking.
The prohibition of the online sale of specialized products, in addition to favoring the emergence of an immense black market out of control, born of the despair of users for not smoking again, introduces a huge comparative grievance with the markets of other countries of the world. Union that they should not suffer such a restriction of the market, reason why it is produced a clear discrimination of the Spanish vapeador with respect to the rest of the European vapeadores. Given that today's online sale is free throughout the Union, it is absolutely unacceptable that the standard creates an "ex lege" monopoly in the hands of "dispensers" or a few specialized stores for products that are of vital importance For the survival of the vapeadores, for all this, we do not doubt the goodwill of that Ministry and the enormous preoccupation that tobacco supposes for the same, reason why we assume that it will welcome our contributions.
SECOND. - We have requested to modify the articles of the project based on the contributions planned above with the following modifications:
1. Allow online sales and through information society services subject to programs, applications and / or computer age verification devices to ensure the sale of devices with nicotine content to users of legal age. Ensuring the freedom and full access of consumers to the devices and liquids they choose.
For all the above
SOLICITOUS. - Once this document has been submitted, it must be admitted, and after its timely processing, it has formulated the contributions made by this association to the preliminary draft law amending Act 28/2005 of December 26, on health measures against smoking And regulating the sale, supply, consumption and advertising of tobacco products.
By incorporating the amendments set out in the body of this letter, based on and strictly referring to each and every one of the allegations set out above, and after their timely processing, they are incorporated into the text of the future Bill for its processing before the Board of Directors. Ministers.
Ms ÁNGELES MUNTADAS-PRIM LAFITA, President of ANESVAP
In Madrid on June 20, 2017.
TO THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH, SOCIAL SERVICES AND EQUALITY
Before the PROPOSED DRAFT LAW AMENDING LAW 28/2005, OF DECEMBER 26, OF SANITARY MEASURES AGAINST THE TOBACCO AND REGULATORY OF THE SALE, SUPPLY, CONSUMPTION AND ADVERTISING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS presented by this Ministry , The International Organization MOVE (Medical Organization Supporting Vaping and Electronic Cigarettes), records the following contributions in the process of public hearing and information:
FIRST.- This draft law transposes part of the European Parliament's 2014/40 / EU Directive, which includes the classification of personal vaporizers as a product in special category and independent of tobacco.
This Organization considers it vitally important to respect such differentiation in the law, and to ensure that no legislative equalization with tobacco is carried out in view of the preservation of the demonstrated potential of public health benefit presented by these devices as a tool Of reduction and reversion of damages by smoking.
We argue above all that such transposition should be done in a way that minimizes public health damages by allowing all smokers to safely access quality and diversity of devices to stop smoking.
SECOND .- We read from the information available in the impact report of the preliminary draft that the technicians of your Ministry have drafted the text from a scientific perspective absolutely biased, without taking into account the hundreds of published scientific studies that demonstrate Again and again this potential of benefit to public health. The World Health Organization itself at its recent meeting of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has changed its stance on these devices from a negative view to a neutral and waiting.
After analyzing all available scientific evidence, the UK Public Health Agency (PHE) and The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) conclude that electronic cigarettes are between 95% and 99% less harmful to health than traditional cigarettes Of combustion
The leading country in the fight against smoking worldwide, the UK, introduced the prescription of personal vaporizers in official smoking cessation services, whose cessation data reported this week at the Global Forum on Nicotine are Resulting spectacular.
In addition, these and other studies support that personal vaporizers help smokers quit smoking, and are contributing to the drop in smoking rates among adults and young people. On the other hand, the mere fact that the UK smoking rate has dropped from 20.2% in 2010 to 15.8% in 2016, the lowest in its history, stresses that there is no evidence that personal vaporizers are functioning as a door Of smoking, neither in children, nor in non-smokers since, if so, smoking would have increased in this country.
But not only is UK taking this position; Institutions such as the Curie Institute in Paris, the National Academy of Medicine in France, the Canadian Institutes of Health, as well as several leading governments in the fight against smoking, such as the French, collaborate openly and are developing policies in line.
All these scientific references from institutions with enormous international prestige have been systematically ignored and silenced by the technicians of their Ministry and, given these facts, we can only DEMAND OUR RULERS AND INSTITUTIONS, THAT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS LAW IS ALWAYS PERFORMED IN BASED ON THE TOTALITY OF THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE AND NOT ONLY ON THE BASIS OF A SESSION AND INTERESTED VISION OF THE SAME.
THIRD.- In Chapter III bis, this project regulates personal vaporizers or so-called "devices capable of releasing nicotine", giving them an equitable treatment of tobacco in terms of distance sales, WITHOUT ANY KIND OF MEDICAL OR SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT GOVERNING SUCH RESTRICTIONS, OR SUCH EQUIPMENT. This Organization alleges that THE PROHIBITION OF THE ONLINE SALE OF THESE DEVICES WILL SUPPLY A MAZAZO NEFASTO TO PUBLIC HEALTH.
Tens of thousands of advanced users of personal vaporizers, long-term exhumers thanks to the use of third and fourth generation devices (only available in specialized stores, many of which are online), along with many other initiated users who do not have Physical stores nearby and formed thanks to the network advice of users and professionals of specialized stores, are the main audience of online sales.
By prohibiting this system of sale, and given the scarce distribution of specialized physical stores in the national geography, tens of thousands of blowers will have to travel hundreds of kilometers to access the few physical establishments that currently exist and will remain after the application of this law.
Without having the option of acquiring the advanced and efficient products that are used in any other way (watertight, in no way offer the efficiency, variety and professionalism of the independent and specialized sector), thousands of vapers that already presented a trajectory of years without Smoking, will fall into the tobacco, since in order to alleviate their need for nicotine they will only have to resort to the tobacconist they will find in any corner.
It is a total nonsense and total nonsense that it is much easier for the smoking population to access tobacco, which kills, than a product that distances it and has the potential to save lives.
This rule prohibits internet sales, based on their definition of devices capable of releasing nicotine (including any part thereof, eg the device without the atomizer, which is nothing more than a battery without access to e-liquid ), While smoking pipes can be purchased from well-known online retailers as long as they do not carry tobacco. The smoking population will be able to access any tobacconist within 2 minutes of their home to buy tobacco, but to access a personal vaporizer, 95% more secure, will in many cases have to change the Autonomous Community.
We can also ensure that, contrary to what is presupposed in the impact report of the preliminary draft, the ban on online sales will ipso facto provoke the emergence of a gigantic black market promoted by the need for many users to access vaporizers And liquids, while trying to avoid falling back into tobacco, and that can not guarantee the quality and safety of the product needed for thousands of people.
Obviously, of all Member States, practically none, let alone the leaders in tobacco control policies, have adopted such a measure to represent, we repeat, an absolute and total nonsense that also damages public health.
With efficient digital certificate and personal identification systems both at home and online, to ensure that only adults access the product, and have been applied efficiently in other sectors for years, there is no justification for applying such a disproportionate measure. The correct control, publicity and promotion of these products are already regulated by the TPD itself and, as is demonstrated in other countries, do not justify the prohibition of online sales.
The arguments about the health benefits of these devices, under normal conditions, do not come from the sector. Most come from the users themselves who are especially well informed and, above all, from the scientific community that has analyzed the real scientific evidence and proclaims it in the services of the information society. Therefore, since the right to freedom of information or freedom of expression of citizens can not be circumvented, this is hardly an argument to prohibit online sales.
Finally, and as explained above, it has already been demonstrated in a thousand different ways that there is no evidence that demonstrates the gateway to smoking in children and non-smokers; Therefore, there is no reason to use that argument in a legislative text to justify the ban on online sales. No more repeating a sentence, it becomes more certain. Science is more than exhaustive at this point and science is precisely what should guide policies; Not assumptions.
We conclude therefore that, this norm leaves in a precarious situation the social presence of the personal vaporizers with respect to the tobacco, favoring the access of the citizens to a lethal product, to the detriment of an alternative 95% less harmful and deeply affecting the Public health and, therefore, SHOULD BE MODIFIED AT THE POINT OF THE PROHIBITION OF DISTANCE SALES.
Let the present allegations be presented and considered and, without further ado, a cordial greeting.
Carmen Escrig Llavata,
MOVE International Coordinator
Medical Organization supporting Vaping and Electronic cigarettes
TO THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH, SOCIAL SERVICES AND EQUALITY
Alchemy For Vapers, it is an international online community of Spanish coordination with more than 8000 users of the personal vaporizer, born for the knowledge of these devices and directed to the correct formation of the new vapeadores in their process of abandonment of the tobacco. Given the preliminary draft law amending Act 28/2005 of December 26, on health measures against smoking and regulating the sale, supply, consumption and advertising of tobacco products, leave us no other Alternative to present our allegation.
Our community does not have any type of profit and has as its object the defense and protection of the free use of personal vaporizers, badly called electronic cigarettes, and the defense of the interests of the vapeadores, as well as the divulgation of the knowledge in the correct use And manipulation of e-liquids and devices in safety conditions, always based on an informed opinion on the scientific results that prove that these devices are the greatest tool for harm reduction by smoking ever created.
By means of the present writing we come to make the appropriate contributions to the said draft bill all according to the following point:
Limitations on the sale and supply of devices capable of releasing icotine and recharging containers:
Only the sale of devices capable of releasing nicotine and recharging containers can be sold at specialized retail outlets and stores. In any case, it is prohibited to sell at a distance or through the services of the information society.
- From our community we can not understand how a powerful harm reduction tool with cessation successes that, because of the data obtained in the associations survey, exceed 90%, is limited, while tobacco, with its huge distribution network Of tobacconists is still fully available to anyone within a second of their home.
-The prohibition of online sales, the percentage of which is the highest of the national sale due to the scarcity of physical stores, will result in the creation of a black market whose risks are too high and, therefore, no less precarious, To those who can not dispose of the product to meet their need through other means, tobacco being the fastest and most accessible in the entire national territory.
Being the biggest concern of minors, and considering that the theory of entry to smoking, as has been shown numerous times, is ridiculous (in any case as the vapors always look for sweet or fruity flavors, at most will be a risk for Pastry chefs or fruit bowls for running out of stock), we ask you to take into account that a black market is the first access to minors and, therefore, bad legislation will cause just what they want to avoid.
We urge the sector to create adult mailing services, either by means of a digital certificate or through the DNI request by the courier services, as it is already widely practiced in several sectors.
Through this writing, and praying that our authorities empathize with the citizens they represent, we hope and wish that our opinions, based on the broad experience of those for whom the personal vaporizer is much more than a toy for vicious, Are listened to and heard.
Alchemy for Vapers
June 20, 2017
Contributions on the PROPOSED DRAFT LAW AMENDING LAW 28/2005, OF DECEMBER 26, OF SANITARY MEASURES TOWARDS THE TOBACCO AND REGULATORY OF THE SALE, SUPPLY, CONSUMPTION AND ADVERTISING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS proposed by the Ministry of Health.
As representatives of the EFVI Spain platform attached to the EUROPEAN INITIATIVE FOR FREE VAPEO and the Spanish Association of users of Personal Vaporizers (ANESVAP), we address our leaders as the voice of hundreds of thousands of Spanish vapeadores, to defend the right that Have both smokers and smokers alike to access nicotine consumption alternatives that will keep them away from fuel smoking and reduce harm to their health.
As ex-smokers who have managed to quit smoking thanks to our vaporizers, recovering our health in a forceful way, we consider and acclaim that THE REDUCTION OF DAMAGE IS A HUMAN RIGHT and, based on the overwhelming scientific evidence about personal vaporizers, any attempt Over-regulatory, beyond the control of quality and safety by the authorities, which seeks to distance the harm reduction tools of the adult population, should be prevented.
Our platform is unpaid, non-funded and independent of any industry. As a vaper, this document is a sincere expression of our deep concern about the recent publication of the Proposed Bill proposed by its Ministry, which imposes a ban on online sales and, therefore, the access of tens of thousands of People to the devices that can save their lives.
The prohibition of online sales will mean for many of us the practice of not being able to access information and efficient, varied and quality products that until now have kept us away from tobacco.
Full and free access to increasingly efficient, varied and quality devices has been and is a fundamental reason for success in quitting. The vaporizers, have allowed us to change something that kills, in a way 95-99% safer to consume nicotine and, in fact, we all gradually reduce its dose at our pace, in many cases reach "0 mg", and Even stop completely vacating. The efficiency of this process is directly proportional to the efficiency and variety of the new advanced devices that are appearing in the market and to the possibility of accessing them.
Personal vaporizers have given millions of smokers a form of control over their own addiction, which they had never before had. The freedom to choose is what has made the difference for us; The possibility of taking our time, choosing our devices and atomizing systems, developing our taste preferences, decreasing nicotine concentrations at will. All this financed from our own pockets.
The great variety of vaporizers and liquids that have arisen from the development of the market, has allowed us to adapt its use to our tastes and needs. If their availability is limited, and the vapers have to travel hundreds of kilometers to access the few specialized establishments that will remain after entering the law in force, without having option to purchase the product online, will destroy the great benefit of these devices; Thousands of vapers will resume smoking. To eliminate the tobacco of the society is the interest of the public health and the vapers we are an example of how this can be obtained, as long as we are not put nonsensical nonsense and without justification.
Now, we face a future in which only the products offered by tobacconists, absolutely obsolete, inefficient and expensive, would be within reach of many of us. The poor distribution of specialized physical stores will make it impossible for users to access a variety of quality products, which will not be found in tobacconists (the business will do it for them) and, unfortunately, for many, the fastest route will be to buy tobacco and light a cigarette.
This document comes to you from smokers, ex-smokers and their families. We are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters; We have children and grandchildren. We have no personal interest, nobody pays us and no one coerces us; We just do not want to succumb to the list of the 7 million deaths a year that tobacco causes (which is available to everyone). We write them with our hearts in our hands, with nothing to hide. We are the Spanish and European vapers and we ask you to listen to us and recognize that we are the way for you to achieve your goals. With a little involvement of the authorities we are modifying the face of smoking around the world.
Please allow us to continue to do so as we have done so far; Through our communities, through conversations snatched in bars and cafés, through quick talks on the street with smokers who are interested in standing and ask about our devices. With the support of our families and friends who enjoy the health benefits due to the absence of smoke. Let us and smokers who are willing to try, regain control of their lives without unnecessary and costly intervention.
Do not take away our vaporizers; The excuse for the protection of minors (and smokers), which has been shown, does not represent a real risk, does not justify the sacrifice of millions of adult vapors, smokers and potential ex-smokers.
With the great hope that they meditate on the consequences of this law and change their motivation, receive a cordial greeting.
Alberto Juan Gibert Cabot
EFVI Spain Coordinator
PROPOSED DRAFT LAW AMENDING LAW 28/2005 OF 26 DECEMBER OF SANITARY MEASURES IN RESPECT OF THE TOBACCO AND REGULATORY OF THE SALE, SUPPLY, CONSUMPTION AND ADVERTISING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS
Allegations of the Union of Promoters and Employers of the Vapeo (UPEV) and the National Association of Electronic Cigarette (ANCE)
The Union of Promoters and Employers of the Vapeo (UPEV), and the National Association of Electronic Cigarette (ANCE), are the two main associations of manufacturers, distributors and importers and retailers of electronic cigarettes and recharge liquids of our country, and agglutinate in All the economic operators of the country. Due to the importance and clarity of the proposed norms proposed in the Draft Law submitted to public consultation by the Ministry of Health, both associations have decided to jointly submit allegations to said Draft Law.
About the electronic cigarette
Despite having become a social revolution in many countries, including in Spain for the more than 350,000 vapeadores of our country, there has been some media confusion about what is and is not the electronic cigarette. The electronic cigarette is not a harmless product (in the vast majority of cases it contains nicotine), and is a product that is intended exclusively for the adult who is already a smoker. In addition, it should be emphasized that this is not a smoking cessation product (irrespectively of the use or function that each user can give), but is an alternative to conventional tobacco that, according to a growing number of international health institutions, is considered (Up to 95% less harmful according to the UK Public Health Agency, Public Health England, to cite one example).
Despite the fact that it contains nicotine (in most cases), the electronic cigarette has nothing to do with conventional tobacco, since both products differ radically in their ingredients and components, and above all in their method of operation, since in The electronic cigarette does not give the fact of combustion, but works by heating and vaporizing a liquid solution of nicotine, glycerol, propylene glycol and flavors. Hence the huge divergences in their risk profiles.
As a result of this reality, the 28 European Union, European Parliament and European Commission decided in 2014 that the product is not comparable to conventional tobacco, and regulated e-cigarette at European level in Directive 2014/40 / EU as Category, with its own rules, and clearly differentiated from those of conventional tobacco.
On the other hand, the Spanish legislation on the sale, advertising and consumption of these products, approved in 2014 in the Consumption Law 3/2014 of March 28, also recognized this category of its own, and endowed the product with its own rules and different from those established For conventional tobacco. Spanish law was a pioneer in the regulation of electronic cigarettes in Europe, and is among the most stringent in the EU. In fact, France (one of the strictest countries in the fight against the effects of smoking) approved its regulations on the consumption of electronic cigarettes a few months ago1, with a clear inspiration in the Spanish rule in this respect, although less strict than our Law of Consumption. Both the European and Spanish regulations are perfectly in line with WHO recommendations and options on how to regulate this type of products.
The Proposed Bill
The draft bill to amend Law 28/2005 is part of the measures proposed by the Government to transpose Directive 2014/40 / EU of tobacco and related products, which regulates for the first time in the European Union the advertising, Quality and safety of devices capable of releasing nicotine ("electronic cigarettes"). This draft law complements Royal Decree 579/2017 approved on June 9, 2017, which virtually transposed the entire Directive.
In this sense, the only regulatory change necessary to bring the current Law into line with Directive 2014/40 / EU with regard to electronic cigarettes, and finally to complete its transposition, corresponds to the advertising of these products, Is banned at European level in the Directive and therefore contradicts our Law of 2014, which allows the advertising of these products except in child protection schedules.
INNECESSARY HARDENING OF THE DIRECTIVE
Taking into account that Spain has been delayed in the transposition process for more than a year, and that it already has a robust regulation on the quality, safety, composition and consumption of electronic cigarettes (one of the most stringent in the EU) , It would be logical that the transposition should be limited to the necessary and urgent aspects to carry it out, in order to complete this process as soon as possible and provide legal certainty to operators.
However, the proposed draft law complicates the process and goes well beyond the Directive, proposing to tighten, very severely, the rules regarding the sale and distribution of these products in Spain. In particular, the preliminary draft proposes:
1) prohibit distance and online sales of these devices;
2) limit the sale only in tobacconists and in specialized stores (also proposing a very restrictive definition of these stores);
While the second aspect seems reasonable (although the definition of specialized store needs to be qualified as it is very restrictive), the first point, if not modified, will attest a tremendous blow to SMEs in the sector, hundreds of direct and indirect jobs , As well as the ability of adult consumers to access the products they demand.
Prohibition of distance selling and online sales
The importance of online sales for the sector in Spain
Currently in Spain, around 40% of sales of electronic cigarettes (either hardware or recharge liquids with or without nicotine) are carried out through online digital mechanisms, which is also the main channel of sale of Loyal consumers who already know in advance what product they want to buy. In this respect, the estimate included in the preliminary report's impact of 30% of online sales is incorrect and does not adequately reflect the structure and importance of this type of sales in Spain.
The current distribution of sales channels in our country reflects the evolution of the sector in recent years. It is the result of the enormous efforts of the SMEs that compose it to adapt to a very difficult context as a result of the crisis and the restructuring of the sector in 2014 and 2015 (when it went from almost 3000 stores in early 2014 to a stabilization Around 350 stores), after which a large number of consumers began to purchase their devices online precisely because access to a specialized store became more difficult or impossible in many cases and locations.
This distribution of sales channels, and the predominance of online sales, is not exclusive to Spain, but is widespread in the countries around us, where the vapeo is much more widespread and where, despite having a greater number of Specialized stores, consumer demand is also much higher, and therefore consumers access their products preferably through online platforms. In all of them, as in Spain, age verification and consumer registration mechanisms have been implemented to effectively prevent minors from accessing the product.
It should be remembered that the electronic cigarette sector in Spain is made up of about 350 SMEs, between 4 and 5 people, employing some 1750 people directly and more than 3000 indirectly in our country. Precisely because it is composed of a business fabric structured in SMEs, the sector is particularly sensitive to abrupt or draft normative changes, especially in terms of distribution.
Destruction of employment and negative impact on economic growth
In this context, a prohibition of distance and online sales would not only destroy 40% of the current volume of sales and billing in the sector, as already emphasized by the bill itself in its impact report, which the vast majority of companies do not Could lead to the immediate closure of dozens of companies whose sales and operations are carried out exclusively or predominantly through these channels and therefore would not have the capacity to restructure their business or rebalance sales through other channels.
In concrete terms, the sector estimates that more than 100 SMEs would close their operations with the current regulations, which would result in more than 500 direct jobs destroyed, and almost 750 indirect jobs affected, at the same time as the amendment of the Law came into force This negative impact would be aggravated in the medium term, in which an estimated 20-25 additional companies would end their operations in the hyper-restrictive competitive framework imposed in the preliminary draft, which would result in another 100 direct jobs and 125 Indirectly destroyed. It would be a real blow to a sector in full recovery and economic consolidation
Double penalty: benefit to companies located in other EU countries
If the devastating negative impact of the proposed measure on the draft was already a little negative, it would also have a double negative effect on the sector: not only would it not allow Spanish SMEs to reach their consumers telematically, but would discriminate against them To third-party companies in other EU countries (where online and distance selling is allowed), they will continue to sell their products to the Spanish consumer online even if these sales are officially unauthorized.
In fact, since cross-border sales of these products are allowed in the EU, since it is an internal market, without frontiers or customs for goods, there would be a paradox that any Spanish SME would be prohibited from selling its products online, but the Spanish consumer You can access them online and buy them from other foreign companies, because there are no viable control mechanisms to avoid this situation.
Impact memory in fact does not indicate at any time what kind of measures will be taken to avoid this situation, precisely because in the information and digitization era in which we live, it is impossible to monitor the internet and avoid That third companies send products to our country, especially when this practice is allowed and widespread in the rest of our countries in the EU.
In addition, to the impracticable measure of preventing online sales from third countries to Spanish consumers, is added the fact that the competences of Health to regulate the electronic cigarette are limited to the products and liquids that contain nicotine, reason why would not cover those products And liquids that do not contain nicotine. Although these products tend to be minority, their offer is jointly included in the same pages and digital platforms that sell products with nicotine, so the ability to regulate these spaces in companies operating in the network from outside Spain will be impossible.
PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE TEXT
➢ In this context, and in order to achieve the Health objectives of a) ensure that children do not access the product, and b) that there is also a control over the storage of products, it is proposed that only those companies that are Have registered previously in the register of distributors and sellers of electronic cigarettes of the Ministry of Health, and also have a specialized store (or that are associated with one, or operate in partnership with one for the storage of product) can sell online always and When strict mechanisms of age verification are put into operation at the time of sale.
Limitation of sales only in tobacconists and specialized stores, and definition of "specialized store"
The second measure proposed by Health in relation to electronic cigarettes raises regulate the point of sale of these products and stick only to tobacconists and specialized stores. In this respect, and even if there is a restriction of consumers to the product, we believe that it can be a positive measure, since it will make it possible to professionalize the sales of these products and facilitate that only those products that meet the quality, safety and Established in the Royal Decree are on the market.
However, the definition of Specialized Shop included in the Preliminary Draft: "an establishment that exclusively makes deliveries to the final consumer of devices capable of releasing nicotine, as defined in this law", is non-cumulative for the sector, Hyper-restrictive concept that does not take into account the reality of specialized stores and would therefore have a negative impact on them.
Although these establishments are mainly engaged mainly in the sale of this type of products, it is common to sell other types of products related to the vapeo, as well as other general consumer products, in the same way that they are made In tobacconists.
A strict interpretation of the concept "Exclusively" would entail the loss of a significant part of the stores' income, so it is considered necessary to reformulate the concept for another that may reflect the necessary specialization of the store, but without generating undesirable negative effects, Such as "predominantly" or "predominantly," "as the main activity," or the like.
PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE TEXT
➢ Article 2. 1. L) Shop specialized in the marketing of devices capable of releasing nicotine: establishment that carries out, as the main activity, deliveries to the final consumer of devices capable of releasing nicotine, as defined in this law, and products necessary for And related to their consumption (EXCLUSIVE TRAINING - STAFF - ETC =)
President of UPEV
Italian League against Tobacco
Allegations of the ITALIAN LEAGUE AGAINST TOBACCO
To the Preliminary draft law amending the law 28/2005, of December 26, on health measures against smoking and regulating the sale, supply, consumption and advertising of tobacco products
The Italian Anti-Tobacco League1 is an Italian non-profit organization with an international scope, founded in 2003, dedicated to the fight against smoking and the harmful effects associated with smoking. LIAF is among Italy's leading anti-smoking associations, with a mission to raise awareness and help smokers in their battle against tobacco. Among our members are doctors, pulmonologists, surgeons and a long list of health and scientific experts.
From the LIAF, we are convinced that the fight against smoking and the effects of smoking can only be fully effective by integrating within the same harm reduction policies for those smokers who have not been able to give up smoking by any means, or That they have not wanted to do it.
Anti-smoking policies should complement "classic" strategies and should be used as a support to precisely reduce the tremendous damage associated with tobacco use in a percentage of the smoking population that has not been able to be extracted from tobacco by other means, And for which current anti-tobacco policies have not been able to help. Although any health professional would prefer a 0% smoking rate in society, we understand that public health policies should be oriented on the basis of pragmatic and effective public health criteria and not on the basis of ideological or dogmatic criteria , And that it is therefore essential to help those smokers who have not been able to quit smoking by other means to move to less harmful nicotine consumption alternatives that reduce the harm from tobacco consumption.
That is why we consider that electronic cigarette has become an essential public health tool, since it precisely allows that specific group of smokers (who have not been able or have not wanted to give up smoking) to switch to an alternative that Has been shown to be 95% less harmful than conventional tobacco2. That is why, from the LIAF, we defend that this product must have a different regulation from that of tobacco, which ensures that children do not have access to the product, without the need to equate the product with tobacco, promoting the device as Less harmful alternative, and encouraging smokers who have not been able to quit smoking to use it as a mechanism of harm reduction and smoking cessation3.
Prohibition of online sales will facilitate the perpetuation of tobacco
As the main Italian NGO in the fight against tobacco, from the LIAF we see with concern the proposal included in the bill to prohibit the distance and online sale of electronic cigarettes. We understand that this measure goes against the public health of Spanish society, and not only will not help in the fight against tobacco, but will facilitate many smokers continue smoking and perpetuating the devastating effects on their organisms that cause tobacco .
Although it is legitimate and necessary to raise certain restrictions on the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes (it is a product for adults and therefore mechanisms must be introduced to prevent minors from accessing the product), apply the same restrictions to tobacco in As regards its ban on online sales is totally disproportionate, and sets a dangerous precedent under which it is derived that both products are equally bad and harmful, and therefore should be regulated in the same way.
In this sense, the immediate consequence that from the governmental health authorities is sent to society the message that the electronic cigarette is just as bad as the tobacco is the immediate elimination of any incentive for those smokers, who have failed to abandon Tobacco by any other means are passed on to this alternative which is scientifically proven to be much less harmful than tobacco, and from whose use no harmful effects similar to those of tobacco have been identified.
If in the mind of a smoker the idea that it is just as bad as smoking tobacco, why should you move to this alternative even if you have not managed to stop smoking under other means? It would simply be making it easier for smokers to remain smokers.
In our view, it is essential that health and government authorities protect electronic cigarettes and promote their potential as a harm reduction tool as a complement to anti-smoking policies.
It is undoubtedly preferable for a smoker who has not been able to stop tobacco to switch to this alternative, and greatly reduce the damage caused by tobacco, to maintain its deadly habit, and this is the line that the main European countries Are taking (UK, France to cite two examples). In these countries, as in Italy, electronic cigarettes have become a true public health tool, and where more and more smokers quit with electronic cigarettes.
For these reasons, we call on the Spanish health authorities to give priority to public health and to follow the example of countries where electronic cigarette has become a tool for combating tobacco, and to reconsider the equation of electronic cigarettes with tobacco in regard to To the prohibition of its sale online.
Prof. Riccardo Polosa, MD, PhD
Chief Scientific Advisor
Lega Italiana Anti Fumo
2 D. Nutt, L.D. Phillips, D. Balfour, H.V. Curran, M. Dockrell, J. Foulds, K. Fagerstrom, K. Letlape, A. Milton,
R. Polosa, J. Ramsay, D. Sweanor, Estimating the Harms of Nicotine-Containing Products Using MCDA
Approach, European Addiction Research 2014; 20:2018-225
3 Numerous publications and studies have been carried out and published in relation to the potential of the electronic cigarette as a tool to quit tobacco, and / or as a harm reduction tool. In this regard, it should be noted some of the studies and publications made, some of which led and participated by the signer of these allegations:
???? Polosa R, Morjaria JB, Caponnetto P, Prosperini U, Russo C, Pennisi A, Bruno CM. Evidence for harm
reduction in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes. Respir Res. 2016 Dec 16;17(1):166.
???? Polosa R, Morjaria JB, Caponnetto P, Battaglia E, Russo C, Ciampi C, Adams G, Bruno CM. Blood
Pressure Control in Smokers with Arterial Hypertension Who Switched to Electronic Cigarettes. Int J
Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Nov 11;13(11).
???? Cibella F, Campagna D, Caponnetto P, Amaradio MD, Caruso M, Russo C, Cockcroft DW, Polosa R.
Lung function and respiratory symptoms in a randomized smoking cessation trial of electronic
cigarettes. Clin Sci (Lond). 2016 Nov 1;130(21):1929-37.
???? Russo C, Cibella F, Caponnetto P, Campagna D, Maglia M, Frazzetto E, Mondati E, Caruso M, Polosa
R. Evaluation of Post Cessation Weight Gain in a 1-Year Randomized Smoking Cessation Trial of
Electronic Cigarettes. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 5;6:18763. doi: 10.1038/srep18763. PubMed PMID:
26729619; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4700433.
???? Polosa R, Morjaria J, Caponnetto P, Caruso M, Strano S, Battaglia E, Russo C. Effect of smoking
abstinence and reduction in asthmatic smokers switching to electronic cigarettes: evidence for harm
reversal. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 May 8;11(5):4965-77.
???? Caponnetto P, Polosa R, Auditore R, Russo C, Campagna D: Smoking Cessation with E-Cigarettes in
Smokers with a Documented History of Depression and Recurring Relapses. International Journal of
Clinical Medicine 2011, 2:281-284.
???? Etter J-F, Bullen C: Electronic cigarette: users profile, utilization, satisfaction and perceived efficacy.
Addiction 2011, 106:2017-2028.
???? Siegel M, Tanwar K, Wood K: Electronic cigarettes as a smoking-cessation tool: results from an online
survey. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2011, 40:472-475.
???? Polosa R, Morjaria JB, Caponnetto P, Campagna D, Russo C, Alamo A, Amaradio M, Fisichella A.
Effectiveness and tolerability of electronic cigarette in real-life: a 24-month prospective
observational study. Intern Emerg Med. 2013 Jul 20. [Epub ahead of print]
???? Caponnetto P, Campagna D, Cibella F, Morjaria JB, Caruso M, Russo C, Polosa R. EffiCiency and Safety
of an eLectronic cigAreTte (ECLAT) as Tobacco Cigarettes Substitute: A Prospective 12-Month
Randomized Control Design Study. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 24;8(6):e66317.
???? Polosa R, Caponnetto P, Morjaria JB, Papale G, Campagna D, Russo C. Effect of an electronic nicotine
delivery device (e-Cigarette) on smoking reduction and cessation: a prospective 6-month pilot study.
BMC Public Health. 2011 Oct 11;11:786.
Response to the
PROPOSED DRAFT LAW AMENDING LAW 28/2005 OF 26 DECEMBER OF SANITARY MEASURES IN RESPECT OF THE TOBACCO AND REGULATORY OF THE SALE, SUPPLY, CONSUMPTION AND ADVERTISING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS (SPAIN)
The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) is a global coalition of consumer organisations from twenty different countries, which promote the interests of those who wish to switch from smoking tobacco to safer alternative nicotine delivery products. These non-combustible (or smokeless) forms of nicotine include electronic cigarettes, snus and, potentially, heat-not-burn products.
INNCO is entirely independent of tobacco manufacturers and distributors. INNCO accepts no funding from any commercial interests, including smokeless nicotine product manufacturers and distributors, nor from tobacco companies. INNCO has no competing interests and, specifically, no conflicts with respect to Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Twenty-seven national organisations are currently affiliated to INNCO, sixteen of which represent citizens and residents of the European Union. Their membership base is largely ex-smokers whose lives and health have been dramatically improved by switching from traditional cigarettes to smokeless products such as e-cigarettes and snus.
INNCO aims to promote honest and unbiased information on safer nicotine use, and to advocate for effective and proportionate regulation of safer nicotine products. INNCO’s work includes engagement with national and international health, regulatory and public health organisations concerned with nicotine consumption, and ensuring that consumers are recognised by such organisations as key stakeholders.
First and foremost, INNCO does not believe electronic cigarettes should be categorized as tobacco and, as therefore, NOT BE SUBJECT OF BANNING OF ONLINE SALES. We see no evidence whatsoever which would justify e-cigarettes being included in such prohibition nor do feel it’s introduction would benefit Spain.
The majority of our members are former smokers, who have either switched completely to e-cigarettes or significantly reduced their cigarette consumption. All of them report an increased sense of health and wellbeing.
As science has demonstrated, this new technology offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve public health by offering reduced risk alternatives to adult smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit. Regulatory policies play a crucial role in ensuring that such an opportunity is realised, and reduced risk alternatives remain available and accessible to smokers.
In the past few years there has been a never-ending plethora of contradictory reports, studies and headlines regarding the relative health risks attributable to e-cigarettes and eliquid. That the media inevitably choose to highlight the ‘studies’ which scream of warnings and danger is indicative of their need to create alarming headlines without examining the quality of the study, the provenance of the contributor or the methodology used. The effect of this misinformation is tragic. Recent reports suggest that over 55% of EU citizens now believe that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as smoking tobacco. This is simply not true. We respectfully suggest that ministers gain an overall understanding by investigating research by leading scientists and academics (most of whom have spent a lifetime studying the health effects of tobacco and/or cancer and have ardently sought to reduce the harm from smoking).
We invite the Spanish Parliament to consider the 2016 report of the London-based Royal College of Physician’s, Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction. The Royal College is one of the oldest medical institutions in the world and was the first to highlight the dangers of smoking in its landmark 1962 report, Smoking and Health.
Three quotes from the Royal College of Physicians’ report provide a basis for outlining the main issues relating to e-cigarettes, smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction:
1. The relative risk of e-cigarettes compared to cigarettes
2. Gateway effects and renormalisation of smoking
3. The impact of vaping on smoking cessation
“Although it is not possible to precisely quantify the long-term health risks associated with ecigarettes, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure.”
This carefully worded statement takes the practical approach of focussing on what scientists do know, rather than unknown or unknowable information that will only become available over many decades and only if the right studies are put in place. The judgement of relative risk is based on the completely different physics and chemistry of tobacco smoke and ecigarette aerosol – some we do not have to wait 50 years for. The former is the product of complex chemical reactions in high-temperature combustion of dried tobacco leaf. The latter is the electrical heating at much lower temperature of an inert liquid bearing nicotine and flavourings – there is no combustion. Most of the important harmful toxins in tobacco smoke are products of combustion. For this reason, they are either not detectable in ecigarette aerosol or present at very low levels.
The result is that the overall toxicity of the e-cigarette aerosol is very much lower than cigarette smoke. As one would expect from such an organisation, the Royal College of Physicians has expressed its statement with careful reflection of uncertainties in both directions, but with a steer to make it clear that 5% of the risk of smoking is a conservative estimate. At present, there is no credible evidence to suggest these products will cause any serious disease or premature death. However, the claim is not that they are safe, just very much safer.
Gateway effects and renormalisation of smoking
“There are concerns that e-cigarettes will increase tobacco smoking by renormalising the act of smoking, acting as a gateway to smoking in young people, and being used for temporary, not permanent, abstinence from smoking. To date, there is no evidence that any of these processes is occurring to any significant degree in the UK. Rather, the available evidence to date indicates that e-cigarettes are being used almost exclusively as safer alternatives to smoked tobacco, by confirmed smokers who are trying to reduce harm to themselves or others from smoking, or to quit smoking completely.”
This summary addresses a number of claims made by tobacco control activists to the effect that the availability of a low-risk alternative to smoking would somehow increase smoking. It is worth recognising just how counter-intuitive these claims are, and as such should require a very credible evidence base before they are accepted as remotely plausible. The RCP draws the opposite, more intuitive, conclusion from the evidence, namely that: (1) people use safer products to reduce their risks; (2) that the promotion of vaping promotes vaping, not smoking; (3) any ‘gateways’ seem more likely to be ‘exits’ from the more harmful to less harmful products.
The impact of vaping on smoking cessation
“E-cigarettes are marketed as consumer products and are proving much more popular than NRT as a substitute and competitor for tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.”
The RCP makes the important observation that e-cigarettes are consumer products, and that their success in part derives from their appeal to those who would never even try to quit smoking via conventional methods or are unwilling or unable to quit.
E-cigarettes are not medical aids to reduce craving and withdrawal during a quit attempt, but an alternative way of taking the recreational drug nicotine. It is important, therefore, not to treat e-cigarettes as medicines, to misapply concepts like ‘efficacy’ or to rely on randomised controlled trials that are suited to singular interventions, such as administering a drug.
The ‘efficacy’ of e-cigarettes is not a property of the device and liquid, but the outcome of a complex ecology of behavioural influences, including properties of the product, but also peer support, marketing, beliefs about risk and scare stories in newspapers, local availability, the attitude to smoking/vaping in the social and work environment, and the policy framework – packaging, warnings, restrictions, diversity, marketing, taxation etc. Users tend to progress over time, acquire vaping skills and switch products to more complex configurations, lower nicotine liquids and more diverse flavours as they migrate away from tobacco. A period of dual use may be part of a transition that lasts longer than any RCT ever would, but ends in permanent smoking cessation. Because of their poor efficacy, conventional smoking cessation techniques also involve prolonged “dual use”, but this occurs serially with successive quit attempts and relapses back to smoking then the next quit attempt and so on until success or through an indefinite cycle of cessation and relapse.
“However, in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.” (RCP)
Taking all the available evidence into account, the organisation that first reported on Smoking and Health in 1962, endorses a tobacco harm reduction approach including the promotion of e-cigarettes. We urge the Government of Spain to follow this advice, given also to UK on the same issue. We believe it the advice of Royal College of Physicians is an essential and reliable guide to the science and policy as to take it into account.
Currently, the geographical distribution of the few existing physical stores in Spain, makes impossible the acquisition of products by tens of thousands of users if online sales are banned. So, many consumers will not have physical access to specialized vapeshops. They will need to travel in many cases hundreds of kilometres to obtain their e-liquids and devices.
This situation will cause, with absolute certainty, that thousands of vapers (former smokers) relapse to smoking and the rising of an uncontrollable black market. It´ll be an absolute public health disaster without any scientific justification.
It is vitally important to recognize that there is no credible evidence to date that trying an e-cigarette will naturally lead on to smoking tobacco. All recent studies in the EU have confirmed that the so called ‘gateway’ effect has failed to materialize. What matters is whether e-cigarettes pose a significant threat to health compared to the known deadly and damaging effects of traditional tobacco. Some young people will take risks; thus, it has been since time immemorial and those who choose to experiment with e-cigarettes undoubtedly belong to the same group as those who are attracted to smoking tobacco. Effective deterrence lies in effective regulation, limiting minor’s exposure, advertising, and providing education – not in the prohibition of access to the product for millions of smokers, that will cost countless lives.
INNCO fully supports proportional regulation of e-cigarettes particularly with regard to their availability to young people who, in an ideal world would be totally protected from using any potentially addictive substance whether from alcohol, cigarettes, hookah or vaping e-cigarettes.
However, the adoption of an effective overall tobacco harm reduction framework which includes not only young people, but all the citizens, is reliant on balancing the relative and potential harm which the regulation seeks to address. The risk from smoking tobacco is well documented, it remains one of the greatest global threats in non-communicable diseases – its effects are deadly. With the banning of online sales, tobacco will be disposable for everyone, but their harm reduction alternatives will be practically invisible for smokers in Spain.
INNCO advocates that the imposition of banning the online sales of e-cigarettes violates the ethics and principles of public health and is in neither the interests of its citizens nor government economies. To deliberately hinder the success of a nascent industry which not only offers smokers a credible alternative to switch from smoking cigarettes but also provides the largest opportunity to improve population health since the discovery of penicillin is unjustifiable.
We urge the government of Spain to reconsider the effects of the imposition of banning the online sales, but also their proposed regulations which would restrict the use of personal vaporizers and public access to safer nicotine alternatives. We would be honoured to visit you in Spain and discuss this matter further with your health and finance ministry or, should you require it, provide any further evidence and research which may be of assistance to you.
Judy E Gibson
The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) innco.org
Mrs Dolors Montserrat, Minister for Health, Social Services and Equality, Madrid, Spain
22nd June 2017
Dear Health Minister,
We respectfully submit our considered response to the proposed law, which would amend law 28/2005 of 26 December: sanitary measures in respect of tobacco and regulation of the sale, supply, consumption and advertising of tobacco products.
New Nicotine Alliance (UK) is a charity registered in the UK, with sister organisations in Australia and Sweden.
NNA was developed by individuals who, by themselves and through their links with leading smoking and tobacco researchers and policy analysts, work to improve public understanding of ‘tobacco harm reduction’ - a term used by the United Kingdom Department of Health, Public Health England and the UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence and others to describe ways of reducing harm from cigarette smoking without necessarily giving up the use of nicotine. The Board of NNA and our Associates include ex-smokers, most of whom have succeeded in giving up smoking through the use of safer nicotine delivery systems including e-cigarettes, as well as public health analysts and scientists.
The work of the NNA, national and internationally, is to seek an effective regulatory environment for nicotine delivery devices which protects the public (ie ensures safety) but also ensures availability of effective devices. The NNA is completely independent of commercial interests in relevant industries (e-cigarette, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies). It operates on a not-for-profit basis and is free from commercial bias. Our policies and public statements are evidence-based, with a clear focus on the health of consumers and the wider public.
Regarding the proposed draft law we observe with concern the proposed banning of online sales of e-cigarettes throughout Spain. Such a measure goes beyond what is required in the EU Tobacco Products Directive, impedes the functioning of the internal market for tobacco and related products, and does not ensure a high level of health protection.
The most comprehensive studies of vaping to date i indicate that the relative risk of e-cigarettes compared to cigarettes is unlikely to exceed 5% and that there is no evidence to support the so-called gateway effect ii (or renormalisation of smoking). Studies of the impact of vaping on smoking cessation iii show clear beneficial effects on public health at the population level.
In the UK there are now 2.8 million regular e-cigarette users: and more than half of them (52%) are now ex-smokers iv. This is a major success for the health of the public. Smoking prevalence in the UK is rapidly falling and adult smoking prevalence, at 15.5%, is now slightly below Australia at 15.7%v. It is notable that the UK has a higher rate of decline than Australia, which has a more restrictive regulatory environment.
In light of these data we urge the Government of Spain to avoid measures that will reduce or restrict the availability of electronic cigarettes.
There is a scarcity of dedicated shops selling e-cigarettes in Spain so a ban on online sales will prevent smokers from buying e-cigarettes and will prevent the hundreds of thousands of existing vapers from continuing to use them to prevent relapse to smoking. Smokers and vapers may need to travel hundreds of kilometres to obtain their e-liquids and devices. However, cigarettes will still be available at every street corner shop so this will undoubtedly cause thousands of former smokers to relapse to smoking. It is also likely that a large and entirely unregulated black market in vaping equipment and liquids will spring up, with the additional risks that will bring. This clearly makes no sense from a public health perspective.
To prevent the enormous negative effects that this measure will cause to public health, at population level, and in order to drive down to the high smoking rates in Spain, we urge the Government of Spain to amend the law and to allow online sales to continue.
Professor Gerry Stimson
Chair, New Nicotine Alliance (UK)
Emeritus Professor Imperial College London
Honorary Professor London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine