Tobacco giants embrace E-Cigarettes
The world’s largest tobacco company will tell a federal inquiry into electronic cigarettes that technology has rapidly transformed its business away from traditional tobacco smoking toward vaping.
Nicotine e-cigarettes are not regulated as therapeutic goods in Australia and cannot be imported legally, even for for personal use.
Electronic smoking is not supported by the Australian medicines regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
“Ironically, although many share our vision of a smoke-free Australia, the law in Australia, unique in the world, requires that all tobacco products must be smoked,” Philip Morris scientific affairs fellow Maurice Smith said.
Claims that e-cigartees help people quit traditional tobacco smoking are ‘unsubstanciated’ according to the Council of Australia.
Imperial Tobacco is engaged in a patent war with the largest cigarette makers in the US – Altria and R.J. Reynolds. Fontem Ventures, a subsidiary of Imperial is demanding royalties from the sale of e-cigarettes manufactured by the American tobocco giants, because it owns patents following it’s purchase of Dragonite International Ltd.
Research by the Cancer Council of South Australia has found E-cigarettes are ineffective in helping smokers quit their deadly habitat.
Lauren Maksimovic said the majority of e-cigarette smokers reported the devices failed to help reduce their cravings or quit.
“A majority of the people reported that they were using them to try to quit,” she said. “They were also using them to replace the hand to mouth action … and what we found was that didn’t help them quit smoking. A lot of people in our study found that it was too similar to smoking. They were (continuing to use) that hand to mouth action but it actually enhanced their smoking. It was just the same thing. They were continuing to smoke.”
Ms Maksimovic said the council remained concerned the devices may lead to harm and believed there was no evidence to suggest they reduced smoking.
The British government’s Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into E-cigarettes impact on health. The use of E-cigarettes has risen to an estimated 2.9 million adults, compared to 700,000 in 2012.
The European Union’s Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) monitors tobacco substitutes including E-cigarettes.
The UK’s advertising watchdog to recently concluded that generic lifestyle campaigns urging people to improve their health by vaping instead of smoking may fall foul of EU law.
The Department of Health continues to monitor the impact of E-cigarette regulations, while Public Health England provides evidence-based guidance on what is known, and unknown, about the risks of E-cigarettes.
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