Industry experts, researchers and vapers gathered this week at the E Cigarette Summit in London to hear the latest scientific discoveries and opinions relating to electronic cigarettes. In one of the industry’s biggest boons, research teams from two of the UK’s most respected University science departments presented evidence which suggested that e cigarettes could help save millions of lives every year.
Concerned about the 100,000 deaths in the UK that are caused by tobacco, dedicated research teams have been dissecting the true effects of smoking and searching for harm reduction options. The underlining trend suggests that many researchers believe that electronic cigarettes represent the best opportunity to reduce the number of smokers throughout the world and subsequently reduce the number of death attributed to tobacco.
The speakers at the e cigarette summit were quick to stress the importance of not wasting this opportunity afforded to the smoking community by electronic cigarette innovators and manufacturers. Robert West, professor of health psychology at University College, London is concerned that regulators and authorities may negatively affect the potential of e cigs by placing damaging and misguided restrictions upon their production and sale.
Stating that electronic cigarettes could save ‘literally millions of lives’, he explained: “The big question, and why we’re here, is whether that goal can be realised and how best to do it… and what kind of cultural, regulatory environment can be put in place to make sure that’s achieved. I think that can be achieved but that’s a hope, a promise, not a reality.”
Another speaker at the summit, Dr Jacques Le Houezec, echoed these sentiments: “We’ve been in the field for very long, this for us is a revolution.”
Regulations such as the recent MHRA proposals that would treat electronic cigarettes as medicinal products throughout the European Union are the scorn of the researchers trying to maximise the potential of vaping. Such regulations would halt innovation and make supply more difficult and contrived, reducing the number of people who could benefit from making the switch from traditional cigarettes to their electronic brethren.
There were representatives present from some of the UK’s most prominent electronic cigarette manufacturers and suppliers including Totally Wicked and Joyetech, who would have undoubtedly been thrilled to listen to scientific evidence backing the industry so vehemently. It had been a difficult year for electronic cigarettes – as the prominence of the industry grew, so did the attention of authorities looking to put in place restrictive regulations.
Lynne Dawkins of the University of East London hopes that such meetings of the mind will help positively influence decision-makers and help the electronic cigarette industry fulfil its undoubted potential.
“We don’t want to spoil this great opportunity we have for overseeing this unprecedented growth and evolving technology that has not been seen before, we have to be careful not to stump that.”