Vaping, ETHRA study: fears and hopes of vapers

At the end of 2020, ETHRA launched a major survey1 in which tens of thousands of vapers responded2. At the dawn of the revision of the TPD, the European directive concerning tobacco products, concerns are growing. Some hopes too.

A few years ago, TPD arrived in Europe. A directive is a set of measures that a member state can follow, or apply in part. The most emblematic measure popular in France is the impossibility for a tobacconist or a shop specializing in electronic cigarettes to sell vials of more than 10 ml if they are nicotine. The sale of 40 or 50-ml vials is possible if there is no nicotine inside. Result? The French did not vape less (that was the initial intention), on the contrary. The average nicotine level increased from 12 mg/ml to 4.9 but the quantity of liquid from 3ml to 10.2.

What does the new study say?

The study already highlights one point: vaping works. More than 37,000 people responded. Among them, 94% were vapers and a large majority of them were exclusive vapers, that is to say they did not smoke and did not use any nicotine substitutes. 78% of respondents have completely stopped smoking. Please note, that this is a study with all the limitations it may have but with around 7,000 respondents in Italy, and a little fewer in Germany or Spain (countries whose TPD has been adopted in a very variable manner depending on states), we are beginning to have a precise idea of ​​European expectations in this area.

Above all, we know precisely the reasons for switching to vaping. Nearly 97% of them justify their transition to benefit from better health. More than 90% express a desire to smoke less, or to stop. 82% are sensitive to the settings that electronic cigarettes allow. 78% are looking for interesting aromas. The cost, less expensive, only comes in fifth position for nearly 65% ​​of electronic cigarette users. In terms of expectations, almost 80% of vapers greatly hope for a return to the world before, when large vials could be nicotined to produce less plastic.

Mostly fears

When we saw the results of the first TPD, we were especially concerned. Two huge fears. The first is the disappearance of aromas, the second is an increase in taxes. And we must start from the postulate that electronic cigarette users have no intention of changing their habits at all, as the study demonstrates.

In some countries, the availability of different flavors is limited. Result ? Only 45% of residents of these countries use their national market for vaping. In other words, the majority of residents of these countries order flavors on the Internet and obviously, abroad. If all European countries ban flavorings, this would open the door to extra-European consumption. And that’s far from good news. Because TPD version 1 has some advantages, including this: in Europe, the standards are strict and the composition of e-liquids obeys precise health constraints. And there is another worry that could have even more harmful consequences: taxes. Even if the cost of the electronic cigarette compared to that of tobacco only comes in fifth place among the reasons for the transition to the e-cig, a few figures need to be taken into account. And there, we must study the figures country by country, in particular those of Italy, Estonia, Portugal and Finland which have created taxes ranging from 1 to 3 euros per vial.

Unsurprisingly, these countries cite price as an obstacle to switching to electronic cigarettes. A small 10ml vial costs 10 euros in these countries. Nearly three-quarters of vapers would “react” to an increase. And the word “react” is not to be taken lightly, behind this simple verb we must understand “to move towards the black market”. And here again, behind harmless intentions, effects can be devastating.

And yet, the e-cigarette works

Yes, it works, for a large majority of people who have taken the step. From the moment we are faced with a simple, effective, inexpensive system. To cite just one model, already mentioned in a link above, let’s talk about my blu, a system that has also chosen ecology for the recycling of capsules. My Blu is a small battery and capsules that clip into this device. No need to press a button, it is the user’s suction that allows vaporization.

The material is elegant, and discreet, and will not generate excessive steam. The choice of flavors is large and we know thanks to the ETHRA study that this is one of the key points expected by vapers. Another interest: the Blu brand is available from an overwhelming majority of tobacconists, regardless of the location in which you are located, if there is a tobacconist, there is a good chance that you will find a capsule for this device. The study also shows that complicated access is an obstacle to the transition to electronic cigarettes.

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