MEPs need to stay focussed on the bigger picture
In the UK each year 114,000 people die from tobacco related illnesses according to figures produced by the NHS. Policy makers need to focus on reducing this number. Conventional nicotine replacement therapies are not tackling this in any significant number, but e-cigarettes could. Already 1.3 million smokers have switched to e-cigarettes.
There are 10 million adult cigarette smokers in Great Britain at present. The above graph depicts the percentage of tobacco cigarette smokers currently using e-cigarettes. The graph shows an increase in e-cigarette use from two per cent to 16 per cent in 28 months. That is a 14 per cent increase in just over two years. Basing that figure we see that there is a 14 per cent increase over 28 months which works out as an average monthly increase of 0.5 per cent. This means that at present 40,625 smokers are switching to e-cigarettes each month.
The above graph (Linear Trendline) depicts the growth in e-cigarettes use on a linear trendline from the present until May 2017 when the revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will come into force in the UK. A linear trendline is a consistent average of the figures provided, a simple and best way to forecast on present results. The graph shows an expected increase in e-cigarette use of 35 per cent by 2017. The number of vapers will rise from 1,300,000 to 2,843,750; more than double the present number. This means that of the 10,000,000 current smokers, 30 per cent will be using e-cigarettes by 2017 based on these projections, an increase of 1,543,750 vapers.
The above graph (Polynominal Trendline) depicts the growth in e-cigarette use on a polynomial trendline from the present until May 2017. A polynomial trendline is the best for fluctuating figures with hills present in the graph data and usually based over a large figure set and an increasing growth rate. Best represents increased growth from the data figures. The graph shows an expected increase in e-cigarette use of 80 per cent by 2017. That would mean there would be 6,500,000 vapers in 2017. A staggering 65 per cent of current smokers would then be vaping.
In a worst case scenario there would be a 35 per cent increase in vapers and in the best case scenario an increase of 80 per cent. In reality, the actual rise in e-cigarette use is likely to be about half way between these two figures – an increase of 57.5 per cent. This would mean that in May 2017 there would be 4,671,875 individual vapers. By contrast the European Commission predicts that at best tobacco control measures contained within the revised TPD would only reduce the 10 million figure by two per cent!
MEPs need to stay focussed on this at all costs as this is the real public health prize – a real and significant cut in the number of smokers. In everything MEPs do relating to the regulation of e-cigarettes they should remain focussed on this bigger picture and not allow themselves to become bogged down in the minutia of regulation.
Article 18 of the TPD, as it currently stands, genuinely puts at risk the positive future outlined above. We therefore urge all MEPs to support our call, to the President of the European Parliament, to have this file opened up for split and separate votes, so as to allow proper consideration of Article 18 without jeopardising the passage of the wider TPD.
 If 1,300,000 vapers is 16 per cent then one per cent equals 81,250 vapers so 0.5 per cent will equal 40,625 vapers