It’s no surprise that big pharmaceutical companies are waging war on electronic cigarettes. After all, if people stop smoking, there will be a reduced need for medications to treat dozens of dangerous diseases. On Monday, British newspaper The Times reported on leaked correspondence between pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithCline and the EU regulators. It seems that GlaxoSmithCline is pushing the EU to get aggressive in the fight against electronic cigarettes. They are calling for harsh regulations against the vaping products that pose a serious threat to their own profits.
Glaxo is relying on the old gateway argument to plead their case to the EU, claiming that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to lead nonsmokers into using tobacco. They want all e-cig manufacturers to be required to acquire medicine licensure, which is essentially a deal breaker for small and mid-sized ecig companies that could not possibly afford the expensive process. If the EU would cave to Glaxo’s demands, it would instantly put a large portion of ecig manufacturers out of business and at the same time, it would insure that Glaxo enjoys hefty profits from their own line of smoking cessation products.
The big pharmaceutical company offers a line of products specifically for smokers trying to quit. Products like nicotine gums, lozenges, and patches are their therapies of choice, but research shows these methods are not very effective in the real world. In fact, when former smokers rely on these traditional forms of nicotine replacement therapy, they are just as likely to relapse into smoking as those that are using a cold turkey approach. That is the research that companies like Glaxo will do anything to hide from the public because it would be devastating to their bottom line.
On the other hand, research shows that electronic cigarettes are highly successful for helping smokers kick the habit. In addition, the theory that ecigs could be a gateway to smoking is completely unsupported by scientific fact. It’s actually quite the opposite. In a twelve month study, Dr. Riccardo Polosa found that ecigs were not only helping smokers quit, but they were even reducing cigarette use among smokers that had no desire to stop using tobacco. During that trial, e-cigs were highly successful for smoking cessation and 70 percent of the smokers that quit also stopped using e-cigs.
When you look at the science, it is obvious that Glaxo’s issue with electronic cigarettes is not about concern for public health. It probably has more to do with the spike in ecig sales across Europe, where electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular than smoking cessation products like patches and gums. With NRT sales on the decline, it’s not surprising that big pharmaceutical companies are upset and working hard to obliterate the competition before they lose more money.
It’s time to expose these pharmaceutical companies for their underhanded schemes and selfish motivations. By raising public awareness about the lies that circulate about vaping, we can take steps to simultaneously show the world that vaping is actually a dream come true for smokers that need an alternative to their old tobacco cigarettes.
Are you surprised to hear that big pharmaceuticals are lobbying to ban electronic cigarettes?