Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, in conjunction with Dr. Konstantinos Poulas, stated: "While it is obvious that the Ministry of Health's goal is to defend Public Health, legislation has the exact opposite effect, creating a problem in Public Health without protecting anyone. Most of the measures proposed are scientifically inappropriate, paradoxical, incomprehensible, inapplicable and in stark contrast to the research findings to date.”
The law would classify non-nicotine containing eliquids as “health hazards”.
Farsalinos says: “This is scientifically unproven and unproductive. It is noteworthy that European legislation does not define adequate labelling for nicotine fluids.”
“In Greece, therefore, we will have the paradox of having a health damage to non-nicotine fluids, whereas liquids of the same composition with nicotine added are not so labelled. At the same time there is a leaflet with reference to addiction risk and toxicity, despite the total absence of nicotine, which is contrary to any scientific knowledge so far and contrary to European chemicals safety legislation.”
The law would effectively the sale and supply of the components of eliquid for DIY purposes. Farsalinos responds to this by saying: “This is inappropriate and potentially dangerous. The basic components of the replacement fluids (glycerin and propylene glycol) are not toxic and have been available for years from food stores or pharmacies without risk/toxicity labelling. Glycerin was approved for human use in 1959 and propylene glycol in 1982. These are ingredients widely used in food, cosmetics and medicines, even for intravenous administration.”
He pointed out that there had been no incidents due to the supposed toxicity of PG or VG, and more importantly: “everyone can obtain the essential ingredients from any pharmacy and perfumes from food stores.”
He argues that this proposal, therefore, places the lives of smokers at risk and is wholly unenforceable. He points to bans enacted in other countries, where they focussed solely on nicotine-containing products due to the ease of access to the other constituent parts.
Finally, Farsalinos highlighted that the Greek government is out of step with the UK in its approach to tobacco harm reduction: “Recently, the House of Science and Technology Committee of the UK House of Representatives issued an official report stating that the European legislation on electronic cigarettes is too strict, which effectively prevents smokers from being properly informed and using smoking cessation. In Greece, where the prevalence of smoking is more than twice as high as England, we are setting additional, unnecessary restrictions that make it even more difficult for smokers to quit smoking.”