A Public Health Imperative

Posted 6th November 2019 by Dave Cross
European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) member SOVAPE says that reassuring the public about vaping is a public health imperative. It recently hosted the 3rd ‘Sommet de la Vape’ in Paris, where experts discussed vaping as a way to provide millions of years of healthy life to millions of ex-smokers.

Sommet de la Vape was chaired by Jean Pierre Couteron. Guaranteeing an ethical framework, the event opened with the release of a survey conducted by BVA and commissioned by SOVAPE: The alarming headline figures were that three in five French people think that vaping is at least as dangerous as smoking (if not more) and 80% believe that nicotine is carcinogenic.

SOVAPE: “The precautionary principle is acting against risk reduction”

Antoine Deutsch of the National Cancer Institute (INCa) regretted the demonisation of nicotine. Jacques Le Houezec blamed the confusion created by the considerable media attention given to cherrypicked sections from WHO reports and the current US crisis - which has been caused by adulterated products and not by e-liquids sold from reputable suppliers.

At least 700,000 people have quit smoking since 2014 which, as Viet Nguyen Thanh of Santé Publique France explained, presents 100 million euros of annual savings for health insurance according to estimates by Prof. Benoit Vallet, Director General of Health from 2013 to 2018, or 6 million American lives saved, or 88 million years of life by the end of the century, according to the calculations of Professor David Levy, Georgetown University of Washington. Like England and the United States, the French data presented by Stanislas Spilka of the OFDT prove that vaping is not a gateway to smoking.

SOVAPE: “Millions of lives and years of life to save”

Dr. Olivier Véran, MP for Isère (LREM) regretted the French reluctance to trust in harm reduction that the British have embraced more readily. Dr. Léonie Brose, Dr. Lion Shahab and Louise Ross, speakers at the Summit, confirmed interest from smokers towards giving up tobacco that kills every second user, in favour of the low-risk products like e-cigarettes.

They presented statistics from their fight against smoking in the English population, which has seen a decline, since 2012, from 20% to 15%. This success was highlighted by French speakers, Dr Anne Borgne, President of Respadd, Dr Marion Adler, Doctor of Tobacco Studies, Pr Bertrand Dautzenberg, Respiratory Doctor and Coordinator of the first report on vaping for the Ministry of Health, and Dr. William Lowenstein, President of SOS-Addictions.

SOVAPE: “Nicotine is not carcinogenic; vaping is much less harmful than smoking”

A few days before the start of tobacco free month, SOVAPE called on the minister, the authorities and health agencies to send the following clear messages to smokers:

  • Quitting smoking without any help reduces the chances of success by 1 in 5, at the risk of prolonging smoking for many more years
  • Nicotine is not carcinogenic, to quit smoking it is not necessary to also quit nicotine which is contained in e-cigarettes just as it is in nicotine replacement therapy
  • Vaping is an effective risk-reduction tool for quitting smoking. Vaping products in France and Europe are strictly regulated and controlled, sold by professionals, and have already allowed thousands of smokers to discard their cigarettes


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker