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Due to the recognition of e-cigarettes, the smoking rate in these four countries has decreased twice as fast as the global average


The positive impact of e-cigarettes on public health is being supported by more data.

According to the latest white paper released by the property rights alliance of the United States, due to supporting smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, significant progress has been made in tobacco control in the United Kingdom, France, Canada and New Zealand. The average smoking rate in the four countries is twice that of the world.

Figure: according to the white paper, from 2012 to 2018, the average smoking rate in Britain, France, Canada and New Zealand decreased by 3.6%, and the global average smoking rate decreased by 1.5%

Previously, the scientific basis report on tobacco product control: the eighth report of the who research group, published on the official website of the World Health Organization, cited a number of scientific research evidence to confirm that e-cigarettes can help some smokers quit smoking in some cases. The report wrote that e-cigarettes can be regarded as an opportunity for tobacco control to finally realize the "new era" of smoke-free future.

The white paper, entitled "international best examples of e-cigarette industry: Britain, France, Canada and New Zealand", starts with practical cases to verify the great potential of e-cigarette in helping tobacco control.

The data show that in recent years, the smoking rate in Britain, France, Canada and New Zealand has decreased with the increase of e-cigarette usage. For example, from 2016 to 2019, the smoking rate in France decreased from 29.4% to 24%, and the use rate of e-cigarettes increased from 2.5% to 4.4%; From 2016 to 2020, the smoking rate in New Zealand decreased from 14.2% to 11.6%, and the use rate of e-cigarettes increased from 0.09% to 3.5%.

Figure: whether France (left) or New Zealand (right), the curve of smoking rate decreases with the increase of e-cigarette utilization rate curve

Why does the rise in the use of e-cigarettes lead to the decline in the smoking rate? The white paper points out that there is clear and comprehensive evidence that e-cigarettes can reduce the harm of cigarettes by 95%, and the success rate of quitting smoking assisted by e-cigarettes is twice that of quitting smoking with traditional nicotine replacement therapy. Therefore, when more and more smokers reduce harm and quit smoking by switching to electronic cigarettes, the national smoking rate will decline.

"We can attribute the success of these four countries in reducing smoking rates to their harm reduction policies." the white paper is divided into four chapters to describe in detail the harm reduction policies of Britain, France, Canada and New Zealand - unlike some countries that prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes, all four countries are supporting their smokers to switch to e-cigarettes in various forms.

Figure: around the contents of the white paper, experts from the United States, Britain, France and other countries also held online seminars

Take France as an example. French public health institutions have recognized the auxiliary smoking cessation effect of e-cigarettes, and France has no additional tax on e-cigarettes except 20% value-added tax. This makes 80.3% of the mixed users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes in France reduce their dependence on cigarettes. The data show that these users buy about 10 cigarettes less on average every day.

With less consumption by users, the shipment rate of merchants naturally declines. From 2011 to 2018, cigarette shipments in Canada decreased by 1.5%. However, after the introduction of a variety of e-cigarette products in 2018, the cumulative cigarette shipments in Canada decreased by 7.5% in 2019 alone.

Also in 2018, New Zealand officially supported smokers to switch to e-cigarettes. In order to let the public know more about the possible positive impact of e-cigarettes, the New Zealand health promotion agency has recently set up a special channel to popularize the truth of e-cigarettes. As the first country to officially recognize the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in assisting smoking cessation, the smoking rate in the UK has decreased by 25% since 2012.

Nowadays, "harm reduction" has become a cross party political consensus on tobacco control in Britain. Few politicians will deny the benefits of e-cigarettes. On October 29, the National Health Service (NHS) said it would use e-cigarettes as prescription drugs to help smokers quit smoking. This means that the UK will become the first country in the world to license medical products for e-cigarettes.

The white paper concludes that the success of these four countries in tobacco control is due to their courage to break through the current international popular "anti e-cigarette" ideology and formulate corresponding e-cigarette regulatory policies based on evidence, which should be paid attention to by the international community.

Finally, the author points out in the white paper that Britain, France, Canada and New Zealand should actively show their "harm reduction policies" and their remarkable achievements in reducing the national smoking rate.

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