The largest e-cigarette sales network, eSmokingWORLD, will take legal action against the French Information Agency AFP, which published the following piece of information at the end of November: “E-cigarettes ten times more carcinogenic than ordinary cigarettes”. The claim that cigarettes are less harmful than e-cigarettes is misleading for millions of smokers and constitutes terrible disinformation which does not correspond to scientific facts - says Public Affairs of eSmokingWORLD, Jerzy Jurczyński.
On 27 November this year, the AFP agency published a press release entitled ”E-cigarettes ten times more carcinogenic than ordinary cigarettes”. While describing the results of research conducted by Japanese scientists from the National Institute for Public Health, the authors of the press release concluded, among other things that ”Electronic cigarette vapours contain carcinogenic substances in quantities which are frequently much greater than in the case of tobacco smoke”. The message of the agency has become a source of many publications on this subject, which rapidly appeared in the European media.
eSmokingWORLD brings to attention the fact that AFP ”detonated” the publication about the allegedly greater carcinogenicity of e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes in the period of the pre-Christmas shopping peak, which generates up to 30% of annual revenues of companies from the e-cigarette industry. It reveals that the research to which the French agency referred, had been conducted and published in Analytical Sciences by the Japanese National Institute for Public Health already more than a year ago, that is, in December 2013. The company is afraid that the publication of the news by AFP may have a negative impact on the opinions of governmental institutions, which are presently halfway through the advanced legislative work related to the implementation of the Tobacco Directive, which will have a key impact on the future of the whole industry.
- In this context, the publication of the news by AFP at this moment is very dangerous and has a definite economic dimension, even if it contains theses which are indefensible from the scientific point of view and which deny the objective analysis of results of research, which it allegedly presented - says Public Affairs of eSmokingWORLD - Jerzy Jurczyński.
- In many aspects, this is manipulation. We found the research conducted in Japan, which were described by AFP. The researchers discovered only one compound in the e-cigarette’s aerosol, which was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as the compound with proven carcinogenic effect on humans. This is formaldehyde - the compound which is in fact common in our environment in low concentrations. Therefore, talking about the alleged presence of “carcinogenic substances” in the news presented by AFP in plural is pure disinformation. For some mysterious reason, AFP forgot to add that the Japanese research did not confirm the presence of any other of several dozens of carcinogenic substances, which can be found in tobacco smoke and have a considerably stronger carcinogenic effect. It missed such obvious facts even for a layperson that the process of tobacco burning does not occur in e-cigarettes, and for instance, that there is no lethal carbon monoxide in them - says Jerzy Jurczyński from eSmokingWORLD.
He pays attention to the fact that in the research to which eSmokingWORLD reached, the presence of formaldehyde was observed only in three out of twelve tested cigarettes, in the mean concentration ranging between 40 and 61 micrograms/m3 of aerosol. He calculates that in accordance with the assumed method of sample collection, the daily dose of formaldehyde, which could be collected on a daily basis by the vaper using these devices would, therefore, amount to 0.671 microgram. On the other hand, the formaldehyde dose to which a person smoking traditional cigarettes is exposed is on average 0.91 microgram, considering the consumption of 20 cigarettes a day.
- So, the proportions are reverse in comparison to the data which AFP attempted to emphasise in its news for some unknown reasons. We are strongly surprised that such a renowned agency as AFP did not take into account any opinion of independent experts in the presented news, and did not perform a simple verification of the data by specialists – comments Jerzy Jurczyński.
eSmokingWORLD emphasises that the research report of the Japanese National Institute for Public Health to which AFP referred, states clearly that the high level of formaldehyde was found only in one of several studied products - and all this, only when the heater of the device was overheated, that is, in conditions other than the normal use of a commercially available e-cigarette.
- It is no coincidence that the research report contains a photograph showing the burnt, almost charred heater of the tested e-cigarette, in which an increased level of emitted formaldehyde was recorded. The conclusion drawn by AFP that the problem refers to e-cigarettes in general is, therefore, absurd and equally reliable as claiming that washing your face with warm water is dangerous based on experiments with boiling water. - says Jerzy Jurczyński ironically.
In the opinion of the leader of the European e-cigarette market, the news from AFP used by many newspaper editorial offices in Europe has misled all smokers who consider the possibility of smoking e-cigarettes as the less harmful option. According to the survey conducted upon the request of eSmokingWORLD, in Poland 32% of smokers are interested in smoking e-cigarettes, and at present, as many as 1 500 000-1 800 000 persons use them. Independent e-cigarette companies such as eSmokingWorld, run businesses competitive to tobacco concerns and pharmaceutical companies, which manufacture popular products serving the purpose of satisfying the hunger for nicotine.
eSmokingWORLD, which employs over 2 500 employees and is part of the company named CHIC Group will demand that AFP publish a dementi. In the case of refusal, it does not rule out claims for damages.