One in four smokes every day in Belgium and Holland
According to numbers from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, 24 percent of Belgians are smoking daily. This is below the European average which is 26 percent.
In Belgium, about 26 percent of the male population smoke daily and almost 22 percent of the women. Five percent of them call themselves "smokers".
Also remarkable is that twenty-two percent answered they stopped smoking. In other words, almost half of the Belgians claim to have smoked in their life. In the southern European countries, this number increases even to almost 75%.
Other European countries
Over 25% of the adults smoke daily in the Netherlands
Especially in Greece (35 percent), Bulgaria (32 percent) and Latvia (30 percent) is smoking more popular. The citizens of Italy, Spain and Portugal are also above the European average.
The fewest smokers can be found in Slovenia (17 percent), Sweden (18 percent) and Finland (19 percent). In short, the more "cold" areas.
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Is France going to ban the public use of e cigs?
The a group led by Bertrand Dautzenberg (Professor pneumology and President of the Office for tobacco) asks for a ban for pregnant women and minors to smoke in France.
Furthermore, they suggest that e-smoking should be banned in public places such as restaurants and cafes. These recommendations were written in a study ordered by the French authorities. According to the OFT, a ban would be a clear signal that smoking in any form (healthy or unhealthy) is not longer accepted.
The public reacts very surprised as recent studies (including two French and British studies) showed that the electronic cigarette improves the health of the smokers.
But another study, done by the University of Athens, should say that the vapor of certain e-cigs may contain harmful substances. The amount of these substances was still very low, but this is according the OFT irrelevant.
Several skeptics question the research methods used at the University of Athens. They should have dry-smoked the cartomizers until the atomizer inside got burned. In real, this does not happen as the e-smoker will immediately taste it and knows this is a signal to change the cartomizer.
The Greek researchers found that the safety was not always optimal with some low-cost e-cigarettes, especially when atomizers started to burn or when the e-cigarette was boosted to a higher temperature at which some e-liquid plant can release harmful substances.
In order not to cause too much panic, the OFT group declared that the doses in the traditional tobacco cigarettes are multiple times higher and more harmful than those found in the electronic cigarette.
It is noticeable that you never see a response from the OFT group when favorable results of the e cigarette are being published. But as soon as something negative rises in the news, you suddenly see them pointing their fingers.
Need for supervision by an official authority
Dautzenberg and his group did recognize that more research is needed. He added that it's still better to follow their precautionary recommendations. Supervision over the safety and quality of ecigarettes are urgently needed. When an official party can do inspections on all devices, we are a big step forward. We do share his opinion.
Currently the the Minister of Health, Mr. Touraine has to decide about the ban. The manufacturers of electric cigarettes are fighting the recommendations. They are not reluctant against rules and inspections, but see no point in prohibiting the e-cigarette in public places. There is also the fact that in America, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not impose any restrictions on use.
What is behind the regulation of e-cigs in the UK?
The decision to regulate e-cigs in 2016, treating this as a medical product has raised mixed feelings. The big tobacco companies blamed for forcing politicians to take action against the electronic cigarette. Yes, this was needed as the e-cig is becoming a real challenger.
Also the big pharma can be blamed for their role in raising obstacles to hamper the growth of e-cigs. The pharma industry fear the e-cig because it's killing their sales of their nicotine replacement products.
But the government is the mostly quilty as they fear a tremendous lack of tax revenues produced on tobacco sales.
The need for regulation has been projected as being essential for ensuring the safety and quality of e-cigs. But so far, their isn't any evidence that the current e-cigs on the market are dangerous. Okay, there is always a chance some unscrupulous manufacturers will sell junk in order to get rich very fast, but that's possible in every industry.
No proof that electronic cigarettes are harmful
E-cigs has proven they help customers to avoid the dangerous consequences of carbon monoxide, tar and other hazardous compounds released through the process of burning tobacco. Electronic cigarettes also have proven they actually help to quit smoking. The results were never obtained by nicotine substitutes like patches or gums. Smoking is not just an addiction to nicotine. Smoking is a ritual and a habit.
Where is the logic?
If regulating e-cigs would be beneficial to public health, one can still wonder at the real intentions of the government, which refuses to ban the by far more unhealthy tobacco cigarette.
Yes, the healthy product get restrictions, and the unhealthy product stays untouched. And all of this because of public health reasons. I don't get it.
Does the electronic cigarette encourage the youth to start smoking?
As electronic cigarettes produce an odorless vapor, they are perfect for mischievous teenagers who secretly want to smoke. The use of electronic smoking devices (eg. shisha pens) has been increased in high schools so much that headmasters are considering to impose a general ban.
Students indeed confirm that the chance of getting caught while e-smoking is very small, even in the classroom. Some students call it a new form of rebellion, but a more milder version.
Because e cigarettes do not contain tobacco, in most countries they are not covered by the smoking laws and therefore they may be used in public.
In most cases, students are using the shisha pen at school. This is actually a nicotine free electronic cigarette with limited power. Because of its lower power, the smoking experience is weak. You need pull much more to enjoy. But these shisha pens actually are pretty harmless and safe. Recently, a control organ in the Netherlands had to confirm this.
Yet skeptics fear that the electronic smoking devices actually encourage the youth to start smoking.
Because the e cigarette don't contain tobacco, there are no age restrictions. Young or old, everyone can buy it. This makes it a very accessible product for teenagers. The wide range of attractive and exotic flavors can contribute that the teens can not resist to start e-smoking, although according to the skeptics.
Furthermore, the skeptics think that young people will move to normal cigarettes in the next stage, just like users of soft drugs easier to take the step to hard drugs. We believe it is pure nonsense and not based on any facts.
Rules and minimum age required
Studies confirm that people that made the switch to the e-cig rarely smoke tobacco afterwards. They can not enjoy regular cigarettes any longer. We see the same with people that stopped smoking and hate even the smell of traditional cigarettes.
I am personally not happy that very young teens have access to the ecig. I agree there should be an age limit. Also, it's not needed to have an endless range of flavors. But this is just my personal opinion. But I believe if these restrictions come, that there are less reasons to ban our e-cigarette in the future.
If such restrictions ever come, then don't mean the skeptics weird right. No, these rules should come only as a precaution and guarantee for the future of e-smoking.
Quit smoking improves cholesterol
According to a U.S. study, quit smoking has a beneficial effect on the cholesterol in the blood. Even when you are gaining weight after stopping, your cholesterol level improves. Researchers came to this conclussion after analyzing 30,000 smokers who were able to stop successfully.
After stopping, people gain on average 10 lbs (4.6kg)in weight. Without stopping people gain 1.5lb (0.7 kg). To men, the HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) improved by 2.4 mg/dL. To woman, this improvement was 2.8 mg/dL. There was no effect on LDL cholesterol, this is the 'bad' cholesterol, with both men and women.
Smokers of tobacco who continued to smoke saw their HDL became 0.1 mg/dL worse. That's mainly due the additional weight gain. The exact reason why the cholesterol is less good with smokers is not yet fully known.
It was found that smokers who were switching to electronic smoking showed the same beneficial effects. Well, not the same, they scored even better because this group gained only limited weight.
Among e-smoking men, the HDL improved with 3 mg/dL and the female e-smokers improved by 3.4 mg/dL. That's really a remarkable improvement.