BAT: Scientific Committee Must Enhance Review Quality

The largest tobacco in Europe wants the European Commission scientific committee to enhance the quality of its ongoing review into e-cigarettes. British American Tobacco (BAT) highlighted several serious flaws in the committee’s research.

“The results of the review may pave the way for revisions to rules that affect millions of vapers across the EU,” BAT stated in a press note. The e-cigarette maker’s response highlights major flaws with the methodology and conclusions of the review.

The company states that, among other issues:

  • Fails to contextualize the risks of e-cigarettes relative to those associated with continued smoking.
  • Makes inaccurate claims regarding e-cigarettes many of which have been widely debunked by the scientific and public health communities.
  • Contains false assumptions that e-cigarette aerosol is the same as tobacco smoke.
  • Neglects landmark independent studies showing that many smokers view e-cigarettes as an acceptable alternative to smoking.
  • Relies on data from non-EU markets and studies on products pre-dating the current Tobacco Products Directive that are not relevant to the current EU context.

The SCHEER Committee (Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks) is an advisory body that was tasked with producing a scientific review of the health effects of e-cigarettes as part of the European Commission’s forthcoming review of the Tobacco Products Directive.

“If future regulations on vaping were to be based on the review as it stands now, they would be based on flawed evidence. We call on the SCHEER Committee to address the serious gaps in the review and reflect the weight of evidence supporting the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes relative to continued smoking,” said Eric Sensi-Minautier, VP EU Affairs at BAT. “It’s important that the Commission bases any change to the rules on vaping on accurate scientific advice that has been conducted to the highest standards, to make sure the millions of European vapers who use e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking can continue to access them. We take the science around e-cigarettes seriously and are leading our own weight of evidence review to advance understanding of this growing product category.”

BAT highlights the need for greater transparency and cooperation between all stakeholders including industry, government, scientists, public health bodies and academics.

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