Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are much more likely to recognise the reduced risk of e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine products if they have some knowledge of the subject, new research has revealed.
A survey conducted by market researchers ECigIntelligence and TobaccoIntelligence found that 70 per cent of MEPs with some knowledge of e-cigarettes considered them less harmful than smoking, against just 41 per cent of MEPs with no knowledge of the topic.
“When it comes to politicians’ perceptions of new nicotine products, accurate information appears to make all the difference,” said Tim Phillips, managing director of ECigIntelligence and TobaccoIntelligence.
“The MEPs with knowledge of these products generally realise that they carry less risk than smoking – but those lacking knowledge often don’t understand that. The implications for policy across Europe are clear.”
The difference in MEPs’ attitudes was even more pronounced with two other new types of product, heated tobacco (also called “heat not burn”) and nicotine pouches.
For heated tobacco, 74 per cent of MEPs with some knowledge considered it less harmful than smoking, but only 32 per cent of those lacking knowledge agreed.
And for nicotine pouches, almost all MEPs with knowledge of the products – 94 per cent – considered them less harmful than smoking, but among those with no knowledge the figure fell to 26 per cent.