> ANSA English > News

E-cigarette advocates say bad press, taxes killing sector

Sales slump 50% in 2013, 60% of shops out of business

12 December, 17:06
E-cigarette advocates say bad press, taxes killing sector (ANSA) - Rome, December 12 - Bad press and new taxes are threatening the electronic-cigarette sector in Italy, an e-cigarette business leader announced on Thursday at a presentation in Rome.

"In 2013, electronic cigarette sales fell by 50%, equal to about 350 million euros in 2012, and if something doesn't change, the situation can only get worse," said Massimiliano Mancini, president of Anafe-Confindustria, the e-cigarette division of the Italian industrialists' group Confindustria.

"In 2012, there were 6,000 stores in operation. Now about 60% of them have closed their doors," he added.

Mancini blamed taxes that from 2014 onward "will equate the electronic cigarette with a traditional cigarette" and "media attacks based on news of the supposed toxicity of the product".

Alfonso Siano of the e-cigarette shop advocacy group Italian Electronic Smoking League (LIFE-Federcontribuenti) accused the Italian press and government of "raging" against e-cigarettes "despite the favourable opinion that the electronic cigarette has had by a large part of the scientific community". "If Professor (Umberto) Veronesi said that electronic cigarettes can help traditional smokers, I don't understand why we shouldn't believe him," agreed Italian television host and e-cigarette celebrity advocate Rita Dalla Chiesa.

Umberto Veronesi is a former Italian health minister, prominent oncologist, and cancer-prevention-and-treatment advocate.