August 30th, 2015

Lipstick on a pig: response to consultation on the Tobacco Products Directive


I responded to the Department of Health consultation on implementing the EU Tobacco Products Directive [documents / consultation]. The on-line survey system accessible from the consultation page is by far the easiest way to respond. Closes 3rd September 2015.

To be candid, I find this consultation quite patronising. In the manner of putting lipstick on a pig, they are not consulting on the Directive itself – that is irrevocably fixed (albeit subject to legal action that could strike it down), but on implementation detail.

The part of the directive itself that deals with e-cigarettes (Article 20) was never subject to consultation.

Unsurprisingly it amounts to little more than pointless bureaucratic harassment – see why here.  So this consultation deals only with options allowed within the fixed terms directive. I was thinking of not responding, but figured any opportunity to discourage the creation of an even bigger mess should be taken.  The big mistakes were made in October 2013 – this consultation is a consequence.

My response below – questions not answered are greyed out. PS. if you respond, please give your own thoughts, in your own words, politely and constructively.

What I really think is at at Q.24 and 25.

Responses to questions start here:

>> read the full post

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August 19th, 2015

Public Health England says truthful realistic things about e-cigarettes

Credible expert review commissioned by committed public health authority

Today sees a new e-cigarettes assessment from England’s public health authority, Public Health England. It includes an excellent evidence review by Professors Ann McNeill and Peter Hajek and their colleagues. Great kudos must go to Kevin Fenton, Rosanna O’Connor, Martin Dockrell and their colleague at PHE who have been determined to get this issue right – to maximise the benefits and to take an evidence-based approach to managing the risks.

The package is here: E-cigarettes: an evidence update comprising:

It has had great media traction in the UK (Google news) though with perhaps too much emphasis on whether the National Health Service should pay for e-cigarettes – something that would be only permitted when medically licensed products become available (see comment on this below). But the overall endorsement of vaping as a harm reduction strategy for public health is strong and compelling. Also see the statement of the New Nicotine Alliance:

Key messages – from the short briefing on implications for policy and practice…. >> read the full post

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August 18th, 2015

JAMA paper finds some adolescents experiment with stuff – so what?

Actually, they explore correlations not causation

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a paper [1] looking at what happens to 14 year old adolescents from Los Angeles County schools who had never smoked tobacco products, but had used an e-cigarette at least once.  Unsurprisingly, some of these teenagers go on to smoke. Unsurprisingly, some commentators will claim this study shows a gateway effect. Before a new moral panic takes hold, there are three main points to draw out: >> read the full post

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July 23rd, 2015

Tasmania consults on better protections for cigarettes and new ways to promote cancer

Tasmania deaths

Tasmanian smokers to be offered choice: quit or die!

Tasmania consults on better protections for cigarettes and new ways to promote cancer… Okay, that’s not quite how they put it.

But they have been consulting on further turns of the prohibitionist screw on e-cigarettes.   I have collaborated with the excellent folk at the New Nicotine Alliance UK (NNA) to respond to the consultation – our attempt at solidarity across the hemispheres with benighted vapers and the potential vapers denied choices for no reason.

Consultation information: Consultation page / Discussion paper.

Response by NNA and Counterfactual: Response (PDF) / Response (MS Word download)

>> read the full post

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July 11th, 2015

Louise Ross: what does ‘ecig-friendly’ really mean?


“work with them, listen to them, encourage them, and respect them”

In this guest blog, Louise Ross – a pioneer of applied tobacco harm reduction – asks what it means to run e-cig friendly support services for smokers.  Update 4 September 2015: French language article about Louise and translation of this blog on Vapoliique: Stop-tabac de Leicester (UK): l’expérience ecig friendly >> read the full post

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