November 27th, 2014

Misleading the public for their own good? Changing the warnings on snus


Misleading labels implicitly exaggerating risk?  These are the current U.S. snus warnings

What sort of ‘warnings’ should go on tins of snus? Modern snus use is probably around 98% less risky than smoking – but do the regulatory ‘risk communications’ in the form of these warnings really reflect that?  Do they give the consumer useful information that helps them make decisions about which risks they are willing to bear and the options they have to reduce risks associated with tobacco or nicotine use?   It’s an interesting time for these questions: the United States is in the middle of a process that might lead changes to these warnings on some snus packaging.

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November 22nd, 2014

Wells Fargo second annual e-cig conference – some reflections

Photo: Clive Bates taken at Wells Fargo event 20 November 2014

The switch to 2nd generation products arrested the decline of NJOY

I participated as a panel member in the Wells Fargo Securities Second Annual E-cig Conference, chaired by Bonnie Herzog, the lead beverage and tobacco sector analyst at Wells Fargo.  It was a fascinating occasion and good moment to take the temperature of the vapour market – at least as seen through the eyes of the main American players (agenda). I’m not going to write the whole thing up, but just give some overall impressions and my reflections on and after the day. >> read the full post

November 17th, 2014

Scientific sleight of hand: constructing concern about ‘particulates’ from e-cigarettes

diesel fumes

A source of environmental particulates – but nothing like e-cigarette vapour

The opponents of e-cigarettes have determined that ‘ultrafine particles’ or ‘particulates’ are an issue they can work with.  But this campaigning gambit, it turns out, involves a crude scientific sleight of hand. We’ll explore this by looking at some examples and the appropriate responses. >> read the full post

November 2nd, 2014

Bullying traits and public health values compared


Banksy sums it up (via @therealbanksy)

I know some people find the attack on vapers and vaping by elements of the public health establishment stressful and anxiety-inducing. I’m one of them, and I’m not even a vaper or smoker, whose health and wellbeing may in part be determined by what these people say and do. I think it is so stressful because the interaction has many of the traits associated with bullying.  

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October 24th, 2014

Doctors, smoking and money

Puzzled male shrugging wearing lab coat

Doctors: incentivised by payments for activity

Updated 26/10. The new NHS Five Year view was published this week*.  There was much wailing about an £8 billion ‘black hole’ in the finances, and stirring exhortation about ‘Getting Serious on Prevention‘.  The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, declared he “wants a smoke-free Britain”.

Not serious to the point of recognising that 700,000 ex-smokers are vapers, and that this massive prevention effect has happened without public spending and without the public health and medical establishments doing anything (other than trying to obstruct it).  If they were truly radical, the leadership of the NHS would recognise this consumer based strategy for its enormous potential and get to work on making it happen rather than sabotage it. Oddly, the doctors’ trade union, the BMA, has taken one of the most hostile lines on vaping.  Is that a mistake? Or could there be money involved? >> read the full post