April 30th, 2016

Anti-vaping zealots write flat-earth letter to The Times

MckeeTimesA remarkably self-regarding letter is published in The Times (London) today.  The writers are reacting with hostility to the outstanding Royal College of Physicians report, Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction, and the very positive editorial in The Times (Vaping Vindicated) that followed its launch.

In my view, their letter is truly dreadful, but it is also very revealing. In this post, I take a look at the arguments they make.

>> read the full post

April 23rd, 2016

E-cigarette impact assessment exposes useless and illegal policy


New logo for the Department of Health?

The UK Department of Health has published an “Impact Assessment” to accompany its implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive (Tobacco and related product regulations, 2016).  As regular readers will know I think Article 20 dealing with e-cigarettes is useless and does little but protect the cigarette trade.  I can report that the new Impact Assessment supports that view – so here I provide a short review. >> read the full post

April 21st, 2016

The tobacco control high command has lost its way - what we learn from its views on FDA priorities

A recent editorial in the journal Tobacco Control discusses what’s wrong with the FDA. In fact, the editorial is more telling about what’s wrong with tobacco control.

Update: my e-letter in Tobacco Control – Missing the point  >> read the full post

April 6th, 2016

Bluffer's guide to FDA regulation of tobacco and nicotine products

FDA puzzle

If you aren’t American, or even if you are, the regulation of tobacco, nicotine, and vape products in the United States can seem bewildering but somehow important. And big decisions could be coming out any time now. So if you want to be on it, here’s my bluffer’s guide to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its approach to tobacco and nicotine products. >> read the full post

April 3rd, 2016

Mayo Clinic progresses from blatantly wrong to deeply misleading


Some trusted health institutions seem unable to cope with the reality of a huge variation in risk between different tobacco products – notably combustible versus non-combustible. If you were paying attention, you may have noticed a subtle change in the Mayo Clinic’s approach to smokeless tobacco last week. >> read the full post

March 18th, 2016

Vaping bans - asking the wrong question

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 07.32.45

Following the dumping of the Wales Public Health Bill and its attempt to ban vaping in public places, the Daily Telegraph covered the story (Plans to ban e-cigarettes in public places defeated) and included an online poll – see above. But I think they ask the wrong questions. These were the questions asked: >> read the full post

March 17th, 2016

Harmful and negligent to ignore unintended consequences of e-cigarette policies

Puzzled male shrugging wearing lab coat

Sorry mate, didn’t intend to kill you

In my paper on regulating recreational drugs: Harms or highs? Regulating narcotics, alcohol and nicotine (2015), I suggested, wishfully perhaps, there is rising awareness of the perils of unintended consequences from well-meaning but misguided policies:

“…there is growing recognition that much harm can be caused by the very policy interventions designed to address drug use, up to and including the destabilisation of entire ‘narco-states’ but including many counter-productive unintended consequences”

There is probably better recognition in illicit drugs policy, where the ‘war on drugs’ is increasingly recognised as a full-scale disaster.  But how is this question playing out for vaping?  Three recent studies should be giving pause for reflection and caution in ‘tobacco control’.  >> read the full post

March 12th, 2016

Brexit: utopia, dystopia or PONCE?


UK trade with EU (ONS data): interdependency will create massive pressure to preserve the status quo

Okay, here are some thoughts on ‘Brexit’ (British exit from the European Union), which is the subject of a UK referendum to be held on 23 June 2016. I’ve added a discussion on implications for vaping and the TPD.

The Brexit Utopia
The Brexit Dystopia
Utopia or Dystopia?
Case study: Brexit and vaping
Case study: history of UK vs EU on vaping
An alternative: PONCE – Policy of Non-Capitulation in Europe

My view… I despise the EU in so many ways: it is unaccountable, wasteful, incompetent, over-reaching, elitist, arrogant, lawless, captured and dishonest.  The more you have to do with it, as we saw recently with the EU Tobacco Products Directive, the more appalling it looks. We witnessed the unedifying spectacle of the amateurish drafting of incompetent but irreversible legislation that will affect millions with no apparent concern for science or evidence while blatantly disregarding even the modest procedural requirements of the EU treaties to consult, prepare impact assessments and minimise burdens. Is anyone accountable? No-one is.

So why am I in favour of the UK remaining in the EU?  >> read the full post

March 10th, 2016

When horror pictures top-trump evidence: a lose-lose situation

Louise Ross, head of the Leicester Stop Smoking Services, took part in a debate on e-cigarette in front of an audience of respiratory nurses.  It didn’t go well.

In this guest blog, Louise describes her experience debating e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction with a consultant in respiratory medicine apparently prepared to say anything to rubbish e-cigarettes.

Her account starts here:

>> read the full post

March 3rd, 2016

Annual quiz on e-cigarettes and harm reduction - 2016

quizFun with a purpose – twelve thought experiments in the form of a quiz designed to interrogate your views on e-cigarettes and harm reduction. >> read the full post