December 4th, 2013
The WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation ’TobReg‘ is meeting in Rio de Janeiro 4-6 December. This group is important – or it will be if WHO listens to it and acts on its advice. Its previous reports have added to understanding and pointed the way to a rational approach to regulating reduced risk tobacco and nicotine products. However, there are rumours that WHO finds its advice unwelcome and its account of the truths inconvenient, and would like to replace it with working groups from the parties to the FCTC. I hope that does not happen.
So I would like to write a note to the TobReg to encourage it to keep up its good work, and to keep the focus on the billion deaths WHO expects to be caused by smoking in the 21st Century. >> read the full post
December 2nd, 2013
A new proposal? For e-cigs the proposal is now five times the size and completely different to the original (word counts don’t include recitals)
From behind closed doors in Brussels, an utter mess is emerging from the EU on regulation of nicotine containing products such as e-cigarettes. Officials who seem to know very little about these products and appear to care even less about the users and the potential, are in a frantic huddle making up new legislation as they go along. The chart above shows how the text is ballooning with new ideas for rules, restrictions and burdens (see the evolving texts here), most of which will cause more harm. The idea of further ‘strengthening’ e-cigarette regulation would have the twin counterproductive effects of:
(i) in many different ways, weakening the appeal of e-cigarettes relative to cigarettes, therefore reducing switching and causing more harm to health, and;
(ii) by raising significant barriers to entry, wiping out many legitimate e-cigarette small businesses and aiding tobacco and pharmaceutical companies in dominating the e-cigarette market (see investment analyst views).
Much of what is proposed is unjustified, violating principles of proportionality, non-discrimination and the requirement for a proper legal base – in this case, for development of the internal market. It seems many of those involved in Council discussions have forgotten or never realised that these products are beneficial for health and represent a huge opportunity to displace smoking with something 99% less dangerous.
There are two ways to address this woeful state of affairs:
>> read the full post
November 25th, 2013
The special room in European Commission headquarters where new legislation is thought up
Late last week the European Commission circulated a confidential new proposal for regulating e-cigarettes. The document was sent only to those negotiating the future of e-cigarettes behind closed doors in Brussels – representatives of the European Parliament and European Council. This isn’t a final proposal, but it provides the negotiators with something to discuss. The Nicotine Science and Policy website has obtained the document, and it is here (Update – all texts now here). It is quite frankly appalling – lacking any legitimacy in public health or internal market policy-making… Make no mistake, if implemented this proposal bans every product on the market today and would severely limit options for future products - and may make it commercially unviable to develop in future.
The main troubling features include: >> read the full post
October 31st, 2013
The British Medical Association has written to a number of football clubs urging them to end sponsorship deals with e-cigarette companies and to ban the use of e-cigarettes at their football grounds. I think the lines taken by the BMA are scientifically flawed and likely to cause harm by making it harder for people to quit smoking by switching to vaping. They stress minute obscure risks and ignore huge potential benefits, and they argue with an authority not backed by the quality of science argument. So here is an anonymised example of the letters they have been sending, along with how I would reply if I was an organisation on the receiving end of this. >> read the full post
October 21st, 2013
The investment analysts are always interesting on tobacco and e-cigs, and in a usefully dispassionate ‘follow-the-money’ kind of way.
Here’s a small collection of quotes I’ve seen in recent analyst reports mainly as they relate to regulation of e-cigarettes. I don’t see all reports of course so this is necessarily selective. For ease of reference, I have highlighted some parts of quotes in red – these are my emphasis. The bold emphasis is in the original.
>> read the full post