October 18th, 2014

Professor Gerry Stimson – reaction to WHO FCTC position on e-cigarettes (ENDS)

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 14.45.06

UPDATE: The E-cigarette (‘ENDS’) final language

Statement On the Declaration of the 6th Conference of the Parties of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). 

By Professor Gerry Stimson*, Emeritus Professor at Imperial College, London and co-director of Knowledge-Action-Change (KAC) >> read the full post

October 13th, 2014

Guest blog by Louise Ross: Whose health are we talking about?

Intro by Clive Bates. You may remember Louise Ross’s brilliant first outing on this blog: Let there be light!. Louise runs the NHS Stop Smoking Service in Leicester and she was full of optimism for the potential of vaping to help smokers quit smoking.   She has carried on the mission and inspired and enthused many others.  But here, in a new guest blog,  she explains her anger and ‘speechless sadness’ at the damage caused by WHO when it published its report on ‘Electronic Nicotine delivery Systems’ (e-cigarettes) in August – criticised in full in my detailed report and letter to COP6 delegates.

The good thing is that Louise has renewed determination. She is an example to us all… and the truth will eventually prevail.

Louise Ross’s guest blog starts here… 

photo for article


>> read the full post

October 10th, 2014

Totally Wicked legal challenge to the Tobacco Products Directive e-cigarette measures


Where the hubris and ignorance of European Union legislators is brought painfully to account

On Monday 6th October, the ‘Totally Wicked’ challenge to Article 20 (electronic cigarettes) of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) passed an important milestone: the High Court of Justice – Administrative Court has now referred several questions addressing the legality of provisions on e-cigarettes to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) – see Guardian write up. It’s a good moment to look at what the case involves – so here is a briefing for the non-lawyer.  >> read the full post

October 9th, 2014

Review of the FCA COP-6 position on e-cigarettes

FCA position on ENDS

Not bad. But good enough?

On 7 October 2014, the Framework Convention Alliance, the largest alliance of NGOs that attend and lobby in the WHO FCTC meetings, published its COP-6 policy brief on ENDS (e-cigarettes).  Its policy briefing sets a out a position that reflects a careful navigation through the middle ground between the pro- and anti- harm reduction factions in that alliance, while basically not saying too much that is wrong or likely to cause harm. It is a real achievement that they reached agreement at all, given how polarising this issue is within that community.  The paper is a positive contribution to the negotiations and important corrective to the stance taken by WHO. Some more thoughts: >> read the full post

September 30th, 2014

Letter to delegates to FCTC COP-6


Looks lovely…  but is it?

Here’s my first open letter to delegates to the WHO FCTC COP-6 to be held in Moscow 13-18 October.  See also COP-6 resource page on Nicotine Science & Policy site.

Update 3 Oct the United States has pulled out of the meeting (see report). US is a an observer not a party, but outside the health world that will make no difference to the significance of this.  Who will attend now? Narrow minded insular WHO and the FCTC Bureau failed to recognise this political pot-hole. I think the COP6 should go ahead to avoid creating yet more waste – but it will be a tawdry meeting with questionable legitimacy. Update 11 Oct: Canada is out. Australia thinking about walking.

>> read the full post

September 28th, 2014

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle applied

bullshit asymmety principle

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

There are three problems increasingly evident in ‘tobacco control’ science when it comes to tobacco harm reduction:

  1. Contrived and phoney research designed to support pre-existing policy preferences (see previous post).
  2. Spin by scientists and activists designed to create some sort of moral panic or adverse change in risk perception out of absolutely nothing.
  3. The exhaustion of rational, fair-minded and ethical actors arising from Brandolini’s law: the bullshit asymmetry principle – see his seminal tweet.

All three drain the energy and time of real scientists, consumers and legitimate public health advocates. They distort regulatory and legislative decisions and create false perceptions of risk in the media and general public. All are evident in the following study:

Goniewicz ML, Lee L.  Electronic Cigarettes Are a Source of Thirdhand Exposure to Nicotine Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2014.

>> read the full post

September 26th, 2014

Falsely exaggerating risks scares people off things – new study finds

Let’s put this on e-cigarettes! That’ll teach ‘em…

A promising contender has emerged for the coveted Worst Published Paper of All Time award…   >> read the full post

September 16th, 2014

Memo to public health grandees: vaping, vapers and you

public health

No, you keep calm

Dear Public Health Grandees (you know who you are)

I consider myself a public health advocate and, though I’m not a vaper and have never smoked, I support vaping as a tobacco harm reduction strategy, with enormous potential to reduce death and disease globally.  It’s a good approach for public health as it doesn’t require prohibitions, coercion, punitive taxes or rely on fear and it goes with the grain of behaviour and what people want. I thought it might help you if I explained what I have learned about vaping and vapers, and why your relationship with them is so poor. You can also read very articulate views from vapers about your attitude to them at the links below. >> read the full post

August 27th, 2014

Appalling spin – a letter to a WHO spokesman

Original image removed at the request of WHO Legal Counsel

Updated: To say yesterday’s announcements from WHO were disappointing would rather understate the case.  The package of paper, press comment and tweets, looked at in the round was anti-scientific, unethical and harmful.  It led directly to a dreadful article in the Telegraph: ‘I thought my e-cigarette was a miracle. Turns out, I was smoking the equivalent of 40-a-day’ as an entirely foreseeable outcome of its onslaught against e-cigarettes.   It was made all the more galling by having to listen to WHO spokesman Armando Peruga on the BBC Six O’Clock Radio news talking complete nonsense.  Today I decided to write him a letter.

>> read the full post

August 26th, 2014

WHO on e-cigarettes – protecting cigarette sales and causing more disease and death

Original image removed at the request of WHO Legal Counsel

Following publication of WHO’s paper on e-cigs for the FCTC COP-6 meeting in Moscow the statement below went out to media from Professor Gerry Stimson. I agree with all of it, but think he is far too polite.  My initial reaction was as below (Update 15 Sept 2014: a more complete analysis is now available):  >> read the full post