A public health academic is forceful and direct with the misguided opponents and over-zealous regulators of e-cigarettes. He describes the presentation of World Health Organisation’s Roberto Bertollini to a European Parliament workshop as ‘appalling’. This is a measured, compassionate, but quietly angry and exasperated interview by one of Europe’s leading experts on e-cigarettes, Professor Jean-François Etter.
To coincide with World No Tobacco Day 2013 (theme: are you being manipulated?), I attended a workshop in the European Parliament: Do tobacco control measures reduce tobacco use: evidence from research and practice. Frankly, it was quite irksome at times. I finally felt obliged to tackle one of the speakers: here’s what happened…
MEPs on the European Parliament’s ENVI committee are about to consider 1,360 amendment proposals to the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive. I’ve written to them with suggestions on what to do and what not to do to get the best deal for consumers and public health.
I felt moved to write to MEPs…
To: the ENVI committee rapporteur for the Tobacco Products Directive, Linda McAvan MEP
CC: ENVI MEPs
7 May 2013
Dear Ms McAvan
I wanted to make a few points about the draft tobacco products directive, your draft report and some of the points raised by you and other [...]
Warning: nicotine may induce authoritarian urges, warped judgements and loss of purpose
Smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes and novel nicotine products have astonishing potential to reduce the expected one billion premature deaths from tobacco in the 21st Century. Yet some health organisations are spreading misinformation, stoking up unwarranted fears and pretending there is much [...]
Completely counter-productive assessment of the value of e-cigarettes
Oh dear … Israel planning to ban e-cigarettes. I’ve responded to the consultation as below. You’ll need Google translate (the screen shot above is generated by Google) and I ended up sending my response to the site administrator as it was rejected by the web [...]
…a couple of interesting pieces on e-cigarettes in The Economist magazine.
No smoke. Why the fire? and E-cigarettes: Vape ’em if you got ’em
What to make of this…?
It was painful to go through the European Commission’s attempt to justify the continuing ban on ‘snus’ (or ‘oral tobacco’ as it is known in Brussels). It’s hard to imagine a worse case of evidence being massaged into supporting a pre-determined policy conclusion – the conclusion is that beloved of bureaucrats everywhere: we were right [...]
Letter to The Times, 14 March 2013 on how misguided excessive regulation threatens one of the most promising technologies for public health – the e-cigarette.
Campaigning by so-called health groups to ban much less hazardous alternatives to smoking is dangerous, unethical, lazy with facts and utterly without regard for the people they are supposedly trying to help – see my detailed post Death by regulation. But they go to a whole new level of awfulness – evil maybe – when [...]
Is it right to ban certain types of smokeless tobacco from sale in the European Union? The short and unequivocal answer is ’no’.
But surely banning any type of tobacco can only reduce the size of the overall tobacco market and therefore be good for health? No, not at all, it just isn’t that simple… [...]
I don’t want to do a full scale critique of biofuels – not least because that would be to enter an already crowded field [see Biofuelwatch and Global Subsidies Initiative, for example]. But it’s worth looking at how narrowly-focussed, bottom-up policy-making now means we have somehow put the most financial support into [...]
One of the big questions for me is whether we devote too much land to farming and not enough to land use for wildlife, wilderness, woodland, places to walk and places to live etc. that is land for its ‘amenity’ value or for development. About 70% of England is given over to farming and only [...]
If you want to say something absolutely jaw-dropping in its idiocy, then you need to cloak it in lots of fake sophistication. And this is what ASH Scotland has done with its new position paper on smokeless tobacco.
No less than 266 references are used to support the truly stupid idea that smokeless [...]
As an employee of the Environment Agency, I am increasingly asked “what an earth is going on with all this flooding?”.
Is climate change to blame?
Maybe, but only maybe – and maybe not. There has been highest rainfall in parts of England since records began in 1766 (Met Office stats), but many have leapt [...]
There has been a kind of omertà over talking too much about adapting to climate change – to do so would surely be an act of resignation, a distraction from reducing emissions and effectively a ‘gated community’ mentality by rich countries that would look after themselves and build walls to keep out the poor.
I awoke today to the depressing sound of an eminent climate scientist arguing that other eminent climate scientists were going too far in making alarming statements about climate change. The self-styled purist was gathering at a Sense about Science meeting and was heroically guarding the pristine truths of science from the barbarians of the American [...]
In many ways the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (known by aficionados as ‘AR4′) from the physical science working group confirms much we had already taken to be established beyond reasonable doubt (see summary). A huge impulse (greenhouse gas increases) is being applied to a complex physical system (atmosphere, oceans and carbon cycle) and modellers are [...]
Oh dear…. the creationists have returned to planet earth and appear to be fanning out from their landing site in the United States. After a week away, I see a Newsnight podcast on creationism in schools, following a Guardian report, Revealed: rise of creationism in UK schools stating that 59 schools are apparently using new [...]
A couple of interesting reports on R&D… firstly the DTI’s R&D Scoreboard 2006, where clearly more is better – at least one assumes that’s the purpose of creating lists and league tables ordered by the sums spent (see chart from the report showing the world’s biggest R&D spenders). Note the big spenders are not necessarily [...]
Several interesting meetings last week… including with:
the Sustainable Development Commission and National Consumer Council on their I will if you will report on sustainable consumption and production; the government’s new Office of Climate Change on reducing carbon emissions from the housing stock [see interesting 40 percent house concept]; stimulating brainstorming session on the [...]
How to interpret England’s 1-0 victory against Paraguay? On the one hand it was a win. On the other hand, it was only just a win, a poor performance marred by defensive tactics and bad subsititutions that allowed the Paraguay into the game. This might have revealed England’s deeper weaknesses. One guide is betting markets, [...]
Another solemn cheque-signing [BBC report] and confirmation that, at €10 billion, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) will be the second most expensive experiment of all time. Fusion scientists are pulling a fast one playing on gullibility and vanity of politicians… in return for hugely expensive and enjoyable research spend they are offering the empty [...]
Should the NHS fund complementary medicine? Some top medics say ‘no’. Scientists are often too quick to dismiss treatments that work outside their own paradigm – and we need to stay open-minded about this stuff. But the question is, as always with the NHS, should someone else pay? The NHS is based on an implicit [...]
It’s hard not to dislike intensely Professor Sir Roy Meadow – the ‘expert’ witness that consigned Angela Canning to gaol and her family to utter misery on the basis of completely incompetent statistical assertions designed to shore up his idiosyncratic theories about sudden infant death syndrome. And he has never even apologised.
So good news [...]