August 8th, 2018

South Africa draft tobacco Bill - protects cigarette trade and denies smokers options to quit

South Africa smoking prevalence – Tobacco Atlas

Source: South Africa Factsheet – Tobacco Atlas

David Abrams, Ray Niaura, David Sweanor and I have submitted comments on the draft tobacco and vaping legislation under discussion in South Africa. South Africa is always influential in low and middle income countries, especially in Africas, and is always an important player in WHO meetings.

The draft legislation is almost completely disproportionate in its approach to tobacco harm reduction technologies. It mostly treats reduced-risk products as though they are the same as smoking products. The alternative philosophy, which we advocate, is to adopt ‘risk proportionate regulation’ that encourages (or rather, does not inhibit) smokers from using vaping, novel nicotine products, heated tobacco or smokeless tobacco products to quit smoking.

Our full 20-page submission is here.

The short summary is reproduced below. >> read the full post

May 1st, 2018

The urge to ban: 10 questions to ask first

Clive Bates from The E-Cigarette Summit U.S. 2018

My presentation from the E-cigarette Summit (US) 30 April 2018 – video (top) and PowerPoint slides (below).

>> read the full post

April 9th, 2018

The US media is losing its mind over vaping and Juul - the questions a credible journalist should ask

Losing perspective?

Update 30 April 2018 JUUL: hold the moral panic

Introducing a modern moral panic

Over the weekend in an aside in my long blog about the sophistry of anti-vaping activists,  I mentioned the unfolding moral panic about vaping and, especially, Juul e-cigarettes among teens (see the quote from the blog below for background). I want to add to this with some views on appropriate journalistic inquiry and suggest a line of sceptical questioning a credible journalist could use.   >> read the full post

April 6th, 2018

Ten perverse intellectual contortions: a guide to the sophistry of anti-vaping activists

This puts it nicely:

Life is short and shorter for smokers. Just legalise vaping.

That statement is a plain-speaking and hyper-concise dissenting report from Andrew Laming MP, one of two dissenting reports from Australia’s recently-completed parliamentary inquiry into vaping  (The other dissenting report provides a model of clear, concise reasoning too, and, unusually, the dissent came from the committee chairman, signalling a welcome fracture in Australia’s political support for prohibition)

Though short, it is basically right and sufficient: no-one is trying to live forever; everyone is trying to enjoy the life they have; some people like the drug nicotine or don’t want to quit enough to stop using it; smokers die earlier because of smoke; vaping avoids the smoke problem and does not appear to create new material problems; so it follows that vaping should not be illegal. In fact, it should be encouraged.  It really is that simple.

The dissenting reports prompt me to raise the issue of simplicity versus sophistry in the debate over tobacco harm reduction. This has bugged me for years. Vaping and tobacco harm reduction is basically simple. The arguments raised against it by anti-vaping opponents are laden with sophistry.

This blog looks at ten forms of sophistry used by anti-vaping activists to fabricate and fuel faux controversy. It is longer than I would like,  but the subject is far from exhausted. Please dip in.

>> read the full post

March 20th, 2018

Looking back, but forwards too - guest posting by Louise Ross

Out there, on your side – Louise Ross puts the public back into public health

As she retires a hero to many in the field of tobacco harm reduction and public health, Louise Ross has penned this blog, which starts below… >> read the full post