April 7th, 2017

In cheap publicity stunt Royal Society of Public Health sounds a fake alarm about a non-problem

Life-saving retail outlet serving adults – no need for ‘public health’ to be involved (note: photo not UK)

Today the Royal Society of Public Health is pitching its ‘undercover investigation’ into vape shops selling stuff to adults who don’t smoke. Naturally, the primary purpose of this exercise has little to do with public health but is a publicity stunt for an ailing organisation in a declining field that offers ever less to the public or to health.

Here’s the release: Undercover investigation finds 9 in 10 vape shops prepared to sell to non-smokers – and some predictable media have duly obliged the RSPH’s lust for publicity with the uncritical reporting we have come to expect in this field.

I have written to this Royal Society of Public Health explaining why I am “dismayed and disappointed” by such a cheap stunt. Here’s the letter: >> read the full post

March 4th, 2017

Challenging the proposed e-cigarette prohibition in Taiwan

Vaping in Taiwan – the approaching darkness of prohibition or a new dawn for rational policy-making?

The government of Taiwan has been consulting on amendment its Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act. Article 14 of the amendment bill bans the manufacture, import, sale, and display of e-cigarettes (unless authorised as a pharmaceutical product).  See newspaper coverage.  The original Taiwan Chinese language bill is available online and a vendor has produced a summary in English.

See my full response here (PDF) and the summary below

Obviously, I strongly advise against this measure. E-cigarettes present an important strategy to reduce the harm caused by smoking and offer a way to achieve rapid reductions in smoking through market-based means. There is no evidence anywhere in the world that e-cigarettes add to harms associated with smoking.

The danger of a prohibition of e-cigarettes is that it will protect the cigarette trade from competition, increase smoking and harm health. This is exactly the opposite of what the Act and the government are trying to achieve. The summary page is below.  >> read the full post

February 27th, 2017

Are e-liquid flavours really 'hooking another generation of kids'?

Attraction to vaping? Or attraction from smoking? Or just a consumer preference?

Predictably, depressingly, the US anti-vaping lobby has mobilised against a new Cole-Bishop Bill, HR 1136 that would hold off near complete destruction of the industry by grossly disproportionate FDA deeming regulation and implement the first steps in a sensible reshaping of American tobacco policy. But look at the argument they used.

“By working on what purports to be a technical change, “ Myers said, “ it leaves on the market the candy and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes that are so popular among young people.”

“You can put any gloss on it you want, this is the tobacco industry’s effort to continue to market flavored tobacco products to hook another generation of kids.

You hear this narrative a lot: regulators protecting kids from industry predators bearing flavours as bait. But I just wonder whether the anti-vaping activists have paused to even think about flavours and teens at all. 

To evaluate the demand to regulate these flavours (by which they mean ban them) you first need a framework for thinking about the issue – and that is not simple and may yield surprises.

Here is how I would think about this… >> read the full post

February 16th, 2017

Hold the Mayo

Get a grip…

Once again the Mayo Clinic indulges in unethical and misleading risk communications in the form of a new article on e-cigarettes,  promoting fear and confusion and dissuading smokers from trying them.

Mayo clinic: Electronic cigarettes: Not a safe way to light up 

>> read the full post

February 16th, 2017

Australian medicines regulator intends to continue to protect the cigarette trade - we challenge its bizarre reasoning

Solid as a rock?  The TGA justification for banning e-liquids certainly isn’t

This post summarises and gives background to a new harsh-but-fair submission on nicotine classification in Australia – go straight to it > here

In Australia, nicotine is classed as a poison unless in a form exempted from the poison schedules.  There are two relevant exemptions: for veterinary or medical use (e.g. NRT) or when nicotine is in the form of:

…tobacco prepared and packed for smoking

This has the effect of making manufacture, import or sale of nicotine e-liquids illegal in most circumstances [see note]. It also bars smokeless tobacco, heated tobacco products, and other low-risk non-combustibles from the market of 2.8 million adult smokers (16 percent of the adult population), while bizarrely granting exclusive market access to cigarettes and other combustible products. So this is obviously insane, so there has been an attempt to change that. >> read the full post