September 9th, 2019

Leaked papers: WHO to intensify its pointless and destructive war against innovation - expect many dead

The enemies of innovation are on manoeuvres

This week there will be a meeting of tobacco regulators under auspices of the FDA-funded WHO Global Tobacco Regulators’ Forum (GTRF) in the Netherlands and part of the preparation for FCTC COP-9, which will be held in 2020, also the Netherlands.  Two leaked papers from WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) suggest that WHO is building up to an attempt to treat reduced risk products no differently to cigarettes or with even greater hostility.

  1. EMRO Paper on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems
  2. EMRO Paper on Heated Tobacco Products

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August 29th, 2019

Lancet commentary - Nicotine without smoke: fighting the tobacco epidemic with harm reduction

Abstinence-only or alternatives?

I am proud to be a co-author of a commentary published today in The Lancet: Nicotine without smoke: fighting the tobacco epidemic with harm reduction (PDF) with Robert Beaglehole (lead author), Ruth Bonita and Ben Youdan. In a nutshell, we take issue with the anti-innovation stance of WHO and many groups working in public health:

Vaping and other smoke-free products have the potential to reduce the enormous harm of smoked tobacco products. The stakes of getting policy responses to smoke-free products wrong are high, especially if such restrictions stop millions of the world’s smokers accessing safer alternatives. It is disappointing that in its latest tobacco report,[3] WHO clings to outdated orthodoxy when it could embrace innovation. Equating smoke-free products with cigarettes only serves to protect the stranglehold of the cigarette trade on the world’s nicotine users and will nullify the potential of modern tobacco harm reduction strategies.

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August 14th, 2019

Vaping risk compared to smoking: challenging a false and dangerous claim by Professor Stanton Glantz

…and VAPING IS SMOKING

Read or print this blog as a formatted PDF.

In this blog, I examine an extraordinary claim by Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco. Professor Glantz claims that the US public is right to believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking and that science is now catching up with public opinion.

This claim is profoundly and dangerously false, and it demands a challenge.  Professor Glantz makes his claim in a commentary in response to a substantive paper on perceptions of the relative risk of smoking and vaping. Both articles appeared in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open.  This blog is a 13,000-word review looking in detail at Professor Glantz’s 700-word commentary and its supporting citations, examining thirteen claims that form the basis of the overall claim.  I am hoping the critique provided here will be a useful primer to some of the arguments in this controversial field.

For navigation, there is a table of contents. >> read the full post

May 15th, 2019

Rethinking tobacco and nicotine - a Twitter chat

I’ve just taken part in a Twitter chat on tobacco harm reduction with an Africa focus. The chat was organised by the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (@GoingSmokefree) with hashtag #SaferAlternatives. I thought it would be good to preserve it in one place and invite more comments and questions. You can access the tweets from here to comment, and please use the hashtag and tag me if you would like a response. Disagreement and debate welcome! Trolls, not so much.

I’ve grouped the Twitter discussion into thirteen themes that came up…

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April 17th, 2019

Bizarre FDA vaping retail restrictions more likely to do harm than good

Caught in its auto-induced moral panic about the teen vaping epidemic, the FDA has decided that it would be better if certain vaping products were harder to get hold of than cigarettes, and the ones that were easiest to get hold of should be the ones most like cigarettes – tobacco and menthol flavour. This seems entirely mad to me and riddled with the potential for unintended consequences that would increase smoking in both adults and adolescents.

Needless to say, FDA has not acknowledged or assessed possible unintended consequences – yet these are likely to overwhelm any possible benefits.

So I decided to put in a comment on the measures on that theme. First, some background then my comment.
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