November 4th, 2019

The US vaping flavour ban: twenty things you should know

The secret weapon against smoking – facing an existential threat from zealous regulators

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American vapers and vaping businesses will shortly enter a period of chaos and existentially threatening regulation. First will be a ban on almost all flavours – everything except tobacco flavour and possibly menthol and mint. That is likely to shut down nearly every vape shop and e-liquid company that isn’t part of a tobacco company. Then by 12 May next year, any surviving vaping companies and will have to comply with the hugely burdensome, opaque and unpredictable pre-market tobacco application process. Going into 2020, the industry will be in crisis and vapers and smokers will be in danger of losing one of the most important innovations of the century.

This post focuses on the first of these – the ban on flavours. Here are twenty things you should know about the US vaping flavour ban.
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October 7th, 2019

A Surge Strategy for Smokefree New Zealand 2025

I have been pleased to collaborate with ASH (New Zealand) – Action for Smokefree 2025 – on a report on how vaping and other low-risk technologies could help get New Zealand back on track to meet its high profile target to have less than 5% smoking by 2025. The report is called: A Surge Strategy for Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.

…and these are all available here on the ASH Zealand web site.

Key features of wider interest include a focus on: (1) inequities (Māori smoking rates are over 30% and tax-driven policies add a further inequitable burden of harm to marginalised groups); (2) the concept of ‘risk-proportionate regulation’ as a framework to exploit the major opportunity while containing the relatively minor risks.

I include below the main report executive summary (more detailed than the two-page summary above): >> read the full post

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.

>> read the full post

August 14th, 2019

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

…and VAPING IS SMOKING

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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