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

March 13th, 2018

Public health experts rally to support US legislative initiative on vaping

Experts send a message to Congress – do the right thing on vaping and pass the Cole-Bishop language

Just out, a statement from the National Tobacco Reform Initiative –  a group of senior figures and experts in public health and tobacco control – supporting a substantial change to the legislation governing vaping products in the United States. This statement supports what is known as the Cole-Bishop rider to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill (the rider is at section 753).  This language has the following main effects:

  1. Allows all vaping products that were on the US market in 2016 to stay on the market by waiving the requirement for ‘pre-market review’ (s.910), the most onerous and damaging regulatory burden – the same kind of grandfathering that was offered to cigarettes in 2009, when the Tobacco Control Act come into effect
  2. It does not waive other requirements under the Tobacco Control Act – for example, submission of health information, ingredients and harmful constituents (s.904), misbranding (s.903) etc.
  3. Requires FDA to develop standards for flavors and batteries
  4. Places additional restrictions on sales and marketing
  5. Requires certain warning labels and accurate labelling of nicotine content

It is very important that this passes as it solves part of the problem of establishing a proportionate regulatory system for low-risk products like vapor.

Here is the statement from NTRI and its membership.

>> read the full post

March 8th, 2018

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World - the mob behaviour of tobacco control

An update from the World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Cape Town

This is an update to an earlier post about the PMI-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW). My main argument in that post can be summarised as: >> read the full post

March 6th, 2018

Tobacco control and the tobacco industry - a failure of understanding and imagination

What about the war on disease and premature death? They just aren’t the same thing.

Tobacco control activists and academics are gathering in Cape Town for the World Conference on Tobacco or Health 2018 (#WCTOH2018).  High on the agenda is the role of the tobacco industry and how to fight it (e.g. see this session:”Breaking Big Tobacco’s Grip“).

In a guest posting below, David Sweanor provides an alternative perspective they are unlikely to hear discussed much at their conference.

>> read the full post