Tuesday’s News at a glance:
Malaysian Adolescent Vape Survey – The Hermit On The Hill – E-Cigarette Evaluation Now Provided by UL – VIP Enters Administration – Proposed E-Cigarette Tax Would Hurt Public Health and Economy – Vaping etiquette? I’m your man – New York State Senator Uses “Alternative Facts” – Nicotine in the News – Harm-Reducing Tobacco Alternatives Are a Human Achievement – NSP Daily Digest
Mawsley, Planet of the Vapes
The Malaysian health ministry has commissioned a study that (amazingly) finds results that justify the actions it wanted to carry out in the first place. Now the government has to pretend to debate the matter before joining other countries in the region, and clamping down on harm reduction rather than encouraging it.
“To me, zero vaping is as much a goal as zero smoking,” said Malaysian doctor Abdul Razak Muttalif, director of the National Institute of Respiratory Medicine, following the release of findings from a Farsalinos survey, last year.
Something I came across last week:
Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, has said many times in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It is isolation.
I keep reading statements along these lines. I live the life of a hermit these days, pretty much. I’m an exile in my own country. Whole days can go by without me actually saying a word to anyone at all. Although I’m of course writing and reading stuff here every day, so I never feel isolated. And in some ways isolation is a good thing: you can think about stuff without being interrupted. No wonder the hermit on the hill was often a wise man as well. So where’s the danger in isolation?
UL, a leading global safety science organization, is announcing acceptance of product submittals of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, for construction evaluation, testing and North American certification.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported an increased number of incidents involving fire resulting in injury requiring medical treatment. These recent events highlight the dramatic market growth of e-cigarette use and the associated safety concerns. UL will now be able to test and certify these devices using UL 8139 through a system approach to evaluate the device, its rechargeable battery and charging system.
Mawsley, Planet of the Vapes
The VIP electronic cigarette company has entered administration as a result of defaulting on a debt. The 256 current employees face an uncertain future after its American owner failed to assist the company to meet its bill from HM Revenue & Customs.
The company hit the headlines back in 2014 when they tried to encourage smokers to “Switch to the great taste of VIP.” The advert was initially restricted to air after the 9pm watershed, but following a large number of complaints it was banned until after 11pm. Then, following cuts to the more suggestive sections, it was found to still be in contravention of three sections of the advertising code and banned altogether.
Brian Fojtik, Reason Foundation
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s state budget plan would change the definition of “other tobacco products” to include e-cigarettes and would impose a new 80 percent wholesale tax on these products.
This week the state’s House Finance Committee will take testimony and consider the governor’s proposal.
Nearly everything about Gov. Raimondo’s approach to this issue runs counter to the goals of improving public health and reducing smoking. When Rhode Island governors have proposed similar taxes in the past, the legislature has wisely rejected them — and they should reject this ill-conceived tax.
Simon Clark, Taking Liberties
I was asked to talk about vaping etiquette on BBC Radio Guernsey this morning.
Inevitably, no sooner had I tweeted this exciting news than one or two vapers asked why the director of Forest, rather than a vaping advocate, should have been given this onerous responsibility.
Well, I don’t think you have to be a vaper to have an opinion about vaping etiquette.
Likewise you can have a view on smoking etiquette without being a smoker.
— Clive Bates (@Clive_Bates) March 20, 2017
Michael Siegel, TobaccoAnalysis
A New York State senator – Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) – has introduced legislation to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in New York. To promote this ban, he argued that cigarette companies are seducing kids to vape by selling fruit punch, gummy bear, and cotton candy e-cigarettes: “Kids are attracted to the numerous flavors that the cigarette companies are selling, such as fruit punch, gummy bear, cotton candy.”
Harry Shapiro, NSP
In a departure from the normal round-up, I want this week to focus on the idea of how increasingly propaganda and lies are trumping facts – and the pun is intended. I am prompted in this by a very interesting and frankly scary and depressing article by Tim Harford writing in the Financial Times about the ‘problem with facts’.
He takes as his lead, the tactics of Big Tobacco to counter all the robust and incontrovertible evidence dating back to the 1940s that smoking causes cancer. The facts about smoking — indisputable facts, from unquestionable sources — did not carry the day with the public. Harford explains how the industry achieved the seemingly impossible. “First, the industry appeared to engage, promising high-quality research into the issue. The public were assured that the best people were on the case. The second stage was to complicate the question and sow doubt: lung cancer might have any number of causes, after all. And wasn’t lung cancer, not cigarettes, what really mattered? Stage three was to undermine serious research and expertise. Autopsy reports would be dismissed as anecdotal, epidemiological work as merely statistical, and animal studies as irrelevant. Finally came normalisation: the industry would point out that the tobacco-cancer story was stale news. Couldn’t journalists find something new and interesting to say?”
Michelle Minton, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Current medical evidence suggests that nicotine, if ingested on its own rather than smoked, is no more harmful to health than caffeine. Burning is what produces the majority of the carcinogens in traditional cigarettes, increasing the risk of cancer in smokers. And it was for-profit companies—not public health advocates—that invented a way to satisfy not only cravings for nicotine, but also the behavioral habits formed around traditional cigarettes.
Since 2007 when vapor-based electronic cigarettes first hit the American market, millions of smokers have made the switch. Still, for some smokers, vaping simply isn’t near enough to the smoking experience they are used to. Philip Morris International (PMI)—the maker of Marlboro cigarettes—hopes to introduce a new game-changer for these stubborn smokers. Last year, PMI submitted to the Food and Drug Administration and application, more than 2 million pages long, that would allow them to market their new tobacco vaporizer to smokers who haven’t been able to quit or switch to vaping. For the sake of the health of the human species, we should let them.