Vapers Digest 10th June

Friday’s News at a glance:

UK To Raise Smoking Age Limit – IBVTA commentary on article linking gum disease to vapingMexico Keeps Moving Closer to Total Vape Prohibition – Macau Set to Follow Hong Kong‘s Vape ProhibitionGuernsey Busybody Risk – Mexico Bans Vapes – Macau To Follow China’s Lead – HK Needs To Allow Choice – Emerging EvidenceProhibition of non-combustible nicotine products in Mexico – Double Standards Undermine Campaign Against Flavored E-Cigarettes – Vaping tax: the folly of tax policy replacing public health policy – Perceived effectiveness of objective elements – Clear Evidence | Nicotine Vapes Help Smokers to Quit – Nicotine Science and Policy Daily Digest

UK To Raise Smoking Age Limit

James Dunworth, Ashtray Blog

The UK government is publishing a review today that could lead to the smoking age being raised

Originally we understood this was to involve an increase in the age limit to 21. Information released today shows a more radical approach – increasing the age limit by one year, ever year, as has already been done in New Zealand.

Previous reports suggested that vaping would be included in this age limit rise, which we argued against. This now appears to have been dropped – possibly because Savid Javid sees vaping as instrumental in achieving the UK’s smoke-free goals.

Is vaping seen as safe now a new health report advises it as a way to stop smoking? – ITV

Article linking gum disease to vaping


This week, Dr Javed Khan OBE published his long-awaited independent review into the government’s ambition to make England smokefree by 2030. It provides a set of recommendations for the government’s approach to reducing the numbers of people taking up smoking and helping smokers to quit.

One of the four headline recommendations in the review is to offer vaping as a substitute for smoking. This should be accompanied by accurate information on the benefits of switching, including to healthcare professionals. Dr Khan goes on to say:

“And as each year goes by, more smokers are wrongly persuaded that vaping is as bad for them as smoking, but the science shows us that vaping is far less harmful.”

“The public understanding of the relative harms of vaping has worsened over time and is less accurate today than it was in 2014.”


Mexico Keeps Moving Closer …

To Total Vape Prohibition – Roberto Sussman

Commercialization of vaping devices has always been technically illegal in Mexico. Usage, however, has not been, and the growth of a relatively unregulated vaping market reached almost 1 million occasional or daily users in 2017, according to government sources. The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the prohibition of vapes is unconstitutional; while vapers were cautiously optimistic that the decision would create a regulated vaping market, non-regulation has stubbornly prevailed.

At the end of May, we faced our latest blow: As the World Health Organization (WHO) has done in the past with vaping bans, the organization awarded President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) a prize on May 31, World No Smoking Day.

Macau Set to Follow Hong Kong’s …

Vape Prohibition – Jim McDonald

The Macau Legislative Assembly today approved the first draft of a bill that will, if passed, ban sales of all vaping products in the wealthy Chinese semi-autonomous region. The proposed law would prohibit manufacture, distribution, sale, import, export, and transport in and out of Macau.

The Macau Executive Council announced in January that it planned to propose a sales ban this year. On May 27, the government presented its draft bill, which includes proposed fines of 4,000 Macanese pataca (MOP) (about $500 U.S.) for individual offenders, and fines from 20,000-200,000 MOP ($2,500-25,000) for businesses.

The draft bill does not (yet) prohibit personal use or possession, but the ban on import and transport from China would make acquiring products impossible without breaking the law.

Five from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:

Guernsey Busybody Risk

Guernsey busybodies are demanding increased vape regulations due to their fears that e-liquids and vape devices aren’t “safe” for users. The self-appointed experts at the Guernsey Health Improvement Commission have even encouraged local politicians to take a negative stance to vaping.

Health Improvement Commission employees have raised concerns about increases in teen use but they haven’t supplied new data. The most recent published survey comes from 2019. This found that although 28% of boys and 21% of girls said they’d tried vaping, just 3% of boys and 1% of girls vaped “once a week or more”. Plus, the rather broad definition of regular use didn’t even pin down their smoking status.

Mexico Bans Vapes

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has signed legislation banning the importation or sale of electronic cigarettes. From a point where importation was already prohibited, banning sales leaves Mexican smokers being forced to seek unregulated vapes on the black market if they wish to used nicotine but reduce their harm exposure.

Dr Roberto Sussman, a harm reduction expert based at the University of Mexico said the ban has come about due to a “very aggressive campaign” by “de facto” Health Minister Dr Hugo López Gatell. He says López Gatell has been making outrageous claims about vaping including ecigs being “lethal and deadly devices that kill people… all vaping is EVALI and EVALI is still going on”.

Macau To Follow China’s Lead

Macau, or the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (MSAR) to give it its full title, looks as though it is set to enact the regressive anti-vape policy recently imposed on Chinese citizens. As with this week’s news from Hong Kong, MSAR officials are proposing to ban the production, sale, distribution, import, export, and transport of electronic cigarettes.

Historically referred to the Las Vegas of the East, officials are gambling with people’s lives by proposing to deny them access to reduced harm products, shoring up the Chinese state-owned tobacco industry in the process.

HK Needs To Allow Choice

Hong Kong must give smokers the choices they need to quit, says the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA). “We have to help smokers not punish them,” says Heneage Mitchell, founder of and CAPHRA member.

Heneage Mitchell’s comments were made as a panellist on Hong Kong’s current affairs radio show, Backchat. Up for discussion was the administration’s decision to further step-up efforts to reduce tobacco use, with the aim of achieving an overall smoking rate of 7.8% by 2025.

Emerging Evidence

The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) says more evidence has emerged that shows vaping can help smokers quit. Despite advocating for nicotine vape products as a tool to quit smoking for the better part of the last decade, the Association points out that opponents of vaping have created confusion amongst smokers and the public through dishonest claims that vaping is ineffective for quitting smoking.

The Canadian Vaping Association is a registered national, not-for-profit organization, established as the voice for the Canadian vaping industry. Founded in 2014, the CVA represents over 200 retail and online vaping businesses in Canada. CVA’s membership does not including tobacco companies or affiliates.

Prohibition of non-combustible…

Nicotine products in Mexico

The WHO awarded a prize to Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO) on May 31, the International No Smoking Day. Although the official reason was the approval of a new Tobacco Law, it is evident that AMLO was prized for his five presidential decrees that ban the commercialization and importation of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS e-cigarettes and heat not burn products).

Commercialization of ENDS has always been illegal in Mexico, but in 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that their prohibition is unconstitutional, motivating a lukewarm legislative process to regulate them. However, the WHO discourages the regulation of ENDS in Lower and Middle Income Countries where they are banned, a recommendation articulated also by The Union (an NGO funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies) in its policy guidelines “When bans are best”.

Clear Evidence

Nicotine Vapes Help Smokers to Quit | RegWatch

Anti-vaping activists cling to many shibboleths in their war on vaping, including nicotine vaping is a gateway to smoking, dual-use is a danger negating e-cig quit attempts, and vaping is an ineffective tool to quit smoking.
But thanks to a growing body of research investigating e-cigarette use and smoking cessation, they are becoming tired and worn.

Joining us today on RegWatch is Dr. Jonathan Foulds, Professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry at PennState University College of Medicine. Dr. Foulds is a trained clinical psychologist and has spent most of his career developing and evaluating methods to help smokers beat their addiction to tobacco.

Double Standards Undermine Campaign

Against Flavored E-Cigarettes – Cameron English

Federal regulators are deeply concerned about flavored tobacco, especially vaping products. “The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced in January 2020. Not to be outdone, then-FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn added that his agency is committed to dramatically limiting “children’s access to certain flavored e-cigarette products we know are so appealing to them …”

Vaping tax:

The folly of tax policy replacing public health policy – Asanda Gcoyi

During his delivery of the 2022-2023 budget speech finance minister Enoch Godongwana made it clear that the tax would have already been introduced if it had been up to him.

The proposed tax is ostensibly meant to curb the growing popularity of vaping because of the potential harm these products pose. In its discussion document released in December the Treasury approvingly quoted the World Health Organization (WHO), which continues to maintain more than 15 years after the products entered the market that not enough is known about their health consequences.

Perceived effectiveness…

Of objective elements of vaping prevention messages among adolescents

Introduction: In recent years, vaping prevention campaigns have proliferated in response to a surge of e-cigarette use among adolescents in the USA. To date, the research literature has provided minimal guidance as to what vaping prevention message elements have the greatest potential for discouraging vaping, are ineffective or have unintended negative effects. The purpose of the current study was to identify and test a large set of vaping prevention ads used by federal, state, local and non-governmental agencies, examining how objectively coded message elements of vaping prevention messages might affect youth.

Methods: A convenience sample of adolescents (N=1501) completed an online survey with each participant rating seven randomly selected vaping prevention ads from a pool of 220 ads on perceived message effectiveness (PME) and vaping appeal. Ads were coded on 37 objective elements in three message categories: themes, imagery and other features. Analyses examined how objective elements predicted PME.

On this Day…2021

A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise….

Journalists criticize research on COVID-19

By confusing it with tobacco harm reduction and by making false allegations about conflicts
Konstantinos Farsalinos, Qeios

A featured article in the BMJ, authored by journalists from the Investigative Desk, criticize research about COVID-19 and the cholinergic system by confusing it with tobacco harm reduction and non-pharmaceutical nicotine products. Their criticism is not based on an assessment of the studies content but on allegations about conflicts. I present the case that such allegations are false, and I provide documents showing that the journalists have conflicts of interest relevant to their article content that were not disclosed.

Four things about the Commission’s TPD implementation report

Independent European Vape Alliance, IEVA

The European Commission has reported on the application of the Tobacco Products Directive, suggesting that further restrictions on vapers might be proposed. Read the full report here. IEVA is concerned by both the content and tone of the report; and by the potential effect of its conclusions on public health and the vaping public.

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