Vapers Digest 11th September
Monday’s News at a glance:
Tobacco exceptionalism? – Anti-Vape BMA Goes Again – The Butler Express. Coming to a town near you! – Lost in the hysteria – Anti-vaping laws won’t stub out tobacco titans
Christopher Snowdon, Velvet Glove Iron Fist
Is tobacco a unique product or not? Let’s ask comedy professor Anna Gilmore.
Anna Gilmore, 2007:
‘The International Monetary Fund encourages privatization of state-owned industries, including tobacco industries, to help address macroeconomic problems and promote economic growth; however, it fails to consider the unique nature of an industry whose product kills.’
Anna Gilmore, 2019:
‘Tobacco is a unique product in that it kills half of its consumers. It is the only consumer product that is subject of a global treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), with over 180 Parties including all but one OECD member. The FCTC is now embedded in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, enshrining the tenet that good governance in public health involves treating tobacco companies differently from the rest of industry.’
Seems like a clear ‘yes’. And yet at a neo-temperance meeting recently, she was humming a different tune:
Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes
The British Medical Association (BMA) continues to swim against the tide of public health opinion as it undertakes a review of the “growing epidemic of vaping”. Having set out its position in opposition back in 2015, the organisation (and its associated journal the BMJ) have been siding with the World Health Organisation ever since.
Much of the impetus behind the BMA’s opposition to vaping emanates from a small cohort of anti-tobacco campaigners who found themselves caught offside by the sudden appearance of a consumer-led technological solution they knew little about – Professor Martin McKee, who served as an editor on the BMJ, admitted as much in his earlier pronouncements a decade ago.
— Dr Colin Mendelsohn (@ColinMendelsohn) September 11, 2023
Coming to a town near you! – Colin Mendelsohn
MINISTER BUTLER’S UPDATED VAPING REGULATIONS are outlined in a recent Consultation Paper. Consultation has been sought as a box-ticking exercise, with 2 weeks to respond! Based on past experience, it is almost certain that the plan will be submitted for legislation with minor, if any, changes.
The proposed regulations double down on the failed prescription-only model. Additional harsh restrictions will make legal vapes less accessible, less appealing and less effective. Ironically, deadly cigarettes remain freely available at over 20,000 retail outlets.
Recent Australian research has found an overwhelming majority of youth vaping is experimental and short-term, with only one in 20 14- to 17-year-olds vaping frequently. Importantly, half of these were already smokers.
This is a far cry from the alarmist headlines of a youth vaping ‘epidemic’ and a ‘new generation addicted to nicotine’ which has generated draconian enforcement measures at schools and created a political environment where total bans are viewed as favourable.
Media reports on vaping rates rarely distinguish frequent vaping from lifetime or ever-vaping — i.e., people who experimented with vaping but did not pick up the habit long-term. These measures substantially over-estimate the rate of frequent vaping.
Tobacco companies were back in the spotlight last week as the backlash against vaping was reignited by startling statistics.
Official figures showed that one in six people aged 16 to 24 use e-cigarettes at least occasionally, up from one in nine in 2021, fuelling fears that vapes are too appealing to young people.
And the number of young women vaping every day has more than tripled in the past year to one in 15, according to the Office for National Statistics.
A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise…
About nicotine and COVID-19 – Christopher Snowdon
A study titled ‘The influence of pro-vaping “gatewatchers” on the dissemination of COVID-19 misinformation on Twitter’ has been published in something called the Journal of Medical Internet Research. It’s paywalled but the pre-print version is here. It is yet another whinge about people retweeting things that ‘public health’ academics don’t agree with.
The authors lament the lack of gatekeepers on Twitter to control what scientific information people have access to. They then invent the meaningless term ‘gatewatchers’ to describe anyone who has built up a following and puts out interesting tweets. After the usual dredging of Twitter, they conclude that quite a few of the people who mentioned the evidence that smokers are less likely to get COVID-19 in 2020 had a ‘pro-vaping bias’.
The United Kingdom’s leading anti-smoking organization, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), has released a report detailing the use of vaping products in England, Scotland and Wales. The report is based on a survey of 13,000 adults and has been widely publicized in British media.
ASH reports that there has been a large increase in the number of people who vape in Great Britain, with 4.3 million current vapers in 2022, a 19.4 percent increase from 3.6 million in 2021. Further, more than half (2.4 million) of current e-cigarette users in the 2022 survey had switched entirely from combustible cigarettes to vaping