Tuesday’s News at a glance:
Science Lesson: How Understanding ‘Confounding’ Can Combat Anti-Vaping Junk Science – No Negative Respiratory Impact from E-Cigarettes on Never Smokers – Mental Health Charities Comes Out In Support Of Vaping – A Year After 40% Vapor Tax, Situation in PA is Grim – News From Around The Vape World – Singapore’s calibrated approach to e-cigarettes – Mark Pawsey cuts the ribbon on new Totally Wicked vape store – Recovering from the Addiction Disease Model – Experts lift smokescreen from e-cigarettes –
Carl V. Phillips, Daily Vaper
Most vapers who have tried to understand scientific claims (or argue against anti-vaping junk science) have acquired an intuitive understanding of the concept known as confounding. You may have found yourself arguing, “of course kids who vape are more likely to smoke for many reasons, but that does not mean it is a gateway.” Or you may have thought, “it is misleading to compare the health status of vapers to never-smokers, because vapers are ex-smokers who still have residual health effects from smoking.” Most people understand these points without knowing that they are talking about confounding, but it can still be helpful to fully understand the concept.
The word appears in most health research papers, and sometimes in popular press summaries of them. But most readers end up with a faulty understanding of the concept because the authors of those articles have faulty understandings. They confuse the misnamed “confounder” variables with the confounding itself.
Brian Fotjik, Huffington Post
Surveys of e-cigarette users (vapers) overwhelmingly demonstrate that almost all of them (even up to 99 percent) are smokers or former smokers. After surveying all the available science on health risks of vaping as compared to smoking, both Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have estimated that vaping is at least 95 percent safer than smoking.
While it’s impossible to know for certain what the health impact of decades of e-cigarette use may be on vapers at this point, there are few, if any credible researchers who suggest that possible risks are likely to exceed (or even come close to) the well-known risks of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke or COPD to which smokers are exposed from long-term exposure to toxic cigarette smoke. The overwhelming cause of those ailments, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates kill nearly half a million American smokers every year, comes from exposure to tar, carbon monoxide and harmful toxicants caused from burning tobacco leaf. Because e-cigarettes and vapor products contain no tobacco and produce no smoke, it’s easy to understand why public health researchers increasingly recommend that smokers who won’t quit or can’t quit, consider switching to smoke- and combustion-free electronic cigarettes.
Jimmy Hafrey, ChurnMag
Smoking rates have been on the decline for over 20 years now thanks to a concerted effort by public health organizations and others to get across just how dangerous smoking is. For instance, the UK is currently experiencing the lowest smoking rates they have ever recorded. But one group that has not benefited from this societal trend away from cigarettes is individuals with mental health problems. In fact, mental health patients are over twice as likely to be smokers than the average citizen, and sometimes much worse. According to the King’s Fund, only 16% of average adults smoke in the UK, while rates among mental health patient groups can be as high as 70%.
In response to this continued concern, the Mental Health And Smoking Partnership released a “Statement on Electronic Cigarettes” last week. In it, they outlined why they think vaping should be utilized for its harm reduction and smoking cessation abilities. They also included a list of principles that health professionals and support staff should strive to follow. The purpose of their statement was also to announce their goal of reducing the smoking rate in mental health patients down to 5% by 2035, aiming for 35% by 2020.
Chris Hughes, Daily Vaper
In July 2016. The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a 40 percent wholesale cost tax on vapor products. This tax, which was highly controversial and drew a strong response from free market advocates, the media, and hundreds of small vapor business owners, went into effect October 1, 2016. Since the passage of the tax, at least 130 small vape shops, retail operations dedicated to getting cigarette-addicted adults off of deadly combustible cigarettes, have closed their doors permanently or moved operations out of state. For the sake of disclosure, I owned a business such a business that was closed as a direct result of this tax.
This tax contained an onerous “floor tax” provision that required small mom and pop shops to take an inventory on or about the day the tax went into effect, and assume a tax liability equal to 40 percent of the wholesale value of their entire existing inventory on that day. Payment of this tax bill was due in full by December 29, 2016 – just under three months after the tax took effect. If a small mom and pop vape shop had $50,000 in inventory on the day the tax went into effect, they would have been directed to pay the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue $20,000. Floor taxes have been the status quo in cigarette taxes for years, but the entity primarily responsible for paying cigarette floor taxes has traditionally been heavily capitalized, bonded warehouses that wholesale cigarettes to retailers.
Mawsley, Planet of the Vapes
In this week’s roundup of vape news: truckers are advised to swap to ecigs, vape shops go to war, and vaping could help Japanese workers to get more holidays. Meanwhile Turkey is going all out to smear vaping, and a Dad sues his son’s school.
Fleet Owner magazine is reporting that truckers are being encouraged to switch from tobacco to vape products in order to add 5-10 years onto their lives. They quote one successful truck driver: “Many smokers have tried to quit and want to quit and probably feel the effects of smoking in terms of shortness of breath and that kind of thing. For a lot of people e-cigarettes have worked, and if you can switch completely to e-cigarettes, you’re definitely much better off health-wise than if you keep on smoking cigarettes.”
The recent Parliamentary debate regarding the smoking Bill raised two interesting issues. First, why is Singapore opting to progressively roll out the minimum legal 21-year age limit for smoking over the next three years instead of immediate implementation?
Next, should we consider offering electronic nicotine delivery systems options, such as e-cigarettes, as cessation aids to current smokers?
There is clear, documented evidence for raising the minimum legal age above 18. Research has shown that parts of the brain responsible for decision making, impulse control, sensation seeking, future perspective taking, and peer susceptibility continue to develop through young adulthood.
The younger the youths when they first try smoking, the greater the levels of nicotine addiction, intensity of smoking and likelihood of continuing to smoke into adulthood.
I was kicked out of the house for speaking truth to power on the govs blatant abuse of the legislative process by cutting short debate on Bill 174 and the detrimental impact it will have on those who rely on vaping for tobacco harm reduction WATCH: https://t.co/4jcQvmn0UE #onpoli
— Randy Hillier (@randyhillier) November 21, 2017
Local MP Mark Pawsey cut the ribbon to officially open the new Totally Wicked store on Castle Street last week.
The store caters for e-cigarette users, or ‘vapers’, and employs trained staff who are on hand to assist smokers looking to give up tobacco and move over to vaping.
Vaping has been prominent in the news recently with Public Health England declaring that it is 95% safer than smoking tobacco. E-cigarettes also featured prominently for the first time in the Government’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign last month. There are approximately 3 million vapers in the UK.
Mark met with store owners Ian and Sara Stockwell who already operate two other successful Totally Wicked stores in nearby towns.
Harry Shapiro, NSP
The wires this week were not so much humming as soaring in full operatic splendour over the vexed subject of whether addiction is a brain disease (hereafter BDMA or Brain Disease Model of Addiction). It was sparked by a very interesting development in the addictions field, akin to the split among academics, clinicians and public health officials over safer nicotine products.
A fissure has opened between those who subscribe to the BDMA and those who believe that the phenomenon of addiction is far more complex than such a reductionist conclusion allows. While the American psychologist Stanton Peele has been challenging the BDMA for years, he has often been a lone figure in an addictions landscape where the BDMA has become the orthodoxy, promoted vigorously by the multi-million-dollar US addictions industry and by such august bodies as the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency which funds more addiction research than any other institution on the planet.
New Indian Express
The Centre is set to issue an advisory to all states on the health risks of e-cigarettes after recommendations of an expert committee that said they contain carcinogens and do not offer a safe alternative to tobacco smoking.
Sources in the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare said the advisory says that products such as e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah contain hazardous substances and have not been approved by the government.
“A technical committee of the ministry evaluated findings of a World Health Organisation 2016 report, which had shown some surprising findings saying that e-cigarette is lethal and can lead to many serious health conditions,” a ministry official said.