Vapers Digest 22nd April
Friday’s News at a glance:
CoEHAR study on ecig flavored liquids – Vaping needs a balanced scientific debate – New research shows snus helps smokers quit – Banning all flavored tobacco doesn’t work – Derek Yach on TR’s Special Innovation Issue – Teen vaping has eliminated teen smoking – IEA Discussion Paper Released – Study Oz Success – Irish Vapers Surveyed – ASA’s Work Update – Pregnancy Research – Vape Shop Ambassadors – Parliament – Vape Flavour Bans – ETHRA European Nicotine Users Survey 2020 – More Doctors Recommending Vapes – Court Orders FDA to Report PMTA Review Progress – CPSC‘s Comical Vape Safety Campaign – VLN Cigarettes Test-Marketed in Chicago – Critique of Zeller’s Tenure – American Legislatures Supporting The Cigarette Trade? – Risk-Based Legislation – Smoker rights groups rally – Why we don’t always get the science we need – Nicotine Science and Policy Daily Digest
Samples are 80% lower risk than smoking
Catania, 21 April 2022- The debate over the safety and efficacy of electronic cigarettes demands strong and accurate evidence by the scientific community. The growing body of knowledge on alternative nicotine delivery systems and the potential benefits for human health if compared to conventional cigarettes pushed researchers to analyze ecig liquids, which differ in nicotine percentages, type and flavors.
The e-liquid consist largely of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, and a smaller part of food chemical flavorings and nicotine (which may also be absent). Substances mixed according to the quality of the liquid or the specific marketing of the product.
A recent article published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health on how to manage tobacco dependence in Australia totally omitted any role for tobacco harm reduction. I wrote a letter to the editor arguing that THR should be included in the national approach. The letter was rejected.
Rejection was based on the comments of two reviewers who were clearly opposed to vaping and were not well informed. The arguments raised by the reviewers were not evidence-based. There were factual errors, unsubstantiated claims and selective use of data. The comments showed a lack of understanding of tobacco harm reduction.
A recent study from Norway finds that snus is an effective smoking cessation tool. Researchers conclude that successful attempts to quit “were strongly related to the use of snus,” further evidence demonstrating that snus helps smokers quit.
Conducted by researchers Ingeborg Lund and Marianne Lund, both of The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the study looked at methods and strategies used by Norwegians who had made at least one attempt to kick their habit.
Colorado lawmakers are attempting to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vapor products under the auspice of “protecting the children.”
It’s laudable to reduce youth use of age-restricted products, but a ban on all flavored tobacco and vapor products disregards data indicating youth are not overwhelmingly using combustible tobacco products.
This could lead to more harm than good and ultimately fails to address why youth use vapor products.
Has Even More of a Burden – Lindsey Stroud
On April 14, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally took on a new role: the regulation of synthetic nicotine, which now falls under the definition of a tobacco product. Although the agency believes that it needs to have this authority, the sudden change threatens adult access to hundreds of thousands of safer tobacco products.
The new authority was included in the 2,700-plus pages of the omnibus appropriations bill at the behest of a squad of liberal, nanny-state lawmakers that continuously refuse to acknowledge tobacco harm reduction, and in fact, have urged the FDA to ban all sales of flavored vapor products.
— European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (@europethra) April 22, 2022
Mr. Kelovuori is correct, as usual.
Much has changed in the past 3 decades (including the quality of morning talk show hosts), and much has remained the same. https://t.co/nR4JyQYz1S
— Phil (@phil_w888) April 21, 2022
Taco Tuinstra, Tobacco Reporter
Until recently, few people would have mentioned the words “tobacco” and “innovation” in the same sentence. Even as other legacy industries started disrupting their respective operations, the tobacco industry remained content to milk its tried-and-tested business model and count on the habit-forming properties of nicotine to sustain its business.
That has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. Advances in technology, together with shifting attitudes, have turned the once-staid nicotine business into a cutting-edge innovator. The modern e-cigarette was not invented by the tobacco industry, but when it started making inroads around 2008, the industry recognized its potential and devoted considerable resources to its perfection.
Supporting The Cigarette Trade? – Martin Cullip
New research published in the scientific journal Value in Health this month has further confirmed that anti-vaping statutes being implemented in some states are helping to increase cigarette sales. This new research confirms earlier studies and shows that any move to implement anti-vaping legislation is irresponsible policymaking.
Using state-level cigarette sales data, the authors found that a full ban on nicotine vaping products in Massachusetts led to 7.5% higher-than-expected per capita cigarette sales. In Rhode Island and Washington, where vaping flavors apart from tobacco were completely banned, there was an average 4.6% higher-than-expected per capita cigarette sales.
An accidental success story – Dr John’s Blog
A youth smoking rate of under 2% signals the beginning of the end for the commercial tobacco industry and a huge bonus for public health. The young people who do not smoke in High School are not going to start smoking cigarettes in their 20s or 30s. If only 2% of 18 year-olds smoke now, in 20 years’ time less than 2% of 38 year-olds will smoke. Somehow, we have created the fabled “smoke-free generation! The next generation, the children of non-smokers, will be even less likely to smoke.
The fear that vaping is a gateway to smoking has been completely eliminated by the data that shows vaping is in fact a diversion from smoking. And why not? It is safer, cheaper, more convenient and more discrete. Teenage smokers will soon become curiosities, like people who still listen to cassettes tapes.
Seven from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:
Practising solicitor Victoria Hewson and head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs Chris Snowdon have released a discussion paper on new nicotine products and the innovation principle. They argue that “fear of adverse consequences can lead to excessive emphasis on risk avoidance, leading to regulation that holds back beneficial innovation.”
Australia is in the grip of an American-style hysterical approach to tobacco harm reduction. Not a week goes by without a self-proclaimed public health “expert” denouncing e-cigs. Against this backdrop, a new study looked at how vaping is working on the ground and discovered that electronic cigarettes help Australian smokers to quit smoking and remain smoke-free.
Dr Mark Chambers works at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. This study (linked below) is his first foray into the world of tobacco harm reduction research.
Research company RED C conducted an on-street face-to-face survey of 221 people that regularly use vaping products on behalf of Irish consumer group Respect Vapers. It looked at what vapers use and why, covering their vaping behaviour, their use of flavours, and their views on how they and others may react to an outright ban on flavoured vapes.
In Ireland, the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill is being scrutinised and although it doesn’t contain any provision to ban flavoured e-liquid, many including some serving on the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland policy group on tobacco are calling for one.
The Advertising Standards Authority has provided an update on the work it’s carried out on e-cigarettes and related products. It says that e-cigarette and related product vendors need to be careful to ensure their marketing compliance “doesn’t go up in smoke”.
The Advertising Standards Authority says the emergence of synthetic nicotine, nicotine pouches and flavoured crushballs (something used to add flavour to cigarettes) are examples of new product types which may raise questions under the electronic cigarette and tobacco sections of the Advertising Codes.
A new study looking at how vaping helps pregnant smokers quit and remain smoke-free has been published in the British Medical Journal. The research team from the University of Nottingham, St George’s University of London, and the University of Stirling conducted a longitudinal study of pregnant women to see if e-cigarettes are associated with a postpartum return to smoking.
The World Vapers’ Alliance says it is pleased to announce the launch of the WVA Ambassador program – an accelerator program for vape shops aimed to extend the global network of vaping advocates and provide its members with the support needed to amplify the voice of vapers in their communities.
Peers of the Realm published their tobacco amendments to the Health and Care Bill prior to a debate and vote in the House of Lords. In the House of Commons, Mary Glindon asked about the government’s stance on snus given recent research saying it is not linked to heart attacks. Windsor’s Adam Afriyie has stated that the government’s efforts to achieve a Smokefree 2030 is failing.
Vape flavour bans will discourage smokers from switching to vape and result in more deaths from tobacco use. If limiting flavours in vape is a good idea, why don’t we limit flavours in alcohol and ice cream? If we have to limit vape flavours then we should choose fruit and dessert flavours that adult smokers like. Tobacco and menthol are the worst possible flavours for vape.
Déjà Vu and Nothing New Since 1994
Opposition to tobacco harm reduction (THR) today follows the same playbook as the attack 28 years ago on my first professional medical publication proposing smoke-free product substitution for cigarettes. The THR opponent in this TV broadcast refused to acknowledge any difference in risk (“tobacco is tobacco is tobacco; “trading body parts”); grossly exaggerated the risk of vastly safer smokeless tobacco; claimed that THR was unethical; appealed to authority (“every major health organization in this country… has said that smokeless is not a safe alternative…
Ten key facts from the European Nicotine Users Survey, conducted at the end of 2020 by ETHRA. More than 37,000 people responded to topics included smoking and the desire to quit, use of safer nicotine products and barriers to switching caused by European and national regulations. The survey was conducted on a voluntary basis, without funding. A more extensive analysis report (in English, French and German), comments from participants and countries data, are available on the ETHRA website at https://ethra.co/eu-survey
Due in Part to Patients’ Prompting – Alex Norcia
A study published April 15 in JAMA Network Open found that more and more US patients who smoke are asking their doctors about e-cigarettes—and that, as a result, more and more physicians are recommending them. This is the case even though a majority of doctors remain misinformed about the basics of tobacco harm reduction.
The study surveyed more than 2,000 physicians between 2018 and 2019. While about 60 percent of respondents wrongly believed all “tobacco products” (the term is used to include nicotine vapes) to be equally harmful, the doctors who were recommending vaping to their patients seemed to have a few things in common:
Many doctors have misconceptions about e-cigarettes – Axios Vitals
Three from Jim McDonald, Vaping 360:
A federal court has ordered the FDA to provide status reports on its progress reviewing tens of thousands of remaining Premarket Tobacco Applications (PMTAs). The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Grimm was issued last Friday, April 15.
The revised order from Judge Grimm grants the motion filed last fall by plaintiffs in the American Academy of Pediatrics, et al vs. FDA lawsuit. They asked Grimm to amend his original decision, which set a new deadline for PMTA submissions, to require that the FDA “provide regular status reports to the Court” estimating when the agency expects to complete review of PMTAs from the largest manufacturers.
A set of humorous vape safety tweets from the Consumer Product Safety Commission is getting a lot of attention. But while the cartoon character Vapo McJuicy wasn’t necessarily created with malice toward vapers, many in the vaping community remember the havoc CPSC caused in 2019.
The tweets, in which a cartoon e-liquid bottle offers safety tips to prevent child nicotine poisoning, launched Wednesday. The first Vapo McJuicy tweet has been retweeted more than 600 times already, and has gotten more than 2,700 likes. They’ve inspired at least one news article.
With the FDA’s blessing, manufacturer 22nd Century Group this week launched consumer sales of its very low nicotine cigarettes (VLN cigarettes, or VLNCs) in the Chicago area. The deadly, combustible cigarettes have received marketing authorization from the FDA under both PMTA and MRTP pathways.
The company’s VLN King and VLN Menthol King cigarettes will be sold exclusively at 150 Circle K stores in and around Chicago during a marketing trial lasting three to six months, according to a 22nd Century press release.
At the FDA Center for Tobacco Products – Brad Rodu
Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products for the past nine years, is scheduled to retire this month. The agency released an interview with Zeller on April 20, in which he “reflects on the time he spent helping to make tobacco-related disease and death part of America’s past…”
One focus of the interview was Zeller’s account of the center’s accomplishments under his direction. He said, “I stand by having a long list of efforts and accomplishments,” noting the following:
Is an Echo of the Initial Mass Education? – Carl V. Phillips, Dr Marewa Glover
Objectives: In this paper, we attempt to quantify the “echo” effects of the downward shock in US smoking prevalence from mass education starting about 1965 through 2010. Methods: An agent- based population simulation replicates the observed effects of the initial education shock on smoking prevalence, and then estimates ongoing echo effects based on empirical estimates of the effects of parental smoking on initiation and peer-group quitting contagion. Further simulations estimate what additional echo effects would explain the entire historical reduction. Results: About one-third of the observed prevalence decline through 2010 can be attributed solely to fewer parents smoking after the initial education shock.
While smoking continues to fall – Nelson Tiatia
Māori and Pasifika high school students are more likely to vape daily than Pākehā students, according to new research.
Action for Smokefree 2025 (ASH) has released data showing Māori teens have the highest rates of daily vaping at 19.1 percent, almost 9 percentage points ahead of Pasifika students and 11.3 percentage points ahead of Pākeha students.
Overall, daily vaping among teens has tripled, from 3.1 percent to 9.6 percent.
Better Alternatives to Tobacco Products
President Biden on March 15 signed into law a massive $1.5 trillion spending bill containing a range of spending priorities. Tucked away in this bill is a small provision that allows the Food and Drug Administration to expand what is considered a “tobacco product” to include synthetic nicotine. This change specifically allows the FDA — under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — to regulate all lab-made nicotine products.
Smoker rights groups yesterday protested outside the legislature in Taipei against a proposal to ban e-cigarettes.
Holding signs that read: “Consumers have rights, too,” “Give me the freedom to choose” and “Do not force me to smoke cigarettes,” protesters said the government should not impose a blanket prohibition against e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs).
Bafflement, frustration, annoyance: anyone who’s been around the tobacco alternatives sector for a while is familiar with the emotions prompted by much of the science published in this area.
There is plenty of useful and well-constructed research drawing reasonable conclusions too, of course – the problem isn’t a complete absence of decent scientific work, it’s the way that much of it is crowded out by more questionable papers that start from dubious assumptions, or leap to conclusions, or simply don’t provide clear enough data to let us know exactly what they are doing.
For nicotine taxes doesn’t add up – Joe Magero
Know thy enemy, as the saying goes.
If we’re going to win the war against smoking, which is said to kill approximately 8,100 Kenyans every year, we need to know what makes it so deadly and take commensurate steps to address those issues. Knee-jerk reactions, as proposed in the Finance Bill 2022/23, are not the answer. Sadly, too many policymakers in our country misunderstand the problem to an extent that they can’t tell friend from foe.
Between AVM and Dr. Jerome Adams
I am hoping that we can have a dialogue here about the public policy toward nicotine vaping. My outlook on the issue differs from yours but let’s start with something we agree on: the American public benefits from a more robust, open conversation about the health policies that affect all of our lives.
One of the biggest challenges about vaping policy, however, is that public health authorities, Congress, and even the news media have been largely unwilling to air a public discussion about the costs and benefits of those regulations.
To lower smoking prevalence in PH
The signing of the Vape Bill into law will lead to a substantial smoking rate reduction in the Philippines, in the same way that the use of less harmful alternatives such as e-cigarettes helped the United Kingdom address its smoking problem.
This is the gist of the letter sent by the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines to President Rodrigo Duterte, calling for the enactment of the bill into law, which it said will be an important legacy of the administration.
Separately from traditional tobacco products in South Africa
Johannesburg – Vaping organisations have again pleaded with government to allow products to be regulated separately from traditional tobacco products.
With government yet to make a decision on how vaping will be regulated, vape organisations are doing all they can to convince government to allow for separate regulations.
A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise….
Clarisse Yvette P. Virgino, Rappler
‘What got my beef is the generalization ruling out the convergence, the coming together, of government and private enterprise to address a national health crisis’
The opinion piece “The tragic irony of defending the tobacco industry amid a pandemic,” penned by Sophia Monica San Luis on April 1, was sweeping, one-sided, and factually flawed.
Keep Hiking Vape Taxes – Lindsey Stroud, Filter Magazine
Across the country, local and state lawmakers are proposing to enact new taxes and/or increasing existing excise taxes on e-cigarettes. Some are introducing these measures ostensibly to address youth vaping. Others want to impose taxes that match existing cigarette and other tobacco taxes. A few—like West Virginia Governor Jim Justice—have introduced outrage vapor taxes in order to generate the revenue to eliminate other taxes.