Vapers Digest 22nd September
Friday’s News at a glance:
Should Disposable Vapes Be Banned? – Ireland disposable vape ban proposal – Disposable Vapes Ban “Blunt Instrument” – 56% of people in Wales say they have used vapes – The NNA Opposes Ban – When Is A Ban Not A Ban? – The senseless ban on snus – Let’s clear the cloud of confusion – Anti-vaping academic self-owns – Youth vaping: a risk-benefit analysis – Dose Makes the Poison: – About FDA‘s New “Authorized E-Cigarette” List – Regulating e-cig sales: – Population study finds no sign that e-cigs are a gateway – The War on THR Products Will Continue to Fail – Proposed e-cigarette ban – E-cigs could have helped type 2 smokers quit – Grave Silence | Pressuring FDA to Ignore ‘Relative Risk’
Calls for a ban on disposable vapes are growing, and it’s easy to see why. Most of us have seen a disposable device carelessly thrown onto the side of a road – not to mention the headlines telling us about the millions being binned every week.
Disposables have also been blamed by many for an increase in youth vaping.
They’re not good for users either. Despite their obvious convenience, they are expensive and lack the flexibility of refillable devices which can be used with thousands of different flavours.
Sparks fury and fears of black market boom – Ferghal Blaney
Vaping business owners have hit back at Health Minister Stephen Donnelly for threatening to ban disposable vapes from our streets.
They claim it would only drive the traffic for the e-cigarettes underground and lead to a worse black market with unregulated devices flooding our streets.
Mr Donnelly has said he is in favour of a ban on the devices being sold here, following similar moves in the UK and France. But Director of Hale Vaping, Joe Dunne, has told the Irish Mirror it would be counterproductive and he has called for stricter enforcement of incoming laws instead.
The Government’s plans to ban disposable vapes look set to include crackdowns on flavours and advertising. Politicians have raised two issues about the devices, the environmental impact and the fact children are using them.
In June, the Department of the Environment opened a public consultation, to which almost 85% of people said they supported a ban.
But Dr. Garrett McGovern, a Dublin-based GP specialising in addiction medicine, says an outright ban is a “blunt instrument”: “Banning vapes is just, at this point, a step too far.”
As the government considers banning disposable vapes because they are thought to appeal to children, it is worth reflecting on the strange saga of the EU’s ban on snus, a Swedish smokeless tobacco product that delivers nicotine into the body via a small pouch placed under the lip. The story begins when Edwina Currie was health minister in 1988. She announced a ban on oral tobacco in response to a panic about Skoal Bandits, an American brand of snus with a masked cowboy on its logo which was presumed to appeal to children. The product itself was assumed to cause mouth cancer. In 1990, the EEC got involved. It argued that unilateral prohibition by a member state was a threat to the internal market and banned snus across the bloc.
These are the real-life stories that should stimulate curiosity and excitement in tobacco control. Yet many will go off to work, completely indifferent to this experience, powered by billionaire money, untroubled by doubt, and determined to make sure it never happens again. https://t.co/VF65fsZ1aA
— Clive Bates (@Clive_Bates) September 22, 2023
According to ASH, 40% of people in the UK now believe #vaping is as, or more harmful than, smoking.
Our campaign aims to cut through the smoke and be clear on the facts.
— IBVTA (@TheIBVTA) September 22, 2023
Say they have used vapes to give up cigarettes
More than half (56%) of smokers and ex- smokers across Wales say they have used vaping as a means to give up cigarettes. Also, 60% of smokers and ex-smokers believe vaping to be helpful in going smoke-free.
These figures are part of a new campaign has been launched for the next six months highlighting research on the role of vaping in helping people quit.
According to UK Government data, more than 14.1% of adults across Wales smoke, making Wales one of the smokiest parts of the UK.
The “Chemicals” Smear Against Vaping – Kim “Skip” Murray
In 1997, a shocking headline in the Washington Post proclaimed, “DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE: UNRECOGNIZED KILLER.” The article correctly noted that “DHMO” is “implicated” in thousands of deaths, “can cause severe burns” in gas form, and “has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.”
For people dependent on DHMO, “complete withdrawal means certain death,” it continued. “Yet the presence of the chemical has been confirmed in every river, stream, lake and reservoir in America.”
That’s because DHMO, better known as H2O, is water. The article was based on a science project by 14-year-old Nathan Zohner….
Two from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:
The government would be making a grave mistake if it decides to ban disposable vapes as it would be a significant over-reaction to the exaggerated perception of harms to youth, says the New Nicotine Alliance. The independent consumer group points out that public health organisations, “such as Action on Smoking and Health, Fresh Balance and NCSCT are opposed to a ban, and for good reason”.
The NNA says: “The convenience and wide choice of flavours are useful for helping smokers to switch to a safer product, especially amongst heavier smokers and disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Disposable vapes don’t require refilling and recharging, so are easier to use….”
Forming policy on the hoof by gauging reaction to an idea is nothing new for the last few Conservative Prime Ministers, but it is irresponsible when it comes to public health. Harm reduction, public health and academic experts lined up to caution against an outright disposable vapes ban last week and, if the i newspaper is to be believed, Rishi Sunak is already back peddling.
The Independent British Vape Trade Association typified the response from many in the industry when it released its statement. Chairman, Marcus Saxton, said: “The concerns about young people accessing vapes from retailers who break the law are valid.”
Marcus Saxton, IBVTA Chairman
Barely a day passes without a story on the apparent perils or potential risks of vaping. Vaping has been around for over a decade, but the growth in disposable or single-use devices is a relatively new phenomenon and there are legitimate concerns around youth access and their environmental impact.
That’s why as a responsible sector we are bringing forward comprehensive measures to address such issues whilst seeking from government, regulation that is able to keep pace with this rapidly changing environment.
It’s been a bad week for e-cigarette haters as a new study found no evidence that e-cigarette use makes someone more likely to become a smoker. The supposed ‘gateway effect’ is a myth, except possibly in Australia where the dopey government has engineered one by banning vapes.
It has always been fairly obvious that no such gateway exists. It would be odd if vapers switched to something that is much more expensive and vastly more dangerous, and the dramatic decline in smoking rates in countries where vaping has taken off strongly suggests that e-cigarette use leads to less smoking, not more.
THE MEDIA IS AWASH WITH CONCERNS about youth vaping. However a balanced assessment should consider both the harms as well as the benefits. I did a risk-benefit analysis based on the latest evidence and found that the benefits of youth vaping outweighed the risks at a population level.
To be clear, kids should not vape or smoke or drink alcohol or use drugs. However, in the real world, some will do these things. Understanding the full impact is crucial as youth vaping is the main driver of vaping policy. Policy should be based on evidence, not on moral judgements or emotion. Here is the evidence.
The findings were presented at the Global Forum on Tobacco and Nicotine Conference* in Seoul, Korea today [slides and references here].
The FDA has created a downloadable one-page list of vaping products the agency has authorized for sale in the United States. The list, says the agency, is intended for “tobacco retailers looking for information on what e-cigarettes are legal to sell.” In a tweet describing the list, the FDA said that, “As of August 2023, FDA has authorized 23 tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes and devices.”
But that’s not exactly true. First, most of the 23 “e-cigarettes and devices” (huh?) are refills—12 to be precise. There are also multiple versions of some of the authorized devices, with minor differences that have no effect on the user experience. So, there are two Vuse Vibes, two Vuse Ciros, and two NJOY Dailys. Finally, one of the devices isn’t an e-cigarette at all.
That e-cigarettes are a gateway into smoking
The most comprehensive study to date investigating whether e-cigarettes are a gateway into or out of smoking finds that, at the population level, there is no sign that e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine delivery products promote smoking.
The study, led by Queen Mary University of London, also found some evidence that these products compete against cigarettes and so may be speeding up the demise of smoking, but this finding is only tentative and more data are needed to determine the size of this effect. The research was published in the journal Public Health Research.
Are FDA warning letters just a drop of ink in the ocean?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently notified several more online retailers and manufacturers of significant violations related to the sale of e-cigarettes. But are these regular warning letters really enough to reassert the FDA’s control over the market?
This latest set of warning letters went to 15 online retailers and three manufacturers that the federal agency said were selling or distributing unauthorised e-cigarette products. Additionally, in one case, the retailer illegally sold a product to an underage purchaser.
On effect of e-cigarettes (and other reduced-risk nicotine delivery products) on smoking prevalence and cigarettes sales
A study published in Public Health Research looks at the effect of e-cigarettes on cigarette sales and smoking prevalence.
Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, Department of Health Policy and Promotion, University of Massachusetts Amhesrt, said:
“The question of whether e-cigarettes cause people to smoke is an urgent one for public health scientists and policy makers. Though young people who vape are more likely to go on to smoke than their non-vaping peers, it’s difficult to determine if one causes the other….“
Pressuring FDA to Ignore ‘Relative Risk’ | RegWatch
For nearly a decade, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy regarding the ‘relative risk’ of nicotine vaping products skewed towards moratorium when communicating with the public.
Indeed, the FDA’s reluctance to ‘set the record straight’ on e-cigarettes appears to have suborned the proliferation of anti-vaping misinformation, poisoning public perception of vaping.
Now, at the moment when the FDA is finally preparing to tell the public the truth about nicotine vaping products, the American Lung Association is demanding the FDA to strike all mentions of ‘relative risk’ from its new 5-Year Strategic Plan and to abandon “the failed and flawed notions that adult smokers should switch to e-cigarettes.”
Will Continue to Fail – Christina Smith
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has long supported the use of less dangerous products to reduce cigarette use. CAGW’s September 2023 issue brief, “Tobacco Harm Reduction Products Should Be Promoted Not Prohibited,” examined how vaping products helped millions of U.S. adult smokers quit smoking and saved lives, and how government laws and regulations are making it harder to use these products.
Tobacco harm reduction (THR) products are less dangerous alternatives to traditional cigarettes that help adult smokers quit the habit. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths annually in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.
Threatens to reignite smoking crisis
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – The motion put forward by senators to ban or highly regulate e-cigarettes could undo years of progress in smoking cessation.
The Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA) warns that such legislation would not only send former smokers back to their old habits but also deny current smokers a proven way to quit.
Leading international scientists have repeatedly found e-cigarettes to be the most effective tool for helping smokers quit. Last week, a major new analysis by Cochrane of over 150,000 smokers found that people who used e-cigarettes were up to three times as likely to quit than those who didn’t use a smoking cessation tool.
Referencing a recent paper published on “E-Cigarettes and Smoking: Correlation, Causation, and Selection Bias,” Professor Anna Choi of Public Administration at Sejong University shared that the government’s discouragement of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), also known as e-cigarettes, was a missed opportunity.
Based on the study, she noted two kinds of individuals. A type I individual is more likely to initiate smoking, more likely to become addicted if he does smoke, and less likely to have strong motivation and high self-efficacy to quit smoking. In contrast, a type II individual is less likely to initiate smoking, has lower addiction potential, and a higher potential to quit smoking.
A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise….
Fight a threat to vaping in the Netherlands – NNA
The Dutch Government has opened a public consultation on the final stage of a proposal to ban vaping liquid flavours in the country by proposing an amendment to the Tobacco and Smoking Products Order. The consultation will run until 28 September and can be accessed at this link.
This proposal goes further than any flavour ban seen in other countries. The National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and Ministry of Health have set out a list of 16 ‘approved’ substances which can be used to make tobacco flavoured e-liquids. This effectively means a de facto ban on all e-liquids. All current e-liquids on the market, including tobacco flavours, would be prohibited and new flavours would have to be developed using only the 16 approved substances.
That the American Journal of Public Health Invited, Rejected, and Then Maligned Me For
Brad Rodu, Tobacco Truth
Earlier this year, the American Journal of Public Health’s editor-in-chief Alfredo Morabia invited me to comment on FDA tobacco regulation. A month later, he rejected my commentary, then in July he published an editorial effectively, and falsely, labeling me a tobacco industry shill. I reported the details of that experience in a Retraction Watch article. Following is my rejected but still relevant article.
Commissioned Commentary: It’s Time for Federal Officials to Save Smokers’ Lives: Switch from Prohibition to Pragmatism
Inhaling the smoke of burning tobacco kills 480,000 Americans every year. The United States government response – regardless of the political party in power – has been the obstinate pursuit for a quarter century of an idealistic and unattainable “world free of tobacco use” (http://bit.ly/2IXyf83).