Vapers Digest 25th March
Friday’s News at a glance:
CoEHAR exposes for the first time that most e-cigarette research is flawed – Dutch flavour ban on e-cigarettes postponed – Sharp Decline in High School Vaping – Italy Will Reduce E-Liquid Tax – Negative Vaping Claim Debunked – Expert Reaction – Advocates Coming Together – Parliamentary Activity – Recalls and Russia – GFN22 Updates – FDA Authorizes Logic Vapes – Canadian Vaping Association – ‘Teen Vaping Epidemic‘ Myth – Vaping Rates Have Fallen – Center for Tobacco Products Needs Reforms – Tobacco Control and The WHO – New Administrative Measures Impact China? – Nicotine Science and Policy Daily Digest
That most e-cigarette research is flawed and in need of urgent critical reform
Errors are very common in e-cigarette research, resulting in misinformation and distortion of scientific truth. What are the most common flaws in e-cigarette research?
Under the leadership of CoEHAR, a team of international researchers, examined the 24 most frequently cited vaping studies published in medical journals. The findings are shocking: almost all of these studies were found to be methodologically flawed; they lacked a clear hypothesis, used inadequate methodology, failed to collect data relevant to the study objectives, and did not correct for obvious confounding factors.
Study: Most E-Cigarette Research Flawed – Tobacco Reporter
Postponed for six months – ESIGBOND
The Dutch cabinet has postponed the introduction of a flavour ban in e-cigarettes by six months. In the run-up to the ban, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has drawn up a list of ingredients with which only tobacco flavours can be made. The trade association for e-cigarette shops, Esigbond, warned the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport that this list includes carcinogenic substances. The RIVM is now investigating the list of ingredients again. According to the Esigbond, the government has too little knowledge of vapour liquids, a ban would be difficult to implement and it would result in more smokers.
Dutch Flavor Ban Postponed Until Next Year – Jim McDonald
Smoking Is Almost Eliminated – Dr. Brad Rodu
Last week, five and a half months after the CDC and FDA published selective information on 2021 teen vaping (generating frightening “epidemic” headlines in major news media), the CDC finally released data from the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). I have confirmed the CDC finding that “11.3% of high school students (1.72 million) … reported current (past 30 day) e-cigarette use” (here). However, the CDC failed to mention that this is a 58% reduction in high school vaping from peak prevalence of 27.5% (or 4.1 million) in 2019. The survey also indicates that high school cigarette smoking declined to 1.9%
As indicated in the chart, this represents a profound alteration from 2018, when the vaping rate among high schoolers increased substantially. The vaping rate rose again in 2019, but plummeted the next two years. Importantly, during that period the smoking rate fell 77%, from 8.3% to 1.9%.
Needs Reforms, Not More Authority – Lindsey Stroud
Despite the Food and Drug Administration being a failure to public health, federal lawmakers continue to give the agency more authority to eliminate what is left of the American mom-and-pop vape industry.
On March 15, President Biden signed an omnibus budget bill. Jammed in the 2,700-plus page budget bill was an amendment allowing the FDA to regulate synthetic nicotine as a tobacco product. While congressman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., claims that this is a “big win for public health,” it’s actually a big win for the largest companies and the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).
I’m doing one of those Twitter Spaces things for the first time on Monday so tune in (or whatever you do). https://t.co/TfIQmi2cAt
— Christopher Snowdon 🇺🇦 (@cjsnowdon) March 25, 2022
Sweden: the presentation of the Sweden flavour ban bill has been delayed until 31 March, which gives consumers more time to make their voices heard and save flavours. It’s time to get activehttps://t.co/1bYz1phWad
— European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (@europethra) March 24, 2022
Italy is adjusting its e-liquid tax for the fourth time in four years, and this time the changes will favor vaping consumers. The new rates will take effect April 1, following final passage by the Senate in late February.
The country has reduced the taxes on e-liquids to levels set in 2021 by repealing the scheduled increase that took effect in January 2022. The tax rate on e-liquids containing nicotine will decrease from €0.175 (U.S. equivalent: $0.19) per milliliter to €0.13, and the zero-nicotine e-liquid tax will fall from €0.13/mL to €0.08.
Six from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:
A new paper from University of California San Diego claims that vaping doesn’t work for smokers looking to quit. The researchers looked at PATH Cohort Study data from 3578 smokers. Professor John Britton described their work as “fundamentally flawed” and pointed out their data exercise differed from gold standard independent work in the United Kingdom.
The authors say respondents were asked what they had used to try and stub out their habit: e-cigarettes; NRT—nicotine patch, gum, inhaler, nasal spray, lozenge or tablet; other tobacco products; or the pharmaceuticals Chantix, varenicline, Wellbutrin, Zyban or bupropion. E-cigarette users were asked what nicotine strength product (0-4%+) they used.
A research letter has been published in the journal JAMA. It looks at failed attempts among US adolescents to quit cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The findings have prompted comment a strong response from experts in vape and harm reduction research. The research team included Adam Leventhal and Jessica Barrington-Trimis – both have a history of negative and flawed work attacking vaping.
First up, Professor Lion Shahab, Professor of Health Psychology and Co-Director of the University College London Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said: “Unfortunately this study is seriously flawed and tells us very little. It does not provide any good evidence that e-cigarettes make quitting smoking harder.”
Keen for more countries to adopt progressive regulations around vaping, tobacco harm reduction advocates will come together over the next two months to brainstorm, download and debate the best ways to advance safer nicotine products globally.
“Advocates from around the world have been asking for seminars on the nuts and bolts of advocacy, what is effective, where to find information, and how to get the message across. This new online series will address a real need out there,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator for the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).
Mary Glindon is concerned about snus, Lord Jones of Cheltenham is worried about health risks, and David Jones pushed forward a wealth of questions about tobacco-free pouches. Finally, Adam Afriyie wondered about the relative risk of chewed tobacco products.
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside’s Labour MP, asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care if he will publish his assessment of the reasons for the risks of adverse health outcomes caused by snus being far lower than smoking.
Vapeman branded products must be withdrawn from sale according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The news comes as both British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands have announced that they will cease to supply products and conduct marketing activity in Russia.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says Vapeman branded products must be withdrawn from sale in Great Britain as they have failed to complete the statutory notification process.
#GFN22 organisers have announced their third keynote speaker: Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator for the Coalition of Asia Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates. Nancy’s keynote is titled ‘CommUNITY: Regional Networks in Consumer Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocacy’.
The organisers say: “Passionate about consumers having their voices heard in tobacco harm reduction, Nancy co-founded Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy, New Zealand’s first consumer-only advocacy organisation for vapers and other safer nicotine users – and has since taken a lead role in developing regional and international advocacy networks.
As “Appropriate for the Protection of Public Health” – Alex Norcia
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized several tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices produced by Logic, which is owned by Japan Tobacco International (JTI). The agency also denied other, flavored product applications from Logic, while indicating that menthol-flavored products remained under review.
It’s just the second time the FDA has authorized vapes. The agency determined that a host of products from the Logic Power, Logic Pro, and Logic Vapeleaf brands were “appropriate for the protection of public health”—deemed more likely to help adult smokers reduce or cease their cigarette use than to introduce a new generation to nicotine.
FDA Authorizes Two Logic Vapes and Tobacco-Flavored Refills – Jim McDonald
Government of Canada opens consultation on the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act
In 2018, the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) was amended to protect youth and non-smokers. The amended act recognised that vaping was significantly less harmful than smoking, and smokers that switched to vaping could reduce their exposure to thousands of chemicals. The Act introduced robust measures to protect youth through various labelling and promotion regulations, with the support of the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) who previously advocated for a ban on national advertising.
The TVPA is scheduled to begin its mandated parliamentary review and the Government of Canada has opened public consultation until April 27, 2022. The CVA is encouraged by the parliamentary review and the opportunity to submit feedback through a transparent process.
You know someone is losing an argument when they try to shift the topic of the debate. There is no better example than the public health establishment’s foolish campaign against vaping. Case in point: a just-published research letter in JAMA has found that “e-cigarette use among adolescents may have countered” some of the benefits of the decades-long decline in teen smoking. The study was accompanied by the usually uncritical media coverage in major outlets like US News and World Report:
But a Quarter of E-Cigarette Users Started During the Pandemic
A quarter of adults who vape regularly picked up the habit during the pandemic, and many are smoking too, according to a new Morning Consult survey that comes as health regulators prepare to rein in e-cigarette manufacturers amid a surge in sales but a dip in tobacco use and vaping rates.
Policymakers have been playing cat-and-mouse with e-cigarette manufacturers for years. In 2020, following public outcry over a surge in youth vaping — and an outbreak of mysterious lung illnesses that were ultimately tied to vaping THC — the Food and Drug Administration stepped up its enforcement on vape makers.
Smoke, Mirrors and Wishful Thinking – Dr. Kiran Melkote
The perils of Tobacco are widely known and undisputed. Unlike other risky habits, there is simply no safe way to consume tobacco. Yet, we do. And only for the Nicotine.
Consider this – Smoking a cigarette for the nicotine is like drinking sewage for its water content. It’s in there, no doubt, but there are far safer – not to mention tastier – ways of getting both nicotine and water.
As nicotine researchers get their heads together – Barnaby Page
The Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) held its annual get-together in Baltimore, Maryland last week and – as usual – published a huge number of research abstracts to accompany it (notwithstanding some controversy over the exclusion of industry research). In disciplines from medicine to sociology to economics, and taking in themes from Covid to cannabis, many of the papers are of particular relevance to novel nicotine products.
Prominent retailers have spoken out against Scottish Government proposals to ban displays of vaping products in the nation’s shops.
A consultation currently underway on tightening rules around the advertising and promotion of vaping products includes a move to outlaw in-store promotional displays.
SGF President Dan Brown is among those who fear that potential new policy will not just hit retailers’ businesses but hamper the drive to make the country smoke-free by 2034.
Impact China’s Vape Industry?
On March 11, 2022, China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA), the country’s top regulator of tobacco products, released the finalized version of the Administrative Measures for E-Cigarettes (the ‘measures’), which lays out new regulations for the production, marketing, and sales of e-cigarettes in China.
The latest version of the measures is an amendment of a previous draft that was released for public opinion in December 2021. Several provisions have been amended and new regulations added in the latest version. Among other new regulations, the measures now prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, a significant blow to the industry.
A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise….
Marc Gunther, Philanthropy
In September 2019, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist, and Matthew Myers, president of the nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, unveiled a $160 million, three-year campaign to end what they described as an epidemic of e-cigarette use among kids.
In a New York Times op-ed, Bloomberg and Myers attacked Big Tobacco for putting young people in serious danger by hooking them on addictive e-cigarettes, which are sold in kid-friendly flavors like cotton candy and gummy bear.
Will do more harm than good – EnviroNews Nigeria
The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO), a global association advocating for tobacco harm reduction policies, on Monday, March 22, 2021 released a position paper titled: “10 Reasons Why Blanket Bans of E-Cigarettes and HTPs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) Are Not Fit for Purpose.”
Center of Excellence for the acceleration of Harm Reduction, CoEHAR
A significant new three-year independent study on COPD and smoking has been released by the CoEHAR of the University of Catania (Italy), led by Professor Riccardo Polosa.
The Three-year ground-breaking scientific research study identifies long term health effects for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients (COPD) switching to heated tobacco.