Vapers Digest 29th September
Friday’s News at a glance:
Disposable vapes and the race to prohibition – A Vapid Solution – First, tell the truth – Are vapes 95% safer than smoking? – New Back Vaping Save Lives Campaign Video! – Switching to vaping has saved my life – Ireland‘s Vape Attack Raises Alarms – Putting Consumers First At GTNF – Consumer Group Warns Of Reputation Risk – Experts Condemn ‘Backward’ Ban – Government Touts Stoptober – Liver Damage Study Retracted – Biden Cancer Moonshot – Massachusetts Legislation Falls Short – Alternative reading for #COP10 – Restrictions on Flavored Products – Bans Could Increase Teen Smoking – Exploring the Overlooked Benefits of Nicotine – New State Laws Will Limit Choice – FDA Seeks $19,000 Fines – WHO strategies – WVA Denounces Hungarian Neglect – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – 6th Scientific Summit – Destigmatizing vaping – Let’s talk e-cigarettes –
Christopher Snowdon, The Critic
As an enthusiastic and prolific vaper, I have mixed feelings about disposable e-cigarettes. For the last two years I have watched the rapid ascent of Geek Bars, Elf Bars and Lost Marys with a sinking feeling that a tabloid panic was on its way. It arrived this summer. The littering and underage use with which they have become associated has tarnished the entire category and allowed a lot of people who never liked e-cigarettes to crawl out of the woodwork and demand harsh regulation.
On the other hand, disposables seem to do the trick for smokers who don’t want to mess around with a refillable device and learn about atomisers, batteries and wattage. For all the talk about teenage vaping, disposable e-cigarettes are mostly used by adults.
Why banning disposable e-cigarettes would be a failure of law-enforcement
Reem Ibrahim & Christopher Snowdon
Disposable e-cigarettes (or ‘vapes’) are non-refillable and non-rechargeable electronic nicotine delivery devices. They have become increasingly popular in Britain in the last three years and there has been public concern about their use by teenagers. The sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine to people aged under 18 has been illegal since 2015 and in April 2023 the government announced a clampdown on underage sales, with an extra £3 million of funding for Trading Standards to create an ‘illicit vapes enforcement squad’.1 It has since been reported that the government intends to ban the sale of disposable vapes altogether.
Advocates of a ban claim that disposable e-cigarettes, which are often in colourful packaging and use fruity flavours, are overwhelmingly targeted at under-18s. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak himself has voiced concerns, saying in May 2023:
Christopher Snowdon – Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
Dr Mike McKean, vice-president for policy at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, has hit out against the well publicised fact that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Dr McKean said: “Vaping is not for children and young people. In fact it could be very bad for you,” although he stresses that it is not making lots of children very sick, and serious complications are rare.
“Vaping is only a tool for adults who are addicted to cigarettes.”
He says the 95% safe messaging was “a very unwise thing to have done and it’s opened the door to significant chaos”.
The “chaos” is, presumably, the youth vaping “epidemic”. It is very easy to exaggerate the scale of underage vaping in Britain – 80% of 11-17 year olds have never tried a vape and only 3.7% of them use an e-cigarette more than once a week – but there has undoubtedly been an increase in recent years, with most teenager vapers using disposables.
Probably, and scientists should be blunt about it – Stuart Ritchie
Vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking. That’s a statement that you see repeated all over the place, not just from companies who make e-cigarettes but from respected government sources.
But according to Dr Mike McKean, vice-president for policy at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, publicising this number has been a very bad idea.
Telling the public that vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking, McKean argued in a BBC interview this week, was “a very unwise thing to have done and it’s opened the door to significant chaos”. Alternative Link
@bbc5live interview with me this morning on whether communicating vaping less harmful than smoking has contributed to teen vaping (spoiler alert: it hasn’t. Teen’s currently have very inaccurate views that vaping is as harmful as smoking but still do it) https://t.co/LDbpjOKmlf
— Hazel Cheeseman (@HazelCheeseman) September 27, 2023
Excited to share a new working paper using sales data through March 2023 to find that state and local laws restricting flavors in #ecigs increase cigarette sales, including for cigarette brands disproportionately used by youth. 1/5https://t.co/SdZy6Ef1Tk
— Michael F. Pesko 🇺🇦 (@mikepesko) September 28, 2023
New Back Vaping Save Lives Campaign Video! – Michelle, ECigClick
Our important, yet harrowing two-minute video makes it clear to the government you either Back Vaping and Save Lives, or leave smokers to die a horrific, preventable death.
The film – projected onto structures across the city – follows reports that the government may ban disposable vapes, despite overwhelming criticism from myself and other campaigners in mainstream media.
During a week of meeting and engaging with vapers around the capital, I understand the frustration they face at what appear to be constant attacks on something that has likely extended their lives.
Liam Mallon – Stop Smoking London
Worried about a loved one who smokes? Read Liam’s story on how he began vaping after losing his wife to smoking. Find out how to help someone stop smoking.
Liam is a freelance musician and part-time carer who began smoking at an early age. After his wife died from a heart attack caused by smoking, Liam realised it was time to ditch the cigarettes and focus on his health.
Using the memory of his wife as motivation to quit smoking and pursue his career as a violinist, Liam has swapped to vaping and is feeling positive about his future.
Seven from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:
The Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has announced his intention to tighten regulation on vaping – including a ban of disposable vapes and a potential flavour ban. The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) urges policymakers to reconsider the far-reaching consequences this move would have on public health and harm reduction. Such bans contradict successful harm reduction approaches seen in other countries such as Sweden.
Michael Landl, the Director of the WVA, states, “Prohibition doesn’t work. It never has, and it never will. A ban on disposable vapes will not eliminate the demand but shift it from regulated markets to the black market, creating negative, unintended public health consequences.”
The Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum (GTNF) hosted a consumer panel called “Putting Consumers First,” moderated by Nancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction. GTFN took place in Seoul, South Korea from 19-21 September 2023.
The Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF) organisers say it is “the world’s leading annual conference discussing the future of the tobacco and nicotine industries.
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) has issued a warning that New Zealand’s reputation and its commitment to the International Open Government Partnership Agreement is at risk. CAPHRA is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organisations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.
The Coalition’s recent release of a Shadow Report on the (NON)-Implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 1 (d) on Harm Reduction Strategies emphasises the importance of consumer participation in policy making and highlights the benefits of tobacco harm reduction.
Leading international public health experts have expressed serious concern about Kazakhstan’s imminent ban on vapes, calling it a “backward step” that contradicts the unprecedented success of more progressive countries which are dramatically reducing tobacco’s toll through the use of alternative nicotine products.
Smoke Free Sweden, a movement highlighting Sweden’s progress in becoming smoke-free, has said the Kazakh government’s intention to enact the prohibition by January 1, 2024, endangers the lives of the country’s 3.2 million smokers who will be deprived of their best chance to quit their deadly habit.
The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, and Neil O’Brien MP have announced that Stoptober is back and are collectively calling on smokers “to join the thousands of others committing to quit from 1 October”. It comes as a new nationwide study was released showing that nearly all (95%) ex-smokers see positive changes in their life as early as 2 weeks after quitting.
Gastroenterology Research journal published a study claiming to have found a link between vaping and “chronic” liver disease. Immediately, experts saw obvious flaws in the paper but the authors failed to address worries raised regarding their methodology and the trustworthiness of the team’s findings. Consequently, Gastroenterology Research has been forced to retract the junk science.
“Association of Smoking and E-Cigarette in Chronic Liver Disease: An NHANES Study”, was conducted by a team from various institutions across the United States and the Universidad Catolica de Santiago de Guayaquil.
President Joe Biden has unveiled what is claimed to be “an ambitious plan” to cut the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years. It consists of an impressive list of actions but fails to make any mention of the part vaping could play in combatting tobacco-related harm. The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) says it “misses the mark” and called upon the Biden Administration to join countries like the United Kingdom and Sweden in prioritising tobacco harm reduction.
September 2023 Andrea Leinberger-Jabari
Jamie Hartmann-Boyce and Nicola Lindson discuss emerging evidence in e-cigarette research and Ailsa Butler interviews Andrea Leinberger-Jabari from the Public Health Research Center at New York University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Associate Professor Jamie Hartmann-Boyce and Dr Nicola Lindson discuss the new evidence in e-cigarette research. Ailsa Butler interviews Andrea Leinberger-Jabari, Assistant Director for tobacco research at the Public Health Research Center at New York University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The official FCTC COP10 documents are listed on the Tenth Session of the Conference of the Parties website. COPWATCHERS will notice that tobacco harm reduction is absent from those official documents, with no consideration given to the opportunities offered by safer nicotine products. Here we have compiled a list of articles to round off the COP10 delegates’ education. Tweet to @FCTCcopwatch if you think we have missed anything out.
Lawmakers in the Bay State recently heard testimony on proposals in both the Massachusetts House and Senate which seek to address youth nicotine addiction by increasing the state excise taxes on cigars and cigarettes. While protecting youth from all age-restricted products is laudable, Massachusetts youth are reporting record lows in cigarette and cigar use. Rather than imposing draconian taxes that will disproportionately impact lower-income persons, and stoke fears of a youth vaping epidemic that doesn’t exist, lawmakers should utilize existing tobacco monies on programs to address youth use of tobacco and vapor products.
Flavored Vaping Products Encourage Smoking – Jacob Sullum
Legal restrictions on the flavors of nicotine vaping products are associated with increased cigarette purchases, according to a new paper that analyzes retail sales data from 44 states. For each fewer 0.7-milliliter nicotine pod sold in jurisdictions with such policies, the analysis found, consumers bought 15 more cigarettes. “That tradeoff,” the authors note, “equates to over a pack more cigarettes per pod for the size of current leading products” such as the Vuse Alto, which uses 1.8-milliliter pods.
Could Increase Teen Smoking – Jonathan H. Adler
Many local jurisdictions have adopted laws banning the sale of flavored vaping products (i.e. vaping products with flavors other than tobacco). Additional cities, such as Cleveland, are considering whether to follow suit. The federal Food & Drug Administration has also refused to approve marketing applications for non-tobacco-flavored vaping products (aka ENDS or “electronic nicotine delivery systems”).
All of these policies are largely justified on the grounds that non-tobacco flavors may appeal disproportionately to to non-smokers, and to youth in particular.
Of Nicotine – Helen Redmond
Dr. Paul Newhouse has been researching nicotine for over 30 years. He’s been doing this since long before nicotine became one of the most controversial and feared substances on the planet, and he continues despite the frenzied backlash from tobacco control organizations in the vaping era.
I first learned about his work when I came across a quote attributed to him online. It read: “In some ways I think of nicotine as the perfect psychotropic drug. The nicotine receptors in the brain act as modulators, scanning the system and stimulating what needs to be stimulated and relaxing what needs to be relaxed. That’s why you have a smoker who uses a cigarette to wake up and to go to sleep.”
Two from Jim McDonald:
The FDA has announced it will seek fines from 22 retail stores for selling unauthorized vaping products after previously receiving warning letters for the same offense. The agency also announced 168 new warning letters issued to brick-and-mortar stores caught selling unauthorized disposable vapes during retail inspections.
The agency is seeking the largest civil money penalties (CMPs) allowed by law for a single violation. The Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act (of which the Tobacco Control Act is a part) provides for a maximum CMP of $19,192 for a single violation relating to tobacco products.
On Oct. 1, Oklahoma will publish a list of vaping products allowed for sale in the state, giving authorities the information they need to enforce the state’s new partial vape ban. A month later, Louisiana will begin enforcing a similar law.
The laws prohibit sales of products that have not been authorized for sale by an FDA marketing granted order (MGO) or do not have premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) still undergoing review by the agency.
In the FDA’s approach to tobacco regulation
The difficulties the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has encountered in effectively regulating novel nicotine are most obvious with e-cigarettes, rather than other categories, for several reasons: most notably, the sheer number of companies and products involved, and the politically hot issue of youth usage.
But they may also point to fault lines in the agency’s approach to tobacco products in general.
Reaffirms its support for vaping – Colin Mendelsohn
We wrote to all political parties about vaping recently. Until recently, all parties supported the prescription model. Now the Nationals, NSW and Tasmanian Greens support sensible regulation of vapes as adult consumer products.
Senator Malcolm Roberts from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation wrote back to reaffirm their long-standing support for removing the prescription model and regulating vapes like cigarettes and alcohol.
To reduce tobacco-related deaths are insufficient – Lars Ramström
The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an international treaty established in 2005 that provides a framework for tobacco control measures to be implemented at the national, regional, and international levels.  It has been ratified by 182 countries, thereby making them parties to the FCTC. Every second year, the parties come together at a conference to discuss current matters.
Preparations are now underway for the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) in Panama in November 2023. At the same time, smoking continues to be the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the world.
Neglect of Science on Vaping
The Hungarian Government issued a statement on its anti-smoking measures, dismissing the significant harm reduction benefits of vaping and other smokeless alternatives. This stance not only denies globally accepted scientific consensus but also appears to deliberately undermine the proven success of countries like Sweden in their harm reduction initiatives.
Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, stated, “It’s deeply concerning that the Hungarian Government chooses to sidestep the vast body of scientific evidence supporting vaping as a viable harm-reduction tool. Their attempt to marginalise the success of the Swedish model is a regressive move and not befitting of a government that should prioritise public health.“
Latest findings by CoEHAR presented in Athens
Today, the 6th edition of the Scientific Summit organised by SCOHRE, the International Association of independent experts on Smoking Control & Harm Reduction, is going to end.
During the two-days event, that took place in Athens, researchers and clinicians from all over the World debated the latest data related to the benefits and the risks associated with alternative tobacco product use among smokers and the association with switch and quit attempts.
Over the years, vaping has emerged as a contentious topic, sparking debates about its potential benefits and risks.
As a harm reduction tool aimed at helping smokers quit traditional cigarettes, vaping has garnered both support and skepticism.
The stigma attached to vaping often arises from misinformation, misunderstandings, and its association with broader concerns such as youth uptake and the lack of long-term research.
A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise….
2022 evidence update
The final annual update in the current series of evidence reviews about the health harms of vaping, by leading independent tobacco experts:
Nicotine vaping in England: an evidence update including health risks and perceptions, 2022 – PDF 12.4 MB 1468 pages
Than smoking, largest review of its kind finds – King’s College London
New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London has found that the use of vaping products rather than smoking leads to a substantial reduction in exposure to toxicants that promote cancer, lung disease and cardiovascular disease.
The independent report, commissioned by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities in the Department of Health and Social Care, represents the most comprehensive review of the risks of vaping to date. It found that, while vaping is not risk free (particularly for people who have never smoked), it poses a small fraction of the health risks of smoking in the short to medium term.
Says UK Government (Again!) – James Dunworth
Every year the UK government commissions an independent review of the evidence around the safety of vaping. The review of vaping, now in its eighth reiteration, is already the most solid review of vaping evidence in the world – and this year is the most comprehensive yet.
The report reiterated that vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking. However, that doesn’t mean vaping is risk free.
This year there is particular emphasis on biomarkers of exposure – i.e. markers in the body that show the body has been exposed to certain chemicals or toxins.