Vapers Digest 2nd December

Friday’s News at a glance:

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle –  ETHRA November news roundupBrexit Freedoms v EU Tax and Red Tape – Leaked EU doc sparks ‘snus shock’ in Sweden – Nicotine-Free Vaping: A Blessing or a Curse? – Deficient and Unreliable Studies of Vaping and DiseaseAmerican Cancer Society Should Fight Cancer, Not Vaping – Tobacco and Vape Companies Ask Supreme Court to Stop CA Flavor BanFilipino Vape Bill Celebrated – INNCO Debunk Popcorn MythHazardous Fake Vape Warning – Vapers Are Deviants – TGA’s consultation on vaping is a sham – 3 years of India’s tragic vape ban – Vape Lords, Repent – Youth daily smoking rates remain at record lowFDA’s Lack of Enforcement – THR: Myth or Reality – Can alternative nicotine products put the final nail in the smoking coffin? – Vape-free Ireland? – Why I advocate for vaping – Nicotine Science and Policy Daily Digest

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

Clive Bates, Tobacco Reporter

In a fact sheet titled “Flavored E-cigarettes Hook Kids,” the U.S.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids asserts that “Flavored e-cigarettes are undermining the nation’s overall efforts to reduce youth tobacco use and putting a new generation of kids at risk of nicotine addiction and the serious health harms that result from tobacco use.” Let us call this “the activist proposition.”

The challenge with simple but false activist propositions is that refuting them can require a lengthy embrace of more complex arguments. Brandolini’s law, also known as the bullshit asymmetry principle, can be expressed: “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it.”

ETHRA November News Roundup

European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates

ETHRA’s monthly roundup of news: Tobacco Excise Directive leaks – Snus survives EU interference – The Right Side of History – Irish age restriction, finally – Calling all consumers, upcoming public consultation – Cochrane evidence update – Country updates. Read on for more.

Brexit Freedoms v EU Tax and Red Tape

Martin Cullip

The EU has faced many serious challenges in recent years including the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine supply, an influx of migrants from war-torn middle eastern countries, and more recently, an energy and cost of living crisis coupled with high inflation and, in some countries, growth levels lower than the UK. The bloc is not helped by Brussels’ unnecessary regulation in many areas of the economy and there are good reasons for the UK to shed the legacy of linked but unnecessary regulation and the principles which underpin it.

Take, for example, the precautionary principle in the case of innovative therapies, including those proven to reduce tobacco and cigarette smoking, despite which the EU appears to persist with its Tobacco Excise Directive.

The proposed EU tax hike on nicotine threatens public health
EU Health Strategy fails on Tobacco Harm Reduction– WVA


Leaked doc sparks ‘snus shock’ in Sweden


Weekend media reports about a leaked EU document purportedly calling for a steep increase in excise duties on Swedish snus sparked an angry “snus shock” among Swedish snus consumers and politicians.

“What’s described is an unreasonable proposal,” Sweden’s Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson wrote on Twitter in reaction to the story, first reported by the Aftonbladet newspaper.

If the proposal outlined in a European Commission document were adopted, the price of a standard tin of Swedish Match-brand General snus would roughly double to around 120 kronor (€11). Prices for tins of portion snus would increase by about 34 kronor.

Nicotine-Free: A Blessing or a Curse?

James Dunworth

The official definition often used by academics for vape devices is ENDS – Electronic Nicotine Containing Devices.

It’s a clear example of how some academics simply don’t understand what they are studying, at least when it comes to vaping. To ‘vape’ means to inhale a vapour created by a mixture of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine – nicotine is an optional extra.

Still, in this blog we’ve often focussed on nicotine, and that’s because the majority of vapers use vape devices to replace smoking. But that also ignores two other areas – a significant proportion of people who go on to eliminate nicotine entirely and people who want to experiment with vaping.

Deficient and Unreliable Studies…

Of Vaping and Disease- Brad Rodu

At least a dozen medical studies over the past few years have found that vaping is associated with heart attack, stroke, hypertension, emphysema and other lung disease, as well as diabetes (see the list at the end of this entry). The studies are cross-sectional; they are drawn from population samples at one point in time. They only produce associations, but those are then inflated to imply or outright claim that vaping causes those disease conditions. The studies appeared in respected medical journals and, together, form a powerful disincentive for smokers to switch to vaping. They also add fuel to the regulatory fire to suppress vape products, which are actually vastly safer than cigarettes.

My research group has published a new analysis entitled, “Cross‑sectional e‑cigarette studies are unreliable without timing of exposure and disease diagnosis,” in the journal Internal and Emergency Medicine.

American Cancer Society …

Should Fight Cancer, Not Vaping – Kim Murray

There is a lot of focus on smoking in November because each year the American Lung Association spends the month focusing on lung cancer awareness and the American Cancer Society holds its annual Great American Smoke-Out. Strangely, during the push to quit smoking, there is no support for using safer alternatives for those who cannot give up smoking. Not only is there no mention of these known safer alternatives, but there is a misinformation campaign to discourage the use of safer alternatives.

Vapor products have disrupted the market as a consumer-driven product providing an alternative to smoking. There is no combustion involved, which means there is no smoke.

Tobacco and Vape Companies …

Ask Supreme Court to Stop CA Flavor Ban – Alex Norcia

On November 29, R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco and vapor companies filed an emergency application for writ of injunction with the United States Supreme Court, requesting that enforcement of California’s nicotine flavor ban be halted.

The move will be framed as Big Tobacco’s attempt to thwart the will of California voters, who on November 8 overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure—Proposition 31—to ban the sale of almost all flavored nicotine products (hookah and some premium cigars are exempt). The legislation on the ballot, SB 793, had been delayed by constant pushback from tobacco harm reduction (THR) advocates and the industry. It was passed by California lawmakers in 2020, but legal challenges bought its opponents a two-year window.

California Flavor Ban Plaintiffs …

Ask Supreme Court for Injunction – Jim McDonald

R.J. Reynolds and the other plaintiffs challenging the state of California’s flavored vape and tobacco ban have asked the Supreme Court to grant an injunction preventing the ban from being enforced while the lawsuit is decided. The ban was passed by California voters on Nov. 8, and is set to take effect sometime in December.

The Supreme Court application was filed Tuesday. Previously, the District Court for the Southern District of California had denied motions for both a temporary injunction and an injunction pending appeal, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals then denied an appeal of the district court decision. (You can find the lower court decisions and the Supreme Court application for injunction on the Supreme Court docket.)

Four from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:

Filipino Vape Bill Celebrated

Just three months after the passage of the ‘Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act’, colloquially known as the ‘Vape Bill’, world-renowned experts continue the push for harm reduction alternatives with the signing of ‘The Manila Declaration 2022’. Presenters at the Asia Harm Reduction Forum celebrated the Bill.

Hosting its fifth annual congregation on 28 October 2022, the Asia Harm Reduction Forum, as a non-profit and interdisciplinary organization that empowers and enjoins individuals, communities, and the government to make informed health-related decisions, provided an updated outlook about different harm reduction advocacies across the globe.

INNCO Debunk Popcorn Myth

INNCO addresses the long-debunked myth of “popcorn lung” because it “keeps popping up”. In 20 years of safe use, “popcorn lung” has never been reported in any of the world’s 82 million adult nicotine vapers, the organisation says.

For many years, nicotine has been demonised by tobacco control “experts” to discourage smoking. While ending smoking should be everyone’s collective goal, violating Truth-Telling to achieve that goal is unethical, INNCO says.

Worse still, it continues, the approach condemns smokers to a needless death sentence without giving them a way out.

Hazardous Fake Vape Warning

British retailers and consumers warned about potentially hazardous fake vape products following an investigation into Chinese fake vape factories by ELFBAR. The company says that it is striving to create a unified approach to combatting the issue.

“Fighting fakes is a priority for ELFBAR and we would like to see a zero tolerance on these fake vapes adopted right across the entire industry so we can show a united front to drive these people out of business,” said Victor Xiao, the Chief Executive of ELFBAR.

Vapers Are Deviants

Dr Frances Thirlway has published a research paper which categorises most vapers as a subculture consisting of a male “hardcore of early-adopter metalheads with gauged ears and box mods”. She says this has created “a classificatory struggle between a subcultural vape industry and its ‘other’, the mainstream vape industry.”

Frances Thirlway is a Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology, University of York (UK). She has carried out research on e-cigarette take-up and on intergenerational trajectories of smoking and quitting in the North of England.

TGA’s consultation on vaping is a sham

Colin Mendelsohn

AUSTRALIA’S PRESCRIPTION-ONLY MODEL for nicotine vaping looks set to continue with even greater restrictions, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced a consultation process aimed at restricting access further.

The prescription model has been rejected by vapers, doctors and manufacturers in Australia. The idea that nicotine liquids are medicines which should be prescribed by a doctor is clearly absurd. Other western countries treat nicotine liquid as a consumer product which replaces another consumer product, deadly cigarettes.

Vape Lords, Repent:

Aus Government Set to Launch Nationwide Vaping Crackdown

If you’re someone who enjoys a cheeky suck on a mysteriously-sourced fruity nicotine tube, those days could well be numbered.

The Guardian has revealed that the federal government is set to launch a national anti-vaping crackdown in response to what they see as a dangerous and unprecedented rise in the numbers of young people experiencing nicotine addiction.

“The former government dropped the ball on vaping,” Health Minister Mark Butler told Guardian Australia. “Our children are paying the price for that division and delay.”

3 years of India’s tragic vape ban

Association of Vapers India

Youth daily smoking rates remain…

At record low in annual ASH Year 10 survey

Youth daily smoking rates have continued to stay at a record low in New Zealand, with only 1.1% of Year 10 students (14-15 years of age) in the annual ASH survey saying they smoke at least once a day. That amounts to around only 700 students across the motu.

ASH Director Ben Youdan says, “We are delighted that Year 10 students continue to set the example by being a smokefree generation, meeting the 2025 goal of less than 5% daily smoking (95% smokefree).”

FDA’s Lack of Enforcement

Continues to Prop Up Gray Market Disposables – Alex Milliken

Despite popular belief, flavored nicotine vapor products are still readily available in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-created gray market. Unfortunately, the FDA’s actions could open the door for states to raise taxes down the road. If that sounds too crazy to be true let me explain.

A gray market is similar to the concept of a black market in that the products being sold are not strictly speaking legal, but instead of finding items through back channels, the deep web, or the back of a truck, the illicit items can be found by the general public readily available in brick and mortar stores, or reliable websites.

Tobacco Harm Reduction: Myth or Reality

Odeh Paul Agabi

Amongst the top global pandemic which needs urgent intervention and attention is tobacco smoking. Affecting about 1.2 billion people, it poses substantial health burdens and costs on the entire global population. Research proves that in developed countries, the biggest cause of premature death, defined as death before 70 years, is the smoking of manufactured cigarettes.

Diseases such as lung cancer, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke which are the topmost diseases resulting from burning cigarettes made it the single most important cause of preventable premature death cases in the world. These diseases result in almost six million deaths annually.

Canadian Vaping Association (CVA)

Questions why the Government of Canada is funding the lobbying of itself

Harm reduction has become a mainstream global policy and activist movement. Sensible tobacco control policy should combine elements that reduce demand, reduce supply and reduce the harm caused by combustible tobacco. Nicotine vaping is tobacco harm reduction. And yet, many Canadian health organizations have lost sight of the shared goal of preventing tobacco-related deaths and illnesses. Instead, health organizations have waged a misguided war on nicotine. Most vocal in its opposition to harm reduction is Physicians for a Smokefree Canada (PSC). Their position on harm reduction has been made clear through a submission on tobacco control in which they state:

Can alternative nicotine products…

Put the final nail in the smoking coffin? – Dr Karl Fagerström

A recent commentary by Beaglehole and Bonita posited that tobacco control is not working for most of the world [1]. Given that the overall number of tobacco users has barely changed in the last three decades, they recommended that the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) incorporate strategies designed to reduce the harms caused by burnt tobacco by replacing cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products with non-combusted alternative products that deliver nicotine in far less harmful ways.

Indeed, as succinctly summarized by Vaughan Rees, “the best, evidence-based interventions are dated, overrated and cannot meet the challenge of reducing tobacco-related harm in this century

Vape-free Ireland?

Simon Clark

As mentioned in my previous post I was in Ireland last week catching up with my colleague John Mallon. Remarkably, given the fact that the smoking rate in Ireland was 18% in 2021 (down from 22% in 2016), anti-smoking campaigners are still officially targeting 2025 as the year Ireland will be ‘tobacco-free’.

To put this in perspective, in Scotland – where the smoking rate is currently 17% – the government wants 2034 to be the year the country becomes ‘smoke free’ so how the Irish government hopes to achieve its tobacco-free ambition nine years earlier is baffling.

Why I advocate for vaping

And why you should too – Allison Boughner

An advocate by definition is a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. I advocate first and foremost because of my personal experience with vaping.

I started smoking at 15, and started trying to quit in my early 20s. With my constant stress, and back and forth with why I “didn’t need to quit,” at 30 I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my right leg.

My son at the time was 4 years old. It was a big reality check for me and finally forced me to try to quit smoking.

On this Day…2021

A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise….

In her latest issue brief, Elizabeth Wright examines tobacco harm reduction (THR) strategies around the world. Harm reduction products are effective in helping adult smokers quit harmful and deadly cigarettes, yet the U.S. and other nations have adopted policies that range from restricting to banning THR products like vaping.

Is EU en route for a better policy to manage addictions?

A few months ago, I wrote on the pages of Brussels Times that a world free of addiction is utopia.

I pointed to the evidence showing that the harm and risk minimization is the only realistic approach to managing addictions. I called upon the Members of the European Parliament to let the voice of civil society who works with people with addiction problem on the ground to be heard in the EU’s elected chamber.

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