Vapers Digest 2nd February

Friday’s News at a glance:

ETHRA January News roundup – The insanity of banning vape flavours – I ban, therefore I am – Would bans address youth vaping? – The NNA: Government Misguided – The Fed and IBVTA Reactions – Dr Sharon Cox Offers Her Perspective – COP10 is a Threat to Safer Nicotine Products – 2023 High School Seniors Preferred Alcohol and Marijuana – PMTA Registry Bills Threaten Vaping Freedom – What Chuck Schumer Doesn’t Understand About Zyn – Let’s talk e-cigarettes – BAT, Philip Morris settle patent disputes – Fears surging number of Australian vapers will turn to black market – Cameras reveal vape sales remain – Bringing the Consumer Voice to COP10 – Kyriakides dodge question about COP 10 – Scorecard exposes WHO’s big fail – Why Sweden should be the focus at COP10 – COP Urged to Implement Harm Reduction – Policy Consistency Key – Tobacco purism kills

ETHRA January News roundup

European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates

ETHRA’s monthly roundup of news: UK disposable ban & vape flavours restrictions – Nicotine pouches under threat – Defend Harm Reduction at COP10 – COP10 Updates – Harm Reduction: The Road to a Smoke Free Europe – Evidence briefs for tobacco harm reduction – Country updates. Read on for more.

The insanity of banning vape flavours

Rory Sutherland

Nicotine may have some deleterious and costly health effects, but so do winter sports, mountaineering, motorcycling and many other activities we leave to personal choice. (I have never been asked to work on a government anti-skiing campaign, though if the opportunity arose I would happily volunteer my services for free.)

But it is absurd that vaping is now the target of much more opprobrium than alcohol. I suspect part of the explanation can be found in an HM Government health warning which appeared on cigarette packets in the 1980s: ‘Most Doctors Don’t Smoke.’ Indeed so. Most doctors don’t vape either. But, in my experience, doctors drink a lot. (Alternative Link)


I ban, therefore I am

Tom Slater

Beware a politician in search of a legacy. Rishi Sunak, in a desperate attempt to find something, anything, to point to as an achievement, has taken to banning things that this teetotal, straight-edge prime minister has probably never tried and clearly doesn’t understand.

At the Conservative Party conference last year, Sunak decided that making England ‘smoke-free’ would be his chapter in history. So he announced Britain’s biggest experiment in prohibition for generations: a phased-in ban on tobacco products that will mean today’s 15-year-olds will never legally be able to buy cigarettes.

Would bans address youth vaping?

Dr Jasmine Khouja, Tobacco and Alcohol Research University of Bristol

If you haven’t seen it in the street, you’ve probably seen it on the news – teens are vaping. The proportion of young people who have experimented with vaping has increased by 50 per cent in just one year, with 12 per cent of youth having tried vaping at least once or twice, and 3.6 per cent vaping at least once a week.

Here in the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group at the University of Bristol, we’re interested in the psychological mechanisms which might be driving the increase in the popularity of vaping among young people in the UK. We want to understand which elements of vaping are specifically attracting them – is it the flavours, the colours, the packaging, the marketing, the availability?

Four from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:

The NNA: Government Misguided

The New Nicotine Alliance say it is “extremely disappointed” to hear that the UK government plans to ban single use vapes, restrict eliquid flavours, implement plain packaging for vape products, and “severely reduce the visibility” of life-saving products. The charity’s volunteers work to improve individual, organisational and public understanding of what is known as ‘tobacco harm reduction’.

The New Nicotine Alliance released a statement that says: “The government’s response to the recent public consultation has ignored the most knowledgeable experts in tobacco control and put forth measures which will fail to tackle the issue of youth vaping and illicit sales, while also producing outcomes which will be damaging to public health.

The Fed and IBVTA Reactions

The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has issued a statement summarising its feelings about the Government’s plan to ban disposables, eliminate juice flavours, implement plain packaging, and hide products from view. Meanwhile, the Independent British Vape Trade Association’s Chair, Marcus Saxton, has been providing reaction to media outlets.

“Banning disposable vapes in the UK will not help people give up smoking and vaping but will fuel the illicit market, independent retailers have warned,” says the Fed.

Dr Sharon Cox Offers Her Perspective

Dr Sharon Cox is an undisputed expert on the benefits of vaping for marginalised communities. She has conducted many studies that have identified how best to use vaping technology to assist people experiencing homelessness or other problems to quit smoking. Dr Cox spoke to Newshour on the BBC World Service about the Government’s vape ban and related proposals.

The Principle Research Fellow at UCL’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group was asked about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement. She said: “What has been announced is welcome in terms of the suite of measures. I think there are other things that potentially could have been done to curb vaping – such as making them less convenient for people to buy, than having restrictions on price and restrictions on packaging.”

COP10 a Threat to Safer Nicotine Products

On Monday, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) tenth Conference of Parties (COP10) conference begins in Panama. In an Op-ed for Planet of the Vapes, Bengt Wiberg says that tobacco free modern oral nicotine pouches and other less harmful alternatives to smoking like vapes are under threat.

Bengt Wiberg writes: Now both snus, tobacco free snus (nicotine pouches) and vapes are threatened by both the WHO and the EU. The Moderate party in government in Sweden and its Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson have always defended snus as a way to reduce tobacco harm.

Let’s talk e-cigarettes

January 2024 Cara Murphy

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce and Nicola Lindson discuss emerging evidence in e-cigarette research interview Cara Murphy, Brown University, USA.

Associate Professor Jamie Hartmann-Boyce and Dr Nicola Lindson discuss the new evidence in e-cigarette research and interview Assistant Professor Cara Murphy, clinical psychologist at Brown University. Cara Murphy works at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction in the School of Public Health and the Center for Addiction and Disease Risk Exacerbation.

2023 High School Seniors….

Preferred Alcohol and Marijuana, But Almost Abandoned Cigarettes
Brad Rodu, Tobacco Truth

My readers know that I have followed the results of the annual Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) for many years, focusing on alcohol, marijuana and tobacco use among high school seniors. The 2023 MTF results, released in December (here), indicate that past 30-day (i.e., current) use of all products declined from the previous year (as seen in chart at left).

Despite its illegality, drinking alcohol retained its decades-long top-substance status among seniors at 23%, down significantly from 28% in 2022. Marijuana was second at 18%, one point higher than the 17% of seniors vaping nicotine in the past 30 days, which was a significant 4 percentage point decline from the year before.

Vaping: Your Voice Matters


Join Alex and Logan as they discuss why Calls to Action are important and how the timing is crucial. They’ll also explain why Preemption bills are beneficial and how PMTA Registry bills impact consumers.

PMTA Registry Bills …

Threaten Vaping Freedom in Multiple States – Jim McDonald

A new kind of restrictive vape product law is rapidly gaining traction in state legislatures. So far this year, over a dozen so-called PMTA registry (or directory) bills have been introduced. The bills are promoted to state lawmakers by tobacco companies seeking to protect themselves from competition.

The new bills follow the same outline as laws passed over the last two years in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama. A state establishes a registry (or directory) of products that may legally be sold in that state, which is maintained by a state agency.

What Chuck Schumer Doesn’t Understand

About Zyn – Jacob Grier

At a press conference last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer called on federal agencies to investigate and crack down on Zyn, an oral nicotine product that most Americans have never used and likely have never heard of. One might not have expected this seemingly niche topic to get much attention, but the issue lit up the very-online right.

“This calls for a Zynsurrection!” Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene posted on X. Fellow Georgia Rep. Mike Collins posted a meme riffing on the “come and take it” flag, a symbol of the Texas Revolution, replacing the iconic cannon with just the word “ZYN.”

BAT, Philip Morris settle patent disputes

Over heated tobacco, vapes

Tobacco giants Philip Morris International (PM.N), opens new tab and British American Tobacco (BATS.L),  said on Friday they had agreed to resolve a multitude of ongoing patent infringement disputes relating to their cigarette alternatives.

The cigarette makers had been fighting a multi-front patent dispute that has hurt both sides. BAT, which makes Vuse vapes and Glo heated tobacco devices, was ordered to pay PMI millions of dollars after losing one case, while PMI has been blocked from importing its flagship heated tobacco device IQOS into the United States as part of another.

Mandela Asked This Harm Reductionist

“How Can I Be Helpful?” – Helen Redmond

Dr. Kgosi Letlape has been a passionate and relentless activist on the side of “the underdog,” as he puts it, for most of his life.

An ophthalmologist in South Africa, Letlape is the former chairman of the South African Medical Association and a co-founder of the Africa Harm Reduction Alliance.

In our filmed interview, he told Filter how South Africa’s devastating HIV epidemic has profoundly changed him, shifting him from “not just activism of talking, but of action and making things happen.”

Fears surging number of vapers…

Will turn to ‘dangerous’ black market

The number of Australians who took up vaping surged by 30 per cent last year, raising concerns users will turn to dangerous black market stock in the wake of new laws.
The federal government legislated a ban on the import of disposable vapes on January 1 with tighter regulations threatened to follow.
But 400,000 more adults began vaping in the year to December, according to new Roy Morgan data commissioned by the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS).

Undercover cameras reveal…

Nicotine vape sales remain, despite import ban

An A Current Affair investigation has found the government’s attempt to crack down on nicotine vapes could be going up in smoke, as a booming black market emerges.

New national regulations took effect on January 1 to make it illegal to import disposable vapes, regardless of whether they contain nicotine.

The government threw millions at the plan, with the aim to cut off a flood of supply that is allowing the e-cigarette product to land in the hands of our youngest Australians.

Bringing the Consumer Voice to COP10

Featuring Lindsey Stroud | #GFNNews

With COP10 due to take place next week, and with consumers denied a seat at the table, Lindsey Stroud walked us through how consumers are making their voice heard at the Good COP / Bad COP event, which will be livestreamed from COP10 in Panama!

Kyriakides dodge question about COP 10

In a recent exchange of views between the SANT Subcommittee and Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, a wide array of topics were covered, ranging from Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to the issue of nicotine pouches. However, some questions related to COP10, were not met with any answer.

The Committee’s meeting on February 1, 2024, included a discussion on various aspects of cancer prevention and treatment. Commissioner Kyriakides outlined the progress made under the Beating Cancer Plan, emphasizing its ambitious goals and the financial commitment behind it.

Scorecard exposes WHO’s big fail

In curbing tobacco use – Derek Yach

When delegates gather in Panama for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest summit on tobacco control this month, they would be unwise to indulge in self-congratulatory backslapping.

A key objective of the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is to assess progress made by Parties in meeting their agreed obligations to end smoking and the use of toxic smokeless tobacco products in the fastest possible time in order to prevent deaths and disease.

Sweden should be the focus at COP10

Dr. Anders Milton

Over the coming days, delegates from 183 countries will be making their final preparations for the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). As governments around the world struggle to reduce the burden of smoking, COP10 represents one of the most important platforms through which to share expertise on how to save lives. If I were a delegate, I certainly know which approach I would be championing.

Without a doubt I would be sharing everything I know about the unique success of Sweden in becoming smoke free. Achieving a ‘smoke-free’ status, defined as less than 5% of the population smoking, is a feat only Sweden has nearly reached in Europe.

COP Urged to Implement Harm Reduction

Consumer advocacy group Quit for Good asked the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to consider the lives of more than a billion smokers when it convenes the 10th Conference of the Parties in Panama next week.

Lorenzo Mata Jr., president of Quit for Good, said the WHO should implement FCTC Article 1 (d) on harm reduction strategies to help smokers. The treaty defines tobacco control as “a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies.”

Policy Consistency Key

To Curb Tobacco Consumption – Shantanu Guha Ray

India’s health authorities have issued an advisory to halt all research related to e-cigarettes. This development coincides with the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) scheduled for this year.

The decision by the health ministry has raised eyebrows, primarily because it goes against the standard practice of encouraging research to get new insights. Research serves as the cornerstone of any product’s evolution.

Tobacco purism kills

Let’s focus on risk reduction – Karl Erik Lund

There is disagreement in the public health community about the strategy to combat smoking. While so-called purists want a completely tobacco-free society, pragmatists focus on reducing the harm to health caused by smoking. Karl Erik Lund, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, meant to talk about this at the Healthcare Daily’s conference on the Economics of Prevention. Due to technical reasons, it was not possible to present his lecture on the scene, but Lund provided it to our media and answered additional questions, which has now made this text possible. According to him, the proponents of the pragmatic approach are not fighting against nicotine as a drug, but against diseases caused by inhaling smoke from burning tobacco.

On this Day…2023

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

Harrys’ blog 116: Unheard Voices

Harry Shapiro

There are over 100 million users worldwide of safer nicotine products (SNP). Many will have struggled to find the right option for themselves, friends or family, or any option at all. Many will have obtained nicotine products illegally, smuggled into the country or bought under the counter.  Few will know that there are activist groups all over the world campaigning for the right of these same people to have ready access to nicotine products which are affordable, appropriate and acceptable. The first study looking at the nature of these groups has just been published by Knowledge Action Change (KAC).

The aim of this study was to map the number and locations of nicotine consumer organizations globally and describe their history, legal status, membership, structure, objectives, working methods and activities, and funding.

Safer-Nicotine Consumer Groups Have Almost No Funding Worldwide

Passionate But Underfunded:

The Vape Advocates Fighting for Public Health – James Dunworth

As anyone who has followed vaping for a while knows, the world of tobacco harm reduction is, to put it mildly, divisive.  On one side, there are those advocating for access to safer nicotine products (SNP), such as e-cigarettes. These alternatives are likely to carry some risk, but public health organisations such as the UK government estimates the risk to be a small fraction of that of smoking.

Fighting against reduced-harm products, for a myriad of reasons, are those who advocate a “quit or die” approach. They seek to restrict all forms of tobacco harm reduction (other than the pharmaceutical companies who fund them) and achieve a nicotine-free world.  However, a new survey has revealed the scale of consumer advocacy for access to safer nicotine products.

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