Vaping Digest 10th February
Monday’s News at a glance:
Here is what proper journalism looks like – A rare honest film about vaping – Pressure grows on FDA for tougher ban – What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? – ITV Not Wonderful Tonight – Consumer Org Slams Irish Political Parties – Vaping In The News – Wanted: billion dollar foundation – Trump calls for ending FDA authority – The Effects of E-Cigarette Taxes – Vaping helped me give up cigarettes – WHO Worries More About Vaping – The health pros and cons for New Zealanders – In Seeking the Truth, you have to get ALL sides – The role of policy in the EVALI outbreak – Think banning flavours will stamp out youth vaping? – Will Vape Bans Drive Kids To Smoking? – Nicotine Science and Policy Daily Digest
New Nicotine Alliance
Last week we reported on a quite shameful ITV ‘investigative’ programme – broadcast during prime time – which smeared e-cigarettes and vaping products without editorial balance, and seemed to have been put together without any serious investigation whatsoever.
We said that ITV should be ashamed of the misinformation that they thrust on the public and described it as “scientifically ignorant scaremongering” which “misled millions of people with the message that they should just carry on smoking”.
ITV Vape Documentary the Vaping Community Fires Back! – Neil Humber
Christopher Snowdon, Velvet Glove Iron Fist
I was abroad at the end of last week and missed ITV Tonight running a hatchet job on e-cigarettes featuring Stanton Glantz. I believe Channel 4’s Dispatches is in the process of making a similar documentary.
There is only one angle the media are interested in when covering tobacco and e-cigarette stories and it involves ‘Big Tobacco’, conspiracy theories and fear-mongering. A rare exception is the film below from the Economist, a magazine that has generally covered the vaping issue responsibly and honestly. It gives the facts about the so-called EVALI outbreak and the supposed ‘epidemic’ of underage e-cigarette use. It even discusses snus and the new, baseless panic about nicotine damaging the brain.
But advocates in Maine fight back against state lawmakers – Fergus Mason
A ban on flavoured e-cigarette cartridges took effect across the USA last Thursday – but already there are complaints that it doesn’t go far enough. The FDA regulation doesn’t cover disposable e-cigarettes, and now the people who’ve been complaining about cartridge systems for months are suddenly saying disposables are the problem. Meanwhile advocates in Maine are fighting back against a proposed ban on sales of all vapour products, but a similar ban has just been imposed by a city in California. There’s been more criticism of an anti-vaping study by notorious activist Stanton Glantz, and Scotland’s health service is defying government disapproval to promote vaping as a harm reduction tool.
Would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? – Robert Innes
Some adults believe in ghosts: some children believe in giant spaghetti monsters, and some educationalists cannot see past their bias and believe that vaping has created a dangerous ‘epidemic’ that will harm the lives of young people.
“After reminding us that three-quarters of all Americans believe in angels, half of them in ghosts, he [Richard Dawkins] then argued that rather than blame stupidity for such beliefs, it was more optimistic to focus on something remediable: a lack of training in how to think critically, and how to discount personal opinion, prejudice and anecdote, in favour of evidence.”
What people are getting wrong about youth #vaping :
“The reaction we’re seeing in the US is a kind of mass hysteria. The problem is nothing like what is being portrayed by the Public Health officials.”
— David Newell (@dnglos) February 9, 2020
— BJOG (@BJOGTweets) February 10, 2020
Two from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes:
“Compelling current affairs stories that get to the heart of what matters most to viewers,” is how ITV describes its Tonight show. The sixty second introduction to the show mentioned rocket fuel in eliquid, Tutti Frutti flavours, vaping dismissed as “a craze”, worry over teen vaping and underage sales, death, idiots, voxpops and Stanton (My eyes are up here, Stanton) Glantz.
Tonight described its episode: “How Safe Is Your Vape? With more than 3.6 million people now vaping in the UK, Tonight reporter Jonathan Maitland explores the boom in the vaping industry and asks, ‘how safe is your vape?’”
New Nicotine Alliance Ireland (NNA Ireland) has expressed its disappointment with the vaping policies and position statements being made by the leading parties in the lead up to the country’s General Election. Damian Sweeney says that they are “always ready to talk” to all involved.
“[It is] disappointing to see all four major parties target vaping in their manifestos. Please engage with the users before indulging in prohibitionist regulations. We are always ready to talk,” said NNA Ireland’s Damian Sweeny in response to parties compete with each other to promote regressive nonsense.
Kevin Crowley, Vaping Links
NICOTINE DOES NOT CAUSE CANCER ~ New York Magazine forgets that smokers exist ~ The Vaping Industry’s Impeachment ~ Charles Gardner points out the Truth ~ Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids distributes vaping products ~ Indefensible Inaction by JAHA Editors on Obvious Research Misconduct ~ Research: Vaping Helps Smokers Quit ~ US Candidates on Vaping ~ Children testifying about vaping in open court ~ Vaping: what people are getting wrong | The Economist ~ Snarky bonus tweet
To challenge global health industry lies – Simon Clark
Last week Clive Bates, former director of ASH and now a leading advocate of reduced risk products, tweeted:
Idea: somehow find a billion dollar foundation to set up a system to meticulously track and challenge the false and misleading statements of WHO, CDC, Bloomberg-funded proxies, and call out the junk science and press releases of influential academics and medical society chancers.
I would be surprised if Clive’s reference to a ‘billion dollar foundation’ was entirely innocent. He didn’t elaborate though and none of the people who subsequently commented took the hint so let me spell it out.
President Trump has proposed removing the Food and Drug Administration’s responsibility for tobacco regulation in his latest budget request, an ask likely to be met with backlash from tobacco control advocates.
The budget request, released Monday, calls for creating an entirely new agency nested under the Department of Health and Human Services to regulate tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
The Trump administration is proposing to strip the Food and Drug Administration of all authority to regulate tobacco products, according to budget documents released Monday.
Under the budget proposal, a new agency would be created within the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated solely to regulating tobacco, including e-cigarettes. It’s a striking proposal that directly bucks the will of both Congress and the FDA.
On E-Cigarette Prices and Tobacco Product Sales: Evidence from Retail Panel Data
Chad Cotti, Charles Courtemanche, Johanna Maclean, Erik Nesson, Michael Pesko, Nathan Tefft
We explore the effect of e-cigarette taxes enacted in eight states and two large counties on e-cigarette prices, e-cigarette sales, and sales of other tobacco products. We use the Nielsen Retail Scanner data from 2011 to 2017, comprising approximately 35,000 retailers nationally. We calculate a Herfindahl–Hirschman Index of 0.251 for e-cigarette retail purchases, indicating high market concentration, and a tax-to-price pass-through of 1.6. We then calculate an e-cigarette own-price elasticity of -2.6 and a positive cross-price elasticity of demand between e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes of 1.1, suggesting that e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes are economic substitutes.
Danielle M Smith, Maciej L Goniewicz
The introduction of vaping as a mode of nicotine delivery has created numerous challenges in identifying the conditions under which these devices might create public health benefits or harms. Increasing use of e-cigarettes and similar vaping products to administer cannabinoids via inhalation has created important concerns among respiratory clinicians and public health advocates.
Vaping products that administer nicotine solutions or oils containing Δ9–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; often referred to as vape pens, e-cigarettes, e-joints, or dab pens) exhibit many similarities. Some of these similarities include device design and appearance, the use of heat to generate aerosols for substance administration, and the need for additional constituents to facilitate delivery of these substances through the lungs
After decades of trying to stop smoking – Louisa Saunders
The opening chapter of Allen Carr’s bestselling self-help book, Easy Way to Stop Smoking, is titled: “The worst nicotine addict I have yet to meet”. That person was the author himself.
Recounting his decades-long tussle with fags, the “anti-smoking guru” revealed that he chugged through up to 100 a day – and never fewer than 60 – in the face of a hacking cough and a relentless, terrifying fixation with the Grim Reaper. Carr, who died in 2006 but remains famed for his Easyway anti-addiction programme, had been a man possessed. Once, he burnt the back of his hand by trying to put a cigarette in his mouth when another one was already there.
Than the Coronavirus – Robert Goldberg
At the same time the World Health Organization (WHO) was dithering about the dangers of the coronavirus, it was perpetuating another public health threat of greater magnitude.
Specifically, WHO took to Twitter to claim, in the middle of the epidemic that it was slow to recognize, that “e-cigarettes increase the risk of heart disease and lung disorders and pose significant risks as they can damage the growing fetus”.
The Government announced plans to regulate the vaping industry more than two years ago, but there’s still no legislation. Vaping is being promoted in New Zealand as a good alternative to quit smoking, with claims it’s safer. But is it?
There have been around 60 deaths linked to vaping in the United States. What about our young people? Auckland University research says there isn’t a teen vaping epidemic.
You have to get ALL sides of the story – AVCA
The testimonials and real life experiences of the thousands of smokers who have used e-cigarettes to transition away from combustion is a powerful narrative. A narrative that has never been articulated in the media. The smoking rate in Aotearoa/New Zealand has dropped dramatically in the past five years, in no small part due to the availability and access to e-cigarettes by smokers.
Instead, the public is only exposed to anti vape commentary by groups such as the Asthma Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, The Cancer Society and the Secondary Principals Association.
Will stamp out youth vaping? Think again – Alan Jackson
Underage vaping is a problem. Vapes are a potentially reduced risk alternative for adult smokers but their use by young people is alarming. We need serious action to combat underage vaping and this is what governments across Canada, and here in Ontario, are preparing to do. But what if they are getting it wrong?
As the head of a tobacco and vape company, I appreciate that some will question my ability to objectively propose solutions. I see it as my responsibility to help solve this problem and I believe our whole industry has a role to play. And I am concerned that if you dig a little deeper beneath the headlines, what governments are proposing seems to be more about appearances than effective action.
For over six months US health agencies have warned of the dangers of vaping e-cigarettes. According to one leading expert, the CDC (and to a lesser extent the FDA) has misled the public into thinking vaping e-cigarettes was leading to deaths from lung disease when the real cause was cannabis vaping (one example here, but there are many on this site).
The reason for the misleading rhetoric is the concern about youth vaping. And while no parent wants their kid to vape, it is a lot safer than smoking. As Britain’s Royal Society of Public Health explains with some exasperation, vaping nicotine is no more dangerous than caffeine. It is when tobacco is smoked that the real risks of cancer and heart disease arise, not from the nicotine it contains.
A look back at how things have moved on or otherwise…
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that the US governmental Food and Drugs Administration would be tasked with giving the public information based on rigorous and robust science. Sadly, you’d be wrong.
This week – in the face of hysterical panic about youth use of e-cigs – they have produced a poster which they will be sending to every High School in America to be put up in school bathrooms. Now, let’s put aside for a moment the laughable idiocy of showing kids the new risky fad that many of their peers use and that they might be missing out on, and look instead at what is in it.
Fergus Mason, Heat Not Burn
You’ve probably noticed that, as well as Heat not Burn products, we’ve recently started looking at nicotine salt e-liquids. If you’re wondering why, there’s a simple reason. We’re all about making sure smokers who’re looking for safer alternatives get the most effective products possible, and as much as I personally love vaping, conventional e-cigarettes do have some drawbacks. None of them are major, and all of them can be overcome with some practice and the right technique, but they do exist – and, for someone who’s trying to quit smoking, they can make the difference between switching to vaping and nipping out for another pack of Marlboro.