Vaping Digest 12th June

Friday’s News at a glance:

Louise Ross: Pragmatism versus dogma: freeing the inner vaper in smokers – Michael Russell Oration 2020 – TPD Review 2020 – The Snus Revolution Podcast – The 2019 “EVALI” Misinfodemic (Part 2) – Hong Kong Drops Plans to Ban Vape Sales (For Now) – Group welcomes HK removal of vaping ban – Don’t Ban Today What May Have a PMTA Tomorrow – Research Roundup – Mexican Smokers At Less Risk Of COVID-19 – Dirty Drip Tip Danger – Disease Solutions Blocked – NNA Webinar with Dr Farsalinos – California Tax Increase Would Harm Tobacco Cessation Efforts – Anti-alternative tobacco report – Australia wins tobacco case at World Trade Organisation – ECST urges for an independent committee – Nicotine Science and Policy Daily Digest

Louise Ross: Pragmatism versus dogma:

Freeing the inner vaper in smokers – Michael Russell Oration 2020
Clive Bates, The Counterfactual

The highlight of this year’s Global Forum on Nicotine will be the Michael Russell Oration given by the superb Louise Ross on 11 June 2020.  Louise has kindly given permission to reproduce the text of her oration on this blog. This joins the collection of outstanding writing by Louise we host here on the Counterfactual.

My reaction on Twitter…

So here it is, the text as given… and if you prefer, please see video below.

TPD Review 2020

Clive Bates Gives His Expert Opinion On the Future

As you’re probably aware the European Union is gearing up for a major TPD review – so what will that mean for vapers?

We’ve already seen the EU push through a tax on vaping – that could eventually mean higher prices for all – and given that organizations isn’t a big fan of vaping, is that just the start?

And come to that – given the UK is about to make a break from the EU, will we create our own vape legislation or follow like sheep?

Clive reckons here in the UK, the government has x3 choices:


The Snus Revolution Podcast

It all started with an email. Journalist Michael McGrady emailed Swedish inventor Bengt Wiberg about his award-winning innovation: a protective shield, primarily designed to reduce the stinging sensation on the gum, when using any pouched oral nicotine products. Snus is a moist powder, pasteurized smokeless tobacco product originating from a variant of snuff dating back to 18th-century Sweden. After cultivating a friendship, both decided to advance the message of tobacco harm reduction and how snus is a phenomenal contribution to the future of a smoke-free world. This podcast is a reflection of this shared commitment.

The 2019 “EVALI” Misinfodemic (Part 2)

Charles Gardner

This three-part series is based on an independent analysis of 18,000 news stories covering EVALI – an outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries that occurred in the United States in 2019. Part one of this series explained why the most reasonable explanation for the EVALI outbreak is an adulterant that entered the unregulated illicit THC vape oil supply chain in early 2019. Part two (below) explores how the outbreak was misdiagnosed in the US, and how that misdiagnosis spread to other countries.

The GFN 2020 Programme Outline is here

Hong Kong Drops Plans to Ban Sales

Jim McDonald, Vaping360

The Hong Kong Legislative Council has dropped plans to ban vaping products—at least for now. Vaping and harm reduction advocates have been fighting the proposed ban since it was announced more than 19 months ago in a speech by Hong Kong’s chief executive.

The Bills Committee on Smoking of the Legislative Council ended discussions over the bill to ban e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs, also known as heat-not-burn products) last week. The committee had been working on the bill since March 2019, holding six meetings and three public hearings, according to the Manila Standard.

Group welcomes HK removal of vaping ban

The Manila Times

A regional consumer advocacy group has lauded Hong Kong Legislative Council’s (Legco) decision to terminate discussions on the proposed ban on vaping products, saying this would provide smokers with safer smoke-free alternatives.

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (Caphra) refers to the announcement of Legco’s Bills Committee on Smoking that it ceased discussions over the proposed ban on electronic cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco products (HTPs) and other electronic nicotine delivery systems on June 2.

Caphra said these smoke-free nicotine products were considered a part of tobacco harm reduction — a public health strategy, which aims to provide alternatives to reduce risks caused by smoking cigarettes.

Regional coalition welcomes Hong Kong’s termination of vaping ban

Don’t Ban Today…

What May Have a PMTA Tomorrow – Chelsea Boyd

Tobacco retailers and manufactures are rightfully subject to significant regulatory oversight. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the primary regulatory agency for tobacco products, states and localities have a tremendous amount of latitude to regulate availability of tobacco products. In the case of novel tobacco products, such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), this has resulted in a national patchwork of regulations and rules that change as fast as the mile markers along the highway. When it comes to regulating novel tobacco products, states and localities see a need to act now to protect public health and decrease youth use of e-cigarettes.

Five from Dave Cross, Planet of the Vapes

Research Roundup

The UK Electronic Cigarette Research Forum (UKECRF) has presented comment on some recent vape-related studies. In addition, we include links to the sizeable number of other work published during April and May.

“Associations between dual use of e-cigarettes and smoking cessation: A prospective study of smokers in England” by Sarah Jackson, Lion Shahab, Robert West, and Jamie Brown

The team found there was no significant difference in the prevalence of quit attempts at follow-up between baseline dual users and exclusive smokers. Dual users of e-cigarettes were less likely than dual users of NRT to have made a quit attempt.

Mexican Smokers At Less Risk Of COVID-19

“Characteristics and risk factors for COVID-19 diagnosis and adverse outcomes in Mexico: an analysis of 89,756 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases” by Theodoros Giannouchos, Roberto Sussman, Jose Manuel Mier, Konstantinos Poulas, and Konstantinos Farsalinos has been published as a preprint on Medrxiv. In it, the team show that nicotine is playing a role in reducing the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The team from the University of Utah, Mexican clinicians and researchers from Greece looked at 236,439 patients, of which 89,756 (38.0%) had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Their motivation was that “it is important to understand the pathophysiology and the mechanisms of disease progression,” and that “the rapid transmission of the disease and the increased pressure across healthcare systems have led to emergency measures resulting in substantial social and economic disruption.”

Dirty Drip Tip Danger

Dr Suzi Gage, epidemiologist and psychologist, studies the associations between mental health and recreational drug use. An advocate for truth and straight talking about substance use, Suzi has been a longstanding advocate of vaping and tobacco harm reduction. Recently, he warned vapers that they need to ensure their drip tips are clean.

Dr Gage is a winner of the Ockham Award for Best Podcast. She has gone on to put the contents of those discussion into print with “Say Why To Drugs: Everything You Need to Know About the Drugs We Take and Why We Get High”.

She believes that the moisture created when vapers inhale might contain bacteria if drip tips aren’t clean. This microorganism, she says, could lead to people using ecigs becoming ill.

Disease Solutions Blocked

Scientists and experts in public health and tobacco control are highlighting the need for 1.1 billion smokers, and millions of adults who have switched away from smoking, to access appropriately regulated safer nicotine products such as vapes, Swedish snus, nicotine pouches and heated tobacco products, otherwise known as tobacco harm reduction.

This year, the seventh annual Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN), the only international conference focused on safer nicotine products’ role in reducing smoking-related harms, is a free online conference (Thursday 11/Friday 12 June) due to COVID-19.

NNA Webinar with Dr Farsalinos

The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) is Britain’s independent consumer voice for users of alternative nicotine products. Having successfully hosted a webcast with advocate Clive Bates last week, the NNA has announced that it will be hosting harm reduction expert Doctor Konstantinos Farsalinos next week.

The 150 registration slots quickly filled up for the Zoom event with Clive Bates and the NNA anticipates the same will be the case for its webcast with Dr Farsalinos.

Konstantinos Farsalinos is a cardiologist and research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens. As well as being an expert in tobacco harm reduction, he is also a specialist in echocardiography. POTV has been covering his harm reduction and vape research since 2011.

California E-Cig and Vapor Tax Increase

Would Harm Tobacco Cessation Efforts – Samantha Fillmore

Governor Newsom released a revised budget proposal that includes a large vapor tax increase that will harm the tobacco cessation efforts in the golden state.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has released a revised budget proposal that includes numerous tax increases, with one specifically targeting vapor and e-cigarette products. This amendment to the current vapor tax would impose an additional rate of $2 for each 40 milligrams of nicotine in vapor products. California already taxes vapor products at 59.27 percent of the original wholesale value. If this proposed budget passes, the additional tax would take effect January 1, 2021.

Anti-alternative tobacco report

Jack Burton

A recent report titled “Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Customers” published by Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance is being slammed by the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates and global health experts, who have dismissed it as “​naïve” and “harmful.” Nancy Loucas, CAPHRA’s executive director, described the report as a product of perception by a group that is funded by industry, including pharmaceutical interests that “justifies its existence by creating a teen ‘epidemic’ in order to remain relevant.”

Loucas says the report published by SEATCA for World No Tobacco Day can no longer deny the effectiveness of tobacco harm reduction and reduced-risk products such as e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco products and powdered tobacco, in making smokers switch.

Australia wins tobacco case

At World Trade Organisation – Hans van Leeuwen

Australia has seen off a final challenge to its “plain packaging” rules for cigarettes, as the tobacco industry’s epic campaign against the measures finally runs out of road.

The World Trade Organisation’s now-defunct Appellate Body on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) ruled against an appeal by Honduras and the Dominican Republic which claimed Australia’s plain packaging rules were a technical barrier to trade.

The Labor governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard pioneered the world’s first plain packaging regime, which came into force in 2012. It forcibly standardised cigarette packets into unremarkable brown designs as a public health measure to reduce their market appeal.

Tobacco giant blocked

From selling heated cigarette substitute in Australia – Matt Bamford

Efforts by tobacco giant Philip Morris to introduce a smoke-free cigarette alternative to Australia have been blocked by an interim decision from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Yesterday the TGA rejected a request by the company to reschedule nicotine under a law that would have helped get its heated tobacco products (HTPs) onto Australian shelves.

Heated tobacco products are marketed as less harmful alternatives to smoking because the tobacco is not ignited, but scientists say not enough is known to declare them safe to use.

ECST urges for an independent committee

To study research on e-cigarettes in Thailand

An e–cigarette user group known as ‘End Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST)’ revealed results of its online campaign “Speak your mind: what do you want to say to Public Health Ministry?” with the hashtag #บอกหนูหน่อย (which means “tell Minister Anutin”) confirming e-cigarette users disagreeing with the ban on e-cigarette. They urged for “proper regulation” to legalize the product and suggested to have an independent committee to study the regulation and scientific-based research on e-cigarette.

On this Day…2019

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

Health Ministry proposes to ban

Electronic smoking devices by classifying them as ‘drugs’
Press Trust of India, Business Standard

Going tough on (ENDS), including e-cigarettes, the health ministry has proposed to classify such alternative devices as “drugs” under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, in a bid to ban their manufacture, sale, distribution and import.

According to official sources, the proposal has been approved by the (DTAB), the government’s top advisory body on technical matters related to medicines in the country.

FDA finalizes guidance for premarket tobacco

Product applications for electronic nicotine delivery systems as part of commitment to continuing a strong oversight of e-cigarettes
Food and Drug Administration

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized its guidance for manufacturers submitting new tobacco product applications through the premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) pathway for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as e-cigarettes or “vapes,” and the liquid nicotine and nicotine-containing e-liquids used with such products, as part of the agency’s continued commitment to its oversight of tobacco products.

American idiots

Christopher Snowdon, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I haven’t written about vaping in the USA for a while because the debate over there is so incredibly stupid that it’s senseless to try to intervene.

Take this, for example. Anti-smoking groups want to raise the age at which people can buy tobacco to 21 because, well, they like bans. The tobacco industry says that is in favour of this policy. That has discombobulated the tobakko kontrol movement because they put the infantile ‘scream test’ at the heart of their dogma (ie. “the louder tobacco companies scream, the more impact we know a measure will have”).

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