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March 02, 2020
February may have been a short month but it was a wild one. We've gathered up some of the top articles and news events and posted links to them, along with short excerpts for your convenience. Although we've focused on North American news, we also have news from around the world. It's a mixed bag. There has been some good news (see New Zealand's "key messages" on vaping from the Ministry of Health, for example) but the anti-vape movement has not lost any steam and many of the articles highlight the challenges we're facing. We've also included a couple of articles on the challenge that smokers face. Smokers are part of our community who just haven't made the choice to join us yet and it's important to lend our support where we can and to be mindful of the challenges that they face as well.
Media Vapors Over Vaping Cloud Public Health Goals, Teddy Ostrow, Fair
“But unlike the overt racism of reporting on “opium dens” or “crackhouses” that saw drug users as sources of societal contagion, elite media see vaping itself as a scourge, invading and perverting wholesome (suburban) children.”
A List of Vaping Regulations Across Canada, The Canadian Press, The National Post
As the title suggests, you'll find a rundown on what's happening in the nation's provinces.
Study Finds Raising Taxes on Vaping Increases Smoking, Lee Johnson, E-cigarette Reviewed
“The justification is easy for smoking. Since it kills you, and raising taxes generally discourages people (especially youths) from buying cigarettes, it passes as a legitimate public health move rather than a desire to tax “sin” for the sake of it. But for vaping things aren’t quite as simple.”
House Democrats go full nanny state and pass overkill vape flavor ban, Brad Polumbo, The Washington Examiner
“Banning flavors is just regulatory overkill that won’t do much to discourage teenagers from vaping, but it will irreparably harm adult cigarette smokers trying to quit the much deadlier habit.”
Blog: “You Don’t Have to be Young to Be Stupid” – Tales From the Land of Prohibition, Lindsay Mark Lewis, PPI
“Pragmatic progressives oppose this bill because it goes in exactly the wrong direction on reduced-harm products. Rather than working to give addicted smokers more options for switching to flavored non-combustible alternatives, it outlaws them — end of discussion.”
Its Reputation Stained, CDC Closes the Books on “EVALI”, Jim McDonald, Vaping 360
“Not a single case of “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury” has been associated with an e-cigarette or any kind of nicotine vaping product.”
E-Cigarette Opponents Do More Harm by Snubbing Big Tobacco, Joe Nocera, Bloomberg Opinion
“On Wednesday morning, Vital Strategies, a leading global public health organization, sponsored a talk titled “Hope Meets Reality: E-Cigarettes, a Public Health Harm or Harm Reduction?” The event was a one-sided assault on e-cigarettes.”
House leadership scrambles to save anti-vaping bill after Dem resistance, Sarah Ferris, Heather Cagyle, Sarah Owermohle, Melanie Zanona, Politico
“Top Democrats are making a last-minute push to corral support for a bill to ban flavored tobacco, including menthol, before it reaches the floor Friday. But a coalition of Democrats, including those who represent communities of color and rural areas as well as others with concerns about government overreach, have warned that it goes too far.”
Congress Proposed Tobacco Ban Would Represent Most Far Reaching Prohibition Bill Since Ban on Alcohol, Guy Bentley, Reason
“By far, the most significant bans are the prohibitions on flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. These provisions would prove both detrimental to public health and pose substantial problems from law enforcement.”
Vaping Doubles Heart Attacks Research Now In Doubt, Roger Bate
“The accusation that vaping doubles heart attacks was always suspicious, and now the paper underpinning the ludicrous claim has been retracted. When asked to explain some of the very odd findings the researchers could no longer find or access the relevant data.”
New nicotine science and policy Q&A published, Clive Bates, The Counterfactual
"I have just published a new question and answer (Q & A) resource on nicotine science and policy. It is available as a page accessible from the top menu of this blog..."
Your Vape Could Soon Have a Tracking Chip in It, Alex Norcia, Vice
“If the technology were adopted nationally, a police officer could scan any minor's vape using a cellphone and then track down the source, Morris said.”
Vaping, smoking restrictions neither necessary, fair, Amy Lauren Fairchild, The Columbus Dispatch
"As public health leaders, we have been deeply troubled by an alarmist turn in the tone of the electronic cigarette debate and calls for wide-reaching bans that could keep an important tool out of the hands of smokers who want to quit."
Federal Funds Misspent on Anti-Vaping Research, Brad Rodu, Tobacco Truth
"This prohibitionist mission supports thousands of NIH-funded researchers, and cows countless more into silence when they could be producing life-saving harm reduction data and analyses. A true public health agenda would include federal support for honest research aimed at prolonging healthy lives, regardless of lifestyle."
Do Anti-Vaping Ads and Media Actually Encourage Youth Vaping? Michael McGrady, Filter
“Are anti-vaping advertisements inadvertently promoting product recognition and uptake among youth?”
CDC, States Update Number of Hospitalized EVALI Cases and EVALI Deaths
“Due to continued declines in new EVALI cases since September 2019, and the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, today’s release is the final biweekly CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.”
Vaping, smoking restrictions neither necessary, fair, James Jacob Rich, The Columbus Dispatch
“Congress is poised to eliminate half of the tobacco industry. After conflating tobacco product flavors with youth vaping, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., is now advancing a ban on all flavored tobacco products, which would be the most extensive prohibition since alcohol in the 1920s.”
Organised crime licks its lips as tobacco excise set to hit $1 a stick, Shane Wright, The Sydney Morning Herald
"The nation's police forces and Border Force have warned that a string of tax increases on tobacco, aimed at cutting Australia's smoking rate, has encouraged organised criminals into the market just as the excise on a single cigarette is poised to hit $1."
Philip Morris are right and the EU is wrong, Christopher Snowdon, Iron Fist Velvet Glove
“Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive does nothing for health. On the contrary, it makes vaping less appealing and less effective as an alternative to combustible tobacco.”
Vaping and heart disease: setting the record straight, Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, The Conversation
“It is difficult to talk about retractions and their lasting impact without going back to the infamous – and since retracted – paper linking autism to MMR vaccines.Though withdrawn in 2010, the impact of this long discredited article still looms large…”
Mexico Bans Import of all Vaping Products, Cites WHO Guidance, Jim McDonal, Vaping 360
“Mexico has banned the import of all vaping products by presidential decree. The new law, which took effect on Feb. 20, bans all products, including zero-nicotine e-liquid and even hardware sold without e-juice.”
Children in Katherine are taking up smoking as health resources run dry, Roxanne Fitzgerald, Katherine Times
"Somewhere along the line all of the messaging and good work from the government has been lost, the shock messaging has been normalised, there are less adds on TV and what we are left with is a new wave of people taking up and continuing to smoke."
Bill to restrict vaping and e-cigarette sales and use in public, RNZ
"It's quite simply the most disruptive influence on smoking in decades. It's challenging the smoke tobacco stranglehold on the nicotine market," she said.
Vaping and smokeless tobacco, New Zealand Ministry of Health
See “Key Messages”
Cloudy future for bill to regulate vape retailers, Ryan Blake, Magic Valley
From the article, here's a good example of the level of craziness we're dealing with: "People who get addicted to vaping can wind up on Medicaid, in prison or dead, he said, adding lawmakers need to find a solution."
Flavor prohibitions will leave bad taste in states' mouths, Michael LaFaive and Todd Nesbit, The Hill
"Smuggling and the production of counterfeit or unregulated and more dangerous products (bathtub gin, anyone?) are just two parallels that today’s smuggled smoke trade has with alcohol Prohibition."
Study claiming vaping doubles heart attack risk retracted for being 'unreliable', Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today
"This is his typical modus operandi, blaming everyone but himself, doubling down on supporting the paper, and smearing his critics as ‘e-cig interests,'" Abrams said. "I would say professor Glantz has not taken the retraction with good grace."
Vaping groups hit ‘erroneous’ WHO Q&A on e-cigs, Phillipine Daily Inquirer
“Faced with mounting criticism, the WHO revised the Q&A on Jan. 29, somewhat backpedaling on its claims against e-cigarettes. The WHO did not email the updated Q&A to journalists.”
E-cigarettes may be helping disadvantaged smokers to quit, Institute for Social and Economic Research
“A new study into e-cigarette smoking, led by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow and published today in BMC Public Health, found that while disadvantaged adult smokers were less likely to have quit smoking, this inequality was smaller among those who vaped, suggesting vaping may be helping this group of smokers to quit.”
The CDC is to Blame for More Americans Than Ever Being Misinformed About Vaping and E-cigarettes, Guy Bentley, Reason Foundation
“When it comes to promoting cigarettes, Frank Sinatra could hardly have done a better job when he was pushing Chesterfields than the nation’s top public health authority has managed to do in the past six months.”
Health Canada, Quebec investigating Imperial Tobacco vaping ad campaign, The Canadian Press
"Health Canada and its provincial counterpart in Quebec are investigating a widely disseminated Imperial Tobacco advertisement on vaping to see whether it violates advertising laws. The ad in question, which ran on several media platforms, warns of an "epidemic of disinformation" and of "hypocrisy" surrounding vaping."
“What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” Robert Innes, Vaping Post
“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.”
Expert sounds alarm on oral cancer, John Eric Mendoza, The Manila Times
“We warn our patients who are smokers that smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer and strongly advise them to quit smoking. For those who cannot or do not want to quit smoking by themselves or with currently approved methods, we convince them to switch to non-combustible alternatives,” said Fernando Fernandez, president of the Philippine College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (Pcoms) during the Scientific Conversations on Tobacco Harm Reduction held recently at the Shangri-La at the Fort in Taguig City.
Time is Running Out: Another Vaping Industry Court Loss, Jim McDonald, Vaping 360
“While all of the recent court losses can theoretically be appealed, appeals court decisions could take a year—or two years, or even more. The PMTA deadline is just three months away, and vape shops are already in deep trouble.”
She was spotted smoking in ‘smoke-free’ rental housing. Now, she may be kicked out., Rebecca Tan, Washington Post
The letter asking Taja Robinson to vacate her home was delivered on Christmas Eve. Robinson, 37, had just returned from a shift at Target, where her $13-per-hour job allows her to support herself, her two daughters and her infant grandson in a three-bedroom rental unit at Snowden’s Ridge Apartments. “You have violated the Smoking Addendum by smoking in the Premises and/or in the common areas of the property,” the letter said.
Former smoker describes dramatic impact of his switch to vaping, New Zealand News Hub
“For those smokers trying to get off cigarettes, vaping seems to be the answer.” (Video interview with Tom Morawetz, former smoker of 45 years.)
Indefensible Inaction by JAHA Editors on Obvious Research Misconduct, Brad Rodu, Tobacco Truth
“For six months, Journal of the American Heart Association editors Drs. Barry London, Daniel T. Eitzman and Janice Weinberg have refused to correct demonstrably false research results published in the June issue. The work was authored by Drs. Dharma Bhatta and Stanton Glantz.”
8 Months Later, This Journal Still Hasn't Corrected Its Study Implying That E-Cigarettes Magically Cause Heart Attacks Before People Use Them, Jacob Sullum, Reason
“E-cigarettes are so dangerous, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), that they can reach back in time to cause heart attacks before people use them.”
New York Magazine Forgets That Smokers Exist, Jacob Grier, Liquidity Preference
“Mainstream coverage of vaping tends to focus on the latest fears rather than the long-term case for harm reduction. Stephen Hall’s New York article is hardly unique in that respect. It is unique in that it manages to maintain this bias at such length.”
The Good Side of Nicotine, Ivanhoe Newswire
“What nicotine does is it imitates the action of a normally-occurring chemical in the brain that’s important for signaling. It’s called acetylcholine,” said Dr. Paul Newhouse, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Acetylcholine is important for learning, memory and attention.”
Study confirms vaping will save Australian lives, Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association
"The peer reviewed study by Australian academics Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn, Professor Wayne Hall, and Professor Ron Borland was published in the scientific journal Drug and Alcohol Review today. It is the first analysis to specifically assess the potential for vaping to reduce smoking in Australia."
66% of adults incorrectly blame e-cigarettes for vaping deaths, Lee Devito, Detroit Metro Times
“A growing number of Americans are confused about the culprit behind the vaping-related illness that has killed nearly 60 people and hospitalized at least 2,600. The leading research points to vitamin E acetate — a substance used to dilute cannabis oil, typically in the black market — as the cause of the sickness. But according to a new Morning Consult poll, 66% of adults believed the deaths were linked to nicotine e-cigarettes such as Juul.”
And here's one that's worth a revisit, from December 2019
FDA’s So-Called Laser Targeted Advertising is Hypocritical, and Deadly, Brad Rodu, Tobacco Truth (Dec. 6/19)
“The FDA found that its campaign would convince adult smokers that e-cigarettes were equally or more harmful than cigarettes and suppress quitting, and still the agency proceeded with its dangerous misinformation program.”
It was a long list this month with loads of activity so if I've missed a piece that you think you should be on the list for February, please email me at saddlehorseblues @ gmail.com.
March 30, 2020
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