May 29, 2021
May was a busy month for reporting on tobacco harm reduction and vaping in particular. A lot of the news from around the world has been bad, with policy makers pushing for restrictions or outright prohibition. People are questioning the ethics of these policies at an increasing level though, as the reporting is starting to reflect. That can be expected to continue with the consequences of prohibition under the spotlight right now.
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Sorted from most recent to oldest:
World No Tobacco Day: Here's why WHO’s approach to tobacco cessation needs an overhaul, Dr. Kiran Melkote, CNBC TV18
Certain shibboleths define the WHO’s approach: the certainty that quitting tobacco is a ‘choice’ every smoker can make, a deeply held conviction that they alone are the arbiters of tobacco cessation, a childlike belief that addiction can be abruptly reversed by sloganeering, larger pictorial warnings, punitive taxation, and above all, positive thinking.
India Scored A Self-Goal With Its E-Cigarette Ban, Samrat Chowdhery, Outlook India
Teen use of e-cigarettes fell sharply last year in the US, where vaping is undergoing a formal regulatory process, indicating what was dubbed as the ‘teen epidemic’ was more likely a fad. The concern that vaping leads to smoking is not borne out either as both in the US and the UK where e-cigarette adoption is on the rise, smoking prevalence across all age groups has fallen to historic lows. E-cigarettes are now the most popular stop smoking aid in England, and should therefore be considered as cigarette substitution products rather than being classified under a new category.
Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes, David T. Levy, Ron Borland, et al, BMJ Journals
Conclusions The tobacco control community has been divided regarding the role of e-cigarettes in tobacco control. Our projections show that a strategy of replacing cigarette smoking with vaping would yield substantial life year gains, even under pessimistic assumptions regarding cessation, initiation and relative harm.
UK hospitals turn to e-cigarettes in fight against tobacco, Nawied Jabarkhyl, CGTN
"If we can show that the intervention is effective at helping people to switch from smoking, then clearly there are important cost implications as well,” said Notley. "A vape starter kit might cost around 20 pounds ($28) but the long-term savings for the health service in terms of not having to treat tobacco-related illness are potentially billions of pounds." If successful, the trial could see the UK's National Health Service regularly provide e-cigarettes.
World No Tobacco Day exposes Big Public Health’s failure, Satyajeet Marar, Spectator Australia
Today marks “World No Tobacco Day”, a World Health Organization initiative to draw attention to the dangers of tobacco, what governments and health agencies are doing to combat it, and to encourage smokers to quit. Unfortunately for Australian smokers who are struggling to give up the smokes, there’s little to celebrate. The same government that’s bungling the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is failing in this avenue too.
WHO has gone rogue on tobacco policy - millions at risk from tired dogma and a refusal to grasp innovation, Clive Bates, The Counterfactual
I’m all for people quitting smoking. I’ve devoted a substantial part of my career to it and my dad died of smoking-induced heart disease (I’m convinced he’d have been a vaper and still with us today). But what I cannot fathom is the ideological opposition from WHO to a whole platform of products that, beyond any reasonable doubt, are far less risky than smoking. So with David Abrams and Ray Niara of New York University, School of Global Public Health and David Sweanor of the University of Ottawa, we have put together a detailed critique of WHO’s approach, based on its World No Tobacco Day press release.
Ishraq Dhaly, one of the conveners of Voice of Vapers Bangladesh said opposition to vaping comes from ignorance about latest scientific findings about vaping. “This will cause harm. Vaping could help achieve Bangladesh’s aim of being tobacco-free by 2040. Vaping is the perfect tool to achieve that because it is 95% safer than cigarette smoking according to the best medical research,” he said.
Celebrate World Vape Day on Sunday, May 30th! Jim McDonald, Vaping 360
This Sunday, May 30, vapers around the world will celebrate World Vape Day—a time for vapers, consumer advocacy organizations, and vaping businesses to celebrate the technology that has helped tens of millions become independent of cigarettes and combustible tobacco.
HSE calls on smokers to quit for good on World No Tobacco Day, Ruth Delaney, The Irish Sun
“NHS experts say vaping is much less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Patients at hospitals in Norfolk, London, Leicester and Edinburgh are now to be offered a vaping device, enough e-liquid for a week and a referral to local smoking cessation services. The plan is part of a trial designed to help people quit smoking altogether".
S3 E11: TAXING VAPING FOR HARM REDUCTION, CD Howe Institute Podcast with Michael Hainsworth
Cigarette smoking is the single largest cause of avoidable premature death in Canada. It’s estimated to cut 10 years off a smoker’s life. Cigarettes have gotten a 21st century makeover since they were first introduced in the 19th century. Concordia University economics professor Ian Irvine says Ottawa should tax vape-based products as a harm reduction strategy aimed at kicking the habit. But by how much?
New Saskatchewan vape regulations draw mixed reaction, David Giles, Global News
“Let’s have a real conversation and allow adults to do something that’s going to reduce their harm greatly, specifically around a government push to harm reduction, where we’re decriminalizing so many elements in our society, but we’re criminalizing something that is 90 to 95 per cent less harmful in its entirety (than smoking.)” May takes issue with Tempest’s statement, saying the CVA is not allowed to make claims their products support cessation.
Dutch Vapers Can Still Prevent Flavor Prohibition, Jim McDonald, Vaping 360
On May 21, the outgoing Dutch cabinet (the Council of Ministers) approved the long-threatened flavor ban, despite massive consumer opposition. But vaping advocates say the law, set to take effect July 1, 2022, can still be stopped. The flavor prohibition must still be approved by the new House of Representatives, many of whom are newly elected and unfamiliar with the issue.
At the US E-Cigarette Conference, a Reckoning With Loss of Public Trust, Alex Norcia, Filter
The future of tobacco control is up for grabs. Nowhere was this more apparent than at this year’s US E-Cigarette Summit. Held virtually on May 24-25, the conference featured a wide range of speakers—doctors, tobacco control experts, notable employees of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drug reform advocates and industry alike—from across the globe.
The theme of the two-day publicly broadcast event was “discussing the role that e-cigarettes and alternative nicotine products could play in ending or extending the smoking epidemic.” But a second, simpler one quickly emerged: regaining trust.
Deadly Mistake: Ban on Flavored Nicotine Products Led Teenagers to Smoke More Cigarettes, Study Finds, Brad Polumbo, Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)
The latest target of the public health bureaucracy's regulatory efforts is flavored tobacco products, in particular, flavored vaping products that are often popular among young people. Bans on such products are cropping up around the country, but a new study shows that these restrictions can backfire—to deadly consequence.
The E-Cigarette Summit: “This is just a crazy space right now.” Marc Gunther, Medium
This week, scientists and regulators who are open to the idea that e-cigarettes can reduce the harm caused by smoking shared their ideas, their findings and, occasionally, their feelings at a two-day virtual gathering, called the E-Cig Summit.
Canada’s Reckless Fight with People Who Use Nicotine, Brandee Eubank, SaddlehorseBlues
Health reporters, even the really good ones covering other harm reduction issues, have largely ignored the vaping story and the social justice aspect of it. That it disproportionately impacts segments of the population who are already marginalized doesn’t sufficiently appeal, even being a trending topic among media. Most reporters have been all too happy to pile on people who use vapour products and the industry more broadly, revealing how little real attachment they have to harm reduction principles.
San Francisco Flavor Ban Tied to More Teen Smoking, Jim McDonald, Vaping 360
Will banning flavored vapes lead to more smoking? That question has mostly been ignored by politicians eager to please the powerful tobacco control groups that insist flavor bans will put an end to youth vaping. Since late 2019, lawmakers in five states and many municipalities have passed flavor bans. But new research should give legislators and regulators pause when considering laws and rules prohibiting flavored vapes. Such blunt tools may do more harm than good.
Nicotine buzz in the air as vaping rises, smoking falls, Nelson Bennett, BIV
”For persons who smoke, the best thing they can do to improve their health is to quit smoking,” the federal government said in a recent Canada Gazette’s publication of new regulations coming into effect for vaping. “However, persons who smoke can also reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke by completely switching to vaping.” The reality is that nicotine, like alcohol or cannabis, is one of those guilty pleasures that a certain segment of the population may never give up, whether in the form of cigars, cigarettes or vaping liquids.
At ‘World No Tobacco Day’ Roundtable, Experts Express Hope, Frustration in Fight to End Smoking, Chris Woodward, Inside Sources
Monday, May 31 is the World Health Organization’s “World No Tobacco Day” and just like most years quitting is easier said than done. But according to health experts during a recent roundtable, public health organizations are making it harder by opposing the use of alternatives like vaping and e-cigarettes.
The empirical evidence is clear: anti-vaping policies are pro-tobacco policies, Chris Snowdon, IEA
The observation that e-cigarettes are a substitute for combustible cigarettes might seem obvious, but it has crucial implications for policy because it means that efforts to suppress e-cigarette use are likely to lead to greater use of traditional cigarettes.
Vaping, HTP bill goes to Senate after House nod, Manila Standard Business
Known as House Bill 9007, the proposed ‘Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act’ is a massive legislative achievement for tobacco harm reduction advocates in the Philippines, said Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates. “Nearly 90,000 Filipinos die of smoking-related diseases every year. This legislation will not only save thousands of lives, but the Philippines is now leading the way in the Asia-Pacific region with reasonable, risk proportionate regulation which will be very effective in curbing smoking rates,” said Loucas.
Tackling Smoker Misperceptions about E-cigarettes using Expert Videos, Madeleine Svenson, James Green, Olivia M Maynard, Oxford Academic
Our findings are encouraging in the face of mounting evidence that e-cigarette misperceptions are increasing. Whilst misperceptions are often characterised as resistant to correction, we find that carefully designed public health information videos have the potential to promote a more accurate, informed view of e-cigarettes and encourage intended e-cigarette use among UK smokers. Importantly, we find this among current smokers who do not vape, a group often reported as having the highest levels of misperceptions and as having the most to gain from accurate e-cigarette perceptions.
Why an Impending Flavor Ban in the Netherlands Matters for All Vapers, Michael Landl, Filter
The importance of the Netherlands battle really crystallizes when you zoom out to the regulatory agenda at an EU level. The European Commission already announced its Beating Cancer plan—which will be the guideline for the bloc’s Tobacco Products Directive revision—and flavors are being threatened here as well. Moving down the line, with the FCTC COP9 in November, moves to ban flavors may give more impetus to anti-vaping activists and have disastrous consequences for the fight against smoking-induced illnesses worldwide.
Lost Amid Misinformation: Real People, Real Science, Real Progress, Moira Phillips, The Washington Post
The confluence of misinformation and the stifling of speech can have a devastating impact. This is certainly the case in tobacco harm reduction. Around the world in 2021, hundreds of millions of adults continue to smoke and many now find themselves confused and hesitant to switch to a better choice because of misinformation. It need not be that way.
Very Few Countries Track Smoking Rates Among Indigenous Peoples, Michael McGrady, Filter
All over the world, few countries are taking the trouble to monitor smoking prevalence among Indigenous populations, according to a narrative study released in March. The report, “Smoking Prevalence Among Indigenous Peoples of the World,” covered 105 countries with Indigenous populations. It found that only five of these countries had definitive information about Indigenous smoking rates. Where such rates are known, they are disproportionately high. The report was authored by Dr. Marewa Glover, who leads the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Sovereignty and Smoking (COREISS), based in Auckland, New Zealand.
Proponents have argued that these flavor bans will make tobacco products less appealing to children and young adults, thus preventing them from ever picking up any nicotine habit. Yet in recent years, some drug policy and harm reduction experts have started to wonder if these sorts of bans could be counterproductive, especially when it comes to vaping devices. The argument is that these bans will drive some people who would have only ever vaped to instead keep using or switch to cigarettes entirely. And while e-cigarettes aren’t entirely risk-free, their harms do appear to be significantly smaller than other tobacco products. The new study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, seems to suggest that this exact scenario has played out as feared among high school students in San Francisco.
Non-coercive, non-judgemental strategies are available to FDA and health officials, today, that don’t involve exposing people to different, more severe risks. It’s time we stop pretending that the most extreme, headline-grabbing interventions are the only ones available, and put the focus back on what people need rather than where we want them to be.
WHO’s Conflicted? Idwala Research
With the WHO's continued insistence on demonising lower-risk alternatives to cigarettes, it is providing governments who are seeking to protect their tobacco tax base both moral and legal justification for banning or restricting reduced-harm nicotine products. In doing so, it is perpetuating more than eight million tobacco-related deaths every year.
Bill regulating sale, manufacture of e-cigarettes hurdles House, Filane Mikee Cervantes, Philipine News Agency
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on final reading a proposal that would regulate the manufacture, use, sale, distribution, and promotion of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS), as well as heated tobacco products (HTPs) to promote a healthy environment and protect the citizens from hazards. With 192 affirmative votes, 34 negative votes, and four abstentions, the chamber passed on third reading House Bill 9007, otherwise known as the Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act.
Are heated tobacco products the safer choice? Rafael Castillio MD, Lifestyle Inq Medical Files
Dealing with our heart patients who are smokers has always been a major dilemma, ever since I started my clinical practice in internal medicine and cardiology. Doctors like me have persuaded, motivated, even threatened patients to make them stop smoking. We’re only successful in around three out of 10 cases.
The Weak, Unconvincing Case Against Vaping, Alex Norcia, The New Republic
In general, there are now two distinct approaches to the issue. The first is a prohibition-focused strategy that involves the banning of vaping products, especially flavored ones, because they’re enticing kids to use nicotine. It’s the next battleground against Big Tobacco. The second advocates embracing e-cigarettes as substitutes for cigarettes, a way to switch current adult smokers to less dangerous choices. This perspective, ironically and unfortunately, is shared by the very industry that caused so much death and devastation in the first place.
Can vaping help you quit smoking? Rachel Rasker, ABC Everyday
For Dr Hartmann-Boyce, concerns around e-cigarettes depend on your priorities. "It depends if you view the problem as addiction or if the problem is the harm caused by that addiction," she explains. "We know that e-cigarettes aren't completely safe, but we also know that they're considerably less harmful than regular cigarettes. So if we're talking about people who smoke, switching to e-cigarettes, they're reducing harm even if they're staying addicted to nicotine.”
Experts Fault Kenyan Gov’t For Banning Oral Nicotine Products, Francis Muli, KahawaTungu
Kenya’s obstructive stance on innovative tobacco-free oral nicotine products (ONDS) is denying thousands of smokers desperate to quit cigarettes an extraordinary opportunity to have informed choices and save lives. That’s according to international medical experts who addressed the Africa Tobacco Harm Reduction Forum hosted by the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA).
Are you ready for World Vape Day? World Vaper’s Alliance
World Vape Day 2021 is a day celebrating vaping. It will highlight the benefits of tobacco harm reduction in general and of vaping in particular. We want to deliver a positive message about vaping and focus on the good it brings to society. We’re meeting to talk about everything vaping and focus on the good it brings to society and we’ll catch up with top figures in the vaping world to see what they’ve been up to in the last year. Join our live streams starting at 4 PM CET on 30 May 2021
Britain must stand up to the WHO’s anti-science attack on vaping, By Mark Oates, CAPX
The World Health Organisation has once again defied scientific advice by baldly stating that ‘E-cigarettes are not proven cessation aids’. The WHO’s stance flies in the face of all the available evidence. In fact, a gold standard Cochrane Review published last year showed that e-cigarettes can be very effective in helping people to quit smoking.
Unfortunately, it’s no great surprise to see the WHO taking an anti-science approach to this issue. Its conduct during the pandemic has led many observers to question not just its decision-making processes, but its very viability as an organisation.
Why I’m writing about e-cigarettes, Marc Gunther, The Great Vape Debate
My thinking about philanthropy has been influenced by, among other, Stanford professor Rob Reich, who in his book, Just Giving, writes that the philanthropy of the rich is an exercise of power. Billionaire philanthropy, he argues, deserves to be met with scrutiny and not (as used to be the case and often still is) merely with gratitude. With that in mind, after getting a tip at the end of last year, I began a deep dive into a campaign against electronic cigarettes funded by a $160-million, three-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. I was surprised and troubled by what I learned.
Tobacco Harm Reduction as a Path to Restore Trust in Tobacco Control, Tamar M.J. Antin, Geoffrey Hunt, et al., MDPI
In this commentary, we argue that ignoring the potential benefits of harm reduction strategies may unintentionally lead to an erosion of trust in tobacco control among some members of the public. Trust in tobacco control as an institution is crucial for the success of tobacco control efforts. To ensure trust, we must return to our basic principles of doing no harm, developing programs that are responsive to people’s experiences, and providing resources in assisting people to reduce the harms that may be associated with practices, such as smoking, which adversely affect health. Only by respecting an individual’s priorities can we cultivate trust and develop tobacco prevention efforts that are grounded in the realities of people’s lives and responsive to their needs.
Asian Consumers to Celebrate 'Safer Choice' on World Vape Day, CAPHRA (Coalition of Asian Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates), Cision PR Newswire
This year's World Vape Day highlights smoke-free products as "the better choice" to combustible cigarettes which are linked to more than 8 million premature deaths each year among 1.1 billion smokers globally. "We celebrate World Vape Day because it symbolizes hope for millions of smokers in Asia-Pacific and around the world who now have an access to innovative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products that were not available in the previous decades," said Loucas.
A Difference-in-Differences Analysis of Youth Smoking and a Ban on Sales of Flavored Tobacco Products in San Francisco, California, Abigail S. Friedman, JAMA Pediatrics
San Francisco’s ban on flavored tobacco product sales was associated with increased smoking among minor high school students relative to other school districts. While the policy applied to all tobacco products, its outcome was likely greater for youths who vaped than those who smoked due to higher rates of flavored tobacco use among those who vaped. This raises concerns that reducing access to flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems may motivate youths who would otherwise vape to substitute smoking. Indeed, analyses of how minimum legal sales ages for electronic nicotine delivery systems are associated with youth smoking also suggest such substitution.
Australia’s vaping ban didn’t have impressive results. Hong Kong should think twice, David Leyonhjelm, South China Morning Post
The Post’s editorial on May 10 in support of Hong Kong’s proposed vaping ban is not supported by Australia’s experience. Smoking rates in Australia are not declining notwithstanding huge tobacco taxes, plain packaging, a ban on all forms of advertising, draconian point-of-sale restrictions, and numerous quit campaigns. The proportion of Australians who smoke has been stuck at current levels since 2013, even as taxes have risen sharply. This is not the case in countries where vaping is permitted. Even in the absence of plain packaging, high taxes and other restrictions, smoking rates are steadily declining.
Menthol cigarette ban would repeat prohibition failures, Guy Bentley, Boston Herald
The Food and Drug Administration’s announcement of a ban on menthol cigarettes birthed one of the strangest political alliances of recent memory. Civil rights and social justice groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union align with law enforcement organizations, libertarians and conservatives in criticizing the bid to enact one of the most significant prohibitions in decades.
NNA's follow up letter on post-Brexit policy reforms, New Nicotine Alliance
In October 2020, the NNA wrote to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care at the Department of Health and Social Care – Jo Churchill – and the Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit – Munira Mirza – to suggest post-Brexit tobacco and nicotine policy reforms. Following up on that letter, we have now written again to provide a more comprehensive set of policy proposals for maximising the potential of safer nicotine products in order to match the government’s smoke-free 2030 and levelling up agendas.
The Vape Debate: Are critiques of flavours just (tobacco-less) smoke and mirrors? Georgia Mannion-Krase, Cancer Prevention
So why do only 51% of the public believe the science? Professor Ann McNeil says the focus on combustibles is not translating into policy. This in turn leads the public somewhat down the garden path. Professor Martin Dockrell believes researchers have become preoccupied with reducing nicotine use, which isn’t the priority in the UK. He states, “We understand the enemy to be smoking.” Professor Schroeder agrees, “The controversy of anti-vape has taken the conversation away from [smoking] cessation.”
FDA's PMTA List Is Here, and It's Really, Really Long, Jim McDonald, Vaping 360
The FDA today has finally posted the “legal product” list it promised before last September’s PMTA submission deadline. The list published today includes all vaping products allowed to remain on the market during the one-year grace period granted for products that were on the market before Aug. 8, 2016 and for which a Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) was submitted by Sept. 9, 2020.
Response to Collishaw’s op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen, Maria Papaioannoy, Rights 4 Vapers
Do you not fear that you are jettisoning the worthwhile role you have played for decades in favour of pursuit of some ideological agenda? The world needs less moral positioning and misinformation when it comes to new and safer nicotine delivery systems. And, as technology and consumer rights disrupt the lethal cigarette market, you and your chums will be left on the curb like that old Formica table from the era when you joined this fight.
Science, technology and new opportunities evolve. Clinging to the past will not help anyone. You must evolve, if you want to continue to help.
Why e-cigarette ban in India will do more harm than good, Anupam Manur, Business Today India
India has taken an even more stringent option than the US by completely banning the product, while inexplicably having no extra restrictions on traditional cigarettes, which are proven to be multiple times more harmful (the long-term harm of e-cigarettes is less than 5% compared to other tobacco products).
The Truth Initiative versus the truth, Christopher Snowdon, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
America's lavishly funded (by unwitting smokers) Truth Initiative is not happy about nicotine pouches. The pouches are smokeless nicotine products similar to snus which contain no tobacco, but the Truth Initiative doesn't think manufacturers should describe them as such even though it is, well, the truth.
Is the European Commission about to crack down on an effective method to quit smoking? Christopher Snowdon, Brussels Report EU
In reality, the SCHEER report does not compel the Commission to do anything. The only evidence for health risks which the SCHEER report rates as ‘strong’ in the final opinion relates to poisoning and injuries due to burns and explosions. These hazards have already been dealt with in the existing Tobacco Products Directive and do not require further legislation. However, while the report does not explicitly call for any new laws, it gives the European Commission ammunition if it wishes to table some. As the evidence that e-cigarettes are relatively harmless and effective smoking cessation devices continues to grow, the SCHEER report will be used as a crutch for those who continue to lobby against them.
Port: Cops have better things to do than enforce the inane strictures of the smoking Stasi, Rob Port, Grand Forks Herald
Can we please stop politicizing public health? The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all an object lesson in how unhelpful it is for public health officials to become de facto politicians. The public can sense when a public health initiative has a political agenda, and it makes them respect public health officials less. And can we also stop wasting public health dollars on pursuing this very stupid tobacco temperance movement?
WHO Reasserts Anti-Vaping Stance Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, Alex Norcia, Filter
The WHO has taken this anti-vaping position—repeatedly—in the past and seemingly continues to ignore a burgeoning body of evidence to the contrary. Despite including “harm reduction strategies” in its definition of “tobacco control,” the agency remains steadfast in denying the expert opinions of an expanding number of academics and scientific bodies—like the UK’s Royal College of Physicians and the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine—that vaping is much less harmful than smoking. More than 8 million people worldwide die of smoking-related causes every year. In this context, it should be unthinkable that the world’s leading public health organization would get its approach so wrong.
Under interpellation on the floor of the House, Garbin expressed hopes that regulating e-cigarettes and HTPs would encourage more smokers to quit combustible cigarettes and switch to these less harmful alternatives. He acknowledged the growing body of scientific evidence that point to combustion or the burning of tobacco as the principal cause of smoking related diseases. Electronic cigarettes which deliver nicotine in liquid form have grown in use in recent years with the open tank system or those with refillable juices being the most popular. One the other hand, the most popular HTP in the country today is IQOS from Philp Morris International which heats tobacco to release nicotine containing aerosol.
Vaping Policy Targets Minors, Based On Iffy Evidence, And Winds Up Hitting Adults, Jeffrey A. Singer, CATO
The movement to keep teens away from e‐cigarettes stems from the belief that they are a gateway to tobacco smoking. A 2018 study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco suggested teen vapers progressed to tobacco. However, University of South Dakota researchers questioned the methodology of that study, claiming the relationship between teen vaping and tobacco smoking can be traced to shared risk factors for tobacco use. Their own study, published in April 2020, concluded: Electronic cigarettes may have offset conventional smoking among US adolescents between 2010 and 2018 by maintaining the total nicotine use prevalence and diverting them from more harmful conventional smoking. Additionally, electronic cigarette users appear to initiate at older ages relative to conventional smokers, which is associated with lower risk.
Survey: Greek smokers request better access to information on how to quit smoking cigarettes, Newsroom, Ekathimerini
The urgent need for more easily accessible, scientifically supported information on smoking alternatives and how to quit smoking was highlighted in the results of a nationwide survey, conducted in March by the market research firm Marc for the tobacco products company Papastratos, titled “Pandemic, Lockdown and Smoking – Habits and Social Trends.” In a survey of 1,200 smokers, chosen from households in both urban and suburban areas, more than half said they did not know enough about ways to quit smoking or the benefits of doing so. The situation was worst among young smokers, with 61.7% of those aged 21-34 stating they didn’t know enough.
The vape divide: tracking the rise of e-cigarettes, Kate Mayhew, The Stand: U of Wollongong Australia
Dr Morgan says that while the upcoming regulatory changes may have been framed as a move to protect young people from vaping, those most likely to be affected were people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking. “I would never recommend someone take up vaping if you don’t already smoke traditional cigarettes, our research shows that there are low levels of toxic compounds present and there’s no getting around that. But they are better than a tobacco cigarette and banning them would lead to more problems,” Dr Morgan says. “Regulation would be a positive pathway forward and one I hope the government seriously considers.”
Teens Who Vape Would Be Smoking If Vapes Weren’t Invented, Study Suggests, Alex Norcia, Filter
“Our model predicted smoking prevalence quite accurately prior to the availability of e-cigarettes,” Sokol told Filter. “But once e-cigarettes became available in a widespread way, it increasingly overestimated the prevalence [of smoking]. So the prevalence was decreasing, but our model based on a pre-e-cigarette era was predicting a decrease but not as steep.” “[The youth] who had a low propensity to smoke after e-cigarettes were available were exceedingly unlikely to use e-cigarettes,” Sokol said. In other words, the youth who do vape are generally those who would have been smoking were vapes unavailable. “The decline in youth smoking,” Sokol continued, “really accelerated after the availability of e-cigarettes.”
Vaping junk science and the gateway effect, Christopher Snowdon, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
Carl Phillips has written the definitive critique of low quality vaping research (available in draft form here). He looks at the most popular studies (as measured by their Google Scholar ranking) and concludes that the whole field is plagued by fatal flaws. Some of the problems are intractable, but researchers could get closer to answering the key questions if they improved their methodology and looked at the issue down the right end of the telescope. Most of the time they can't be bothered or they deliberately choose sloppy methods to get the answers they want.
Cigarettes must now be regulated differently to vaping – informal traders, Lyse Comins, The South African
Last week, SAITA’s NEC confirmed a resolution in support of the principle of harm reduction. This is based on the scientific findings that the main cause of harm from smoking is toxins released when burning tobacco, not nicotine. We have learned from this pandemic, that it is the scientists who we need to take advice from,” he said. Mokgoja added that cigarettes are one of the most common products sold by informal traders, but “we need to encourage people to switch to less harmful products”. “This will be good for our customers rather than smoking cigarettes, and good for our members who will be able to participate in this economic opportunity. Inclusivity and affordability are key to integrating these products into the informal market,” he said.
In-store vape clinics with 'smoking cessation coaches' planned by Edinburgh firm, Scott Reid, The Scotsman
“We are excited to be launching the vape clinic concept following strong demand and recognising the need for an enhanced level of service since reopening our doors. The huge reduction in NHS stop-smoking services, through Covid-19 and local authority cuts have been devastating in the country’s efforts to reduce smoking rates.”
How Juul Got Vaporized, Jamie Ducharme, Time
Pax executives should have known about these dynamics and designed a launch campaign that had no possible link to Big Tobacco. But the promise of future growth seemed to trump historical caution. “They had the Silicon Valley mindset of ‘We’re a tech company; we’re not a tobacco company,’” says Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association. “And so, they hired very, very few people with experience in tobacco” early on. If they had, Conley says, they might have had on staff people able to see where things were going, who would have never let a campaign with even a chance of drawing comparisons to Big Tobacco end up on a billboard in Times Square.
Government health officials were keen to cut down on the number of smokers in managed isolation hotels last year after an outbreak among Russian and Ukranian mariners in Christchurch. This included an idea to “make smoking areas less appealing” and increasing the provision of “stop smoking support,” according to a December briefing for Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins provided to Stuff under the Official Information Act.
Proper Funding, Not Prohibitions, Right Way to Address Youth Vaping, Lindsey Stroud, Inside Sources
Under the guise of “protecting the children,” lawmakers in Maine are attempting to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vapor products. While protecting children from the harms of adult products is laudable, this prohibition is effectively punishing adults for the failures of poorly executed and inadequately funded tobacco control programs. Worse, Maine stands to lose millions (if not billions of dollars) in the long term from tobacco-generated revenues that would otherwise help to fund said tobacco control programs.
N.B. health minister says legislation pending, as opposition calls for clamp down on youth vaping, Silas Brown, Global News
“This is only the first bill that’s being brought forward and this is about regulation and licensing, so there is more to come,” Shephard said on Friday. When asked if further legislation could impose bans on flavoured vape juices and raise the required age to purchase vaping products, Shephard was direct. “Damn straight,” she said.
Fanning the flames: Feds may adopt problematic tobacco policies, Michael Lefaive, The Hill
In recent weeks, federal officials have announced policies that are very likely to increase cigarette smuggling into the United States and bring other unintended consequences. The Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021, introduced in Congress on April 22, would both raise federal excise taxes (FET) on each pack of cigarettes and adjust the tax each year for inflation to ensure automatic tax hikes. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has moved to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes, a popular type of smoke. Taken separately, either proposal would be problematic, but together they may lead to Prohibition-style lawlessness, without big gains for public health.
High school seniors who used e-cigarettes may have otherwise been cigarette smokers: Evidence from Monitoring the Future (United States, 2009-2018), Natasha A Sokol, ScD, Justin M Feldman, ScD, Oxford Academic
Discussion: Youth e-cigarette use has increased rapidly, with high prevalence among non-smoking youth. However, the decline in current smoking among 12 th graders has accelerated since e-cigarettes have become available. E-cigarette use is largely concentrated among youth who share characteristics with smokers of the pre-vaping era, suggesting e-cigarettes may have replaced cigarette smoking.
The Snus Commission: "Sweden will soon be smoke-free - the explanation is snus”, Snusforumet (translated to English)
The proportion of smokers in Sweden is thus clearly smaller than compared with the other Nordic countries. In Norway, ten percent of the population smokes, in Finland 14 percent and in Denmark 18 percent, according to the Snus Commission. The Snus Commission notes, however, that Sweden's unique results are not noticed by the Swedish government - despite the historically positive development. The reason for the government's silence? Many who have managed to quit smoking have done so by switching to snus.
Another big win for 'public health', Christopher Snowdon, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
What a year it's been for the heroes of the 'public health' movement. While medics have been working tirelessly to save lives and scientists have created a series of effective vaccines, the over-funded troughers of the 'public health' racket have been busy complaining about tobacco companies donating ventilators to hospitals and alcohol companies producing hand sanitiser. Last September, Britain's multi-million pound SPECTRUM consortium produced an unintentionally hilarious report whining about food and drink companies donating baby milk, face masks, water and hospital equipment to the needy.
Proposed federal e-cigarette tax would threaten public health, Alan D. Viard, AEI
In the press release announcing the bill’s introduction, the sponsors home in on the key similarity between e-cigarettes and cigarettes — they both contain nicotine. The press release quotes Senator Durbin’s call for America to “kick its nicotine addiction” and Senator Wyden’s warning of “a new generation of nicotine users.” But the senators’ focus on nicotine is misplaced because nicotine does not kill smokers. Smokers are killed by the tar released by combustible cigarettes. E-cigarettes, which are battery-powered devices that heat a flavored solution containing nicotine and convert it into an inhalable aerosol, do not pose that risk.
As FDA Readies Menthol Cigarette Ban, What’s Next? Sally Satel, Washington Monthly
In reality, the enormous public health success of reduced smoking – now at an estimated 14 percent of U.S. adults (34.1 million “current smokers,” or 1 in 14 ) down from 20.9 percent in 2005 and down from 42 percent in 1964—did not come from cigarette bans or outlawing various forms of tobacco—snuff, chew, pipe, roll-your-own, etc. The decline came not through bans, but through education, public persuasion, and policy nudges and changes, starting with a series of articles about research on the dangers of smoking published in the ‘50s in Readers’ Digest, the most read publication at the time.
Why Japan’s Huge Drop in Smoking Is a Story Prohibitionists Ignore, Alex Norcia, Filter
Nowhere on Earth has cigarette consumption dropped as rapidly as it has in Japan over the past few years. Just look at the numbers: In the first quarter of 2021—January, February and March of this year—domestic cigarette sales in Japan totaled about 25 billion sticks. In 2016, that same period saw around 43.6 billion domestic cigarette sales in the country. There has been close to a 43 percent decline in half a decade. It is an extraordinary success. And it seems attributable to a single shift: Japan’s population of smokers, with the government’s acquiescence, has embraced heated tobacco products (HTPs), which heat tobacco sticks to produce vapor—not smoke—that is inhaled.
The real question here is why these tobacco control activists show so little curiosity about the changes that are reshaping the US tobacco and nicotine market. As Juul rose in popularity, we saw unusually rapid declines in cigarette sales and smoking prevalence in both adults and adolescents . The right response to that is to want to know more. The wrong response is to try to suppress or discredit informative data and analysis just because it tells a story that is at variance with a narrative about the evils of both e-cigarettes and the companies that make them.
Swedish MEP Sara Skyttedal believes the European Commission’s “ideological opposition” to all tobacco and nicotine leaves ignorant on the science on Swedish snus and cancer. And progress on the EU’s Beating Cancer plan may suffer as a result.
Twitter Thread containing links to supportive statements, Charles A. Gardner, Thread Reader App
If anyone tells you there's not enough evidence that nicotine vapes ("e-cigarettes") are safer than traditional cigarettes, show them this. 10,000 studies. 15 years of safe use. Millions fewer smokers... And I think I see a growing consensus among experts.
The provincial government introduced amendments to the Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act today in the legislative assembly in keeping with a commitment in the speech from the throne to develop a strategy to combat youth vaping. These amendments seek to license vape shops and fund public education campaigns aimed at reducing the use of substances, including through vaping.
15 State Tobacco Legislative Bill Updates, Tobacco Business
The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) has compiled the following list of state tobacco-related legislative bills that have been acted on by a state legislative committee or state legislature, listed below alphabetically by state: (see full article)
Want Fewer Teen Smokers? Stop Banning Vapes, Lindsey Stroud, Inside Sources
Despite the rhetoric, it is apparent that the emergence of tobacco harm reduction products such as e-cigarettes has helped to reduce young adult smoking. It’s time for policymakers to embrace the role of tobacco harm reduction and actually protect public health rather than spew misinformation.
Philip Morris to phase out cigarettes in Japan within decade, Money Control
The Marlboro maker announced in 2016 a long-term goal to stop selling cigarettes and replace them with alternatives that it says are less harmful -- but this is the first time it has given a clear deadline. "We want Japan to be the first market" for the phase-out, newly appointed CEO Jacek Olczak told the Nikkei in an interview published in Japanese. The company "will realise a smoke-free society in Japan within 10 years", he said.
Africa Must Ditch The Dogma To Reduce Tobacco’s Toll, Joseph Magero, Kenyan News Trends
FAR TOO many Africans die as a result of smoking. Yet far too few Africans who try to stop smoking actually succeed in doing so. It’s clear that the ‘quit or die’ approach to tobacco control is not working on our continent, where cigarette consumption is on the rise in stark defiance of global trends. If we are serious about saving lives, we’d do well to look at how that fight is being won in other parts of the world. And that means rethinking the way we look at nicotine.
New Evidence Links “EVALI” Vaping Misinformation With Increased Cigarette Smoking, Alex Norcia, Filter
“Cigarettes and vaping are substitutable goods, and attacking one of them drives sales of the other,” David Sweanor, a tobacco industry expert and chair of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Health Law, Policy, and Ethic at the University of Ottawa, told Filter. “There was a very deliberate effort to attack the low-risk alternative.”
A smoker’s right to choose better health, Ali Altaf, Daily Times Pakistan
Science and tech have made sure better alternatives to smoking exist. The aim of these products is to provide reduced risk alternatives to smokers who find themselves unable to quit, and to eliminate over 6,000 toxins caused by burning of tobacco in a cigarette. This presents a huge opportunity for improving public health, as smoke-free products can be a means of moving adults who would otherwise continue to smoke away from cigarettes.
Consumers express alarm over foreign charities’ attempts to defy PH sovereignty, Inquirer.net, Philippines
Virgino said vapers, who have managed to quit smoking by switching to less harmful alternatives, were dismayed by the repeated attempts by The Union and other charities funded by billionaires to undermine tobacco harm reduction in the Philippines. “Do they want us to go back to smoking cigarettes which are known to kill one in every two smokers? Why then do these foreign charities try to make regulatory agencies ban vaping which has helped thousands of Filipino smokers quit?” she asked.
EU SCHEER report misses the mark on vaping, Michael Landl, The Brussels Times
Last year, SCHEER was appointed by the European Commission to produce a report on vaping and its health impacts. Their preliminary report, released in September, was met with widespread criticism from scientists, public health experts and vapers. Riddled with old data, cherry picked studies and a general lack of knowledge about vaping, it painted a bleak picture. The reaction from scientists and consumers was huge. 691 formal submissions were made in response to the preliminary report.
Florida setting the example on vaping regulations, Adrian Moore and Guy Bentley, Your Observer
"While originally conceived as a bill to raise the legal age to buy tobacco to 21 (which is superfluous given this is already mandated by federal law), CS/CS/CS SB 810 effectively bans tobacco-free vaping flavors used by hundreds of thousands of Floridians as a reduced-risk alternative to cigarettes, which are more dangerous," DeSantis said in his veto message.
Another Challenge to FDA Could Be Heard by the Supreme Court, Jim McDonald, Vaping 360
A group of small vaping companies has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review its lawsuit challenging the validity of the FDA’s vaping regulations, after the action was rejected previously by a federal district court and circuit court of appeals.
Could Brexit End Up Boosting UK Tobacco Harm Reduction? Alex Norcia, Filter
THR experts emphasize that the UK government could now make two important reversals: first, by allowing snus, a smokeless form of tobacco significantly less harmful than combustible cigarettes that’s currently banned by the EU; and, second, by removing nicotine caps in e-liquids. (Recent studies have shown that higher nicotine levels in vapes, by better mirroring the nicotine intake of a cigarette, could allow smokers to switch more easily.)
Debate Ignites Over Ban on Tobacco Alternatives, Nakisanze Segawa, Global Press Journal
Mbane, who lives in Wakiso district just outside Kampala, the capital, has smoked since he was 9. After doctors diagnosed him with stage 3 lung cancer in 2019, he tried to stop. He lasted two days. “Then I started looking for alternatives when I realized I couldn’t stop smoking,” he says, sitting in a chair outside his spacious home. “A friend of mine told me about e-cigarettes and how they have helped some people stop smoking and that they are safer than actual cigarettes. But they are not here in Uganda. I wish the government lifts the ban so I can access them.”
Cannabis and tobacco smokers have increased their use, Stephane Blain, La Presse
In its new study, the INSPQ reports that the health crisis in which we have been immersed for more than a year can cause concern and cause stress, anxiety, isolation and thus lead to an increase in the consumption of cannabis, tobacco and alcohol. (Translated from original French text.)
One of the most common nicotine misconceptions is that nicotine, in quantities consumed in cigarettes or pouches, is carcinogenic. This persistent myth that nicotine causes cancer, combined with broader nicotine illiteracy, is at the root of the hesitancy among many healthcare practitioners to prescribe adequate nicotine replacement treatment for managing the cravings and withdrawal symptoms among their smoker patients during their quit attempts.
FDA's anti-smoking proposals head toward slippery slope of regulations, Veronique de Rugy, Daily Herald
If it doesn't look like avocado toast, you can't have it. That's the message I get loud and clear from Uncle Sam when I read story after story about the Food and Drug Administration's latest foray into stopping ordinary Americans from doing what ordinary Americans like to do.
During its online presentation hosted by Knowledge Action Change and the Association of Vapers India (AVI), it was revealed that 60% of global smokers live in Adia and the Far East, alongside 90% of global consumers of smokeless tobacco. This results in nearly half the global deaths from smoking from the region. Yet, in many Asian countries THR products are banned or restricted, providing no real access or alternative to those who want to quit tobacco smoking.
UK GOV WILL MISS BREXIT CHANCE TO MAKE 2030 SMOKE FREE, Matt Kilcoyne, Adam Smith Institute
“For a decade, the UK has been a world leader in using tobacco harm reduction to encourage smoking cessation. But until now, EU restrictions limited how far we could pursue this path. If the Government doesn't take advantage of Brexit to change its approach to vaping and other low-risk smoking alternatives, they'll miss the Smokefree 2030 target and squander a golden opportunity to help British smokers make the switch.
Fresh Thinking, Clive Bates, Tobacco ReporterIn April 2021, Covid-19 deaths are approaching 3 million worldwide. However, according to the WHO, tobacco-related deaths exceed 8 million annually. So what would new thinking on the WHO’s approach to tobacco policy look like? Here is my seven-point reform plan.
June 14, 2021
May 27, 2021