Why we feel we are left with no option but to place our contentions in front of the judiciary.

Guest post from Fraser Cropper, CEO of Totally Wicked.

Judiciary

 

Totally Wicked, as some readers may be aware, has filed a challenge against the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and I want to take this opportunity on the Save e cigs blog to explain a little more about what we have done and why we feel we are left with no option but to place our contentions in front of the judiciary.

Firstly we haven’t taken the decision to challenge the TPD lightly, and we would not have undertaken this if we didn’t believe that a) we are doing the right thing, and b) that we have what we believe to be a solid case.

Our legal challenge is essentially questioning why the TPD mandates that e- cigarette laws should be stricter than tobacco laws. Article 20, the article that relates specifically to electronic cigarettes, to our mind represents a disproportionate impediment to the free movement of goods and the free provision of services. It places electronic cigarettes at an unjustified competitive disadvantage to tobacco products; it fails to comply with the general EU principle of equality, and breaches the fundamental rights of electronic cigarette manufacturers.

Therefore as a company are asking that the EU courts consider the TPD and pass its objective judgement on the regulatory framework that the TPD has delivered.

Article 20 will place unnecessary burdens on the industry, while at the same time completely ignoring the core needs of the user, those of diversity of product range, varying nicotine strengths and a vibrant community to encourage and support. All of these will be removed by the TPD.

We want all consumers to have enough information to make a judged decision and make sure that quality is of a standard that is acceptable. We want regulation that protects customers from ingredients and product deficiencies that could cause them harm, and this can easily be achieved through regulation that is proportionate, that gives the sector the justifiable opportunity it needs to have to give people a realistic option other than conventional cigarettes.

There is enough compelling evidence and research that proves e cigarettes are hundreds of time safer than conventional cigarettes, so our basic premise is this:why should our product be placed under greater regulatory constraint than a product that has killed many hundreds of thousands of people, and continues to do so? Where is the regulation that reflects the value these products are bringing? 2.5. million users in the UK have independently chosen to use e cigs, but nowhere in the TPD is the transformational potential recognised and engaged constructively.

It is a fallacy to suggest there is no ability for the government to affect the necessary controls, because there absolutely is enough control within the consumer regulations to suitably regulate electronic cigarettes, however the government have not chosen to utilise them. There are problems; there are imports that are not acceptable, yet the current regulatory environment could do away with them, if there was a will. Instead the TPD instructs disproportionate regulation that will significantly adversely affect a creative and paradigm changing nascent industry that deserves to be supported.

We want to grow as a business, we are an ethical company, we employ over 150 people directly and many hundreds more through our reselling base, but we have an illegitimate threat hanging over us. We are in the process of opening a new fluid production facility here in the UK that will provide jobs, and produce e liquid of the highest quality and standards, yet we have no idea how the TPD will impact this.

We are optimistic about the hearing in the Administrative courts on the 6th October, we expect to be heard in the CJEU next year, and we very much hope that the outcome will be a Tobacco Products Directive that reflects the reality of e cigarettes, the value they are providing, has them in a context that reflects the users needs and ultimately lets us get on with running our business – one of selling excellent quality products that have transformed many thousands of users’ lives.

 

 

 

 

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With all due respect Mr Drakeford….

Dear Mr Drakeford,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to attend and listen to the debate on Welsh Government proposals for a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, substantially enclosed public places, and places of work in Wales. In your response to the debate you raised a number of issues that cause us concern.

You stated e-cigarettes were renormalising smoking and undermining the ban on smoking in public places.

On both points you were unable to provide any evidence that e-cigarettes were either renormalising smoking or undermining the ban on smoking in public places. However, Professor Robert West, Professor of health psychology and director of tobacco studies at University College London’s department of epidemiology and public health, following his latest research concluded:“Despite claims that electronic cigarettes risk re-normalising smoking, we found no evidence to support this.”[1]

You stated e-cigarettes act as a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes and that this was a particular problem for children who are using e-cigarettes in growing numbers. You stated that many of these children were not currently or previous smokers of tobacco cigarettes and were attracted by flavoured e-liquid.

To justify this claim you cited a study produced by John Moores University entitled ‘Young People’s Perceptions and Experiences of Electronic Cigarettes’. You gave the impression that this report stated that as a direct result of targeted advertising by e-cigarette manufacturers, large numbers of children, who had not previously smoked tobacco cigarettes, were now using e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke tobacco cigarettes. What the report actually states is that ‘Overall seven out of eight young people had never accessed e-cigarettes’. The report goes on to say, ‘Despite widespread advertising of e-cigarette brands in print, visual and social media, the majority of participants reported that they had not seen any advertising for e-cigarettes and showed a lack of awareness of advertising and marketing strategies and approaches’.

What we do know from recent research produced by ASH is that e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “There is no evidence from our research that e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway into smoking.”[2] Furthermore, this same survey demonstrated that children are not using e-cigarettes. The survey found that regular use of e-cigarettes amongst children and young people is rare and is confined almost entirely to those who currently or have previously smoked[3]. Research by ASH[4] found that 96 per cent of 14 year olds had never used an e-cigarette, 90 per cent of 15 year olds had never used an e-cigarette, 90 per cent of 16 year olds had never used an e-cigarette, and 91 per cent of 17 year olds had never used an e-cigarette.

Research undertaken by Queen Mary University in London[5] found that a child trying a tobacco cigarette for the first time is 50 per cent likely to become a regular smoker. The same research found no evidence that a child trying an e-cigarette for the first time goes on to become a regular vaper.

Evidence produced by a variety of organisations including ASH and the American Cancer Society (ACS) clearly shows that flavours do not entice non-smokers to use e-cigarettes either. Researchers from the ACS[6] found that flavours did not increase the attractiveness of e-cigarettes to teenagers. Rather, “Even after controlling for other statistically significant correlates, the odds of a smoker being willing to try an e-cigarette were 10 times those of a non-smoker.” Tobacco cigarettes are the gateway to tobacco smoking, not e-cigarettes.

Finally, there is no evidence to support your claim that e-cigarettes are used in significant numbers by people who have never smoked. ASH concluded that, ‘E-cigarettes are used by both smokers and ex-smokers, but there is little evidence of use by those who have never smoked or by children.’[7] In fact, recent research showed that just 0.1 per cent of e-cigarette users had never smoked tobacco cigarettes previously[8].

You stated that nicotine is addictive and highly dangerous.

Yes nicotine is addictive but that does not mean it is dangerous. Caffeine is addictive, is that dangerous? The nicotine contained in e-cigarettes is the same pharmaceutical grade nicotine used in NRT products (some of which are inhaled). As Professor Robert West said: “E-cigarettes are about as safe as you can get. We know about the health risks of nicotine. Nicotine is not what kills you when you smoke tobacco. E-cigarettes are probably about as safe as drinking coffee.”[9]

Professor Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, said: “E-cigarettes are orders of magnitudes safer than cigarettes because they do not release smoke which contains toxins which are responsible for heart disease, lung disease, and cancer.”[10] The NHS has also concluded that e-cigarettes are 1,000 times safer than tobacco cigarettes[11]. You should also note that many vapers use an e-cigarette that does not contain any nicotine.

You stated e-cigarettes are no more effective than nicotine patches in helping people quit smoking.

Many vapers have tried numerous times to quit smoking using conventional nicotine replacement therapies, which have a 90 per cent failure rate, and have failed, however with e-cigarettes they have all cut down their smoking or stopped completely. Professor Robert West said: “We found that those using the e-cigarette were about 60 per cent more likely still not to be smoking than those using the licensed product or nothing at all.”[12] E-cigarettes are however not some form of more effective nicotine replacement therapy, they are totally different and need to be regulated accordingly.

A key reason for calling for a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places would be if there was a problem with passive vaping. We note that you did not raise this issue in your response. Could this be because there is no evidence that passive vaping is a problem? In fact a major scientific study undertaken by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and Professor Riccardo Polosa concluded that the “effects of e-cigarette use on by standers are minimal compared with conventional cigarettes.”[13]

You also failed to raise the issue of what support your proposal has amongst the public at large. A recent poll by the BBC[14] found that 75 per cent of the public would be happy if their friends or family switched from smoking tobacco cigarettes to using e-cigarettes, and 62 per cent of the public said that e-cigarettes should not be banned in public.

On the specific case of banning the use of e-cigarettes in the work place, you may like to know that a number of pubs that had previously introduced a ban have now gone on to reverse the ban as new evidence has emerged. You may also be interested to know that Cambridgeshire Police, following a review of “health fears”, will allow their officers to vape at work[15]. We are confident that as the evidence continues to mount, a growing number of businesses and organisations will reverse their current bans. Far from leading on this issue, it would seem that this Welsh Government proposal would actually be a backwards step if it were implemented.

Smoking tobacco cigarettes kills over 5,000 people in Wales every year. We know that nicotine replacement therapies with their 90 per cent failure rate do not work. We also know that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes and that they enjoy widespread popularity amongst the public at large. You must see that it is clearly better for some to use an e-cigarette rather than a tobacco cigarette. As Professor John Briton from the Royal College of Physicians said: “If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started using e-cigarettes we would save five million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.”[16]

The rise of e-cigarette sales is directly contributing to a decline in tobacco cigarettes sales. In the words of Professor Robert West: “What is the problem that requires further regulation?”[17] What public health gain does the Welsh Government hope to achieve by banning the use of e-cigarettes in public? You failed to answer this question in your response.

With a ban on the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes soon to be introduced, following the passing of the Tobacco Products Directive, where are smokers to find out about e-cigarettes, particularly if they are banned in public places? Smokers need to see people using e-cigarettes in public, they need to be able to go up and speak to e-cigarette users so that they can find out further information and then hopefully make the switch to a safer alternative.

Quitting smoking or cutting down on smoking is one of the most difficult things an individual can do. If the Welsh Government succeeded in having e-cigarettes banned in public places they will be forcing vapers to vape alongside smokers. We are in contact with vapers on a daily basis and many have said such a ban will simply force them back to smoking, is this really what you want? Surely you would rather people used e-cigarettes rather than tobacco cigarettes? Professor Antoine Flahault, Dean of EHESP School of Public Health (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique), concluded: “It is better to have an addiction to a behavior that is not harmful than to have an addiction to a behavior that kills you.”[18]

Yes e-cigarettes are relatively new, but new research, including long term studies, is being produced on a regular basis. Much of the recent research has rendered the arguments behind the Tobacco Products Directive redundant and out of date, and caused some policy makers to call for a rethink.

In its approach the Welsh Government are going against the precautionary principle as it was originally intended, you are trying to mitigate for a risk that has yet to be proven and in doing so may do more harm than good. As Professor Robert West said: “We have such a massive opportunity here. It would be a shame if we let it slip away by being overly cautious.” Professor Gerry Stimson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, concluded: “It would be an appalling paradox if regulators, in the name of safety, ended up tipping the balance back in favour of cigarettes.”[19]

In your comments yesterday you were unable to provide one single piece of evidence for any public health gain arising from the Welsh Government’s proposals. We know from the evidence we have laid out in this letter, the experts we have consulted, and the vapers that we are in daily contact with, that should you succeed in implementing this ban that fewer people will make the switch from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes. We therefore hope that following the consultation you will conclude that for the good of harm reduction there is no need to implement a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, substantially enclosed public places, and places of work in Wales.

Yours sincerely

Save e cigs.

CC

All members of the Welsh Assembly

All Welsh members of the House of Commons

 

[1] http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

[2] http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

[3] http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

[4] http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

[5] Research undertaken by Professor Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London

[6] http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00409-0/fulltext

[7] http://ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_715.pdf

[8] http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/28/e-cigarette-users-triple-ash-survey

[9] The Guardian Newspaper, 05 June 2013

[10] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27161965

[11] http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9197731/vape-alarm/

[12] Study carried out on 5,000 smokers, by Professor Robert West looking at the success rate of different methods to stop smoking: nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nothing, or e-cigarettes. Reported on BBC Breakfast 28 April 2014

[13] Safety evaluation and risk assessment of electronic cigarettes as tobacco cigarette substitutes: a systematic review:

Konstantinos E. Farsalinos and Riccardo Polosa

published online 13 February 2014 Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety

[14] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24909648

[15] http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Police-in-Cambridgeshire-can-smoke-e-cigarettes-after-health-review-but-they-are-banned-on-our-trains-20130821131920.htm

[16] The Independent Newspaper, 29 March 2013

[17] Professor Robert West speaking at the E-cigarette Summit, The Royal Society, London on the 12th of November 2013.

[18] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTHGsTPklY4&list=UUAy2QbmqgmTUJ–CoK5J3xA

[19] Open letter to ENVI Committee members form Professor Gerry Stimson 22 April 2013

Dear Mr Drakeford…

This is our letter to Mr Drakeford AM, Welsh Government Health Minister, after the announcement today that e cigarettes are to be banned in public places.

wales

 

Dear Mr Drakeford,

Welsh Government proposals to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places

Professor John Britton, of The Royal College of Physicians, said: “If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started using e-cigarettes we would save five million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.”[1] It is therefore very disappointing that the Welsh Government is proposing a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, substantially enclosed public places, and places of work in Wales.

This proposal is sadly typical of the thinking of those who appear hostile to e-cigarettes. They do not know very much about them and show very little interest in finding out more.

In your interview on the BBC Today Programme you stated that this proposal was made on the grounds that you believe nicotine to be a highly addictive and dangerous substance, that the use of e-cigarettes could re-normalise smoking, that they were targeted at young people, and that e-cigarettes could act as a gateway to smoking. When asked by the presenter what evidence you had for these concerns, you stated that you had none because e-cigarettes are still relatively new.

Robert West, Professor of health psychology and director of tobacco studies at University College London’s department of epidemiology and public health recently said: “E-cigarettes are about as safe as you can get. We know about the health risks of nicotine. Nicotine is not what kills you when you smoke tobacco. E-cigarettes are probably about as safe as drinking coffee. All that they contain is water vapour, nicotine, and propylene glycol (which is used to help vaporise the liquid nicotine).”[2]

As you correctly stated, there is no evidence that e-cigarette use re-normalises smoking, particularly when you consider that according to research produced by the University of East London[3] 72 per cent of e-cigarette users use products that are as about as far removed from looking like conventional cigarettes as possible.

Whilst there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, there is evidence based research that shows they are not a gateway to smoking. Research, including a recent survey commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)[4], has shown time and time again that e-cigarettes are not attractive to young people, and are not used as a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes. Although awareness of e-cigarettes was widespread amongst young people aged 11 to 18, the ASH survey found no evidence that young people either used or perceived e-cigarettes as being a gateway to smoking.

Evidence produced by a variety of organisations including ASH and the American Cancer Society (ACS) clearly shows that flavours do not entice non-smokers to use e-cigarettes either, especially the young, as they have no interest in the product.

Researchers from the ACS[5] looked specifically into the enticement of flavours. They found that flavours did not increase the attractiveness of e-cigarettes to teenagers. Rather, “Even after controlling for other statistically significant correlates, the odds of a smoker being willing to try an e-cigarette were 10 times those of a non-smoker.”

Tobacco cigarettes are the gateway to tobacco smoking, not e-cigarettes.

Of course there must be a consideration of those who do not use e-cigarettes, but who would be impacted by second-hand vaping. However, research undertaken by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, M.D., Researcher, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens Greece and Researcher, University Hospital Gathuisberg, Leuven, Belgium; and Professor Riccardo Polosa, Full Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Catania and

Scientific advisor for LIAF – Italian League for Anti-Smoking, has proven that there is no problem with passive vaping[6]. The research concluded, “Based on the existing evidence from environmental exposure and chemical analyses of vapor, it is safe to conclude that the effects of e-cigarette use on bystanders are minimal compared with conventional cigarettes.”

As you will be aware, this proposal does not have the support of the wider population. A recent poll by the BBC[7] found that 75 per cent of the public would be happy if their friends or family switched from smoking to using e-cigarettes, and 62 per cent of the public said that e-cigarettes should not be banned in public.

As a campaign representing the interests of e-cigarette users, their friends, and their families, we want to see e-cigarettes robustly regulated as the consumer products that they are. That is why we campaigned for a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18 and we publicly welcomed the decision of the Welsh Government to introduce such a ban. However, with a ban on the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes soon to be introduced, following the passing of the Tobacco Products Directive, where are smokers to find out about e-cigarettes, particularly if they are banned in public places? Smokers need to see people using e-cigarettes in public, they need to be able to go up and speak to e-cigarette users so that they can find out further information and then hopefully make the switch to a safer alternative.

There are 10 million smokers in the UK and every year, according to the NHS, 114,000 people die from a tobacco related illness of which 5,450 of these deaths occur in Wales.[8]

Conventional nicotine replacement therapies are not tackling this number, but e-cigarettes could. Already 1.3 million smokers in the UK have either quit or cut down the amount they smoke by switching to e-cigarettes[9]. This should be a cause for celebration, not concern.

Sadly, far too many people who work in the public health sector and in the NHS seem more concerned with introducing counter-productive bans based on inaccurate or non-existent information than they are about staying focused on the bigger picture of seriously reducing the number of smoking related deaths.

Yours sincerely

Save  e cigs.

 

 

[1]The Independent Newspaper, 29 March 2013

[2] The Guardian Newspaper, 05 June 2013

[3] http://www.uel.ac.uk/psychology/staff/lynnedawkins/

[4] ASH surveyed 12,597 adults in 2010 – the questions focused on e-cigarette use and awareness in Great Britain. The preliminary survey was followed up by an additional study of adult smokers and non-smokers in February 2012 and more recently in 2013. ASH also surveyed children and young people aged 11 to 18 in March 2013.

[5] http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00409-0/fulltext

[6] Safety evaluation and risk assessment of electronic cigarettes as tobacco cigarette substitutes: a systematic review:

Konstantinos E. Farsalinos and Riccardo Polosa

published online 13 February 2014 Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24909648

[8] Public Health Wales Observatory (2012) – ‘Tobacco and health in Wales, 2012’ – available at http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/922/page/59800

[9] http://ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_715.pdf

Letter to the Editor

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.19.15

 

Our letter to the Editor, in response to this:http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-kids-smoking-e-cigarettes-school-6895830

Dear Sir,

Your recent article, ‘No smoke without fire! Kids are caught puffing on e-cigarettes in school’, stated that children across Liverpool were ‘puffing on e-cigarettes’, taking them to school, and that they were becoming a ‘prominent’ part of youth culture. These statements were based on a new report compiled by the Health Equalities Group (HEG) and the centre for public health at Liverpool John Moores University, entitled ‘Young People’s Perceptions and Experiences of Electronic Cigarettes’. The report concluded that ‘urgent action was needed to stop this new trend (using e-cigarettes) amongst young people’.

The impression given by the report and your article is that e-cigarettes manufactures are deliberately targeting children with advertising and flavours. These children, in large numbers, are taken in by this advertising and go on to become e-cigarette users and ultimately smokers. All this is allowed to happen, partly because, as Robert Ireland, Chief Executive of HEG said in your article, ‘e-cigarettes are not regulated’.

If true this would be deeply concerning. Thankfully though it is not true and it is therefore concerning that your newspaper chose to publish the statements of HEG and the conclusions of their report without subjecting them to any objective scrutiny.

Research, including a recent survey commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)[1], has shown time and time again that e-cigarettes are not attractive to young people, and are therefore not used as a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes. Although awareness of e-cigarettes was widespread amongst young people aged 11 to 18, the ASH survey found no evidence that young people either used or perceived e-cigarettes as being a gateway to smoking.

Evidence produced by a variety of organisations including ASH and the American Cancer Society (ACS) clearly shows that flavours do not entice non-smokers to use e-cigarettes either, especially the young, as they have no interest in the product.

Researchers from the ACS[2] looked specifically into the enticement of flavours. They found that flavours did not increase the attractiveness of e-cigarettes to teenagers. Rather, “Even after controlling for other statistically significant correlates, the odds of a smoker being willing to try an e-cigarette were 10 times those of a non-smoker.”

Tobacco cigarettes are the gateway to tobacco smoking, not e-cigarettes.

The HEG report even made this point in its conclusion which stated, ‘Overall seven out of eight young people had never accessed e-cigarettes’. You report also concluded that, ‘Despite widespread advertising of e-cigarette brands in print, visual and social media, the majority of participants reported that they had not seen any advertising for e-cigarettes and showed a lack of awareness of advertising and marketing strategies and approaches’. Yet somehow advertising is enticing young people to use e-cigarettes

As a campaign representing the interests of e-cigarette users, their friends, and their families, we want to see e-cigarettes robustly regulated as the consumer products that they are. However, it is not true to say that e-cigarettes are not regulated. At present there are 17 EU directives regulating them and further regulations will be introduced in 2016 as a result of the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive. In addition to this, as you reported, the Department of Health is introducing new rules restricting the sale of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18, something that we publicly welcomed.

It is vitally important that all those reporting on or writing about e-cigarettes do so responsibly. Irresponsible and alarmist reporting has the potential to put smokers off making the switch to a safer alternative. As a campaign we have no interest in articles promoting e-cigarettes uncritically either. All we are asking for is balanced and factual reporting.

Yours sincerely

Save  e-cigs.

 

[1] ASH surveyed 12,597 adults in 2010 – the questions focused on e-cigarette use and awareness in Great Britain. The preliminary survey was followed up by an additional study of adult smokers and non-smokers in February 2012 and more recently in 2013. ASH also surveyed children and young people aged 11 to 18 in March 2013.

[2] http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(12)00409-0/fulltext

Newsround

 

Dear Sir,

On the 8th of March this year, the BBC programme Newsround broadcast a report about e-cigarette manufacturers targeting their products at children.  The fear being that e-cigarettes are a gateway to the smoking of tobacco cigarettes.

It is understandable for people to be concerned about young people taking up the smoking of tobacco cigarettes, particularly a news programme aimed at children; however these particular concerns have no foundation.

Research, including a recent survey commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)[1], has shown time and time again that e-cigarettes are not attractive to young people, and are therefore not used as a gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes.  Although awareness of e-cigarettes was widespread amongst young people aged 11 to 18, the ASH survey found no evidence that young people either used or perceived e-cigarettes as being a gateway to smoking.

Evidence produced by a variety of organisations including ASH and the American Cancer Society (ACS) clearly shows that flavours do not entice non-smokers to use e-cigarettes either, especially the young, as they have no interest in the product.

Researchers from the ACS[2] looked specifically into the enticement of flavours.  They found that flavours did not increase the attractiveness of e-cigarettes to teenagers. Rather, “Even after controlling for other statistically significant correlates, the odds of a smoker being willing to try an e-cigarette were 10 times those of a non-smoker.”

Tobacco cigarettes are the gateway to tobacco smoking, not e-cigarettes.

You should also be aware that the House of Commons recently passed legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s in England and that the Welsh Assembly voted in favour of an identical ban in Wales.  As a campaign we welcomed both bans and have publicly called for similar age restrictions to be introduced in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Save E Cigs.

 

 


[1] ASH surveyed 12,597 adults in 2010 – the questions focused on e-cigarette use and awareness in Great Britain. The preliminary survey was followed up by an additional study of adult smokers and non-smokers in February 2012 and more recently in 2013. ASH also surveyed children and young people aged 11 to 18 in March 2013.

Stories that range from the mildly bizarre to the dangerous.

newspapers

 

Open your newspaper, switch on the television, go on line or listen to the radio and these days you are more than likely to hear a scare story about e-cigarettes.  These stories range from the mildly bizarre to the dangerous.  In recent weeks we have read countless stories about e-cigarettes exploding and causing house fires, about e-cigarettes being increasingly attractive to children, of e-cigarettes causing “confusion” because they look like real cigarettes, and most bizarre or all, e-cigarettes being responsible for the death of a puppy.

One thing all these stories have in common is that they are almost always without foundation, are based on misinformation, and the people behind often have a vested interest in rubbishing e-cigarettes.  Lazy and unthinking journalists publish these stories without questioning their validity or seeking an opposing voice.  Consequently these stories pass into common currency and are taken as being true.

At Save E-cigs we have decided that this has to stop.  Many of these stories are downright irresponsible and have contributed in a small part to the awful regulation voted through by MEPs last week and soon to become law.  More importantly, these stories may put smokers off switching to e-cigarettes.

With all this in mind we have decided to fight back.  In recent weeks we have responded to a number of press stories and statements from politicians and will continue to do as and when these stories appear.  However, we cannot be everywhere, we are not able to watch every local news programme, listen to all local radio stations, or read every local newspaper.  This is where you can help.  Over on our main website – www.saveecigs.com in the next few weeks we will be publishing a tool kit to help vapers up and down the country respond to the ill-informed scare stories that appear in their local media.  There will be a whole range of letters that can be downloaded and also a range of useful facts and figures that vapers can use when writing to their local media or politicians.

In time we hope that all our efforts will lead to a reduction in such scare stories and a more balanced reporting of e-cigarettes in general.

We very much hope that you will all join us in this vitally important campaign.

exploding e cigs letter

This is a copy of the letter that we send out to newspapers every time they print a story of an exploding e cigarette, we obviously do change the odd detail, but the gist remains the same.

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to your recent article, ‘Fire warning issued over electronic cigarettes’. As a campaign that has the interests of e-cigarette users at heart, we would like to point out that this is a battery issue – not an e-cigarette issue.

E-cigarettes like mobile phones, tablets, and many other devices, primarily use lithium batteries.  Therefore consumers need to be aware of the potential risks.  The incident you refer to in your article relates to the lithium battery and should be reported accordingly.  A failure to do so may cause unnecessary concern for the UK’s 1.5 million e-cigarette users and may discourage other adult smokers making the switch from tobacco cigarettes to the safer e-cigarette.

We are so used to seeing and using lithium batteries on a daily basis that we forget the potential risks they pose.  Last year a house fire in Peterborough was started when a lithium battery in a mobile phone exploded whilst charging.  All lithium batteries can suffer from what is known as ‘thermal runaway’, where the battery becomes very hot and vents off gas. The following stage on from the thermal runaway would be an explosion.  If there are insufficient escape routes for the gas and possible flames to escape, i.e. vent holes, then the law of physics states that the tube containing the batteries will explode.  Design and engineering are crucial with all things electrical, and e-cigarettes are no different.

As a campaign we encourage all e-cigarette users to follow the advice given by the fire service: do not mix a battery from one supplier with a charger from another, always look for vent holes in your battery casing, always buy from a reputable vendor that are proud of the quality of their goods, check that the product displays the correct CE and WEEE safety markings and can prove their authenticity, do not over tighten the battery to the charger, plug the charger in first, do not leave it unattended, and ensure routine cleaning of the connections at least once a week.

We would like to see all vendors handing out this information with each and every sale of an e-cigarette.  These simple, but vital instructions should be on or within the packaging of all new e-cigarettes.

Kind Regards,

Save E Cigs.