GFN 2015

GFN

 

Save e-cigs was at the Global Forum on Nicotine, and once again the entire agenda was based around electronic cigarettes and e-liquid.

 

This is the second year the GFN has been held and the second year in the lovely City of Warsaw. This year it attracted more delegates, and dare I say it a few more of the big guns, which reflects the importance that this conference is gaining. Hon Lik the inventor of the modern day e-cig was there – (yes, there was much awe in the room when he spoke!) but also Dr Derek Yach, the man who was responsible for leading the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

 

Having him speak was not only symbolic of where e-cigarettes have come, he was also one of the loudest critics of the attitude that many in Public Health are clinging onto. During his speech  a prominent tobacco control advocate tried to defend a Dr from the BMA that had stated e-cigarettes are worse than tobacco cigarettes, (basically an indefensible statement) he roundly put her in her place!

 

The theme this year was billed as ‘a different kind of endgame’. I think this was a tad optimistic in the light of the global opposition to e-cigarettes, but there was plenty of talk regarding policy, how to engage with policy makers and politicians, plus Simon Thurlow who has been representing Save e-cigs in Wales, gave two presentations and did all of us very proud.

 

The Highlight of the conference was undoubtedly Hon Lik and the humble manner in which he spoke. I think he was overwhelmed by the strength of goodwill towards him.

 

The most exciting part was the impassioned speech by Dr Atilla Danko, but what struck me the most was the way that the scientists are 100% aware of the terrible effect the junk science and the mass media scare tactics are having, and they are just as scathing and seething towards this as we are. They are aware of just how deeply entrenched the tobacco control and Public Health fears are, and that many that are in Public Health are using a business model that is out-dated and was designed back in the 1960’s when the war against big tobacco was well and truly raging. However, we are now 50 years on from that, the world has changed beyond belief, and Public Health and Tobacco Control need to join the digital age with its digital thinking.

 

 

Overall it was a great GFN, wonderful to meet delegates from all over the world – including Australia, New Zealand and China. Once again it is very positive and reassuring experience when you are in a ‘bubble’ like that – listening to like-minded people and refreshing yourself on the latest research.

 

Shame we all had to come down to earth with a bump  due to Mark Drakeford and his ridiculous proposed vaping ban in public spaces in Wales!

 

The presentations from the GFN .

 

 

 

 

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Politician and quote of the week!

As supporters of vaping it can often feel like all in power are against us. However, those of us actively engaged in the policy debate surrounding e-cigarettes know that this is not always the case. There are a growing number of politicians who are willing to take a public stance based on an understanding of the facts. We have therefore decided to celebrate those politicians who are willing to stand up for vapers and vaping by launching a politician of the week.

The third winner of the Save E-cigs Politician of the Week is Kirsty Williams AM, Liberal Democrat member of the Welsh Assembly for Brecon and Radnorshire and Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Kirsty Williams

Kirsty Williams has been a tireless campaigner within the Welsh Assembly against the Welsh Government’s proposals to ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places throughout Wales. Recently she took the time to meet with Save E-cigs to discuss our work and in particular our own campaign against the said proposed vaping ban.

And our quote of the week is:

“Nobody, not even the self-anointed guardians of public health who wrote the letter, has a shred of evidence that e-cigarette vapor causes even 1 percent of the problems that have been linked to even second-hand cigarette smoke.”

Quote taken from : http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-vaping-letter-20141209-story.html

 

Good COP bad COP.

 Good cop Bad Cop

 

We’ve all seen the tweets from Drew Johnson from his time in Moscow when he was reporting on the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC)– if you’ve not seen them, then follow him on twitter @Drews_Views.

Drew is a journalist and despite being frogmarched out of some FCTC meetings he managed to report what was going on – i.e. the removal of the press, the removal of the public and the holding down of dissenting delegates. He also told us about e cig discussions held behind closed doors – and we can all draw a parallel with the EU TPD there.

But what did COP6 do for vaping?

Did they head any of the warnings and letters that were sent?

Yes, yes they did.

They took note of all the ones that hate e-cigs.

We sent them a briefing – you can read it here:

Now, words have power – just say the word should, and then say the word love – and you will hopefully feel a difference in the way you feel and react. Should will probably make you tense a little, love will hopefully help you to relax. Words have a profound effect on how you feel and respond.

So, bearing this power in mind – why have the WHO FCTC coined the acronym ENDS when discussing electronic cigarettes. Are they subliminally telling us something?

But back to COP6 and was it a good COP or bad COP scenario?

Starting out with the good COP (to soften you up, make you relax a little – have a tea and some donuts…)

Did the WHO FCTC do anything good in relation to e cigs?

Well, they want to prevent e cigs ending up in young non-smokers hands – they don’t want a new generation of nicotine addicts.

They want to prevent unproven health claims for e cigarettes.

But that’s it – (remove said tea and donuts and let the heavy take over…)

Bad COP wants to ‘monitor’ e cigarettes, he wants to ban them, ban the advertising of them, and destroy the tobacco industry, (I’m paraphrasing here but you get the idea). He also wants make e cigs a tobacco product so the FCTC can destroy those too.

Now, there have been a great many articles written about the WHO’s FCTC COP6 meeting, and the usual phrases have been trotted out to defend these awful decisions –i.e., ‘they are protecting the children’, plus a nice new one – they are also protecting women and foetuses.

But what will the effects of these e cig policies be? Bearing in mind that signatories of the FCTC are obliged to implement them – and that includes good old Blighty.

The majority of the suggestions made are already in the TPD, so nothing too new – except the desire to ban e cigarettes if possible and to make them a tobacco product.

And these are bad things because they will warn people away from e cigarettes.

People do still give the WHO the credence it no longer deserves, they do listen to what comes out of the WHO media, and surprisingly, many see them as an authority on health.

I know, I know.

Essentially what the FCTC is doing though is telling people that switching to a product that is in the realms of 95% less harmful than tobacco is not the right thing to do – and they are doing it on the grounds of poor research and listening to people who just don’t like e cigs – its an ideology, much like communism or libertarianism.

It’s a belief.

But a belief that will harm people. People will carry on smoking instead of switching.

We at Save e-cigs think global health is far more important than implementing ideology, and it is a sad day for Public Health and the FCTC that they can come up with regulations like these.

Looks like Bad COP wins the day.

The Save E-cigs Petition handover, what happened and what’s next?

 

 

Save e-cigs Petition Handover

Guest post by Rhydian Mann, Welsh Vaper. (centre of the photo).

Welsh vapers have had a rough time of late, which is mainly down to Mark Drakeford, the current Minister for Health and Social Care. He wants Wales to be seen at the forefront of smoking rate reduction in the UK. In essence this is not such a bad thing. However, the way in which Mr Drakeford has gone about this is not just questionable but also completely ridiculous.

He announced his proposals to tackle smoking in the Public Health White Paper in April (or thereabouts), which included a complete ban on vaping in enclosed public spaces. In this case “public space” comes under any public space that the current smoking ban covers.

Pretty much anywhere which has 4 walls and a roof that you encounter when you leave your own home.

Mark Drakeford said the basis of this was due to fears of ‘re-normalisation’, i.e. the gateway effect where vaping supposedly leads to smoking and all that guff, and makes the of enforcement of the current smoking ban more difficult (as all e-cigs look like cigarettes surely!).

So a public consultation took place and many vapers like myself submitted a reply. However, once this consultation period was over, there has been no mention of it! So the team at Save E-cigs put forward the idea of raising a petition against the vaping ban proposals. With the aid of Simon Thurlow, the petition was launched after approval from the petitions committee, with the end date of Tues 30th September.

How did it do? FANTASTIC! The final amount of signatures on this petition was 1,196. So with this high number, in the general scheme of e-petitions in Wales, what happened next?

Well, on the 1st October 2014, I presented/handed over the Save E-cigs petition to the petitions committee in the Welsh Assembly building known as The Senedd. All the vapers that attended, myself included were under the impression that this handover was rather formal, however, via some communication breakdowns, it ended up more of a photo opportunity and a 15min or so informal chat.

During this chat, I started out by explaining our reasons for raising the petition and what we would like the result of the committee discussions to be. I persistently mentioned the favourite buzzword “evidence” to the committee members and my local Assembly Members (AM’s). The AMs and myself were even shown the results of a poll regarding the proposed ban on public e-cig use. The results stacked up very well in our favour.

E-cigarettes : Should the use of e-cigarettes in public places be banned?

  • Yes – ( 90 votes )
  • No – ( 2478 votes )

Total Answers 2568

Total Votes 2568

Along with other questions and answers there was a very good hint of what the next stage could be, and it could turn out to be very positive.

Unfortunately, an immediate drop of the proposals will not happen, as there are procedures to be followed. The petitions committee will discuss our petition on Tuesday 7th October, which can be watched on Senedd TV from 9am. Our petition will be the 2nd petition to be discussed.

What are the outcomes of this discussion? From what was discussed on Wednesday there are two possibilities.

1 – They ask Mark Drakeford for his views on the matter. Personally, I don’t believe his view will change at all, despite the consultation replies and our petition.

2- There will be an evidence session from vapers to the petitions committee. This is the next step which will be the most beneficial to Welsh vapers because it will be our chance to put the correct evidence over.

The Save e-cigs petition is hopefully one of the first steps in changing the view of the Welsh Assembly. The petition handover was a chance for communication between us and the Welsh Assembly, further communication will happen regardless, as communication can facilitate change.

Our foot is in the door; Welsh vapers will walk in and have their say.

 

Watch Rhydian in action here: http://youtu.be/04oHEZsHbFI?list=UUfFbE37IX0a-XAKE9yw-CPQ

 

 

Welsh Assembly Petition Handover Briefing

In April 2014 the Welsh Government’s Health Minister Mark Drakeford published a new Health White Paper. This paper included proposals to ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, substantially enclosed public places, and places of work in Wales.

The Health White Paper: http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/healthsocialcare/white-paper/?lang=en

According to ASH Wales there are 100,000 e-cigarette users (vapers) in Wales. All of these people are now smoking significantly fewer or no tobacco cigarettes as a direct result. As e-cigarette sales rise tobacco sales fall. Recently publish figures from the Welsh Health Survey show that smoking rates have fallen in Wales by two per cent.

In June 2014 Simon Thurlow, a representative of the Save E-cigs campaign in Wales, launched a Welsh Assembly petition opposing the Welsh Government’s proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places. This petition has been signed by e-cigarette users from across Wales.

The petition: https://www.assemblywales.org/en/gethome/e-petitions/Pages/petitiondetail.aspx?PetitionID=657

On Wednesday the 1st of October Save E-cigs will formally deliver this petition to the Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee at 13:00. The petition will be delivered by another Save E-cigs representative in Wales, Rhydian Mann. Rhydian will then address the members of the committee setting out why this proposal, if implemented, would not just be bad for vapers, be bad for public health in Wales, but also impractical to implement. These reasons include:

The fact that passive vaping is not dangerous. 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.”1 A review of the available literature conducted last year by researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia concluded that “exposures of bystanders pose no apparent concern.” Finally the US Food and Drug Administration conclude that all other substances measured for e-cigarettes were far below allowable levels for human inhalation. They state that levels are so low that it is more hazardous to an individual’s health to breathe the air in any major metropolitan city during rush hour. The fact that e-cigarettes do not undermine the smoking ban. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health stated that there is a 99.7 per cent compliance rate with the smoking ban2, and they have found no evidence to support the idea that the use of e-cigarettes in public is undermining this. o

The fact that the public use of e-cigarettes does not lead to a renormalisation of smoking. Professor Robert West, following his latest research concluded: “Despite claims that electronic cigarettes risk re-normalising smoking, we found no evidence to support this.

The fact 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.”

The fact that when a similar ban was introduced in Spain there was a 70 per cent fall in the number of vapers. People that had made the switch to e-cigarettes are unfortunately now smoking again. Smoking rates also increased in New York by a staggering 2.1 per cent following the introduction of a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public.

The fact that this proposed ban fails to take into account e-cigarettes that have a medicinal license. Recently the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency granted a medicines license to the Voke e-cigarette manufactured by Nicoventures.

This e-cigarette looks exactly like many other e-cigarettes. Are Voke e-cigarettes to be included in this proposed ban? If the Welsh Government implement this ban and exempt Voke e-cigarettes how will they expect businesses and employers to know who is using a Voke and who is using another e-cigarette? If they do not exempt Voke e-cigarettes they would be preventing someone using in public a product that could have been prescribed by their doctor.

 

 

1 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

2 Meeting of the All-Party Groups on Smoking and Health, Pharmacy, and Heart Disease 10 June 2014

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

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

5 http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/24345/e-cigarette-sales-in-spain-drop-by-70-per-cent

6 http://www.churnmag.com/news/smoking-rates-increase-new-york-e-cigs-banned/

7 http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/big-tobaccos-nicotine-inhaler-approved-by-uk-regulator/20066466.article

The Global Forum on Nicotine… was it worth it?

Global Forum on Nicotine

 

This was my first e cigarette ‘event’ so I had no pre-conceived ideas as to how it would go, who would be there and what the outcome would be. The line up looked interesting and the programme pretty compelling and I was delighted to be there.

It turned out to be two days packed to the rafters with talks and discussions, many conversations were held during the breaks, (where we had fabulous snacks and food, thank you Marriot Hotel) and much was learnt. There wasn’t an awful lot about nicotine if I am honest, but then this was always going to be about e cigarettes; where we are globally, and where we hope to go.

Deborah Arnott from ASH attended, she was on a fact-finding mission for the FCT. She gave a presentation at the end of the conference.  Sadly she still supports med regs, yet accepts the twin track approach agreed by the TPD, but then that presentation was made before she attended. I guess we can cling to a vain hope that she may still change her mind and have a road to Damascus conversion, and realise that e cigs should be pretty much left alone to innovate and get folks away from the dreaded weed.

All the eminent scientists were there, and it was lovely to finally meet them, see them in person and hear what they had to say without reading long and rather dull scientific papers. Prof Hajek is just lovely!

The well- know vapers were there in force, Dave Dorn, Lorien Jollye, Sarah Jakes, Dick Puddlecoat and more, with plenty of wine and beer flowing in the evenings amongst clouds of vapour. (Did anyone know that DD is a trained Opera singer?)

 

But what did Save e-cigs come away with from the Forum?

That Public Health can absolutely see the benefits of e cigs, but can they ethically allow the prescription of them on the NHS, if the Tobacco Industry makes them?

That Vapers, without a shadow of a doubt made the difference at the TPD. Rebecca Taylor MEP made this abundantly clear. Because of vapers getting involved and telling their story, MEPs had to respond. And somehow we need to keep this involvement up.

The reason why snus is still banned? They didn’t lobby, and they didn’t/don’t have the people power behind them. The travesty that is the snus ban was continually referred to, and it is incredulous that it is still banned. It makes absolutely no logical sense.

Working together. This was the common theme and common thread, and was heartening to hear. We all have to put egos’, differences etc. behind us. The TPD could have been better if we had been united. A divided house falls, and we need to ensure that that doesn’t happen again.

 

So what’s next for e cigs? In the words of the world famous fish Dory – we have to ‘just keep swimming’, there’s nothing else for it – keep writing, keep campaigning, and keep on keeping on!

Just keep swimming

Just keep swimming

There are moves afoot for there to be a Global Forum on Nicotine the same time, same venue next year. Let’s hope that the e cigarette industry and community will be able to come together again then, but this time with plenty of progress to report in the regulatory area. Good progress too, in our favour.

So was the GFN worth it? absolutely.

But one final note: Warsaw is lovely, very cheap, but quality cheap, full of culture and if you ever get the chance – go!

 

 

Our Letter to Kelly Evans, writer and marketer at Social Change UK.

Social Change UK

Social Change UK

 

Dear Ms Evans,

 

We are writing in response to your recent opinion piece published on the Social Change UK website.[1]

Save E-cigs is a campaign that represents vapers, their friends, and their families.

In your piece you state that you are not against e-cigarettes, but this is not how your article comes across. In both tone and content it is hostile to e-cigarettes. More than that it is not a balanced article. You state at the beginning of your piece that ‘evidence is king’ yet you make a number of evidence free statements or deny, when it does not suit your line of attack, that evidence exists when it does.

In your piece you argue that there is not enough information available to disprove the argument that e-cigarettes are a gateway into smoking. There is actually a significant amount of very credible evidence that clearly demonstrates that virtually all e-cigarette users are either current or former smokers and that no evidence exists of e-cigarettes being a gateway product.

The latest research produced by Action of Smoking and Health (ASH) concluded that that just 0.1 per cent of e-cigarette users had never smoked tobacco cigarettes previously[2]. Commenting on ASH’s latest research, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “There is no evidence from our research that e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway into smoking.”[3]In addition to this, the largest ever EU-wide study on this issue, carried about by the Harvard School of Public Health also concluded that there was no evidence that e-cigarettes were a gateway to smoking[4].

Looking specifically at children and the gateway effect, 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.

You suggest that e-cigarette use may actually encourage people to continue to smoke and may actually harm quit attempts. If ‘evidence is king’ where is your evidence?

Many vapers have tried numerous times to quit smoking using conventional nicotine replacement therapies, which have a 90 per cent failure rate, however with e-cigarettes they have all cut down their smoking or stopped completely. Professor Robert West, Professor of health psychology and director of tobacco studies at University College London’s department of epidemiology and public health 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.”[6] E-cigarettes are however not some form of more effective nicotine replacement therapy, they are totally different and need to be regulated accordingly. Speaking in Parliament recently, Professor Robert West also made clear that in all his research he saw no evidence of dual use undermining quit attempts or prolonging smoking, if anything he saw evidence of a move amongst dual users to quit completely.[7] This was supported by the latest Smoking Toolkit Study, something you should be familiar with, which concludes, ‘evidence does not support the view that electronic cigarettes are undermining quitting or reduction in smoking prevalence.’

As the evidence shows, not only are e-cigarettes not a gateway to smoking, they do not re-normalise smoking either. Professor Robert West, following his latest research concluded:“Despite claims that electronic cigarettes risk re-normalising smoking, we found no evidence to support this.”[8]

When it comes to the advertising of e-cigarettes, you are concerned that some of these adverts make e-cigarettes look ‘desirable’; is that not a good thing? After all, e-cigarettes are recognised as being safer than tobacco cigarettes. Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University London and the NHS have both made clear that e-cigarettes are “orders of magnitudes safer than tobacco cigarettes.”[9] The NHS made clear that they were 1,000 times safer[10]. Is it therefore not better for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes? Again the answer must clearly be yes. 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.”[11] Therefore, if these adverts are encouraging people to switch to a safer alternative then what is the problem?

Perhaps you are concerned about the impact of advertising on children? Well you need not worry. Research undertaken by John Moores University[12] concluded that, ‘Despite widespread advertising of e-cigarette brands in print, visual and social media, the majority of participants (children) reported that they had not seen any advertising for e-cigarettes and showed a lack of awareness of advertising and marketing strategies and approaches’.

Of course there must be regulation of advertising, which is why we welcomed the recent Committee of Advertising Practice consultation and look forward to reading their proposals. However, the issue of advertising will not be around for much longer as the revised Tobacco Products Directive bans the advertising of e-cigarettes from 2016.

In your piece you raise concerns about tobacco companies moving into this market. We are a vapers group and are not spokesmen for the industry; however, it strikes us as a good thing if tobacco companies are moving away from making and selling harmful tobacco products to making and selling e-cigarettes.

The key thrust of your piece is about e-cigarette usage amongst children. The latest research produced by 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.’[13] ASH found that 98 per cent of 11 – 12 year olds had never tried an e-cigarette, the figure for 13 – 14 year olds was 96 per cent. The crucial thing is how many of these children, having tried an e-cigarette once go on to use them regularly. We know from figures produced by ASH that very few young people are using e-cigarettes on a regular basis.[14]

In your piece you made much of the issue of flavouring, implying that flavours are used to attract children. 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[15] 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.’

However for those adult smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes, flavours are important. Why?

The key health benefit of e-cigarettes is determined by how many smokers switch to them or use them as a staging post to quitting completely. This means that e-cigarettes have to be an attractive alternative to tobacco cigarettes for established smokers. Flavouring is an important part of this as the nicotine solutions have no flavour. Removing or banning flavourings would actually reduce the appeal of e-cigarettes to smokers.

In research[16] carried out by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and others, vapers stated that the availability of flavours was “very important” in their effort to reduce or quit smoking. This research also found that the majority of vapers would find e-cigarettes “less enjoyable” or “boring” if flavours were restricted, while 48.5 per cent of vapers stated that it would increase their cravings for tobacco cigarettes and 39.7 per cent of vapers said that without flavours it would have been less likely for them to reduce or quit smoking.

This major piece of research concluded:

 

  • That far from marketing flavours to attract children, flavours are marketed to ‘satisfy vapers’ demand’,
  • Flavours contribute to both perceived pleasure and the effort to reduce or quit smoking,
  • Restrictions on flavours could cause harm to current vapers, and
  • Current flavour variability must be maintained.

 

The proliferation of flavours reinforces that view that these are recreational consumer products, not smoking cessation aids, medicines or tobacco products.

We welcomed the decision by both the UK and Welsh governments to introduce bans on the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s. As 99.9 per cent of e-cigarette users are current or former smokers, such a move was not just responsible, it was also common sense. It will now be up to the authorities to enforce this ban. As an aside, perhaps you could inform us as to which pizza takeaways in North Wales were selling e-cigarettes. A number of vapers took the time to call round such places and were unable to find a single one selling e-cigarettes.

In your piece you raise the issue of passive vaping and cite countries where public vaping bans have been introduced, including Wales where such a ban has been proposed.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places was introduced to benefit the health of non-smokers whose health was put at risk as a result of being in close proximity to smokers. Therefore any proposal to include e-cigarettes within this ban must also be to protect the health of non-vapers.

Is passive vaping dangerous? A major scientific study undertaken by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and Professor Riccardo Polosaconcluded that the ‘effects of e-cigarette use on by-standers are minimal compared with conventional cigarettes.’[17]

One of the examples you cite, of a country that has introduced a public vaping ban, is Spain. Following the introduction of the ban in Spain there has been a 70 per cent fall in the number of vapers and a 60 per cent decrease in the number of vaping shops[18]. People that had made the switch to e-cigarettes are unfortunately now smoking again. Surely this is not something you would like to see repeated elsewhere?

Such bans are not supported by the public who are actually very supportive of e-cigarettes. A recent poll by the BBC[19] 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.

Finally, you raise the issue of regulation. E-cigarettes are currently regulated by at least 17 EU Directives and a number of other regulations at the Member State level.[20] The revised Tobacco Products Directive when it comes into force in 2016 will introduce further regulation and see e-cigarettes more strictly regulated than some tobacco products. You mentioned the specific example of the inclusion of health warnings. These warnings are not as you implied akin to those on tobacco products, they are simply to inform people of the addictive nature of nicotine.

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.”[21]

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.”[22] The NHS has also concluded that e-cigarettes are 1,000 times safer than tobacco cigarettes[23]. You should also note that many vapers use an e-cigarette that does not contain any nicotine.

In your approach you 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. Given that 99.9 per cent of e-cigarette users are current or former smokers, and given that e-cigarettes are significantly safer than tobacco cigarettes, the only sensible thing to do is to encourage e-cigarette use up until the time (if such a time were ever to arise) when a direct negative risk between e-cigarettes and a vapers health can be proven beyond doubt. To do anything else would be to condemn millions of smokers in the UK to an even earlier death. Would you rather someone smoked or vaped?

All those with a genuine interest in public health need to stay focussed on the bigger picture – significantly reducing the number of people who die from tobacco related illnesses. Conventional nicotine replacement therapies are not tackling this in any significant number, but e-cigarettes could. Already 2.1 million smokers have switched to e-cigarettes. 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?”[24] This should be a cause for celebration, not concern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.social-change.co.uk/news/post.php?s=2014-06-19-e-cigarettes-children-and-adults-who-like-gummy-bears-are-e-cigarettes-a-good-thing

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

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

[4] http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2014/04/30/tobaccocontrol-2013-051394.abstract?sid=e065daee-e796-4cd1-8bf5-30ae2696f39f

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

[6] 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

[7] Meeting of the All-Party Groups on Smoking and Health, Pharmacy, and Heart Disease 10 June 2014

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

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

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

[11] The Independent Newspaper, 29 March 2013

[12]John Moores University – ‘Young People’s Perceptions and Experiences of Electronic Cigarettes’

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

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

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

[16] http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/12/7272

[17] 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

[18] http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/24345/e-cigarette-sales-in-spain-drop-by-70-per-cent

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

[20] http://www.clivebates.com/?p=1092

[21] The Guardian Newspaper, 05 June 2013

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

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

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