The embrace of vaping and other low-risk alternatives to smoking runs through the text. This is probably the first significant government policy paper anywhere that recognises and pursues the opportunities of tobacco harm reduction, rather than defining these technologies as a threat to be suppressed. For that, the Department of Health and its allies deserve considerable credit. Continue reading “English tobacco control plan embraces tobacco harm reduction – world first”
I’m sometimes accused of being a WHO-sceptic, or worse. No more! In the run up to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control COP-7 meeting in Delhi, 7-12 November, I have been challenged to say something positive about how the FCTC could do useful and constructive things on vaping and tobacco harm reduction from a public health point of view, other than the default answer “absolutely nothing at all”.
I sometimes refer to ENDS – Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems – to mean vaping equipment and liquids, e-cigarettes etc. Apologies.
Louise Ross, head of the Leicester Stop Smoking Services, took part in a debate on e-cigarette in front of an audience of respiratory nurses. It didn’t go well.
In this guest blog, Louise describes her experience debating e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction with a consultant in respiratory medicine apparently prepared to say anything to rubbish e-cigarettes.
In an apparently clandestine operation, undercover public health snoopers ventured into a vape conference carrying concealed air-quality monitoring equipment. They detected … wait for it … e-liquid aerosol in the air. This secretive operation is reported (where else?) the journal Tobacco Control.
For doing what it should do and doing it well, Public Health England has been subjected to a frenzy of criticism from the public health establishment. What is going on…? I’d like to make ten observations… This commentary focuses on a BMJ news article: Public Health England’s troubled trail, Nov 2015, but applies to other, similar coverage.
I responded to the Department of Health consultation on implementing the EU Tobacco Products Directive [documents / consultation]. The on-line survey system accessible from the consultation page is by far the easiest way to respond. Closes 3rd September 2015.
To be candid, I find this consultation quite patronising. In the manner of putting lipstick on a pig, they are not consulting on the Directive itself – that is irrevocably fixed (albeit subject to legal action that could strike it down), but on implementation detail.
The part of the directive itself that deals with e-cigarettes (Article 20) was never subject to consultation.
Unsurprisingly it amounts to little more than pointless bureaucratic harassment – see why here. So this consultation deals only with options allowed within the fixed terms directive. I was thinking of not responding, but figured any opportunity to discourage the creation of an even bigger mess should be taken. The big mistakes were made in October 2013 – this consultation is a consequence.
My response below – questions not answered are greyed out. PS. if you respond, please give your own thoughts, in your own words, politely and constructively.
Today sees a new e-cigarettes assessment from England’s public health authority, Public Health England. It includes an excellent evidence review by Professors Ann McNeill and Peter Hajek and their colleagues. Great kudos must go to Kevin Fenton, Rosanna O’Connor, Martin Dockrell and their colleague at PHE who have been determined to get this issue right – to maximise the benefits and to take an evidence-based approach to managing the risks.
It has had great media traction in the UK (Google news) though with perhaps too much emphasis on whether the National Health Service should pay for e-cigarettes – something that would be only permitted when medically licensed products become available (see comment on this below). But the overall endorsement of vaping as a harm reduction strategy for public health is strong and compelling. Also see the statement of the New Nicotine Alliance: