In a hurry? Quick link to the vaping research priorities survey.
Dr Lynne Dawkins of London South Bank University gives her terrific myth-busting lecture on e-cigarettes – see the YouTube video above. Here are the slides (Slideshare) and here below is Lynne’s summary of the key points.Continue reading “Lynne Dawkins: E-cigarettes – an evidence update”
As she retires a hero to many in the field of tobacco harm reduction and public health, Louise Ross has penned this blog, which starts below… Continue reading “Looking back, but forwards too – guest posting by Louise Ross”
Tobacco control activists and academics are gathering in Cape Town for the World Conference on Tobacco or Health 2018 (#WCTOH2018). High on the agenda is the role of the tobacco industry and how to fight it (e.g. see this session:”Breaking Big Tobacco’s Grip“).
In a guest posting below, David Sweanor provides an alternative perspective they are unlikely to hear discussed much at their conference.
Update January 2018: reply to this letter from Dr Derek Yach
So, a big tobacco company puts up $1 billion over twelve years to fund a foundation with an objective “to accelerate global efforts to reduce health impacts and deaths from smoking, with the goal of ultimately eliminating smoking worldwide“. I certainly share that goal or something like it (see my ‘endgame’ scenario), and would like to see plenty of money spent wisely on pursuing that cause. But then there is the issue of a big tobacco company putting up the money. Should it be dismissed as the obviously flawed work of evil-doers? Or is the opportunity too important to pass over? Continue reading “Letter to the Foundation for a Smoke Free World about money, governance, conflicts and Philip Morris International”
The Department of Health (UK/England) today released its tobacco control plan for England: Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England (PDF)
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”
Today the Royal Society of Public Health is pitching its ‘undercover investigation’ into vape shops selling stuff to adults who don’t smoke. Naturally, the primary purpose of this exercise has little to do with public health but is a publicity stunt for an ailing organisation in a declining field that offers ever less to the public or to health.
Here’s the release: Undercover investigation finds 9 in 10 vape shops prepared to sell to non-smokers – and some predictable media have duly obliged the RSPH’s lust for publicity with the uncritical reporting we have come to expect in this field.
I have written to this Royal Society of Public Health explaining why I am “dismayed and disappointed” by such a cheap stunt. Here’s the letter: Continue reading “In cheap publicity stunt Royal Society of Public Health sounds a fake alarm about a non-problem”
Once again the Mayo Clinic indulges in unethical and misleading risk communications in the form of a new article on e-cigarettes, promoting fear and confusion and dissuading smokers from trying them.
Mayo clinic: Electronic cigarettes: Not a safe way to light up
Update: Mayo Clinic subsequently (probably in June 2016) amended and shortened this document – though much of the original remain and the criticisms below still apply.
On 5th January, Ireland’s Health Information and Quality Authority published a draft Health Technology Assessment on smoking cessation interventions with a press release. The assessment was positive about e-cigarettes.
Dr Máirín Ryan said: “This HTA found a high level of uncertainty surrounding both the clinical and cost-effectiveness of e-cigarettes. While the long-term effects of using e-cigarettes have not yet been established, data from Healthy Ireland reveals that 29% of smokers currently use e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking. HIQA’s analysis shows that increased uptake of e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting would increase the number of people who successfully quit compared with the existing situation in Ireland and would be cost-effective, provided that the currently available evidence on their effectiveness is confirmed by further studies.”
In Ireland, that is very positive!
The report is out for public consultation until the 3rd February 2017. The consultation page allows for a free-form response. You can put in whatever information you think will assist the review team. Here is my response, framed around five quotes from the Royal College of Physicians:
Welcome to a new report written by me, Clive Bates, with David Sweanor of Ottawa University, and Eli Lehrer, President of the R Street Institute. The fully designed report is available at R Street with press notice.
Reshaping American Tobacco Policy
Eight federal strategies to fight smoking and ignite a public health revolution
The report is an unforgiving and but fair critique of the United States’ federal approach to tobacco policy, which we think is an unmitigated regulatory disaster. Whatever the stated intent, the effect is to protect the cigarette trade from competition, damage pro-health American businesses, mislead and harm consumers and add unnecessarily to healthcare costs. Federal agencies are preoccupied with negligible or imaginary risks at the expense of great opportunities to address the health risks to America’s 38 million smokers. Around nine million vapers are already taking action to protect their health, the federal bureaucracy is set to block their efforts.
So far smart, self-interested consumers, innovative producers and disruptive technologies have interacted in a lightly regulated free market to begin to tackle the huge burden of disease arising from smoking. That is about to change: the dominant reaction of the federal government is to choke these highly positive developments with huge regulatory burdens, opaque authorization procedures, impossible evidential tests and misinformation about risks.
American federal tobacco policy couldn’t be much worse, but it could be a lot better. The fundamental change required is to embrace and maximise the huge opportunity of vapor and other low-risk nicotine products, while keeping a sense of proportion about minor risks.
The eight proposals to reshape policy are listed below. The report provides a context, summarises the proposals and provides two pages on each. Continue reading “Reshaping American tobacco policy: eight proposals for the Trump administration”