Lynne Dawkins: E-cigarettes – an evidence update

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”

The US media is losing its mind over vaping and Juul – the questions a credible journalist should ask

Losing perspective?

Update 30 April 2018 JUUL: hold the moral panic

Introducing a modern moral panic

Over the weekend in an aside in my long blog about the sophistry of anti-vaping activists,  I mentioned the unfolding moral panic about vaping and, especially, Juul e-cigarettes among teens (see the quote from the blog below for background). I want to add to this with some views on appropriate journalistic inquiry and suggest a line of sceptical questioning a credible journalist could use.   Continue reading “The US media is losing its mind over vaping and Juul – the questions a credible journalist should ask”

Ten perverse intellectual contortions: a guide to the sophistry of anti-vaping activists

This puts it nicely:

Life is short and shorter for smokers. Just legalise vaping.

That statement is a plain-speaking and hyper-concise dissenting report from Andrew Laming MP, one of two dissenting reports from Australia’s recently-completed parliamentary inquiry into vaping  (The other dissenting report provides a model of clear, concise reasoning too, and, unusually, the dissent came from the committee chairman, signalling a welcome fracture in Australia’s political support for prohibition)

Though short, it is basically right and sufficient: no-one is trying to live forever; everyone is trying to enjoy the life they have; some people like the drug nicotine or don’t want to quit enough to stop using it; smokers die earlier because of smoke; vaping avoids the smoke problem and does not appear to create new material problems; so it follows that vaping should not be illegal. In fact, it should be encouraged.  It really is that simple.

The dissenting reports prompt me to raise the issue of simplicity versus sophistry in the debate over tobacco harm reduction. This has bugged me for years. Vaping and tobacco harm reduction is basically simple. The arguments raised against it by anti-vaping opponents are laden with sophistry.

This blog looks at ten forms of sophistry used by anti-vaping activists to fabricate and fuel faux controversy. It is longer than I would like,  but the subject is far from exhausted. Please dip in.

Continue reading “Ten perverse intellectual contortions: a guide to the sophistry of anti-vaping activists”

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and the mindless mob behaviour of tobacco control

An update from the World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Cape Town

This is an update to an earlier post about the PMI-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW). My main argument in that post can be summarised as: Continue reading “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and the mindless mob behaviour of tobacco control”

Huge FDA announcement on future tobacco and nicotine strategy

FDA’s Scott Gottlieb: “new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation”

It came as a surprise, but today’s announcement from FDA on tobacco policy is huge.  The video of Dr Gottlieb’s speech and background is available here and speech text here.

The new Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb calls for FDA to develop a ‘new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation’ and announced ‘bold and far-reaching measures’ based on ‘ a firm foundation of rules and standards for newly-regulated products’.  FDA announced it would “begin a public dialogue about lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels through achievable product standards“.

FDA Press announcement: FDA announces comprehensive regulatory plan to shift trajectory of tobacco-related disease, death

Some highlights… Continue reading “Huge FDA announcement on future tobacco and nicotine strategy”

Pariahs, predators or players? The tobacco industry and the end of smoking

What would he do?

Given the confusion, anxiety and indignation that surrounds the role of the tobacco industry in tobacco harm reduction, I thought it would be interesting to imagine how a tobacco company chief executive might be thinking about vapour,  heat-not-burn or other low risk products. Here’s my best shot – perhaps erring on the side of optimism. Feel free to imagine differently in the comments, especially if you are actually in the industry (you are welcome to post anonymously) or are unconvinced or if you are actually a tobacco CEO you can have the right to reply!  Continue reading “Pariahs, predators or players? The tobacco industry and the end of smoking”

Challenging the proposed e-cigarette prohibition in Taiwan

Vaping in Taiwan – the approaching darkness of prohibition or a new dawn for rational policy-making?

The government of Taiwan has been consulting on amendment its Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act. Article 14 of the amendment bill bans the manufacture, import, sale, and display of e-cigarettes (unless authorised as a pharmaceutical product).  See newspaper coverage.  The original Taiwan Chinese language bill is available online and a vendor has produced a summary in English.

See my full response here (PDF) and the summary below

Obviously, I strongly advise against this measure. E-cigarettes present an important strategy to reduce the harm caused by smoking and offer a way to achieve rapid reductions in smoking through market-based means. There is no evidence anywhere in the world that e-cigarettes add to harms associated with smoking.

The danger of a prohibition of e-cigarettes is that it will protect the cigarette trade from competition, increase smoking and harm health. This is exactly the opposite of what the Act and the government are trying to achieve. The summary page is below.  Continue reading “Challenging the proposed e-cigarette prohibition in Taiwan”

Five questions to put to the US Surgeon General on e-cigarette science

sg-smoking-thumbs-down
Will he get the thumbs up for his e-cigarette report?

Update 8 December – my reaction: Bad science, poor insights and likely to do harm – rapid reaction to the Surgeon General’s terrible e-cigarette report (these questions remain unanswered).

On 8 December 2016 the U.S. Surgeon General will release a new report on e-cigarettes.  I don’t yet know what’s in it, but these are the five questions I would like to see honestly and candidly addressed (with supplementaries and some supporting data)

  1. How much has vaping played a role in the recent accelerated decline in U.S. adult smoking and how beneficial for health will this be?
  2. How much of the decline in youth smoking is attributable to vaping and how beneficial for health will this be?
  3. Compared to smoking cigarettes, how harmful are e-cigarettes?
  4. If nicotine is harmful to the developing brain, where are the smokers with brain damage?
  5. On what basis is it possible to claim any material risk to bystanders for second-hand vapor exposure?

This is part two of a twin posting. Part 1. is The critic’s guide to bad vaping science – this is the informed critic’s plain language guide to questioning the science of sensationalist and alarmist e-cigarette studies.  Continue reading “Five questions to put to the US Surgeon General on e-cigarette science”

The critic’s guide to bad vaping science

bad-science
“Full of sound and fury but signifying nothing” – Shakespeare

This is part one of a twin post. Part 2 is Five questions to put to the US Surgeon General on e-cigarette science (next posting).

To respond to the forthcoming publication of a new US Surgeon General publication on e-cigarettes, I have have expedited my long-planned guide to bad science in the field of e-cigarettes and vaping in the hope that commentators, opinion formers and members of the public will give this review proper critical scrutiny.

So here it is: Version 1.0 of a critic’s guide to bad e-cigarette and and vaping science. This is the informed critic’s plain language guide to questioning the science of sensationalist and alarmist e-cigarette studies.

Here it is: The critic’s guide to bad vaping science (PDF – 15 pages)

This is the table of contents, which I hope is in itself a handy guide to interrogating bad science.  Continue reading “The critic’s guide to bad vaping science”

Bad science, accountability and courage – speech by AG Tom Miller

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller
Tom Miller: “public policy through facts and science rather than ideology”

On 17 November 2016, the Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller, gave a speech at the E-cigarette Summit 2016 (with biography) on e-cigarettes examining the claims of anti-vaping activists, and their scientific, ethical and legal basis. The full text of the speech is here: America Needs England (PDF). I reported an earlier speech here.

The speech should be widely read, especially in the United States. To facilitate an informed reading, I have reproduced the speech here, with some thematic subheadings, source links and illustrations [these are my additions].

Continue reading “Bad science, accountability and courage – speech by AG Tom Miller”