WHO’s anti-vaping scientific castle of cards toppled

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Toppled!

Updated 9 November with UKCTAS report translations

The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) has produced a devastating critique of the WHO paper on ‘Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems’ (e-cigarettes or vaping products to everyone else).  The paper by WHO is for the 7th Conference of the Parties to WHO’s tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, (FCTC COP-7) which will be held in Delhi 7-12 November, 2016.

A tremendous effort by the authors John Britton, Ann McNeill, Linda Bauld and Ilze Bogdanovica, and the reviewers (disclosure: I was a reviewer).

The report speaks for itself, so here are the relevant links to the report, some unofficial translations and the executive summary.

Contents

Continue reading “WHO’s anti-vaping scientific castle of cards toppled”

WHO tobacco meeting – could the FCTC do something useful on vaping?

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.

Here we go… Continue reading “WHO tobacco meeting – could the FCTC do something useful on vaping?”

Anatomy of a public health tweet

Capewell Tweet 30 Sept 2016
Professor Capewell is worried – but why?

Professor Simon Capewell, the Vice President of Health Policy at the Faculty of Public Health, states in a tweet on 30 September 2016.

Vaping adverts could lead children to try smoking cigarettes

But how true is that? And how much care did Professor Capewell take to ensure that it is a reasonable thing to say? Let us examine:

  1. How wrong is Professor Capewell’s tweet?
  2. How much blame is attributable to the study authors?
  3. In conclusion: what should we make of this tweet?

Continue reading “Anatomy of a public health tweet”

You want a debate about nicotine? Let’s have one. Letter to Mitch Zeller, America’s vape regulator

FDA is ‘anti-proportionate’ in its approach to smoking and vaping

A recent article in the New York Times (A Lobbyist Wrote the Bill. Will the Tobacco Industry Win Its E-Cigarette Fight?) falsely suggested that opposition to FDA’s deeming rule for e-cigarettes is all about tobacco industry interests. It quoted Mitch Zeller of the FDA on the e-cigarette industry. Zeller is the federal official responsible for regulation of vaping and tobacco products in the United States (see my Bluffer’s Guide). It struck many of us that this was a hostile and one-sided statement that sits uneasily with Zeller’s call for a debate about nicotine just 16 months ago. So we have written to Director Zeller making seven observations in response to his quote in the NYT.

  1. The growth in e-cigarette use – a threat or a threat disruptor?
  2. The dramatic decline in adolescent smoking
  3. The (in)frequency of adolescent e-cigarette use
  4. The limited use of nicotine by adolescent vapers
  5. The situation with fires and explosions
  6. The trends in adult smoking
  7. FDA’s approach is “anti-proportionate”

Here’s the letter, jointly from me and Eli Lehrer at the R Street Institute, an American think-tank. Continue reading “You want a debate about nicotine? Let’s have one. Letter to Mitch Zeller, America’s vape regulator”

When you thought public health could go no lower – it just did

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Except that is wrong in every way

The news coverage:

British newspapers, the main domestic vector of the anti-scientific public health dogma and baseless fear-mongering, were yesterday filled with prominently positioned garbage articles about vaping:

Not one single element of these headlines has any grounding in reality, and all are grossly misleading.  The contributory negligence or cynicism of journalists in reporting vaping health stories is now commonplace.  However, in this discussion, I would like to focus on the extraordinary negligence of the scientist behind these claims. Continue reading “When you thought public health could go no lower – it just did”

Telegraph science editor Sarah Knapton puts the record straight. Not really.

One irresponsible scientist said this – enough for a headline at The Telegraph

I was recently contacted by Sarah Knapton, Science Editor at the Daily Telegraph, asking me to set the record straight on the criticism she had received following an article on vaping, not least on this site from me.  There had been a formal complaint about her article, and she was asking me to publish the result – complaint rejected.  In the post below, I publish the IPSO findings (as she requested) and the email exchange that followed, which I hope puts these findings in context.  Continue reading “Telegraph science editor Sarah Knapton puts the record straight. Not really.”

FDA shoots itself in the foot, cigarette trade celebrates, public health loses – a summary in two quotes

A typical day at the FDA Center For Tobacco Products

The FDA’s deeming rule went live yesterday, 8th August 2016. You will see a blizzard of expert comment about what it all means (feel the pain of Phil Bursado – see 8/8).  In essence, FDA requires an enormously burdensome Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) to be filed and accepted by FDA for any new product from now on. So that’s the end of innovation, including pro-health and pro-safety innovation. For all products currently on the market, a PMTA has to be filed within two years, with a further year for FDA to review – that will wipe out most products and most smaller firms and open the way to the black market. (For the official view, see FDA overview and Q&A)

When thinking about this regulation from a public health point of view, there are two quotes I think everyone should have in mind: Continue reading “FDA shoots itself in the foot, cigarette trade celebrates, public health loses – a summary in two quotes”

How not to be duped by gateway effect claims

Gateway to hell
DANGER: E-cigarette ‘gateway’ studies may expose gullible readers to reputational harm

Sometimes studies appear that can create the appearance of the discovery of a ‘gateway effect’ – the idea that vaping causes young people to progress to smoking.

Update: a ‘gateway’ study has just been published (13 June) and lots of dupes have duly fallen for it – see “Study published” below.

Beware! Here is an eight-point guide to evaluating such studies and the politically motivated claims that often go with them. Continue reading “How not to be duped by gateway effect claims”

Professor Glantz makes an irresponsible and baseless claim about vaping risks

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I am particularly concerned about a sweeping statement made by one of the most vocal activists in tobacco control, Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco. He asserts completely incorrectly and irresponsibly that a new study shows long-term vaping risk could equate to half the risk of smoking. This is a grotesque exaggeration.

Here I take a closer look at the claim and the study that supposedly lies behind it, looking at six failures in Professor Glantz’s reasoning: Continue reading “Professor Glantz makes an irresponsible and baseless claim about vaping risks”

Do not read this or discuss it and in no circumstances should you comment

Australian Council on Smoking & Health Parody of the 1953 meeting between Big Tobacco and PR company Hill & Knowlton
Warning: misleading people about the benefits of e-cigarettes is logically and morally equivalent to misleading people about the harms of smoking

A new discussion paper on e-cigarettes has come out in Australia. “Options to minimise the risks associated with the marketing and use of electronic nicotine delivery systems [ENDS] in Australia” by Professor Chapman and some of his following at the University of Sydney. [PDF – 8.5Mb or via Scribd as embedded below or linked here]. Continue reading “Do not read this or discuss it and in no circumstances should you comment”