FDA spreads confusion about nicotine and smoking

FDA has authorised 22nd Century to claim a reduced nicotine cigarette is a reduced risk product. This will spread confusion and divert smokers from better choices.

In one of its most ill-judged moves to date, the US Food and Drug Administration has today granted 22nd Century Group the right to market its VLN King and VLN Menthol King combusted, filtered cigarettes as modified risk tobacco products.

It has done this because these products are reduced in nicotine and, FDA concludes, anyone who is willing to smoke them will experience lower exposures to nicotine. But we have known for a long time that “people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar” (Mike Russell). This is a product that reduces the nicotine but keeps the tar. What could possibly go wrong?

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WHO has gone rogue on tobacco policy – millions at risk from tired dogma and a refusal to grasp innovation

WHO has a self-defeating approach to the global burden of tobacco-related death and disease

A message for World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2021

If you just want to go straight to our unforgiving and detailed letter to WHO – it is here.

Continue reading “WHO has gone rogue on tobacco policy – millions at risk from tired dogma and a refusal to grasp innovation”

The past is not the future – what lies ahead for tobacco and nicotine?

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future” – Niels Bohr, Physicist

Let’s have some debate on the future of tobacco, nicotine, tobacco control and the tobacco and vaping industry. Here are three provocative pieces to get things moving. Continue reading “The past is not the future – what lies ahead for tobacco and nicotine?”

International experts in tobacco policy say WHO is blocking innovation and wasting opportunities to save millions of lives

WHO NCD poster
WHO Tobacco Free Initiative and Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – you have one job!

As the World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day takes aim at low-risk alternatives to smoking, several international experts have made critical comments in response. Continue reading “International experts in tobacco policy say WHO is blocking innovation and wasting opportunities to save millions of lives”

Twitter Q&A: debunking tobacco harm reduction misconceptions

I did a Twitter chat with the Campaign for Safer Alternatives on the typical objections raised to tobacco harm reduction. For those interested in the responses but who missed the live chat or got as confused as I did in trying to follow threaded answers, here is the chat as it unfolded over 15 questions with everything in the right order.

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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”

Tobacco control and the tobacco industry – a failure of understanding and imagination

What about the war on disease and premature death? They just aren’t the same thing.

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.

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Letter to the Foundation for a Smoke Free World about money, governance, conflicts and Philip Morris International

For some, it would be better to waste a billion dollars

Go straight to letter (PDF) or cover note and letter

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”

Guest post: BAT executive on disruption of the tobacco industry

BAT’s O’Reilly on the disruption of the tobacco industry

On June 12th, I published a blog, Pariahs, predators or players? The tobacco industry and the end of smoking, in which I tried to guess how tobacco companies are thinking about the future from my vantage point on the sidelines.  But I also asked if any industry figures would like to offer an informed insider’s view and offered a right of reply. Well, to my surprise one executive did reply.  David O’Reilly is BAT’s Group Scientific and R&D Director, and here is his perspective. Continue reading “Guest post: BAT executive on disruption of the tobacco industry”