Anti-vaping activists pitch unscientific fringe positions to a national newspaper

Some veterans of the tobacco control establishment have found the public health opportunity of vaping hard to come to terms with

Updated 2nd March, 2019.

An email originating from a senior journalist at a national newspaper reached me indirectly this morning. The newspaper had sent position statements from nine anti-vaping ‘experts’ asking someone (not visible to me) for a reaction to twelve ‘observations and opinions’ advanced by members of this group. The newspaper proposed to publish these in an article soon after. I thought it may help readers if I provided some responses to these twelve points myself.

Continue reading “Anti-vaping activists pitch unscientific fringe positions to a national newspaper”

Think before you sign: a new letter attacking the Foundation for a Smokefree World

WHO Executive Board – will it see beyond the pestering of abstinence-only activists?

A draft activist letter to the WHO Executive Board is circulating widely on email networks – so widely that it has even been sent to me. It is a response to an open letter from the Foundation for a Smokefree World to the WHO Executive Board, which is having its annual meeting 24 January – 1 February, 2019.

I won’t be signing the activist letter, but I would like to suggest that others who are inclined to sign think carefully before they put their name and reputation behind this one. I recommend asking seven questions before signing:

  1. Does the letter truthfully reflect the approach of the Foundation?
  2. Does the letter truthfully reflect the approach of PMI?
  3. What is the Foundation actually doing that you don’t like?
  4. Would you be criticising what are, in fact, positive developments?
  5. Are you opposed to public health benefits if tobacco companies make money as a result?
  6. Are you joining the enemies of innovation?
  7. Are you joining a mob?

Here is the draft activist letter that I received:

Continue reading “Think before you sign: a new letter attacking the Foundation for a Smokefree World”

Youth vaping and the dangers of over-reaction – a letter to the FDA

 

Letter from Iowa Attorney General Miller and others, including me, to Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner. See PDF at the link below:

Re: Youth tobacco and nicotine use – proportionate and responsible reaction

This is a letter and 7-page briefing to set out issues with youth vaping and to caution against over-reaction. For the fully referenced version, please see the PDF at the link above.  The main text is below.
Continue reading “Youth vaping and the dangers of over-reaction – a letter to the FDA”

Innovation for Consumers: E-cigarettes and novel tobacco products – Part of the problem or part of the solution?

My presentation slides to a meeting in the European Parliament organised by Monika Beňová MEP…

South Africa draft tobacco Bill – protects cigarette trade and denies smokers options to quit

South Africa smoking prevalence – Tobacco Atlas

Source: South Africa Factsheet – Tobacco Atlas

David Abrams, Ray Niaura, David Sweanor and I have submitted comments on the draft tobacco and vaping legislation under discussion in South Africa. South Africa is always influential in low and middle income countries, especially in Africas, and is always an important player in WHO meetings.

The draft legislation is almost completely disproportionate in its approach to tobacco harm reduction technologies. It mostly treats reduced-risk products as though they are the same as smoking products. The alternative philosophy, which we advocate, is to adopt ‘risk proportionate regulation’ that encourages (or rather, does not inhibit) smokers from using vaping, novel nicotine products, heated tobacco or smokeless tobacco products to quit smoking.

Our full 20-page submission is here.

The short summary is reproduced below. Continue reading “South Africa draft tobacco Bill – protects cigarette trade and denies smokers options to quit”

Public health experts rally to support US legislative initiative on vaping

Experts send a message to Congress – do the right thing on vaping and pass the Cole-Bishop language

Just out, a statement from the National Tobacco Reform Initiative –  a group of senior figures and experts in public health and tobacco control – supporting a substantial change to the legislation governing vaping products in the United States. This statement supports what is known as the Cole-Bishop rider to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill (the rider is at section 753).  This language has the following main effects:

  1. Allows all vaping products that were on the US market in 2016 to stay on the market by waiving the requirement for ‘pre-market review’ (s.910), the most onerous and damaging regulatory burden – the same kind of grandfathering that was offered to cigarettes in 2009, when the Tobacco Control Act come into effect
  2. It does not waive other requirements under the Tobacco Control Act – for example, submission of health information, ingredients and harmful constituents (s.904), misbranding (s.903) etc.
  3. Requires FDA to develop standards for flavors and batteries
  4. Places additional restrictions on sales and marketing
  5. Requires certain warning labels and accurate labelling of nicotine content

It is very important that this passes as it solves part of the problem of establishing a proportionate regulatory system for low-risk products like vapor.

Here is the statement from NTRI and its membership.

Continue reading “Public health experts rally to support US legislative initiative on vaping”

Regulating e-liquid flavors – could the U.S. regulator do more harm than good and how would it know?

Front line in the battle to reduce smoking or trap for teens? Does FDA even know what it is dealing with?

FDA will soon request information on proposals to make rules about what it calls ‘kid-appealing flavors’ in vaping products. Inept rule-making driven by anti-vaping activist arguments and flawed reasoning could do immense harm.  This blog is to help American comrades and other interested parties to prepare for the battle ahead.  Please leave feedback, questions, suggestions etc. in the comments

Go straight to Letter and Briefing (PDF) to FDA about this subject on the Iowa Attorney General’s website. Continue reading “Regulating e-liquid flavors – could the U.S. regulator do more harm than good and how would it know?”

FDA wants to reduce nicotine in cigarettes – what could possibly go wrong (and right)?

Some things don’t have to be used to be useful

On 28th July, FDA announced that it wants to hold a “public dialogue” about regulating to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to “non-addictive levels”. I’ve previously written about this idea in my critique of ‘tobacco endgame’ ideas, and I was pleased to present on the subject at SRNT 2017 conference.  Generally, I’ve taken the view that the idea is crazy, unworkable, unethical and will never happen, and I have a hefty bet against it.

But now that FDA has announced it, everyone should ask: might any good come of it?  That has prompted me to reconsider my previously entirely hostile approach. So here are some updated views in a report done in collaboration with Dr Carrie Wade, Director of Harm Reduction Policy at the R Street Institute, Washington DC.

The three minute version…

Continue reading “FDA wants to reduce nicotine in cigarettes – what could possibly go wrong (and right)?”

U.S. E-cigarette Summit Survival Guide

It’s the US E-cigarette Summit …and it’s going to get weird

Today is the first US E-cigarette Summit in Washington DC

It is likely that some very deceptive, weird or hysterical arguments will be made the course of the day by organisations that usually avoid situations where they may be called out it. So here is a brief survival guide to the day. Continue reading “U.S. E-cigarette Summit Survival Guide”

Australian medicines regulator intends to continue to protect the cigarette trade – we challenge its bizarre reasoning

Solid as a rock?  The TGA justification for banning e-liquids certainly isn’t

This post summarises and gives background to a new harsh-but-fair submission on nicotine classification in Australia – go straight to it > here

In Australia, nicotine is classed as a poison unless in a form exempted from the poison schedules.  There are two relevant exemptions: for veterinary or medical use (e.g. NRT) or when nicotine is in the form of:

…tobacco prepared and packed for smoking

This has the effect of making manufacture, import or sale of nicotine e-liquids illegal in most circumstances [see note]. It also bars smokeless tobacco, heated tobacco products, and other low-risk non-combustibles from the market of 2.8 million adult smokers (16 percent of the adult population), while bizarrely granting exclusive market access to cigarettes and other combustible products. So this is obviously insane, so there has been an attempt to change that. Continue reading “Australian medicines regulator intends to continue to protect the cigarette trade – we challenge its bizarre reasoning”