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
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.
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”
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:
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.
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].
The UK official statistics bureau, the Office of National Statistics, has published new official smoking and vaping stats for 2014, with the bonus of an e-cigarette survey for 2015. The geographical base is Great Britain (GB) – the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom is Northern Ireland. The age range is ≥16. Pretty good news… Continue reading “Smoking and vaping in Britain? Show me the data!”
Good grief. Researchers at the San Diego State University and the University of North Carolina have been studying internet searches on vaping. I would actually find this interesting if they had attempted to learn something from the trends and find new insights, but they have just fabricated a cheap and deeply unconvincing scare, and that is based on a wholesale misunderstanding of the subject of their study.
On 20 October, I received an enigmatic reply (above) from the Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. This was to my letter from April complaining about the publication of a flawed study on e-cigarettes and formaldehyde in the NEJM. His note didn’t say much, but it was copied to around 40 others, so I thought I ought to reply. It is an opportunity to write explaining some of the fallout.
You can refresh your memory of this sorry episode here and here.