QED THR Switching and letter to Swedish Health Minister Wikström on snus and public health

16 international THR scientists and experts express hopes and concerns to the Swedish Minister for Health, youth and Sports:

Brev i Svensk översättning brev-till-wikstrom-pdf

Letter in original format signed by all before translation letter-wikstrom-15-sept-2016-09-04-final

How does this relate to Iceland?

Well, let’s see. Iceland says that she has accomplished a positive trend (downward) in rates of smoking comparable to the Swedish numbers, but without any snus use. Snus use and oral tobacco therefore should preferably be banned globally.

This is also analogously argued by Tobacco Control in Sweden as a prime example of why Norway going from 3% to 30% snus use in just over a decade is just another anecdote, like Sweden is an anecdote, and we should instead use Iceland and Bhutan as examples of successful Tobacco Control without any elements of snus.

Just yesterday I got my hands on some very interesting graphics from Iceland. Please be conscious of that there is an anecdotal historical use of oral tobacco in Iceland called Neftobakk. It is so incredibly anecdotal that it seems to not be considered part of tobacco use or tobacco control whatsoever. Very anecdotal therefore.

How anecdotal is it then, this use of neftobakk in Iceland, and what is neftobakk really?

First of all, neftobakk is oral tobacco that is dryer than snus, so Icelanders simply add water, very simple. you get loose snus that tastes differently!

Second, neftobakk also has a PH regulator for better bioavailability of nicotine, its just that they use ammonia instead of E500. Ammonia is an irritant and a very base PH substance, but not carcinogenic per se (possibly a carcinogen though, to be honest), or toxic in small amounts like we are talking about here. Basically neftobakk fills the identical function and actions of Swedish snus. Same thing, different name.

Third, Neftobakk is made from selected raw tobacco product bought from Swedish Match (the largest producer of Swedish Snus, incidentally). So, basically, snus has been growing in use in Iceland and replaced smoking at a positively WHOPPINGLY corresponding rate of smoking decline, showing the relation to be indisputable.

Fourth, regarding the truth levels in Country positions. Pls see here consultation answer from Iceland and Norway to the EU on the snus-ban and oral tobacco. The position is perfectly clear, allow cigarettes and phase them out, but BAN ALL ORAL TOBACCO IMMEDIATELY!!

http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/docs/contribution_norway_iceland_en.pdf

Ok, so let’s see below what happened with the sales of neftobakk during the unprecedented decline of cigarette smoking (and sales) between 2000-2016 in the fair green and white island of Iceland:

Cigarette carton sales (-40 odd %)

icecigdown

Neftobakk sales (+250 odd % from an indeed anecdotal level – do I hear Eureka, just like e-cig from anyone)

Important update: Rise is +25,000 kilograms of neftobakk sold per year. At a yearly consumption of 3 kg per person this represents +8,000 daily users. Total reduction in Smoking during the same period is from roughly 55 thousand to roughly 35 thousand  between 2000-2016. A fantastic result in less tobacco and a fantastic result in switching from smoking to low harm tobacco consumption.

How is this not a double win? 

iceneftobakkup

Now, Cigarette use was high and Neftobakk use historically very low. So a gradual decline in the smoking red line, is by necessity if there indeed is a clear correlation to switching, would be matched only by a faster ascending red line representing neftobakk sales and use.

Fast declining rates ARE mainly found in populations with attractive alternative products

QED!

SATIRE 2013: Anti-e-cig Regulatory strategy

Stolen and republished with gratitude and kudos to original author, Satan. It is even more relevant today than it was in 2013 when first published. This satire must have been written using a very very clear and functioning Crystal Ball.

Satanica

Brussels Practice
Providing Fake Public Relations To Controversial Industries since 1957

Memorandum: E-cigarettes – advice to Cigarette Makers

 

1)  The situation

Clients should be aware of the emerging threat of e-cigarettes to the established cigarette-based business model of major tobacco companies. Compound growth is exceeding 50%, many users report a high degree of satisfaction, many are using them to reduce consumption or quit smoking, the products are inexpensive, and they are improving all the time. Investment analysts see consumption of e- cigarettes overtaking cigarettes by 2023 in the United States and many influential commentators recognise e-cigarettes as a major disruptive technology in the 21st Century. This situation is clearly very worrying and demands a strategic response.

 

2)  Strategic aims

There are two mutually reinforcing objectives:

 

a)  Win the battle: limit the incursion of e-cigarettes into the cigarette market inorder to control and supress the rate of decline of smoking;

 

b)  Bayonet the wounded: maximise tobacco industry share of the remaining e- cigarette market to capture any residual value from a diminished category.

 

3)  Ineffective strategic response

Firstly, we must advise what will not work – and that is a fair competitive fight. It will not be sufficient simply to enter the highly competitive market, buy e-cigarette companies and then try to close it down. That strategy would be defeated by competition, the rise of non-tobacco e-cigarette players and new entrants. They would simply market better products and take market share from both the cigarette and e-cigarette businesses of tobacco majors.

 

4)  Effective strategic response

The correct and only viable approach is to rely on regulation. The ideal regulation of e-cigarettes will have two main attributes, aligned with the aims in 2) above:

 

a)  To make e-cigarettes as unattractive as possible relative to smoking;

 

b)  To set design parameters for e-cigarettes that are most easily met by tobacco companies and fit best with the established cigarette business model.

 

5)  Regulatory agenda

Here in short are the measure to press for and why:

a) Ban advertising. this always helps incumbents and those already experienced

with marketing under advertising restrictions. It holds back new entrants and means that established distribution channels matter more because it is harder to build up consumer and retailer interest without advertising. A pure win for our tobacco clients.

b) Ban flavours. This is important: it will limit the appeal of vaping and mean fewer people will leave the cigarette franchise and more will try and then relapse to smoking. It will also have the happy consequence of destroying many small competitors and standardising the market around high volume commodity products, like our clients might make. A black market will develop but we will use that to frighten people into using officially sanctioned products (ie. yours) or return to smoking.

c) Reduce nicotine strengths. The regulators will believe they are being responsible, but they are actually making it easier to obtain a satisfying nicotine hit from a cigarette. A near perfect measure! We have been especially delighted by the support received from the German government.

d) Cap nicotine quantities. We have been busy creating confusion about numbers and have been greatly assisted by poor standards of numeracy. A 10mg cap with a 20mg/ml nicotine limit means a maximum of 0.5ml of liquid – about enough for 30 minutes use for a typical user. If they are always running out, they’ll give it up or never get started. Perfect!

e) Ban refillable devices. This has many desirable attributes – firstly it punishes the early adopters and occupies them fighting a completely pointless measure. More importantly, it reduces the effectiveness and viability of so-called 2nd and 3rd generation devices. There has always been a risk that users of the cig-alike products favoured by tobacco companies would use them as a stepping-stone to better products – losing them once and for all to cigarettes and to the e- cigarettes made by our clients.

f) Warnings and labelling. By the time we’ve done the maximum with warnings, information leaflets detailing all known risks however minor or irrelevant, haz- chem symbols etc – the product will take on the look and feel of weaponised anthrax supplied in a nuclear waste container. The benefits are obvious.

g) Impose design hurdles. This is a great way to meet all objectives simultaneously – raising costs, stifling innovation, creating huge burdens with sensible-sounding ideas. Things like ‘deliver nicotine doses uniformly and consistently’ or requiring that products ‘cannot be opened or operated by children’ throw lovely-sounding but unnecessary obstacles and costs in the way of producing e-cigarettes. They are especially pleasing as they do not apply to cigarettes and so help with our main aims. We find civil servants are often frustrated entrepreneurs and quite like to design products themselves, as long others take the risks of failure. Designing regulations is just brilliant for that.

 

h) Demand extensive testing, assessment and information. Even though regulators do not have the faintest idea what to do with it, asking for more data raises costs, slows innovation and makes something safe seem dangerous1. Also, we will realise great synergies: most of this data will be used by our trusted allies in public health to confuse people and frighten them back to smoking.

 

6)  Allies – many with us, few are aware

We have built strong alliances within the European Parliament and European Council – and of course the European Commission is on a retainer and has been at our side from the start2. As with all of our work, many of those involved do not even realise they are working for us or even know we exist – and to be fair, we do not cast shadows or reflect that well in mirrors. We have been particularly delighted with co-option of The Greens and hope to develop this relationship with clients in coal, Arctic oil exploration and palm oil in due course. Socialists and more feeble conservatives love our line about protecting the children and have made it their own, apparently without any understanding of children. The public health community could not have been more helpful – we propose a donation to Cancer Research UK and to hire that splendid professor from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

 

7)  Risks – due process is a clear and present danger

The main risk to this project is the intrusion of those with knowledge of the products and marketplace into the regulatory process or some sort of requirement to justify what we are doing with evidence. Some of our opponents are now calling for e-cigarettes to be taken out of the Tobacco Products Directive so that a new legislative process can take its course.

a) Justification. There would need to be justification of the proposed measures. Somehow our allies would have to find evidence that justifies departing from the principle of free movement of goods on health grounds, and to be honest for once, there is none. Absolutely none.

 

b)  Impact assessment. “What could possibly go wrong?” they are asking – and unfortunately, the answer is quite a lot for anyone who is not one of our clients. If we had to set out the impacts of what we are proposing, we would be in trouble.

 

c)  Consultation. Very high risk. What would we do if the users, businesses and experts involved started to have a say? We generally advise legislators to ignore unhelpful consultation outcomes. That usually works, but we can sustain that only where there is a modest gap between reality and what we want.

 

d)  Scrutiny. If we had to send this back to national parliaments, then our Brussels- based coalition-of-unwitting-evil would lose control. That must not happen.

8) Worst-case scenario

The greatest danger would come from the introduction of the diversions above into the process of regulating e-cigarettes. Some of our enemies are suggesting that Article 18 is mostly removed from the directive:

 

a)  Home by Xmas. Complete the Tobacco Products Directive for tobacco products by December. Unfortunately this is frighteningly logical and delivers a Christmas blow to our clients while keep our Greek allies out of the game.

 

b)  Do something useful in the interim. They are talking about applying and enforcing the existing extensive base of regulations in the interim, starting straight away. Again, very worrying – it is increasingly clear that there is no real problem with these products that cannot be fixed with some light regulation and we do not want that to become obvious.

 

c)  Take legislation seriously. Extremely worrying: there is talk of introducing a new legislative proposal for e-cigarettes with justification, impact assessment, consultation and scrutiny. This greatly constrains the scope for the arbitrary and capricious policy-making we have come to rely on to hold this troubling new public health industry down.

9) Further assistance.

As always Satanica consultants are standing by. Please call the Merchants of Death Helpline on the usual number if we may assist further.

Brussels, December 2013

THR science update week 37 2016

Vaping Research

80% of Malaysians say health improved after switching to vape: Study
http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1969376

New Cochrane Review of 24 studies confirms vaping helps smokers quit smoking, poses very low risks
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010216.pub3/full

Cochrane: Conclusions about effects of electronic cigarettes remain the same
http://www.cochrane.org/news/conclusions-about-effects-electronic-cigarettes-remain-same

Cochrane Review coauthor Jamie Hartmann-Boyce: Why can’t scientists agree on e-cigarettes?
https://www.theguardian.com/science/sifting-the-evidence/2016/sep/14/why-cant-scientists-agree-on-e-cigarettes-vaping

New Cochrane Review finds vaping helps smokers quit smoking, and poses no serious side effects.
http://www.science20.com/news_articles/new_cochrane_review_on_ecigarettes-180194

Electronic cigarettes can help smokers quit says study
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/13/electronic-cigarettes-can-help-smokers-quit-says-study

New UK study in BMJ confirms vaping has helped many people quit smoking, but authors inaccurately (using a dubious method based on “serious quit attempts”) estimated that just 18,000 UK smokers quit smoking by vaping in 2015.
http://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4645
The authors previously estimated that just 16,000-22,000 quit smoking by vaping in the UK in 2014  (several items below)

John Britton: Electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation in England
http://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4819

E-cigarettes do work: Devices helped 18,000 MORE people kick the habit last year (UK)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3787240/E-cigarettes-work-Devices-helped-18-000-people-kick-habit-year.html

E-cigarettes ‘help more smokers quit’ (UK)
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37338992

Scientific evidence grows for e-cigarettes as quit-smoking aides
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ecigarettes-idUSKCN11J2R8

E-cigarette use linked to success in quitting
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/e-cigarette-use-linked-to-success-in-quitting-420795.html

Robert West et al deployed similarly dubious methods to estimate that just 16,000-22,000 UK vapers quit smoking in 2014 by switching to vaping (in March, 2016)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.13343/full

NNA’s Sarah Jakes: What do you mean ecigs only helped 16,000 people?
(questions Robert West et al’s estimate and methods, in March, 2016)
http://nnalliance.org/blog/106-what-do-you-mean-ecigs-only-helped-16-000-people

Ken Warner on West et al estimate that 16,000-22,000 UK vapers quit smoking in 2014
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.13405/full

FDA/NIH funded study found cigarette smokers who vaped in 2014 were more likely than non vaping smokers to intend to quit smoking, and to have attempted to quit smoking during the past year
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460316302039

Public Health Surveillance

SAMHSA’s 2015 NSDUH survey finds record low daily and past month cigarette smoking rates for youth, young adults and older adults (as increasingly more smokers have switched to vaping)
http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015.pdf
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/science/smoking-and-drinking-rates-among-us-teenagers-fall-to-new-lows.html

Newly released (by Ken Warner) 2014 MTF survey data confirms US teen smokers and exsmokers were/are exponentially more likely to vape than never smokers (as many teen smokers have switched to vaping). Reveals data among 12th graders (many/most of whom are 18 years old adults), including:
– 14.7% of regular smokers, 15.0% of regular past smokers, and just 0.7% of never smokers reported vaping 20 or more days during past 30 days,
– 20.8% of regular smokers, 21.4% of regular past smokers, and just 1.2% of never smokers reported vaping 10 or more days during past 30 days,
– 27.7% of regular smokers, 26.3% of regular past smokers, and just 1.7% of never smokers reported vaping 6 or more days during past 30 days,
– Most never smokers who vaped during past 30 days vaped just 1-2 days (3.9%/6.5%),
– 93.5% of never smokers, 42.7% of regular smokers, and 53.2 of regular past smokers reported NO use of an e-cig during past 30 days.
http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(15)00782-5/abstract
(For full text of study, please send me an e-mail request. Bill)

Canadian survey finds significant teen cigarette smoking decline from 2012/13 to 2014/15 (confirming that vaping has NOT renormalized smoking), finds
– Daily smoking by 6th-12th graders declined from 2% in 2012/13 to 1.6% in 2014/15,
– Daily or occasional smoking by 6th-12th graders declined from 4% in 2012/13 to 3.4% in 2014/15,
– Ever cigarette use by 6th-12th graders declined from 24% in 2012/13 to 18% in 2014/15,
– Ever cigarette use by 6th-9th graders declined from 13% in 2012/13 to 8% in 2014/15,
– Ever cigarette use by 10th-12th graders declined from 37% in 2012/13 to 29% in 2014/15,
– 18% of 6th-12th graders ever used an e-cig, while 6% used in past 30 days in 2014/15,
– 9% of 10th-12th graders and 3% of 6th-9th graders used an e-cig in past 30 days in 2014/15,
– Only 65% of 6th-12th graders thought regular cigarette smoking posed a “great risk”, while 25% inaccurately thought regular e-cig use posed a “great risk”
http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/science-research-sciences-recherches/data-donnees/cstads-ectade/summary-sommaire-2014-15-eng.php
http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/science-research-sciences-recherches/data-donnees/cstads-ectade/tables-tableaux-2014-15-eng.php#t1
http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=index&crtr.page=2&nid=1124009

Utah Health Dept survey finds teen cigarette smoking declines to record low 3.4%, so agency once again attacks vaping (which helped many smokers quit) in news media
https://ibis.health.utah.gov/pdf/opha/publication/hsu/2016/1609_AlcTobAdol.pdf
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865662294/Report-Half-of-Utah-students-who-report-using-alcohol-are-also-vaping.html?pg=all

Vaping Advocacy

A Billion Lives in Theaters October 26

A Billion Lives – Official Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCozEhqdKQw&feature=youtu.be
https://www.facebook.com/ABillionLives/videos/1252036524830632

Demand.film partners to promote A Billion Lives internationally
http://www.forbes.com/sites/dongroves/2016/09/12/tugg-and-gathr-face-competition-from-a-new-international-platform/#74945bb748bc

Pamela Gorman named SFATA executive director
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/former-state-legislator-pamela-gorman-appointed-executive-director-of-smoke-free-alternatives-trade-association-300325009.html
http://www.cspdailynews.com/category-news/tobacco/articles/vaping-association-picks-new-leader

FDA Vapor Deeming Ban

FDA responds to Nicopure Labs and Right To Be Smoke-Free Coalition
http://www.tobacco-on-trial.com/wp-content/uploaded/2016/09/2016-09-09-nicopure-fda-reply.pdf
http://www.tobacco-on-trial.com/2016/09/11/nicopure-v-fda-reply-to-opposition-to-motion-re-44-motion-for-summary-judgment-filed-by-fda-sep-9-2016/

Clive Bates and Eli Lehrer send letter to FDA’s Mitch Zeller challenging Zeller’s recent fear mongering claims about lifesaving vapor products and vaping
http://clivebates.com/documents/Zeller2016.pdf

Steven Allen – The E-cigarette Ban: A Win for Liars and Big Tobacco
https://capitalresearch.org/2016/09/the-e-cigarette-ban-a-win-for-liars-and-big-tobacco/

Vape industry goes on attack against FDA over e-cigarettes
CASAA, AVA and ATR to conduct October bus tour
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/vape-industry-goes-on-attack-against-fda-over-e-cigarettes/article/2601036

Steps to confront the FDA to avoid influence on e-cigs (US/China)
http://www.joinnest.com/steps-to-confront-the-fda-to-avoid-influence-on-ecigs.html

New FDA regulations point to uncertain future for e-cigarette industry (OK)
http://www.normantranscript.com/news/oklahoma/new-fda-regulations-point-to-uncertain-future-for-e-cigarette/article_9952523e-2cf7-59d3-90a2-136b55f74b9b.html

Carl Phillips: Weaponized Kafkaism
https://antithrlies.com/2016/09/05/weaponized-kafkaism/#more-3197

FDA to conduct seminar on PMTAs for ENDS (and no-nicotine vapor products) on October 17/18 in Hyattsville, MD (with October 6 deadline for attendees to register)
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/NewsEvents/ucm517650.htm

FDA sends warning letters to 55 retailers for selling newly deemed tobacco products to a minor (but FDA didn’t disclose the retailer compliance rate, as they and SAMHSA have done for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco); FDA press release boasts that agency protects kids as it protects cigarettes (by repeating fear mongering claims about vaping)
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm520865.htm
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/TobaccoProducts/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Retail/UCM520813.pdf
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/oce/inspections/oce_insp_searching.cfm
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/warningletters/wlSearchResult.cfm?office=Center%20for%20Tobacco%20Products&displayAll=true

FDA revises guidance for tobacco industry to submit documents on “health, toxicological, behavioral or physiological effects of their current or future products” to also apply to vapor products and other newly deemed tobacco products
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/09/09/2016-21686/health-document-submission-requirements-for-tobacco-products-revised-draft-guidance-for-industry

FDA increases fines for violations by tobacco/vapor retailers retroactively assessed for violations of the TCA since November 2, 2015
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/NewsEvents/ucm519578.htm

FDA revises its 2011 Guidance on HPHCs to include vapor products and emissions
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/ucm241339.htm
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/UCM241352.pdf

Note the FDA has failed to comply with Sections 904(d) and 904(e) of the Tobacco Control Act, which required FDA to publish a tobacco brand specific HPHC list in 2013 and annually since then
http://nicotinecontent.blogspot.com/2013/05/when-will-fda-publish-list-of-harmful.html
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm237092.htm
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/tobaccoproducts/labeling/productsingredientscomponents/ucm435035.pdf
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/ucm297786.htm
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/RulesRegulationsGuidance/ucm261826.htm
Section 904(d)
“(1) In general.– Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall publish in a format that is understandable and not misleading to a lay person, and place on public display (in a manner determined by the Secretary) the list established under subsection (e).
“(2) Consumer research.– The Secretary shall conduct periodic consumer research to ensure that the list published under paragraph (1) is not misleading to lay persons. Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the results of such research, together with recommendations on whether such publication should be continued or modified.
“(e) Data Collection.–Not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Secretary shall establish, and periodically revise as appropriate, a list of harmful and potentially harmful constituents, including smoke constituents, to health in each tobacco product by brand and by quantity in each brand and subbrand. The Secretary shall publish a public notice requesting the submission by interested persons of scientific and other information concerning the harmful and potentially harmful constituents in tobacco products and tobacco smoke.

A list of TCA deadlines is at
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm237395.htm

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issues reference tobacco filler for deadly cigarettes (to help cigarette manufacturers comply with the TCA’s nonsensical HPHC requirements) as FDA prepares to ban all lifesaving vapor products on 8/8/2018.
https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2016/09/new-nist-reference-material-helps-assure-accurate-measurement-constituents
https://www-s.nist.gov/srmors/view_detail.cfm?srm=3222
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-nist-material-accurate-tobacco-product.html

More DHHS

After Obama appointees at FDA/DHHS protected cigarettes by banning and lying about vaping products, Obama’s Cancer Moonshot’s Blue Ribbon Panel recommends 10 things to reduce cancer that won’t reduce cancer morbidity or mortality nearly as much as the Cole bill or the Cole/Bishop Approps amendment, and informing the public that vaping is >95% less harmful than smoking and has helped millions of smokers quit.
https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative/blue-ribbon-panel/blue-ribbon-panel-report-2016.pdf
https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative/blue-ribbon-panel
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/09/07/cancer-moonshot-panel-names-top-10-ways-to-speed-progress-against-the-disease/

Litigation

Arlington woman sues vapor shop after e-cigarette battery exploded
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/arlington/article101570947.html
http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/tarrant-county/woman-suing-vape-store-after-battery-explodes-in-pocket/317448067

Taxation

PA Rep. Russ Diamond reports that 45 vape shops have already shut down in PA due to 40% tax
https://www.facebook.com/russdiamond/posts/10210079125031022?comment_id=10210080051134174&reply_comment_id=10210080354421756&notif_t=feed_comment_reply&notif_id=1473239349133173

California Prop 56 proponents run ad falsely insinuating that punitive taxes on lifesaving vapor products and low risk smokeless tobacco products and cigars, and increasing cigarette taxes for adult smokers is necessary to protect children from cigarettes
https://youtu.be/9lvpohccbsg

California Prop 56 opponents run ad pointing out that just 13% of the Prop 56 tax revenue would be spent on tobacco prevention, education and cessation programs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UDgu6o3wEo

Foes of tobacco/vapor tax hike pour millions into campaign (CA)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Foes-of-tobacco-tax-hike-pour-millions-into-9206300.php

Beth Kramer makes false claims about vaping to promote Prop 56, Godshall replies
http://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/the-la-beat/11791-prop-56-big-tobacco-is-blowing-smoke-smoker-health-issues-cost-non-smokers-big-bucks

Sweanor/Warner: Better way to structure tobacco tax (ND)
http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/637811/Better-way-to-structure-tobacco-tax.html?nav=5618

State Funds to Promote Big Pharma Cessation Drugs

New Jersey Senate Health Cmte reduces funding for smoking cessation from 5% to 1% of cigarette tax revenue
http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/news/local/senate-panel-advances-smoking-cessation-bill/article_0a4f54b2-7902-11e6-bf7f-dfad65c6f78c.html

Arkansas State Senator wants to eliminate $1.8 smoking quitline (that hawks Big Pharma drugs as the only ways to quit smoking) because its costly, redundant, and overreaching
http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/senator-promises-17-legislative-session-will-stub-smokers-quitline-out

Minimum Age Laws

St. Louis County (MO) Council increases minimum age for sales of lifesaving vapor products, deadly cigarettes and low risk OTP from 18 to 21
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/want-tobacco-you-ll-have-to-be-to-buy-it/article_39a7185d-9497-5c19-baa0-c0a5b46137e8.html
http://halfwheel.com/st-louis-county-mo-raises-minimum-age-to-purchase-tobacco/129594

Young adults say vaping helped them quit smoking, restrictions are dangerous (St. Louis)
http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/young-adults-say-vaping-helped-them-quit-smoking-restrictions-are/article_3a2d32cc-e169-5b68-8e25-7f15e17be085.html

Michigan State Sen. Rick Jones introduces bill (SB 1066) to preempt local governments from increasing minimum age for tobacco (but not vapor) product sales to 21.
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(evui1lo3cuyf3mua2wro122c))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=2016-SB-1066
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2015-2016/billintroduced/Senate/pdf/2016-SIB-1066.pdf
http://halfwheel.com/michigan-state-senator-seeks-to-stop-cities-from-increasing-tobacco-purchase-age/129948

Vaping Bans

Poland protects cigarettes and threatens public health by banning vaping where smoking is banned
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-poland-sale-e-cigarettes-minors-vaping.html

Clive Bates exposes, refutes false conclusions of biased DHHS funded study lobbying for vaping bans by absurdly concluding that vapers don’t care if vaping is banned
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27596227

Vancouver’s response to BC anti vaping regulations remains hazy
http://www.vancourier.com/news/city-s-response-to-provincial-e-cigarette-legislation-remains-hazy-1.2338420

Oxnard (CA) City Council bans vaping and smoking at parks, beaches, bus stops and other outdoor locations
http://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/communities/oxnard/2016/09/07/oxnard-approves-ban-smoking-most-outdoor-areas/89936898/

Univ. of Arizona protects cigarettes by proposing vaping ban
http://tucson.com/news/local/education/college/ua-looks-to-ban-e-cigarettes-on-campus/article_5ee83a68-381f-518a-834d-35dfc0a9995b.html

Business

Totally Wicked opens factory that can manufacture 10 million bottles of e-liquid annually
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/708995/Boom-vaping-sees-UK-first-ever-ecigarette-liquid-production-factory

JTI Korea introduces Logic Pro tank vaping system in South Korea
http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160906000986

Reynolds elects former Congressman John Boehner to serve on board of directors
http://www.reynoldsamerican.com/About-Us/Press-Releases/Press-Release-Details-/2016/RAI-board-elects-two-new-directors/default.aspx
http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/boehner-named-to-reynolds-board-of-directors/article_b182a1a3-5597-5a04-bec3-f0003e51c9ae.html

Legalizing Vapor Products

40 international THR experts urge Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration to exempt nicotine from Schedule 7 “dangerous poison”, and to allow sales of vapor products containing less than 3.6% nicotine
http://colinmendelsohn.com.au/tga
http://colinmendelsohn.com.au/files/9814/7281/5038/Nicotine_rescheduling_proposal_comment_-_Final.pdf
http://colinmendelsohn.com.au/files/8214/7296/5899/Media_release_for_letter_of_support.pdf

Nicotine for vaping should be legalised in Australia: 40 international and Australian experts
https://theconversation.com/nicotine-for-vaping-should-be-legalised-in-australia-40-international-and-australian-experts-64802

Ban on ‘life-saving’ e-cigs ‘unethical’ (Australia) http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2016/09/07/academics-slam–unethical–e-cigarette-ban.html

Liberals call for rethink on e-cigarette ban (Australia)
https://au.prime7.yahoo.com/n1/news/a/-/national/32614823/libs-call-for-rethink-on-e-cigarette-ban/

Australia considers allowing nicotine
http://factasia.org/australia-considers-allowing-nicotine/

E-cigarettes and the law in Australia
http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2015/june/e-cigarettes-and-the-law-in-australia/

Cancer Council divided over e-cigarettes (Australia)
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/09/07/cancer-council-divided-over-e-cigarettes

Cancer Council lobbies for even more bans for lifesaving vapor products (Australia)
http://wiki.cancer.org.au/policy/Position_statement_-_Electronic_cigarettes

Cancer Council’s “Tobacco in Australia” report contains dozens of false and misleading fear mongering claims about vaping, smokeless tobacco, nicotine and harm reduction
http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-18-harm-reduction
http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-18-harm-reduction/indepth-18b-e-cigarettes/18b-5-safety
http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-18-harm-reduction/indepth-18a-smokeless-tobacco

Bates/Sweanor/Laugesen: E-cigarettes could help half-million Kiwi cigarette smokers http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11707730

Martin Johnson: Legalising e-cigarettes could save thousands of NZ smokers’ lives
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11707688

Fraser/Chee/Laugesen: Perspectives of New Zealand health professionals and smokers on e-cigarettes
http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1609/Fraser_NZMJ_1441_FINAL.pdf
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1609/S00041/health-professionals-called-upon-to-learn-about-vaping.htm

NZ consultation for policy options on e-cigarette regulation ended Sept 12
http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/policy-options-e-cigarette-regulation-consultation-aug16.pdf

Vapor Prohibition and Censorship

WHO FCTC COP-7 report inhumanely protects cigarettes by urging nations to ban lifesaving vapor products and to ban truthful health claims about vapor products
http://www.who.int/fctc/cop/cop7/FCTC_COP_7_11_EN.pdf?ua=1

31. Objective: prevention of unproven health claims being made about ENDS/ENNDS. Parties that have not banned the importation, sale, and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS may consider the following options:
1. Prohibiting implicit or explicit claims about the effectiveness of ENDS/ENNDS as smoking cessation aids unless a specialized governmental agency has approved them;
2. Prohibiting implicit or explicit claims that ENDS/ENNDS are innocuous or that ENDS are not addictive; and
3. Prohibiting implicit or explicit claims about the comparative safety or addictiveness of ENDS/ENNDS with respect to any product unless these have been approved by a specialized governmental agency.
http://who.int/tobacco/industry/product_regulation/appendices_who_ends_report_cop7_sep2016.pdf?ua=1

FDA/NIH funded vapor prohibitionist Stan Glantz praises WHO’s cigarette protecting vapor prohibition and censorship campaign
https://tobacco.ucsf.edu/who-issues-new-report-e-cigs-contains-cautious-read-science-and-sensible-policy-recommendations

Taiwan anti vaping activists demand even more cigarette protecting vapor regulations because many smokers are switching to vaping despite Taiwan’s nicotine vapor sales ban
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/09/11/2003654929

Vapor Advertising Litigation

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission claims and charges Joystick vapor company (whose products are already banned in Australia) in Federal Court for saying its products didn’t contain toxins or formaldehyde (even though levels of constituents found were far below toxic levels)
https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-takes-action-against-the-joystick-company-for-alleged-misleading-e-cigarette-%E2%80%9Cno-toxic-chemicals%E2%80%9D-claims
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/09/09/e-cig-seller-court-over-non-toxic-claim

UK Parliament

9/14/2016 UK House of Lords praise goal of reducing smoking, confuse tobacco control plans with policies and communications that actually reduce smoking, some acknowledge vaping has reduced smoking but repeat false claims by CDC about teens https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2016-09-14/debates/16091442000095/Smoking-RelatedDiseases

Battery Safety

35 Samsung cell phone batteries explode or cause fires (in 1 of every 42,000 cell phones, a far greater rate than e-cig batteries). But in sharp contrast to e-cigs, there have been NO calls for or proposed regulations to ban the sale or use of cell phones by the Obama Administration, left wing Democrats or the liberal news media.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-samsung-galaxy-20160902-snap-story.html

Mike Siegel: Unlike Samsung Galaxy, FDA regulations don’t allow e-cigarette companies to fix their exploding batteries
http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2016/09/unlike-samsung-galaxy-fda-regulations.html

NY Times articles expose laptop and cell phone battery explosions and fires on airlines (that caused far more damage than e-cig batteries), but NY Times hasn’t editorialized for banning the sale or use of laptops or cell phones (as it did for lifesaving vapor products)
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/business/as-more-devices-board-planes-travelers-are-playing-with-fire.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/business/why-business-class-poses-a-unique-fire-hazard.html

Chantix Safety

FDA issues 564 background document questionning Chantix, Wellbutrin, Zyban study
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/Drugs/PsychopharmacologicDrugsAdvisoryCommittee/UCM520103.pdf

FDA staff question Pfizer study of Chantix psychiatric effects
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-12/fda-staff-question-pfizer-study-of-chantix-psychiatric-effects

FDA staff flags concerns about Pfizer’s quit-smoking drug study
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pfizer-chantix-fda-idUSKCN11I1GI
http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pulmonology/Smoking/60197?

Mike Siegel: Pfizer study of psychiatric risks of Chantix marred by financial conflicts of interest and under-reporting of adverse events
http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2016/09/pfizer-study-of-psychiatric-risks-of.html

FDA panel split on softening Chantix warning
http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pulmonology/Smoking/60236?xid=NL_breakingnews_2016-09-15&eun=g220600d0r

Pfizer spins FDA committee vote on Chantix to further promote Chantix
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160914006429/en/FDA-Advisory-Committees-Recommend-Remove-Boxed-Warning

Weekly Standard article defends/promotes Pfizer’s Chantix, grossly misrepresents risks
http://www.weeklystandard.com/up-in-smoke/article/2004289

Plain Cigarette Packaging

NZ Parliament votes to mandate plain packaged cigarettes despite no evidence Australia’s 2012 plain packaging law reduced smoking or cigarette consumption
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/plain-packaging-tobacco-confirmed

Junk Science, Propaganda and Lies

Jonathan Grigg falsely claims (despite no evidence) vaping can cause pneumonia and other bacterial infections
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/8215b9c4-778f-11e6-8994-a768c12cac7d

Mike Siegel: Anti vaping researcher gives negligent advice to the public
http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2016/09/anti-vaping-researcher-gives-negligent.html

Colin Mendelsohn: Alarmist vaping headlines a hazard to health
http://www.doctorportal.com.au/mjainsight/2016/35/alarmist-vaping-headlines-a-hazard-to-health/

Matt Ridley: Warning: Junk science damages your health (on anti vaping junk science)
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/warning-junk-science-damages-your-health-kfpnpbvpc

Anti vaping activists find that 60% of vapers have vaped in smokefree locations, then irrationally conclude that vaping should be banned where smoking is banned
http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2016/09/08/tobaccocontrol-2016-053118.abstract

CDC funded ANR keeps lying about vaping (as it has since 2010) to lobby for cigarette protecting vaping bans
http://no-smoke.org/pdf/dangers-of-e-cigarettes.pdf

FDA/NIH funded vaping critics claim socioeconomic gap in smoking could grow if more educated smokers switch to vaping, but fail to endorse vaping for less educated smokers
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460316302039
http://news.gsu.edu/2016/09/07/college-educated-likely-use-e-cigs-quit-cigarette-smoking-georgia-state-study-finds/

CDC publishes DHHS funded study touting irrelevant cherry picked factoids from 2011-2013 teen survey on vaping and smoking cessation intentions to falsely conclude vaping doesn’t help smokers quit smoking.
http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2016/15_0564.htm

Mike Siegel: More shoddy research on e-cigarettes by Big Pharma funded scientists
http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2016/09/more-shoddy-research-on-e-cigarettes-by.html

Researchers unethically urge teens to vape by showing them lots of e-cig ads, then absurdly claim e-cig ads may encourage youth to smoke cigarettes
http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2016/08/12/tobaccocontrol-2016-052940.full
https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1735574/ads-promoting-e-cigarettes-lull-kids-into-thinking-smoking-isnt-harmful-and-encourages-social-smoking/
http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/e-cigarette-adverts-could-encourage-children-to-take-up-tobacco-warn-cambridge-scientists/story-29686498-detail/story.html

MayoCancerCare falsely claims (in a tweet) that nicotine use causes cancer and weaker bones; dozens of vapers and THR advocates respond; MayoCancerCare then tweets CORRECTION and deceitfully conflates tobacco with cigarette smoking
https://twitter.com/mayocancercare/status/773129497642168321

NIDA still falsely claims marijuana is a gateway drug, misrepresents its definition, and demonizes marijuana (as Obama’s DHHS has with lifesaving vapor products since 2009)
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-gateway-drug

Junk Science and Historic Revisionism

FDA/NIH funded UCSF vapor prohibitionists tout their deceitful campaign to credit then blame the tobacco industry for the public health activism by vapers and THR advocates.
Although vapor regulations have been enacted by virtually every state since Lorillard bought blu, authors absurdly conclude: “Passing e-cigarette regulations at the state level has become more difficult since cigarette companies have entered the market.”
http://www.milbank.org/the-milbank-quarterly/current-issue/article/4112/e-cigarette-policymaking-by-local-and-state-governments-2009-2014
https://tobacco.ucsf.edu/advocacy-coalitions-oppose-state-and-local-e-cigarette-policymaking-changed-after-major-tobacco-companies-entered-mark

FDA/NIH funded junk scientist (and vapor prohibitionist) and JAMA blame sugar industry for decades of inaccurate heart disease and anti-fat diet claims and advice by the AMA, AHA & NAS-NRC. But don’t expect Glantz, JAMA, or other vaping opponents to criticize Big Pharma and their Tobacco Control shills (including Mitch Zeller) for lying about and lobbying to ban very low risk THR alternatives for smokers since 2001.
http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2548255

Front page NY Times headline and article blame sugar industry for inaccurate heart disease and anti-fat diet claims by the AMA, AHA, NAS-NRC, but fail to expose or criticize Glantz, Big Pharma funded Tobacco Control shills (or NY reporters or editors) for protecting cigarettes by lying about and lobbying to ban lifesaving vapor products.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html

With credits to SmokeFree Pennsylvania for diligently always adding to the THR body of knowledge, body of evidence and body of media reporting.

State of the evidence in Swedish Tobacco Control 2016

Morning all!

There is currently a furious back and forth in commentary regarding Tobacco Control, Tobacco Harm Reduction, and Tobacco Companies, following an Op-Ed letter in the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine)

This series of communications (by no means finished) is hugely important in light of Sweden, without any credible evidence, imposing even harsher regulations on the lifesaving product snus earlier in 2016.

This is quite insane and totally counter to even the most basic notions of evidence based policy. To the best of Swedish knowledge, and using the best currently available statistical methods, 50% of total tobacco sales in Sweden is combustible tobacco and causes >98% of tobacco related disease; whereas the other 50% is sold in food grade non combustible format and accounts for <2% (in all likelihood the real burden is around 0,1%) of total disease and mortality burden in Sweden.

This is a bit of a read, and you need to follow it through, but more than well worth the time it will take, all credits to the NEJM from which these open source communications are taken with gratitude.

This is how it goes: 1st (top) is the article that started the debate. Then come 2 commentaries from McKee and also Myers from Tobacco Free Kids. After that comes the reply to them from the authors of the original article. In support of the original article and in scathing critique of the critique made by McKee there is then a series of comments made on-line in the commentaries section of NEJM, this is where the real fun starts.

This debate is totally unthinkable in Sweden, in Sweden being a scientist and pro “snus” (the food grade smokeless stuff that makes up 50% of total tobacco sales in the entire country) is by definition being a Tobacco Industry lackey and in most cases a total career suicide.

Peer pressure and organized institutional denial is so great in Sweden, to save face, that challenging the current dogma will get you ostracized, your funding will get pulled, career advancement totally out of the question and job severance a quite real likelihood, probably without even putting a dent in the armor of Tobacco Harm Reduction denial dogma.

This of course is not a very attractive option, despite the chance to be a part of saving hundreds of million smokers from an early grave, so there are not many who are willing to pick up the gauntlet.

Why the title choice? Because the only relevant scientific discussion that could be utilized to actually achieve evidence based policy in Sweden, is from outside Sweden, and disqualified in Sweden.

So officially the state of evidence in Sweden is ZERO

Anyway:

First, here is the actual article by Sharon, Green, Bayer and Fairchild (Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York), and also an audio interview (well worth 10 minutes of your time) with Amy Fairchild on August 4th 2016

Evidence, Policy, and E-Cigarettes — Will England Reframe the Debate?

Sharon H. Green, M.P.H., Ronald Bayer, Ph.D., and Amy L. Fairchild, Ph.D., M.P.H.

N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1301-1303April 7, 2016DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1601154

Audio Interview

Interview with Dr. Amy Fairchild on public health recommendations regarding electronic cigarettes in England and the United States.

Interview with Dr. Amy Fairchild on public health recommendations regarding electronic cigarettes in England and the United States. (10:53)

Tobacco-control advocates have been embroiled in a multiyear controversy over whether electronic cigarettes threaten the goal of further reducing tobacco smoking or offer the possibility of minimizing harm for people who cannot or will not quit smoking conventional cigarettes. England and the United States have now staked out very different positions.

The international landscape was dramatically reshaped in August 2015, when Public Health England (PHE), an agency of England’s Department of Health, released a groundbreaking report, “E-cigarettes: an evidence update.” With its claim that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes, the report attracted headlines internationally. It recommended that smokers who cannot or will not quit smoking tobacco try e-cigarettes and expressed great concern that the public perceived the two products as posing equal risks. Strikingly, the report underscored e-cigarettes’ potential to address the challenge of health inequalities, a central mission of PHE, stating that these devices “potentially offer a wide reach, low-cost intervention to reduce smoking and improve health in these more deprived groups in society where smoking is elevated.”1

The report — written by tobacco-addiction researcher Ann McNeill of King’s College London — reflected the position on e-cigarettes that had been agreed to by the U.K. public health community. Yet the editors of the Lancet asserted that though PHE claims to protect the nation’s health and well-being, it has failed to do so with this report. Two public health scholars writing in the BMJ also denounced the report, seizing on the methodologic limitations of one of the many studies on which the evidence review had relied, underlining the potential conflicts of interests acknowledged in the paper, and roundly condemning PHE for failing to meet basic evidentiary standards. Invoking the precautionary principle, the authors asserted that e-cigarette proponents bore the burden of proving that these products are not harmful. In contrast, 12 prominent U.K. public health organizations, including Cancer Research U.K. and the British Lung Foundation, defended PHE. Their joint press release underscored a public health responsibility to encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, perhaps with the help of local smoking-cessation programs.

As dramatic as the report’s recommendations appear to be, they built on the United Kingdom’s long-standing commitment to harm reduction. In 1926, the Ministry of Health’s Rolleston Committee concluded that drug addiction was an illness that should be treated by physicians, sometimes with a minimal dose of drugs in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms. When AIDS came to the United Kingdom in the 1980s, the first government report on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among injection-drug users encouraged safer drug practices. Meanwhile, the United States took a prohibitionist position. Tight narcotic regulation and refusal to provide narcotics to addicts as treatment or maintenance defined the U.S. posture for decades.

Application of harm-reduction principles to tobacco products debuted in England in the 1970s, at the Institute of Psychiatry of the Maudsley Hospital. In 1976, Michael Russell, pioneer of effective nicotine-cessation treatments, famously wrote that “People smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar,”2 suggesting that one could satisfy a nicotine craving without risking the harms caused by smoking. Professional medical bodies in the United Kingdom endorsed a harm-reduction perspective. A 2007 report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians made the case that strategies to protect smokers were key, since nicotine addiction is difficult to overcome and millions of people fail to quit. That report argued “that nicotine itself is not especially hazardous, and that if nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.”3

Even before e-cigarettes became widely available, the venerable and influential antitobacco organization Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) embraced the development of nicotine products that could rival the nicotine-delivery power of combustible cigarettes. Fiercely opposed to the tobacco industry, ASH had for decades called for increasingly stringent policies to reduce the prevalence of tobacco smoking by imposing higher taxes, banning advertisements, and setting strict limits on smoking in enclosed settings. In 2014, an ASH review of the evidence concluded that fears of a “gateway effect” were unsubstantiated and that e-cigarettes were being used largely by current or former cigarette smokers. Because it found little evidence that nonsmoking bystanders could be harmed by the vapor from e-cigarettes, ASH opposed inclusion of e-cigarettes in public smoke-free laws. Reinforcing his organization’s commitment to harm reduction and the primary goal of assisting smokers who could not or would not give up cigarettes, ASH’s chairman, John Moxham, said, “It would be a public health tragedy if smokers were discouraged from switching to electronic cigarettes and vapers were encouraged to go back to smoking because they don’t understand that vaping is a lot less harmful than smoking. That really would cost lives.”4 Not surprisingly, ASH applauded the findings of the PHE report.

The dominant policy perspective in the United States serves as a foil to the one embraced in England. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — ASH’s U.S. equivalent and a powerful voice in anti-tobacco advocacy — has been unequivocal in its denunciations of e-cigarettes. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted a Public Health Grand Rounds on e-cigarettes in which all five speakers focused on the possible health risks associated with e-cigarette use. None acknowledged a potential role for e-cigarettes in reducing the tobacco burden in marginalized populations or reducing health disparities. Given the tight focus on potential risks to children and nonsmokers, e-cigarettes were out of the question. But one powerful voice for enhanced tobacco control in the United States did support the PHE report. In December 2015, the Truth Initiative (formerly the American Legacy Foundation) declared in an organizational position paper, “If prudently regulated, we believe ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems] hold promise as one means to move smokers to a less harmful product and reduce the devastating death and disease burden caused by combustible tobacco products.”5

What distinguishes the harm-reduction approach taken in the PHE report from the more absolutist approach adopted by U.S. policymakers today is a matter of focus. In England, where leading medical organizations regard nicotine alone as relatively benign, the pressing need to reduce the risks for current smokers frames the debate. The overwhelming focus in the United States is abstinence. It is in this broader context that the focus on children and nonsmokers must be viewed.

Will England change the international conversation about e-cigarettes? The answer will depend, in part, on what the evolving evidence suggests, and it may take years before the answers are definitive. In the end, the sorts of policies that are implemented will depend on whether whoever dominates the debate views harm reduction as opportunity or anathema.

Here are the replies to the Editor of NEJM regarding the actual subject matter

CORRESPONDENCE

Evidence, Policy, and E-Cigarettes

N Engl J Med 2016; 375:e6August 4, 2016DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1606395

To the Editor:

In their Perspective article in the April 7 issue,1 Green et al. argue that the English approach to e-cigarettes could reframe the debate on these products. They cite our article,2 implying that we were concerned about only one of the many studies in the Public Health England (PHE) review. That study was only one of our concerns, being the only source for the widely cited “95% safer” claim, especially given questions about conflicts of interest.3 We also discussed other evidence, some not quoted in the review, that raised serious questions about the safety of these products.4 Green et al. disregard the fact that harm reduction is only one element of a comprehensive drug strategy that, as in the successful Australian model, also encompasses reduction of demand and supply. It is misleading to suggest that there is a consensus on e-cigarettes in England, given that many members of the health community have continuing reservations.5 If we are to reframe the debate, maybe we should instead look to Australia, where adult smoking rates are now under 13%, without e-cigarettes.

 

Martin McKee, M.D., D.Sc.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Dr. McKee reports that he chaired the Global Health Advisory Committee of the Open Society Foundations, which support and fund narcotics harm reduction. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this letter was reported.

5 References

    1. 1

      Green SHBayer RFairchild AL. Evidence, policy, and e-cigarettes — will England reframe the debate? N Engl J Med 2016;374:1301-1303
      Free Full Text | Web of Science | Medline

    1. 2

      McKee MCapewell S. Evidence about electronic cigarettes: a foundation built on rock or sand? BMJ 2015;351:h4863-h4863
      CrossRef | Web of Science | Medline

    1. 3

      Gornall J. Public Health England’s troubled trail. BMJ 2015;351:h5826-h5826
      CrossRef | Web of Science | Medline

    1. 4

      Pisinger CDøssing M. A systematic review of health effects of electronic cigarettes. Prev Med 2014;69:248-260
      CrossRef | Web of Science | Medline

  1. 5

    British Medical Association. E-cigarettes. June 30, 2016 (https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/tobacco/e-cigarettes).

To the Editor:

Green, Bayer, and Fairchild misrepresent the position of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids on e-cigarettes. From the beginning, our organization has called for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate e-cigarettes. We have repeatedly stated that it is possible that e-cigarettes could benefit public health if they are properly regulated, shown to be effective at helping smokers quit smoking regular cigarettes completely, and responsibly marketed to smokers who cannot or will not otherwise quit.1,2 However, we have also raised legitimate concerns about the large and rapid increase in the use of e-cigarettes by young people in the United States and the irresponsible marketing of these products with the use of tactics similar to those long used to make regular cigarettes appealing to children.3 It is not by any definition “absolutist” to call for FDA regulation of e-cigarettes. Effective regulation by the FDA is critical to minimizing the risks posed by e-cigarettes and maximizing the potential benefits.

 

Matthew L. Myers, J.D.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington, DC

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this letter was reported.

3 References

    1. 1

      Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Comments submitted to the Food and Drug Administration on Docket No. FDA -2014-N-0189, RIN 0910-AG38, Proposed Rule on Deeming Tobacco Products to be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Tobacco Control Act; Regulations on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products. August 8, 2014 (http://tfk.org/2014_08_14_deeming_comment).

    1. 2

      Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Comments submitted to the Food and Drug Administration on Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1936: Electronic Cigarettes and the Public Health Workshop. July 2, 2015 (http://tfk.org/2015_07_02_cigarette_comments).

  1. 3

    Myers ML. Testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. June 18, 2014 (https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/719fb08c-fc96-4d6a-bb29-d5a80898857f/67FF5AFDCED948A4B19BE14ABCF06AFF.senate-commerce-hearing-myers-testimony-6-16-14.pdf).

 

Author replies to the critique by McKee and Myers

The authors reply: We agree with Myers regarding the need to regulate electronic cigarettes sensibly to protect public health. Rules and policies should encourage smokers to switch to lower-risk tobacco products while also preventing nonsmokers, particularly young people, from picking up these devices. Nevertheless, our intention was to contrast the broad public stances toward e-cigarettes held by major antitobacco organizations in the United Kingdom and the United States. In the United States, many advocacy organizations claim to support tobacco harm reduction but effectively endorse prohibition by regulation. Although Myers and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids may believe in the potential for e-cigarettes to benefit public health if regulated properly, their messaging does not support the use of e-cigarettes for harm reduction in the ways that the U.K. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) does. The Campaign focuses primarily on the prevention of hypothetical risks to nonsmoking children, whereas ASH’s emphasis is on improving the health of smokers who cannot or will not quit smoking cigarettes, which kill half of all long-term users, who lose more than 20 years of life, on average.

In response to McKee: we did not suggest that harm reduction is the only strategy to combat tobacco. Two of us (Bayer and Fairchild) have written extensively on laws, taxes, and campaigns to reduce the burden of tobacco. The focus in our recent article was on tobacco harm reduction, which should, of course, be implemented as part of a comprehensive drug strategy. McKee is correct in pointing out that there is not complete consensus in the United Kingdom regarding e-cigarettes, as we noted in our article. But what we underscored and what makes the United Kingdom exceptional is that many leading organizations support e-cigarettes for harm reduction. In fact, 12 prominent British organizations signed a press release supporting the PHE report. These organizations included the British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Faculty of Public Health, and the Royal College of Physicians.1

Sharon H. Green, M.P.H.
Ronald Bayer, Ph.D.
Amy L. Fairchild, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY

Since publication of their article, the authors report no further potential conflict of interest.

1 Reference

  1. 1

    Public Health England. E-cigarettes: an emerging public health consensus. September 15, 2015 (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-an-emerging-public-health-consensus).

 

Here begins the flurry of online commentary

Here are the teams playing (though playing is not an adequate term since we are quite literally talking about hundreds of millions smoker lives cut short by non availability of effective harm reduction means)

Pro Tobacco Harm Reduction (Bates and Stimson)

Anti Tobacco Harm Reduction (McKee, Chapman, Myers, Daube)

Clive Bates2016 Aug 20 11:09 a.m. (4 days ago)edited 1 of 1 people found this helpful

The author, Martin McKee, makes no less than five assertions in this short letter that demand correction:

First, that there was only one source for the claim that e-cigarettes are “95% safer” than smoking. In fact, this claim does not rely on a single source but is the consensus view of Public Health England’s expert reviewers [1] and a close variation on this claim is the consensus view of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians and is endorsed by the College [2]:

Although it is not possible to precisely quantify the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure. (Section 5.5 page 87)

Second, that PHE’s work was in some way compromised by McKee’s “concerns about conflicts of interest“. To support this largely self-referential claim, he cites a piece of very poor journalism in which every accusation was denied or refuted by all involved. Please see Gornall J, 2015 including my PuBMed Commons critique of this article and a more detailed critique on my blog [3].

Third, that “other evidence, some not quoted in the review, raised serious questions about the safety of these products“. The citation for this assertion is Pisinger C, 2014. This review does not, in fact, raise any credible questions about the safety of these products, and suffered numerous basic methodological failings. For this reason, it was reviewed but then ignored in the Royal College of Physicians’ assessment of e-cigarette risk [2 – page 79]. Please see the PubMed Commons critiques of this paper [4].

Fourth, that adult smoking prevalence in Australia is “below 13%, without e-cigarettes”. Both parts of this claim are wrong. The latest official data shows an adult smoking prevalence of 16.0% in Australia [5]. No citation was provided by the author for his claim. E-cigarettes are widely used in Australia, despite a ban on sales of nicotine liquids. Australians purchase nicotine-based liquids internationally over the internet or buy on a thriving black market that has been created by Australia’s wholly unjustified de facto prohibition.

Fifth, that we “should look to Australia” for tobacco policy inspiration. We certainly should not. Australia has a disturbingly unethical policy of allowing cigarettes to be widely available for sale but tries to deny its 2.8 million smokers access to much safer products by banning nicotine-based e-cigarettes. These options have proved extremely popular and beneficial for millions of smokers in Europe and the United States trying to manage their own risks and health outcomes. Further, the author should consider the harms that arise from Australia’s anti-smoking policies in their own right, such as high and regressive taxation and stigma that arises from its campaigns to denormalise smoking.

If the author wishes to find a model country, he need not travel as far as Australia. Sweden had a smoking prevalence of 11% in 2015 – an extreme outlier in the European Union, which averages 26% prevalence on the measure used in the only consistent pan-European survey [6]. The primary reason for Sweden’s very low smoking prevalence is the use of alternative forms of nicotine (primarily snus, a smokeless tobacco) which pose minimal risks to health and have over time substituted for smoking. This exactly what we might expect from e-cigarettes and, given the recent sharp falls in adult and youth smoking in both the UK and the US, this does seem likely. Going with grain of consumers’ preferences represents a more humane way to address the risks of smoking than the battery of punitive and coercive policies favoured in Australia.

Though not an expert in nicotine policy or science, the author is a prolific commentator on the e-cigarette controversy. If he wishes to raise his game, he should start by reading an extensive critique of his own article in the BMJ (McKee M, 2015), which is at once devastating, educational, and entertaining [7].

References

[1] McNeill A. Hajek P. Underpinning evidence for the estimate that e-cigarette use is around 95% safer than smoking: authors’ note, 27 August 2015 [link]

[2] Royal College of Physicians (London) Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction 28 April 2016 [link]

[3] Bates C. Smears or science? The BMJ attack on Public Health England and its e-cigarettes evidence review, November 2015 [link]

[4] Pisinger C, 2014 Bates C. comment [here] and Zvi Herzig [here]

[5] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15. Table 9.3, 8 December 2015 [link to data]

[6] European Commission, Special Eurobarometer 429, Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco, May 2015 [link] – see page 11.

[7] Herzig Z. Response to McKee and Capewell, 9 February 2016 [link]

Competing interests: I am a longstanding advocate for ‘harm reduction’ approaches to public health. I was director of Action on Smoking and Health UK from 1997-2003. I have no competing interests with respect to any of the relevant industries.

 

  • Gerry Stimson2016 Aug 21 3:51 p.m. (3 days ago)

    Clive Bates (below) identifies five assertions by Martin McKee that need correction: there are two more, making seven in McKee’s eleven lined letter.

    First, McKee states that ‘It is misleading to suggest that there is a consensus on e-cigarettes in England, given that many members of the health community have continuing reservations’ and quotes one short BMA statement that calls for medical regulation of e-cigarettes.

    He ignores the ‘public health consensus statement’ from English public health, medical, cancer and tobacco control organisations that supports e-cigarettes for quitting smoking. The consensus statement says that ‘We all agree that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking.’ [1, 2]. The first edition of this statement [1] explicitly challenges McKee’s position on the evidence. The consensus statement is endorsed by Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health, the Association of Directors of Public Health, the British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Faculty of Public Health, Fresh North East, Healthier Futures, Public Health Action, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal Society for Public Health, the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and the UK Health Forum. McKee and the BMA are minority outliers in England and the UK.

    The PHE report on e-cigarettes faced a backlash but this was from a few public health leaders including McKee who organised a behind-the-scenes campaign against the report including a critical editorial and comment in the Lancet, and an editorial in the BMJ backed up by a media campaign hostile to PHE. Emails revealed as a result of a Freedom of Information request show that this backlash was orchestrated by McKee and a handful of public health experts [3, 4].

    Second, McKee misrepresents and misunderstands drugs harm reduction. He cites Australia, and it was indeed in Australia (as in the UK) that the public health successes in preventing the spread of HIV infection and other adverse aspects of drug use were driven by harm reduction – including engaging with drug users, outreach to drug users, destigmatisation, provision of sterile needles and syringes, and methadone [5, 6, 7]. Drugs harm reduction was a public health success [4, 6]. The UK and other countries that implemented harm reduction avoided a major epidemic of drug related HIV infection of the sort that has been experienced in many countries. Drugs harm reduction was implemented despite drugs demand and supply and reduction measures, not as McKee asserts because it was part of a combined strategy including supply demand and supply reduction. McKee’s position is out of step with the Open Society Institute, of which he chairs the Global Health Advisory Committee; OSI has resourced drugs harm reduction and campaigns against the criminalisation of drugs ie those demand and supply reduction measures that maximise harm.

    1 Public health England (2015) E-cigarettes: a developing public health consensus. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-an-emerging-public-health-consensus

    2 Public health England (2016) E-cigarettes: a developing public health consensus. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-a-developing-public-health-consensus

    3 Puddlecote D, (2016/) Correspondence between McKee and Davies Aug 15 to Oct 15. https://www.scribd.com/doc/296112057/Correspondence-Between-McKee-and-Davies-Aug-15-to-Oct-15. Accessed 07 03 2016

    4 Stimson G V (2016) A tale of two epidemics: drugs harm reduction and tobacco harm reduction, Drugs and Alcohol Today, 16, 3 2016, 1-9.

    5 Berridge V (1996) AIDS in the UK: The Making of Policy, 1981-1994. Oxford University Press.

    6 Stimson G V (1995) AIDS and injecting drug use in the United Kingdom, 1988-1993: the policy response and the prevention of the epidemic. Social Science and Medicine, 41,5, 699-716

    7 Wodak A, (2016) Hysteria about drugs and harm minimisation. It’s always the same old story. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/11/hysteria-about-drugs-and-harm-minimisation-its-always-the-same-old-story

Simon Chapman2016 Aug 21 9:05 p.m. (3 days ago)

Clive Bates’ efforts to correct points made in Martin McKee’s letter in turn require correction and comment. Bates disputes that there was not a single source for the claim that e-cigarettes are “95% safer” than smoking (in fact Public Health England stated “95% less harmful” [1], a critical difference). Bates cites two references in support of his claim, but both of these are nothing but secondary references, with both citing the same Nutt et al [2] 95% less harmful estimate as their primary source.

Two toxicologists have written an excoriating critique of the provenance of the “95% less harmful” statement, describing its endorsement as “reckless”[3] and nothing but the consensus of the opinions of a carefully hand-picked group. The 95% estimate remains little more than a factoid – a piece of questionable information that is reported and repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact.

We will not have an evidence-based comparison of harm until we have cohort data in the decades to come comparing mortality and morbidity outcomes from exclusive smokers versus exclusive vapers and dual users. This was how our knowledge eventually emerged of the failure other mass efforts at tobacco harm reduction: cigarette filters and the misleading lights and milds fiasco.

Bates challenges McKee’s statement that Australian smoking prevalence is “below 13%” and cites Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from 2014-15 derived from a household survey of 14,700 dwellings that shows 16% of those aged 18+ were “current” smokers (14.5% smoking daily). McKee was almost certainly referring to 2013 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) ongoing national surveys based on interviews with some 28,000 respondents which showed 12.8% of age 14+ Australians smoked daily, with another 2.2% smoking less than daily[4]. The next AIHW survey will report in 2017 and with the impact of plain packaging, several 12.5% tobacco tax increases, on-going tobacco control campaigning and a downward historical trend away from smoking, there are strong expectations that the 2017 prevalence will be even lower.

Bates cites a 2015 report saying that Sweden has 11% smoking prevalence. This figure is almost certainly daily smoking prevalence data, not total smoking prevalence that Bates insists is the relevant figure that should be cited for Australia. If so, the comparable figure for Sweden should also be used. In 2012 the Swedish Ministry of Health reported to the WHO that 22% of Swedish people aged 16-84 currently smoked (11% daily and 11% less than daily) [5]. It is not credible that Sweden could have halved its smoking prevalence in three years.

Meanwhile, England with current smoking prevalence in 2015 of 18.2% in July 2016 [6 – slide 1] trails Australia, regardless of whether the ABS or AIHW data are used. Also, the proportion of English smokers who smoked in the last year and who tried to stop smoking is currently the lowest recorded in England since 2007 [6 slide 4].

Bates says that the UK and the USA where e-ecigarette use is widespread have seen “recent sharp falls” in smoking prevalence. In fact in smoking prevalence has been falling in both nations for many years prior to the advent of e-cigarettes, as it has in Australia where e-cigarettes are seldom seen. Disturbingly in the USA, the decline in youth smoking has come to a halt after 2014 [7], following continuous falls for at least a decade – well before e-cigarette use became popular. The spectacular increase in e-cigarette use in youth particularly between 2013-2015 (see Figure 1 in reference 7] was either coincident or possibly partly responsible with that halting.

Finally Bates makes gratuitous, unreferenced remarks about “harms” arising from Australia’s tobacco tax policy and “campaigns to denormalise smoking”. There are no policies or campaigns to denormalise smoking in Australian that are not also in place in the UK or the USA, as well as many other nations. When Bates was director at ASH he vigourously campaigned for tobacco taxes to be high and to keep on increasing [8]. His current views make an interesting contrast with even the CEO of British American Tobacco Australia who agrees that tax has had a major impact on reducing smoking, telling an Australian parliamentary committee in 2011 “We understand that the price going up when the excise goes up reduces consumption. We saw that last year very effectively with the increase in excise. There was a 25 per cent increase in the excise and we saw the volumes go down by about 10.2 per cent; there was about a 10.2 per cent reduction in the industry last year in Australia.” [9].

References

1 Public Health England. E-cigarettes: a new foundation for evidence-based policy and practice. Aug 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/454517/Ecigarettes_a_firm_foundation_for_evidence_based_policy_and_practice.pdf

2 Nutt DJ et al. Estimating the harms of nicotine-containing products using the MCDA approach. Eur Addict Res 2014;20:218-25.

3 Combes RD, Balls M. On the safety of e-cigarettes.: “I can resists anything except temptation.” ATLA 2015;42:417-25. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289674033_On_the_Safety_of_E-cigarettes_I_can_resist_anything_except_temptation1

4 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Drug Household Survey. 2014 data and references. http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129548784

5 Swedish Ministry for Health and Social Affairs. Reporting instrument of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 2012 (13 April)http://www.who.int/fctc/reporting/party_reports/sweden_2012_report_final_rev.pdf

6 Smoking in England. Top line findings STS140721 5 Aug 2016 http://www.smokinginengland.info/downloadfile/?type=latest-stats&src=13(slide 1)

7 Singh T et al. Tobacco use among middle and high school students — United States, 2011–2015. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6514a1.htm MMWR April 15, 2016 / 65(14);361–367

8 Bates C Why tobacco taxes should be high and continue to increase. 1999 (February) http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_218.pdf

9 The Treasury. Post-implementation review: 25 per cent tobacco excise increase. Commonwealth of Australia 2013; Feb. http://ris.dpmc.gov.au/files/2013/05/02-25-per-cent-Excise-for-Tobacco.doc p15

  • Clive Bates2016 Aug 22 02:45 a.m. (2 days ago)edited 1 of 1 people found this helpful

    Some responses to Professor Simon Chapman:

    1. Professor Chapman criticises the Public Health England and Royal College of Physicians consensus on the relative risk of smoking and e-cigarette use by referring to a comment piece Combes RD, 2015 in the journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals. The piece is written by a commentator who’s affiliation is an animal welfare rights campaign (FRAME), for which ATLA is the house journal, and an independent consultant. How these two came to be writing about e-cigarettes at all is not stated, but this is less important than the fact that their commentary provides little of substance to challenge the robust expert-based PHE and RCP analysis, and it provides even less to justify the colourful dismissive pull-out quotes chosen by Professor Chapman. Even though the work can be dismissed on its merits, surely the authors should have disclosed that FRAME has pharmaceutical funders [Our supporters], including companies who make and sell medical smoking cessation products.
    2. Professor Chapman confirms my view that the appropriate statistic to use for comparing Australian prevalence of current smoking is 16.0 percent based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 (see table 9.3). This is the latest data on the prevalence of current adult smoking.
    3. Unless it’s to make the numbers look as low as possible, I am unsure why Professors Chapman and McKee choose to refer to a survey from 2013 or why Professor Chapman didn’t disclose in his response that he is citing a survey of drug use, including illicit drug use: [see AIHW, National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013]. Surely a neutral investigator would be concerned that a state-run survey asking about illicit drug use might have a low response rate? And further, that non-responders would be more likely to be drug users, and hence also more likely to be smokers – so distorting the prevalence systematically downwards? In fact, the response rate in this survey is just 49.1% [Explanatory notes]. While this might be the best that can be done to understand illicit drug use, it is an unnecessarily unreliable way to gauge legal activity like smoking, especially as a more recent and more reliable survey is available.
    4. The figure of 11% given for smoking in Sweden is not ‘daily smoking’ as asserted by Professor Chapman. With just a little more research before rushing out his reply, Professor Chapman could have checked the source and link I provided. The question used is: “Regarding smoking cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos or a pipe, which of the following applies to you?” 11% of Swedes answer affirmatively to the response: “You currently smoke“.
    5. If we are comparing national statistics, it is true that measured smoking prevalence in Britain is a little higher than in the Australia – the latest Office for National Statistics data suggests 17.5 percent of adults age 16 and over were current smokers in 2015 (derived from its special survey of e-cigarette use: E-cigarette use in Great Britain 2015). So what? The two countries are very different both today and in where they have come from and many factors explain smoking prevalence – not just tobacco control policy. But if one is to insist on such comparisons, official data from the (until now) vape-friendly United States suggests that American current adult smoking prevalence, at 15.1 percent, is now below that of Australia [source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 1997–2015, Sample Adult Core component. Figure 8.1. Prevalence of current cigarette smoking among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 1997–2015]
    6. Regressive taxes are harmful and so is stigmatisation – I shouldn’t need to reference that for anyone working in public health. Any thoughtful policy maker will not only try to design policies that achieve a primary objective (reduce the disease attributable to smoking) but also be mindful that the policies themselves can be a source of harm or damaging in some other way. Ignoring the consequences of tobacco policies on wider measures of wellbeing is something best left to fanatics. In public health terms, these consequences may be considered ‘a price worth paying’ to reduce smoking, but they create real harms for those who continue to smoke, and in my view, those promoting them have an ethical obligation to mitigate these wider harms to the extent possible.
    7. The approach, favoured by me and many others, of supporting (or in Australia’s case of not actively obstructing) ways in which smokers can more easily move from the most dangerous products to those likely to cause minimal risk has twin advantages:
    • (1) it helps to achieve the ultimate goal of reducing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory illnesses by improving the responsiveness of smokers to conventional tobacco control policy. It does this by removing the significant barrier of having to quit nicotine completely, something many cannot do easily or choose not to do.
    • (2) It does this in a way that goes with the grain of consumer preferences and meets people where they are. This is something for public health to rediscover – public health should be about ‘enabling’, not bullying or nannying, and go about its business with humility and empathy towards those it is trying to help.

 

  • Clive Bates2016 Aug 22 10:52 a.m. (2 days ago) 1 of 1 people found this helpful

    As an aside, it’s disappointing to see Professor Chapman spreading doubt about e-cigarettes with reference to the filters and ‘light and mild’ cigarette fiasco (see the 1999 report by Martin Jarvis and me on this fiasco). This ‘science-by-analogy’ fails because it misunderstands the nicotine-seeking behaviour that underpins both smoking and vaping.

    With light and mild cigarettes, health activists were fooled into believing that these cigarettes would much be less risky, even though they are no less risky. It would be wrong to compound this error by implying that e-cigarettes are not much less risky, even though they are sure to be.

    The underlying reason for both errors is the same – nicotine users seek a roughly fixed dose of nicotine (a well-understood process, known as titration). If a vaper can obtain their desired nicotine dose without exposure to cigarette smoke toxins, then they will not suffer the smoking-related harms. With light and mild cigarettes, both nicotine and toxins were diluted equally with air to fool smoking machines. However, human smokers adjusted their behaviour to get the desired dose of nicotine and so got almost the same exposures to toxins. This is another well-understood process known as ‘compensation’. I am sure a global authority of Professor Chapman’s stature would be aware these mechanisms, so it is all the more perplexing that he should draw on this analogy in his campaign against e-cigarettes.

  • As part of his lengthy and personalised attacks on Martin McKee, Clive Bates argues that “we certainly should not” look to Australia for policy inspiration.

    This view, and some of his other comments, would have strong support from the global tobacco industry, which has ferociously opposed the evidence-based action to reduce smoking taken by successive Australian governments, and reports that we are “the darkest market in the world”. (1)

    No doubt Mr Bates will be able to discuss these issues further with tobacco industry leaders at the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum (“the annual industry summit”) in Brussels later this year, where as in previous years he is listed as a speaker.(2)

    References 1. Brisby D, Pramanik A, Matthews P, Kutz O, Kamaras A. Imperial Brands PLC Investor Day: Jun 8 2016. Transcript – Quality Growth: Returns and Growth – Markets that Matter [p.6] & Presentation Slides – Quality Growth: Returns and Growth – Markets that Matter . http://www.imperialbrandsplc.com/Investors/Results-centre.

    1. http://gtnf-2016.com/

 

 

  • Clive Bates2016 Aug 24 1:56 p.m. (11 hours ago) 1 of 1 people found this helpful

    In response to Professor Daube, I am pleased to have the opportunity to explain a different and less authoritarian approach to the public health challenges of smoking.

    1. But let me start with a misunderstanding. Professor Daube accuses me of a personal attack on Professor McKee. In fact, I made five specific substantive comments on Professor McKee’s short letter, to which Professor Stimson added a further two. These are corrections of fact and understanding, not a ‘personal attack’. It is important that academics understand and recognise this distinction.
    2. Professor Daube draws the reader’s attention to a link to an investor presentation by Imperial Tobacco. I am unsure what point he is trying to make. Nevertheless, the presentation paints a rosy picture of life in Australia for this tobacco company: it is “on track” (p6); it has “continued strong performance in Australia” (p15); in Australia it is “continuing to perform strongly – JPS equity driving share, revenue and profit growth” (p31). It may be a hard pill to swallow, but tobacco companies in Australia are very profitable indeed, in part because the tax regime allows them to raise underlying pre-tax prices easily. It’s a common error of activists to believe that harm to tobacco companies is a proxy for success in tobacco control (an idea sometimes known as ‘the scream test’. If it that was the case, the burgeoning profitability of tobacco companies would be a sign of utter failure in tobacco control [1].
    3. In any event, my concerns are not about the welfare of the tobacco industry in Australia or anywhere else. My concern, as I hope I made clear in my response to Professor Chapman, is the welfare of the 2.8 million Australians (16% adults) who continue to smoke despite Australia’s tobacco control efforts. For them, the serious health risks of smoking are compounded by some Australian tobacco control policies that are punitive (Australia is not alone in this) while denying them low-risk alternatives. All the harms caused by both smoking and anti-smoking policies can be mitigated and the benefits realised by making very low-risk alternatives to combustible cigarettes (for example, e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco) available to smokers to purchase with their own money and of their own volition. Professor Daube apparently opposes this simple liberal idea.
    4. Professor Daube finishes his contribution with what I can only assume is an attempted smear in pointing out that I sometimes speak at conferences where the tobacco industry is present, as if this is, a priori, an immoral act. I speak at these events because I have an ambitious advocacy agenda about how these firms should evolve from being ‘merchants of death’ into supplying a low-risk recreational nicotine market, based on products that do not involve combustion of tobacco leaf, which the source of the disease burden. So I have a public health agenda – the formation of a market for nicotine that will not kill one billion users in the 21st Century, and that will perhaps avoid hundreds of millions of premature deaths [2]. There is a dispute about how to do this, and no doubt Professor Daube has ideas, but the policy proposals for the so-called ‘tobacco endgame’ advanced by tobacco control activists do not withstand even cursory scrutiny [3]. The preferred approach of advocates of ‘tobacco harm reduction’, among which I include myself, involves a fundamental technology transformation, a disruptive process that has started and is synergistic with well-founded tobacco control policies [4]. If, like me, you wish to see a market change fundamentally, then it makes sense to talk to and understand every significant actor in the market, rather than only those who’s convictions you already share.

    References & further reading

    [1] Bates C. Who or what is the World Health Organisation at war with? The Counterfactual, May 2016 [link].

    [2] Bates C. A billion lives? The Counterfactual, November 2015 [link] and Bates C. Are we in the endgame for smoking? The Counterfactual, February 2015 [link]

    [3] Bates C. The tobacco endgame: a critique of the policy ideas. The Counterfactual, March 2015 [link]

    [4] Bates C. A more credible endgame – creative destruction. The Counterfactual, March 2015 [link].

    As I think Professor Daube’s comment is laden with defamatory innuendo, let me repeat the disclosure statement from my initial posting:

    Competing interests: I am a longstanding advocate for ‘harm reduction’ approaches to public health. I was director of Action on Smoking and Health UK from 1997-2003. I have no competing interests with respect to any of the relevant industries.

 

 

“Snusforskning” i Sverige, oredlighet “in extremis”?

Systemiskt redlighetsbekymmer inom svensk Tobaksforskning sedan 1980 / WHO FCTC COP 7 14-16 Nov 2016

Bästa Herrar XXX, YYY och ZZZ,

Jag heter Atakan Erik Befrits och skriver till Er med anledning av den alldeles utmärkta artikeln i Dagens Nyheter. Det var otroligt uppfriskande och glädjande att uttalat få läsa att allvarliga forskningsproblem kan bestå i annat än rent tekniskt fusk.
Får jag vördsamt be er om 20 minuter av er tid att läsa nedan, flera hundra miljoner förtida dödsfall av rökning kan kanske undvikas, Tack!
“Vetenskaplig oredlighet innefattar handlingar eller underlåtelser i samband med forskning, vilka leder till falska eller förvrängda forskningsresultat eller ger vilseledande uppgifter om en persons insats i forskningen. För ansvar krävs att den vetenskapliga oredligheten begåtts uppsåtligen eller av grov oaktsamhet.” (Förslag från VR till ny skrivning)
Jag arbetar internationellt med “Tobacco Harm Reduction”.
”THR” har i form av snus i Sverige och e-cigaretter i EU och USA, visat sig väsentligen snabbare och effektivare alternativ bort från cigarettrökning än samtliga övriga interventioner sammantagna. Inte heller är de på något vis ”mutually exclusive”, och utan negativa ”gateway” effekter, tvärtom.
Då dessa cigarett-interventioner är helt separata från Public Health, och helt utan direkt kostnad för samhället (positivt skattenetto), kan man fråga sig om det överhuvud taget är etiskt försvarbart att ”Public Health” aktivt med näbbar, klor och direkta lögner motverkar förespråkande av interventionen?
Sveriges 300,000 snusande före detta rökare torde generera en samhällsbesparing på 3,600 färre dödsfall per år och 9 miljarder SEK i minskade kostnader. (Sveriges 1 miljon resterande rökare beräknas kosta 30 Miljarder per år).
Att hävda, eller ens låta påskina att dessa 300,000, eller ens en försvarlig del av dessa 300,000, vore helt rökfria om snus inte funnits, är naivt och rimligen bedrägligt och oetiskt.
Allvarliga skador av snus hos de ca 700,000 exklusiva snusare i Sverige har heller inte kunnat beläggas eller identifieras i klinisk verksamhet på över 150 år.
Sverige är det enda landet globalt där tydliga risk och hälsoekonomisk kalkyler kan göras med över 100 år av data, eller brist på data, beroende på hur man ser det, Sverige har alltså ett helt unikt ansvar, ett ansvar vi underlåtit att reflektera övergripande kring i över 30 år.
Problematiken är otroligt enkel:
  • Byte från cigaretter till snus ger helt tveklöst en riskminskning på 98% per uppmätt enhet (ej möjlig att skilja från rökslut/rökminskning)
  • Snusanvändning som separat företeelse ger en risk för skada/förtida död som är maximalt 2% av den som rökning hade medfört (ej mätbar)
  • Public Health England har som spjutspetsorgan tydligt vägt risken med e-cigarett till maximalt 5% av risken med rökning
  • Sverige har en officiell linje (2016 lagstadgad då KI vägrar lämna data) att snus är vetenskapligt bevisat farligt (har biverkningar?) och därmed absolut inte får användas för att uppnå sk ”Harm Reduction”, trots att 12,000 svenskar dör av rökning och statistiskt sett 0 svenskar dör av snus
  • Problemet är inte i Sverige där alla vet att det ljugs om snus, problemet är internationellt där folkhälsomyndigheter tar informationen från Svenska myndigheter som ”gold standard” och agerar på den givna informationen
  • Nationalekonomiska institutioner och HUI har sedan mer än 30 år färdiga beräkningar som visar att snus har i praktiken noll hälsoeffekt för aldrigrökare och samma effekt för rökare som totalt rökstopp. Punkt.
  • Ingen offentlig hälsoekonomisk beräkning/uppskattning har någonsin genomförts. Ej Socialstyrelsen, Ej Folkhälsomyndigheten, Ej TLV, Ej SBU och Ej inom hälsoekonomi från KI – av uttalat politiska skäl, det finns ingen orsak att räkna på vad vi bestämt att vi inte skall erkänna som ett alternativ. “Policy based evidence making” alltså.
Orsaken att jag skriver till Er denna Lördagsmorgon är att jag söker råd, dåd och stöd för hur att åstadkomma en visselblåsarsituation som kan ha möjlighet att påverka den nämnda globala konferensen i New Delhi i November 2016. Jag hoppas bidra till att en rimlighetsbild framkommer som kan till stor del undvika en till stor del undvikbar global folkhälsokatastrof.
Sverige kommer tveklöst (med stöd av frivilligorganisationer från USA), utan ändring, att återigen förstärka och meddela de länder där 80% av världens ca 1 miljard dagligrökare lever, och rökning fortfarande växer snabbt, att byte till lågriskprodukter är ett helt oacceptabelt och bevisat farligt alternativ till rökning.
 
En Svensk delegationen till WHO COP 6 i Moskva skrev 2014 på en deklaration som jämställer svenskt snus med indisk betelnöt och sudanesisk toombak, möjligen den enskilt mest oetiska handling som någon företagits utan att svenska forskare vågat larma om att proportioner helt saknas.
Årets konferens är tänkt att bli en slutstation för lågriskprodukter – de skall bort! Tanken är att endast cigaretter och farmaceutiska produkter (93% failure rate) skall finnas på marknaden, utöver psykosocialt stöd och denormalisering, till dess den siste rökaren har slutat eller avlidit.
Enligt WHO’s egna beräkningar kommer den föreslagna linjen inbegripa ca 1 miljard förtida dödsfall innan år 2100 av rökning, men att det samtidigt är den tveklöst bästa metoden och den enda metoden som över huvud taget är acceptabel.
 
En växande grupp internationella forskare som är oerhört kritiska till Sverige håller inte med om detta, och är övertygade om att en mer sanningsenlig ”forskningslägesangivelse” från Sverige har en reell potential att ändra det globala tobaksarbetet radikalt i positiv riktning.
Får jag vördsamt be om 15 minuter var av er tid till att snabbt skumma igenom följande brev. Ett till Folkhälsominister Maria Larsson från 2013 och ett till WHO Director General Margaret Chan från 2014. Brevet till Maria Larsson ledde till ett Regeringsbeslut som ålade KI, Socialstyrelsen och Folkhälsomyndigheten att bland annat klart redovisa läget kring skador och kostnader av snus. De duckade helt snusfrågan (Då skadorna statistiskt är noll) och har ännu inte återkommit med någon gissning.
Härav är krissituationen inför COP 7 möjlig. Den hade den inte varit möjlig med siffran 95% från Public Health England i kombination med siffran +98% om snus från KI.
Klara besked från Sverige kan alltså leda till ett ”Nödstopp” kring harm reduction utan att påverka kampen mot rökning, dubbel vinst alltså.
Finns där något att göra?
För enkelhet i referenskontroll finns ett antal undertecknare till det öppna brevet till WHO listade nedan. Jag är alltså inte en ensam knäppskalle.
Stort tack på förhand och med vänliga hälsningar
Atakan Erik Befrits
Fristående Tobaksforskare
Global Forum on Nicotine
0046 764 156046
COI: Emottager ingen betalning eller ersättning för mitt arbete men stödjer den krävande principen om ”Harm Reduction” strategier så som uttalade i FCTC (Tobakskonventionen) Artikel 1 (Use of terms), punkten d:
 
(d) “tobacco control” means a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies that aim to improve the health of a population by eliminating or reducing their consumption of tobacco products and exposure to tobacco smoke;
 
Snus sänker risken/skadan av tobaksbruk med +98%. Sänker vikten konsumerad tobak med 50%. Sänker egen och annans ”exposure to tobacco smoke” med 100%, på vilket sätt passar det inte in i kategorin “harm reduction” kan man med fog fråga sig.

Signatories 26 May 2014

Dr Derek Yach

Former Executive Director, Non- Communicable Diseases
Former Head of Tobacco Free Initiative, World Health Organisation (1995-2004) 

Senior Vice President Vitality Group plc Director, Vitality Institute for Health Promotion

United States of America

Professor Dan Xiao

Director of Department Epidemiology WHO Collaborating Center for Tobacco or Health
Beijing Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital,
China

Professor Robert West

Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies
Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health,

University College London United Kingdom

Professor David Abrams

Professor of Health Behavior and Society. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Maryland. USA.
Professor of Oncology (adjunct). Georgetown University Medical Center, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Washington DC.

United States of America

Professor Tony Axéll

Emeritus Professor Geriatric Dentistry Consultant in Oral Medicine
Sweden

Professor Pierre Bartsch

Respiratory physician, Faculty of Medicine University of Liège Belgium

Professor Linda Bauld

Professor of Health Policy
Director of the Institute for Social Marketing Deputy Director, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
University of Stirling
United Kingdom

Professor Ron Borland

Nigel Gray Distinguished Fellow in Cancer Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria Professorial Fellow School of Population Health and Department of Information Systems

University of Melbourne, Australia

Professor John Britton

Professor of Epidemiology;
Director, UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies,
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences University of Nottingham,
United Kingdom

Associate Professor Chris Bullen

Director, National Institute for Health Innovation
School of Population Health, University of Auckland,

New Zealand

Professor Emeritus André Castonguay

Faculty of Pharmacy Université Laval, Quebec,
Canada.

Dr Lynne Dawkins

Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Co-ordinator: Drugs and Addictive Behaviours Research Group School of Psychology,

University of East London, United Kingdom

Professor Ernest Drucker

Professor Emeritus
Department of Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University
United States of America

Professor Jean François Etter

Associate Professor Institut de santé globale, Faculté de médecine, Université de Genève, Switzerland

Dr Karl Fagerström

President, Fagerström Consulting AB, Vaxholm,
Sweden

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos

Researcher, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece
Researcher, University Hospital Gathuisberg, Leuven,

Belgium

Professor Antoine Flahault

Directeur de l’Institut de Santé Globale Faculté de Médecine, Université de Genève, Suisse/ Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva, Switzerland Professor of Public Health at the Faculté de Médecine, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité,

France

Dr Coral Gartner

Senior Research Fellow
University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research
The University of Queensland, Australia

Dr Guillermo González

Psychiatrist
Comisión de Rehabilitación en Enfermedad Mental Grave
Clínica San Miguel
Madrid,
Spain

Dr Nigel Gray

Member of Special Advisory Committee on Tobacco Regulation of the World Health Organization
Honorary Senior Associate

Cancer Council Victoria Australia

Professor Peter Hajek

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director, Health and Lifestyle Research Unit
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London,

United Kingdom

Professor Wayne Hall

Director and Inaugural Chair, Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research University of Queensland
Australia

Professor John Hughes

Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Family Practice
University of Vermont
United States of America

Professor Martin Jarvis

Emeritus Professor of Health Psychology Department of Epidemiology & Public Health
University College London,

United Kingdom

Professor Didier Jayle

Professeur d’addictologie
Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers Paris,
France

Dr Martin Juneau

Directeur, Direction de la Prévention Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal Professeur Titulaire de Clinique Faculté de Médecine,

Université de Montréal, Canada

Dr Michel Kazatchkine

Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy
Senior fellow, Global Health Program, Graduate institute, Geneva,

Switzerland

Professor Demetrios Kouretas

School of Health Sciences and Vice Rector University of Thessaly,
Greece

Professor Lynn Kozlowski

Dean, School of Public Health and Health Professions,
Professor of Community Health and Health Behavior,

University at Buffalo,
State University of New York, United States of America

Professor Eva Králíková

Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Centre for Tobacco-Dependence
First Faculty of Medicine
Charles University in Prague and General University Hospital in Prague,

Czech Republic

Professor Michael Kunze

Head of the Institute for Social Medicine Medical University of Vienna,
Austria

Dr Murray Laugesen

Director
Health New Zealand, Lyttelton, Christchurch,
New Zealand

Dr Jacques Le Houezec

Consultant in Public Health, Tobacco dependence, Rennes,
France
Honorary Lecturer, UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies,

University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Dr Kgosi Letlape

President of the Africa Medical Association Former President of the World Medical Association
Former Chairman of Council of the South African Medical Association

South Africa

Dr Karl Erik Lund

Research director
Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research,
Oslo,
Norway

Dr Gérard Mathern

Président de l’Institut Rhône-Alpes de Tabacologie
Saint-Chamond,
France

Professor Richard Mattick

NHMRC Principal Research Fellow Immediate Past Director NDARC (2001- 2009)
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)

Faculty of Medicine
The University of New South Wales, Australia

Professor Ann McNeill

Professor of Tobacco Addiction
Deputy Director, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
National Addiction Centre
Institute of Psychiatry
King’s College London,
United Kingdom

Dr Hayden McRobbie

Reader in Public Health Interventions, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Dr Anders Milton

Former President of the Swedish Red Cross
Former President and Secretary of the Swedish Medical Association

Former Chairman of the World Medical Association
Owner & Principal Milton Consulting, Sweden

Professor Marcus Munafò

Professor of Biological Psychology
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
School of Experimental Psychology University of Bristol,
United Kingdom

Professor David Nutt

Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (UK) Edmund J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology

Head of the Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Molecular Imaging
Imperial College London,
United Kingdom

Dr Gaston Ostiguy

Professeur agrégé
Directeur de la Clinique de cessation tabagique
Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)
Institut thoracique de Montréal, Canada

Professor Riccardo Polosa

Director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology, University of Catania, Italy.

Dr Lars Ramström

Director
Institute for Tobacco Studies Täby,
Sweden

Dr Martin Raw

Special Lecturer
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies
Division of Epidemiology and Public Health University of Nottingham,
United Kingdom

Professor Andrzej Sobczak

Department of General and Inorganic Chemistry,
Faculty of Pharmacy and Laboratory Medicine,

Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health

Sosnowiec, Poland

Professor Gerry Stimson

Emeritus Professor, Imperial College London;
Visiting Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine United Kingdom

Professor Tim Stockwell

Director, Centre for Addictions Research of BC
Professor, Department of Psychology University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Professor David Sweanor

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Special Lecturer, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health,

University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Professor Umberto Tirelli

Director Department of Medical Oncology National Cancer Institute of Aviano
Italy

Professor Umberto Veronesi

Scientific Director
IEO Istituto Europeo di Oncologia Former Minister of Health,
Italy

Professor Kenneth Warner

Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health Professor, Health Management & Policy School of Public Health

University of Michigan United States of America

Letter to WHO Margaret Chan 2014   Highlighted MargaretChan 26 may 2014

Letter to Swedens Minister of Health 2013      MariaLarssonBrevHighlighted

Läkare mot Skademinskning i tandem med tobaksindustrin och läkemedelsindustrin

 

Vänligen finn bifogat kunnig och mycket viktig analys av särintressen som motverkar skademinskning i tobakspolitiken i USA.

Samma särintressen fungerar exakt likadant i Sverige men i Sverige är måltavlan dubbel, e-cig och snus. De 111 organisationerna som skrivit på Läkare mot Tobak och Tobaksfaktas initiativ “Tobacco Endgame 2025” har fått utbildning och utbildningsmaterial kring hur Tobakskonventionen skall och bör tolkas av just Läkare mot Tobak och Tobaksfakta, rundgång således. I informationsmaterialet till Endgame är det helt klart att snus inte på något vis är en acceptable väg från rökning. LmT och Tobaksfakta propagerar dessutom för så hårda regleringar som möjligt för både snus och e-cigaretter, då de misslyckade med försöken att få e-cigaretter totalförbjudna (http://www.tobaccoorhealthsweden.org/…/Engame_Nov2014_Utskr…)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/10/baptists-bootleggers-electronic-cigarettes-a-response-to-professor-berman/

‘Baptists, Bootleggers & Electronic Cigarettes’: A response to Professor Berman

Copyrights and credits to Washington Post and Jonathan H. Adler
 July 10 at 6:27 PM
 

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products under federal law could do more to benefit Big Tobacco than to safeguard public health. Major cigarette manufacturers stand to benefit from regulations that both reduce the comparative advantage of electronic cigarettes and constrain competition within the e-cigarette market. For this reason, it should be no surprise that the Big Two tobacco companies — Altria and Reynolds — supported the FDA’s proposal to begin such regulation.

In a paper forthcoming in the Yale Journal on Regulation, “Baptists, Bootleggers & Electronic Cigarettes,” Bruce Yandle, Andrew Morriss, Roger Meiners and I place the debate over the regulation of electronic cigarettes in the broader context of the history of tobacco regulation. (The full paper will be available shortly. In the meantime, an early draft is available here.)

Building on prior work by Morriss and Yandle showing that Big Tobacco has a long history of using regulation to suppress competition, we explain why it is in the interest of the big cigarette companies to suppress competition from electronic cigarettes, both to prevent the loss of tobacco consumers to e-cigarettes and to make the e-cigarette market easier for Big Tobacco to dominate, at the expense of the smaller e-cig producers that generated the new form of competition.

In short, Big Tobacco would like to use regulation to do for e-cigarette markets what has already been done to cigarette markets. In these efforts, Big Tobacco (which was the Big Four, then the Big Three and now the Big Two) has often joined forces with public health groups to support greater regulation, forming a “bootlegger and Baptist” coalition. So, for example, tobacco giant Altria joined forces with some anti-smoking groups to draft and then lobby for the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This law helped suppress competition in cigarette markets and is the source of the FDA’s purported authority to regulate e-cigs — authority that both Big Tobacco and many anti-smoking groups encouraged the FDA to use.

Professor Micah Berman of Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law takes issue with our analysis, arguing we let “theory get out ahead of the facts on the ground.” According to Professor Berman, there is “limited evidence” that economic interests, most notably Big Tobacco, have helped push for regulation of electronic cigarettes and that evidence of “Baptist and Bootlegger” support for the FDA’s deeming rule is “lacking.” We disagree, and stand by our analysis.

Professor Berman writes that he is “not aware of any tobacco industry comments that were supportive of FDA regulation of e-cigarettes.” I suppose that is because Professor Berman did not look for them. Altria (parent company of Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro) filed comments in support of the deeming rule (available here) and made no secret of this position, declaring its support for the deeming rule on its website. (Altria’s comments are accessible both on its website and in the rulemaking docket on Regulations.gov.)

  Reynolds subsidiary RAIS filed comments in support of the FDA deeming rule as well. Further, as Professor Berman notes, Reynolds called upon the FDA to ban all “open-system” e-cigarette and vaping products. Why? Because Reynolds manufactures the popular Vuse e-cig. Should the FDA refuse to take such a drastic step, Reynolds urged it to subject e-cigarettes to the same degree of regulation as traditional cigarettes, creating a uniform regulatory environment that works to the benefit of Big Tobacco.

Producers of smoking cessation products, such as GlaxoSmithKline (which sells nicotine gum and patches), supported the FDA’s deeming rule too. This is because e-cigs compete with gums and patches as smoking cessation and reduction aids (and many smokers find e-cigs to be more effective nicotine delivery devices than gums or patches).

Whether or not one thinks the FDA deeming rule is a good idea, that Big Tobacco companies and other economic interests supported the rule should be beyond dispute. As some public health groups supported the rule as well, the claim that tobacco “bootleggers” joined pro-regulatory “Baptists” in pushing for greater e-cig regulation should be beyond dispute.

Why would Big Tobacco support the FDA’s deeming rule? Because it is in their interest. Both when the deeming rule was proposed and when it was finalized, financial analysts, such as Bonnie Herzog at Wells Fargo, judged the rule a win for Big Tobacco. Subjecting e-cigs to the same regulatory controls as cigarettes makes it more difficult for e-cigs to gain market share from cigarettes. It also channels advertising, promotion, and shelf-space-acquisition efforts into those avenues already dominated by the big producers. And Big Tobacco is not done. As we discuss in the paper, Big Tobacco stands to benefit from subjecting e-cigs to the terms of the Master Settlement Agreement (as some legislators have proposed) and greater taxes on e-cigs. It’s no surprise that Reynolds supports e-cig taxes (despite producing a popular e-cig brand of its own).

Professor Berman further argues that our work rests on the assumption that e-cigs “function as a substitute for cigarettes.” Yes and no. As noted above, we argue that Big Tobacco stands to benefit from e-cig regulation in two ways — by making e-cigs less competitive against traditional cigarettes and by making the e-cigarette market easier for Big Tobacco to dominate. Only the first of these claims rests on the assumption that e-cigs function as a substitute for cigarettes. Professor Berman does not even address the other.

That e-cigs function as a substitute — that is, that some of the demand for e-cigs comes at the expense of the demand for cigarettes — is indisputable. First, as is well-documented, the majority of e-cig users are current or former tobacco users. (See, e.g., here.) Some use e-cigs to help them quit smoking, while many others use them as a replacement for some portion of their cigarette consumption. In other words, for a substantial share of the market, e-cigs “function as a substitute for cigarettes.”

There is further evidence that regulation of e-cigarettes benefits Big Tobacco. For example, two recent studies (here and here) have found that the adoption of measures to reduce youth access to e-cigarettes results in increased teen smoking rates. This occurs because cigarettes and e-cigs function as substitutes for one another, at least in this portion of the market. This, more than flimsy “gateway” hypotheses, may explain why youth smoking rates have dropped as youth e-cig use has increased. (As a father, I’d prefer my kids use neither, but there’s also no question that smoking is far more dangerous than vaping.)

There’s lots more to take issue with in Professor Berman’s post, but the above should suffice to explain why we claim that Big Tobacco has played the role of the “bootleggers” in a “Baptist and bootlegger” coalition supporting greater regulation of e-cigarettes. This fact alone is not enough to demonstrate the the FDA’s regulations are ill-advised, but it does place the FDA’s regulatory initiative in context.

As noted above, our paper in the Yale Journal on Regulation will not be out until later this summer. Those interested can find an early draft on SSRN here. Note that the paper has been updated substantially since then.

DISCLOSURE: In 2014, I co-authored a white paper on the political economy of e-cigarette regulation for which my co-authors and I received compensation from NJOY, an e-cigarette manufacturer. NJOY exercised no control over the conclusions of that white paper, and I have not maintained any relationship, economic or otherwise, with NJOY since completing that work. All of my conclusions about e-cigarette regulation are my own.

Hur snuset förbjöds i EU utan knyst från Sverige

Gratefully nicked from Velvet Glove Iron Fist and Dick Puddlecote:

History Repeating – Snus and E-cigarettes

Dick Puddlecote has been having some fun raking over the mountain of correspondence between ASH and their friends/donors in government. E-mails reveal the vigour with which the vaper’s suppposed friends at this state-funded sockpuppet lobbied for e-cigarettes to be regulated as medicinesand then, when that failed, were determined to see Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive passed without amendment.

This all reminded me of some much older ASH correspondence that I looked at several years ago when I was writing The Art of Suppression. Back then, I spent a couple of afternoons at the Wellcome Library in London where there is a large collection of ASH documents going back to the group’s inception in 1971. I was looking for documents about snus and I wasn’t disappointed. There were boxes of them.

The similarities between today’s e-cigarette panic and the snus panic of the 1980s are uncanny. So uncanny that you might think that ‘public health’ people would have learned a lesson. To be fair, some have – including ASH to an extent – but if you look at the WHO, the FDA, the Lancet etc. you can hear exactly the same bogus arguments and hysterical rhetoric that were voiced in the 1980s.

20160707 Bild 1 skoalbandit

The full story is in the book but the heavily truncated version goes like this: Snus is smokeless tobacco in a pouch that goes under the top lip. It was assumed to cause cancer but doesn’t. It was assumed to be a gateway to smoking but isn’t. ASH ran a campaign to ban it in Britain and succeeded. The EU then followed. Sweden is now the only EU member state that allows the sale of snus. This graph tells a thousand words…

20160707 Bild 2 snus-smokingrates-eu

The whole thing kicked off when an American smokeless tobacco company set up a factory in Scotland to produce a brand of snus called Skoal Bandits, apparently with a government grant.

As early as 1984, Richard Peto had seen the potential of snus as a substitute for people wanting to quit smoking. In 1985, Michael Russell and colleagues (including Robert West) reported the results of new research in a letter to The Lancet. Still working on the (mistaken) assumption that snus caused oral cancer, they concluded that snus ‘could help people trying to give up smoking… If all smokers in Britain switched to sachets about 50,000 premature deaths per year might eventually be saved at an annual cost of less than 1,000 deaths from mouth cancer.’

None of this appealed to ASH (then led by David Simpson). Their incomprehension is nicely illustrated by the handwritten comment of ‘Weird headline!’ next to a news story about snus being a ‘threat to cigarettes’. (nb. click to enlarge any of the following images)

01c45-weirdheadlinesnus

Such headlines were rare, however. Thanks to scare-mongering by ASH and the BMA, news reports about snus were almost entirely negative. This, from 1985, is typical. Notice that the BMA were already calling for an outright ban at this stage…

20160707 Bild 4 cancersweets

A letter from 1984 shows that ASH were aware of the harm reduction potential of snus but any glimmer of optimism was overwhelmed by the same concerns about ‘dual use’ that are expressed by anti-vaping activists today…

79373-snus-dualuse

A 1985 letter from Alexander McCall Smith, the Edinburgh-based chairman of the Association for Non-Smokers’ Rights contains another assumption that anti-vaping folk like to make. After stating that his organisation is concerned only with passive smoking and therefore has ‘precisely nothing to say about Skoal Bandits’, he goes on to say that ‘everybody knows’ that the product is ‘aimed at children’ and that ‘the whole exercise is to accustom under-age users to nicotine’.

20160707 Bild 6 non-smokersrights

Fears about the ‘gateway effect’ were commonplace. For example, in this 1985 article headlined ‘”Ban the Tobacco Bandits” Demand’…

f9858-gateway1985

In a letter dated 11 April 1985, David Simpson brings up both the gateway theory and the precautionary principle:

“We have had the matter raised in parliament and numerous times in the press but I fear that by the time there is concrete evidence that young people progress from using this product to smoking cigarettes, it will be too late for action – the usual story.”

In January 1986, Ireland banned snus. Hong Kong and Australia followed suit soon afterwards. A letter from the Australian anti-smoking campaigner Nigel Gray to the Australian Minister of Health shows the lengths to which prohibitionists go to convince people that they are not prohibitionists. ‘In relation to civil liberties’, he writes, ‘this move would not impair them at all. If individuals wish to chew tobacco they can obtain and prepare it for themselves by breaking up cigarettes.’ Hmm.

20160707 Bild 8 nigelgray

In the UK, the campaign to ban snus was led by David Simpson of ASH and Alison Hillhouse of ASH Scotland. They initially focused on the loophole in the law that allowed oral tobacco to be sold to children. When this was sensibly closed in July, a full ban was the ‘next logical step’, as a press release from the United Kingdom Coordinating Committee on Cancer Research made clear…

The Government has taken steps to ban the sale of oral snuff to people under 16 but this is unlikely to be effective in stopping the spread of this addictive habit… only a total ban on the import, manufacture and sale of oral snuff will be adequate to prevent the widespread use of this carcinogenic material.

Simpson had extensive correspondence with the Labour MP Robert Wareing who agreed to ask questions in parliament. ASH helpfully gave him the exact wordings of these questions…

20160707 Bild 9 wareingdraft1986
c3742-draftban

In June 1987, the WHO issued a press release calling for a ‘pre-emptive ban’ on snus – indeed, on all smokeless tobacco – ‘to prevent a new public health epidemic from a new form of tobacco use’.

‘Although promoted as an alternative to cigarettes, specifically in North America and Western Europe, smokeless tobacco is described by WHO a “new threat to society” – particularly to young males who are thus far the major targets in sophisticated promotional and advertising campaigns.’

20160707 Bild 11 WHO1987snusban

The UK banned the sale and manufacture of snus in 1989. The EEC followed suit in 1992. Sweden got an exemption when it joined the EU in 1995. Sweden’s smoking rate is now less than half the EU average and is the lowest in the developed world.

Viva public health!