FDA OKs first e-cigarette, Vuse, a vaping device from RJ Reynolds, citing benefit to smokers

Story Highlights

  • Tuesday’s decision only applies to Vuse’s Solo e-cigarette and its tobacco-flavored nicotine cartridges.
  • Launched in 2013, Vuse Solo is a rechargeable metallic device that’s shaped like a traditional cigarette.
  • Vuse is the No. 2 vaping brand in the U.S. behind Juul, accounting for about a third of all retail sales.

WASHINGTON — For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized an electronic cigarette, saying the vaping device from R.J. Reynolds can help smokers cut back on conventional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes have been sold in the U.S. for more than a decade with minimal government oversight or research. Facing a court deadline, the FDA has been conducting a sweeping review of vaping products to determine which ones should be allowed to remain on the market.

The agency said in September it had rejected applications for more than a million e-cigarettes and related products, mainly due to their potential appeal to underage teens. But regulators delayed making decisions on most of the major vaping companies, including market leader Juul, which is still pending.

Tuesday’s decision only applies to Vuse’s Solo e-cigarette and its tobacco-flavored nicotine cartridges. The agency said data from the company showed the e-cigarette helped smokers significantly reduce their exposure to the harmful chemicals in traditional cigarettes.

While the products can now be legally sold in the U.S., the FDA stressed they are neither safe nor “FDA approved,” and that people who don’t smoke shouldn’t use them.

Launched in 2013, Vuse Solo is a rechargeable metallic device that’s shaped like a traditional cigarette. The FDA said it rejected 10 other requests from the company for other flavored products. The agency is still reviewing the company’s request to sell a menthol-flavored nicotine formula.

“Today’s authorizations are an important step toward ensuring all new tobacco products undergo the FDA’s robust, scientific premarket evaluation,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s tobacco center, in a statement. “The manufacturer’s data demonstrates its tobacco-flavored products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products – either completely or with a significant reduction in cigarette consumption.”

E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. around 2007 with the promise of providing smokers with a less harmful alternative to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. The devices heat a nicotine solution into a vapor that’s inhaled.

But there has been little rigorous study of whether e-cigarettes truly help smokers quit. And efforts by the FDA to begin vetting vaping products and their claims were repeatedly slowed by industry lobbying and competing political interests.

In recent years, the vaping market grew to include hundreds of companies selling an array of devices and nicotine solutions in various flavors and strengths. But the vast majority of the market is controlled by a few companies including Juul Labs, which is partially owned by Altria, and Vuse.

Vuse is the No. 2 vaping brand in the U.S. behind Juul, accounting for about a third of all retail sales. Its parent company R.J. Reynolds sells Newport, Camel and other leading cigarettes.

A company spokesperson said in a statement that the FDA decision confirms “that Vuse Solo products are appropriate for the protection of the public health, underscoring years of scientific study and research.”

To stay on the market, companies must show that their products benefit public health. In practice, that means proving that adult smokers who use the products are likely to quit or reduce their smoking, while teens are unlikely to get hooked on them.

Kenneth Warner, a tobacco expert at the University of Michigan’s school of public health, said the news was a positive step for reducing the harms of smoking. But he lamented that only a vaping device backed by a Big Tobacco company was able to win the FDA’s endorsement.

“The demands the FDA places on companies filing these applications are so extraordinary difficult to meet that only those with huge resources and personnel – in terms of scientists, lawyers, researchers – are able to file successfully,” said Warner.

He said smaller companies and vape shops should have a separate path to get their products authorized.

The FDA declared underage vaping an “epidemic” in 2018 and has taken a series of measures aimed at the small cartridge-based devices that first sparked the problem, including limiting their flavors to tobacco and menthol. Separately, Congress raised the purchase age for all tobacco and vaping products to 21.

NHS Prescription E-cigarettes Vape News

NHS Prescription E-cigarettes vape news ecigclick

NHS Prescription E-cigarettes – More Reactions

The news the UK Government is considering NHS prescription e-cigarettes has been picked up by the world’s mainstream media.

So far there’s been few opponents to the idea, and the UK retail trade says it will be ‘good for the industry’.

NHS prescription e-cigarettes

As you can see from my article: E-cigarettes On NHS Prescriptions – the Good and the Bad – I have a few reservations…but hey I’ve put enough of a damper on things lol.

Trade magazine Better Retailing spoke to a number of shop keepers and all seemed keen on the idea – of course any licensed vape product would probably only be available from pharmacies.

However the retailers say it would mean more smokers making the switch and may lessen the negativity around vaping.

Avtar Sidhu, of St. John’s Budgens in Kenilworth, near me in Warwickshire, said:

There has been loads of conflicting and negative messaging over the years regarding vapes, so it’s great that the UK government has come out with some positive rhetoric.

It gives consumers confidence, raises its [vaping category] profile, and helps turn it into a mainstream product.

Tobacco is still huge in comparison to e-cigarettes, and while vaping has been chipping away at it, I think this is a catalyst for it to really flourish and grow.

The fact it’s going through the NHS is good for the whole category and industry.

It’s morally the right thing to do.

We’ve been trying to guide people off cigarettes and this legitimises it.

A lot of people who have thought about it will turn to it. This will work in the favour of the retailers who view this as an opportunity.

Great points.

Professor Nick Hopkinson, a consultant physician at the Royal Brompton and medical director at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, spoke to Sky News saying:

There is already good evidence that commercially available e-cigarettes enable people to switch away from smoking to a much safer alternative.

However, the development of medicinally licensed e-cigarettes would be a really important step forward, providing patients and healthcare professionals with an additional tool to break dependence on smoking, backed up by the reassurance that comes from a rigorous authorisation process.

Deborah Arnott
Deborah Arnott

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said:

The MHRA guidance opens the door to a day when smokers can be prescribed e-cigarettes to improve their chances of successfully quitting.

…Smokers find it hard to quit, taking on average 30 attempts to succeed, which is why we need new tools in the toolbox, such as medicinally licensed e-cigarettes.

Consumer e-cigarettes bought over the counter are proven to be the most successful quitting aid, but nearly a third of smokers have never tried them, and a similar proportion believe, wrongly, that e-cigarettes are as, or more harmful, than smoking.

These are the smokers who are more likely to try vaping if they had the reassurance provided by a medicines licence and products available on prescription.

I’m still suspicious of licensed vape kits, but have to admit the debate is certainly keeping the UK at the top of the tobacco harm reduction tables.

If current smokers see the news of NHS prescription e-cigarettes becoming a possibility, then yeah let’s hope millions more make the switch.

As to if we ever see such a product…it’s a only a possibility at the moment.

So…what are your thoughts?

Should we see NHS prescription e-cigarettes?

Do you class the vape device your using as a ‘medicine?’

Over 3.5 million of us here in the UK didn’t need a prescription to quit smoking via vaping…

Further reading from the UK Government: Guidance for licensing electronic cigarettes and other inhaled nicotine-containing products as medicines

Court Of Appeal Slams the FDA PMTA Process

The FDA has been slammed by the US Court of Appeals for the whole PMTA process and some say it might even be ‘unconstitutional’.

Judges reviewing the refusal of PMTA applications from vape brand Triton Distribution accused the FDA of moving the goalposts – or as they put it:


…a suprise switcheroo…

The ruling is 19 pages long and the judges do not hold back ending with:

Contrary to the FDA’s suggestion, we have the authority to give Triton relief pending review.

For the foregoing reasons, Triton’s motion for a stay pending review of its petition is GRANTED.

Fantastic news and Triton’s 55,000 products it had put up for analysis can now remain on the market…for the time being at least.

The law does like a precedence so this should open up for the floodgates for even more appeals.

Read the whole ruling here: Wages and White Lion Investments LLC v. USFDA

A Vape Tax Not A Vape Ban For Malaysia

Malaysia looks likely to impose a vape tax rather than an outright ban on e-cigarettes.

However anti-vape groups in the country are furious and are calling for a government re-think.

Malaysian E liquids

It was back in 2019 the Malaysian Government looked at banning all things vape and that was on the back of the so called EVALI outbreak in the USA.

We now of course know that had absolutely nothing to do with nicotine based vaped and was of course due to contaminated and illicit bought cannabis pens.

Read my article from back in 2019 for more info on that: Vaping Is NOT About To Kill You – But Black-Market THC Cartridges Might

The vape tax was announced last week during the country’s budget hearings.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said:

The government plans to introduce excise duty on liquid or gel products containing nicotine used for electronic cigarettes and vapes.

Good to hear, especially as the stats show a marked decrease in death and serious tobacco related illnesses since the country allowed e-cigarettes to be sold.

Of course the anti-vape crowd is unhappy and is pinning their colours to the flag of the anti-vaping WHO!

A 35 strong group, including health professionals, have written to the government demanding a rethink.

The letter says:

We strongly object to the proposal. We are disappointed the government is allowing the sale of another addictive product which has been proven to be detrimental to the people’s physical and mental health.

The government’s decision is also not in line with the decision by the National Fatwa Council in 2015 that deemed electronic cigarettes and vape were haram.

As such, we urge the 220 MPs to demand that the finance minister reconsider this proposal, especially when Covid-19 has not subsided and the fact that studies have shown that those with the virus may experience worse complications by consuming such products.

Total rubbish of course, but let’s see if the government stands up for the health of its people.

IQOS Stubbed Out In the USA

It’s a story I’ve been following for a while and it’s now true that IQOS will be banned from sale in the USA by the end of November this year.

The move stems for a court battle between IQOS owners Altria and British American Tobacco [BAT].

menthol iqos heat not burn

BAT says the IQOS violates it’s patent for the Glo heat not burn device, something Altria vehemently disputes.

A spokesman said:

We are disappointed with the ITC’s decision.

We continue to believe [British American Tobacco’s] patents are invalid and that IQOS does not infringe on those patents.

We are working hard on a solution to make these products available again as soon as possible.

It’s difficult times for Altria’s presence in the e-cigs market with JUUL still waiting to see if it gets FDA approval.

…and finally…Vape Meme Of the Week [or ever!]

tobacco control meme

Ha! Love it 🙂


More vape news on Wednesday

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How to Get the Best Cannabis Packaging & Design for your Brand

Custom cannabis packaging made by skilled designers is just as vital as product quality in emphasizing your product’s identity. Great packaging communicates to the market what you represent, helps people identify your branding, and assists potential buyers in determining whether your products are suited for them. All of this is communicated through color, form, and other design components in packaging. Discovering beautiful tag design concepts and trending in product package design is essential for selling more items and increasing brand awareness. In this essay, we will learn about the significance and specifics of the best cannabis packaging technique.

Importance of Attractive Packaging

The best dispensary packaging must be elegant, but it must also be consistent with the company’s natural sense. For example, if you’re a prime firm with a nice, unique vibe, your packaging should represent that. Everything must be in order to convey to the buyer who you are and who you stood for. On the other hand, if your business is more lively, you may be a little more playful with your layout concept. Buyers want to be capable of identifying your brand as soon as they view it. They will be dissatisfied with a corporation whose ideas are inconsistent.

Importance of Strong Packaging

Packaging must be long-lasting and suit its function. Customers will need to be able to store their pack in a backpack easily. Paper wrapping should be sturdy and, ideally, waterproof so that the buyer can keep the original packing as a storage alternative. It would help if you didn’t want your clients to be concerned about the bag’s contents falling out.

Proper Marijuana Packaging Examples

Cannabis and marijuana use is increasing on a daily basis. More companies are entering the industry. More businesses are realizing that they must compete and demonstrate to clients that they are the best alternative. Cannabis packing and marijuana packaging come in a variety of packaging and design types.

Paper cannabis packaging

Paper cannabis packaging is mainly seen in pouch form. This is a waterproof, almost waxy type of material that keeps the flower dry and fresh, and it has that resealable strip across the top that we mentioned before. These come in various sizes, depending on the goods contained within the packaging itself. This type of packaging gives the user easy storage.

Glass container

This sort of packaging provides better security. Of course, this is a packaging that is commonly applied with CBD oil for added safety and protection. This is the most excellent cannabis packing for preserving freshness and safety. It also provides an alternative storage option to the standard packing. We realize that conventional cardboard is often damaged when wet, but the glass case will preserve the goods securely. The packing in this example is mainly for marketing and keeping the glass safe throughout shipping and sale.

Airtight Container

It is perfect for storing but may also be given as a gift. The basic packaging is ideal for preserving the flower while also keeping it fresh and secure. These jars work well for a colorful, eye-catching design. The vivid colors and jazzy mood are eye-catching, yet the overall effect is modest. Like the plastic container within a small box, the airtight jar is an excellent technique to preserve the plant from harm during transportation.
The idea is to meet customers where they are today and where they will be in the coming future. The distinctive packaging designs of 2021 are focused on delivering a new, more comprehensive branding impression. Always ensure cannabis packaging and labeling regulations protect public and consumer health and safety.

The Truth About Shipping Vape Juice

Last Thursday, the entire vape industry was given less than 24 hours to stop sending products using the United States Postal Service. That’s right – we and every other supplier had less than a day to change our delivery services from the US Postal Services to other carriers. Don’t worry, shipping you your favourite vape juice or device is still legal, and because we’ve been preparing for this for months, we’re going to be able to keep doing it.

Here’s the basic lowdown:

Thanks to lobbying from people who would prefer you didn’t have access to your favourite vapes, the industry is now relying on smaller local carriers to deliver your packages. These are great companies who really know their local communities, but given the size of the US and the complexity of the supply chains, this means it will take us longer to get your parcels to you, at least in the short term.

It also means that we’re temporarily unable to ship everywhere in the US. You can use our ZIP-finder to check if we can deliver to you right now or whether we’re still working on getting coverage in your area, and if we can’t do that just yet, leave us your email address and as soon as we can ship to your area again, we’ll email you and let you know. (And we might even send you a personalized discount code, to say thanks for coming back).

Just to give you an idea of how this process actually works, we and every other vaping company now charters our own trucks known as LTL – or “less than truckload” services – to get your product to regional inception centres where they’re sorted for shipping to the relevant local carrier. Once that’s happened, parcels are then loaded onto trucks or planes to another sorting center used by the local carrier; and then on to you. And because these companies are smaller, there are fewer trucks and places available. This is way more complicated than sending a parcel through the postal service.

The good news is that because of how many people and businesses this affects, this carrier network is getting bigger and better by the day, and in a few months time, you’ll barely notice the difference.

But why’s shipping more expensive?

There are two reasons that shipping costs have gone up for vaping products; first, because these smaller companies have less economies of scale and higher costs: we expect this to change as time goes on. But the second is that the law also says that we’re required to have you sign for your order and show ID to the delivery service before it’s handed over. This adds another layer of costs to the process, although we’ve no problem making sure all our customers are of legal age to vape.

We’ve decided to keep our delivery costs as low as possible and to be upfront about how they work. That’s why our shipping remains the lowest on the internet in most cases. To give you an idea, we took a look at some online vape stores and compared their rates to ours. We learned that you as a customer need to remain on the lookout for hidden charges!!!

Sure, some sites might offer free shipping, but in a lot of cases, they’ve just hidden the extra charge in an “adult signature surcharge”. This might give you the impression that it’s a separate charge: we can tell you with absolute certainty that this is always a part of the cost of shipping products to you!

Vaping.com will never charge you for “adult signature” separately. When we say free shipping, we mean it. Oh, and by the way, our free shipping threshold is among the lowest on the web, and if your order doesn’t make the limit, our shipping charges are some of the lowest too!

vaping.comElement VapeDirect Vapor
“Free” shipping minimum$75$80$120
Paid shipping cost$10$8$6.99
Adult signature supplementWHAT’S THAT?$6$6.99
“Free” shipping costACTUALLY FREE$6$6.99
Paid shipping cost$10$14$13.98


And how come there’s so much tax?

The short answer is because your elected representatives decided to charge them!

As well as making delivery far more difficult and expensive, the Government also requires us to:

  • Verify that all customers are 21 or over, using a commercially available database (no problem, and we’ve been doing this for years!)
  • Collect an adult signature (21+) with ID at time of delivery
  • Register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms and the U.S. Attorney General
  • Obtain licenses from all states that require vape retailers to be licensed
  • Collect and pay all required local and state taxes on vape products.
  • Submit monthly reports to all states with details of every sale of vape products and the details of the carrier that delivered them

If the site you buy your vapes from doesn’t do this, not only are they are breaking the law and risking a prison sentence, they could be leaving you with a hefty tax bill, since you’d be liable to report State taxes if we didn’t do it on your behalf!

This all sounds overwhelming! How will you stay in business?

We’ve been the leading vape shop on the web for over a decade and we’re not going to stop now! We’ve spent months preparing for this: negotiating with shipping companies to keep our rates among the lowest in the industry and negotiating with our suppliers to keep our prices as low as they’ve always been.

We do it because we’re passionate about helping smokers and vapers make better choices. There might be easier ways to make a buck, but there are few as rewarding as this; not every company gets to make the kind of impact on smokers lives as we do, and we plan to keep doing it.

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Smokers Rights Movement: Fighting for Smokers’ Access to Safer Alternatives

The “Smokers Rights Movement” was solely funded by Max Kosenko, the CEO of Ritchy Group, which is one of the biggest e-liquid manufacturers in Europe. The group however is independent, with no association to any vape or tobacco company, and aims to steer clear from any donations that are affiliated to the tobacco industry.

Like many tobacco harm reduction groups across the globe, the movement is concerned about the upcoming WHO FCTC COP9, being held this November. Despite evidence to the contrary, the WHO has recently announced that no discussions related to safer nicotine alternative products will be taking place at this year’s COP9, a statement believed to be aimed at misleading tobacco harm reduction entities.

In line with counter events organized by other health entities, the Smokers Rights Movement has organized a protest:

“November 7, 2021 Geneva. Protest against W.H.O. devastating approach to Tobacco Control. E-cigs, snus or pouch consumers – all are ex-smokers who don’t want to die. Another 1.3 billion smokers are lied to or deprived of proven options to protect their health.

It’s important to go there and say that ignoring Tobacco Harm Reduction is not acceptable anymore. The policies that kill 20 thousands people every day must be fixed now. Smokers Rights Movement organizes an event with #BlackBodyBag costumes and large scale online streaming. It happens at the place and time where the COP9 is going to happen.

Let’s come to that Sunday event and make a change. There are organized buses from Lyon, Bern, Zürich and Milan.”

A counter conference

Similarly, the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) has organized a major round-the-clock global broadcasting event to take place during the length of the convention, with the aim of scrutinizing the COP9. “Dubbed ‘sCOPe’, or ‘streaming Consumers On Point everywhere’, the five-day livestream will be simulcast via YouTube and Facebook. Presenters and panellists will challenge and scrutinise COP9 – including who’s influencing and funding its efforts to demonise vaping, and why,” announced a recent press release.

CAPHRA Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas, highlighted that the event is totally independent, non-aligned and organized with the aim of giving a voice to the public. “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were planning to front up to COP in person and show media our increasing anger for being shut out, once again, from the proceedings. The FCTC’s decision to delay COP9 and host it exclusively online, with no discussions to be publicly released, meant consumers had to take alternative action. Hence, the development of sCOPe,” she said.

“sCOPe is our response to being excluded from the table, as the main stakeholders, of the discussion and decision-making process that directly impacts our health and our right to make informed decisions.”

Case Studies: Countries Applying WHO Guidelines Have Higher Smoking Rates

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US Appeals Court Ignores FDA Decision and Allows Brand to Keep Selling Vapes

The initial PMTA guidance stated that no long-term studies were required to support applications. However, the FDA has now rejected thousands of PMTAs on grounds that such studies are required.

The Texas-based company’s products were among the 55,000 vape applications, or PMTAs, rejected by the FDA for insufficient documentation. The court of appeals rightly stated that the FDA pulled a “surprise switcheroo” from earlier guidance, when it failed to mention that applicants should provide long-term studies to support their applications. The court also pointed out that when the FDA denied Triton’s applications, it failed to consider the brand’s marketing plan which detailed ways to reduce their products’ appeal to youth.

In line with the court’s arguments, the initial PMTA guidance had said that companies would not need long-term studies to support their applications. However, the FDA has now rejected thousands of applications on grounds that such studies are required.

This of course has not been an isolated case exclusive to this brand. The first batch of PMTA rejections came in early August 2021, when the FDA announced that it would not even review the 4.5 million applications from the same company, JD Nova, on grounds that they did not include an adequate Environmental Assessment.

At the end of the same month, the agency issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) for applications related to flavoured vaping products (55,000 from one company and 800 from another), saying that these failed to provide “product-specific scientific evidence to demonstrate enough of a benefit to adult smokers that would overcome the risk posed to youth.”

The FDA will face multiple legal cases

Another brand, My Vape Order (MVO) has recently petitioned a federal court of appeals for “an emergency motion for a stay pending a review and for expedited consideration” on its products. The brand has called the rejections “arbitrary and capricious.”

MVO initially filed a petition for review in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at the end of September, and several other vaping companies have followed suit. Besides highlighting the FDA’s seemingly random demands, they have rightly added that while they have had to scramble to meet the court-imposed PMTA submission deadline, the agency has apologetically missed its own, whilst at the same time failing to take into account vital information submitted by the businesses.

Read Further: Reuters

Turning Point Brands PMTAs Under New Review

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Vaping is the reason for massive decline in UK smoking

About the author

Oliver Kershaw

Oliver Kershaw

Founder of e-cigarette-forum.com and co-founder of vaping.com

New data released today in the UK show that smoking has declined from 20.2% of the British adult population in 2010 to 15.8% last year.

The rate of decline demonstrated in the ONS data is astonishing, especially between 2015 and 2016, which saw the second biggest annual drop in smoking in 40 years. Vaping is almost certainly responsible for this, with an estimated 1.5 million vapers in the UK according to ASH UK.

The UK Centre for Alcohol and Tobacco Studies press office said: “Today’s new figures indicate UK smoking is falling faster than would be expected from conventional tobacco control approaches. While all the policies put in place will have made a difference, the most likely explanation for the recent rapid decline is the increasing use by smokers of electronic cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco”

It’s worth noting that this 2015-16 period was one in which Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians began to openly encourage smokers to transition to vaping products. It’s likely that this “official” sanctioning of vaping for smokers has had a transformative effect on smokers, especially those who had been misled by negative media stories.

Shamefully, not one single major health body in the US has taken the same brave stance and encouraged smokers to make the transition. The health community of America has instead constructed an extraordinary campaign of misinformation which continues to vilify one of the most promising public health interventions. Despite the misinformation, vaping has continued to grow with peer-to-peer education

The divergent course between the UK and the USA is starting to become clear. While the UK continues to see rapid declines in smoking under a relatively liberal vaping regulation, the FDA is embarking on a prohibitive rule which will profoundly disrupt access to the products that are currently available.

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Malaysia Will Legalize and Tax Nicotine Vaping

One of the world’s largest vaping markets will finally include legal nicotine when the Malaysian government formalizes its plan to regulate and tax vaping products. Consumer products containing nicotine are currently illegal in Malaysia.

Multiple Malaysian news outlets reported today that the government has included an excise tax on nicotine-containing e-liquid in its budget proposal for 2022. The decision was announced by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

No details are yet available on how regulation and taxes will be implemented. On Oct. 26, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin informed the World Health Organization that Malaysia would regulate vaping products to prevent youth access.

The decision was confirmed in a tweet by the Coalition of Asia-Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), which congratulated Malaysian vaping advocates for “their hard work in getting this past the post.”

Malaysia has long enjoyed a large and thriving vape market—one of the largest in the world—despite nicotine being illegal to sell, except for licensed pharmacies and medical practitioners, and only for medical purposes. Government enforcement of the law has been spotty, although police have occasionally conducted large-scale raids and seized products suspected of containing nicotine.

Consumer vape advocates from MOVE Malaysia and industry trade groups have worked energetically to promote reasonable regulation of nicotine vaping, and have successfully reached the public with stories in major Malaysian news outlets.

Malaysia will become a rare exception in Southeast Asia, where vape bans are common. Rumours earlier this week that the government would soon legalize nicotine vaping caused anxiety among tobacco control groups in Malaysia.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in world first

  • Medical regulator to work with manufacturers to assess safety and effectiveness of products
  • Move supports government ambition for England to be smoke-free by 2030 and to reduce stark health disparities in smoking rates

E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in England to help people stop smoking tobacco products, as Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the latest step forward in the licensing process for manufacturers.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is publishing updated guidance that paves the way for medicinally licensed e-cigarette products to be prescribed for tobacco smokers who wish to quit smoking.
Manufacturers can approach the MHRA to submit their products to go through the same regulatory approvals process as other medicines available on the health service.
This could mean England becomes the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes licensed as a medical product.
If a product receives MHRA approval, clinicians could then decide on a case-by-case basis whether it would be appropriate to prescribe an e-cigarette to NHS patients to help them quit smoking. It remains the case that non-smokers and children are strongly advised against using e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes contain nicotine and are not risk free, but expert reviews from the UK and US have been clear that the regulated e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking. A medicinally licensed e-cigarette would have to pass even more rigorous safety checks.
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and while rates are at record low levels in the UK, there are still around 6.1 million smokers in England. There are also stark differences in rates across the country, with smoking rates in Blackpool (23.4%) and Kingston upon Hull (22.2%) poles apart from rates in wealthier areas such as Richmond upon Thames (8%).
E-cigarettes were the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020. E-cigarettes have been shown to be highly effective in supporting those trying to quit, with 27.2% of smokers using them compared with 18.2% using nicotine replacement therapy products such as patches and gum.
Some of the highest success rates of those trying to quit smoking are among people using an e-cigarette to kick their addiction alongside local Stop Smoking services, with up to 68 % successfully quitting in 2020 -2021.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:

This country continues to be a global leader on healthcare, whether it’s our COVID-19 vaccine rollout saving lives or our innovative public health measures reducing people’s risk of serious illness.

Opening the door to a licensed e-cigarette prescribed on the NHS has the potential to tackle the stark disparities in smoking rates across the country, helping people stop smoking wherever they live and whatever their background.

Almost 64,000 people died from smoking in England in 2019 and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) is supporting efforts to level up public health and ensure communities across the country have equal health outcomes.
Reducing health disparities – including in smoking rates – and keeping people in better health for longer is good for the individual, families, society, the economy and NHS. To achieve this overall ambition, the OHID will work collaboratively at national, regional and local levels as well as with the NHS, academia, the third sector, scientists, researchers and industry.
The government will soon publish a new Tobacco Control Plan which will set out the roadmap for achieving a smoke-free England by 2030.

Notes to editors:

  • The NHS can only prescribe e-cigarettes when NICE recommends them for use
  • Smoking death rates for 2019 in England can be found here.
  • Data on products used to support smokers trying to quit can be found here.
  • Success rates alongside local stop smoking services can be found here.
  • The international study on e-cigarette safety and effectiveness can be found here

Hong Kong Bans The Sales of Vapes And Heated Tobacco Products

Last August, Hong Kong’s Council on Smoking and Health said that government statistics had shown that local teenagers use the products more often than adults. Council chairman Henry Tong Sau-chai had added that the public at large agrees on a total ban of the products. “However, it has been almost three years since the policy address first announced a ban on alternative smoking products,” he said.

The ban forbids sales and imports, but allows personal use

The councilman had added that the health risks associated with the use of heated tobacco products (HTPs) have been proven by scientists worldwide. However, he failed to add that countless independent studies have shown that they are substantially safer than regular cigarettes.

Subsequently, Hong Kong’s largest party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress (DAB), had recently also voiced its support for the measure. DAB member and chairman of the Bills Committee on Smoking, Wong Ting-kwong, said that he had been asked to host a meeting so that the government can finalize its stance and decide on whether or not to ban the products.

As a result the ban has now been passed, and while it targets local business by preventing the sales and imports of the products, the public is still allowed to use them. Local policymakers approved the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill 2019 by a vote of 32 to three in the Legislative Council, roughly six years after the idea was first brought up.

Hong Kong should have looked at data from Australia

Meanwhile, a recent article on The South China Post highlighted out that given the lack of success the vape ban in Australia has had in decreasing smoking rates, Hong Kong should think twice about implementing theirs.

Smoking rates in Australia have risen by over 21,000 to 2.4 million between 2013 and 2016. “For the first time ever, there has been no statistically significant reduction in the smoking rate, and an increase in the number of smokers in Australia,” said renowned public health Colin Mendelsohn back in 2017.

The public health expert who is an advocate for the use of safer nicotine alternatives for harm reduction, pointed out that clearly the “punitive and coercive” approach that the country has adopted, is not working. Supporting his arguments, is data from the UK, where the opposite approach has been adopted and smoking rates have reached an all time low.

Read Further: South China Morning Post

Asia Pacific Experts Urge Hong Kong to Regulate Not Ban Vaping 

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