As the title implies this study is examining how public health guidance and media perception form harm reduction opinions in smokers and vapers.
The opening paragraph sums up why this study was needed…
“E-cigarettes are increasingly being viewed, incorrectly, as more harmful than cigarettes. This may discourage smokers from switching to e-cigarettes. One potential explanation for these increasingly harmful attitudes is conflicting information presented in the media, online and from public health bodies.”
In general we assume the attitude to vaping is pretty positive, but as my own News Tracker demonstrates – the media can often promote scare tactics which go against public health recommendations.
More About the Study
A registered online study received responses from 334 daily UK smokers who don’t vape and 368 daily UK vapers.
These respondents were then presented with varying information regarding harm reduction.
This study appeared to show that those who are exposed to negative messages against vaping did tend to view vaping as more harmful. Even vapers were susceptible to absorbing the negative statements.
“Our findings suggest that public health bodies should communicate the safety of e-cigarettes in consensus with other public health bodies to reduce harm perceptions. This is feasible in light of the growing body of evidence suggesting that e-cigarettes are an effective smoking cessation tool and therefore have the potential to reduce smoking associated morbidity and mortality.
Additionally, public health bodies may wish to proactively challenge negative information by countering it with harm reduction information, as we find that negative information is more harmful than conflicting information. However, when public health bodies are already in conflict, it is not necessarily advantageous to reiterate the harms of smoking.
These communication methods need to be evaluated amongst people who do not smoke, to ensure that vaping is not promoted amongst this group. “
So who knows what the effect of the recent spate of negative press will have on harm reduction. It looks like there is a lot more work needed to make sure smokers are educated correctly on the risks and benefits of swapping to vaping.
Thankfully this was a part of the critical recommendations (“must dos”) in the recent Khan Independent Tobacco Review. It was stated that accurate information on vaping must be provided whilst also making sure to prevent youth vaping.
So fingers crossed this should be less of an issue in the future.
Dr. Neal Benowitz, a researcher and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, said that the caffeine present is in levels too low to have an effect.
In January 2020, the FDA released the much anticipated guidance pertaining to flavoured vaping products. “Companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions,” said the guidance, which went into effect the following February. However, anticipating this move, Juul had already stopped selling its flavoured products in the US as of late 2019.
A research team from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Forensic Science found ten chemicals in Juul pods, including caffeine, which appeared in concentrations averaging 23.5 micrograms per milliliter in Classic Tobacco pods, and averaging 9.3 μg/ml in Menthol-flavored pod. The addictive substance is not listed as part of the contents which according to the Juul’s website, consist only of nicotine, and the additives propylene glycol, glycerine, and benzoic acid.
The presence of caffeine in the products oculd make them more addictive
Discussing the findings, the researchers said that the presence of caffeine in the products would make them more addictive. “The addition of caffeine to e-cig liquids could act as an initiation primer, leading to increased caffeine seeking and consumption and chances of caffeine addiction,” they wrote, noting that “caffeine consumption has been reported to increase the odds of smoking [and] the urge to smoke.”
The question is whether Juul added the caffeine purposely. Dr. Neal Benowitz, a researcher and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, said that this is unlikely as the caffeine present is in levels too low to have an effect. “For comparison, a cup of coffee contains about 100 milligrams” of caffeine,” Benowitz said. At 25 micrograms per milliliter, “a bout of JUULing would deliver about 1/1000 of the caffeine in a cup of coffee,” he said. “Unlikely to have any significant effects.”
As for how it got there? Probably an accident, according to Benowitz. “I can see no reason why they would add minute amounts of caffeine,” he added. “Most likely a contaminant in some flavor chemicals they purchased and did not know about.” Nevertheless the findings could prove tricky for Juul who is still waiting for its Pre-Market Tobacco Authorization (PMTA).
The European Parliament has finally acknowledged that vaping plays a key role in helping smokers quit…so why are flavour bans still being proposed?
The European Parliament has become the first EU institution to publicly acknowledge that vaping plays a vital role in smoking cessation.
It came as the body formally adopted the EU Beating Cancer Plan but, while this milestone has been welcomed by vape advocates, MEPs have failed to rule out future flavour bans across the member states.
The World Vapers’ Alliance described the development as a ‘significant step forward’ but insisted that much more needed to be done.
WVA director Michael Landl said:
“Finally, an EU institution acknowledges that vaping helps smokers to quit which is a significant step forward in our fight to save lives by reducing the harms caused by smoking.
“It shows the power of the voice of individual consumers coming together. Now it is the Commission’s turn to no longer ignore science and the experience of millions of consumers.”
Michael Landl, Director, World Vapers’ Alliance
Many vape advocates say they fail to see the logic of accepting that vaping helps smoking quit, while advocating for banning the very flavours which make e-cigarettes such a powerful quitting aid.
Carmine Canino, President of Italian consumer advocacy group ANPVU said:
“Scientists, harm reduction experts as well as consumers have been clear about the negative consequences of banning or even restricting flavours.
“Again and again research has shown that flavours are essential to reducing smoking among adults. We need our policymakers to listen and act.”
Carmine Canino, President of ANPVU
Dustin Dahlmann, president of the Independent European Vape Alliance described the move as a ‘landmark declaration’ from the European Parliament. He said:
“We now encourage the other EU institutions – and in particular the European Commission – to take this on board and ensure that policy follows science, not the other way around.”
Dustin Dahlmann, President of the IEVA
With the European Commission currently in the initial stages of revising the Tobacco Products Directive, Landl called on consumers from throughout the EU to keep the pressure on MEPs to make them aware just how important flavours were.
“It is crucial that experts and consumers keep raising their voices. It is our hope that the Commission’s future proposals acknowledge harm reduction. We will continue to advocate for our members, ensuring their voices are heard.”
I have noticed a trend over the last few weeks of a panic about disposable vapes in the UK media.
I am still keeping track of all the news headlines related to vaping for my News Tracker.
There are a lot of vapers who are sceptical about this form of vaping and I totally understand why.
In general the reputation of disposable vapes brings a lot of negativity to vaping. Also it was widely predicted that these devices would result in a lot of bad press for vaping in the future, which does seem to be coming true.
There is also the issue of waste and general environmental impact.
If used by adults who want to try vaping for less expenditure or if someone needs a vape in a hurry I think they serve a useful purpose.
Yeah sort of expected isn’t it from the DM. Basically this scare story relates to the bullshit “Popcorn Lung” theory of vaping Diacetyl in e-liquid. This compound has been banned for many years and you won’t find legal e-liquid containing this. Kind of a very low blow from the DM.
As you would expect thankfully this utter horse shit has prompted a backlash on Twitter…
This article seems to have some facts regarding the Trading Standards organisation trying to keep on top of illegal vapes. Thankfully they have included a graphic to help people recognise whether their vape is legal.
I won’t lie – I am unable to read this article due to it being behind a paywall. Even ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) have kicked off to deny the rubbish claims that are made. Again this is a Twitter thread…
“The glamorous promotion of vaping on social media is completely inappropriate and social media platforms should take responsibility.”
Arnott emphasises “Smoking is still the leading cause of premature death. That’s what’s killing people; not vaping.”https://t.co/C5lqSz8fQT
The full article also includes claims suggesting e-cigarette use leads to gum disease. This is contrary to available evidence, as explained in a ‘Letter to the Editor’ by Dr Richard Holliday and Professor Elaine McColl, published in The Times. pic.twitter.com/wnRvDkqZHy
As you can see Elf Bar disposables were singled out as being addictive and the article also brought up dental problems which the newspaper attributed to vaping. As mentioned above this received a backlash of dental professionals denying this was actually the case. But the stage was prepared for more scare stories about disposables.
Lots of discussion on e-cigarettes and gum disease over the last couple of days.
Perhaps this is true, being 46 I have no concept of “influencers”? Seeing someone famous doing something does not have any impact on me at all. Even sometimes it actually puts me off whatever they are advertising. Is this happening to young people? I don’t know?
I am torn on this issue as nobody wants underage people using vapes full stop. But also would these teenagers be the ones who would take up smoking anyway? So if they are choosing vapes rather than cigarettes does this mean the tobacco free generation is already starting?
It is such a hairy topic and even mentioning causes a lot of disagreement. I think originally the UK were fine with disposables, just a few on the market from well known brands. But sadly the popularity of these has taken off with cheapo and fake versions hitting our shores and it’s those which I think are dangerous. Who knows what chemicals go into the tank and even worse they might be electronically dodgy.
My recommendation is to buy well known good brands, with 2ml of e-liquid or less. To be legal in the UK the nic strength has to be 20mg or below. So should be easy to spot dodgy ones as they won’t meet these requirements.
Regulated legal vapes are not harmful, just try and steer clear of any dodgy ones which are from unknown brands, high nicotine strength or high capacity (over 2ml).
This hysteria is mainly due to illegal vapes, not the Elf Bars and Geek Bars you buy from a trusty local vape shop. But even they can be copies so make sure to check they are authentic using the systems in place.
Big vape brands such as Innokin, Wotofo etc are now making disposables so sticking to a well known brand would be your best bet.
I have personally seen discarded disposables when out walking my dog and sadly I don’t recognise a majority of them. They appear to not be from respected companies which is scary. So they are getting into customers hands somehow and this is what needs to be clamped down on.
I wouldn’t want some crappy “no-name” disposable anywhere near my face but I would happily use a Geek Bar, Elf Bar etc made by trusted manufacturers.
What Can You Do?
If someone you know is into disposables try and get them onto legal well-known ones for their own safety.
The vaping regulation bill passed by the Philippines legislature in January has become law. The legislation makes the Philippines one of very few Asian countries with reasonable vaping regulations intended to benefit people who smoke or would smoke if vapor products weren’t available.
The Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act overwhelmingly (19-2) passed the Philippines Senate in January, and was quickly reconciled with a version passed earlier by the House of Representatives. Since then, the bill has been the subject of intense debate, with major lobbying efforts by groups both in support and opposition to the law.
After the bill was transmitted to then-President Rodrigo Duterte on June 24, Filipino newspapers were filled with stories about efforts to persuade Duterte, and then his successor Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to sign or veto the bill. The presidents had 30 days from receiving the bill to sign or veto. Neither took any action, so the bill “lapsed” into law on July 25. It will become official two weeks after publication in the country’s Official Gazette (which hasn’t happened yet).
The most important aspect of the law is that it legitimizes vaping as a strategy to help smokers reduce or eliminate their health risks. There are more than 16 million Philippines citizens who smoke. Offering them a government-approved, regulated alternative could save millions of lives.
Neither the final Senate bill nor the reconciled version passed by both legislative chambers is available to read, so specifics about the bill are difficult to pin down. The following details come mostly from Philippines news sites, which sometimes conflict (about flavors at least). We will revise the article if necessary when the final law is published.
The law gives authority to regulate vaping and heated tobacco products to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which will consult with the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set technical standards for safety and quality. (The FDA will maintain authority over products making health claims, like nicotine replacement therapies.) The law includes all consumer vaping products, including those that don’t contain nicotine.
The law allows online sales and products with nicotine strengths up to 65 mg/mL (6.5 percent). It lowers the legal age of purchase from 21 to 18, which means there will be more young people vaping instead of smoking (the age to buy cigarettes is 18). The new vape law imposes restrictions on where vaping products can be sold, and provides penalties for stores and online retailers that sell to minors. It also restricts advertising, including use of social media influencers and celebrities.
While the new law may not ban flavors outright, it at least prohibits labels and advertising that use “flavor descriptors that are proven to unduly appeal particularly to minors,” according to Vera Files. A flavor descriptor is presumed to appeal to minors “if it includes a reference to a fruit, a candy brand, dessert, or to a cartoon character.”
However, according to some reporting, legislators supporting the bill claim the law would maintain the existing flavor ban and add the “descriptor” language on top of it. An outright flavor ban would probably prevent legal vaping retailers from effectively competing with black market sellers.
But flavor ban or not, the Philippines’ new vape law is a minor miracle. In Southeast Asia, nicotine and tobacco policy is dominated by the World Health Organization’s Bloomberg-fueled prohibitionist ideology. Most of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have passed outright vape bans, in accordance with WHO recommendations. For Filipino vaping advocates to battle the influence of the tobacco control establishment and eventually convince elected officials to enshrine tobacco harm reduction in law is a major feat.
Because the Philippines presidency changed hands in July, not one but two presidents had the opportunity to pass or veto the vaping bill. As it turned out, neither the outgoing Rodrigo Duterte nor the incoming Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took any action at all, and the bill became law automatically. But that month was an orgy of lobbying, with both presidents pushed and pulled to make a decision.
The vaping bill had support from some medical organizations that believe tobacco harm reduction (THR) can help reduce smoking disease and death. It was also supported by the PhilTobacco Growers Association, which represents 50,000 Filipino tobacco growers and believes the production of nicotine for vaping products can help farmers, according to the Manila Times. In addition to DTI, the proposed law had support from the country’s labor, interior and defense departments.
The question going forward is whether tobacco control and public health groups will give the law a chance to work, or try to poison public opinion against vaping and undermine DTI’s regulation at every turn.
In January 2020, the FDA released the much anticipated guidance pertaining to flavoured vaping products. “Companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions,” said the guidance, which went into effect the following February.
A judge ruling last September aimed to enforce the measure. Yet, said a report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, countless kid-friendly vape flavours are still being sold through the five top online e-cigarette retailers, and widely available in convenience stores and gas stations located in eight cities across the country.
“Flavored e-cigarettes of precisely the kind that youth are using are widely available both on the internet and in retail outlets,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Flavors attract them. Nicotine addicts them,” Myers continued. “Without the flavors, many fewer kids would be attracted to these products — 85% of the kids who use an e-cigarette use a flavored one.”
A steep increase in flavoured disposable vapes
Meanwhile as a result of the ban, there has been a shift in the type of products teens purchase, such as a sharp drop in Juul sales and a steep increase in flavoured disposable devices by Puff Bar. The latter sells disposable e-cigarettes online in a range of flavours including pink lemonade, tobacco, and strawberry, and colours (some of which light up when used). The devices contain 5%, or 50mg, of salt nicotine.
Amidst previous concerns pertaining to the popularity of the Juul device which also delivers nicotine via salts, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had highlighted that the nicotine salts lead to a higher consumption of nicotine, making the device particularly dangerous for teenagers.
Meanwhile, said WebMD, the report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids summarized the findings from n-store assessments conducted in eight cities as follows:
“Juul was sold in all cities, and brands like Vuse, NJOY and blu were available in most.
Flavored e-liquids were found in most cities, in flavors like Green Apple, Cola, Peachy Rings, Tropical Fruit, Strawberry Macaroon and Island Orange.
Disposable e-cigarettes were available in every city in flavors like Coconut Pineapple Smoothie, Strawberry Ice Cream, Gummy Bear, Mango Slushee and Blue Razz Lemonade.”
Again the issue of Disposable Vape waste is being talked about in the media.
For instance the following news sites have had these articles on the topic:
Sadly the Telegraph article is behind a paywall but it mentions that the amount of Lithium from disposables every year would be enough to build 1,200 car batteries!
According to the Sky News article two disposables are being thrown away every second. Therefore around 10 tonnes of Lithium is being chucked.
Each disposable apparently only contains less than 1/10 of a gramme of Lithium but the sheer quantity being wasted adds up.
Sky News quotes Mark Miodownik – the Professor of Materials and Society and University College London…
“We can’t be throwing these materials away, it really is madness in a climate emergency,”
“It’s in your laptop, it’s in your mobile phone, it’s in electric cars. This is the material that we are absolutely relying on to shift away from fossil fuels and address climate issues.”
A survey conducted by Opinium for the non-profit recycling organisation Material Focus found 18% of 4000 people surveyed had bought a vape in the previous year. 7% of those had bought a disposable. These figures applied to the whole of the UK could mean around 168 million disposables are bought annually in the UK.
Over half of users reported just discarding these in a bin rather than recycling correctly.
Two vapes thrown away every second, wasting scarce minerals needed for electric cars reports The UK Telegraph. Amount of lithium discarded in disposable vapes every year is enough to build around 1,200 car batteries, new survey showshttps://t.co/RKzt2EoaxR
After more than a decade as one of vaping’s most prominent freelance defenders, Gregory Conley will join the American Vapor Manufacturers Association as Director of Legislative and External Affairs. It will be his first job working for a vaping industry organization.
At AVM, Conley will focus on government and media relations. He has a long history of speaking for vaping consumers and the independent vaping industry at legislative hearings and in radio and television appearances, as president of the American Vaping Association (AVA). He will also continue to lead the AVA, which will shift its efforts to voter education and outreach. The AVA name may change, Conley says.
The American Vapor Manufacturers Association (AVM) was launched in 2020 by Amanda Wheeler and Char Owen, both small vaping business owners attempting to navigate the complex FDA premarket review process. The organization represents vape manufacturers across the country, and has become the most prominent trade organization in the industry. Wheeler serves as president of AVM, and is herself a highly visible vaping advocate.
“Gregory is a critical voice for vaping and understands adult smokers and ex-smokers face dire circumstances because of the FDA,” Wheeler said in a press release. “One single billionaire is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns designed to end the vaping industry. The stakes have never been greater and I am thrilled to have him aboard to work towards a unified industry.”
Conley’s involvement with vaping began as a consumer. He quit smoking with e-cigarettes while earning a law degree from Rutgers University, and joined the recently formed Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) in 2010 while still a student. He began as a volunteer, soon became a board member, and then CASAA’s first Legislative Director.
In 2014, he founded the American Vaping Association, a non-profit dedicated to vaping advocacy. While the organization has been mostly a one-man show, it certainly has never seemed that way, especially during crisis moments when Conley might jump from writing op-eds to doing TV interviews to testifying before state legislatures—sometimes all in one day.
In television appearances on CNN, Fox News, C-SPAN and others, he has proved ready with complex facts and quick responses that unprepared network pundits were unable to refute. Once, while visiting congressional offices in Washington, he accidentally encountered Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and used the occasion to engage with the surprised Obama official and give him a copy of the Royal College of Physicians report on vaping and harm reduction.
In his most famous TV appearance, Conley found himself sitting three chairs away from President Donald Trump at Trump’s roundtable listening session on vaping, which was unexpectedly broadcast live by several TV networks. Conley, sitting alongside anti-vaping activists like Truth Initiative’s Robin Koval and Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, briefly but effectively explained the “EVALI” lung injuries, the harm caused to small businesses by the FDA PMTA process, and the likely results of a flavor ban. When Juul Labs’ CEO spoke up to defend the FDA, Conley shot him down with a withering comment about regulatory capture and monopolies, earning a chuckle from Trump.
“Over the last decade-plus, myself and millions of American adults have given up cigarettes because of vaping,” Conley said today in a statement. “During that time, I have been proud to advocate for vaping from the perspective of a consumer and harm reductionist. In this new role at AVM, I will continue to push for appropriate regulations to ensure that American businesses are not replaced with a multi-billion dollar illicit market. I look forward to helping grow AVM alongside Amanda and her board.”
Featured photo courtesy the American Vaping Association.
Brits are being advised to use other quit smoking methods when travelling to Qatar.
Fans are being urged to check the nicotine consumption rules in Qatar ahead of travelling as it’s prohibited to vape in the country or import vapes. Vaping has been illegal across Qatar since 2014, while data from the UK has indicated that there are approximately 3.3m UK nationals using vapes. To this effect, Brits are being advised to use other quit smoking methods when travelling to Qatar, or else face possible harsh penalties such as fines or a maximum of three months in prison.
The warning is being issued by UK online retailer Vape Club, as a large number of UK vapers are also football fans. Given the progressive vape laws in the UK, many of these travelling vapers may mistakenly assume that regulations elsewhere are as permissive.
Qatar’s vape ban
In Qatar, using and importing vaping products has been banned since 2014. In 2016, head of the Non-Communicable Disease Department at the Ministry of Public Health Dr Kholood al-Mutawaa, had stated, “The e-cigarette was banned in Qatar according to a ministry order in 2014. We have instructed all supermarkets, pharmacies and other outlets not to sell it. We have also communicated with the customs department at the airport, seaport and the land border not to allow e-cigarettes into Qatar.”
“We have instructed all supermarkets, pharmacies and other outlets not to sell it. We have also communicated with the customs department at the airport, seaport and at the borders not to allow e-cigarettes into Qatar. People can’t bring it to the country or order it from other countries. Others can’t send it to the country either. Anyone who is in possession of e-cigarettes may be charged with appropriate action.”
Director of Vape Club, Dan Marchant, highlighted that because of the UK’s progressive attitude towards vaping, UK nationals are perhaps more likely than others to unknowingly get in trouble. “Because the UK has such a progressive attitude towards harm reduction and recognises the huge role vaping has to play in achieving a smokefree future, we tend to forget that there are many other countries around the world who are so far behind us. How any country can ban vaping over tobacco use is beyond me, and seems completely anti-science and anti-public health.
“I just hope that quitters don’t find themselves turning back to cigarettes in Qatar. There’s a real danger of this. Being deprived of their vapes as a source of nicotine to replace a harmful tobacco product could easily push people back to cigarettes while in Qatar. Once this happens, it could consign the smoker back to months or years of cigarette use before being able to quit again.”