Monday, 16 May 2016

ASH's Mask Slips Into The Gutter

That didn't take very long, did it?

On Saturday I wrote about how the Lords had identified the TPD as an appalling piece of legislation but that no-one in the tobacco control industry would care, least of all ASH.
Nope. ASH didn't study e-cigs with any degree of objectivity when they first arrived on the scene. In fact, in 2010 they demanded that the devices should be compelled to be deemed as medical products or banned entirely in an MHRA consultation response. This should never be forgotten; ASH sway with the wind so their current supposed "supportive" stance towards vaping is purely a convenient position of least resistance, I wouldn't put it past them to jump to an opposite position the moment they think the wind is changing. They are certainly no credible friend of the vaper. Indeed, I understand that they are cheerleaders for the TPD which was being unanimously ridiculed during this Lords committee. Speaks volumes doesn't it?
Well, whaddya know!
Concerns raised in Parliament [4] about the EU rules are not borne out by the ASH Smokefree GB Adult Survey. Only 9% of vapers report using e-liquid containing 19mg/ml or more of nicotine (the limit set by the EU Tobacco Products Directive is 20mg/ml).  And only 11% of daily vapers use more than 4ml of liquid (the EU limit for tanks and cartridges is 2ml), indicating that few of them are likely to need to refill their device more than twice a day. [3]  The minority of vapers using higher strengths and higher volumes of e-liquid will continue to be able to buy these until 20th May 2017, leaving time for products to evolve to meet their needs.
The reference for "concerns raised in parliament" is a question directed at the Prime Minister at PMQs which, in turn, references the savaging that the TPD was given by the Lords on Tuesday.

Alarmed by {gosh!} such positive messages about vaping and the public monstering by Lords of the appalling dog's breakfast that the TPD represents, ASH sprang into action to defend what we all know to be a corruptly-imagined and drafted directive, as Viscount Ridley described well in the Lords committee that ASH are today so very keen to discredit.
It is the product of big-company lobbying and back-room deals in Brussels. It is legislation which last month the Department of Health admitted, in its impact assessment, risks increasing, not reducing, the amount of smoking. 
Vaping is therefore a public health triumph that the Department of Health has, to its extreme shame, done its utmost to block. In 2010, the department’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, tried to ban vaping devices completely. In 2013, the agency - which is financed largely by the pharmaceutical industry - tried to insist that every e-cigarette should be licensed as a medicine. This would again have amounted to a de facto ban.
All, of course, enthusiastically chivvied along by ASH. Yet they recently said they have been "supportive for quite some time".

That doesn't appear to be true of today, because they have come out on the side of self-serving dogma instead of health, as the NNA notes.
The needs of more than a quarter of a million people don't matter, according to ASH. 
The ASH survey finds that "only" 9% of the UK's 2.8 million current vapers use strengths above the 20mg/ml limit imposed by the TPD. That in itself is bad enough, however the point which ASH so spectacularly miss, is that this cross sectional survey tells us nothing about what strength people used when first using vaping devices. It is entirely possible, indeed probable, that a much larger proportion of those 2.8 million vapers used high strength liquids when they initiated use and then reduced the strength as they became more experienced and learnt the quite different techniques involved in vaping.
Indeed. What ASH are saying here is that they don't give a shit about the most compelling aspect of vaping as far as 'public health' is concerned; that of being a realistic alternative to smoking. That's a jaw-dropping admission!

Most smokers who eventually switch to vaping will have started on strengths of 24mg and above, anything below 20mg will not offer much to attract someone on 20 tabs a day.

It's also quite telling that ASH has sat contentedly silent while vaping bans have been installed up and down the country - which is truly damaging to the perception of vaping amongst the public - yet, with this absurd and ignorant press assault, has bent over backwards to protect a vacuous, illogical, and corrupt TPD which can only deter smokers from moving to e-cigs instead.

I think we know where ASH's priorities lie now, don't we? And it's certainly not with vapers or asserted with health in mind. Their allegiance seems to be firmly with protecting their chums in tobacco control from rightful condemnation rather than being "supportive" of e-cigs and tobacco harm reduction.

Just imagine how vile you have to be to do that, eh?

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