Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Scotland Plans To Gold-Plate The TPD And Further Restrict E-Cig Advertising

Yesterday I wrote about the tobacco control industry's habit of cherry-picking evidence and - more recently - disbelieving real life evidence because it doesn't agree with their wild, junk science-led fantasies of how the world works.

Today sees a new low, though, as the Scottish Government released its Tobacco Control Plan. Snowdon has highlighted some of the blinkingly barmy aspects of it, so do go read his piece.

He said that he had only skimmed it and that there is bound to be more crazy in there, and he's correct. There is. For example, how much does this send your hypocrisy detector buzzing?

In the ministerial foreword, Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell boasts about NHS services and how "there are new, more effective medications and our services are now more e-cigarette friendly", while further down the document it states:
On the basis of current evidence vaping e-cigarettes is definitely less harmful than smoking cigarettes. So, e-cigarette use as a means to quit should be seen by health professionals as a tool which some smokers will want to use. 
It also says about "smokers in mental health settings":
Raising awareness of the need to take a new approach in these settings and particularly about the possibilities which e-cigarettes being made available in appropriate non-NHS prescribed ways could have a big impact on the physical health of these patients.
So what are they going to do about these products which they have obviously recognised as being something which smokers are choosing to use and which have led to smoking prevalence tumbling?

Well, they're going to ensure that almost no-one knows about them, of course.
Providing protection through regulations and restrictions 
We will consult on the detail of restricting domestic advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes in law.
The key word there is 'domestic' because the EU's article 20 of the TPD specifically banned cross border advertising, therefore broadcast and online media. Domestic advertising such as posters, leaflets, direct mail, cinema and ads on buses are not covered by EU law.

So, the Scottish government is consulting with a view to gold-plate the EU regulations by placing further restrictions on 'domestic' advertising; that very e-cigarette advertising which is currently not burdened by the ignorant, lobbyist-led stupidity of Brussels.

With the UK's advertising regulator recently having given evidence to the UK government's Science and Technology Committee that they are looking at allowing e-cig vendors to make truthful claims about the safer nature of vaping - as in, relaxing the regulations - the Scottish government is planning to go the other way and make sure as few people know about vaping as possible.

The Calvinist puritanism being displayed in Scotland right now is jaw-dropping, but this takes the biscuit. We have a tobacco control plan for England committing to "maximise the availability of safer alternatives to smoking", at the same time that Scotland has decided it only wants safer alternatives available via state-run channels. If they can't control it, they'd prefer you don't even try.

There are also sinister hints that they intend to go even further down the rabbit hole of anti-vaping moral panic.
Over the course of this action plan it is likely that the markets for e-cigarettes and novel heated tobacco products will develop further. This could mean that the current focus of tobacco control enforcement changes over time to take account of these newer markets. For example if there were changes to the law on restricting the sales of non-nicotine containing e-liquid for e-cigarettes this would have implications for enforcement.
If markets for e-cigs and heat not burn increase, that is a good thing! But not for Scotland, it seems. There is also a hint there that there might be more regulations on the horizon for nicotine free e-liquid, again not covered by the EU TPD.

Have I got your attention yet, Scottish vape reviewers? Yep, that could be the end of short fills.
There may also need to be programmed initiatives on ensuring e-liquids are authorised products ...
Well, considering the TPD created a new category for e-cigs so they are already kinda "authorised", could they mean yet another gold plate layer on top of EU regulations? Or maybe they just mean the whole hog and enforced medicinal licensing. We shall have to see.
... and perhaps even on whether these age-restricted products are being marketed in a way which primarily appeals to young people. 
They've really swallowed the anti-vaping Kool Aid in bucket loads, haven't they?

And as for this ...
During the summer of 2018 we will work with health boards and integration boards to try to reach a consensus on whether vaping should or should not be allowed on hospital grounds through a consistent, national approach.
It's not illegal, it's not dangerous, the same document talks about smokers using e-cigs to quit. Where is the debate?

I reckon the best take I can offer to you is that if you are Scottish and a vaper, remember that ASH Scotland - who will have advised the government in detail on production of this plan - is not your friend. Neither, I would suggest, is the SNP. Worth remembering next time some politician asks for your vote.

Like Snowdon, I have only skimmed the document and - like him - I think "these people are off their heads". I'll leave it there for now, though, but I'm sure I'll be coming back to this utter insanity, maybe tomorrow. Watch this space. 



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