Monday 2 January 2012

The Irresistible Rise Of The E-Cig: Bad News For Tobacco Control

The subject of electronic cigarettes is fast becoming one of the most interesting public health battlegrounds of 2012 and, gloriously, it looks like it could also be a very embarrassing one for anti-smokers.

We're very used to 'swarm politics' from the tobacco control industry, whereby they all spout off on the latest proposed prohibition when one of their coalition blows an embargoed whistle, but press coverage of e-cigs in the past few days has been relentless without any noticeable co-ordination.

For a start, the fiercely anti-smoking Independent have come out firmly in favour of them. Their Chief sports writer, James Lawton, penned a puff piece on New Year's Eve while on the same day, even tobacco company involvement didn't deter the paper from publishing more extremely positive column inches.

Companies, including some of the biggest names in tobacco, are poised to launch a generation of devices that mimic the experience of smoking without the lethal effects.

One, being developed by a 29-year-old Oxford graduate, has attracted the attention of BAT, one of the world's largest tobacco companies, which has bought the rights to market it. A profusion of electronic and other devices has appeared in the past year, thanks to a legal loophole which allows them to be sold freely so long as they do not make any health claim.
Can you just imagine the horror of the psychotic wing of anti-smoking when they read such heresy in one of their favourite left-leaning rags? For the most committed tobacco-hating bigots, e-cigs are just a means by which many smokers are able to escape hideous, holier-than-thou, evangelical bullying, so I'm sure the bug eyes of one renowned weapons grade arsehole would have burned like being injected with acid if he opened the page and was hit with that.

He wouldn't be alone, either. As I've said before, e-cigs confuse (and scare) the hell out of anti-smokers, so much so that they have been charging around trying to ban them everywhere they possibly can. I wrote the other day about Holland's sad capitulation, but they're also currently illegal in supposedly free societies such as Australia, Brazil, Finland, Singapore and Canada.

Of course, if scathing articles like this today from one of Canada's largest news sources become more frequent, that may change.

It’s clear that since nothing is being combusted in an e-cigarette, their use is significantly less harmful than smoking. A 2010 paper published in the Journal of Public Health Policy reviewed the available data and concluded that, “electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes.” Researchers at the Canadian organization called e-cigarettes “the tobacco harm reduction phenomenon of the year.”

But just because a technology has the potential to save millions of lives, doesn’t mean someone hasn’t tried to ban it.

To figure out why the government would try to prohibit the use of these products, one simply has to follow the money. Between 2001 and 2008, the federal government collected $20.4-billion worth of tobacco taxes. Rather than implementing policies that are in the best interests of Canadians, it is the government that has become addicted to the lucrative tobacco industry.

It’s time to break the addiction: End the Canadian ban on electronic cigarettes.
Amen. Although the author solely places the blame on politicians, rather than equally the mentally unbalanced smoke-haters and richly-funded - partly from tobacco taxes - professional tobacco prohibitionists who advise them.

Because that's the way the pharma-backed "quit or die" approach is intended to work. You quit by approved crony capitalist means, or the state and its allies will be quite happy to see you die.

It really hasn't ever been about health, and e-cigs are a perfect example. Especially since we've seen it all before, as the last of those recent articles I mentioned points out.

Writing for Ad Age - again, today - Judann Pollack recalls a time in the 80s when the battle for nicotine profits was won by smoke haters, and when - by tobacco control's very own reasoning - thousands of people died prematurely as a result.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 10 million smoking-related deaths since 1988. I often wonder whether that figure would be lower if it weren't for the rigidity of the anti-smoking lobby.

Our story this week about marketers being unable to tout the potential health benefits of electronic cigarettes brought to mind an Ad Age storyline from 1988: The rise and fall of Premier. Premier was an audacious attempt by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to sell a cigarette that heated, rather than burned, tobacco. It created no sidestream smoke, produced no ashes, contained zero tar, and had 97% less nicotine and 70% less carbon monoxide than other brands at the time.

Yet health advocates rebelled, maintaining, as they do now, that there's no such thing as a safer cigarette.

So with the best intentions, anti-smoking groups swooped into the St. Louis and Phoenix test markets faster than you could say "cancer stick." Local health organizations petitioned the state Board of Pharmacy to label Premier a drug and remove it from market. It was denounced by health commissioners in Missouri. New Jersey held hearings to ban Premier, even though it couldn't be purchased within 1,000 miles of the Garden State's border.
Err, I'd argue with the 'best intentions' bit, unless talking about protecting salaries and research grants of course, but the rest is quite true and documented elsewhere.

Former tobacco control activist Michael Siegel regularly highlights instances where the movement have gone off the rails and actively encourage politicians to bring in legislation which is pathetically thought-out and arguably kills people, but e-cigs are the best example yet by a long chalk.

And it is a major one which is happening now while modern communications enable the proof of their disgusting (and lethal) rent-seeking methods to be spread widely.

They have tried their utmost, globally, to extinguish (pun unintended) e-cigs despite their being a demonstrable boon to those wishing to move away from smoking. All because tobacco control's favoured quit partners and sponsors - who, by an amazing coincidence, all happen to be competing pharmaceutical companies - have told them to.

That they haven't succeeded, and now look likely to have to admit abject defeat, is not down to anything else other than true 'grassroots' opposition, rather than the feigned state-funded one that the likes of ASH still try to portray themselves as.

Time for some trumpet-blowing, I think, as I did predict as much last March.

As user numbers swell, government's enforcers in Whitehall are going to find it increasingly difficult to cut off vapers from an alternative to tobacco which offers massive harm reduction potential, without showing themselves up as vested interest stooges (if they haven't already, natch).
To put it bluntly, any anti-smoking organisation who continues to act against e-cigs are openly admitting that they have no care for smokers' health (as if they ever did), and that can only be a good thing.

The sooner they are seen as the prohibitively costly, self-serving tax leeches that they are, feeding the prejudices of the most obnoxious in society, warping social fabrics worldwide, while delivering little by way of net health benefits, the better for all concerned.

The game's afoot for 2012, and I for one be watching developments with great interest.


Curmudgeon said...

There is an advert for e-cigs in today's Daily Mail, which I suppose must be interpreted as a sign of respectability.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Being sold in Tesco's is even better, Mr C. The anti-smokers are being trounced ... how long before they give up, d'ya reckon?

Personally, I hope they keep ranting on as it makes them look as ludicrous as those of us who study them found out a long time ago. ;)

Campaign for Vaping in Pubs said...

The more people who get behind ecigs, whether they use them or not, the more chance we have got of keeping them on sale in their current form in the UK.

We are lucky that we have a bit of breathing space before the MHRA return with some 'facts' about why they should be classified as medicinal nicotine - so we have time to grow as a community.

On thursday the 22nd of March, there is to be a 'World Vaping Day' - to draw attention to ecigs and other recreational nicotine use.

My passion is the role of ecigs in helping the traditional pub, and what it stands for, survive. On 'World Vaping Day', I would like all the smokers who used to go to pubs to meet up in their locals, try ecigs for free and see what a pub could be like in 2012 if the smoking ban is not amended.

It would be fantastic if the smokers did that just for one day - it would be a great way of sticking 2 fingers up at the antis and to show once and for all, what difference smokers actually can make to a pub's trade.


Anonymous said...

ASH ET AL missed a trick, didn't they? They should have been all for them, and when they had enough smokers on ecig, found ' a health problem' and withdrew suport.

As it is, they have got themselves between a rock and a hard place.


But you vapers mustn't get your hopes up - even now the zealots will be looking for weak link. Quite possibly, it will be concentrated nature of the liquid and the possibility of a child drinking it. They will not let the fact that we all have bleaches and all sorts of concentrated poisons under our sinks deter them. The quack professors will be out in force.

Anonymous said...

Why not make it look like a carrot?

Anonymous said...

Respectability for e-cigs means tobacco and pharmaceuticals both would have to jump in on producing them and that would result in advertisements in MSM, including TV, that would feature adults puffing and blowing out something that looked like smoke. In a way, that might help put pressure against smoking bans. Might.

The Devil's Thadvocate said...

Junican, actually the liquid is not particularly concentrated. The only question of purity is that the nicotine used is 99.9995% pure. Most e-cigarette liquids contain only a small percentage of (mostly pure--the other .0005% is the tobacco related nitrosamines the FDA warned you about) nicotine comparable to the percentage of nicotine in cigarette tobacco. However, because e-cigarettes are not lit on fire, most of the nicotine is not destroyed by combustion or lost to sidestream smoke so a single cartridge can replace 6 to 30+ cigarettes.

Andrew said...

they are not illegall here in just got to order them 2 myself..
they work very well and lots of people have them cant buy them in a shop here, but they are not illegal at all...

Dick Puddlecote said...

Andrew: Thanks for that. Reports I have read have always pointed to them being illegal in Australia. For example, in Queensland, there is an $8,000 fine for trying to buy e-liquid online, and this seems pretty unequivocal from 2009.

"Last October, the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) decided that this classification should remain for e-cigarettes, which effectively makes it illegal to sell nicotine e-cigarettes in all states and territories."

I'd be very interested to know if there has been a rethink of these rulings.

nisakiman said...

"Anonymous janet47 said...

Why not change the shape of vapors from an offensive cigarette lookalike to mobile phone shape"

Vapers, not vapors. Do keep up dear.

And anyway, most vapers I've known have been human shaped.

Anonymous said...

anonymous nisakiman said

Vapers, not vapors. Do keep up dear.

yes dear please do keep up...try google next time, if you dont understand words you are reading

The Devil's Thadvocate said...

Actually I think the term nisakiman was looking for was "vaporizers" or the preferred abbreviation "PV" for Personal Vaporizer.

An e-cigarette is a personal vaporizer designed to look and operate similar to an "analog" cigarette and most closely mimic the behavior of smoking without any of the hazards or byproducts of combustion that account for at least 99% of the known risks to users and bystanders of chronic tobacco use.

It is called an "e-cigarette" because it is marketed to adult cigarette smokers looking for a smoke-free alternative. If cigarettes do not appeal to you, you are not the target market for e-cigarettes.

Frank said...

Wouldn't think that anybody who uses the words "known risks to users and bystanders of chronic tobacco use" is going to be listened to.

Better luck next time. Think it through, first!

nisakiman said...

"Actually I think the term nisakiman was looking for was "vaporizers"..."

No, nisakiman wasn't actually looking for any term.

"An e-cigarette is a personal vaporizer designed to look and operate similar to an "analog" cigarette and most closely mimic the behavior of smoking without any of the hazards or byproducts of combustion that account for at least 99% of the known risks to users and bystanders of chronic tobacco use."

Gosh. I never knew that...

The Devil's Thadvocate said...

Good catch on the redundant redundancy Frank, I'll rephrase: An e-cigarette is a battery powered fog machine that is designed to mimic the activity of smoking without any of the risks of lighting tobacco on fire and directly or indirectly inhaling the smoke.

Lighting tobacco on fire and inhaling the smoke hundreds of times a day has well documented negative health effects, including causing approximately 8.6 Million Americans to suffer from a chronic disease that is caused or worsened by smoking, yet they remain either unable or simply unwilling to quit. In spite of the fact that 58% of smokers want to quit badly enough to make at least one attempt to quit using "proven safe & effective" cessation pharmaceuticals each year, and ever increasing cigarette taxes, and constant demonization and "denormalization" from anti-nicotine zealots...the number of smokers remains virtually unchanged, while the death-toll mounts from users and innocent bystanders of the "violent or suicidal thoughts and actions" or deadly cardiovascular risks of Chantix, or the 600-2000% increase in risk of seizure from Wellbutrin. That's the FDA's idea of "safe", and their idea of "effective" is NRT's that have a proven relapse rate of 98.4% twenty months after treatment was judged by the FDA as more effective than placebo that had a 99.3% relapse rate at 20 months.(1.6% is "more than twice as effective" as .7% with placebo*)

*Note: The FDA is not aware of any clinical evidence that smoking cessation with placebo is more effective than quitting "cold turkey" or other non-pharmaceutical methods or substituting with reduced harm alternatives.

Jonathan Bagley said...

I disagree with Russell. Smokers should stay out of pubs and run as many as they can into the ground. He's clearly not intersted in getting the smoking ban amended and there's a cat#s chance in hell of the Government encouraging ecig smoking in bars and restaurants wher children are now unfortunately and, for financial reasons, necessarily allowed. So, Ecig rooms in pubs? How ridiculous. Ecigs will eventually be brought into the mainstream, manufactured by drug companies, very expensive and highly taxed. They do nthing for me. The only thing they are good for is causing trouble for cctv operators.

Frank said...

The only reason most I know contemplate the use of e-cigs is either to 'vape' in a pub or reduce the cost. As most pubs still do not accept them and, in most cases, the difference in overall saving is minimal you only have the 'health' freaks as the main market. As most give up by themselves, anyway, resulting in no cost at all, your market is even more limited.

IMO, they are still crap but I'm willing to try provided I can find a decent pub that accepts them.

You'll get nowhere on here repeating the ASH splurge. There are many knowledgeable people who'll be more than willing to debate these assertions. If you wish to propagate e-cigs, be careful how you do it

Anonymous said...

tolerance is the buzz word pro smokers preach.

try it yourself dickie

Jonathan Bagley said...

"e-cigs are for enlightened smokers who are not in denial."

I'd say ecigs are for those who have tried them and find them a satisfying alternative to cigarettes. All the smokers who comment here have tried them.

Campaign for Vaping in Pubs said...

@Jonathan. I am a smoker who also uses ecigs. I did not have a tobacco cigarette for 2 years when I first started using them but now I do both.

These days, I enjoy smoking all of the few I have now rather than enjoying a few of all the 45 a day I used to smoke.

The smoking ban is the most devisive piece of legislation of recent years and too few people have stood up for the rights of smokers. The pub industry and CAMRA did themselves no favours by going along with the ban and soon we will see all pubs being child-friendly eateries or over priced sellers of craft-beers. That is when I'll give up.

In the meantime, there is a spoke in the works - the ecig - It allows smokers to 'smoke' inside if they want to (can be @rsed). If ecigs are banned, it must only be for the fact that they look like someone is smoking and enjoying themselves too much.

CAM-VIP is about the pubs and if the smoking activists care about their pubs, they need to pick up an ecig and join me and my mates vaping inside and goad the Government into action rather than hoping for the miracle of an amendment of the smoking ban - which isn't going to happen!

Russell VR Ord

Anonymous said...

"designed to mimic the activity of smoking without any of the risks of lighting tobacco on fire and directly or indirectly inhaling the smoke."

.. Only all the "studies" in the world show NO risk regarding second-hand-smoke. So it is promoting a fraud to promote e-cigs based on the trumped up falsely accused issue of second-hand-smoke "harm", which is a myth, a lie.

The Devil's Thadvocate said...

We can argue over the scope of the risks of fires, burns, and smoke damage to bystanders and what percentage are psychosomatic all day, but that doesn't change the fact that smoking poses objective health risks (however large or minute) to bystanders that are explicitly NOT posed by smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes, Swedish-style snus, liquids and dissolvables.

Anonymous said...

SHS, Second Hand Smoke can as easily become SHS, Second Hand Steam, something to bear in mind when out drum beating against SHS, even though the studies showed no correlation, no cause and effect, the other factors beside the point. Lithium batteries can explode and in an airplane that could prove fatal. So lots of other factors could be found as well.

Jonathan Bagley said...

Hi Russell, apologies for wrongly suspecting your motives. I don't think groups of vapers in pubs furthers the cause of those of us who want smoking pubs or smoking clubs. It will just bring forward the day when the only legal "ecigs" are expensive to use and don't look like cigarettes. The Government can never ban today's ecigs as they are small and the small bottles of liquid are so cheap and so easy to smuggle, but it can ban their indoor use on some nonsense safety grounds. Ecig use in non-residential buildings cannot be permitted when tobacco smoking is banned - for so many reasons, including the important taking the p*** reason. Those governments which have already banned ecigs know perfectly well they pose no danger.

DVaper said...

Right, a lot are trying to ban the use of electronic cigarette's use indoor but a lot of states have also passed on a ban on electronic cigarettes now. The latest I have read on ban of ecigs is on US flights, though some planes still would allow the use of it. Guess, vapers will just have to take that flight.

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