Abstinence-only approach to nicotine has created undue fears about alternatives

from The Journal – http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/abstinence-only-approach-to-nicotine-has-created-undue-fears-about-alternatives-3652593-Oct2017/

by David T Sweanor

DEATH, MOST OF us can agree, is best delayed. But cigarette smoking is a major impediment to achieving such a delay. Indeed, cigarettes kill over 100 people in Ireland on a weekly basis, or about 30 times the still horrendous toll of Irish road deaths.

With cigarette smoking being by far the leading cause of death in the country, rushing such a product towards its own doom should be a national priority. All the more so if we could do so relatively easy while empowering rather than punishing people who currently smoke.

Well, the time to begin to finally stub out cigarettes might have arrived. It is based on three very straightforward facts and the application of some of the political vision that has brought us a host of past public health revolutions.

People smoke for the nicotine but die from the smoke

First, people smoke for the nicotine but die from the smoke. Cigarettes are a very dirty delivery system for a relatively low risk drug. They are the equivalent of getting caffeine by smoking rather than brewing tea leaves, or heating a building with an open fire but no chimney. The repeated inhalation of smoke, not the pursuit of nicotine, caffeine or warmth, ultimately kills.

Second, it is now entirely possible for people who currently smoke to get their nicotine from consumer acceptable products that obviate the inhalation of the products of combustion.

Vaping, also known as electronic cigarettes, is already very popular as a substitute for lethal cigarettes. These products are getting constantly better, and are used by ever growing numbers of people who seem to appreciate the advantages in saving both money and years of life. But there are many other options that could also be available.

Read full article at http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/abstinence-only-approach-to-nicotine-has-created-undue-fears-about-alternatives-3652593-Oct2017/

 

 

Fears over e-cigarettes leading to smoking for young people unfounded – study

from The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/29/fears-over-e-cigarettes-leading-to-smoking-for-young-people-unfounded-study

Largest ever such survey of British 11- to 16-year-olds reveals experimentation with vaping devices does not translate into regular use and smoking rates still in decline.

Young people who try e-cigarettes are not more likely to take up smoking as a result, according to a substantial new study.

Public health experts have been divided over e-cigarettes. Some believe they will help millions quit their deadly tobacco habit, while others are convinced they are little more than a stalking horse for the tobacco industry. Some of the big international tobacco companies have invested in manufacturing e-cigarettes. Philip Morris International has even spoken of a “smoke-free future”, where it would make its money from liquid nicotine for vaping devices rather than tobacco.
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But other anti-smoking campaigners accuse the big companies of an ambition to promote their cigarettes by stealth, arguing that the promotion and advertising of vaping could help smoking shed its pariah status.

The biggest concerns have been that young people who have been smoking in fewer and fewer numbers over recent decades will experiment with e-cigarettes and move on to old-style cigarettes which kill because of the tar content, not the nicotine.

But the largest study yet undertaken of young people’s use of e-cigarettes and smoking in the UK concludes that fears of e-cigarettes becoming a gateway to tobacco for young people are largely unfounded. The study, which was based on five separate surveys gathering data from 2015 to 2017, is from a collaboration including experts from Public Health England.

A tenth to a fifth of 11- to 16-year-olds had tried e-cigarettes, but only 3% or less used them regularly and those were mostly already tobacco smokers. Among young people who have never smoked, regular use of e-cigarettes was negligible, say the authors, at between only 0.1% and 0.5%.

Declan Connolly, owner of ezSmoke had already debated with Professor Luke Clancy from Tobacco Free Ireland on a previous similar report last week on Newstalk Radio with Pat Kenny. Listen to the podcast at  (starts about 20 minutes in) – http://www.newstalk.com/listen_back/13240/38453/23rd_August_2017_-_The_Pat_Kenny_Show_Part_1/

 

New strategy document misses opportunity

from IVVA – http://www.ivva.ie/latest-news/new-strategy-document-misses-opportunity/

New Cancer Strategy should have acknowledged harm reduction opportunities, say independent vape industry.

The 2017-2026 Cancer Strategy published today misses out an opportunity to harness the enormous public health benefits of vaping, say the Irish Vape Vendors Association. The measures included in the strategy document to strengthen cancer prevention in the context of smoking rely on the existing Tobacco Free Ireland plan, delivered by Healthy Ireland.

But neither of these two frameworks acknowledge that if smokers can’t or don’t want to quit smoking, switching to a safer way of consuming nicotine like vaping is a valid and desirable outcome.

We’re seeing the biggest reduction in smoking in recent times by our neighbours in England, where harm reduction has been part of the national conversation for 3 years now. Across the EU, 6.1 million smokers have chosen to switch to safer consumer products and become smoke free, British cancer researchers are trialing how vaping can improve the lives of smokers who have received a cancer diagnosis, and there’s a concerted effort to inform smokers about vaping.

In Westminster last week, British Labour MPs Sir Kevin Barron and Gloria De Piero described support for vaping a social justice issue, given that vaping is cheaper than smoking and those on lower incomes are more likely to smoke. In the Cancer Strategy published today, lung cancer shows strong patterns of increasing incidence with increasing deprivation.

 

Ireland should be at the stage where the Department of Health no longer ignores the benefits of smokers switching to vaping, so to find zero mention of harm reduction policies in today’s publication was somewhat disappointing.

The compliant independent vape industry will be disadvantaged if new regulations are not universally enforced.

from http://www.ivva.ie/latest-news/compliant-independent-vape-industry/

Regulating vape products – which contain no tobacco – with a tobacco-like regulatory framework is ill fitting considering the differences in the risks to users, and the fact that vaping is used as a safer alternative to smoking.

Despite our view that they are not fully fit for purpose, the new regulations on vape products within the EU Tobacco Products Directive, transposed into Irish law (S.I. 271 of 2016), now place restrictions on vape products and the manufacturers, distributors and retailers operating in the market, and our members have to abide by them.

More smokers switching to vaping represents an opportunity to add to the reduction in the rates of smoking, in a landscape where Ireland has set a target of a prevalence of less that 5% by the year 2025.

However, consumers and the wider public should be confident that the products they see for sale are being sold in Ireland legally, have gone through the necessary testing and reporting requirements, and that regulations are being adequately enforced.

Today we have written to the Environmental Health Service Tobacco Control Operational Unit, the Department of Health, and Members of the Oireachtas to outline our concerns.

IVVA members have spent considerable amounts of time and money to become compliant within the deadlines. Regrettably, this has had to come about despite delays with clarification and engagement from the HSE and Department of Health.

On some technical aspects, we are still waiting for what is required within the statutory instrument; the publication of the list of products that can be legally sold here, and the list of retailers that have registered for cross border sales, by the HSE.

This lack of clarity on a common understanding of the regulations, alongside the opinion held by some that there will be little or no enforcement, has caused many suppliers and businesses to unknowingly or willfully ignore their legal responsibilities.

These are complex regulations, in which there are contradictory elements, some of which will be practically unenforceable. Others, such as the advertising and promotion restrictions, will be very difficult to enforce as the regulations are open to numerous interpretations. However, some elements are clearer.

It is now an offence to sell liquid refills containing nicotine in bottles larger than 10ml, a tank that is over 2ml in volume, and all products covered by the regulations must have been notified to the HSE 6 months in advance and carry the correct labels.

During the allowed sell through period, our members have been clearing old stock at cost or loss levels, sourcing new suppliers, investing in testing and notification of products, redesigning packaging & labeling, and as per the deadline of May 20th, removed any remaining non compliant products from the market, and they have absorbed the considerable costs involved.

We were advised in writing by the HSE National Tobacco Control Office on the 2nd of May that:

‘Staff members are trained in all aspects of the legislation relevant to an inspection. Standardised protocols and inspection records are also developed and followed by the Environmental Health Service”

However, we have reasonable grounds to believe that all not all staff have received this training. Since there are shops all over the country still selling non compliant products since the deadline of May 20th passed, this is concerning.

Since the publication of this EU Directive in 2014, it has been clear that flaws and contradictions in the regulations mean independent Irish businesses will lose customers to the huge black and grey market that will inevitably emerge. IVVA members will have to work against that backdrop, and the presence of the tobacco industry now operating in this market.

However, we hope that the government and the HSE recognise the value of the independent vape industry and work with the IVVA to get regulation and enforcement right – for the sake of consumer safety as well as for the longevity of independent businesses.

We are confident that despite these burdensome and ill-fitting regulations, Ireland can at least in part realise the public health gains that a reduction in smoking would bring if compliant independent companies can operate and compete in a fair marketplace.

 

As a responsible trade association for the independent companies in this industry, we trust the Environmental Health Service Tobacco Control Operational Unit is engaging with local enforcement offices and this lack of compliance is addressed.

More than half of UK vapers ‘have given up smoking’

from BBC – http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39823325

For the first time, more than half of the UK’s electronic-cigarette users have since given up smoking tobacco, a study suggests.

Some 1.5 million vapers are ex-smokers, compared with 1.3 million who still use tobacco, a survey of 12,000 adults for Action on Smoking and Health found.

But Ash said the message that vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers.

Some nine million still smoke in the UK despite a big rise in e-cigarette use.

In 2012, there were 700,000 vapers in the UK; now there are 2.9 million.
Rise ‘has peaked’

The main reason ex-smokers give for vaping is to help them stop smoking.

Current smokers say they do it principally to reduce the amount they smoke.

Scientists say current evidence suggests that the risks of exposure to toxins for e-cigarette users are likely to be low – and much lower than with tobacco.

Deborah Arnott, the campaigning health charity’s chief executive, said the figures on vapers who had quit smoking were “excellent news” but that the rate of people switching to electronic versions had peaked.

“The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end,” she said.
‘Much less harmful’

This is because more than a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, as a result of concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes.

But research suggests that 26% of people think e-cigarettes are more – or equally as – harmful as smoking tobacco while only 13% believe they are a lot less harmful.

“It’s very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking,” she added.

Read full article at  – http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39823325

New UCL study should reassure smokers

from Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA) http://www.ivva.ie/latest-news/new-ucl-study-reassure-smokers/

Researchers from University College London, in a study funded by Cancer Research UK, followed smokers who switched entirely to e-cigarettes and measured levels of 26 potentially harmful chemicals in the body, by looking at samples of their urine and saliva. They compared the results with smokers who used NRT such as patches, gums or lozenges found that the both groups had reduced their intake of toxins to similar levels.

This new research adds to the extensive arsenal of evidence which shows that for smokers, vaping is a safer alternative, and comes a day after a different study fund that across the EU, smokers in the UK are switching to vaping faster than any other country.

A recent HIQA draft Health Technology Assessment on smoking cessation interventions found that if the rate of Irish smokers switching to vaping was similar to that of the UK, it would represent a cost saving to the state.

The Irish Vape Vendors Association highlighted in their submission to the HIQA public consultation on the assessment, that policies on vaping would need to change before the same level of uptake was seen here.

The Irish implementation of EU regulations on e-cigarettes mean that Irish smokers would have to wait 6 months longer to access the same products as smokers in the UK or France.

‘’The EU regulation will slow innovation in this fast paced marketplace anyway, but knowing how much of a positive these products are for smokers it makes little sense to hold them hostage’’, said IVVA administrator Gillian Golden.

‘’To see the full public health gains that vaping represents, we need a suite of policies that supports both the smokers switching, and the independent businesses who serve the market’’.

 

Changes at ezSmoke under New EU TPD

(Edited March 1, 2017 – Hazy Days update)

As you maybe aware there are new rules & regulation to be applied to ecigarettes and eliquids under the new Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40(EU) Article 20. (EU TPD for short).  The EU TPD comes into full force on May 20, 2017. You can read the full directive here

Article 20 of the EU TPD which specifically deals with ecigarettes covers many different areas of regulation, but the main ones that will affect both us here at ezSmoke, and you, our customer are as follows:

1. Nicotine-containing eliquid bottles cannot exceed a volume of 10ml
2. Maximum nicotine strength will be 20mg / 2%
3. Maximum tank / clearomizer size will be 2ml
4. All nicotine containing eliquids must undergo toxicological  and emissions testing and be notified to EU before being placed on EU market.

1. Nicotine-containing eliquid bottles cannot exceed a volume of 10ml
This means that the most popular size of bottle (30ml) that we sell at ezSmoke will no longer be available. Most of the eliquids we currently sell in 30ml bottles, will still be available in 10ml bottles. But when our current stock of 30ml bottles are gone, they are gone, as we can no longer purchase same from our suppliers / manufacturers.

This rule also applies to Nicotine Base, for those who make their own DIY eliquid. This rule does not apply to liquids that do not contain nicotine, or for eliquid concentrates, PG & VG.

Although we have not yet set final pricing on new 10ml TPD Compliant Bottles of liquid, but due to extra packaging etc, the cost of 10ml bottles will be more, but hopefully not too much more expensive.

2. Maximum nicotine strength will be 20mg / 2%
We have been phasing in this aspect of the TPD over the past number of months, and the highest strength eliquid we offer for many eliquids is either 12mg or 18mg. Where this particular rule will affect some users, is again those of you who DIY. Nic Base will only be available in 10ml bottles at a max strength of 20mg.

3. Maximum tank / clearomizer size will be 2ml
For most users this will not be an issue, but for those who prefer larger tanks / clearomizers. If you don’t know the capacity of the tank / clearomizer you currently use, we advise that you check website for details and perhaps buy a couple of spare tanks.

4. All nicotine containing eliquids must undergo toxicological  and emissions testing and be notified to EU before being placed on EU market.
Overall this is a good piece of the EU TPD regulation, as it means that all nicotine containing eliquids placed on the EU market will have undergone rigorous testing. But this testing is very expensive, and  it is not viable for manufacturers to test all liquids, and as a result a number of eliquid brands / flavours will no longer be manufactured / be available.

Below is a list (not yet complete) of some of nicotine containing eliquids, that we will be unable to restock once current supplies run out:

T-Juice: Cherry Choc, Cubana, Hermano Rubio, Ice Queen, Java Juice, Mintastic & Quintessence

Dekang: Antique Holmes, Cheesecake, Mango, Strawberry Milkshake & Veronica Gold

Hazy Days: Most flavours to be discontinued, although we do plan to introduce very similar liquids, but under a different name.

If any of the above are part of your “All Day Vape (ADV)”, unfortunately some changes will be required. It might be a good idea to stock up on your favourite 30ml bottles, or for liquids  that are to be discontinued. If you are into DIY, then we would recommend that you stock up on 50ml bottles of Nic Base.

The EU TPD and Article 20 is a complex piece of legislation, and the above just deals with a few very specific details. Should you have any questions etc, please send us an email to sales@ezsmoke.ie and we will do our best to answer same.

 

Success of e-cigarettes cautiously backed by Hiqa report

from The Journal.ie – http://www.thejournal.ie/vaping-hiqa-3171800-Jan2017/

HIQA’s analysis shows that increased uptake of e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting would increase the number of people who successfully quit compared with the existing situation in Ireland and would be cost-effective, provided that the currently available evidence on their effectiveness is confirmed by further studies

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has commenced a national public consultation on a health technology assessment of smoking cessation interventions.

This independent analysis by HIQA identifies what improvements could be made in the mix of interventions offered by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland to increase overall quit rates at an acceptable cost. The findings will inform the development of a national clinical guideline to guide healthcare professionals and smokers on how best to quit smoking successfully.

HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment Dr Máirín Ryan said: “Quitting smoking substantially reduces the risk of disease in former smokers. This analysis examines the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the smoking cessation interventions available in Ireland that can be used to help smokers quit for good. These include medicines such as nicotine replacement therapy, varenicline[1] and antidepressants, as well as e-cigarettes and behavioural interventions, such as counselling and telephone support. HIQA also specifically examined the clinical effectiveness of therapies in pregnant women, and those attending secondary mental health services.”

The HIQA assessment is the first of its kind in the EU to examine the cost-effectiveness of e-cigarettes.

Read full article at http://www.thejournal.ie/vaping-hiqa-3171800-Jan2017/

Disappointment at anti-vaping messaging

from IVVA – http://www.ivva.ie/latest-news/disappointment-at-anti-vaping-messaging/

The Irish Vape Vendors Association is deeply disappointment with ASH Ireland’s media announcement today that smokers should not turn to vaping.

Less than 3 hours into the new year, smokers were told that a product that has already seen thousands of Irish smokers switching away from smoking lit tobacco shouldn’t even be considered, in a piece in the Irish Independent which cites ASH Ireland’s Dr Pat Doorley.

Smokers switch to vaping for many different reasons, including as a means to cut down or eliminate their smoking completely, and the IVVA is of the opinion that unless the relative risks are communicated accurately and honestly to Irish smokers, policies will continue to wrongly treat vaping the same as smoking.

”It is deeply disappointing that any Irish anti-smoking group would not want smokers to switch to safer nicotine products, especially at this time of year when people are thinking of changing old habits”, said IVVA Administrator, Gillian Golden, ”it sends out the incorrect message to smokers here, when English stop smoking services and public health organisations are encouraging their use, all on the back of extensive evidence that vaping is far less harmful than smoking.”

The IVVA welcomes the relative risk message communicated by the Royal College of Physicians – ”Although it is not possible to precisely quantify the long term health risks associated with e-cigarettes, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure.”

An analysis of the results of the 2014 Eurobarometer survey, published in the journal ‘Addiction’, found that across the EU, 6.1 million people are no longer smoking, having fully switched to vaping, and the Healthy Ireland Survey published in 2016 found that of the 10% of smokers who stopped, 32% of them had used e-cigarettes.

”Evidence and pragmatism should be paramount in formulating policies to reduce the harms from smoking. Smokers should be encouraged to give vaping a try, they shouldn’t be put off by ideological positions that are not in step with current evidence”, said Golden.

IVVA calls on Irish delegates to WHO Meeting in Delhi to heed the benefits of vaping

The Conference of the Parties (COP) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are currently meeting in Delhi, India from the 7th and 12th of November, to discuss a range of issues relating to tobacco control, including policies on e-cigarettes and vaping.

Over 180 parties, made up of worldwide government officials and NGOs will meet at the publicly funded meeting, however media access is strictly controlled, and Irish delegates have not made their positions known prior to attending.

Last month the WHO published a report on vaping products (which they call ENDS – electronic nicotine delivery systems) which the Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA) calls ”a deeply flawed reading of the current evidence”.

”The WHO report sets up the use of vaping products as a negative from the start, but as we know from the evidence, both Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians, London have found these products to be at least 95% safer than smoking” said IVVA administrator, Gillian Golden.

Recently, leading academics in the field of tobacco control at the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies wrote a comprehensive critique of the WHO’s report, in which it states:

”The WHO report has been made available without the four supporting papers upon which it is supposed to be based. These papers are still undergoing revision during peer review. This is poor scientific practice and does not provide a reliable basis for policy advice.”

 

In Ireland, the products are used almost exclusively by ex smokers or smokers looking to reduce their harm. Although under Irish and EU regulation they are not allowed to be marketed as a quit aid, the recent Healthy Ireland survey reported that of the 10% of smokers who successfully stopped smoking last year, 32% of those had used vaping to help them stop.

”Ireland has a goal of reducing smoking rates to less that 5% by the year 2025. We need to listen to what seems to be working for smokers and embrace these harm reducing products. They’re a far safer, cheaper and more enjoyable way to consume nicotine”, said Golden.

However, as the UKCTAS paper authors claim:

”Almost every policy listed in the WHO’s paper could easily have the effect of protecting the incumbent cigarette trade, promoting smoking rather than vaping, and lead to increases in non-communicable diseases. It is very likely that widespread uptake of WHO’s policy proposal would ‘reduce harm reduction’ and therefore increase harm.”

”The IVVA call on Irish delegates to the COP meeting in Delhi to heed the serious criticisms levied at the WHO report, recognise the public health benefits of vaping, and break the cycle of secrecy that surrounds the meeting”, said Golden.

”Although their attendance is publicly funded, media access is strictly controlled, and neither independent companies like our members, nor the thousands of Irish consumers who have found success with the products know what Ireland’s position is.


The UKCTAS comment can be read in full here : http://ukctas.net/news/commentary-on-WHO-report-on-ENDS&ENNDS.html

The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has issued a briefing on the WHO report on vaping and that can be found here : http://www.ibvta.org.uk/core/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/IBVTA-Briefing-on-the-WHO-COP7-Report-on-Vaping.pdf

The Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) has written on the UKCTAS report here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ecita-blog/ukctas-critique-who-paper-%E2%80%98ends%E2%80%99-isn%E2%80%99t-just-specific-critique-it-also-mythbuster-most

INNCO, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisation, a non-industry organisation which represents the views of consumers has issued a response to the WHO report here: http://innco.org/who-cop7