Vapers rise ‘to more than three million’ in Britain

from BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45513762

The number of vapers in Great Britain has topped three million for the first time – four times the number in 2012, according to a survey by Action on Smoking and Health.

Most use e-cigarettes because they have quit smoking and 40% are smokers who are trying to give up.

The estimations are based on a survey of 12,000 British adults.

But a “worrying” belief that vaping is as bad as smoking still exists, a King’s College London analysis found.

Earlier this year, Public Health England said e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription because of how successful they were in helping people give up smoking.

And a report by MPs in August said rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed and their use on public transport debated.

Ash, the public health charity, said this survey suggested smokers were getting the message that switching to vaping could improve their health.

It estimates a 10% rise in e-cigarette users between 2017 and 2018, up from 2.9 to 3.2 million.

But there are still some smokers – about a third – who have never tried one.

Alison Cook, director of policy at the British Lung Foundation, said: “It’s really encouraging to see smokers using e-cigarettes to help them quit the much more harmful practice of smoking.”

She said doctors and pharmacists “should be very clear with people that there is a range of products available and that they can try vaping as a way to stop smoking”.

read full article – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45513762

E-cigarettes can be key weapon against smoking, say MPs

from BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45212444

Rules around e-cigarettes should be relaxed so they can be more widely used and accepted in society, says a report by MPs.

Vaping is much less harmful than normal cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be made available on prescription to help more people quit smoking, it said.

The report also asks the government to consider their use on buses and trains.

There is no evidence e-cigarettes are a gateway into smoking for young people, Public Health England said.

The report on e-cigarettes, by the science and technology MPs’ committee, said they were too often overlooked by the NHS as a tool to help people stop smoking.

For example, it said it was “unacceptable” that a third of the 50 NHS mental health trusts in England had a ban on e-cigarettes on their premises, when there was a “negligible health risk” from second hand e-cigarette vapour.
What else do the MPs say?

In the report they call for:

greater freedom for industry to advertise e-cigarettes
relaxing of regulations and tax duties on e-cigarettes to reflect their relative health benefits
an annual review of the health effects of e-cigarettes, as well as heat-not-burn products
a debate on vaping in public spaces, such as on public transport and in offices
e-cigarettes licensed as medical devices
a rethink on limits on refill strengths and tank sizes
an end to the ban on snus – an oral tobacco product which is illegal in the UK under EU rules

Read full article at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45212444

 

PHE publishes independent expert e-cigarettes evidence review

A new Public Health England (PHE) e-cigarette evidence review, undertaken by leading independent tobacco experts, provides an update on PHE’s 2015 review.

The report covers e-cigarette use among young people and adults, public attitudes, the impact on quitting smoking, an update on risks to health and the role of nicotine. It also reviews heated tobacco products.

The main findings of PHE’s evidence review are that:

  • vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits
  • e-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more
  • e-cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country
  • many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40% of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette
    there is much public misunderstanding about nicotine (less than 10% of adults understand that most of the harms to health from smoking are not caused by nicotine)
  • the use of e-cigarettes in the UK has plateaued over the last few years at just under 3 million
  • the evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people (youth smoking rates in the UK continue to decline, regular use is rare and is almost entirely confined to those who have smoked)

PHE’s evidence review comes just a few weeks after a US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on e-cigarettes. Their conclusion on e-cigarette safety also finds that based on the available evidence ‘e-cigarettes are likely to be far less harmful than combustible tobacco cigarettes.’

Professor John Newton, Director for Health Improvement at PHE said:

Every minute someone is admitted to hospital from smoking, with around 79,000 deaths a year in England alone.

Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders. Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know.

It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about their safety.

Professor Ann McNeill, lead author and Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London said:

It’s of great concern that smokers still have such a poor understanding about what causes the harm from smoking. When people smoke tobacco cigarettes, they inhale a lethal mix of 7,000 smoke constituents, 70 of which are known to cause cancer.

People smoke for the nicotine, but contrary to what the vast majority believe, nicotine causes little if any of the harm. The toxic smoke is the culprit and is the overwhelming cause of all the tobacco-related disease and death. There are now a greater variety of alternative ways of getting nicotine than ever before, including nicotine gum, nasal spray, lozenges and e-cigarettes.

Professor Linda Bauld, author and Professor of Health Policy, University of Stirling and Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK said:

Concern has been expressed that e-cigarette use will lead young people into smoking. But in the UK, research clearly shows that regular use of e-cigarettes among young people who have never smoked remains negligible, less than 1%, and youth smoking continues to decline at an encouraging rate. We need to keep closely monitoring these trends, but so far the data suggest that e-cigarettes are not acting as a route into regular smoking amongst young people.

PHE is calling on smokers and a number of bodies to act on the evidence.

Read full release here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review

 

Headlines saying ‘vaping might cause cancer’ are wildly misleading

from Cancer Research UK
http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2018/01/30/headlines-saying-vaping-might-cause-cancer-are-wildly-misleading/

E-cigarettes are in the news again. This time with headlines that they may cause cancer.

But the study that the stories are based on, published in the journal PNAS, doesn’t show this.

What did the study do?

Researchers from New York University School of Medicine looked at how e-cigarette vapour affected the DNA of mice, and human cells in a dish.

They didn’t look at how it affected people. And they didn’t directly compare it to smoking.

The researchers focused on how components of e-cig vapour damage cells’ DNA. And DNA damage increases the risk of cancer.

But they didn’t look directly at whether e-cigs caused cancer, either in mice or in people.

What did the study show?

They found that e-cig vapour raised levels of DNA damage in the lungs, bladders and hearts of mice.

They also found that the molecular machinery cells use to repair this DNA damage was less effective in the lungs of mice exposed to e-cig vapour.

Then they looked at how nicotine, the chemical that e-cigs vaporise, affects human lung and bladder cells grown in a lab dish. Nicotine is what makes cigarettes addictive, but isn’t what causes the damage from smoking. Both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes contain nicotine, but e-cigs have much lower levels of the harmful components of tobacco smoke.

The researchers found that nicotine damages the DNA inside those lab-grown human lung and bladder cells. And they found that these cells were less able to repair this damage. These cells were then more susceptible to further genetic faults that could give them properties like those of cancer cells.
What do the results mean?

The researchers described their results with an interesting line:

“It is therefore possible that e-cigarette smoke may contribute to lung and bladder cancer, as well as heart disease, in humans.”

While this is technically possible, the study didn’t look at humans, and so didn’t show any effect on the health of humans.

Different e-cigs devices deliver different amounts of vapour, and people use them in different ways. So the levels of e-cig vapour and nicotine used in the study might not match the levels that people are exposed to through normal use.

And other research didn’t show a link between nicotine products and cancer.

Finally and crucially, the study didn’t compare vaping to tobacco smoke.

What now?

The evidence so far shows that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking.

And for some people they’re a helpful aide to stop smoking.

Up to two-thirds of long term smokers will die because of their addiction. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, which is the biggest cause of preventable death worldwide.

Read full piece from CRUK here – http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2018/01/30/headlines-saying-vaping-might-cause-cancer-are-wildly-misleading/

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.
Guardian Morning Briefing – sign up and start the day one step ahead
Read more

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’’.