It’s Friday, so that must mean it’s time to collect up the e-cigarette news stories for the week and gather them up in a neat and portable package. This week had fewer stories than last. But, things were a little heavy on the topic of Media coverage. Not only was there a selection of pinheads this time, but there was also a story that gave great coverage of the work CASAA is doing. Oh, and to my European friends, be sure to read the last story in the roundup and act!
Now then. On to the news!
e-Cigarettes in the Media
|As I teased in the intro, you’ll find a good story on CASAA in here. You’ll also find a selection of silly prohibitionist chatter to sort of balance things out.[collapsible_item title=" Click to read media news stories"]
NME recently ran an article about Gallagher whining about some award show. During his rant, the 90’s refugee got on to Muse’s drummer about his use of the electronic cigarette. Also, for some reason, he doesn’t like celebs who eat.
Brits. You go in now and everybody is a careerist. It’s very corporate, and you know what I’ve actually seen people doing at the Brits? Eating. I saw the drummer from Muse smoking an electronic cigarette. A cigarette with a battery in. I had to say to him: ‘Really? Really? Is that where you are at? Do me a favour mate, either have a proper one outside, or don’t have one.’ It lit up green when he had a drag of it. Nonsense. He said that immortal line – ‘oh you know how it is mate’. And I said ‘I’m sorry mate, I actually don’t.’
I guess if we’ve learned everything, other than Wonderwall isn’t as good as we gave it credit for is that it’s not just prohibitionists who have the quit or die mentality.
The president of the Northeast chapter of the American Lung Association posted a letter in the Democrat and Chronicle to remind people the organization still thinks very little of the concept of harm reduction. The letter naturally encourages the FDA to remove harm reduction products from the marketplace until they can be determined to be “safe”. Anything approved by the FDA is of course A-OK with them.
In the FDA hearings held at the end of last year, many such groups were encouraging the standard to be safer than smoking rather than safer than placebo (as in totally safe). Yet, that same standard doesn’t seem to hold water for non-industry products like e-cigarettes. And lest we not forget, Chantix is apparently safe and effective according to the FDA.
Following on the heels of a recent store profile in the Miami New Times, the Broward Palm Beach New Times ran an article of their own. Even though it led with the same picture from the Miami article, this one talked about consumer activists featuring an interview with Elaine Keller from CASAA.
Ex-Smokers Organize to Keep Electronic Cigarettes on the Market, Easily Accessible – Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach – News – The Daily Pulp
Like many smokers who have converted to electronic cigarettes, Keller has trouble fathoming why the FDA would want to impede people from switching from tobacco. She cited a study that found carcinogens in e-cigarettes and said, “The guy who constructed this was very good at propaganda. He said they had a detectable level of carcinogens — what he left out was the quantity. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines would appear in any product made from nicotine. They found eight nanograms in a milliliter of e-liquid. How many in the FDA-approved nicotine patch? Eight nanograms. How many in a pack of Marlboros? 126,000 nanograms.”
Even when articles are generally positive, they rarely feature CASAA. It’s good to see specific information floating around in media stories.
While CNBC seems to be in denial about cigarette companies’ interest in e-cigarettes, prohibitionists apparently see a proper conspiracy theory. A recent post on the Edmonton Journal’s website was a pretty steady parade of Health Canada nonsense and prohibitionists bandying about their new pet gateway drug theories (hey, it’s kept the drug war going on for decades!) However an interesting variation on the gateway theme is bubbling to the surface.
E-Cigarettes pose dilemmas for regulators, tobacco control advocates
Some experts worry that because they can deliver nicotine, e-cigarettes could perpetuate addictions in current smokers rather than helping them phase out their habit.
They fear the tobacco industry is trying to find a replacement nicotine delivery system, because of the growing number of restrictions placed on the smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes.
So apparently, this was big tobacco’s evil plan all along, to let hundreds of unknown small businesses bring e-cigarettes in from China. Then along with consumers who never want to smoke again, these small shops fight to keep e-cigarettes available just so big tobacco can plot to get kids hooked on e-cigarettes. Once they’re hooked, they’ll jump right over to regular cigarettes. You know, those things everyone was going to the e-cigarette to get away from. Sounds reasonable to me.
CNBC posted a story about the growth in the e-cigarette industry on its website. The story featured quotes from NJoy and V2 about smokers adapting to their products. The story singled out Altria as dragging its feet jumping into the electronic cigarette game.
“Well, what I would say about e-cigarettes is that we’re monitoring it carefully,” Barrington said. “It’s still a relatively new phenomenon. … The FDA has said as you know that it intends to regulate e-cigarettes. So we’re monitoring all of that very carefully.”
The time to stop monitoring and start moving in may come soon. Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo told CNBC that consumption of electronic cigarettes could surpass that of traditional cigarettes in the next 10 years. And if NJOY President and CEO Craig Weiss has his way, it could be a rough decade for cigarette manufacturers who don’t adapt.
Actually, the story claimed all tobacco companies are staying out of it, which of course isn’t true with the blu takeover and even Swisher rolling out its own ecig lineup. Still, I agree with the notion that if you snooze you lose with the way e-cigarettes are going.
Last week I posted a news item about the Daily Mail running with a story about e-cigs with the misleading headline that experts warn e-cigarettes are more dangerous than smoking. It turns out one writer at the UK arm of Marie Clair was, shall we say, apparently heavily inspired by the original article. Incidentally, that article was pulled from the Daily Mail website likely due to the overwhelming number of accuracy complaints it received. Just in case, I’ve saved a PDF of this article for posterity.
Fears e-cigarettes could be more harmful than smoking | Marie Claire
However, the chemical propylene glycol is put into the cartridges to vaporise the nicotine solution, making up 90 per cent of their content.Experts now say this can cause ‘acute respiratory system irritation’.
In 2009 the US Food and Drug Administration looked at e-cigarette cartridges, finding traces of the carcinogen nitrosamine in products from several manufacturers, in addition to ethanol and glycerin.
Just like the Mail article, folks (punters?) are lining up in droves to file a complaint against this article. The comments section is also filled with complains. Incidentally, the use of the word acute is there to intentionally make it sound more sinister. All it means is the onset is sudden, as opposed to a condition that hangs around which is chronic. Mild acute respiratory irritation has also been known as a side effect of the substance since about the 1940’s.
I recently ran a post taking an actual journalist to task for being misled about the harm of electronic cigarettes. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who bristled at the statements in the article. Jacob Sullum over at Reason Magazine also broke down Lake’s article, explaining that propylene glycol is not actually Chinese antifreeze.
How E-Cigarette Alarmists Endanger Smokers’ Lives, or Why Eli Lake Should Not Switch Back to Marlboros – Hit & Run : Reason.com
Propylene glycol, which is not an “active ingredient” in e-cigarettes but a carrier in which the nicotine and flavoring are dissolved, is known as “nontoxic antifreeze.” Guess why. As Lake notes, it is approved by the FDA as a safe food ingredient. It is also used in various FDA-approved medications, including cough syrup and nasal sprays. Calling it “antifreeze” is a scare tactic aimed at clouding the issue. While it’s true that there is not much research on the effects of inhaling propylene glycol, a 2012 studyfound that, unlike tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapor does not impair lung function in the short term.
I was always under the impression that PG was well researched since the 1940’s, including the impact of inhalation. It was and still possibly is used as an airborne disinfectant. I’ll have to look into that one a little more, stay tuned.
|There’s but one story in this section this week. But, it sort of has potential. Kinda.[collapsible_item title="Click to read science news items"]
The University of Illinois at Chicago issued a release announcing the university received a $2.3M grant to study how young adults use new tobacco products. The participants will track their habits in an electronic diary. It should be interesting to see what the final product looks like.
Young adults are a big market for tobacco companies, as they are often willing to try new products and experiment in a variety of settings, Mermelstein said. She and her coworkers also hope to develop new ways to convey factual information about alternative tobacco products to young adults.
“We’re interested in seeing if there are effective and persuasive visual messages that we can convey through smartphone applications, to let people know what it is about these products that might make them harmful or helpful,” Mermelstein said.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
For those of you who have followed the prohibitionists and their views on e-cigarettes, you’ve probably learned to cringe at the term ENDS. The term which stands for Electronic Nicotine Delivery System is the catch-all certain individuals and groups use to describe e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers. This story popped up on the online medical site MedicalExpress. While I wouldn’t call it exactly a ringing endorsement, the article acknowledges that there may be a universe in which ENDS may be of benefit to society in general.
Says Dr. O’Connor: “This study represents a snapshot in time of the use of ENDS from mid-2010 to mid-2011. As the market evolves, awareness, trial, and use of ENDS is likely to increase. Should regulatory authorities approve direct claims about reduced harm, one might expect greater adoption of these products, at least among current cigarette smokers. If credible evidence can be provided to regulators, through independently researched, well-controlled studies, that ENDS reduces the number of cigarette smokers and does not attract use among nonsmokers, then the net public health effect is likely to be positive.”
I’m still trying to work out exactly who would preform independent study on e-cigarettes that would be acceptable. There actually has been some scientists doing just that like Dr. F in Greece among others. But in the real world tobacco companies and pharma companies are usually the only ones who can afford to pull off large-scale studies.
Local e-Cigarette News
|Local news can always be entertaining. Let’s see how one paper played the crazy headline game.[collapsible_item title=" Click to read local news stories"]
Just when you think Massachusetts couldn’t get any wackier with the e-cigarette bans, along comes the burgh of Adams. Now, before I get into this it should be mentioned that they haven’t passed anything, but rather were given a laundry list of things prohibitionists think they should ban. Naturally, that list includes e-cigarettes. And well just about everything else you can imagine.
Adams Looks to Ban Blunt Wraps, E-Cigs, Hookah Bars / iBerkshires.com – The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
Rubel presented an array of newer smoking products, which she says are marketed toward children. From blunt wraps – which are often used for marijuana instead of tobacco – to electronic cigarettes, to cigars costing less than $2.50, Rubel said they were all purchased from town businesses and could all be banned.
“These are all flavored in ways that are attractive to kids,” Rubel said. “At this point in Adams, all of the new tobacco products are being sold.”
E- cigarettes and dissolvable nicotine pouches do not require identification to purchase, Rubel said, and small, flavored cigars bypass state cigarette taxes to be inexpensive.
McColgan added that while hookah bars or other “smoking bars” are not currently in town, bans on those establishments would be a “proactive” move. She also said owners of commercial cigarette-rolling machines recently have been opening shops and bypassing state taxes by rolling the tobacco that way.
So in other words, let’s say everything is attractive to kids and then ban it. Well, everything except for the one tobacco product with a reputation for luring kids and killing people. We’ll just keep cigarette sales legal.
Alternative newspaper the Miami New Times ran an article that at first glance seemed like it would be a piece that examined the “dangers” of electronic cigarettes. Turns out, it was more or less a profile of a local vape shop called Vapor Shark. There was some mention of our friends at the FDA of course, as well as some text aimed to scare readers about the company’s liquid mixing operation, but mostly it was a typical business profile.
Although he supports independent retail outfits like Vapor Shark, Story thinks they’ll be obsolete when e-cigarettes become “readily available at convenience stores.” Big Tobacco, which initially ignored the e-cigarette market, is just getting in on the act. RJ Reynolds is developing its own brand, and Lorillard, which makes Newports, purchased e-cigarette brand Blu.
And then there was that quote from the TVECA. With industry support like that, who needs prohibitionists?
e-Cigarette News Around the World
|If you’re from Europe and read only one story in this roundup, this is the story you should read![collapsible_item title="Click to read world news stories"]
Here in the US things have been pretty active. There was the massive comment turnout for the FDA’s hearings in December, and the White House Petition just reached 25,000 signatures which means the US administration must now reply to it. But things are also dark in Europe. The Ashtray Blog put out an advisory that EU representatives will be meeting the 25th of February. The time to mobilize and speak to your representatives is now.
Find out how to stop a ban on electronic cigarettes. The crucial date for the consultation is the 25th February, when an EU parliamentary commitee will meet to discuss the directive.
Write to your MP/MEP. It’s easy and free to find out who your MP/MEP is – just visit Write to Them and enter your postcode.
If you’re not sure what to say, the article also points out Clive Bates’ excellent piece with step-by-step instructions for contacting your local politician.
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