Welcome to another Friday and another new and exciting e-cigarette news roundup. This week the eCigarette News Roundup comes with instructions! The new weekly roundup format makes for some huge articles it turns out. To fix that, I've organized all the news stories by section. To view the stories in a section, click the grey bar and the stories for that topic will apear like magic. Clicking the bar will hide them again.
Now that the instructions are out of the way, it's time to get on with the update. There are once again tons of articles from some interesting science to the press running some heavily misleading headlines. So let's get started with all the news that fits.
e-Cigarette Industry Business News
|This week's business news featured another vapor shop profile, this time from the United Kingdom. SFATA's meet up in Vegas took place this week as well. So far, other than Bill Godshall's talk being scuttled, not much news about the event has hit the interwebs.[collapsible_item Title="Click to read business news."]
The Sun out of the UK posted a lengthy profile on e-cigarette company Mirage e-cigarettes. The piece is fairly typical of many profile pieces I’ve mentioned before. The article included descriptions of the store, how the owner discovered e-cigarettes and, of course, how business is booming. The article was nothing if not unabashedly positive on the subject. The article did feature a quote from a tobacco control organization, but it’s not what you’d expect.
I find this particularly interesting since the EU is towing the line and trying to marginalize e-cigarettes as best they can. Maybe stuff like this can swing popular opinion enough to get folks to become active about keeping these things on the market.
The electronic cigarette industry group founded by V2 Cigs, SFATA put out a press release about a venue change. The group is holding a conference January 28th to discuss strategies for working with the FDA to come up with regulation that doesn’t kill the industry. Apparently, there was a lot of interest in the industry as well as consumers and activists like Bill Godshall who will be speaking at the event.
SFATA still seems to be somewhat shrouded in mystery since they don’t seem to be in nearly as many news articles lately as competing group TVECA. Hopefully with this many people in attendance they will come up with something that benefits more than just a small handful of vendors.
e-Cigarettes in the Media
|The media always has a thing or two to say about e-cigarettes. This week was a particularly bad week for negative e-cigarette stories. Everyone from Miss Manners to Carson Daly had something unfortunate to say about the devices. Some were influenced by prohibitionists unawares, while others were simply outright clueless.[collapsible_item title=" Click to read media news stories"]
Political reporter Eli Lake posted an account of his switching from cigarettes to vaping on the Daily Beast. The account is not unlike the experience of many folks who’ve switched. Lake thought it too good to be true, so being a reporter, he decided to interview a source. Unfortunately, the sources seem to have led him astray and that’s where the article in turn fell off the cliff.
Dr. Lowell Dale, the medical director of the Mayo Clinic’s Tobacco Quitline, was far more incendiary. Propylene glycol as a liquid, he told me, is “similar to antifreeze.”
“I think the potential is that they are harmful,” Dale says. “I think there is less nicotine in those products, and they are not combustible, so you are not getting all the particulate matter you get from cigarettes.” But, he adds, “we are just being very cautious about the long-term consequences of its use. It comes out of China. It’s unregulated. There is a lot of evidence the products vary from cartridge to cartridge.”
As a medical practitioner Dr. Dale should be well aware that PG is used in a wide variety of things including asthma medicine. I think the word he may have been looking for instead of “cautious” is “deceitful“
Radio and TV personality Carson Daly did a feature on e-cigarettes recently. This was brought on by Daly’s agent who recently started using electronic cigarettes. Curious, Carson decided to ask an expert. Unfortunately, that expert was some guy named Stanton Glantz. Apparently, this gentleman has a bit of a thing against electronic cigarettes.
Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe? Carson Daly Asks An Expert « New Music, Music News, Concerts, Gossip – 97.1 AMP RADIO
Dr. Glantz believes allowing electronic cigarettes indoors would be a huge mistake.
“One of the things that helps smokers quit is the fact that you can’t smoke in most places, like restaurants. If restaurants begin to allow e-cigarette use, you could get into a situation where people are smoking conventional cigarettes outside and e-cigarettes inside rather than quitting.”
There has been plenty of grousing about Dr. Glantz. But this particular comment shows how out of touch many prohibitionists are with actual smokers they purport to help. No smoker in the history of ever as far as I’m aware has quit because going outside was too much of a pain in the ass.
An article on Fox News written by a psychiatrist Keith Albow is very positive on e-cigarettes. The doctor now openly recommends the devices for patients who have failed using other methods and suggests other practitioners do the same. Interestingly, he claims the reason they are effective is that they don’t work quite as well as cigarettes, something I personally felt the opposite about.
For some reason, he says that his patients have the best results with Logic brand e-cigarettes, which almost makes the piece seem like an ad. I had to look for any references to the piece being paid for (but found none).
Clive Bates, the former head of Action on Smoking and Health (the UK version) is no stranger to these news updates. He’s a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as a means of harm reduction. Bates is at it again, this time taking the Daily Mail to task for its linkbait reporting of e-cigarettes. He’s even gone so far as to complain to the UK’s Press Complaints C omission about it.
A grossly inaccurate story like this could have real impacts on human welfare if it discourages people from switching from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes. It is also unfairly damaging to numerous small businesses trying to grow the market for a much safer alternative to smoking. This is particularly irresponsible, ill-informed, and lazy journalism.
I… Actually, I’m sorry I’m too distracted thinking about the fact there’s some sort of agency in the UK where you can actually report the media for being inaccurate. What fun is it when the media have to live under the shadow of something as ominous as “integrity?”
The Daily Mail tossed out a whopper of an e-cigarette hit piece. The headline inferred that some undisclosed expert found a shocking discover that e-cigarettes were worse than plane crashes or something. Only it turns out when reading the article, there was no such statement from an expert. The closest things came was a German researcher tossing out over 70 years of research on propylene glycol. The reality is reactions do occur in some people with allergies, but they put the stuff in asthma medicine for crying out loud!
To vaporise the nicotine solution, the chemical propylene glycol is put into the cartridges, and accounts for up to 90 per cent of their content.
This can cause ‘acute respiratory system irritation’, claims Dr Elisabeth Pott, director of the Federal Centre of Health Education in Cologne, Germany, who has studied e-cigarettes.
In the blogging world, we have a term for this type of article. Linkbait. The idea is to make an outrageous claim and drive people to your site to call you everything under the sun. In turn this increases the traffic to your site. Apparently, it’s also called journalism these days.
WBOY out of WV ran a archetypical electronic cigarette piece recently. We have all your basic components for a local e-cigarette news story here. There’s the opening mentioning e-cigarettes are more popular, and an interview with someone using an ecig (cue the footage). Then we get into the mention of the FDA and the “hidden danger” ending everyone loves so much along with a soundbite from a local expert. This time the expert isn’t necessarily against e-cigarettes, she’s just unsure.
I understand the scientific process needs to prove or disprove some notion. Beyond the theoretical, with people actually practicing on the ground, I’m just not sure why there needs to be such a high standard of proof. The lack of combustion means that by extrapolation e-cigarettes have to be inherently less harmful even if it had all the same chemicals as cigarettes which it doesn’t. Then there’s anecdotal evidence, while it’s not as scientific, it does provide clues to how something actually works in reality.
There’s always been a good amount of debate about when it is and is not appropriate to vape in public. Some enterprising individual decided to take things to the highest authority on etiquette and asked Miss Manners what her take on the situation is. The response was an interesting history of smoking in society. Apparently, smoking jackets were once used for smoking. But, in the end Miss Manners is pretty harsh when it comes to the modern day equivalent.
Ok, for some reason I’m inclined to not pick on the advice. Maybe because it’s bad manners or something. But the real reason is that in reading the article, the author laments the lax social decorum of the 1930′s through 60′s as compared to the more refined Edwardian era of smoking. Me? I just want a vaping jacket. That should totally become a thing.
|In contrast to the media news, this was a pretty good week for science news. Dr. F makes two appearances this time around with a new study on vapor's impact to heart tissue and an interesting case study. There was also a small study released that showed promise for e-cigarettes with patients with certain mental illnesses.[collapsible_item title="Click to read science news items"]
A new study was just released investigating the use of electronic cigarettes among smokers diagnosed with schizophrenia. There is apparently a higher than normal percentage of individuals with this disease who smoke. Apparently, smoking has antipsychotic effects for some people. The study was a joint effort by researchers including Dr. Ricardo Polosa who published the study last year showing even unmotivated smokers were able to quit or cut down with electronic cigarettes.
IJERPH | Free Full-Text | Impact of an Electronic Cigarette on Smoking Reduction and Cessation in Schizophrenic Smokers: A Prospective 12-Month Pilot Study
Conclusions: We have shown for the first time that the use of e-cigarette substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects in chronic schizophrenic patients who smoke not intending to quit. This was achieved without negative impacts on the symptoms of schizophrenia as assessed by SAPS and SANS symptoms scales.
The study found some minor reactions to the e-cigarette, which as I pointed out in this article, tend to actually be signs of smoking withdrawal more than anything. Perhaps here’s one more nail in the coffin of all the stupid antifreeze arguments that just don’t want to die.
It seems the medical case study I linked to on FlavorArt’s blog was originated by none other than Doctor Konstantinos Farsilinos. Dr. F. as I like to call him talked to my pals over at the Ashtray blog for a little more detail on what the condition means and about the ethical conundrum created by resistance to electronic cigarettes in certain scientific circles.
PLB: Given that vaping seems to be the easiest way to quit smoking it might be the one worth promoting as the best recommendation for those with this condition.
Answ: I wouldn’t confine such a suggestion to this population alone. I think physicians are currently facing an important ethical dilemma, which I also addressed in the published paper. Given the fact that almost all scientific organizations state that e-cigarettes should not be used, how should I advice my patient when he told me that he managed to quit smoking by the use of electronic cigarette? Should I have told him to stop using them, taking the risk that he would (almost certainly) go back to smoking? What about now, that chronic idiopathic neutrophilia has resolved despite the daily use of e-cigarette? Should I tell him to avoid using them, according to scientific guidelines? And even before that, what is scientifically and ethically correct for a patient that has failed to quit smoking by currently approved methods? To tell him not to ever try electronic cigarette and let him keep smoking without providing any less harmful alternatives? These are major issues, and I think it is time to deal with them in a responsible way.
About the only thing I can add other than my intense jealousy for the great interviews these guys get, is go read this thing. You’ll be a better person for it and not only know more about rare blood diseases, but also about electronic cigarette research in general.
Italian flavoring company FlavorArt posted an interesting snippet on its blog recently. Apparently, doctors in Italy encouraged a patient to quit smoking to relieve his idiopathic neutrophilia. The patient was unable to quit with traditional methods for several years. Finally the patient switched to ecigs and was able to get off cigarettes after just 10 days. Subsequent tests found his condition had cleared up.
Chronic Idiopathic Neutrophilia in A Smoker, Relieved after Smoking Cessation with the Use of Electronic Cigarette: a Case Report | ClearStream by FlavourArt
Conclusion: Smoking cessation with the use of electronic cigarette led to reversal of chronic idiopathic neutrophilia. The daily use of electronic cigarette may help preserve the beneficial effects of smoking cessation.
If you’re not sure what chronic idiopathic neutrophilia is, don’t feel alone. I had to look it up in Wikipedia. The condition is a blood disorder that can lead to chronic infections of various types. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
If you are a vaper on Google+ and Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos isn’t in one of your circles, you’re missing some good stuff. G+ seems to be the researcher’s primary method of communicating what he’s up to. And it seems like he’s always conducting interesting and actual science on electronic cigarettes. Currently, he’s running a experiment to see how e-cigarettes affect cultured cells as compared to cigarette smoke.
Yep, kids, that’s actual science going on there. Not that it will matter to prohibitionists who will fault it since it doesn’t involve millions of dollars and an impossible to pronounce generic drug name. I’ve said it before, I’m even more interested in finding out what’s going on when I vape than I am at whether or not a study benefits one group over the other. And that seems to be what this guy is doing.
Local e-Cigarette News
|In local news, we have some pretty typical stuff going on. There's your assortment of local news stories where stalwart reporters seek out the hidden dangers in electronic cigarettes. There's also a nice profile piece on electronic cigarettes as well.[collapsible_item title=" Click to read local news stories"]
The Carroll County Times out of Maryland posted an interesting piece on e-cigarettes recently. The article seems to have been inspired by the school system’s efforts to ban e-cigarettes (and any nicotine products including NRTs). Yet, the article also featured fairly extensive talks with local shop owners.
Carroll County Times: Local
I honestly have no problems with schools banning e-cigarettes. The products aren’t intended for minors, so they shouldn’t be available in schools, seems simple enough. What I find odd is that this guy is freaking out over the things, making up stores about the popularity of a product nobody at the school seems to be using.
From what has to be the most e-cigarette unfriendly state in the Union, comes this brief news piece out of Springfield Mass. TV station ABC40 interviewed a shop owner who apparently reluctantly started stocking e-cigarettes due to popular demand. He reported many customers quit tobacco altogether (no wonder he was reluctant.) Once the shopkeeper finishes his interview, cue the medical expert.
Can Electronic Cigarettes Help You Stop Smoking? – Western Massachusetts Breaking News and First Warning Weather with WGGB.com ABC 40
However, they’re not exactly good for you. In fact, you could run into the same short-term health problems smoking e-cigs as you would with regular cigarettes. “There’s one study showing the expired Nitrogen Oxide Concentration and it affected air movement through the lungs. a definite thing is if you’re not already a cigarette smoker, please don’t start with the e-cigs because they have nicotine, which is very addictive,” said Dr. Douglas Johnson, at Baystate Medical Center’s Pulmonary Care Unit.
Dr. Johnson suggests that if you are looking for a way to stop smoking, it might be best to stick with patches and gums that are already on the market because the FDA has not yet approved the use of e-cigs.
It’s a good thing those patches and gum don’t contain nicotine. Oh yeah. Actually, as obvious as the statement is, I agree that nonsmokers probably shouldn’t bother with e-cigarettes. But for those of us who are smokers and former smokers, the nicotine tends to be the point.
The Corner out of Auburn, Alabama ran a lengthy post about electronic cigarettes. The reporter talked to several shop owners and vapers about their experience with electronic cigarettes. One smoke shop owner reported his customers continued to smoke while several of the vapers reported dropping cigarettes for the electronic version near immediately.
Auburn resident Kevin Alvarez, 19, is one that has replaced regular cigarettes with electronic. He was a smoker for about three years and recently decided to quit. When the nicotine cravings started he remembered a commercial for an electronic cigarette and decided to give them a try. He hasn’t smoke a regular cigarette since.
“It’s convenient. I can smoke it inside. I don’t stink anymore and it doesn’t make my breath smell bad,” Alvarez said. “Obviously it’s not killing me because it’s completely approved ingredients. I haven’t looked back to smoking since then. I already feel better. It’s probably the best decision any smoker could ever make.”
This is the kind of article that probably keeps prohibitionists up at night worrying about their efforts of de-normalization crashing down around them. Of course, I could also see potential for taking out of context quotes from here to deliver a rather scathing prohibitionist article.
e-Cigarette News Around the World
|Things have been fairly quiet in world news this week. Some doctors in India have come out in favor of electronic cigarettes. Meanwhile in the UK, vendors continue to get nervous over potential regulations that might come down in that nation.[collapsible_item title="Click to read world news stories"]
Australia, land of deadly venomous creatures and deadly nanny politics has seen an interesting unintended consequence of its plain packaging laws. For those not familiar, smokes in Australia must be packaged in generic packs with gross images of the bad stuff smoking can do to you. In Australia, e-cigarettes without nicotine are legal and not a tobacco product (duh!) Therefore, plain packaging rules don’t apply to these types of ecigs. Some enterprising local companies took note of this fact and decided to add things like blinky lights to their packages.
Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the Government’s plain packaging laws – which have dressed up traditional packets in drab brown – to sell boutique packets of electronic cigarettes in stores.
“It’s been of massive benefit to us,” said company owner of Social-Lites e-smokes, Lee O’Hare, whose product is sold in more than 50 tobacconists, convenience stores and chemists on the Gold Coast.
E-cigarettes can be prominently displayed on counters despite plain packaging laws because “they are not governed by tobacco laws,” Mr O’Hare said. “They do not contain tobacco.”
Apparently prohibitionists in that country are trying to figure out how to ban a device that is essentially a stage prop. Without nicotine, there’s not much cigarette-like about them except some flavored vapor.
Daily News and Analysis out of India ran a lengthy piece on electronic cigarettes. The article had a fairly decent balance between descriptions of e-cigarettes, those for the devices and prohibitionists who seem to equate nicotine itself with smoking.
But of course you don’t end up smoking more since you’re not smoking. That’s the whole idea there. The story showed at least one smoker who didn’t end up “smoking” more. She gave up vaping after a couple of weeks once she felt some side effects. Of course had she read my 101 article on withdrawal symptoms it might have helped.
The International Business Times worry that plans to license e-cigarettes as medical devices in the UK could have a chilling effect on the industry. The plans have been bouncing around the MHRA for the past three years or so, as opposed to the crippling restrictions the EU has put forth which are relatively new. For its part the MHRA cites heath and quality concerns (the stuff typically put forth by this type of group.) The ECITA stated it will pursue legal action if such plans actually come to fruition.
A spokesman for the MHRA said: “We will be in a position to announce further details on how we will do this should the government make the decision to regulate e-cigarettes as medicinal products. This is expected in the spring of this year.”
Since the FDA also has plans to make their move on ecigs in April, it looks like this spring will be an interesting time for the industry worldwide.
Deal of the Moment
The Innokin iTaste 134 is one of those love it or hate it devices. Whichever way you swing, there’s one truth. This bad boy is a little pricey. Panda’s running a sale until Sunday November 17 that makes the price a little more wallet-friendly. If you’ve been waiting to get one of these, this week might just be a great time thanks to a hefty 20% discount. Use coupon code TASTE to get the discount. Oh, and if you haven’t heard of the 134 yet, there’s always my review.