The Canadian online watchdog Regulator.com conducted an interview with that rare species, the tobacco regulator prepared publicly to answer some serious questions about vaping laws. Facing up to polite scrutiny in two parts, was Suzy McDonald, the Director General of the Tobacco Control Directorate of Health Canada. By making vaping legal from its current banned status, Canada is certainly leading the way, a point that Ms McDonald reiterated repeatedly while swerving around the trickier proposition that even though Health Canada plainly believes that vaping is safer than smoking, still ban comparative advertising.
More good viewing from the National Nicotine Alliance who filmed interviews with those who switched from smoking to vaping: https://youtu.be/FKwIsjfKp1k?list=PLvBx3_9F8cFmB6Y_pWsawuQhdy-x_1i4K
Apparently there is more to come. With all the public confusion about vaping, it is important that the voices of ordinary people are heard, the evidence of lived experience to sit alongside the science.
The issue of communicating relative risk is at the heart of an excellent paper by Lyn Kozwolski and David Sweanor: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460317300576.
Some key points include the redundancy of campaigns which tell the public what they already know, that smokeless is not harmless – while staying silent about the comparative dangers of smoking. And fears about gateway theory are similarly redundant where so many young people who smoke also use smokeless tobacco products. In short, it is morally indefensible for public health authorities to withhold evidence-based information that could save lives in pursuit of the chimera of a 'nicotine free world' – otherwise known as La La Land.
And finally...I spent a very informative day at the R&D HQ of BAT with the new products development team. I was struck by their enthusiasm and commitment to moving the company into a new era. I also thought they were stuck between a fag and a hard place; above the new technology and hopes for the future, the pall of cigarette history still hangs heavy. The trust barrier must be a huge hurdle to overcome, for example, they do struggle to get their science published, although I understand this is getting easier while the global percentage share of e cigarettes in the overall nicotine market is likely to be in single digits for some time to come. The irony here of course is increasing the market share of life saving products is being hampered by draconian legislation.
Conflict of interest statement: none apart from the booze, drugs. Porsche 911, use of Lear jet, world cruise for two, three ham sandwiches and a double expresso.