Commentary

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s2smodern

Nicotine Science & Policy | 29 June 2014

On 26 May 2014, fifty three specialists in nicotine science and public health policy wrote to Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO to argue that tobacco harm reduction is part of the solution to the burden of smoking related disease and requires a careful and evidence based approach to its regulation. This letter received global media coverage.
full details letter PDF press coverage

In response, Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco organized an alternative letter making a number of criticisms of the first letter and attempting a scientific critique of e-cigarettes.

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s2smodern

Sallie Goetsch | 16 June 2014 •Guest Blog•

I spent my earliest years in a non-smoking household and was a poster child for the anti-smoking educational programs of the 1970s–even though my parents went back to smoking after they got divorced. Though I had friends who started smoking as young as ten, I never even tried it, and was proud to be a non-smoker.

Though I didn’t become political about my dislike of smoking, I was always just as happy to have any new law passed that meant I wouldn’t have to breathe smoke: no more smoking on airplanes, in restaurants, in public buildings. Never mind the lung cancer and the heart disease. If people wanted to kill themselves, that was their business, but I hated to be around smoke. I’m not allergic; I just dislike it.

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s2smodern

Nicotine Science & Policy | 9 June 2014

The letter from 53 scientists sent to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on May 26 urging the organisation to refrain from classifying e-cigarettes as regular tobacco products received wide media coverage across the world. The letter was sent ahead of the upcoming WHO sponsored Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) meeting in Moscow this October.

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s2smodern

Nicotine Science & Policy | 29 May 2014

Over 50 leading scientists from 15 countries have written to Margaret Chan Director-General of the World Health Organization to ask WHO reconsider its intention to classify e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes, warning that they risk missing an opportunity to drastically reduce smoking and the illness and death associated with it.

Ahead of the WHO sponsored Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) meeting in Moscow this October, the scientists have reacted to a leaked document from a FCTC preparatory meeting indicating that the WHO considers e-cigarettes a “threat” to public health and intends to sideline their use as an accessible alternative to regular tobacco and cigarettes. Snus is already included in the FCTC.

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s2smodern

Nicotine Science & Policy | 27 April 2014

To: Dr Margaret Chan, Director General World Health Organisation

Reducing the toll of death and disease from tobacco – tobacco harm reduction and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) We are writing in advance of important negotiations on tobacco policy later in the year at the FCTC Sixth Conference of the Parties. The work of WHO and the FCTC remains vital in reducing the intolerable toll of cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory illnesses caused by tobacco use. As WHO has stated, up to one billion preventable tobacco­‐related premature deaths are possible in the 21st Century.[...]

Click here to view the full letter [PDF]

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s2smodern

Neil McKeganey | 13 May 2014

IF YOU WANTED TO SUM UP THE CURRENT ADVICE ON TOBACCO CONTROL it would go something along the lines of tobacco plain packaging is good, so let's move ahead with it as soon as possible, e-cigarettes are bad so let's surround their use with increasingly restrictive controls. The Welsh Government is currently considering banning the use of e- cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, echoing the similar ban on smoking instituted in the UK in 2007.
While the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces made sense given the evidence of the health harms associated with second hand smoke, the proposed ban on e-cigarettes is based on little more than the largely undocumented fear that e- cigarettes might 're-normalise smoking', particularly among young people.

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Konstantinos Farsalinos | 9 May 2014

A study to be published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research was featured in the New York Times and has generated a lot of interest. The article mentioned that e-cigarette vapor can be the source of carcinogens, depending on the heating process. The article is true and expected. We know that thermal degradation can lead to the release of toxic chemicals. And we know that formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein have been found in vapor. There is nothing new to it. However, this study found that levels may approach those present in tobacco cigarettes. Of course there are some inaccuracies in the NYT article, such as that nicotine gets overheated (which means nothing).

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s2smodern

Nicotine Science & Policy | 28 April 2014

The US Food and Drug Administration has published the long awaited proposed ‘deeming’ regulations for e-cigarettes. The major points are that products will need to be registered with the FDA and report product and ingredient listings; that new products can only be marketed after review by the FDA, that companies can only make a claim for reduced risk if the FDA confirms this on the basis of scientific evidence and that the sale of the product will benefit public health. There will be minimum age requirements and restrictions on sales to youth, and a health warning requirement. The FDA has launched a consultation process, with a deadline of July 9th.

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s2smodern

Nicotine Science & Policy | 28 April 2014

Data released today (28th April) show over 2 million people in Britain now regularly use electronic cigarettes. This is a threefold rise in just two years: from an estimated 700,000 users in 2012 to around 2.1 million in 2014.

Figures come from a survey commissioned by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) England’s anti-smoking charity.

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Joe Gitchell | 24 April 2014

The place of “tobacco harm reduction” in the panoply of public health responses to the cigarette smoking epidemic has a long and generally discouraging history (e.g., filters, “low-tar”, “heat not burn”), but given the substantial and increasing toll from cigarette smoking, and the apparent inability of established policies and programs to arrest these trends, the debate about harm reduction will continue. Below I attempt to inventory, in my mind, the primary foundations of why many in the tobacco control community are so skeptical and concerned about the increasing adoption of electronic cigarettes. I claim no monopoly on insight in to this question and certainly welcome the input and comments from others.