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Blogs - Nicotine Science and Policy


Remembering the Oft Forgotten

Significant progress has been made in reducing smoking prevalence within the United Kingdom but the benefits have not fallen fairly across all groups. Smoking rates amongst those with personal incomes under £10,000 per annum is more than double of those with incomes over £40,000. However, there are other groups with rates higher still, for example people experiencing mental ill health have a smoking prevalence rate double the population average. Amongst those who are homeless or rough sleeping we see even higher rates, in many instances services report that all their clients smoke.

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Gillian Golden, from the Irish Vape Vendors Association, on why you should attend the GFN Dialogue in Dublin

We already know the benefits to a smoker when they leave smoking behind; vapers are keen to tell us the benefits they accrue. Empowering smokers to transition to these safer products is a huge source of pride for those of us who work in the independent vape industry.

A myriad of studies, evidence reviews and now, replications of previous flawed research, all reinforce that vaping is far safer compared to smoking. The research by institutions such as the Royal College of Physicians, London, Public Health England, St Andrews University in Scotland, Cancer Research UK and many others continue to inform just how much safer. Long term studies by Professor Riccardo Polosa’s team at the University of Catania in Italy even found that smokers with asthma and COPD can reverse the harms caused by their smoking once they switch to vaping. This is all very good news.

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Banning e-cigarettes is no solution to the huge health burden of tobacco use in India

Scientists appeal for conducting India centric research before deciding on any hasty move

India has the second largest cigarette smoking population in the world. Added to which is a large population consuming tobacco in other forms such as the local non-cigarette alternatives including bidi, hukkah and chilam, and tobacco/Areca nut based chewing products. These products have been proven to be major causes of oral, oropharyngeal and lung cancers, as well as other health issues. For an overview of tobacco use in India see here.

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GFN taking the debate on vaping on the road

In March the GFN team organised a series of three dialogues in the UK to explore ‘How safe is vaping? Media coverage, dilemmas and solutions in work and social spaces’ These, each hosted by local partners, took place in Leicester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

The format was for a panel of leading thinkers and advocates to give short introductions, followed by a discussion involving the audience. Each event was designed to last for about 2 hours.

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GFN UK Dialogues 2017

Paddy Costall | 6 March 2017

As one of the organisers of the Global Forum on Nicotine, it is easy to get caught up in the debates that take place around international issues, which arise from FCTC COP meetings, or the responses and campaigning relating to the TPD, the FDA Deeming Regulations, or TGA position on nicotine in Australia. What can get forgotten in all of this is the daily impact of laws and regulations on the lives of nicotine consumers.

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Application to legalise low strength nicotine for vaping in Australia rejected. Now our real battle begins!

Attila Danko | 6 February 2017

The New Nicotine Alliance, Australia, (NNA AU) last year submitted an application to Australia’s medicines and poisons regulatory authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), to legalise vaping with nicotine as a consumer product. The application was to exempt from Schedule 7 nicotine at concentrations of 3.6 per cent or less for self-administration with an electronic nicotine delivery system ('personal vaporiser' or 'electronic cigarette') for the purpose of tobacco harm reduction. On February 2nd this application was totally rejected in the TGA’s interim decision. Interim decisions are rarely reversed at the final decision.

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Momentum building to legalise nicotine for vaping in Australia.

Attila Danko | 16 February 2017

I wrote earlier this month about the TGA’s rejection of our application to legalise low-strength nicotine for vaping. Since then we have taken our campaign forwards. 

A team of three consumer vaping advocates from the NNA AU, myself, Donna Darvill and Andrew Thompson, along with two specialists in harm reduction, Dr Colin Mendelsohn and Dr Alex Wodak, spent a day in Parliament House Canberra.   We had multiple meetings with Members of Parliament, Senators and staffers from across the political spectrum.

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What is vaping?

Clive Bates | 29 December 2016

Sometimes we find ourselves talking at cross-purposes about vaping. Why? Consider three perspectives.

First, a health professional asks: “how should vaping be understood and used (or not) to reduce the adverse health effects of smoking?”

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Why Academics Should Resist Pressure to Disengage with the Tobacco Industry

Neil McKeganey, Christopher Russell | 27 September 2016

In the past few days, several pro-tobacco harm reduction academics and scientists who are registered to attend the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF) in Brussels, Belgium this week (27-29 September), received a letter signed by two major anti-smoking organisations – the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) and the U.S.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). This letter expressed to the recipients, including one of the authors of this blog (CR), the signatories’ ‘strong concern over the participation of renowned academics’ at a conference that is largely funded by the tobacco industry.

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The Enjoyment of Smoking

Neil McKeganey | 6 September 2016

When it comes to policies aimed at reducing the harm of smoking there is a truth that daren’t be spoken, namely that many smokers actually enjoy smoking. In the current climate of tobacco control policies aiming for a tobacco free world, the realization that many people want to continue to engage in a behaviour that they know to be harmful is hard to acknowledge.

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Confusing smoke signals from Turkey

Nicotine Science & Policy | 17 August 2016

Turkey has for many years implemented stringent efforts to reduce smoking rates. Smoke-free policies, a two hundred per cent price increase on cigarettes and comprehensive stop-smoking services have all been introduced in the last decade; all significant actions from a country known for the saying ”Smoking like a Turk”.

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Important consultations on nicotine and e-cigarettes in Australia and New Zealand

Nicotine Science & Policy | updated 31 August 2016

Both Australia and New Zealand have legislation that was introduced before the introduction of e-cigarettes and which effectively makes possession of nicotine (Australia) or nicotine-containing e-cigarettes (NZ) illegal. In Australia there is a proposal to amend the scheduling of nicotine to make sale, possession and use of nicotine legal; in New Zealand the Ministry of Health proposes making nicotine e-cigarettes legal consumer products. Comments on both proposals are invited.

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TPD implementation in Poland – the end of vaping as we know it?

NSP Correspondent - Mirosław Dworniczak | 20 July 2016

On July 8th the Polish Parliament passed an act transposing the EU Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) into national law, some weeks after the mandated date of May 20th. This marks the end of a legislative process that started two years ago.

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Why you/doctors/vapers should join IDHDP

Chris Ford | 15 July 2016

Dr Chris Ford, the Clinical Director of International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies, recently attended the Global Forum on Nicotine. Here are some thoughts from her and her colleagues afterwards.

The dogma that has pervaded global drug policy over the last fifty years is hard to comprehend. People have been using substances to alter the way they feel for thousands of years and there is no indication that this will ever stop. Like we do for all other potentially hazardous activities, provision of information and tools to reduce potential harms would be the action of a responsible and caring society.

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Evidence, Accountability, and Transparency: impressions from the Third Global Forum on Nicotine Conference in Warsaw 16th - 18th June 2016

Harry Sharpio | 13 July 2016

Having spent over 35 years working in the field of illegal drugs, this was my first foray into the world of tobacco or more specifically the current worldwide controversy over e-cigarettes. What I learnt from my two days at the conference was both fascinating and appalling.

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Glycerine in e-liquid

NSP Correspondent - Mirosław Dworniczak | 01 June 2016

Glycerine (glycerol, 1,2,3-propanetriol) is one of the main ingredients of e-cigarette liquid. Most people are familiar with glycerine, as it is widely used in food and pharmaceuticals. It acts as a solvent, humectant and sometimes as a sweetener. Here is a chemical model of glycerine.

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New Study on Asthma and Vaping: Long-term benefits

"Persisting long term benefits of smoking abstinence and reduction in asthmatic smokers who have switched to electronic cigarettes" - is the title of a study conducted by the research group led by Prof Riccardo Polosa at the University of Catania, and recently published in Discovery Medicine.

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The Pleasure of E-cigarettes

Neil McKeganey, Christopher Russell | 28 April 2016

The publication by the Royal College of Physicians of a report “Nicotine without Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction” approbating the use of e-cigarettes as a route out of smoking conventional cigarettes affirms a finding that has been highlighted by researchers for a number of years now. This report is welcome nevertheless as an objective contribution to a debate that has become increasingly personalised and divisive with tobacco control advocates repeatedly advising that e-cigarettes should be regulated as least as tightly as conventional cigarettes.

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Carbonyls – friend or foe?

NSP Correspondent - Mirosław Dworniczak | 18 April 2016

Quite frequently the media try to „enlighten” people using information extracted from various scientific publications about chemicals found in the vapour from e-cigarettes. Some of these chemicals belong to the class of volatile organic compounds which are contained in the carbonyl group. Let me shed some light on this subject.

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Propylene glycol classified as toxic? There's no scientific proof for that!

NSP Correspondent - Mirosław Dworniczak | 21 March 2016

Something really awful is happening now. In October 2015 German Federal Office for Chemicals, a part of Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health submitted a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency for a new toxicological classification of propylene glycol. 

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E-cigarette coils from a chemist's point of view

NSP Correspondent - Mirosław Dworniczak | 7 March 2016

When vapers discuss safety issues, they usually take into account the components of e-liquid and the composition of the aerosol inhaled. Of course this is the most important subject, but we should also be aware of metals of which the coils are made.


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Tobacco Industry Funded E-Cigarette Research and the Rise of Academic McCarthyism

Neil McKeganey, Christopher Russell | 27 February 2016

In a commentary piece published in the journal Addiction, Professor Jim McCambridge from the University of York sets out why, in his view, academic journals should not publish any e-cigarette research funded by the tobacco industry. The basis for McCambridge’s view is, not as it turns out, evidence of current misconduct on the part of the tobacco industry with regard to the research which it funds on e-cigarette, but evidence of decades old misconduct revealed in analysis of internal tobacco industry documents analysed as part of the Legacy Foundation (now Truth Initiative).

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Dissecting the Oral Oncology Cell Study

NSP Correspondent - Paul Barnes | 25 February 2016

A study in Oral Oncology, performed by researchers from the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs investigated the potential effects of e-cigarette vapour on human epithelial cells, prompted widespread media coverage both on the on-line sites, and in print from The Mirror, Daily Mail , The Telegraph, The Independent and The Guardian that did not present all the relevant facts from the study itself. The claims derived from the study, as referenced in the media coverage based on the press release state that the researchers concluded - "Based on the evidence to date," she says, "I believe they are no better than smoking regular cigarettes." - a startling claim that isn't substantiated by the study itself.

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Regulatory framework for electronic cigarettes in Belgium: Vapers and Tobacco Harm Reduction activists between hope and despair

Frank Baeyens | 18 February 2016

Federal Minister of Health Maggie De Block recently (Jan 26th 2016) announced the completion of the highly anticipated royal decree regulating electronic cigarettes in Belgium. While the royal decree has not been signed and published yet, media reports allow for a preliminary and hence somewhat cautious review and evaluation of its main features.

The estimated 160,000 Belgian vapers in Belgium as of 2015, and the 1.65 million current smokers, some of whom might consider trying out e-cigs for tobacco harm reduction (THR) have good reasons to rejoice, but also to be angry.

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Sweden banning tobacco harm reduction due to senseless implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive – snus and e-cigarettes at risk

Atakan Befrits | 16 February 2016

Important update: Swedish Court rules that vaping products are not medicines products.

The Swedish government proposes new tobacco legislation, which includes a number of very widely recognized and important proposals to reduce smoking. The government deserves praise for work on this issue. However there are two proposals that will have a negative impact on tobacco harm reduction in Sweden – the first is to raise the warning levels on snus, and the second is a possible de facto ban on nicotine e-cigarettes and fluids, reached outside the scope of the TPD.

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Situation of vapers in Poland on the threshold of the implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive

NSP Correspondent - Mirosław Dworniczak | 8 February 2016

Smoking was very popular in Poland during the communist era – almost 50% of adults were smokers. In recent years the number of smokers has constantly declined – recent estimates show that the number is now around 25%. One can expect a further fall of this number, provided the new government does not throw the baby out with the bathwater, which unfortunately is highly likely.

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Ecigarettes and the gateway to smoking for young people, still no convincing evidence

Jim McManus | 26 January 2016

This morning saw a further paper , this time a longitudinal study, looking at young people in Hawai http://m.tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2016/01/05/tobaccocontrol-2015-052705.

The paper concludes that "adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. This result together with other findings suggests that policies restricting adolescents’ access to e-cigarettes may have a rationale from a public health standpoint. " Except, unfortunately, its methods don't justify those conclusions.

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E-Cigarettes, Prescriptions and the UK National Health Service

NSP Correspondent - Paul Barnes | 18 January 2016

The UK’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has released a public assessment report (PAR) on what could be the very first medically approved e-cigarette – e-Voke –which was developed by British American Tobacco. Medicines approval means that the product can be prescribed by medical practitioners, and ensures that the medicinal device meets applicable standards of safety, quality and efficacy. Coupled with the press releases surrounding the landmark report from Public Health England, the media and policy makers are keeping a very close eye on this.

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Is it time for the WHO to Upgrade and Redefine its MPOWER Program?

Scott D. Ballin | 27 October 2015

With an estimated one billion smokers in the world and with over 5 million people dying each year from the deadly cigarette, isn’t it time for all stakeholders to reevaluate the strategies that are being used? Isn’t time to take advantage of and incorporate harm reduction as an appropriate global strategy for reducing disease and death caused by cigarette smoking?

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Restricting the Advertising of Electronic Cigarettes Would be a Major Own Goal for Public Health

Christopher Russell | 4 October 2015

The finding of a recent survey commissioned by the UK charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) [1] that the proportion of 11-18 year olds in the UK who have tried using an electronic cigarette at least once rose from 5% in 2013 to 13% in 2015 will almost certainly lead to calls for greater restrictions to be placed on the ability of manufacturers and vendors to advertise nicotine vapour products. Perhaps there will even be calls, in time, for nicotine vapour products to be sold only in plain packaging as now occurs with all tobacco products in Australia. But are greater restrictions on the advertising of electronic cigarettes consistent with the priority public health goal of reducing tobacco-related disease?

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Tobacco Control Research: A Tale of Two Delphi Groups

Neil McKeganey | 9 September 2015

Tobacco control researchers are nothing if not inconsistent. Take, for example, the recent case of Professor David Nutt who convened a group of experts to assess the relative harm of different nicotine delivery products (Nutt et al 2015). The paper Nutt and colleagues published on the basis of their assessment formed part of Public Health England’s recent conclusion that electronic cigarettes were 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco.

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Anti-vaping campaigners are a threat to public health

Ian Dunt | 26 August 2015

If Public Health England's report on vaping shows anything, it's that those who oppose it are a threat to public health. The report found that "e-cigarette use is around 95% less harmful to health than smoking". They pose "no risk of nicotine poisoning to user". Most of the chemicals causing smoking-related disease are absent and "the chemicals present pose limited danger".

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Is New Zealand ready for consumer-driven quit smoking programmes?

Marewa Glover | 17 July 2015

Trying to get people to stop smoking has been a public health priority in New Zealand for 30 years. We’ve harangued, shamed, stigmatised, pleaded with and incentivised smokers to quit. We’ve used taxes, banned smoking in most public indoor places, canned advertising and printed enough smokefree branded clothing to dress everyone on Tuvalu.

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When Public Health Harm Reduction Becomes Public Health Harm Promotion

Neil McKeganey | 22 June 2015

The recent announcement from health officials in Wales that the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces will be banned has been received with a mix of enthusiasm from some, puzzlement from others, and downright dismay by many -including within the "vaping" community itself.

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Welcome Address & Closing Remarks: Global Forum on Nicotine

Hon Lik | Warsaw, 14:30, Friday 5th June 2015

Welcome Address

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’m delighted to welcome you here today at The Global Forum on Nicotine, an event that has become one of the highlights of the year for the people and organisations who are shaping the present and future of nicotine products.

It’s wonderful, and still astonishing, to see so many faces at this event – especially when I think back to how the industry used to be. I may be revealing my age here, but when I first started working with nicotine products, I was a lone voice struggling to be heard.

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Reliving History: How the Tobacco Wars Became the Vapor Wars

Scott D. Ballin | 3 June 2015


Many in the e-vaping space may be wondering why they being viewed and treated like 'Big Tobacco' and why many in the tobacco control community find it so convenient to question their products and their motivations at every turn, painting them all with the same broad brush strokes. There are many reasons - some of which may be valid and many others which are not. What follows is a brief historical perspective of the ‘tobacco wars’ and provides some insights as to why many are still fighting those wars even though these are very different times.

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On the threat to vapers and vaping in Sweden

Atakan Befrits | 16 March 2015

Cautionary words on the threat to vapers and vaping in Sweden, from Atakan Befrits

Vaping with nicotine in Sweden is now de jure banned following a recent court ruling.

Import, distribution and sales of nicotine containing e-cig and nicotine containing refills are banned by the Medical Products Agency (MPA) in Sweden, unless they are registered as medical products. This is prior to the implementation of the TPD, which provides for some flexibility on distribution and sales, which will continue for the time being, pending an appeal against the judgement.

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Impact of Flavor Descriptors on Youth Interest in Electronic Cigarettes - 2

S. Shiffman, M. Sembower, J. Pillitteri, K. Gerlach, J. Gitchell | 09 March 2015

Subsequent to publication of our paper, Stan Glantz published a critique of our study on the University of California, San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education website. The critique was familiar – it was, in fact, the critique offered by one of the four anonymous expert referees who reviewed our paper for the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. In the end, the journal, in deciding to publish the paper, decided that we had overcome these concerns and that the paper was a valuable addition to the literature.

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Impact of Flavor Descriptors on Youth Interest in Electronic Cigarettes - 1

S. Shiffman, M. Sembower, J. Pillitteri, K. Gerlach, J. Gitchell | 07 March 2015

Nonsmoking teens show very low interest in using e-cigarettes, even when presented with a variety of flavors described as, for example, raspberry, bubble gum, gummy bear, and vanilla bean, according to our study published online in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Proponents of e-cigarettes have argued that, because e-cigarettes are much less hazardous than traditional combustible tobacco cigarettes, use of e-cigarettes by smokers could greatly reduce the health harms due to smoking. However, some have worried that e-cigarettes might attract teens who do not smoke, especially if e-cigarettes were offered in appealing flavors.

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MOVE Campaign – Medical Organisations supporting Vaping and E-Cigarettes

Carmen Escrig | 19 February 2015

Although the science has well established that electronic cigarettes are orders of magnitude less harmful than the tobacco cigarettes, these devices have in many countries been subjected to a powerful discrediting campaign. One of many recent examples is the recent spate of sensational news about the study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine about the high levels of formaldehyde when e-cigarettes are over-heated.

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NSP Website in 2014 - 12 months in numbers

Nicotine Science & Policy | 24 December 2014

Year 2014 was a second year of life for „Nicotine Science and Policy” website, which first went live in September 2013. End of the year is a good time to summarise and to look back at what has been happening during the last twelve months.


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Launch of the E-Research Foundation

Lou Ritter | 31 October 2014 • GUEST BLOG •

The E-Research Foundation (ERF) is a non-profit foundation designed to be a collective funding portal. As such, ERF will provide financial assistance to researchers seeking to advance independent peer-reviewed and published scientific research focused on electronic vapor products (electronic cigarettes) and their use. ERF is seeking 501(c)(3) status.

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Guide to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control meeting (Moscow 13-18 October 2014)

Nicotine Science & Policy | 10 October 2014

This meeting is the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This convention is WHO’s primary instrument for addressing the health impact of tobacco use internationally. This briefing provides information on discussions about electronic cigarettes and background documentation.

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WHO position on ENDS - a critique of the use of science and communication of risk

Clive Bates | 14 September 2014

A new paper is published today: WHO position on ENDS: a critique of the use of science and communication of risk (PDF) written and researched by Clive Bates at Counterfactual
We have grown accustomed to WHO and the FCTC Secretariat taking a negative approach to tobacco harm reduction - seeing only risks and threats, and little of the real world potential, while covertly planning an offensive against e-cigarettes through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Yet the evidence is steadily moving against that position, leaving WHO looking more extreme, unscientific and ideologically motivated as the data accumulates.

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Scary Monsters

Neil McKeganey | 27 August 2014

Have health professionals started a new moral panic over e-cigarettes? Neil McKeganey thinks they have.

There are few things more powerful than the narrative of fear. The concern that something may be harming us in ways that we might have been unaware, and that action should be taken to limit its occurrence, is a foundational tablet of interventionist public policy. The narrative of fear can be equally strong when it comes to new items that emerge in our social world and about which we know relatively little.

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Statement on today´s publication of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Report on e-cigarettes

Gerry Stimson* | 26 August 2014

WHO’s mission is to save lives and prevent disease but once again it is exaggerating the risks of e-cigarettes, while downplaying the huge potential of these non-combustible low risk nicotine products to end the epidemic of tobacco related disease. WHO claims e-cigarettes are a threat to public health, but this statement has no evidence to support it, and ignores the large number of people who are using them to cut down or quit smoking completely

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European vapers speak up against WHO

Nicotine Science & Policy | 22 August 2014

The European vaper organisation – European Vapers United Network – has added its voice to the growing concern about the possible WHO position on electronic cigarettes.


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Legal challenge against EU Tobacco Products Directive

Nicotine Science & Policy | 20 August 2014

A legal challenge against the EU Tobacco Products Directive has been launched by UK e-cigarette manufacturer Totally Wicked. The first step will be to ask for the British court to rule whether a case can be taken to the European court.


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E-cigarette taxation threat in Italy – expected to escalate cost of e-cigarettes

Nicotine Science & Policy | 18 August 2014

The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance is currently considering a new decree that will tax e-cigarettes and drive up their costs, making them less financially attractive for users, and damaging the e-cigarette market. 


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Extinguishing the last combustible cigarette

Michael R. Hufford & Gilbert Ross | 3 August 2014

Today approximately 14,000 people will die of tobacco-related diseases around the world. The same thing will happen tomorrow and the day after that, leaving nearly 6 million dead in the coming year. Despite this public health disaster, the uncomfortable truth is that mind-altering drugs, from alcohol to nicotine to caffeine, are here to stay. When it comes to smoking, our addiction has proven too much to overcome:

  • too strong at the individual level, by the smoker who will fail 95% of the time in their attempts to quit;
  • too strong at governmental levels, who have grown too dependent on cigarette taxes and Master Settlement transfer payments to responsibly consider public health; and
  • too strong at the societal level, by investors’ addiction to tobacco companies’ profits and their reliable dividends.

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Glantz letter to WHO – the importance of dispassionate presentation and interpretation of evidence

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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A Non-Smoker’s Perspective on Electronic Cigarettes

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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Letter from 53 scientists to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan generates biggest ever global media coverage on e-cigarettes

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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World Health Organization needs to see e-cigarettes as part of the solution, not the problem, say leading specialists in nicotine science and public health

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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Statement from specialists in nicotine science and public health policy

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]

Why do we love tobacco plain packaging and hate e cigs?

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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Formaldehyde release in e-cigarette vapor - the New York Times story explained in detail


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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US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes proposed deeming regulations for e-cigarettes

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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Remarkable rise in e-cigarette use in Britain

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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What drives anti e-cig sentiments? Potential Insights in to the Reasoning of Skeptics

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.

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More Articles ...

  1. New estimates double size of US e-cigarette market; increasing importance of refillable and modified devices.
  2. Update - Global Forum on Nicotine, 27-28th June 2014, Warsaw: Conference topics, speakers, and outline programme announced
  3. Smoking, e-cigarettes and excessive regulation
  4. Global Forum on Nicotine – the first conference to focus on the science, policy and regulation of nicotine
  5. Low mortality attributable to tobacco among men in Sweden compared with other European countries: an analysis of WHO data
  6. New research shows electronic cigarettes better for quitting, than no aid; over the counter NRT worse than no aid
  7. Further exchanges between the European Commission and Scientists
  8. UK Public Health Doctors and e-cigarettes – why this matters
  9. Scientific Errors in Proposed EU Tobacco Products Directive
  10. The positive effects of nicotine
  11. Multi-stakeholder meetings to develop more rational and workable approaches to regulating tobacco, nicotine, and harm reduction products – the Morven dialogues
  12. Medicinal regulation of vaping could kill people
  13. Hopes and Aspirations for the New Year
  14. Making sense of the proposed new e-cigarette regulations
  15. Electronic Cigarettes – a perspective on the German situation from IG-ED
  16. Dependence on tobacco and nicotine
  17. Smoking Kills, and So Might E-Cigarette Regulation
  18. Electronic Cigarettes – a perspective on regulation from the E-cigarette Consumer Association (ECCA UK)
  19. European Tobacco Products Directive – Last minute attempt by the European Commission to introduce medicines regulation in all but name
  20. Swedish snus can contribute to the attainment of “a high level of health protection” in Europe
  21. E-cigarettes: doubts, allegations, answers. A view from Poland.
  22. E-cigs and regulation – what do investment analysts think?
  23. Vaping in the Netherlands and Belgium
  24. BMJ to ban research funded by the tobacco industry
  25. Tobacco products directive: after the insurrection – what next?
  26. European Parliament votes against proposal to regulate e-cigarettes as medicines
  27. Nicotine lethal dose in humans: a common argument by regulatory authorities, based on poor science
  28. Everyone is involved but no-one is responsible – amending the tobacco directive
  29. Public health call for European ban on snus to be lifted
  30. Norway: tobacco harm reduction in the real world
  31. Costs and burdens of medicines regulation for e-cigarettes
  32. Mispresenting research on e-cigarettes: the case of the “60 Millions de consommateurs” French Magazine
  33. Electronic Cigarette Experimentation Increases Among Youth, But Use Among Nonsmokers Remains Low and Regular Use Rates are Still Unknown
  34. Public health experts oppose reckless timetable for Tobacco Products Directive
  35. Tobacco Products Directive – what next?
  36. Lazy, stupid, wrong – the Mail can’t stop itself
  37. Incoherent tobacco directive – letter to European Scrutiny Committee
  38. Red Tape Challenge for disruptive businesses – time to challenge e-cigarette regulation
  39. Health campaigners want to ban e-cigarettes internationally – unethical and unscientific
  40. Because you’re worth it – are there ideas from cosmetics regulation useful for e-cigarettes?

Nicotine Science and Policy posts news items on a wide range of issues related to the use of nicotine and posting of a news item does not imply endorsement of the views expressed in any item.