Nicotine In the News Nicotine in the News

Nicotine in the News is a new NSP column authored by Harry Shapiro.

Harry is Director of DrugWise an online drug information service and managing editor of DS Daily - an online news service on drugs, alcohol and tobacco. He is an author, journalist and lecturer who has written widely on the subject of drugs. He is the author of several books relating to drugs and popular music including Waiting for the Man: the story of drugs and popular music; Shooting Stars: drugs, Hollywood and the movies; Jimi Hendrix, Electric Gypsy; Eric Clapton: Lost in the Blues and Jack Bruce: Composing Himself : the Authorised Biography.

Nicotine in the News - 23 May

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Now that he has been confirmed as the new FDA Commissioner, the heat is on Scott Gottlieb to torch the FDA deeming regulations that themselves threaten to set a match to America's vaping industry. (OK enough of the inflammatory metaphors). As a consequence of the new appointment, the industry has won a significant reprieve in the administration's decision to delay implementing the new FDA regime.

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Nicotine in the News - 19 May

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Some weighty issues to consider this week. Top of the list. ' Is it ethical to invest in Big Tobacco?'

Writing for Vice magazine, Martin Robbins told the tale of how he entrusted some inheritance money to a company whose business it is to invest in stocks and shares on your behalf. Having got tired of sitting around waiting to get rich, he decided to check out exactly where his money had gone. “The results were a bit of a shock. In my top ten were BP, Shell Oil, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca. That's Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. All I needed to round out my evil capitalist portfolio were a couple of arms companies and a stake in News International”. His biggest surprise was Big Tobacco, “Tobacco is more of a surprise: it's not just a good investment, it's one of the best. Ten years after Britain's public smoking ban, The Motley Fool recently declared 2017 "the year to invest in Tobacco stocks".

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/01/04/why-2017-is-the-year-to-invest-in-tobacco-stocks.aspx

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Nicotine in the News - 8 May

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

This cry from the heart from Dr Joel Nitzkin:

“After all this time, we are still dealing with the same mentality within the tobacco control community. To them "tobacco" is the problem, not smoking. To them, the industry is evil and anyone or any paper disagreeing with that perception is dismissed as a tobacco industry spokesperson or someone who has been snookered (taken for a fool and now plays the role of a useful idiot for the industry). To them, the only reason anyone in any tobacco-related industry would ever produce or promote any relatively low risk product would be to addict another generation of teens, who would then, predictably, transition to cigarettes for a bigger and better nicotine hit.

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Nicotine in the News - 24 April

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Clive Bates received an invitation from China to buy 99% strength USP nicotine. This is what was bound to happen when as Clive points out “the super-caution of regulators over hypothetical and negligible risks can turn out to be reckless abandon in real life”. Excessive regulation of the law-abiding market [will most likely] prompt people to buy their e-liquid over the internet in illegally high-strength concentrations and at very low cost and then to mix their own - or to establish a cottage industry and do it for others”.

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Nicotine in the News - 16 April

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Top read of the week is Fidela Cook writing in the Scottish Sunday Herald about how e-cigarettes pretty much saved her life by turning her away from a 40 a day cigarette habit. She rightly says that the demonisation of e-cigarettes could backfire dramatically by driving her back to cigarettes. But almost as an aside, she points the finger at Big Tobacco as participants in the campaign against e-cigarettes. It could be that she doesn't realise that the likes of BAT and Philip Morris are major players in the field of HNB technologies, but I doubt that.

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Nicotine in the News - 9 April

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

As a student, Professor Ibrahim Al-Marashi wrote a thesis entitled Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation. As revealed by the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, the thesis found its way into the UK Foreign Office where it was not only plagiarised but also altered, as the British government and intelligence establishment sought to strengthen the uncertain evidence about Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

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Nicotine in the News - 5 April

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

So obviously the big news of the week comes from New Zealand where  a government proposal will be put to parliament  next year which would legalise the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquids as consumer products.

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27 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

There has been some debate on the wires that the FDA Mission statement only seems to be concerned about reducing tobacco use by minors but not adults. The exact wording is “ FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors”.

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20 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

In a departure from the normal round-up, I want this week to focus on the idea of how increasingly propaganda and lies are trumping facts – and the pun is intended. I am prompted in this by a very interesting and frankly scary and depressing article by Tim Harford writing in the Financial Times about the 'problem with facts'. 

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13 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

It strikes me there is a marked difference between the way US and UK governments and their agencies handle information about controversial subjects. In the US, there is an obvious moral underpinning to much of what is published about drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Or what isn't published. As the major donor of the WHO, the US government has previously suppressed WHO reports stating cannabis was no more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco – and another which stated that moderate use of cocaine appeared to have no long term health consequences. Yes folks, this is the WHO speaking.

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6 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Back in the day, I worked in the library of the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence. The collection policy was literally everything in English on illegal/non-medical drug use. We ended up with one of the best English language drug libraries in the world. But there was a lot of dross – and the one category we soon dropped were animal studies. Researchers would inject a rodent with high levels of the psychoactive THC, watch it fall over and then declare that cannabis caused everything from cancer to Ebola. And we would be sent many similar studies, so reproducability wasn't the issue, it was just pointless with no relevance to real world situations and just a way of building up a publishing record.

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26 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Despite the best efforts of the powers-that-be to convince Americans that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as smoking tobacco, a new study ( http://www.news-medical.net ) shows that among US smokers with respiratory conditions who continue to smoke, many are switching to e-cigarettes believing them to be less harmful.

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18 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Forget La La Land (you know, that place where WHO and CDC views on vaping live) – instead grab your popcorn for some much more rewarding screen time.

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12 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

As a newcomer to the world of tobacco harm reduction, I am continually impressed by the expert forensic scrutiny of the published research much of which is aimed at undermining the positive impact of heat not burn technologies when compared to smoking cigarettes.

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6 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Writing for the Australian online news outlet News.Com Joe Hildebrand reported, “when I quit smoking last year, I got a message from Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn from the School of Public Health at the University of NSW “Congratulations,” he said. “You’ve just added almost 10 years to your life.” He then added: “You’re also now a criminal.”

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29 January 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

OK, so let's start with some good news for a change.

In Canada, the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC) in a report called “ Clearing the Air” have concluded that fears of vaping being a gateway to tobacco smoking are unfounded.

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22 January 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Having done a brief round-up of 2016 in my first column, this week's column is a catch-up on the news so far in 2017.

Previously I mentioned the harm reduction battle cross-over between drugs and e-cigarettes: reports in the news this year highlight another connection – how scientists, clinicians and the media can mislead the general public.

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15 January 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Welcome to my new column brought to you by Nicotine Science and Policy. The idea is that I provide a summary and commentary of the weeks' news and events for those who have not had the time to check out the NSP News Digest on a daily basis or missed an important news item from elsewhere.

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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.