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Month: January 2020

Déchets technologiques: il faut repenser les idées reçues

Àtravers le «European Green Deal», la Commission européenne veut rencontrer les défis écologiques des années à venir. Parmi ses ambitions : réduire considérablement les déchets technologiques (surtout dans l’électroménager) en responsabilisant les entreprises. Une cible de la Commission est «l’obsolescence planifiée», existant comme idée reçue dans la tête de beaucoup de consommateurs. Discutonscette notion.

L’obsolescence planifiée part du principe que les producteurs vendent des articles de toutes sortes à des fins de consommation continue. L’idée est que la durabilité d’un article serait prédéterminée, afin que le consommateurs rachètent le nouveau modèle. Le nombre croissant d’iPhones nous vient en tête, ou la mode vestimentaire. On entend souvent qu’autrefois «les produits duraient beaucoup longtemps». Serait-il possible que les producteurs planifient les durées de façon malintentionnée ? Il y a de fausses hypothèses ici. Premièrement, le modèle suppose que les fabricants sont beaucoup plus intelligents que les consommateurs, qui sont traités comme des victimes passives de puissants intérêts capitalistes. En fait, dans le monde réel, ce sont les fabricants qui réclament à cor et à cri de suivre les consommateurs toujours changeants, discriminatoires, bon marché et difficiles, qui se débarrassent des produits et en choisissent d’autres pour des raisons rationnelles et parfois mystérieuses.

Deuxièmement, le modèle fait une étrange hypothèse normative selon laquelle les produits devraient durer le plus longtemps possible. En fait, il n’y a pas de préférence préé-tablie sur le marché quant à la durée de vie des produits. Il s’agit là d’une caractéristique de la fabrication entièremen déterminée par la demande des consommateurs.

De nos jours, nous avons de la chance si un mixeur à main dure quelques années. Il en va de même pour les laveuses et les sécheuses, les tondeuses et les coupebordures, les vêtements, l’équipement électronique et même les maisons. Rien ne dure plus longtemps qu’avant. Mais est-ce un argument contre le marché ou simplement le reflet de la préférence des consommateurs pour des valeurs (prix plus bas technologie la plus récente et commodités différentes) autres que la longévité ?

Comme le prix des matériaux a baissé, il est plus logique de remplacer le bien que de le créer pour qu’il dure éternellement. Voulez-vous un mélangeur de 200 euros qui dure 30 ans ou un mélangeur de 10 euros qui dure 5 ans ? De la même façon, il est tou à fait concevable que votre vieux Nokia 3310 fonctionne toujours. Ce téléphone est indestructible, mais il ne vous donne pas l’option de regarder des vidéos, consulter vos mails, ou de mettre à jour votre calendrier. La mise à jour des smartphones nous propose constamment des produits innovants. Ce que les consommateurs préfèrent à long terme, c’est ce qui domine le marché.

Comment peut-on en être sûr ? La concurrence. Disons que tous les fabricants fabriquent des mélangeurs qui se cassent en 5 ans seulement, et ce fait est largement détesté. Un fabricant pourrait battre la concurrence en offrant un produit qui met l’accent sur la longévité plutôt que sur d’autres caractéristiques.

Si les consommateurs accordent vraiment de l’importance à la longévité, ils seront prêts à payer la différence. La même logique s’applique aux voitures, aux ordinateurs, aux maisons et à tout le reste. Nous pouvons savoir quelle préférence domine (dans un marché libre) en regardant simplement quelle pratique est la plus courante sur le marché.

L’obsolescence planifiée est un mythe – pas au sens que le phénomène en lui-même est inexistant – mais dans le fait qu’elle répond aux demandes des consommateurs, au lieu d’une méchanceté organisée par des grandes entreprises.

Au niveau politique, on va me dire : «Méchanceté ou non, il faut interdire l’obsolescence.» Possible ? Oui. Mais à quel prix ?

Imaginez que votre vendeur d’ordinateurs vous propose un ordinateur à vie éternelle. Si vous le traitez bien, et si vous êtes prêt à payer le prix plus élevé, ce sera le dernier achat d’ordinateur de votre vie. Vous êtes sûrement sceptiques. Vu l’innovation rapide et constante sur le marché des ordinateurs, vous aurez très vite du retard sur d’autres collègues ou amis, qui utilisent des fonctions inconnues au moment de votre achat. Obliger le consommateur à dépenser plus pour un ordinateur qui sera de moindre qualité après quelques années est contraire au libre choix de ce consommateur. Pire encore, dans beaucoup de cas, une telle interdiction nuit à l’environnement.

Il y eut un moment dans le passé quand la consommation de carburant d’une voiture pouvait être de 12 litres aux 100 km, sans qu’elle posât problème. De nos jours, la consommation moyenne est la moitié de ces 12 litres. Oui, une voiture ne dure plus aussi long-temps qu’avant, mais de quel intérêt est la longue vie d’une voiture, quand nous pouvons réduire les frais
courants, et en même temps réduire les émissions de dioxyde de carbone ?

Dans la pratique, une interdiction de l’obsolescence planifiée est ironiquement elle-même une mesure de planification centralisée. En dictant la durée optimal d’un produit de façon législative, l’État se mêlerait encore une fois de plus de l’économie de marché. Cette mesure ne serait ni avantageuse pour les consommateurs ni bonne pour la planète.

Espérons que dans la vie politique, la rationalité n’a pas d’obsolescence planifiée.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Yes, The FDA Is In Trouble, But The New York Times’ Prescription Would Make It Worse

The FDA’s failures are a result of too much regulatory dithering and bureaucracy. Yet the Times’ prescriptions for change would just increase the dose.

Yes, The FDA Is In Trouble, But The New York Times’ Prescription Would Make It Worse

A recent New York Times editorial about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reflects a systematic weakness at the once-venerable Gray Lady: The members of the editorial board often rely on sloganeering and popular wisdom instead of substantive evidence.

The editorial was headlined, “The FDA Is in Trouble. Here’s How to Fix It.” The agency is in trouble. But it’s due to the very kinds of “fixes” the Times recommends.

The FDA is highly bureaucratic and risk averse, leading to a slow and expensive drug approval process—at last count, more than $2.5 billion to bring a new drug to market. Yet the armchair quarterbacks at the Times want to slow it down even more and increase the cost and risks of innovating.

Supposedly, too many drugs are being approved “with too little data on how safe or effective they are,” according to the editorial. More specifically, regulators have supposedly made “compromises” by accepting “surrogate evidence” of efficacy.

In fact, there are good reasons that the clinical testing of new drugs can be accomplished with fewer and smaller trials. We are entering the era of precision, or personalized, medicine, the mantra of which is “the right dose of the right drug for the right patient at the right time.”

It reflects that treatments are gradually shifting from a relatively imprecise one-size-fits-all approach to a more personalized one, so patients can be matched to the best therapy based on their genetic makeup, the specific characteristics of their illness, and other predictive factors. This enables doctors to avoid prescribing a medication that is unlikely to be effective or that might cause serious side effects in certain patients.

How Smaller Trials Can Be More Accurate

The editorial ignores that those factors make possible drug testing in smaller, better-targeted populations. That is not a completely new concept. Under appropriate circumstances, the FDA has long used fewer and smaller clinical trials as the basis for approval.

What makes that possible is that medical research is increasingly discovering biological indicators, or “biomarkers”—such as variants of DNA sequences, the levels of certain enzymes, or the presence or absence of drug receptors—that can dictate how patients should be treated and to predict the likelihood that the intervention will be effective or elicit dangerous side effects.

Using biomarkers enables drug companies to better select patient populations for clinical trials to demonstrate efficacy. The reason is related to the statistical power of clinical studies: In any kind of experiment, a fundamental principle is that the greater the number of subjects or iterations, the greater the confidence in the results. Conversely, small studies generally have large uncertainties about results—and that is where biomarkers can make a difference.

By better defining the experimental groups, such as limiting the trial only to patients with a certain mutation in their genome or tumor, they can help drugmakers design clinical studies that will show “a high relative treatment difference” between the drug and whatever it is being compared to (often a placebo, but sometimes another treatment).

For example, a 2018 study of patients with certain rare pancreatic or gastrointestinal cancers found that analyzing the “protein-signaling networks” in the tumors could identify regulators of tumor survival. The researchers were then able to test the effect of various drugs on these regulators. That enabled them to predict in many patients which drugs would be effective in the tumors—the kind of precision oncology that makes possible smaller clinical trials.

Whiffing on Needed Critiques of the FDA

The Times editorial faulted the FDA for “its roles in the opioid epidemic (regulators allowed too many opioids on the market without properly flagging them as addictive or deadly),” but, in fact, the regulators did ensure that the drugs were safe and effective when used according to the labels, which do, in fact, warn about addiction potential. Analogously, can the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives be blamed for many Americans suffering from alcoholism?

Criticizing the FDA for its handling of e-cigarettes is easy. But the Times editorial even got that wrong, echoing the calls of prohibitionists to ban the sale of these products to adult smokers, rather than aggressively enforcing the existing ban on sales to minors.

The Times could have landed a powerful science-based critique of the agency for perpetuating the activist-created myth that nicotine e-cigarettes had anything to do with the past year’s lung disease outbreak, which was caused by adulterated THC oils, not nicotine vapes. By incorrectly blaming e-cigarettes for the illnesses, the FDA’s misinformation prevented countless adult smokers from switching to a truly less harmful alternative. The Times failed to hold the agency accountable for not telling the truth when it mattered most.

The Times editorial accuses the agency of having become “too susceptible to outside pressure,” which most FDA-watchers find to be groundless. If FDA has favored any special interests, they are “progressive” ones, including the organic food industry, which has systematically violated regulations concerning “absence claims” on labels (such as “GMO free”), and by acceding to the demands of “public health advocates” who reject harm reduction policies toward e-cigarettes. The remedy for such failings is better, smarter management.

The FDA Needs a Diet, Not More Money

The Times editorial claims the FDA “has too few resources and too little power to fulfill its key responsibilities.” The facts argue otherwise. According to the Congressional Research Service:

Between FY2015 and FY2019, FDA’s enacted total program level increased from $4.507 billion to $5.725 billion. Over this time period, congressionally appropriated funding increased by 21%, and user fee revenue increased by 35%. The Administration’s FY2020 budget request was for a total program level of $5.981 billion, an increase of $256 million (+4%) over the FY2019 enacted amount ($5.725 billion).

More important than the raw numbers is how FDA’s resources are being used. The agency has become extremely top-heavy, with ever more boxes appearing at the top of the organizational chart, even though the vast majority of day-to-day oversight and regulatory actions are taken at the level of FDA’s various “centers”—the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Center for Food Safety and Nutrition, and so on. The FDA needs to be put on a diet, not to have additional “resources.”

The Times editorial endorsed a recent proposal to convert FDA from a component of the Department of Health and Human Services to an independent agency. That would be a prescription for disaster. Political meddling with the agency’s decisions has been extremely rare in recent years, and the genuine calamities in which the FDA has been involved have been self-inflicted wounds that might have been avoided with more, not less, accountability and oversight.

Three distinguished former federal officials presented in the journal Health Affairs compelling procedural arguments against making FDA an independent agency. As an independent agency, they said, FDA would not be bound by the policies of the Department of Justice, potentially leading to inconsistent positions being taken by different parts of the government on issues that could include foreign policy.

Furthermore, they point out, applying a consistent approach to rulemaking as required by working within Health and Human Services and Office of Management and Budget strictures is a useful check on highly expensive or wrong-headed regulation. “It’s also a way that Congress and the president can ensure consistency across government in the application of expertise in regulatory policy,” they wrote.

The FDA’s failures are a result of too much regulatory dithering and bureaucracy. Yet the Times’ prescriptions for change would just increase the dose.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Low-battery warning fight

Microsoft’s carbon dating, Google in $1tn club, Logitech’s split keyboard

Don’t tell anyone, but my iPhone charger is hidden under some newspapers on my desk so that it’s less likely to go walkies when I’m not there.

I’ve always taken precautions, with people very eager to “borrow” this vital energy supply, and in future, I may have to bolt my chargers to the desk. The European Union just doubled the chances of me losing them this week when it revived the idea of universal chargers that would fit Apple, Samsung and any other smartphones.

Apart from the extra jeopardy I will face personally, the tech industry’s own selfish interests are in focus here. “The EU-enforced common charger is the enemy of progress” was the headline of a release from the corporate-backed Consumer Choice Center, which said any such move would undermine innovation and restrict competition. It echoed the argument when this last came up from Apple, which is the king of proprietary technologies and whose Lightning connectors are still cursed by anyone wanting to plug in a headphone jack.

I don’t buy their concerns. Where would we be without common USB and HDMI standards, and WiFi and Bluetooth, all with dongle-less backwards compatibility? I would happily trade a little innovation and commercial advantage for those invaluable conformities. 

Of course, legislators are always behind the tech curve and the common charger debate would become moot if we all bought wireless charging mats that removed the need for hard connections completely. Then again, some companies are not being as innovative in taking us to that bright new future as they think they are. Apple announced its AirPower wireless charging mats in 2017, but had to cancel the product less than two years later after struggling to make one that worked properly.

The Internet of (Five) Things

1. Microsoft’s carbon dating The software shop has gone further than other tech giants in committing to become “carbon negative” by 2030 and offset all carbon emissions made since it was founded. The $1.2tn company also announced a $1bn innovation fund to tackle the climate crisis.

2. There’s another trillion-dollar tech titan Alphabet on Thursday became the fourth Big Tech company to reach a market capitalisation of $1tn. Apple was the first public company to achieve the milestone, in August 2018, and is now more than a third of the way to a second trillion. It was followed by Amazon, which has since fallen back below the 13-digit threshold, and then Microsoft. Meanwhile, Tesla’s soaring share price is giving short sellers the heebie jeebies.

3. Peacock proud of its free streaming strategy The last major streaming debut is also the cheapest. Comcast unveiled its NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service on Thursday and said it would be free for its existing cable customers when it launches fully in July. There will be live sports and news, a large catalogue of older sitcoms, and the service will primarily rely on advertising rather than the subscriptions favoured by rivals. “We like the idea of zigging when others zag,” said NBCUniversal chairman Steve Burke.

4. WhatsApp won’t rely on ads Facebook is dropping plans to show ads on its WhatsApp messaging service, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. WhatsApp disbanded the team working on integrating ads on to the platform recently and even the code they had created was deleted from the app.

5. Ad industry faces wrath of regulator The UK’s data protection regulator is braced to do battle with the country’s £13bn online advertising industry, saying it will start investigating individual companies that are in breach of European data protection law and enforcing it against them. The Information Commissioner’s Office said the ad industry had responded insufficiently to a six-month grace period to get its house in order.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Democratic Debates: Healthcare in the US is twice as expensive as in Europe – But is this really due to high drug prices?

Watching the #DemDebate in Iowa was an interesting lesson on how something becomes true if enough politicians repeat the same twisted fact over and over again. 

Once all candidates had agreed that Iran having a nuclear bomb would be a problem, the debate shifted towards healthcare reform and the fact that the U.S. is the world leader in healthcare spending as a share of GDP (whooping 17.7% of GDP compared to a typical 8-12% when looking at countries such as the UK, France, Canada, Switzerland, or Germany).

Hedge-Fund-Manager-turned politician Tom Steyer opened by saying that the US spends twice as much per person on healthcare than any other developed nation and that’s why we need a stronger role of the government in healthcare. Steyer forgets to mention that the United States is already the global leader in government healthcare spending:

According to the World Health Organization at least 49% of all healthcare expenditure in the United States is paid by the government (state and federal). That gets you close to 9% of the US GDP and is more than public and private health spending in the United Kingdom combined. 

This should make all of us skeptical and get us to question whether a bigger role of government in healthcare spending would actually bring costs down.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders talked about “greed and corruption of pharmaceutical companies“ and lambasted them as the main reason for high health expenditures in the United States. And while it is true that the US is the largest market for drug sales, they account (including retail and inpatient use) for merely 14% of total health expenditures.

Simple math shows us that even if Bernie Sanders becomes POTUS and brings all drug prices down to $0.00, the US’ healthcare spending would still equal 15% of its GDP, and still it a world leader in healthcare spending. All of this while effectively killing any new medical innovations in the country.

These 2-2.5 percentage points in savings could (according to PWC) also be realized by cutting through red tape and the billing madness of the US health system(s). An unknown but significant amount of efficiency gains could be realized by opening up insurance markets nationwide and giving patients in every state more choice when it comes to their insurer.

High salaries for medical professionals (doctors and nurses) are definitely the elephant in the room that political campaigners don’t touch. Even purchase power adjusted medical professionals make easily twice as much as in other (very) developed countries. By opening up the US medical labor market to more immigration, mutual recognition of medical degrees and training, the US could counter ever-rising salaries for professionals. More competition among medical and nursing schools could also tackle student debt of medical professionals.

While merely 0.3 percentage points could be directly saved by reforming medical malpractice laws, a much bigger amount could be saved by doctors reducing their fear of lawsuits. So-called defensive medicine is the behavior of doctors that are worried about getting sued by patients. Some studies estimate that over-prescribing and over-treatments can make up a quarter of total health costs in the United States. While I think that that number is too high, even if it’s just 5% of total health expenditure, we would be able to shave off another percentage point getting us closer to the Switzerlands of the world.

In short: The Democratic candidates don’t have to worry: The US is already the global leader in government health spending per citizen. If they really want to bring total spending down, they should advocate for legal (liability) reform, opening up the medical and nursing job markets to more immigration, and more choice and competition in the insurance market. Nationalizing all pharmaceutical companies and handing out drugs for free won’t do the trick.

2020: A Radio Show, Bringing Consumer Choice to Davos, and Fighting for Science

Dear Friend of Consumer Choice!

The CCC is now entering into its fourth year and we’re excited to see more and more interest in our work. 

Here’s a breakdown of everything our team has been up to since our last message:


Consumer Choice Radio!

Our North American team has launched a whole radio show dedicated to #consumerchoice. Consumer Choice Radio is broadcast on Saturdays at 10AM EST on The Big Talker 106.7 FM out of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Yaël and David will talk for an hour every week about pressing consumer issues that are happening around the world, and have interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators, and people leading the charge for more consumer choice.

Either tune in every Saturday or subscribe to our podcast or YouTube channel.


This gets me to the next big item of this newsletter: Our third episode of the radio show will be brought to you from Davos, Switzerland. Six of us will observe what global elites are planning in the areas of consumer-facing issues.

2nd Cannabis Conclave Davos 2020

We will also host the second-ever Cannabis Conclave in Davos and expect another packed house!

The Conclave is a networking event that seeks to connect industry leaders, investors, and policymakers. The purpose of the event is to advance the legalization discussion internationally, for both medical and recreational cannabis.


Davos: 21democracy

As part of our 21Democracy project, we will host a dinner with leading policymakers, liberal business leaders, consumers, law enforcement, and civil rights activists who will be will be sharing ideas on how we can deploy our resources to combat Chinese Communist Party power and influence in liberal democracies and on consumer choice globally.


During our week in Davos we will also attend other events on brand freedom (especially important given recent moves by Israel and Denmark to boost the black market by banning branding of vaping products), trade, meet policymakers, and make consumer voices heard in the debate. 

Let us know if you or any of your friends will be in Davos. We would love to connect at 2,000 meters high!


Pharma Transparency Campaign

Our latest campaign is on drug transparency: We believe patients should have the right to know which drugs are available now and which ones will become available soon in their country. Therefore we started a media and social media campaign promoting this idea. You can read my piece in CapX here.


You might also like my thoughts on how we can bring down the cost structure of new life-saving drugs.

This week my colleague Bill will be at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin, Germany and see what’s in for consumers. The GFFA brings together leading voices in global agriculture. The CCC defends innovative agro-tech methods such as gene-editing, as means to improve the lives of consumers across the globe. You’ll be able to catch updates from Bill on our Instagram and Facebook stories. Bill also made it into Germany’s top daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, writing about lessons from the French Nutri Score labels. 

Maria’s and my open letter to the EU Commission to give GMOs and gene editing a chance got picked up by The Scottish Farmer


Event on GMO, Gene Editing and Climate Change

On February 3rd we will be co-hosting an event on the future of food in London, UK with our friends from the Genetic Literacy Project, Adam Smith Institute, and the British Conservation Alliance.


Legal Reform

Our push for legal reform in the United States keeps gaining ground.

Last month Yaël got published in the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Daily News on the various ways lawmakers should reform the U.S. legal system.


As you can see, we are starting 2020 at full steam ahead, pushing for choice in the fields of Digital, Transportation, Consumer Goods, and Health & Science. 

Stay tuned for our February updates and please keep supporting our work!


Fred Roeder

Ce Secteur a Réussi Là Où L’Etat a Toujours Échoué

Une bonne information et une réglementation équilibrée sont plus efficaces que l’interdiction pure et simple : du bon sens, et pourtant…

Les collégiens, les lycéens et les étudiants ont augmenté leur consommation de cigarettes électroniques, malgré les préoccupations croissantes.

Bien que la consommation de nicotine chez les mineurs et les décès dus à des maladies pulmonaires liées au tabagisme constituent un réel problème, les produits de vapotage légaux et une information précise auprès des consommateurs peuvent combattre ces effets au lieu de les aggraver.

Nous devrions nous réjouir de la présence d’alternatives au tabac et soutenir des produits sûrs et légaux.

Au début, il n’y avait que les étranges sosies de cigarettes qui s’allument lorsque vous preniez une bouffée. De nos jours, le marché de la cigarette électronique s’est élargi pour inclure beaucoup de variétés différentes, afin de donner un choix plus sûr au consommateur.

Cette dernière phrase étonnera sans doute de nombreux lecteurs – à juste titre. Si vous avez suivi l’actualité du vaping et les craintes qui entourent désormais ces produits, vous pourriez penser que la simple idée d’encourager les e-cigarettes devrait être une infraction criminelle.

L’exemple du Royaume-Uni

Aucun produit potentiellement nocif ne doit être encouragé. Cependant, dans le cas de l’e-cigarette, il faut reconnaître ses effets de réduction des méfaits. Public Health England (l’agence du département de la Santé au Royaume-Uni) a évalué en 2015 (et confirmé depuis) que le vaping est au moins 95% moins nocif que la cigarette conventionnelle.

Le Royaume-Uni, en particulier, montre qu’une politique permissive en la matière est meilleure pour aider ceux qui veulent arrêter de fumer. Entre 2011 et 2017, le nombre de fumeurs au Royaume-Uni est passé de 19,8% à 14,9%.

Dans le même temps, le nombre d’utilisateurs de cigarettes électroniques a augmenté : près de la moitié de ces consommateurs utilisent les cigarettes électroniques comme moyen d’arrêter de fumer.

Pendant ce temps, l’Agence américaine des produits alimentaires et médicamenteux (FDA), ainsi que la plupart des pays européens, publient des avertissements de santé publique concernant la vape. Une récente flambée de maladies pulmonaires « liées aux cigarettes électroniques » a augmenté le rejet de cette innovation.

Les symptômes des personnes affectées comprennent des difficultés respiratoires, des douleurs thoraciques, de la fatigue et des vomissements. Environ la moitié des patients sont des adolescents ou de jeunes adultes.

C’est ici qu’il est important de brosser un tableau complet de la situation.

Qu’y a-t-il dans une e-cigarette ?

Les deux principaux ingrédients utilisés dans les liquides de vape, le propylène glycol (PG) et la glycérine végétale (VG), sont utilisés pour former leur vapeur et ajouter du goût.

A ces deux ingrédients s’ajoute un troisième, habituellement un arôme alimentaire commun que l’on trouve dans les gâteaux, les huiles et d’autres produits alimentaires qui aident à donner au liquide son goût.

Tous ces composés sont des ingrédients alimentaires courants que les organismes de réglementation, dont la FDA, jugent sains et sûrs.

D’autres ingrédients variables incluent l’alcaloïde stimulant, la nicotine. Bien que tous les liquides de la cigarette électronique ne contiennent pas de la nicotine, le produit chimique qui crée une dépendance est le principal attrait pour les fumeurs qui veulent arrêter de fumer.

Comparée à d’autres alternatives, comme les timbres et les médicaments de la thérapie de remplacement de la nicotine, la vape s’est avérée plus efficace.

Le Center for Disease Control (CDC) a publié un rapport le 6 décembre qui a révélé qu’aucun d’entre eux ne contenait de nicotine. La plupart des consommateurs touchés avaient consommé des produits THC sur le marché noir – beaucoup dans des Etats qui n’ont pas légalisé le cannabis.

Dans la plupart de ces terribles cas de maladies pulmonaires liées à la fumée, de la vitamine E a été trouvée dans les liquides. La vitamine E est très nocive lorsqu’elle est inhalée.

En Europe, de plus en plus de pays abordent la question dans la bonne direction. La Direction générale de la santé du Portugal a publié une déclaration disant que les utilisateurs devraient s’abstenir de modifier leurs e-cigarettes liquides ou d’ajouter toute substance qui n’est pas légalement commercialisée et étiquetée.

Il s’agit certainement d’une approche davantage axée sur l’information des consommateurs que l’Etat du Michigan, qui a décidé d’interdire catégoriquement le vaping aromatisé (du moins à titre de mesure temporaire).

Le meilleur chemin pour arriver à la sécurité

Si nous voulons lutter contre les décès dus au marché noir, nous devons adopter des produits légaux sûrs. Un marché légal et réglementé est le meilleur moyen d’éradiquer les mauvais produits et acteurs.

L’interdiction des liquides aromatisés conduira au marché noir ou aux cigarettes ceux qui désirent des goûts différents. Des études récentes ont montré que si les produits de vapotage sont interdits, les utilisateurs de la cigarette électronique actuelles sont plus susceptibles de recommencer à fumer. Ce serait un pas en arrière considérable pour la santé publique.

Il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour briser les mythes sur la question des e-cigarettes. Au-delà de cette question, cependant, voyons ce que les produits ont réellement fait : depuis des décennies, l’Etat tente de convaincre les gens d’arrêter de fumer. Pour ce faire, il a eu recours à des politiques paternalistes, comme la fiscalité, les restrictions en matière d’emballage (le paquet neutre) et de vente, qui se sont toutes révélées inefficaces.

Toute baisse des ventes de cigarettes a été compensée par une hausse des ventes sur le marché noir. Dans cette économie souterraine, les consommateurs sont induits en erreur et ils en souffrent.

Nous devons encourager la commercialisation et l’image de marque de produits sûrs et légaux. L’information des consommateurs est nécessaire pour évincer les produits dangereux du marché noir.

La vape a réalisé ce que des décennies de politiques gouvernementales n’ont pas réussi à offrir aux consommateurs : une alternative viable. Ce type d’innovation doit être célébré, non réprimandé.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Cannabis Conclave Returning To Davos: Meet Benzinga At The Event

The Cannabis Conclave is returning to Davos on Jan. 23, alongside the World Economic Forum.

The Conclave, which is hosted by the Consumer Choice Center and Prohibition Partners, is an industry event that seeks to connect industry leaders, investors and policy makers. The purpose of the event is to advance the legalization discussion internationally, for both medical and recreational cannabis.

The event consists of a networking luncheon at the mountainside Restaurant Höhenweg, where guests will be treated to a full Swiss three course lunch, along with thought provoking presentations.

“We are excited to be back in Davos for our second annual Cannabis Conclave. This year we will have industry leaders from 24 countries in attendance. Our event will ensure that cannabis policy remains front and center as the world’s most influential people descend on Davos for the week,” David Clement, North American Affairs Manager at Consumer Choice Center, told Benzinga.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

A new Pro-Science Citizens’ Initiative Deserves Support

A new student organized EU Citizens’ Initiative demands a streamlined process of authorising scientific innovations in the field of agriculture. They deserve to be heard and supported.

On 25th July, the European Commission registered the Citizens’ Initiative Grow scientific progress: crops matter! Two students are named as representatives, namely Martina Helmlinger and Lavinia Scudiero.

Helmlinger is about to finish her MSc in “Safety in the Food Chain” at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. Scudiero is currently pursuing a Master’s in “Food Safety Law and Regulatory Affairs” at Wageningen University and Research.

The two students argue in the description of the initiative that EU Directive 2001/18/EC is outdated, and suggest an automatic mechanism to review it. The goal is to streamline the now lengthy and costly market authorisation process, and allow for more scientific progress in the EU. Individual evaluations, as opposed to broad definitions, should help to allow new technologies to enter the market.

As Marcel Kuntz, Director of Research at the Cell & Plant Physiology laboratory in Grenoble, explains: “Ag-biotech is not an agricultural production mode, it is a means to increase trait biodiversity. What is important is what is done with a product, not how the product was obtained.” Kuntz also complains about attacks on scientists and “political struggles” that define what is regarded as safe and what isn’t.

It often seems that the debate surrounding innovation in agriculture has been hijacked by professional communicators, doing everything to slander technological innovation without evidence.

The truth is that organisations such as Greenpeace have been attacking GMOs for decades. They say that GMOs represent “unacceptable risks”, without pointing to scientific evidence highlighting that risk.

“GM crops have no place in sustainable farming. They come with unacceptable risks created by the genetic engineering process and the traits they are engineered to express.”

The same NGOs that lobbied the EU against genetically-modified crops, have also been celebrating a European Court of Justice case which rules that gene-editing should be treated the same way as GMOs. Greenpeace calls gene-editing “GMOs through the back door”.

Dr Bernhard Url, Head of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), says that just because you don’t like the results, “don’t shoot science.” He adds that “if science becomes just one more opinion, which can be overlooked in favour of superstition, this carries an enormous risk for society.”

He is right. Gene-editing already offers multiple advantages to plant-breeding. For example, by creating allergen-free foods we could create immense change for people affected by potentially life-threatening allergies. However, these applications go beyond the realm of agriculture. Gene-editing can help fight the Zika virusprevent transmission of Malariacure leukaemia, and shows promising research in the areas of Alzheimers, Huntington’s disease, cervical and lung cancer.

Gene-editing is at risk of falling victim to the same unscientific fear-mongering as GMOs have been in the past. As a result other continents are innovating while Europe rides itself into a technological ditch, fantasising about the likes of “agroecology”, going so far as to ditch mechanisation.

The Grow scientific progress initiative deserves support. The European Union needs to open itself to innovation in order to keep up with the exciting opportunities of tomorrow.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

In your face: Planes are getting more efficient but passenger taxes drive airlines out of business

Range increases of new jetliners

The UK government has apparently just saved the regional carrier Flybe from bankruptcy by delaying over a hundred million pounds of passenger departure tax payments to the UK government and suggesting to lower this tax altogether in the future. Saving a local airline causes these days an outcry not because of government interventionism but the general anti-flying segment also known as flight shaming. Unfortunately the UK government did not move away from their plan to increase the APD for long haul flights by April 1st. 

Let’s look at what’s currently happening in the industry when it comes to long haul flights: Following aviation news regularly one can observe a real arms race in the last couple of years on which airline currently holds the record on the world’s longest flight. 

Just a few years ago Qatar Airways was the record holder with their Doha-Auckland flight on the newly delivered Airbus A350. 

Now Singapore to New York ranks as the world’s longest flight (and yes, there are different geeky ways to determine what “long” means but no need to dig into this here). 

Now one can just label these new ultra long haul routes as PR stunts of airlines or the manifestation of big egos of airline executives. But the actual marvel behind this is that flights are getting more and more efficient. This allows airlines to schedule longer flights and spare passengers hours of layovers at random airports on the way home. 

And while thousands of private jets will descend into Switzerland for some collective flight shaming at the World Economic Forum in Davos, it is important to point out that flying is getting more efficient. Consumers have more and more choices and additional direct flights allow them to travel faster.  

Those demanding less flying and higher taxation on flights are neglecting the fact of ongoing efficiency gains in the aviation industry and at the same time de-democratize flying by making it less affordable for the average consumer. 

Conventional jetliners becoming more fuel efficient is an ongoing development and does not need any policy input as it is in the intrinsic interest of airlines to offer more competitive routes and ticket prices. 

The next step would be to allow a regulatory framework for supersonic passenger flights. We wrote a paper on this last year. 

It’s time for the UK to bring drug approval into the 21st century

Settling Brexit has been a byzantine process, but it’s got nothing on the UK’s opaque and outright baffling system of pharmaceutical drug availability and research.

Every year the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK’s national drug regulator, approves dozens of new medicines, including both the newest patented medicines and lower-cost generic drugs.

After Brexit the MHRA will have a much bigger role as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will likely no longer be responsible for the approval of innovative drugs in the UK. But the UK has an outdated and murky approach to patenting and regulatory approval that leaves patients in the dark.

Bracing for Brexit means also that we need to bring our drug approval system to the 21st century and include openness and transparency.

Instead of regularly notifying which drugs are approved and their patent status, the UK hides much of this information. This makes it harder for patients and healthcare professionals to know which drugs are currently available and will soon be at the pharmacy. This stands in stark contrast to the international trend of promoting more transparency in pharmaceutical markets.

And while the EMA has such a notification mechanism set up for certain innovative and orphan medicines, the UK does not. An open and transparent government should provide patients, doctors and pharmacists with the information on which drugs manufacturers are currently filing for market authorisation.

At the moment, you can find six pages in MHRA’s annual report on its energy use, but precious little on the current approval and application pipeline. Shouldn’t patients have access to this information?

We should follow international best practices and publicly release more information about drugs being considered for approval. This should include information about the patent status of these drugs and the timeline for approval.

Canada provides a good example of how to go about this. Its Patented Medicines Regulations allow the timely release of this information and keep patients better informed about their health care options. It also helps to hold the government accountable, leading to a more transparent and functional drug approval process.

Other advanced countries, including Singapore, have open systems in which governments transparently and efficiently review the patent status of new medicines prior to marketing approval. This transparency makes markets work better and brings down costs and prices.

The UK is not alone in needing more patient-friendly transparency and open government: France and Italy both lack having an easy-to-access database that lists all approved drugs and drugs in review.

Increased transparency of patent information and regulatory approval helps patients in a number of ways. It can help bolster intellectual property protections essential to getting the newest, most effective medicines to market. It can also help speed up the process of approving lower-cost generic medicines that could immediately save lives.

Patients should demand the implementation of an online database that not only lists currently approved patent-protected drugs and generics but also shows in real-time which marketing authorisations are being sought by patented and off-patent drugs. Ideally, drug manufacturers would apply for marketing authorisation in the UK through that open platform as well. This would allow a one-stop-shop for patients, health care professionals, and the pharmaceutical industry.

In the age of Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Ocado, it’s about time that our public administration helps bring more transparency and live data to patients and doctors. Any delay means keeping patients in the dark – and we all deserve better.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

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