Vaping

More Effective E-Cig Regulations Could Save Approximately 200 Million Lives

A recent study of 61 countries and their e-cigarette regulations, has indicated that setting place more effective vape regulations could save the lives of almost 200 million people.

recent study conducted by The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) together with the Consumer Choice Center, examined 61 countries and their subsequent e-cig regulations. The research team used the UK’s progressive tobacco harm reduction policies, which endorse the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation as a reference point. Then they analysed how many current smokers would be encouraged to switch in each of the other countries, if they had access to such a permissive framework.

After compiling data from these countries, the research team concluded that with a regulatory regime which facilitates and encourages e-cigarettes as a means to quit smoking, 196 million of current smokers in those countries could switch to vaping.

Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, Michael Landl, said that this data indicates just how great the potential of e-cigarettes is for public health. “While the benefits of vaping as an alternative to smoking have been known for some time, today’s research shows just how significant the potential is: almost 200 million lives saved. If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that our health is paramount and regulators that want people to quit smoking need to be led by science and ensure that ideology takes a back seat to pragmatism.”

The results speak for themselves

Infact in the UK, approximately 25% fewer people smoke today than they did in 2013 when vaping became popular, and the nation is even boasting the lowest smoking rates recorded since cigarettes came on the scene. France, Canada and New Zealand whose approach is more similar to the UK, are also seeing positive results. On the other hand, Australia, one of the countries with the toughest vaping regulations, has witnessed only a mere 8% decline during the same period.

“Smart rules on advertising e-cigarettes to smokers, displaying e-cigarettes at the point of sale for cigarettes, lower rates of taxation for e-cigarettes, and public health bodies endorsing the evidence of vaping being at least 95% less harmful than traditional smoking, everything that the UK has done right, can help save the lives of thousands of smokers by helping them switch to vaping,” said Fred Roeder, Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, said about the report.

The PHE’s latest report on vaping

In the UK, Public Health England (PHE) is renowned for recommending switching from smoking to vaping, and  progressive frameworks for vaping have been introduced accordingly. Carried out by researchers at the renowned King’s College London, the organization’s seventh independent report on vaping in England, was commended by tobacco harm reduction experts.

The report highlighted the following points:

  • “Vaping is the most popular aid (27.2%) used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020
  • More than 50,000 smokers stopped smoking in 2017 with the aid of vaping
  • 38% of smokers believed that vaping is as harmful as smoking while 15% believed that vaping is more harmful”

Originally published here.

Health Canada coughs up counterintuitive vape policy

Ban on flavoured vape juice, nicotine limits will push smokers back to cigarettes

Just when it was thought to be safe to vape rather than smoke cigarettes, the Trudeau Liberals are unwittingly conspiring to resurrect the age-old sin of cigarette smoking.

They don’t think this will happen of course, but it will

On July 19, as per the federal Gazette, the Liberals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will announce new regulations to not only reduce the nicotine level in e-cigarette vaping products but ban flavoured vape liquids beyond tobacco and menthol/mint.

“Health Canada is pushing smokers back to smoking cigarettes and into the arms of ‘Big Tobacco’,” says Shai Bekman, president of DashVapes Inc., Canada’s largest independently owned e-cigarette company.

Ontario’s pre-emptive move to ban vape flavours will affect the big-name e-cigarette brands that sell primarily in convenience stores, such as Juul and Vype.

Both companies sell e-cigarette pods that come in flavours such as cucumber, mango, strawberry, and vanilla.

But what is Health Canada thinking?

According to various experts in sociological behaviour, and confirmed in many peer-reviewed articles, rather than reduce smoking, this will eventually drive vapers back to real cigarettes and, because of the severe 70-plus per cent tax on smokes, will also cause increased demand for contraband cigarettes.

After all, if you’re going to smoke, why pay a heavily taxed $20 a pack when a trip to the friendly smoke shack on any Mohawk reserve in Ontario and Quebec will get you a tax-free pack for as little as $4?

As David Clement, North American Affairs Manager with the Consumer Choice Centre recently wrote in the Financial Post, “our federal government is ignoring what is working abroad and is rejecting its usual governing principle of harm reduction.

“Curbing youth access to vape products is very important but banning flavours for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco is a huge mistake, one that could have deadly consequences,” said Clement.

“Approximately 1.5 million Canadians use vape products, most of them smokers trying to quit. Research on consumer purchasing patterns shows that 650,000 of those vape users currently rely on flavours that would be prohibited if the ban goes through.”

In May, also in the Financial Post, Fred O’Riordan, a former director-general at Revenue Canada, said “ the federal budget had something for everyone, including contraband traders.

“Their unexpected gift came in the form of a $4 per carton increase in excise duties on legally manufactured cigarettes, a sharp increase that may mark the end of one era — in which tax policy was an effective tool to control tobacco use — and the beginning of another.

”More smokers will switch to readily available and far cheaper contraband products,” he wrote.

“(This) will be bad for the health side of policy, especially for young people since illegal sellers do not ask for proof-of-age ID.”

The purpose of tobacco taxes, of course, is to raise revenues, but projections have been falling for years.

Last November, the Canada Revenue Agency estimated the 2014 loss in federal excise duty revenue from illegal cigarettes — the so-called “tax gap” — at about $483 million.

Lost provincial tax revenues would more than double that estimate. And those “latest” numbers are seven years old.

What’s needed is the ballsy move of reducing tobacco taxes enough to make buying contraband a non-thought. Ontario Premier Mike Harris did this and sin-tax tobacco revenues predictably went up.

And keep flavoured vapes — the mango, the vanilla and even the bubble-gum, all of which are also sold on reserves.

Health Canada has to stop being so counterintuitive.

It’s not working.

Originally published here.

Don’t ban flavoured vapes

Banning flavours for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco is a huge mistake, one that could have deadly consequences

Earlier this month Ottawa submitted new regulations for vaping products to the Canada Gazette. It wants to ban all vape flavours with the exception of tobacco, mint and menthol.

The rationale behind the ban is that limiting flavours will curb youth access to vaping products. Vapes, of course, should never be in the hands of minors. Their main value is to offer adult smokers substantially reduced risk for consuming nicotine — a 95 per cent reduction according to Public Health England. That reality is why vaping works as a means to quit smoking, something which has been reaffirmed by many peer-reviewed articles. A 2017 study from the University of California using U.S. Census data found that vaping had contributed to a “significant” increase in smoking cessation and as a result it recommended positive public health communications on vaping.

Other national public health agencies have seen the value of vaping as a smoking cessation tool and shifted their approach. Ireland, for example, has started actively promoting vape products to adult smokers trying to quit, while New Zealand has launched an interactive online tool explaining the value of switching to vaping from smoking.

Our federal government, however, is ignoring what is working abroad and is rejecting its usual governing principle of harm reduction. Curbing youth access to vape products is very important but banning flavours for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco is a huge mistake, one that could have deadly consequences. Approximately 1.5 million Canadians use vape products, most of them smokers trying to quit. Research on consumer purchasing patterns shows that 650,000 of those vape users currently rely on flavours that would be prohibited if the ban goes through.

If Ottawa does gets its ban, many of those targeted by it are likely to return to smoking, and that is something no one should be celebrating. This isn’t just a hypothesis on what may happen; it’s what has happened in jurisdictions that have sought to limit access to flavours.

South of the border, a nationally representative longitudinal study of over 17,000 Americans showed that adults who used flavoured vaping products were 2.3 times more likely to quit smoking cigarettes when compared to vapers who consumed tobacco-flavoured vaping products. Its authors, Abigail S. Friedman and SiQing Xu, both health policy researchers at Yale University, concluded that: “Although proponents of flavour bans have claimed that tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes are adequate to help individuals who smoke, these results call for evidence to support that claim before it is acted on.”

San Francisco provides yet another example where banning flavoured vaping products directly correlated with a spike in smoking rates. In a single-authored study, Abigail S. Friedman concluded that the ban on flavoured products doubled the odds that those under the legal age of purchase had smoked recently. The ban, passed to curb youth access to vaping, ultimately ended up shifting minors to cigarettes, which is a public health failure by any measure.

In fact, the economic evaluation of the ban, in the federal government’s own submission, openly admits that a ban on flavours will cause a return to smoking: “They (vapers) would choose to purchase more cigarettes, hence offsetting the loss” retailers will incur as a result of eliminating flavoured vape products.

The link between vaping flavours and quitting smoking is intuitive. Smokers trying to quit are more likely to enjoy a flavoured vape product than something that tastes exactly like the product they are desperately trying to quit using. Regulators here in Canada must know that this is exactly what will happen and yet are pushing onward regardless.

The federal Liberals have steadfastly, even stubbornly, championed harm reduction when it comes to illicit drugs — which makes their stance on vaping all the more incomprehensible. Their approach to illicit substances is the right approach given that it ultimately saves lives, and they should let those same harm reduction principles guide vaping policy. In fact, harm reduction should guide all drug policy, whether those drugs are legal or not.

Originally published here.

Правда про фінансовану Блумбергом Кампанію за майбутнє дітей без тютюну

Глобальна анти-вейпінгова стратегія через підкуп державних службовців.

Для американців мільярдер Майкл Блумберг найбільш відомий як колишній мер Нью-Йорка, який витратив багато грошей на безуспішні президентські вибори.

Але по всьому світу благодійні організації та окремі групи, яким він надає мільйони доларів стали своєрідним приватним урядом, який впливає на голів держав, фінансує зарплату державних службовців у сфері охорони здоров’я та ініціює законодавство, яке потім вноситься до законодавчих органів. Яскравим прикладом є нещодавні заборони вейпінгу в Мексиці та на Філіппінах.

Деякі з цих Блумбергових організацій безпосередньо очолюються та контролюються Bloomberg, включаючи Bloomberg Philanthropies, але більшість – це різні агітаційні групи, які значною мірою покладаються на фінансування та керівництво нью-йоркського мільярдера, включаючи ті, що зосереджені на навколишньому середовищі, освіті, громадському здоров’ї та контролю за курінням.

Мішель Мінтон з Інституту конкурентоспроможності підприємств (Competitive Enterprise Institute) нещодавно опублікувала резонансну статтю на цю тему. Мілтон отримала доступ до внутрішніх документів організації Кампанії за майбутнє дітей без тютюну (Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids), що фінансується Блумбергом, згубний вплив якої на країни, що розвиваються, виходить далеко за рамки стандартних антитютюнових заходів, таких як податки, вікові та/чи рекламні обмеження.

Вплив Кампанії та підкуплені уряди

Серед засобів впливу використовуються прямі виплати державним органам та службовцям охорони здоров’я за впроваджують законів та регуляцій зі списку бажань Кампанії за майбутнє дітей без тютюну. Оскільки країни, що розвиваються, витрачають на заходи та програми охорони здоров’я менше, ніж розвинені країни, іноземні неприбуткові організації, які пропонують мільйони доларів в обмін на просування та запровадження конкретних законодавчих ініціатив, отримують величезний вплив.

Таким чином, замість опирання на фактичний внутрішній демократичний попит на заходи проти тютюну та вейпінгу, включаючи заборони на ароматизатори та технології вейпінгу, ці країни приймають закони в обмін на гранти, часто набагато більші, ніж їхні внутрішні бюджети. В іншому контексті це було б справедливо назвати підкупом.

Беручи до уваги, що благодійні організації Майкла Блумберга витратили майже 700 мільйонів доларів у всьому світі на реалізацію цих заходів. Як наслідок, довга рука глобального антитютюнового пропагандистського руху здобула кілька перемог.

“Стосовно взаємодії з урядами, Кампанія за майбутнє дітей без тютюну та її партнери беруть участь у лобіюванні, як і більшість інших зацікавлених груп, але стратегія в неї інша. Ціллю Кампанії за майбутнє дітей без тютюну є презентувати і зацементувати себе як незамінний ресурс для регуляторів та законодавців. Наприклад, у плані Кампанії перелічено безліч прикладів підтримки, яку вона надавала державним структурам, як, наприклад, сприяння у судових процесах проти тютюнової промисловості Бразилії, Перу, Уругваю, Уганди, Нігерії та Кенії. У Панамі відзначається “співпраця з Міністерством охорони здоров’я Панами, яке зацікавлене у фінансуванні регіональних зусиль” щодо антитютюнових судових процесів.”

– Мішель Мінтон, Викрито: Антитютюнова пропаганда Bloomberg у країнах, що розвиваються

Опубліковані документи окреслюють зусилля учасників Кампанії щодо прийняття різних заходів боротьби з тютюном та протидії вейпінгу в таких країнах, як Бразилія, Китай та Нігерія, включаючи “фінансову підтримку” міністерств та урядових установ.

Як свідчать документи, надмірне фінансування з метою підсилення основних послань та цілей Кампанії за майбутнє дітей без тютюну надається не лише державним службовцям та органам охорони здоров’я, університетам та медіаустановам.

Димова завіса

Значна частина діяльності Кампанії за майбутнє дітей без тютюну зосереджена на забороні або суворому обмеженні технологій, які зменшують шкоду від куріння, як вейпінг, особливо в країнах, що розвиваються, таких як Індія, Філіппіни, Китай, Бразилія, Перу, Уругвай, Уганда, Нігерія, Кенія та інші.

Відволікаючись від своєї справжньої місії “майбутнє дітей без тютюну”, організації афілійовані з Блумберг натомість сконцентрували свій згубний вплив на інноваційних технологіях, які доносять аерозольний нікотин і не мають нічого спільного з тютюном.

Натомість такі організації, як Кампанія за майбутнє дітей без тютюну, використовують потужну риторику щодо необхідності знищення куріння як димову завісу для усунення або суворого обмеження всіх негорючих нікотинових альтернатив, включаючи вейп-пристрої, нікотинові пакетики та більше.

Ці інновації продемонстрували свій потенціал у сфері охорони здоров’я як засіб кинути курити та були рекомендовані міністерствами охорони здоров’я Великобританії та Нової Зеландії. А тому мільйони доларів, витрачені на підрив цих зусиль у країнах, що розвиваються з відносно високим рівнем куріння є скандалом епічних масштабів.

Але, на жаль, ці дії не опиняються на шпальтах головних газет. Натомість ми чуємо про багаторазові політичні перемоги, які обмежують вибір споживачів та доступ до альтернатив. Таким чином, фактичне здоров’я населення не враховується взагалі.

Справжній шлях до здоров’я населення

Найбільш разючим є те, що підхід Кампанії і подібних гравців не враховує нюанси щодо того, чи слід вважати нові тютюнові пристрої та інші альтернативи, які не містять тютюну, тютюновими виробами. Такі організації, як Рамкова конвенція про боротьбу з тютюном, Всесвітня Організація Охорони Здоров’я, заявляють, що вони нічим не відрізняються.

Але вони помиляються. Підтвердженням цього є наростаюча кількістьакадемічних досліджень та урядових звітів, які демонструють, що вейпінг є на 95% менш шкідливий, ніж горючий тютюн.

Той факт, що мільйони людей змогли кинути палити, використовуючи нікотинові вейпінг пристрої є яскравим підтвердженням того, що ринок може запропонувати реальні рішення для покращення громадського здоров’я.

Але як зазначила Мінтон з Інституту конкурентних підприємств, ціллю стратегії Кампанії за майбутнє дітей без тютюну та ширших зусиль, спрямованих на боротьбу проти тютюну, є перемога в політичних битвах та прийняття законів, без врахування того, чи призведе це до фактичного зменшення рівня куріння.

Якщо ці Блумберг організації є обличчям сучасного антитютюнового руху за контроль, то ми тепер знаємо, що охорона здоров’я насправді не є їхньою метою.

Originally published here.

Leaked: Bloomberg-funded ‘Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids’ Global Strategy to Ban Vaping Products By Bribing Public Bodies

To people in the United States, billionaire Michael Bloomberg is most well-known as a swashbuckling former New York City mayor who blew a lot of money on an ill-fated presidential primary run.

But around the world, his network of charities and selected groups he provides with millions of dollars in grants are, for all intents and purposes, a sort of private government who influence government leaders, fund the entire salaries of public health officials, and write legislation that is then introduced into legislative bodies, including the recent example of vaping bans in Mexico and the Phillippines.

Some of these organizations are those directly chaired and controlled by Bloomberg, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, but most are various campaign groups that rely heavily on funding and guidance from the New York City billionaire, including those focused on the environment, education, public health, and general tobacco control.

According to the latest article from Michelle Minton at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who was able to get her hands on internal documents from the Bloomberg-funded Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids organization, the pernicious impact of the campaigns to target developing countries goes much beyond standard tobacco-control measures such as taxes, age-gating, and advertising restrictions.

Influence and Cash-Strapped Governments

Instead, there are direct payments offered to government bodies and public health officials that implement the CTFK wish-list of legislation. Because developing nations spend less on public health measures and programs than developed nations, foreign NGOs that seek specific policy measures in exchange for millions of dollars in public funding are granted immense influence.

As such, rather than actual domestic democratic demand for measures against tobacco and vaping products, including all-out bans on vaping flavors and technology, these nations pass laws in direct exchange for grants, often much larger than their own domestic department budgets. In other contexts, this would rightly be defined as bribery.

Considering Michael Bloomberg’s charities have spent nearly $700 million globally to hurry these measures into law, the long arm of the global anti-tobacco advocacy movement has already chalked up several success stories.

In government, CTFK and its partners engage in lobbying, like most other advocacy organizations, but CTFK’s strategy for influencing tobacco policy really hinges on establishing itself as an indispensable resource for regulators and lawmakers. For example, the CTFK plan lists myriad examples of support it has provided to government entities, such as assisting in lawsuits against the tobacco industry in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya. In Panama, it notes “collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Panama who is interested in financing a regional effort” for tobacco litigation.

Michelle Minton, Exposed: Bloomberg’s Anti-Tobacco Meddling in Developing Countries

The documents outline the efforts of campaigners from CTFK to pass various tobacco control and anti-vaping measures in countries such as Brazil, China, and Nigeria, including “financial support” to ministries and government offices.

More than just government officials and health bodies, exorbitant funding is also made available to universities and media institutions, documents show, to amplify the core messages and aims of CTFK.

The Smokescreen

Rather than advocating for general tobacco control measures, a good portion of CTFK’s campaigns has focused on banning or severely restrict harm reducing technologies such as vaping, especially in developing countries such as India, the Phillippines, China, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, and more.

Diverting from their mission of truly “tobacco-free kids,” Bloomberg’s connected organizations have instead used their influence to zero in on innovative and novel technological vaping products that deliver aerosolized nicotine and have nothing to do with tobacco.

Instead, organizations like Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have used powerful rhetoric on the need to eliminate smoking as a literal smokescreen for eliminating or severely restricting all non-combustible nicotine alternatives, including vaping devices, heat-not-burn devices, nicotine pouches, and more.

Considering the demonstrated health potentials that come with endorsing nicotine-delivery alternatives as a means to quit smoking, as is recommended by relative health ministries in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to undermine these efforts in developing countries with relatively high smoking rates should be a scandal of epic proportions.

But, alas, those headlines are far from prominent. Instead, we have multiple policy victories that restrict consumer choice and access to alternatives without much regard for actual public health.

Achieving True Public Health

What makes these revelations most startling is that there is no room for nuance on whether innovative new vaping devices and other alternatives, which do not contain tobacco, should be considered tobacco products. Organizations such as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an organ of the World Health Organization, say they are no different.

But they’re wrong. The growing compendium of academic studies and government reports demonstrating that vaping is 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco speaks to that.

The fact that millions of people have been able to quit smoking by using nicotine vaping devices should be a testament enough to how the market can deliver solutions for public health, not to use a cudgel to hamstring and deny developing nations the real opportunity they have to improve and save the lives of millions of their citizens.

But as noted by Minton at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “the strategy of CTFK and the wider Bloomberg-funded anti-tobacco effort appears aimed at winning policy battles and passing laws with little consideration of whether they result in actual reductions in smoking or improvements in health.”

If this is the face of the modern tobacco control movement, then we know that public health is not actually their goal.

Shocking footage of police tasing a teenage boy for allegedly vaping in public has spurred outrage across the globe.

A group of Maryland officers was seen forcefully arresting the 18-year-old after claims he was asked to stop vaping on the Ocean City boardwalk.

Eyewitnesses say police instructed the teen, Taizier Griffin, to remove his backpack and lay down on the ground, but tased and hog-tied him when he reached for his bag.

Griffin was reportedly charged with resisting arrest and second-degree assault, however, viral footage of the event showed that he appeared to be complying with police instructions at the time.

Twitter user Rob Wiscount said:

“Besides the obvious police brutality on display here, it is also an astounding display of misappropriation of police resources.

“Ocean City used six officers and 50,000 volts…to stop one 18-year-old…from VAPING!

“If he had a skateboard, they’d have called SWAT?”

Rapper Ice T also commented on the incident, tweeting: “Cops tased this kid for Vaping??? RealIy…! At least they didn’t kill him I guess…smh…. wow.”

Astonishingly, the same thing happened just six days later, with a group of four teens being arrested after allegedly ignoring the ban on vaping.

One of the boys involved claims he was tased, whilst another was pinned down and repeatedly kneed in the side by an officer.

Ocean City officials said that ‘officers are permitted to use force, per their training, to overcome exhibited resistance,’ but many are questioning why the police took such aggressive steps to enforce the boardwalk’s vaping regulations.

Twitter user Jukka Kelovuori also weighed in, saying: “Getting arrested over vaping is probably way riskier than a lifetime of vaping in itself.”

Officials confirmed that both arrests will be investigated, explaining that they are aware of public concerns about the incidents.

They said: “While the use of force is never the intended outcome, our police department’s first priority is to protect and serve.”

Vaping advocates have raised concerns that widespread bans and strict regulations could lead to more arrests like this.

Yaël Ossowski of the Consumer Choice Center said:

“The MORE you ban and demonize ordinary consumer products, the MORE police interactions you condone.

“We don’t need more situations like this…Let People Live.”

The consumer group Rights4Vapers also tweeted: “We cannot let vapers be criminalized.

“Vaping is not a crime.”

Originally published here.

Bahaya Pelarangan Vape di Negara Berkembang

Dunia saat ini masih terus berperang melawan pandemi COVID-19 yang muncul pada akhir tahun 2019 lalu. Sudah satu setengah tahun lamanya, virus yang sangat mudah menyebar antar manusia ini telah meluluh-lantahkan berbagai kegiatan, seperti acara musik dan perhelatan olahraga, serta keseharian miliaran orang di berbagai tempat di dunia.

Salah satu dampak yang paling terlihat dari munculnya pandemi ini adalah semakin banyaknya orang-orang yang sadar akan pentingnya kesehatan dan kebersihan. Semakin banyak dari kita yang menyadari bahwa mencuci tangan atau membersihkan badan setelah keluar rumah adalah sesuatu yang sangat penting untuk dilakukan agar terhindar dari segala macam penyakit, khususnya COVID-19.

Tidak hanya dari masyarakat, banyak pemerintahan di berbagai belahan dunia juga mulai mengkampanyekan gaya hidup sehat untuk mencegah penyebaran virus tersebut. Beberapa diantaranya yang kita kenal di Indonesia adalah gerakan 5M, yakni Memakai masker, mencuci tangan pakai sabun dan air mengalir, menjaga jarak, menjauhi kerumunan, serta membatasi mobilisasi dan interaksi (kesehatan.kontan.co.id, 26/1/2021).

Namun, berbagai upaya memperbaki kesehatan publik yang diadvokasikan oleh sebagian pihak guna mencegah penyebaran COVID-19 juga tidak hanya melalui kampanye, tetapi juga melalui pelarangan berbagai produk yang dianggap membahayakan kesehatan. Salah satunya produk yang kerap menjadi sasaran adalah produk-produk tembakau seperti rokok.

Salah satu negara yang memberlakukan pelarangan tersebut adalah Afrika Selatan. Pada tahun 2020 lalu misalnya, Afrika Selatan melarang pembelian produk-produk tembakau seperti rokok (bbc.com, 17/5/2020).

Akan tetapi, tidak hanya produk-produk rokok konvensional yang dibakar saja yang diadvokasi oleh beberapa pihak untuk dilarang. Salah satu produk lain yang diadvokasi oleh sebagian pihak untuk dilarang adalah produk-produk rokok elektronik, atau yang dikenal dengan nama vape, karena dianggap juga membahayakan kesehatan.

Salah satu pengusaha dan filantropi yang mengadvokasi kebijakan tersebut adalah pengusaha besar asal Amerika Serikat, Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg telah meluncurkan inisiatif global untuk pengendalian tembakau sebesar USD1 miliar, atau sekitar 14 triliun rupiah.

Dampak dari inisiatif global yang dilancarkan oleh Bloomberg ini sudah muncul di berbagai negara, khususnya di negara-negara berkembang. Di Filipina misalnya, lembaga regulator kesehatan mulai mempresentasikan berbagai dokumen kebijakan tidak hanya melarang rokok, namun juga vape, di negara tersebutm setelah mendapatkan dana dari inisiatif global Bloomberg (brusselstimes.com, 18/3/2021).

Tidak hanya di Filipina, Meksiko juga mengalami kejadian yang serupa. Di Meksiko belum lama ini, terungkap bahwa salah satu staf pengacara dari lembaga advokasi kesehatan yang didanai oleh Bloomberg, yang bernama Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, telah menyusun undang-undang yang bertujuan untuk melarang impor dan penjualan produk-produk vape (brusselstimes.com, 18/3/2021).

Kebijakan ini tentunya merupakan sesuatu yang sangat memprihatinkan, khususnya di negara-negara berkembang. Pelarangan terhadap produk-produk vape atau rokok elektronik berarti akan semakin banyak orang yang beralih ke produk-produk rokok konvensional yang dibakar, atau produk-produk vape ilegal yang sangat berbahaya hingga dapat menimbulkan kematian.

Hal ini akan semakin berbahaya bila terjadi di negara-negara berkembang, apalagi pada masa pandemi, karena secara umum negara-negara tersebut tidak memiliki fasilitas layanan kesehatan yang baik. Bila produk-produk vape dilarang, terlebih lagi pada masa pendemi, maka akan semakin banyak orang yang beralih ke rokok konvensional yang dibakar, yang secara ilmiah sudah terbukti menyebabkan berbagai penyakit kronis seperti kanker dan penyakit jantung.

Vape atau rokok elektronik sudah terbukti merupakan produk yang jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Pada tahun 2015 lalu, lembaga kesehatan Britania Raya, Public Health England (PHE), mengeluarkan laporan bahwa vape atau rokok elektronik merupakan produk yang 95% jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar (Public Health England, 2015).

Oleh karena itu, kebijakan untuk memperbaiki kesehatan publik dengan cara melarang produk-produk vape atau rokok elektronik adalah kebijakan yang tidak tepat. Untuk memperbaiki kesehatan publik dari dampak negatif dari rokok konvensional, akan lebih efektif bila dengan membeirkan opsi produk lain yang lebih aman kepada para perokok.

Hal ini sudah terbukti di negara-negara di mana pemerintahnya bukan melarang produk-produk vape, namun justru mendorong para perokok untuk beralih ke produk-produk rokok elektronik yang jauh lebih aman. Di negara-negara tersebut, jumlah perokok justru menjadi berkurang. Di Selandia Baru misalnya, berdasarkan survei tahun 2018, ada 13,2% perokok. Jumlah tersebut berkurang dari tahun 2013 ketika angka perokok sejumlah 15,1% (stats.govt.nz, 10/10/2019).

Sebagai penutup, bila kita ingin membantu para perokok, khususnya di negara-negara berkembang yang jumlahnya sangat besar, maka kita harus mampu menyediakan produk alternatif yang dapat digunakan oleh para perkok untuk menghentikan kebiasaannya. Jangan sampai, intensi baik kita untuk memperbaiki kesehatan publik justru semakin menghasilkan sesuatu yang lebih buruk.

Originally published here.

Regulate vaping to keep youth vaping incidences to a minimum, says consumer advocacy group

Regulating vaping can help keep youth vaping incidences to a minimum, said a UK-based consumer advocacy group.

In a statement today, the London-based Consumer Choice Center (CCC) said that in the UK, where vape is regulated, youth vaping incidences have been minimised.

It cited a report in 2021 by Action on Smoking and Health, which examined the use of e-cigarettes or vape among youths in Great Britain, that found that a large majority of 11 to 18-year-olds have never tried or are unaware of e-cigarettes (83%). This finding has remained consistent since 2017.

It said the survey further found that vaping is much less common among youths who have never smoked. A large majority of “never smokers” aged 11-18 years, 94.1% in total, have either never vaped (87.9%) or are not aware of them (6.2%).

In its recent policy note entitled “Age Restrictions of Vape Products”, CCC recommended the following:
• Introduce smart regulations and enforce strict age restrictions on vaping devices and liquids at the points of sale
• Use modern age verification technology for online sales
• Learn from other industries such as alcohol and fireworks on how to improve compliance rates
• Retail and industry should be encouraged to be more proactive with the enforcement of rules
• Do not punish legal adult vapers for the lack of enforcement of age restrictions

CCC managing director Fred Roeder said that instead of taking drastic measures such as banning vape, which will only drive more consumers to illegal products on the unregulated black market, a more coordinated approach by both regulators and industry can and should be explored.

“We believe that the regulations with strict enforcement on no-sale to the underage marks the distinction between consenting adult consumers and those who have not reached the legal age to make these decisions,” he said.

He also cited examples from the UK on how controls are put in place to stop the underage from purchasing products with age restrictions.

An example of such a solution is AgeChecked, a UK-based secured online age verification system that requests a buyer’s full name, billing address, and date of birth when placing an order.

This information must be entered as it will appear on the buyer’s driver’s license, electoral roll, or be used for a UK credit card, he said.

Originally published here.

The EU should commit to the concept of harm reduction

A few days ago, I came across a 2017 TEDMED talk on the harm reduction model of drug addiction by Dr Mark Tyndall.

Although mainly focused on drug addiction treatment, the speech provides a valuable insight into the nature of harm reduction that can be applied more generally. In particular, that concerns vaping as a cessation tool.

In the talk, Dr Tyndall argues that “starting with abstinence is like asking a new diabetic to quit sugar or a severe asthmatic to start running marathons or a depressed person to just be happy. For any other medical condition, we would never start with the most extreme option. What makes us think that strategy would work for something as complex as addiction?”

Taxes, marketing and advertising bans along with other restrictions on both tobacco and vaping products pursue a strategy of abstinence. Based on the assumption that smokers can quit overnight after they see a price increase, the reality is that such policies do nothing to reduce smoking rates. Advocates of such an approach point to the declining smoking rates as evidence of their success. However, the causation link is hardly traceable there because of multiple variables at play. 

Although smoking rates in tobacco in vaping restrictive countries such as Ireland, really are declining, it is hardly a reason for optimism. The downward trend in smoking prevalence is driven by people who are dying prematurely from smoking, according to Dr Tyndall. Vaping, on the contrary, could save those lives, and discouraging it is ignorant of consumers’ needs.

Blinded by their pursuit of smoke-free Europe, European policymakers are consistently missing the opportunity to actually help smokers quit. We at the Consumer Choice Center have stressed many times the data point that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and that it targets adult consumers who seek to quit smoking. E-cigarettes are an adult-only product and do not serve as a means to entice underage smoking. Although scientifically proved, these facts are overlooked by the EU. 

As such, the flawed belief that vaping contributes to rising underage smoking rates casts a shadow on harm reduction. It is also one of the main reasons underlying the proposed Dutch vape flavour ban. A 2017 study published in Tobacco Control found that as the number of vapers in the US and UK went up, there was no increase in youth smoking. Between 2011 and 2016, smoking in the past 30 days declined from 6.3 percent to 4.3 percent among middle school students and from 21.8 percent to 13.8 percent among high school students in the US.

Overregulation of vaping in the European Union and its member states won’t bring the expected results. Smokers should not be seen as children who have to be punished into abstinence for choosing to smoke. A much better way forward is to encourage them to switch to vaping thereby helping them reduce health associated risks. 

Before it’s too late, we should strongly commit to the concept of harm reduction. Now, that would really help us beat cancer.

Originally published here.

Why the Dutch vaping flavour ban won’t drive down underage smoking rates

Although noble in intent, the ban would have the opposite effect, argue the Consumer Choice Center’s Maria Chaplia and World Vapers Alliance’s Michael Landl.

Starting from 1 July 2022, flavoured e-liquids might be banned in the Netherlands. The decision to proceed with the ban – originally proposed in June 2020 – is drastically at odds with public opinion, let alone science. Combined with the EU Beating Cancer Plan’s restrictive anti-vaping measures, the flavour ban demonstrates Europe’s incessant drift away from evidence-based policymaking.

Vaping is facing such regulatory hardships primarily because it’s misunderstood. Invented as a cessation tool, vaping targets adult smokers, in particular heavy ones, to help them quit. In the UK, electronic cigarettes are even given to smokers at hospitals. And vape flavours play a crucial role in the crusade for lowering tobacco smoking rates.

The Dutch government’s reasoning for the vape flavour ban is to tackle teen smoking. As such, the goal is indeed noble since e-cigarettes should be adult-only products and strict age restrictions need to be enforced. However, if that is really the goal then the Dutch government is shooting in the wrong direction.

According to a recently published study by Yale School of Public Health, a San Francisco vape flavour ban doubled high school students’ probability of smoking conventional cigarettes. The California city saw a 30 percent increase in underage use of cigarettes for the first time in more than a decade, while other cities across the country continue to see declining rates.

“Without solving the teen smoking problem, the ban will have disastrous unintended consequences and undermine harm reduction efforts”

According to a 2017 study published in Tobacco Control, as the number of vapers in the US and UK went up, there was no increase in youth smoking. Between 2011 and 2016, smoking in the past 30 days declined from 6.3 percent to 4.3 percent among middle school students and from 21.8 percent to 13.8 percent among high school students in the US.

Without solving the teen smoking problem, the ban will have disastrous unintended consequences and undermine harm reduction efforts. In the Netherlands, 3.1 percent of adults use e-cigarettes, and, with the ban in place, nearly 260,000 Dutch vapers might return to smoking.

Flavours play a vital role for smokers who want to quit. Adult consumers, who have used vaping to quit smoking say that flavours, other than tobacco, were a decisive factor in preventing them from returning to smoking. By using flavoured e-liquids they are 230 percent more likely to quit smoking than if using tobacco-flavoured ones.

The proposed ban won’t drive down demand for flavours. What it will do, however, is boost illicit trade. As demonstrated by high taxes, marketing and advertising bans, and other restrictions across the board, restrictive policies do not achieve the desired outcomes. Despite a nicotine sales vaping ban in Australia, more than half a million consumers vape, while 2.4 million people have tried it at some point.

As demonstrated by Public Health England, vaping is 95 percent less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Therefore, both in the short-and long-term, the Dutch vape flavour ban is too high of a price to pay, especially in light of our shared European efforts to reduce cancer rates.

“By using flavoured e-liquids they [adult smokers] are 230 percent more likely to quit smoking than if using tobacco-flavoured ones”

In light of the strong opposition expressed by citizens’ in the public consultation, with 98 percent of submissions opposing the ban, as well as the lack of legitimacy of this cabinet, the Dutch anti-vaping aspirations are completely unethical. This is a huge blow for tobacco harm reduction efforts and all the vapers who raised their voices, and it is likely to tarnish the reputation of the Netherlands.

Originally published here.

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