Common Ground Will Rescue Us From E-cigarette and Vape Wars

CONTACT:

Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

Common Ground Will Rescue Us From E-cigarette and Vape Wars

WASHINGTON – As the midterm elections wrap up across the country, the FDA is readying its new action plan concerning e-cigarettes.

Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center, offers these simple steps to follow if the FDA wants to adhere to common ground:

“We should all be able to agree that E-cigarettes are not entirely safe and should not be used by kids,” said Stier.

“At the same time, as Public Health England has been saying for more than three years, e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes and can help smokers quit.

To maximize protection to Americans of all ages, the FDA must finally formulate sensible, science-based policies to achieve two key goals:

  • Prevent youth from initiating the use of any nicotine-containing product, including e-cigarettes.
  • Foster switching by adult smokers who have been unable to quit by other means.

The FDA is threatening that because of “news reports,” public opinion and data about youth use that the agency hasn’t released, it may soon remove many e-cigarettes from the market, including most flavors, as well as the pods they come in, until a manufacturer applies for and receives approval for each product.

The agency is also warning that it may ban sales everywhere except in vape shops.

But it’s not too late. In its new plan, the FDA should implement the legitimate common ground by taking the following three steps:

1: Focus on the bad-actors. The FDA should act swiftly and forcefully, as it has the authority to do, against any retailer caught selling an e-cigarette to a minor.

2: The FDA must work constructively with the industry it regulates.

3: Make good on the promise to change misconceptions about nicotine, which, while addictive, is not the major cause of tobacco-related disease.

What should FDA not do?

1: Remove e-cigarettes from all stores except vape shops.

2: Allow either side to erode common ground. Just as the FDA shouldn’t be lenient with those who sell or give e-cigarettes to kids, it shouldn’t allow false assertions about the risks of e-cigarettes to stand unchallenged.

3: Fall prey to the notion that the FDA has in its power the ability to prevent every last youth from every trying an e-cigarette.

When giving the FDA authority to regulate recreational lower-risk nicotine products, Congress believed the FDA could be sophisticated enough to at once prevent youth use while helping adults quit smoking.

Sadly, to date, the FDA has accomplished little on either front. These failures don’t justify a misplaced “crackdown” on e-cigarettes. They require an intensive focus on stopping the bad actors.

If the FDA doesn’t get it right— this month— President Trump should ask, in an exit interview, why FDA leadership couldn’t achieve a central promise of the administration: improving our lives not with more regulation, but with less of it, wisely implemented,” said Stier.

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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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

WHO’s afraid of vaping?

For the second time in two years, I sat in the public gallery at a United Nations conference in Geneva as a senior UN bureaucrat told us that all members of the media and public were barred from the proceedings, writes Yael Ossowski for Spiked. This particular occasion was one of the UN’s biannual sessions to update the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The FCTC is the first global-health treaty enacted by WHO. It has been ratified by 181 countries and forms the basis of a number of national laws across the globe, such as tobacco taxes, advertising restrictions, and plain cigarette packaging.

Each biannual meeting is a taxpayer-financed talkfest, dominated by various health ministries and anti-tobacco organisations like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Framework Convention Alliance, who are not only granted ‘observer status’, but also intervene in the large plenary debates and use their platform to shame the delegates of any country that doesn’t adopt a prohibitionist attitude toward tobacco.

Though the conference claims to be about science and public health, it is anything but.

For instance, new vaping and e-cigarette technologies are the most popular stop-smoking aids in England, used by 1.2million Brits according to the latest government figures. A Public Health England report says that vaping can reduce health risks by 95 and can increase the chances of quitting smoking by up to 50%.

But the arguments for vaping are dismissed by WHO as ‘unfounded’ and ‘inconclusive’. One top NGO said parties at the meeting should ‘refrain from engaging in lengthy and inconclusive discussion’ on alternative nicotine products like vaping.

Vaping activists had tried to attend the conference to share their stories of how they quit smoking. Volunteers from the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations proudly blew clouds of water vapour outside the conference’s doors. Unlike the more prohibitionist NGOs, they were denied observer status.

The clear anti-vaping bias led to some absurd claims.

Anne Bucher, director-general of the EU’s Health and Food Safety Directorate, was adamant that, despite containing no tobacco, vaping and e-cigarette devices should be considered ‘tobacco products’, subject to all the same laws, restrictions, and bans.

The treaty itself sought to enforce the same restrictions on vaping and e-cigarettes as cigarettes and cigars. This could actually hamper people’s ability to quit smoking.

Another object of hate was the media. Delegates from countries including China, Zimbabwe, the Maldives and Uganda claimed the entire conference should take place without media or public scrutiny. ‘What we’re dealing with is the mafia’, said the delegate from Afghanistan, referring to the public sat in the gallery above.

A representative from Chad lamented that more people did not know about the FCTC meeting and its impact. In the same breath, he argued in favour of kicking out the public and media after the opening plenary.

It was a bizarre and Orwellian conference. The proposals that emerged in the name of protecting public health could seriously set back the improvements in public-health that have come about thanks to alternatives to cigarettes like vaping, e-cigarettes and snus.

One thing became clear: innovative products, new markets and the much hated ‘industry’ were doing more to bring about better health outcomes than the UN’s supranational health bureaucracy.

* Yaël Ossowski is a Canadian journalist and deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center.

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Daily on Healthcare, presented by PhRMA: Trump likely to preview Medicare negotiation in speech at HHS

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: “I expected the administration to have a de-regulatory policy as they have done at other agencies like the EPA,” said Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center. “I expected that approach [at EPA] that we can protect the environment while still cutting regulations. Why can’t the FDA do the same?”

READ MORE

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Monthly update: October 2018

DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET CAMPAIGN

On 10 October, the CCC’s Luca Bertoletti and Bill Wirtz handed the Consumer Choice Center’s Digital Single Market research paper to the European Commission’s Head of E-Commerce.

TESTIMONY ON ONTARIO’S CANNABIS RULES

On 12 October, the CCC’s David Clement testified at the Ontario Standing Committee on Social Policy to provide comments on Bill 36, the province’s cannabis regulations.

CAPITOL HILL BRIEFING ON FDA REFORM

On 18 October, our Jeff Stier participated in a panel discussion dedicated to the FDA’s role in approving new consumer products that will improve countless lives. The event was co-hosted by Taxpayers Protection AllianceR Street Institute and the Consumer Choice Center.

PUBLIC CANNABIS CONSUMPTION BAN IN ONTARIO WAS REVERSED

On 26 September, Ontario reversed their decision to ban all public consumption for cannabis. Check out how the Consumer Choice Center contributed to the creation of a more equitable, just and consumer-friendly cannabis market in Ontario.

NICOTINE IS NOT YOUR ENEMY SOIRÉE

On 2 October, the CCC hosted the ‘Nicotine is Not Your Enemy Soirée’ in Genève (Switzerland) to celebrate the life-saving advancements in nicotine consumption technology.

BAN AWARD

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a treaty of the World Health Organization (WHO), received the October 2018 BAN Award for preventing tobacco harm reduction and denying the science on life-saving e-cigarette and vaping technology.

EFFECTIVE STAND AGAINST THE FAIR FEES ACT

The FAA reauthorization is off to the White House, after the Senate voted 93-6 to clear the legislation without the FAIR Fees Amendments. Airlines can keep offering modularized services to different passengers with different preferences and price sensitivity. This is a win for consumer choice and competition in the airline industry.Check out how the Consumer Choice Center helped to keep the skies free by effectively opposing the FAIR Fees Act. #FreeSkiesAreFAIR

WHO’s afraid of vaping

The war on vaping is a threat to public health.

For the second time in two years, I sat in the public gallery at a United Nations conference in Geneva as a senior UN bureaucrat told us that all members of the media and public were to be barred from the proceedings. This particular occasion was one of the UN’s biannual sessions to update the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The FCTC is the first global-health treaty enacted by WHO. It has been ratified by 181 countries and forms the basis of a number of national laws across the globe, such as tobacco taxes, advertising restrictions, and plain cigarette packaging.

Each biannual meeting is a taxpayer-financed talkfest, dominated by various health ministries and anti-tobacco organisations like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Framework Convention Alliance, who are not only granted ‘observer status’, but also intervene in the large plenary debates and use their platform to shame the delegates of any country which doesn’t adopt a prohibitionist attitude toward tobacco.

Though the conference claims to be about science and public health, it is anything but. For instance, new vaping and e-cigarette technologies are the most popular stop-smoking aids in England, used by 1.2million Brits according to the latest government figures. A Public Health England report says that vaping can reduce health risks by 95 per cent and can increase the chances of quitting smoking by up to 50 per cent.

But the arguments for vaping are dismissed by WHO as ‘unfounded’ and ‘inconclusive’. One top NGO said parties at the meeting should ‘refrain from engaging in lengthy and inconclusive discussion’ on alternative nicotine products like vaping.

Vaping activists had tried to attend the conference to share their stories of how they quit smoking. Volunteers from the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) proudly blew clouds of water vapour outside the conference’s doors. Unlike the more prohibitionist NGOs, they were denied observer status.

The clear anti-vaping bias led to some absurd claims. Anne Bucher, director-general of the EU’s Health and Food Safety Directorate, was adamant that, despite containing no tobacco, vaping and e-cigarette devices should be considered ‘tobacco products’, subject to all the same laws, restrictions, and bans. The treaty itself sought to enforce the same restrictions on vaping and e-cigarettes as cigarettes and cigars. This could actually hamper people’s ability to quit smoking.

Another object of hate was the media. Delegates from countries including China, Zimbabwe, the Maldives and Uganda claimed the entire conference should take place without media or public scrutiny. ‘What we’re dealing with is the mafia’, said the delegate from Afghanistan, referring to the public sat in the gallery above.

A representative from Chad lamented that more people did not know about the FCTC meeting and its impact. In the same breath, he argued in favour of kicking out the public and media after the opening plenary.

It was a bizarre and Orwellian conference. The proposals that emerged in the name of protecting public health could seriously set back the improvements in public-health that have come about thanks to alternatives to cigarettes like vaping, e-cigarettes and snus.

One thing became clear: innovative products, new markets and the much hated ‘industry’ were doing more to bring about better health outcomes than the UN’s supranational health bureaucracy.

Yaël Ossowski is a Canadian journalist and deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center

Originally published at https://www.spiked-online.com/2018/10/12/whos-afraid-of-vaping/

 

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

OPINIE: Rokende Sean Connery kennelijk gevaarlijker dan moordende John Rambo

VSK: Dat schrijft Frederik Cyrus Roeder, gezondheidseconoom en directeur van het Consumer Choise Center in een opinieartikel op het platform Vocal Europe.

Deze week vergadert in Genève een afvaardiging van de WHO. Op het programma staat onder meer een mogelijk verbod op het gebruik van tabak en aanverwante artikelen in films en andere media-uitingen, bedoeld om roken minder aantrekkelijk te maken. Ook nieuwe producten die hoogstwaarschijnlijk een stuk minder schadelijk zijn voor de gezondheid, zoals e-sigaretten, ontkomen niet aan de regelzucht van de WHO, constateert Roeder.

Lees meer bij Vocal Europe:

Will smoking in movies be banned soon?

READ MORE

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Will smoking in movies be banned soon?

Those who have watched to movie Thank You For Smoking might remember its very entertaining way of telling the story of tobacco control activists fighting for more regulation, as well as tobacco lobbyists trying to save their industry.

In order to tell this story and keep viewers engaged for the entirety of the movie, the director used many exaggerations such as the kidnapping of a tobacco lobbyist and a policy proposal to retrospectively edit old movies that show actors smoking cigarettes by replacing them with lollipops instead instead.

For many years it sounded like an artistic exaggeration and not like something that could be seriously proposed by public policy experts or politicians. When the French Minister for Health Agnes Buzyn proposed in late 2017 to ban cigarettes in French movies, she demonstrated how far regulatory overreach has come and how close it is to a dystopian comedy movie.

The plans of public health activists of banning smoking and vaping in most public spaces, outlawing advertisement, ban branding, and excessively tax it, have been increasingly successful in the last two decades. This has lead not only to limited consumer choice, but also to the flourishing rise of black market activities, which benefit from the shadow economy.

But apparently regulating consumers’ private behavior is not the end of this regulatory overreach. By asking for censoring movies that show cigarettes or nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes the public health lobby goes a big step further and is eager to limit the freedom of arts and speech for the sake of health.

From October 1st on the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and its 181 member states will meet for its 8th Conference of Parties in Geneva in order to discuss the future of tobacco control.

A preview of the conference’s agenda shows that the delegates will discuss potential bans of tobacco and nicotine products in media and movies in order to make smoking less attractive. WHO officials have apparently a bigger problem with Sean Connery sitting in his lounge chair smoking a cigarette than with John Rambo wielding his machine gun through the jungle and killing hundreds. The depiction of violence seems less of an issue than that of lifestyle choices.

The conference will be an interesting battle ground for the debate on whether electronic cigarettes and heat not burn devices should be embraced for their less harmful nature or should be combated as cigarettes. While the England’s National Health Service suggests smokers to switch to smokeless products such as e-cigs, the World Health Organization suggests to all its members to ban electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices.

The last time the Conference of Parties of the WHO came together in Delhi – under the protection of 5,000 Indian soldiers and most of the time under exclusion of the public or journalists – the conference suggested its members to ban all advertising and promotion of these up to 95% less harmful technologies and to tax them extensively.

This year’s FCTC Conference is hosted in the WHO’s home town Geneva and should be more accessible for journalists and public observers than the past conferences in Delhi and Moscow. Hopefully a good amount of public attention will be drawn to this conference and WHO treaty, which actively undermines consumers’ rights to switch to novel nicotine consumption methods, and now even attacks freedom of speech while actively promoting government censorship. Public scrutiny will be the best way of stopping such illiberal agreements.

Originally published at https://www.vocaleurope.eu/will-smoking-in-movies-be-banned-soon/

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Restricting vaping in city’s new smoking bylaw draws ire of Consumer Choice Centre

PANOW: Now, the city is being criticized by the Consumer Choice Centre (CCC), who said the city is “wrong” to include vaping in its public smoking restrictions. The group represents consumers in over 100 countries and monitors regulatory trends across the globe.

“It doesn’t make any sense to treat vaping like smoking, especially given the evidence that vaping is an effective harm reduction tool for those who are trying to quit,” David Clement, the Toronto based North American Affairs Manager of the CCC wrote in a media release.

He added how treating vaping like smoking targets those “trying to make healthier choices,” and how bylaws like this “undermine efforts to move people away from cigarettes.”

“Prince Albert’s high smoking rate is exactly why vaping shouldn’t be treated like smoking,” he wrote. “Numerous public health agencies around the world have explained that smokers should be encouraged to make the switch.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Opinion: a vape tax would cost more than what the government thinks

ELITE BUSINESS MAGAZINE: The UK government is currently considering introducing a sin tax on vape products for the purpose of finding additional resources to fund the NHS. Theresa May’s government is looking to add an additional tax of 5% to vape products, which would directly impact the UK’s 2.9 million vapers and jeopardise successes achieved through the UK’s progressive approach towards tobacco harm reduction.

The UK has a leading role in the world of tobacco harm reduction and nearly a quarter of all smokers were able to either use electronic cigarettes in order to quit smoking or reduce smoking. This is five times as much as the global average. But its leading role is not only shown by the astonishing number of vapers in the country but also by the fact that even the NHS admits that switching from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes reduces the risk of cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

The UK is often called a vape nation and its embrace of harm reduction is novel in a world where most public health institutions including the World Health Organization (WHO) still actively block tobacco harm reduction. One of many examples of the WHO’s opposition to vaping is their suggestion to its members to ban indoor vaping even though there’s no evidence supporting this policy recommendation. The active opposition to safer and healthier methods of consuming nicotine reminds one of dark times when many institutions blocked the distribution of condoms and thus made HIV harm reduction harder.

Introducing a vape tax in order to realize populist promises to increase the NHS’ funding would not only be short-sighted but also counter-productive. Consumers will be harmed by making the transition to less risky products such as electronic cigarettes more expensive. Further taxing vape products ultimately makes them more expensive, which decreases the likelihood that smokers will make the switch.

It is also important to note that vapers actually reduce the fiscal burden for NHS, given that vape products are significantly less risky. The Royal College of Physicians endorses vaping as a healthier substitute to smoking and many experts second its view that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

A recent Gallup survey shows that especially millennials tend to switch to electronic cigarettes as a less-harmful way of consuming nicotine. Older generations are often still unaware of the health benefits of vaping. So instead of treating it as a sin and taxing it, we should actively inform smokers about the advantages of switching. This is good for smokers and public finances.

Less vapers means more smoking-related diseases the NHS will have to deal with. The tax could at the end of the day even cost significantly more than it will yield in revenues. A no-brainer that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should better drop this idea.

At the end of the day this sin tax punishes consumers who are otherwise saving the NHS money. In terms of public health, harm reduction, and consumer choice, creating a vape sin tax is a big mistake. Britain can lead as a shining beacon of tobacco harm reduction in the world. We should not lose this advantage by introducing a costly tax.

http://elitebusinessmagazine.co.uk/legal/item/opinion-a-vape-tax-would-cost-more-than-what-the-government-thinks

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.