Researching safer, effective alternatives to smoking

 

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29 March 2017

Dr Murray Laugesen backs Government move

"After 10 years of research in Christchurch I fully endorse the government's move to legalise e-cigarettes", he said.

29 March 2017

 Chair of End Smoking NZ backs the Government move

Legalising nicotine for vaping is a very supportive move by Government, says Dr Glover, chair of End Smoking NZ. Delays may be created meantime with difficulties of importing.

29 March 2017

Philip Morris says it "welcomes E-cigarette reforms as a big step towards a Smokefree 2025." It says all smokers will need a range of smokefree alternatives, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and says small and local businesses should be encouraged.

Sale of Nicotine e-cigarettes to be legalised in NZ - Associate Minister.

 

The sale of nicotine e-cigarettes will be legalised in New Zealand, the Government has confirmed - and the Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner even encourages reporters to try vaping.

A law change will be needed and is likely to be completed next year, although the Government says it will do so sooner if possible.

Today's announcement is a big win for the e-cigarette industry - its products won't be in plain packaging, nor will the hefty taxes on normal tobacco be applied.

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner said the change came despite the fact scientific evidence of the safety of e-cigarettes was still developing.

And despite stressing the "low risk" approach taken because of that lack of certainty, Wagner encouraged reporters at Parliament to try vaping.

"I have [tried vaping]. But I'm not very good at it but I don't smoke either. I suggest anyone who smokes here has a go at vaping, too. "Around the world we can't get clear research about this. But what we're thinking is they are about 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes."

She said the Government had considered applying the same tobacco excise duties on vaping products but had decided not to.

"I think that's an important thing so when a smoker goes into the dairy he or she will see cigarettes at a very high price and e-cigarettes much cheaper."

Wagner was not concerned that some big tobacco firms were behind many e-cigarette products: "I think the important thing is we want the health outcomes. Whoever sells them...I don't think is really important."

The new rules for all e-cigarettes, whether they contain nicotine or not, include restricting sales to people 18 years and over, banning vaping in indoor areas where smoking is prohibited, and restrictions on advertising.

The Government had already announced its intention to legalise e-cigarette sales, and today's decision comes after consultation.

Nicotine patches and gum can be bought now, but nicotine e-cigarette liquid must be bought from overseas.

Users "vape" on an e-cigarette, inhaling its nicotine-containing vapour, in the way that smokers inhale the smoke of a tobacco cigarette, which contains nicotine plus many cancer-causing chemicals.

In England, e-cigarettes are the leading form of quit-smoking aid, used by 35 per cent of smokers trying to quit. However, some researchers argue that e-cigarettes risk providing a "gateway" into smoking for youth.

New Zealand's Ministry of Health has been monitoring evidence on the role of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox this month said the Government should seriously consider subsidising vaping as a tool to help quit smoking.

Today, Wagner said if an e-cigarette got approved as a stop-smoking medicine under the Medicines Act the Government may consider subsidising it.

About 546,000 Kiwis smoke daily, 15 per cent of the adult population. Every day on average, at least 13 people die from a smoking-related disease - about 5000 a year.

Half of smokers die from a smoking-related illness and on average their deaths will be 14 years earlier than if they didn't smoke.

- Nicholas Jones, NZ Herald

 

29 March 2016

MoH site: E-cigarettes to be regulated as consumer products
: The Government is planning to change the law regulating e-cigarettes. These changes need to go through Parliament before they can take effect. This will likely happen from the middle of 2018 at the earliest.
The proposed changes are to:
" legalise the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid as consumer products
" regulate nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid as follows:
" prohibit sale, and supply in a public place, to under 18 year olds
" restrict sale via vending machines to R18 settings
" allow all retailers to display e-cigarettes and e-liquid at point-of-sale
" allow R18 retail settings to display e-cigarettes and e-liquid in-store (including window display), promote products on the outside of the store, and offer discounts, free samples, loyalty awards etc.
" prohibit broader advertising, e.g. billboards, radio, TV, Internet (the rules above will apply to retailers' websites)
" prohibit vaping in workplaces and other areas where smoking is not allowed under the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (SFEA)
" set requirements for product safety (e.g. nicotine concentration, child-resistant closures etc.)
" In addition to these changes, a regulatory framework will be developed to provide a pathway for emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products to be regulated as consumer products in future.

" Cabinet paper: Improving the regulatory framework for e-cigarettes and emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products (Word, 129 KB)
" Regulatory impact statement - Regulation of e-cigarettes and emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products
Electronic cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) are electrical devices that heat a solution (or e-liquid), which produces a vapour that the user inhales or 'vapes'. The ingredients of the liquid may vary, but currently most e-liquids contain propylene glycol and flavouring agents. Some e-liquids contain nicotine.
E-cigarettes come in a range of styles, from devices that look similar to traditional cigarettes (first generation or cig-a-like) to refillable-cartridge 'tank' systems (second generation) to highly advanced appliances with larger batteries that allow the power to be adjusted to meet an individual's specific vapour requirements (third generation).
Second and third generation e-cigarettes generally deliver more nicotine than first generation e cigarettes.
Risks with using e-cigarettes
There is evidence that e-cigarettes pose fewer health risks to smokers who switch completely from tobacco smoking to e-cigarette use. Tobacco smoking, even at a reduced level, remains harmful.
Short-term use of e-cigarettes has been associated with mild adverse effects such as headaches, dry mouth or throat, and throat

or mouth irritation. The health risks associated with the long-term use of e-cigarettes are unknown. It is only known that the risks of smoking are likely to be much greater.
Some e-liquids contain nicotine. For smokers, the nicotine in e-cigarettes poses little danger, however, in excessive amounts it can be lethal, especially for children. Nicotine products should be kept out of reach of others, particularly children.
Use of e-cigarettes for stopping smoking
There is a good rationale for people to use e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking as e cigarettes can provide nicotine, which is what people desire from smoking.
Research into the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation is growing, but the findings from these studies are somewhat mixed and the quality of the evidence is low overall. This is an active area of research and more findings will become available over the next few years. At this stage, the Ministry of Health does not have enough evidence to recommend e-cigarettes confidently as a smoking-cessation tool. Smokers should use approved smoking-cessation medicines, such as NRT, to support them to stop smoking and seek behavioural support from stop-smoking services.

 

24 March 2017.

Cigarette consumption down again by 5% in 2016

In 2016 cigarette and tobacco consumption per capita decreased by a further five percent below the changes noted in 2015. The average smoker smoked 704 cigarettes per year (per adult in the population) in 2015 and 668 in 2016. Millions of cigarettes sold were 2358 in 2015 and 2304 in 2016. The greatest decrease was in roll-your-owns, from 547 tonnes in 2015 to 512 tonnes in 2016.

These data were collected by Dr Murray Laugesen from the manufacturers returns to the Ministry of Health for calendar year 2016.

As 14.2% of adults smoked in 2015-16, it means that the average smoker smoked over 4700 cigarettes per year or 13.2 cigarettes per day. Any increased use of e-cigarettes may have occurred in 2017 rather than last year.

 

 

28 February 2017

Daily users compared to less frequent users find vape as or more satisfying and less dangerous than cigarettes, and are likelier to use non-cig-alike vaping products

This report by Prof Lynn Koslowski et al on 105 adults in Preventive Medicine Reports http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.02.026

highlights what many vapers already know:

o Daily users of e-cigarettes found them at least as satisfying as cigarettes.
o Satisfaction from e-cigarettes was more likely in more frequent users.
o All daily users reported them as less dangerous than cigarettes.
o Perceived danger from e-cigarettes was higher in less frequent users.
o Daily users of e-cigarettes were more likely to be using non-cig-alikes.

17 February 2017

Heets illegal for Heat not Burn but does this apply to Nicotine Lactate?

According to the NZ Herald on Feb 2, quoting the Ministry of Health

''In our view, Heets products are prohibited for sale in New Zealand under the Smoke-free Environments Act.''

The ministry has now clarified its position and says that while the battery-powered holder is legal, the tobacco sticks, called Heets, are not, because the tobacco in them is burnt rather than heated.

Comment:

1) This is illogical, because on this definition, HEETS and HnB are both illegal because the device heats up the air in it, and HEETs are only the mechanism for extracting that vapour.

2) But the legality of Heat not Burn is a matter of major importance, as 1 million Japanese have switched off mainstream smoking, nearly 6% of smokers having now switched. This is of major public health importance.

3) HEETS in Nicotine Lactate cigarettes are legal, because HEETS are heated to 100 deg C, and no tobacco is burnt in that device.

15 February 2017

New Shadow Minister for Tobacco Control

Hon Annette King Labour Spokesperson on Health has replied on this topic today and says

"Yes, I am in favour of legislation of e-cigarettes, and have been saying so since last year."

8 February 2017

New Minister for Tobacco Control

Hon Nicky Wagner is the new appointment to this task. We send her our best wishes.

8 February 2017

Study of inhaled toxins finds E-cigarettes are much safer than smoking

This challenges the "we just don't know" school with what we can know if we look: that the toxic exposures from inhaling e-cigarette aerosol are much lower than for cigarette smoke. We don't have to wait 20 years for a cohort study to know enough to be confident these products are very much less risky.

The effects of shifting completely to e-cigarettes are marked but the effects of half switching (dual smoking) are not.

Shahab L, Goniewicz ML, Blount BC, Brown J, McNeill A, Alwis KU, et al. Nicotine, Carcinogen, and Toxin Exposure in Long-Term E-Cigarette and Nicotine Replacement Therapy Users. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Feb 7;24:442-8.
http://annals.org/aim/article/2599869/nicotine-carcinogen-toxin-exposure-long-term-e-cigarette-nicotine-replacement

For New Zealand, this information is confirmed by Laugesen M. Nicotine and toxicant yield ratings of electronic cigarette brands in New Zealand. NZ Med J, 27 Mar 2015.

21 Jan 2017

Tobacco elimination: an economic and public health imperative

- Murray Laugesen

Among the comments in a recent editorial in the Lancet was this:

"A recent comment in Lancet Public Health on the New Zealand experience, points to the importance of political champions, a government committed to dramatically reducing tobacco use, and a tireless and fearless non-government sector. Only with these types of leadership can real progress be made."(1)

These comments came from Profs Robert Beaglehole and Ruth Bonita, who pointed out that the most recent surveys show that 14% of adults smoke daily, but 36% of Maori and 23% of Pacific people also smoke daily, and this needs attention.

Their solutions include this: "Electronic nicotine-delivery devices and low nicotine cigarettes may have a role to play in achieving the 2025 goal by encouraging cessation." This is the first time that New Zealand experts of conservative and radical positions in tobacco control have voiced support for e-cigarettes, and is almost 10 years since I conducted the first research on them. All sides should take note. We hope that the government will soon agree to making such devices legal to be sold.

Recent moves to ban heat not burn cigarettes were a local enforcement issue, and should not influence approval of the nicotine lactate cigarette in the next 12 months when it has passed its final tests in Christchurch and elsewhere.

The price of combustible cigarettes has escalated at a steady 10% per year since 2011, and in addition to the 5% per annum decline since 2011, we will soon know from 2016 data whether the decline is continuing. Meantime, we need less harmful products such as e-cigarettes and nicotine lactate to ease smokers off combustible tobacco.

(1). Beaglehole R and Bonita R. Eliminating the scourge of tobacco for a fairer and healthier world: New Zealand leads the way. Lancet www.com/public health v.2 January 2017.e-13.13.

13 Jan 2017

Heat not burn cigarettes banned by Section 29(2) of the SFE Environments Act : law fails to distinguish types of tobacco sold

See WWW.MOH.GOVT.NZ and use Heat not Burn to find the topic, which was posted just before Christmas.

Ministry of Health in response to the manufacturers, Philip Morris, has notified them that s.29(2) bans Heat not Burn cigarettes, as it contains tobacco. However the tobacco is not combusted. Thus Ministry of Health has failed to make a distinction between tobacco-ignited cigarettes and tobacco heat-not- burn cigarettes. The former cause 5000 deaths a year, and the latter do not cause cigarette deaths as far as is known. The only solution to put HnB cigarettes on the market here is to amend s.29(2).

In Japan HnB cigarettes have replaced 4.9% of the combustibles sold in the past 6 months.

4 Jan 2017

Price changes 31 Dec 2016 to 1 Jan 2017

  2016 to 31 Dec 2017 from 1 Jan % increase
Club 20s $19.50 $22.00 12.8%
Holiday 20s $22.80 $25.00 9.6%
Port Royal 30g $48.20 $52.90 9.75%
Port Royal 50g $78.00 $85.00 9.00%

- Countdown supermarkets.

2 Jan 2017

I’ll say it again: E-cigarettes are still far safer than smoking

Linda Bauld. The Guardian.

Since I last wrote about e-cigarettes one year ago, headlines about the dangers of these devices have continued to appear and show no sign of abating. The result is clear. More people believe today, compared with a year ago, that e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking. In fact these incorrect perceptions have risen year on year, from fewer than one in ten adults in Great Britain in 2013 to one in four this past summer. Surveys of smokers show similar patterns, with an increasing proportion believing that e-cigarettes are more or equally harmful than tobacco.

Why can't scientists agree on e-cigarettes?

Yet we know that these harm perceptions are wrong. There is now very strong evidence, from a range of studies, that vaping - inhaling nicotine without the combustion involved in smoking - is far less risky than smoking cigarettes. Just a few months ago this body of evidence was brought together by the Royal College of Physicians who published an authoritative report analysing dozens of studies and concluded that the hazard to health arising from long term vapour inhalation from e-cigarettes is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco. The RCP, and since then other UK doctor’s organisations such as the Royal College of General Practitioners, have made clear that it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, along with other non-tobacco nicotine products (like Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as gum or inhalators) to smokers who are trying to quit. The work of these organisations is underpinned by a consensus statement endorsed by many of the main health charities and public health bodies in the UK. They agree that vaping is safer than smoking, and while these products are not risk free and should not be promoted to children or never smokers, they have a legitimate and positive role to play in tobacco control.

But this consensus is not shared around the world. The regular stream of media scare stories driving harm perceptions often originates in other countries where there is no such view about relative risks. Some media headlines are driven by poor science but others originate from reports by credible organisations who focus on the absolute risk of any e-cigarette use without comparing it to smoking (which is uniquely deadly and kills one in two regular users). 2016 saw at least two major reports of this kind.

In September the World Health Organisation published a report that set out a series of steps on e-cigarette regulation for countries signed up to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a global public health treaty. These options were primarily about banning or severely restricting the sale, distribution and marketing of e-cigarettes. The WHO report was comprehensively critiqued by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, but its findings mean that e-cigarettes will continue to be unavailable to millions of smokers in many countries who have banned these devices or are considering doing so.


Does a tobacco-free world need to be nicotine free?

December 2016 saw the publication of a review authored by the US Surgeon General, which focused on e-cigarette use in young people. This described e-cigarette use as a public health concern, arguing that e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product amongst US youth and that nicotine use in any form is unsafe for young people and also pregnant women. While some of the science in the report is accurate, the conclusions endorsing heavy regulation of e-cigarettes were not. The report did not compare the risks of smoking and vaping, failed to make clear that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products, and drew conclusions about nicotine that would also apply to Nicotine Replacement Therapy - which is safe and licensed for use in pregnancy and by young smokers. It also endorsed policies which could deter current smokers from switching to e-cigarettes. American scientists have critiqued data from the USA that provided the basis for the Surgeon General’s report, but it is likely that this publication will contribute to public perceptions that e-cigarettes are dangerous.

These two reports largely ignore the fact that there are already measures in place in many countries (including all of the EU) to protect the public from any risks from e-cigarettes. These include policies like age of sale, limits on advertising and child- and tamper-proof packaging - all important to protect children while still allowing sales to adult smokers and ex-smokers. Concerns about exploding batteries and nicotine poisoning can also be dealt with by following simple safety rules, such as those set out by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

I believe that e-cigarettes have huge potential to save lives by providing an alternative to smoking. Yet this can only be realised if we address negative harm perceptions and communicate honestly with the public. Ongoing research can help with this, and 2016 has seen the start of important studies, many commissioned by Cancer Research UK, which will tell us more in the future. We also need to keep our eye on new technology, such as heat not burn tobacco products, which are emerging and about which we know little. Only time will tell whether the UK’s positive approach towards e-cigarettes strikes the right balance between risks and benefits. For now, however, we must do all we can to encourage smokers to try to stop at New Year or any other time. For those trying with e-cigarettes, this is a positive choice that should be supported.

Linda Bauld is Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling, Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and holds the CRUK/BUPA Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK. She is a former scientific adviser on tobacco control to the UK government and chaired the NICE guidance group on tobacco harm reduction.

NZ Health Survey July 2015- June 2016

Smoking

Total population: current 16.3% daily 14.2%. (2% drop since 2011-12)

Maori population current 38.6%, daily 35.5%. (2% drop since 2011-12)

Pacific population current 25.5%, daily 22.8% (virtually no change).

Tobacco prices as from 1 Jan 2017

Customs Dept reports that duty on cigarettes and tobacco will rise to $738.13 per 1000 cigarettes of 0.7g or roll-your-owns of 0.7g. This is a rise of 10.4% on the 2016 prices.

Tobacco manufacturers and importers are expected to raise their prices by the same amount. The average 2016 price was $22.83 for 20 cigarettes.

November 2016

Fixing Medical Prices - How Physicians are paid

Miriam J Laugesen Associate Professor Dept of Health Policy and Management, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, New York NY.

Harvard University Press.

In Dec 2016 issue of Scientific American.

Sir David Hay 1927-2016

A pioneer of tobacco control in New Zealand, Sir David Hay, had been ill for some weeks and died 3 December. His funeral was held on Thursday 1pm at St Andrew's College chapel on Papanui Rd in Christchurch. As in the case of Helen Kelly, the well-known trade unionists, Sir David died of lung cancer, even though his last cigarette was in his teens.

Qualified as a physician in the 1950s he was the first person to ensure tobacco advertising on television was banned in November 1962, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health which gave its advice to government in May 1985. In 1991 he told the incoming National government their law to ban tobacco sponsorship of sport was wrong. He was the first medical director of the Heart Foundation and held this post for nearly two decades. In 2005 he published his life story "Heart Sounds" through Steele Roberts, Wellington.

26 Oct 2016

COMMENTARY ON WHO REPORT ON ELECTRONIC NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEMS AND ELECTRONIC NON-NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEMS
John Britton University of Nottingham, Ilze Bogdanovica University of Nottingham, Ann McNeill King’s College London, Linda Bauld University of Stirling, from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies

Document available online at: http://ukctas.net/news/commentary-on-WHO-report-on-ENDS&ENNDS.html

Positioning ENDS as a threat rather than opportunity. Overall, the WHO report does not correctly position ENDS primarily as an alternative to smoking and instead focusses excessively on risks of ENDS use without adequately recognising the deep reductions in health risks when a smoker switches to ENDS. The FCTC itself recognises ‘harm reduction’ as a key strategy in tobacco control. But with minor exceptions, the WHO report discusses ENDS as a threat, whereas in fact they represent a major opportunity for public health.
Failure to quantify risk. The WHO paper provides a poor assessment of ENDS risks. In terms of toxicology, the discussion is naïve and places excessive emphasis on negligible risks arising from very low exposures. In toxicology, the presence of a potentially harmful agent does not necessarily establish a material risk. This is because the level of exposure matters and “the dose makes the poison”.
Inadequate comparisons with smoking. The WHO paper does not systematically make meaningful comparisons with exposures arising from inhaling tobacco smoke or refer to other useful comparators such as occupational exposure limits. However, data from around the world shows that almost all ENDS users are smokers, ex-smokers or would-be smokers. The most relevant comparison for health policy purposes is with smoking.
Misrepresenting second hand ENDS vapour risks. The section on risks of second-hand exposure to ENDS aerosol provides no evidence that such exposures pose any material risks to bystanders. The claim that ENDS have the “potential to lead to adverse health effects” in bystanders does not reflect the science behind the cited source unless ‘potential’ is taken to mean any exposure, no matter how trivial. Again, the issue is not the presence of particular chemicals, but the magnitude of exposure.
Discounting the evidence that ENDS do help smokers quit. The WHO paper does not properly assess the role that ENDS play in quitting smoking and uncritically repeats a number of methodological errors found in the literature. Taking the totality of evidence including controlled trials, observational studies, changes in population smoking and ENDS use, the experience of nicotine replacement therapy, and widely reported user experience, there is confidence that ENDS are helping many smokers to quit smoking and not having negative effects like renormalising smoking, reducing quit rates or creating gateway effects.
ENDS marketing can be anti-smoking advertising. The vast majority of ENDS marketing is truthful promotion of a low-risk alternative to smoking and targeted at adult smokers. The evidence cited by WHO has been misrepresented and does not make the case for any systematic malpractice by ENDS vendors. However, the WHO paper overlooks that most fundamental point, which is that ENDS marketing is promoting an alternative to smoking and may therefore be promoting desirable changes in smoking behaviour. It may also reach people who do not engage with conventional stop-smoking interventions.
Flavours are essential to the appeal of ENDS as alternative to smoking. The section on ‘product characteristics’ attempts to demonstrate a problem with flavours appealing to teenagers. In fact, flavours are integral to the appeal of ENDS to adults as an alternative to smoking. The citations are selective and findings misinterpreted and do not support this claim. Several citations simply reflect opinions or speculation, while important studies have been overlooked. These do not show that any interest amongst teenagers in ENDS flavours is resulting in regular use of ENDS in this age group.
Mischaracterisation of the ENDS market and role of tobacco transnationals. The WHO paper misinterprets the ENDS market, makes misleading and unreferenced statements about the role of transnational tobacco companies in the market and is not grounded in an understanding of how competitive markets function. WHO’s report fails to acknowledge the threat of disruptive technology such as ENDS to the commercial viability of the traditional cigarette business. Ironically, the only references given to published papers point out how regulations, such as those favoured by WHO, actually help the cigarette trade. WHO should be aware of the danger that its policy proposals may provide the traditional tobacco industry with a twin advantage: (1) slowing down the disruption of the cigarette market by ENDS; (2) shaping the ENDS market to suit the ENDS business model favoured by the tobacco industry.
Unjustified support for ENDS prohibition. In the discussion of policy options, the opening paragraph for each policy set implicitly endorses ENDS prohibition. It does this by stating that “Parties that have not banned the importation, sale, and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS may consider the following options”. Prohibition is one regulatory option among many that ought to be discussed on its own merits, not taken as a default. The merits of prohibition are exceedingly poor given the pervasive availability of cigarettes in all jurisdictions. WHO should not be endorsing prohibitions, explicitly or implicitly. It is unethical to deny smokers much lower risk options than cigarettes, and there is no scientific support for ENDS prohibition as a public health intervention. The WHO’s framing suggests that a prohibition is something for Parties to progress towards and should not be undone once done. In fact, it is a policy that should be reversed.
Policy proposals made with no supporting policy analysis. Numerous policies are proposed without any supporting evidence for their effectiveness or cost-effectiveness. Any policy proposal should be subject to evidence-based justification, options appraisal and analysis of trade-offs or distributional effects, and impact assessment. Policies should be tested for proportionality and possible unintended consequences. The WHO has not applied any policy-making disciplines to its menu of proposed policy options.
No assessment of unintended consequences. There is no recognition of the likelihood of ‘unintended consequences’ arising from the policies proposed in the WHO paper. However, it is very likely that some of the proposed policies would have the effect of increasing smoking. The Royal College of Physicians explains this in its 2016 Nicotine without Smoke2 report as follows:

"A risk-averse, precautionary approach to e-cigarette regulation can be proposed as a means of minimising the risk of avoidable harm, e.g. exposure to toxins in e-cigarette vapour, renormalisation, gateway progression to smoking, or other real or potential risks. However, if this approach also makes e-cigarettes less easily accessible, less palatable or acceptable, more expensive, less consumer friendly or pharmacologically less effective, or inhibits innovation and development of new and improved products, then it causes harm by perpetuating smoking. Getting this balance right is difficult." (Section 12.10 page 187)

Almost every policy listed in the WHO’s paper could easily have the effect of protecting the incumbent cigarette trade, promoting smoking rather than vaping, and lead to increases in non-communicable diseases. It is very likely that widespread uptake of WHO’s policy proposal would ‘reduce harm reduction’ and therefore increase harm.
Transparency and quality. The WHO report has been made available without the four supporting papers upon which it is supposed to be based. These papers are still undergoing revision during peer review. This is poor scientific practice and does not provide a reliable basis for policy advice.

COMMENTARY ON WHO REPORT ON ELECTRONIC NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEMS AND ELECTRONIC NON-NICOTINE DELIVERY SYSTEMS (ENDS)

The Seventh Conference of the Parties (COP-7) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to be held in Delhi between the 7th and 12th of November 2016, will discuss and formulate future policy on the role of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS; also known as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes) and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENNDS) in tobacco control. In preparation for this discussion, and in response to a request made by the COP at its 6th session (COP-6) in Moscow in 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has prepared a report providing updates on evidence of the health impacts of ENDS/ENNDS; on their potential role in smoking cessation and tobacco control; and on policy options to achieve objectives set at COP-6.

In our view, the WHO report succeeds in identifying a range of areas of uncertainty over the potential benefits and risks of ENDS to effective tobacco control policy. However, by doing so from a position of emphasis on the risks and disadvantages of these products which disregards their potential to reduce consumption of smoked tobacco, the report fails to deliver the equipoise required for dispassionate formulation of public health policy. The report also contains factual errors and misinterpretations of evidence available in the public domain; and refers at its outset to four reports, including two systematic reviews, commissioned by the WHO but as yet unpublished and hence unavailable for scrutiny.

Oct 6, 2016.

Philip Morris calls for light regulation of e-cigarettes
Rob Stock

International cigarette giant Philip Morris has appealed to the Government to go light when regulating its "heat not burn" tobacco devices.

The Ministry of Health is receiving submissions on how to regulate e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine-laden vapour, providing a safer alternative to smoking.

But Philip Morris is keen the Government does not overlook its heat-not-burn cigarettes, which heat tobacco plugs to deliver their nicotine hit without the smoke which causes about 95 per cent of smoking-related disease.

The submissions have not been made public yet, but Philip Morris said: "Electronic cigarettes do not burn tobacco and do not generate smoke."

Cigarette companies are seeking viable new business models as their traditional products go into terminal decline. They have invested heavily in both e-cigarettes and heat not burn devices, and want countries like New Zealand not to regulate them in the same way as conventional cigarettes.

Cigarette companies are trying to transform themselves into nicotine, not tobacco companies

"We envision a smoke-free world in where a broad range of safer alternatives to cigarettes fully satisfies the continuing demand for tobacco and nicotine products," Philip Morris said.

"We are keen that e-cigarettes should be at least as available as cigarettes are, but we suggest that they should be regulated differently from cigarettes in order to encourage smokers to switch to them."

Regulating e-cigarettes like cigarettes would "run contrary to the science and public health purpose of tobacco harm reduction".

The company said e-cigarettes should not be covered by the ban on cigarette advertising and sale.

Advertising and in-store displays were important in promoting e-cigarettes, it said.

Planned plain packaging laws should also not be applied to e-cigarette supplies.

Philip Morris also did not want graphic health warnings on e-cigarette supplies which would "relegate these less harmful products to packaging that is effectively equivalent to cigarettes". This would make it difficult to differentiate the products to smokers.

Philip Morris also called for little or no excise tax to be levied on e-liquids and heat not burn tobacco plugs claiming it would discourage smokers from switching from conventional cigarettes.

It also said vaping, as the use of e-cigarettes is known, should be permitted in some areas where smoking is banned, though the company agreed their use should be banned from places like schools.

New regulations should also be flexible as nicotine-delivery technology was developing fast, and innovation should not be stifled. "Technological innovation is transforming the tobacco industry," it said.

The ministry plans to report its recommendations to the Government in the next few weeks.f

26 September 2016

Christchurch group completes another study on nicotine lactate

Christchurch Clinical Studies Trust Ltd today announces the completion of a clinical study on an innovative alternative to cigarettes.The product prototype, designated"P3L" (Platform 3, Lactate) by the technology owner Philip Morris International, mixes nicotine with lactic acid to produce an inhalable nicotine salt aerosol with faster absorption rates than traditional nicotine replacement therapies. The device is the product of technology developed by Professor Jed Rose, co-inventor of the nicotine patch, and his colleagues at Duke University. Previously tested in Christchurch by Dr Chris Wynne and Dr Murray Laugesen, New Zealand's leading public health specialist, the study validated the belief that P3L can provide smokers with a suitable alternative to smoking.
The study investigated nicotine absorption after a single use of the product by 16 adult smokers in comparison to the Nicorette® inhalator. Approximating the rapid nicotine absorption rates and levels of cigarettes is an important element of providing smokers with a satisfactory alternative to smoking. With P3L, nicotine absorption reached peak levels six times faster than with the inhalator, suggesting easier absorption and a significantly higher potential for acceptance by smokers. The study also assessed a range of subjective effects, as well as safety and tolerability. Compared with use of the inhalator,the study participants found the product a more satisfactory alternative and reported less intention to smoke cigarettes; no relevant side effects were reported.

Principal study investigator Dr Chris Wynne, Medical Director at St Georges Cancer Care Centre, Christchurch, commented on the results:
"In addition to quitting, which remains the safest way to reduce the harm from smoking, a tobacco harm reduction strategy envisions the development of products with the potential to reduce individual risk compared to smoking. A critical element for acceptance by smokers is nicotine delivery similar to cigarettes as well as the rewarding of subjective effects, and this novel nicotine-containing product has proven to perform better than existing nicotine delivery systems in both areas."
Given the promising results of this first clinical study, Christchurch Clinical Studies Trust Ltd will conduct further studies to assess in a larger population the potential for smokers to substitute cigarettes with the product.

4 August 2016

New Zealand to make nicotine e-cigarettes legal

Scoop NZ release from End Smoking NZ

End Smoking NZ applauds the Government (August 2) on its decision to make nicotine for vaping (using electronic cigarettes) legally available in New Zealand. The Government has agreed in principle that nicotine for e-cigarettes should be legally available for sale with appropriate controls. Currently it can only be imported for personal use creating often insurmountable barriers preventing smokers from switching to vaping.

“The Associate Minister of Health, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has made the right decision.” Said End Smoking’s Chairperson Associate Professor Marewa Glover. “He has listened with compassion to smokers and vapers. We are so relieved that our pragmatic nature as a country has triumphed over the negative misinformation and unfounded fears that have dominated the debate for too long.”

Long-time advocate of nicotine e-cigarettes and founding Board member, Dr Murray Laugesen started work on e-cigarettes in 2007. “I’m absolutely delighted,” he said. “This will be a turning point that will have a significant impact on reducing the death and disease caused by smoking. It also gives us a real shot at achieving Smokefree 2025.” He said.

“This announcement by the Minister gives health professionals a clear message that smokers who choose to use vaping to help them quit can be supported to do so.” Said Board member Dr George Laking.

The Ministry of Health is calling for submissions on how to legislate electronic cigarette products and what regulations or controls need to be in place.

“Vaping nicotine has been estimated to be 95% safer than smoking tobacco, thus End Smoking doesn’t believe we need overly restrictive or costly regulation and controls of e-cigarette products.

However, some concerns such as restricting sales to minors will be wise to prevent retailers who currently sell tobacco to minors pushing e-cigarette products on to kids.” Dr Glover said.

Some public health researchers and advocates in New Zealand and around the world have concerns that vaping will re-normalise smoking, be a gateway to smoking, and establish nicotine addiction among new users. However, there is no evidence that this is occurring in countries where vaping is established.

Whilst there is still some way to go before nicotine for vaping will be legally available in New Zealand, End Smoking says the first steps are positive.

 

8 July 2016

Cigarette smoking prevalence down 10% in USA

Cigarette smokers declined from 16.8% to 15.1% in 2014-5, with the greatest decline among young people.

For e-cigarette smokers, the greatest increase was among former (ex-) smokers, from 2.0 million to 2.5 million, and increase of 26%, with 66% using them daily.

A survey of teenage smoking showed that from 2011 to 2014, regular cigarette smoking had fallen from 4.0% to 1.3%, and exclusive e-cigarette use had risen from 0.3% to 2.7%.

The inescapable fact is that e-cigarettes, used by, among others, 2.5 million former smokers, are not impeding the dramatic, welcome decline in cigarette smoking.

http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.co.nz/2016/07/how-many-americans-vape-cdc-data-show_7.html

____________________________

1 July 2016

Tobacco consumption in NZ 5% down per year since 2010, and 5% down in 2015

According to 2015 statistics, tobacco consumption per adult (including factory-made and roll-your-own at 0.7 g tobacco per cigarette) declined 5% in 2015. Consumption declined from 749 cigarettes per adult in 2014 to an all time low of 712 cigarettes per adult in 2015. This amounts to a 65% decrease since 1990. The data, from Health NZ, will be found under www.moh.govt.nz/ourwork/

In addition, assuming cigarette smoking prevalence declined to 14.86% in 2015, this means that of 541,000 smokers, the average smoker in 2015 smoked 4791 cigarettes per year, or 13.13 cigarettes per day. 30% of tobacco smoked was sold as RYOs.

_________________________________

27 June 2016

New Study Finds Electronic Cigarettes Helped 5 Million Quit Smoking
by Lindsey Stroud

The journal Addiction published a study in late June, finding the use of electronic cigarettes and vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) have helped 15 million smokers quit smoking tobacco cigarettes and/or cut back, in the European Union (E.U.). Using data from the 2014 Eurobarometer survey, which recorded responses of 27,460 participants, the study concluded that 48.5 million E.U. citizens had tried e-cigarettes and 7.5 million were currently vapers. Of the group reporting regular e-cigarette usage, “35 percent reported that e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking, while 32 percent said they were smoking less thanks to e-cigarettes.” (2.6 and 2.4 million respectively)

This research comes on the heels of a study published by the British Medical Journal earlier in June, that measured the “effectiveness and safety of electronic cigarettes at 24 months” using data from respondents that used e-cigarettes and VNPs to quit smoking and those that remained on traditional tobacco cigarettes. The study concluded that 61 percent of respondents had remained “abstinent from tobacco” and that only 23.1 percent of tobacco users reported abstinence.

The study by Addiction is only the latest bit of research concerning the health implications of electronic cigarettes and VNPs. After U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in May to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, more studies have been finding greater evidence that e-cigarettes and VNPs may actually save more lives than endanger, and help ease the health burdens that are associated with tobacco. Addiction. 2016 Jun 24. doi: 10.1111/add.13506. [Epub ahead of print]

_______________________________________________________

18 June 2016

Butting out

The Ministry of Health's refusal to consider making the sale of e-cigarettes here legal borders on the indefensible.

On the evidence so far banning "vaping" actually punishes those most likely to be well on track to giving up smoking altogether.....

New Zealander Dr Murray Laugesen, supports e-cigarettes as a prime and remarkably low-risk weapon against the killer habit. It's time the ministry listened.

Butting out. Editorial. The Listener www.listener.co.nz

_________________________________________________

2 May 2016

Australian Health Organisations wrong to go against e-cigarettes

According to Dr Colin Mendelsohn an influential tobacco treatment specialist from Sydney, the precautionary position taken by Australian health organisations and governments is not supported by the available evidence and overseas experience. The growing evidence for safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes significantly outweighs any potential risks to public health.

A rational, evidence-based approach would be to make e-cigarettes available in Australia as consumer products and to encourage their use while minimising uptake by people who would not otherwise have used nicotine products. Ongoing monitoring and appropriate proportionate regulation would help minimise any risks.

E-cigarettes represent a massive opportunity for Australian smokers and have the potential for large-scale improvements in individual and public health, and social inequality. We cannot afford not to embrace them.

-HTTPS://theconversation.com/australias-prohibition-of-e-cigarettes-is-out-of-step-with-the-evidence-58725 2 May

28 April 2016

PROMOTE E-CIGARETTES WIDELY AS SUBSTITUTE FOR SMOKING SAYS NEW RCP REPORT

A new report released today from the Royal College of Physicians, London, ‘Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction’ concludes that e-cigarettes are likely to be beneficial to UK public health. Smokers can therefore be reassured and encouraged to use them, and the public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking.

Tobacco smoking is addictive and lethal. Half of all lifelong smokers die early, losing an average of about 3 months of life expectancy for every year smoked after the age of 35, some 10 years of life in total. Although smoking prevalence in the UK has reduced to 18%, 8.7 million people still smoke. Harm reduction provides an additional strategy to protect this group of smokers from disability and early death.

Since e-cigarettes became available in the UK in 2007, their use has been surrounded by medical and public controversy. This new 200-page report examines the science, public policy, regulation and ethics surrounding e-cigarettes and other non-tobacco sources of nicotine, and addresses these controversies and misunderstandings with conclusions based on the latest available evidence:

- E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking – in the UK, use of e-cigarettes is limited almost entirely to those who are already using, or have used, tobacco
- E-cigarettes do not result in normalisation of smoking – there is no evidence that either nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or e-cigarette use has resulted in renormalisation of smoking. None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people
- E-cigarettes and quitting smoking - among smokers, e-cigarette use is likely to lead to quit attempts that would not otherwise have happened, and in a proportion of these to successful cessation. In this way, e-cigarettes can act as a gateway from smoking
- E-cigarettes and long-term harm - the possibility of some harm from long-term e-cigarette use cannot be dismissed due to inhalation of the ingredients other than nicotine, but is likely to be very small, and substantially smaller than that arising from tobacco smoking.

With appropriate product standards to minimise exposure to the other ingredients, it should be possible to reduce risks of physical health still further. Although it is not possible to estimate the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes precisely, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure.

The report acknowledges the need for proportionate regulation, but suggests that regulation should not be allowed significantly to inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers. A regulatory strategy should take a balanced approach in seeking to ensure product safety, enable and encourage smokers to use the product instead of tobacco, and detect and prevent effects that counter the overall goals of tobacco control policy.

Professor John Britton, chair of the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group, said:

‘The growing use of electronic cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco smoking has been a topic of great controversy, with much speculation over their potential risks and benefits. This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the UK. Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever.’

RCP president Professor Jane Dacre said:

‘Since the RCP’s first report on tobacco, Smoking and health, in 1962, we have argued consistently for more and better policies and services to prevent people from taking up smoking, and help existing smokers to quit. This new report builds on that work and concludes that, for all the potential risks involved, harm reduction has huge potential to prevent death and disability from tobacco use, and to hasten our progress to a tobacco-free society. With careful management and proportionate regulation, harm reduction provides an opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people. It is an opportunity that, with care, we should take.’

Report summary

Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability, and social inequality in health, in the UK.
Most of the harm to society and to individuals caused by smoking in the near-term future will occur in people who are smoking today.
Vigorous pursuit of conventional tobacco control policies encourages more smokers to quit smoking.
Quitting smoking is very difficult and most adults who smoke today will continue to smoke for many years.
People smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, but are harmed by other constituents of tobacco smoke.
Provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without the harmful components of tobacco smoke can prevent most of the harm from smoking.
Until recently, nicotine products have been marketed as medicines to help people to quit.
NRT is most effective in helping people to stop smoking when used together with health professional input and support, but much less so when used on its own.
E-cigarettes are marketed as consumer products and are proving much more popular than NRT as a substitute and competitor for tobacco cigarettes.
E-cigarettes appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.
E-cigarettes are not currently made to medicines standards and are probably more hazardous than NRT.
However, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.

"...the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco"

Technological developments and improved production standards could reduce the long-term hazard of e-cigarettes.
There are concerns that e-cigarettes will increase tobacco smoking by renormalising the act of smoking, acting as a gateway to smoking in young people, and being used for temporary, not permanent, abstinence from smoking.
To date, there is no evidence that any of these processes is occurring to any significant degree in the UK.
Rather, the available evidence to date indicates that e-cigarettes are being used almost exclusively as safer alternatives to smoked tobacco, by confirmed smokers who are trying to reduce harm to themselves or others from smoking, or to quit smoking completely.
There is a need for regulation to reduce direct and indirect adverse effects of e-cigarette use, but this regulation should not be allowed significantly to inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers.
A regulatory strategy should, therefore, take a balanced approach in seeking to ensure product safety, enable and encourage smokers to use the product instead of tobacco, and detect and prevent effects that counter the overall goals of tobacco control policy.
The tobacco industry has become involved in the e-cigarette market and can be expected to try to exploit these products to market tobacco cigarettes, and to undermine wider tobacco control work.
However, in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.

21 April 2016

New study finds exhaled e-cigarette vapour particles disappear within seconds

A new study being presented today at the 4th Workplace and Indoor Aerosols conference in Barcelona shows, for the first time, that exhaled e-cigarette particles are liquid droplets that evaporate within seconds.

The research - a collaboration between Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, EMPA Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, ETH Zurich the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Fontem Ventures - is the first detailed study of its kind conducted to investigate particles in exhaled e-cigarette vapour.

Speaking from the conference today, Professor Dainius Martuzevicius, Vice Dean for Research at the Faculty of Chemical Technology, Kaunas University of Technology and leading expert on indoor air quality, said: "There is little data available on the properties of exhaled e-cigarette 'particles' in the scientific literature and as a result there is a growing discussion amongst the public health community as to whether the 'particles' exhaled following use of vaping products have potential implications for indoor air quality."

12 April 2006

Are E-Cigarettes a Healthy Way to Quit Smoking?

Electronic cigarettes have an unparalleled potential to reduce the public-health impact of smoking, by allowing smokers to replace the habit and nicotine of smoking without the toxic effects of combustion.

- Dr. Rose is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation at Duke University. He can be reached at reports@wsj.com.

 

10 April 2016

 

Wellington City Council to discuss banning smoking and also e-cigarettes (Vaping)

Question to the Committee: what is the harm of developing dependence on a low cost non-fatal device?

A committee of the Wellington City Council is about to ban use of e-cigarettes on its properties. The debate is on 13 April.

 

According to Dr Joe Nitzkin, former chair of tobacco control for the College of Public Health Medicine in the USA:

 

The bottom lines are these:

1)Imposing restrictions and increasing taxes on cigarettes and smoking will reduce tobacco-related addiction, illness and death.

2)Imposing these same restrictions and taxes on e-cigs will have the opposite effect. It will discourage smokers who would otherwise switch to keepsmoking.

3) Vaping is not smoking and should not be defined as such.

 

 

1 January 2016

Prices exceed $1 per cigarette

 

As from 1 January 2016 the following prices have been charged, representing a 10.3% in excise and inflation as well as similar increases in ex-factory price.

Port Royal $78 for 50 g. ($1.09 per cigarette of 0.7 g).

Pall Mall $21.60 for 20 cigarettes.($1.08 per cigarette).

 

 

7 December 2015

NHS to give out e-Voke

E-voke has been licensed by Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency for medicinal use. The aim is to have these gadgets available for prescription by GPs in 2016.

E-vokes are not an e-cig. They rely on producing a powder, like an inhaler.

Vype e-cigarettes have been licensed but will not be available for some time.

Both products are produced by BAT.

C. Wheeler. Express. 7 December and ASH UK 8 December.

 

 

1 December 2015

Excise expected to rise 10.3%

on 1 Jan 2016

According to NZ Customs Service the new rates will be $668.51 per 1000 cigarettes as from 1 January. Smoking tobacco will cost $666.83 per kg of tobacco content. This amounts to an increase of 10.3% in tobacco price since 1 January 2015. This means a cigarette costing $20 in 2015 could cost $22.06 in 2016, assuming tobacco companies also raise their price by the same percentage.

30 November 2015

Viewpoints: Is the jury still out on e-cigarettes?

Monday, November 30, 2015

http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/november-2015/viewpoints/e-cigarettes

Short of a pill that will magically take addiction away, are e-cigarettes the best smoking cessation device since the humble patch? Or are they just another dangerous addiction,?a gateway device for children or, worse, a sneaky attempt by Big Tobacco to renormalise smoking?

In the May 2012 Viewpoints, Matters of Substance compared the arguments and decided the jury was still probably out on e-cigarettes. A recent report by Public Health England, however, has become the first authoritative declaration that e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes and by a significant margin.

In this edition, we take a look at the English report and at one of its detractors. Is the jury still out, and should we bother waiting?

Public Health England
In August 2015, Public Health England (PHE) published its commissioned report E-cigarettes: an evidence update, which summarised the findings from two extensive literature reviews.

The report’s conclusions were almost startling. It said the evidence suggests using e-cigarettes is 95 percent safer than smoking and that e-cigarettes have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco. Its policy recommendations included making e-cigarettes much more prominent in smoking cessation initiatives and streamlining convoluted processes for them to be licensed as quit-smoking aids.

Among the report’s findings was that e-cigarette use by people who had never smoked was extremely low, at around 0.2 percent. Regular use (at least once weekly) by young people is also very rare at just 2 percent, and while there is some youthful experimentation, only 0.3 percent of young people who used e-cigarettes had never smoked tobacco before. It said the most important reason people use e-cigarettes is to reduce smoking- related harms and that, while curiosity plays a role in why some people experiment with them, most of these experiments did not lead to regular use.

It concluded from this that e-cigarettes are “not undermining, and may even be contributing to, the long-term decline in cigarette smoking”.

The report made much of a September 2014 Cochrane Review, Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and reduction, featuring New Zealanders Hayden McRobbie and Chris Bullen amongst its authors. The review’s meta-analysis of 600 records found that e-cigarettes can “help smokers unable to stop smoking ... to reduce their cigarette consumption when compared with placebo e-cigarettes and nicotine patches”.

The PHE report also found e-cigarettes do not replicate the problems of second-?hand smoke. They release “negligible levels of nicotine into ambient air with no identified health risks to bystanders”. No concerns were found around the labelling of nicotine cartridges or ‘e-liquids’, and when they were poorly labelled, they mostly contained less nicotine than declared. While acknowledging nicotine is a poison, the report found no evidence of nicotine poisoning to users. The risks of poisoning to others (such as children) or of evices causing fires were found to be on a par with other household electrical goods or substances.

The report’s authors discount recent news headlines reporting high levels of formaldehyde found in e-cigarettes as misinterpretations of research findings. They found no indication electronic cigarette users are exposed to dangerous levels of aldehydes and said this could only happen when e-liquid was heated to “levels unpalatable to users”. Instead, they assert that most of the chemicals causing smoking-related diseases are absent in e-cigarettes and that those that are present pose limited danger.

PHE’s findings have been supported by a number of high-profile medical experts, including UK’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies. A September 2015 British Journal of General Practice editorial concluded that, for every million smokers who switched from tobacco to e-cigarettes, more than 6,000 premature deaths would be prevented in the UK every year. If all 9 million smokers took up e-cigarettes instead, 54,000 lives could be saved.

Critique of PHE
The PHE research will probably be music to the ears of the millions of smokers around the world who have turned to e-cigarettes but who may still have niggling doubts that their new drug delivery device is really all that better for their health.

But in one of the greatest parade-raining articles so far this century, Martin McKee and Simon Capewell, writing in the British Medical Journal, are scornful of the research and suggest its foundation is built on sand.

First, they say a recent cohort study shows most smokers who switch to e-cigarettes (80 percent) are still also smoking cigarettes at 12 months (dual use) and that reduced smoking may not reduce overall risk of death.

Next, they attack the Cochrane report, on which the PHE report relies heavily, by pointing out that it included only two randomised controlled trials and that, by its own admission, its evidence had limitations and was of “low or very low” quality.

The claim that e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer gets a particular hiding. McKee and Capewell cite a recent systematic review in Preventative Medicine that found serious methodological problems in many of the studies it reviewed and so many conflicts of interest “that no firm conclusions can be drawn about the safety of e-cigarettes” but that “they can hardly be considered harmless”. They also point out the 95 percent figure does not come from a review of the evidence but from a single meeting of 12 people convened to synthesise their opinions on the harms associated with different products containing nicotine. They point out two of those present had received tobacco industry funding in the past and that some other attendees were known e-cigarette champions

McKee and Capewell also dispute the report’s finding that e-cigarettes are not helping to renormalise smoking. They say a July 2015 survey by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed more than 20 percent of 11–15-year-olds had used e-cigarettes, and 73 percent of these were non-smokers. An American study, published after the PHE report, they say, concluded that “those who had ever used e-cigarettes at baseline compared with non-users were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year”.

The McKee and Capewell rebuttal, which points out a number of further perceived problems and inconsistencies, does not claim to prove e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking tobacco. Rather,?its contention is that the PHE report isn’t sufficiently evidence based to underpin changes in public health policy. And therein lies the rub.

The precautionary principle: for
Many of those opposing e-cigarettes rely pretty heavily on the precautionary principle. It’s a bit like insisting that policy must be evidence based but goes a small step further.

The precautionary principle states that, if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm and there is no scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action. In other words, it doesn’t matter that common sense suggests breathing in vapour containing a handful of chemicals is better than breathing in smoke containing hundreds. Until there is enough evidence to provide scientific consensus that e-cigarettes are safe, we cannot endorse them. This is the view taken by the World Health Organization and by our own Ministry of Health, which currently refuses to recommend any?use of e-cigarettes.

That sort of scientific consensus is probably a long way off. There is little available research on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes because they just haven’t been around long enough.

The precautionary principle: against
Massey University Associate Professor Marewa Glover, who also chairs End Smoking NZ, is less a fan of the precautionary principle when it comes to public health policy. She points out the precautionary principle was used first in the environmental risk arena and that there aren’t any real grounds for transferring it to public health.

“Disease and illness are well established areas, and we have well established practices determining risks to health so we don’t need to rely so heavily on such a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ approach,” she says.

In a randomised controlled trial, where the particular new drug being investigated is clearly working and alleviating harm for the intervention group receiving it, a point is reached where it becomes unethical to continue withholding that drug from the control group. Glover thinks the situation is very similar with e-cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes are clearly working in terms of helping people stop smoking – far more than anything we’ve seen so far. We may not have had many randomised controlled trials yet, but the evidence is definitely mounting, so why make it difficult for people who want to use them?”

She also points out there’s an “uncanny exchange” between falls in smoking rates and rising e-cigarette use in the US and the UK that strongly suggests e-cigarettes help people quit.

“And then there’s the anecdotal stories from millions of people who say their health has improved or that e-cigarettes have saved their lives.?The precautionary principle is being used by people who fear another industry-driven epidemic. But an epidemic of what? What’s the disease?”

Is the jury still out in terms of the safety of e-cigarettes? Not at all, Glover says.

“But the jury is absolutely in on how dangerous smoking is, and there’s ample evidence of its harm. With e-cigarettes, there is no evidence of acute or longitudinal harm whatsoever, even though researchers are looking for it.”

You can buy e-cigarette devices in New Zealand, but nicotine must be ordered in from overseas because it is not licensed here for non-medicinal sale. The case is similar in most jurisdictions, and it’s a major impediment, especially if you’re not well off.

Nevertheless, e-cigarette use is growing just about everywhere, suggesting a lot of smokers aren’t bothering to wait for the jury. The day is probably coming when stances soften and e-cigarettes become more officially sanctioned – perhaps not because there’s been a rush of irrefutable evidence but because our government and Ministry of Health suddenly find themselves woefully behind the times. There’s little doubt e-cigarettes are here to stay.

9 November 2015

How cigarette mortality applies to NZ

smokers

Knowing that smoking kills half of current

smokers, but e-cigarettes do not, it can be

calculated that if NZ has 0.6 million smokers

as at present, a total switch of those smokers

to e-cigarettes would have the eventual effect of saving

half of those smokers (300,000) from predictable

deaths due to smoking. If however, only half

switch to E-cigarettes, smoking deaths

would decrease by 150,000 over the

next 15 years.

 

 

2 October 2015

Cigarette consumption, NZ 2014

 

For the years 2010-2014 the average drop

in consumption was 6.3% across New Zealand,

and the fall was 23%. For 2013-4 the fall was 3.8%.

This was the sum of changes in factory-made and

roll-your-own cigarettes. In March 2013 the Census

showed that a total of 15.1% of adults smoked daily.

In 2014 a total of 1% of smokers consumed e-cigarettes daily.

 

 

1 Oct 2015

Reduced nicotine cigarettes reduces nicotine exposure

In this 6-week study 780 smokers (unwilling to quit smoking) of reduced nicotine cigarettes versus standard cigarettes, reduced their nicotine exposure, and dependence on nicotine, and number of cigarettes smoked, as well as craving during abstinence from smoking. Compensation was minimal.

 

Donny E. et al. Randomised trial of reduced-nicotine standards for cigarettes. N. Engl J Med 2015 Oct 1;313: 340-349.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMsa1502403

NB: this study argues that reduced nicotine in the cigarette means reduced addiction, and increased effect from increased taxation.

 

 

 

19 August 2015

 

Give out e-cigarettes free in England, doctors told

Doctors should be able to prescribe

E-cigarettes says Public Health England,

as it tried to debunk the myth that 'vaping'

was as bad for health as inhaling tobacco

smoke.. If all of England's eight million

smokers switched to e-cigarettes overnight,

over 75,000 lives a year would be saved,

experts say. Not only are e-cigarettes 20

times less dangerous than tobacco, they

are also among the most effective quitting

aids, they added.

 

Kim Lay, The Times London.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/health/

news/article4531500.ece

 

 

17 July 2015

Ex-smokers know a thing or two about nicotine!

In the USA, in 2014, 16.7% of adults smoked.

In the USA, 6.3 million smokers used e-cigarettes, and 22% used them daily.

Of nearly 2 million ex-smokers 63% use e-cigarettes daily, and obtained their nicotine only from e-cigarettes.

 

(Vaping nicotine e-cigarettes is illegal in NZ, but smoking cigarettes which gives more nicotine is legal!)

 

Rodu B. 30 million US adults have used e-cigarettes, unpublicised CDC data reveals. Tobacco Truth. 14 July 2015. (based on the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, released June 29).
http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.co.nz/2015/07/30-million-have-used.e.html

 

1 Jan 2015

Excise and price up again in 2015

Excise up 10% and price of 20 cigarettes reaches $20, and for 30g RYOs, reaches $30.50. Excise will increase again on 1 Jan 2016.

2 Jan 2014

Murray Laugesen. Nicotine and Health – American Council on Science and Health, New York.

Of special interest to smoking cessation experts and policy makers.

 

This world-first publication (71 pages, 137 references) details

 

1 How nicotine affects your health

2 How smokeless affects your health

3 Electronic cigarettes.

 

To view the free copy see http://acsh.org/2014/01/effects-nicotine-human-health/

(and download.)

For more details please see

www.healthnz.co.nz/News2013

__________________________

 

____

Disclaimer: Health NZ has no financial interest in any nicotine or tobacco product or business.


Business: Public good research, in particular:

Researchers on nicotine and tobacco.

Formerly Member, Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco.

Advocacy: Safer, effective alternatives to smoking.

Clinical trials and pharmacokinetic research

Risk profile testing of alternatives to smoking products Cigarettetesting.htm Alternatives.htm

Policy analysis and advice;

Consultancy, to reduce heart disease, cancer, and smoking.

Aim: To promote the health of New Zealanders

20 June 2015. Vaping in the USA

10% of US adults are now vaping, compared with a year ago. Almost all of these also smoke. www.trust.org/item/20150610110053-ye2me. and ASH UK London.

For more info on e-cigarettes see

www.endsmoking.org.nz

 

15 July 2015

E-cigs and air unaffected; but smoke kills respiratory cells within 6 hours

E-cigarettes (NJoy brands) vapour has no adverse effect on respiratory epithelial cells in a respiratory model of cells in culture for 6 hours, whereas tobacco smoke from commercial brands in the same time killed such cells, preventing their viability.

Authors from BAT in Toxicology in Vitro 15 July 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.tiv.2015.05.018).

 

31 May 2015. Smoking in Iceland has diminished from 14.2% in 2012 to 11.3% in 2015. Use of tobacco in the lip (Snus) increased from 1.9% to 3.4% in this period. - Embaetti Landlaeknis Directorate of Health.http://www.landlaeknir.is/um-embaettid/frettir/frett/item27026/Dagur-an-tobaks-31--mai-2015

------------------------------------------------

 

27 February 2010: New Nicotine cigarette gives fast delivery of nicotine to the lung. Now published. For the full text report in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, click here to see

Copying: You are welcome to copy information from this website provided www.healthnz.co.nz is acknowledged as source.

Dr Murray Laugesen

QSO for public services

WHO Tobacco or Health medallist

MBChB NZ, FRCS Edin, MCCM NZ, FNZCPHM Dip Obst

Managing director and public health physician

Adjunct Professor, University of Canterbury (Dept of Pyschology).

On leaving the Public Health Commission in 1995 Dr Laugesen founded Health New Zealand Ltd as his consultancy company. Dr Laugesen has been involved in the prevention of cancer, heart disease and smoking at national level since 1984

267 Memorial Av

Burnside Christchurch

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