“Lovejoy’s Law”

Or, when used by health advocates against the use of e cigarettes, the twisted nature of the cry, “Think about the children.”

In 1996 Helen Lovejoy, a character in the TV programme, ‘The Simpsons,’ pleaded, “Won’t someone please think of the children!” This has become known as Lovejoy’s Law.  This is a plea which has been made repeatedly, not just in the TV programme, but by individuals and organisations opposed to the development and public use of e cigarettes.

There are two purposes for the use of the plea, ‘think about, or, what about the children.’ One is legitimate for use in reasoned debate – the other is not. It is legitimate to use the question to draw attention to the plight of children:  It is not legitimate to use it to detract from logical argument and where it becomes an appeal to emotion.  So when Anti-Smoking organisations and health bodies take up the cry, “Think about the children.” How exactly is it being used? Is it part of a reasoned debate on the topic of e cigarettes, or is it an appeal to emotion – a logical fallacy?

The history of the appeal goes back, back before the popularity of e cigarettes had been established, in fact, before the opponents of e cigarettes had even heard of them, and, ironically, to a time where they were wishing that they did exist. That is correct: The very same people who object to vaporisers now, when they were dreaming as if they were something out of science fiction, had once placed them at the top of their wish lists.[i]

In October 2008, Action on Smoking and Health, produced a document called, “BEYOND Smoking Kills.” It was funded by The British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. It was endorsed by a mass of health organisations and charities, and by many local authorities.  It is, however, the sub-title I find interesting: “PROTECTING CHILDREN, REDUCING INEQUALITIES.”

This is where they, and we, I am afraid, get into a bit of a muddle. You see, based on conventional wisdom – based on what was truly believed to be the dangers of smoking cigarettes (and second hand smoke)[ii] by ‘those in the know,’ to demand that we, ‘think about the children,’ was legitimate, rational and logical. However the same document advocates… as a future means to protect the children… the e cigarette… but not in so many words.  So, if, now, the e cigarette is a threat and we must, ‘think about the children’ in the face of this threat, how can it be that the people advocating this were, at that time, praying for the very thing that has been developed to fit their criteria[iii],… the e cigarette… as a means of protecting the children?[iv]

So the e cigarette was a means of protecting children then, and is a threat to them now? Hardly!

In fact, what we have is the same argument being presented in favour of two very different scenarios. The problem is that it just does not seem like two different scenarios.

And this is the crux of the matter. This is why I have presented to you what is contained in the document, “Beyond Smoking Kills.”  The appeal, “think of the children,” was based on a genuine desire to save countless lives where young people were being attracted to a deadly habit. However, when applied to e cigarettes the same does not hold true.

Children are not being ‘attracted’ and the activity is not ‘deadly.’ There is no evidence to suggest that children, who are never-users of cigarettes, are taking up and using e cigarettes. We have to be careful with statements like this, for two reasons. There is an important difference between the terms, ‘using,’ and, ‘trying,’ and that never-users of tobacco cigarettes, may, in the future, begin to use e cigarettes.  I wish to deal with these separately.

That there is a difference between, ‘using,’ and ‘trying:’ to see the importance of making a definition between the two words, look at an early CDC report which confused the two. On the 5th of September 2013, the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued a press release. The headline and sub-heading screamed, “E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012. More than 75 percent of youth users smoke conventional cigarettes too.”[v]  (You will note that I used the word, ‘screamed’ here. It is an emotive term, and, as previously stated, emotion is a powerful tool when trying to convince someone about something – the question you have to ask is, ‘is the use of the device justified?)

Well, in the case of this headline, I think I can justify the use of the word, ‘screamed.’ The first reason is that this press release was taken up world-wide by the press. The story was a dominant one. Newspapers, television and radio all over the world featured it. But it was the emotion which carried the story, not the substance. The report itself did nothing to support the headline. As Carl V. Phillips stated, “The biggest lie is that they report nothing about use.[vi]  All the reported statistics are about trying the products.” There is a great deal more wrong with the headline but the confusion between, ‘using,’ and, ‘trying,’ is my main concern here. Enough to say that e cigarette use had not doubled as the headlines claimed, but the news was out, and it was believed. The emotive message had carried the day.

That young people who have never smoked but who might, in the future, take up e cigarette use is not really a concern either. I would argue that it is to be expected. It is just common sense. It is common sense to expect that among the young people who might be attracted to smoking cigarettes, some will prefer the safer option – but this does not mean that they will go on to smoke tobacco. In fact, why would they? If they enjoy the experience of using e cigarettes, why move over to something which is less enjoyable, and a damn sight more dangerous, and, if they do not enjoy the experience, why try something worse? But the public, generally speaking, cannot see this – they are blinded by emotion: the e cigarette in many minds IS smoking; IS evil; IS dangerous. That e cigarettes might be replacing tobacco smoking actually does seem to be the present trend, though be careful, just because one set of figures is rising does not necessarily mean that this is the reason for the fall in the other – but it looks that way.

I think that one of the better arguments that I have come across is contained in Kristin Knoll-Marsh’s blog which compares the emotion surrounding young peoples’ use of e cigarettes to the furores over sex education and use of condoms. As she states, “They also wring their hands over youth use, worrying loudly that kids will try e-cigarettes and then move on to the more risky behaviour of smoking. (Like anti-safe sex folks argued kids learning about safe sex would lead to more un-safe sex, leaving many people scratching their heads with that logic.) However, after 10 years on the market and increased use by (mostly smoking) youth being widely reported, CDC statistics show that youth smoking continues to decline significantly: Worrying over increased youth use of e-cigarettes while smoking rates are declining is akin to worrying about more teens having sex using condoms while STD and unwanted pregnancy rates are declining.”[vii] (Highlight mine)

But, as it used to be the case with the issues surrounding young people with regard to sex, so it is the case now with the young and e cigarette use.

The users of the phrase, ‘think about the children,’ when applied to smoking, and then to vaping, have found themselves lost in an ethical maze. Happily some are beginning to find their way out. Some of the major anti-smoking organisations and charities are now speaking out against the imposition of banning use in public places[viii]

But we must, ‘think about the children.’ Well, when thinking about children, is it not an idea to see what they think, or do you see them as mindless, naïve and in need of guidance for every step they take? This image of children certainly does not show in a recent New Zealand study which looked at the perceptions of Maori junior school pupils with regard to e cigarettes.[ix] The result of this small but very important study, demonstrates that far from seeing e cigarettes as something that could act as a gateway to smoking, they were seen as the opposite. It was recognised by the little ones (and they were little and not older children)that e cigarettes were being used as an escape from smoking – where does this leave the argument that e cigarette users should be hidden from sight to protect the children?

It is always a temptation in the face of the, ‘think about the children,’ demand to respond by arguing that e cigarettes do not present the children with any threat, however, there is actually no need to do this. As stated at the beginning, there are only two reasons for using the phrase; one is a genuine desire to protect the children from a threat, and the other is to cover up the fact that a threat does not exist. I hope you can see the problem here – if a threat does not exist, how you establish something which is not there? This being the case, one is forced to discuss the alleged danger. All the opponents of e cigarettes have to do is exactly what we have witnessed them doing right from the start, produce a string of unfounded claims, irrespective of the fact that they are not evidenced and use the media to publicise it. A newspaper does not need evidence, just someone to say something… but the damage is done.

The tiny apology, months after the initial publication of the story, does not undo the damage. Here, the readers of the original article have not seen the apology and are convinced that e cigarettes do harm, and added to this they feel the heavy weight of responsibility to protect the vulnerable little ones in our society from this danger. There is no debate now. Any argument to say that e cigarettes do not present danger must not be tolerated, and the ‘evil’ advocates for e cigarette use must be silenced. We must, ‘think about the children.’

Whenever you hear or read, we must, ‘think about the children,’ ask yourself, why this demand is being made. Is it genuine, or is it an attempt to cover the fact that no real danger or threat exists and that the ‘children’ argument is being used as an emotive red herring?

[i] The harm of tobacco can be reduced by helping smokers to quit, reducing exposure to secondhand smoke

and preventing people from starting smoking in the first place. For heavily addicted smokers who are

currently unable or unwilling to quit, there is also the possibility of switching to pure nicotine products (which,

like the current medicinal products on the market, contain only nicotine and not other tobacco derivatives).As smoking is responsible for half the difference in deaths across socio-economic groups, tobacco control also has a major role to play in reducing health and social inequalities. These aims are profoundly inter-linked. Children who live with parents who smoke will breathe cleaner air, and be less likely to become smokers themselves, if their parents quit or switch to pure nicotine products. Poor families will also benefit from the financial savings of quitting.

http://www.ash.org.uk/beyondsmokingkills

[ii] For those who do not agree with the argument that second hand smoke presents a danger, do you see how powerful the emotive argument becomes? The same will hold true for those who do believe in the danger from second hand smoke. My wording casts doubt on this and I would ask you to think about your response when you read it.

[iii] A commercial nicotine products designed for long-term use as a replacement for smoking. http://www.ash.org.uk/beyondsmokingkills Chapter 8.

[iv] Smoking prevalence is declining but not fast enough. Too few people successfully quit every year and too many people start smoking. New ways of driving down smoking prevalence are needed. Smokers are addicted to nicotine but are harmed by the tar and toxins in tobacco smoke. It is therefore possible for smokers who are currently unable or unwilling to quit to satisfy their nicotine craving at much lower risk by switching to pure nicotine products (which, like the current medicinal products on the market, contain only nicotine and not other tobacco derivatives). Although these products are not 100% safe, they are many orders of magnitude safer than smoking. Given the higher levels of addiction among the most disadvantaged smokers, the promotion of wider access to pure nicotine products as an alternative to smoking is an important means of tackling health inequalities.

Currently pure nicotine products are not attractive to smokers as direct replacements for cigarettes as they do not mimic the speed and intensity of nicotine intake that a cigarette provides. Regulation difficulties inhibit the development of more efficient and effective pure nicotine products. As a result, the most toxic nicotine products – cigarettes – are barely regulated while the safest products – medicinal nicotine – are highly regulated.

If they are to compete with tobacco products, pure nicotine products must be sold on equal terms or better: pricing should favour pure nicotine products over tobacco. Public education is also needed as many smokers (and health professionals) have a poor understanding of the relative safety of pure nicotine products including nicotine replacement therapy.

Recommendations

➣ Develop a strategy and an appropriate regulatory structure to improve the acceptability, attractiveness and accessibility of pure nicotine products for use as an alternative to smoking for those who are currently unable or unwilling to quit.

➣ Encourage commercial development of pure nicotine products designed for long-term use as a replacement for smoking.

➣ Develop a communications strategy to counter public misunderstanding of the health impacts of nicotine. This should promote nicotine replacement therapy for quitting and encourage the longer-term use of pure nicotine products as alternatives to tobacco.

➣ Tax pure nicotine products at the lowest rate of VAT.

➣ Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of providing pure nicotine products free on prescription to smokers for as long as they are unable or unwilling to quit.

➣ Increase investment in research into the long-term impacts of nicotine.

http://www.ash.org.uk/beyondsmokingkills Chapter 8.

[v] http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0905-ecigarette-use.html

[vi]The headline of the press release manages to fit in one lie and two misleading claims, “E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012″.  The biggest lie is that they report nothing about use.  All the reported statistics are about trying the products, perhaps only once, which is obviously not the same thing (and CDC knows this).  Some statistics reported are for “ever having tried” and the others are “tried at least once in the last 30 days”.  They misidentify anyone who has tried in the last month as a current user, which is a rather blatant lie.  (Of course, some of those who tried recently may well actually be users, but there is nothing in the report that lets us conclude that even one single student is actually an e-cigarette user.)

The second sneaky lie was listing “middle school” ahead of “high school” even though the results for the former are trivial.  But it is scarier to imply that this is mostly about 12-year-olds and not 18-year-old high school students, isn’t it? http://antithrlies.com/2013/09/07/cdc-lies-about-kids-using-e-cigarettes/

[vii] http://wivapers.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/are-e-cigarettes-are-new-condom.html

[viii] ASH recognises that whilst efforts to help people stop smoking should remain a priority, many smokers either do not wish to stop quit or find it very hard to do so because of their addiction to nicotine. For this group, nicotine containing products which have been properly regulated to ensure product safety, quality and efficacy should be available as an alternative to tobacco.

Most of the diseases associated with smoking are caused by inhaling smoke which contains thousands of toxic chemicals. By contrast, nicotine is relatively safe. Electronic cigarettes, which deliver nicotine without the harmful toxins found in tobacco smoke, are a safer alternative to smoking.

In addition, electronic cigarettes reduce secondhand smoke exposure in places where smoking is allowed since they do not produce smoke. Nonetheless, nicotine is an addictive substance, electronic cigarettes currently available are highly variable in terms of delivery of nicotine and product quality, and smokers are uncertain about the effectiveness of the product. There are concerns, as yet unsupported by evidence, that these products may provide a gateway into smoking for children and young people. The regulation of these products, in particular with respect to their advertising, promotion and sponsorship needs to be undertaken with these factors in mind.

In the UK smokefree legislation exists to protect the public from the demonstrable harms of secondhand smoke. ASH does not consider it appropriate for electronic cigarettes to be subject to this legislation, but that it should be for organisations to determine on a voluntary basis how these products should be used on their premises

http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_715.pdf

[ix]Methods

Two structured focus groups and twelve individual interviews were conducted with twenty Māori and Pacific children (6–10 years old) in low socioeconomic areas in Auckland, New Zealand. Children viewed short video clips on an iPad that demonstrated an actor smoking a tobacco cigarette, sucking a lollipop or using an electronic cigarette or a nicotine inhaler.

Results

Children did not recognise the inhaler or electronic cigarette. Some children did however notice anomalies in the ‘smoking’ behaviour. Once told about the products the children were mostly positive about the potential of the inhaler and electronic cigarette to assist smokers to quit. Negative perceptions were expressed, including views about the ill health effects associated with continued nicotine intake and the smoker’s inability to quit.

Conclusions

In a context unfamiliar with electronic cigarettes or nicotine inhalers, such as New Zealand, children may misperceive use of these products as smoking. Once these products are more common and the purpose of them is known, seeing people use them should normalise quitting behaviour, something the children were very supportive of.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874641/

Sacrificial Lambs

Lamb

I have been an e cigarette user – a vaper – for over three years. I was totally flabbergasted at the ease at which I stopped smoking. So much so, I was horrified when I discovered that so many advocates against smoking were rejecting e-cigarettes and the concept of harm reduction out of hand. The shock was soon replaced by anger, and that was the start of my efforts to get the message out that there was an escape from the deadly trap of cigarette smoking. And now, after three years, that horror, that anger has been complemented by sadness –  I am still horrified, still angry, and also feel so very, very sad.

It is simply a fact of life that some people are prepared to sacrifice others to advance their careers, or add to the power they already wield: There are some who see themselves and the ideals they hold as being so very correct, that anything which does not fit into this view of how the world should be is deemed wholly unacceptable. And, there are cases where some or all of the above holds true to some degree or other. But there is a ‘side’ which is, the case of e – cigarettes (hereafter referred to as vaporizers & vaping),  governed by truth, honesty and scientific fact, and a desire for that truth to be known for the sake of the wellbeing of other people. This is very, very different to the zealotry displayed by opponents of vaping.

Yes, very different: The difference can be demonstrated thus…

A definition given for, ‘zealot,’ is sometimes,” a ​person who has very ​strong opinions about something, and ​tries to make other ​people have them too.” You might argue here, on the basis of this definition, that there is no difference between advocacy for vaping and that advocacy against, but there is more to the meaning of the word. A word may carry more than one type of meaning: It will have its denotation; its dictionary definition and that is as far as many understand, at least at a conscious level, when they use or encounter a word. However, many words carry more than just their definitive meanings; their connotations, and the connotations of a word can actually be more important than its denotation. The connotations of a word can convey powerful emotive elements, and, ‘zealot,’ is one word which falls heavily into this category. The word itself comes from, ‘zeal,’ which is a fairly positive term, however, from about the 1630’s onward, the connotations shifted to that of, ‘a fanatical enthusiast.’ and the negativity of the word has progressed from that point. But again, this takes us no further forward in establishing that the vaping fraternity is any different to their opposite numbers. However, now, there is a new element to be considered – ‘fanatical.’

Once again there is more than one definition. You have, ‘fan’ or ‘enthusiast,’ but we also find another very different meaning; ” ​…holding ​extreme beliefs that may ​lead to ​unreasonable or violent behaviour,” and it is this second definition that I wish to examine with regard to the vaping conflict.

I believe that the behaviour of many of the opponents of vaping is totally unreasonable, and that also, by virtue of the consequences of this zealotry, violent. If one can establish this, then one can also establish that a large proportion of the opponents of the use of vaporizers are truly ‘zealots’ in the modern sense carrying the full load of its awful connotations:  That they are truly followers of an extreme dogma which is totally unreasonable and one which leads to real harm.

So what is this dogma to which the zealot adheres? I would describe it as a programme designed to demonise and criminalise the act of smoking; a programme which is so extreme that it has taken on a moral dimension which, through both truth and lies, manipulates its adherents to see the act of smoking as: not just disgusting; not just harmful; not just unnatural, but, in some ways, as an act of evil. … but vaping is not smoking. Vaping is an activity which replaces smoking… Sorry… to the zealot, vaping looks like smoking, and therefore, it is smoking…

The anti-smoking zealot belongs to, or accepts the teachings, albeit blindly, of a church whose dogma is based on an initial truth, which, as time passed, was corrupted. It was not enough when after the discovery that people were falling ill and dying prematurely as a result of cigarette smoking, to simply educate the public as to this danger. This body adopted strategies straight out of the ‘war manual’ of the very people they had set out to defeat, the tobacco companies. (Or did they copy? Was it actually the other way round? Was the Tobacco Control Dirty Tricks Brigade at it even before the Tobacco Papers revelation?) I ask this because of what I read into a document containing the oft quoted statement by tobacco company officials…

Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.

This has been presented as evidence of the base dishonesty of the, ‘wicked, lying’ tobacco companies – but hang on a minute! “…Body of Fact,” is in inverted commas, so, to ‘cast doubt’ on something you perceive to be less than factual is wrong?  The little snippets one encounters on these few pages tend to further, at least as far as I am concerned, a growing suspicion that the tobacco companies might not be as black as they were being painted, in that they were no different to any other industry where profit for the shareholder was the aim, and the only aim, and this was being done through normal industry process: Consider the ethics of the food industry; pharmaceuticals; petro-chemical industry; Scientific Research; Get the idea?  And Tobacco Control were not exactly being knights in shining armour either.

So who were ‘the congregations’ listening to? What was being issued from the pulpits of Tobacco Control?  What was this, “body of fact?”  We begin to get an insight if we look at some of the comments which have been made by leading tobacco controllers.

What about the role of science?  simon chapman

. Well, according to Simon Chapman, well known Tobacco Control person, “a solid evidence base is only one element of effective advocacy.” He would appear to think that evidence, scientific and otherwise, is subservient to economic, ideological and anecdotal arguments. Added to this, it is his opinion, that politicians are more interested in anecdote and ‘folklore.’   Oh dear! I have just copied the above – let me see – Ah! To create the zealot, nurture him, feed him a regular diet of subjective, emotive gobbledegook. But, it should have a scientific base – and if one does not exist, invent it.
Dileep Bal

Invent it?

That is correct. Dileep Bal was one of the key tobacco operatives within the California Department of Health: He was, in my words, paymaster. Bal scoffed at the idea that one should wait for ‘science’ to establish something. No, he advocated that Public Health go on a rampage, making pronouncements about, in this case, second hand smoke, and if ‘science’ could back it up, fine, if not, so what. He says, “Public policy must be propped up by science but must not be a handmaiden of the science, …Most scientists will say you need a randomized controlled trial level of proof to do a community intervention. That’s horse feathers. We tried twenty-five things—twelve worked and we renewed those. Empirical trial and error is the oldest scientific device and we used it to distinction.” Add to this his boast, “. We created the science, we did the interventions and then all the scientists came in behind us and analyzed what we did.”

And of course with the billions of dollars behind Public Health finding the right scientists and research organizations to create the facts to back up the interventions was not any problem in the slightest.

Does it not all sound so very, very familiar?

baptist

Zealots worldwide lapped up a story from the ‘prophet,’ Dr Chung Shan-shan, assistant professor of biology at the Baptist University in Hong Kong. There was no study presented before the headline, A Million Times More Harmful than Outdoor Air: Hong Kong Study Raises E – Cigarette Cancer Alarm.   

Needless to say, the study… sorry, at the time of writing there was no study… the press report was absolute garbage: Zealot fodder. Despite being totally rubbished by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, the headline and story had done what was intended and vaping was further devalued in the public (and political) eye. Dr Farsalinos ends his comment saying,

There are only two possibilities: either the scientists have no idea about what they are talking about, or they are deliberately misinforming the public and the regulators. Even worse, they are creating panic to vapers (the vast majority of whom are former smokers), with the risk of making them relapse to smoking. This is a typical case of gross misinformation and extremely poor science. Literally, a public health disgrace… The reporters of this “study” (not authors, because there is no published study) need to immediately apologize to the public for creating this story out of nothing.

Tobacco Control are continuing to use the same, dishonest, warped strategies which they developed in their war against smoking and smokers, and, what is increasingly appearing, at least to me, to be a fairy tale threat of danger from second hand smoke.

I now refer back to an earlier comment. I stated that the zealot adhered to extreme beliefs, that they are unreasonable. I think that anyone who follows people like: Chapman and Bal, Glantz, McKee, Silly Sally Davies, and who believe the content of their sermons is unreasoning; anyone who believes that vapour is more poisonous than outdoor air and repeats this nonsense and ridicules and attempts to side-line any who do not go along with this dogma  is being unthinking – but the definition requires another ingredient: violence.

Smoking does make people ill – whether it causes cancer or not, I do not know. I cannot tell because of the mess of lies and the deceit, the selfish motivations of those who promote this idea – that they are base liars is not in question.

It is mooted that a billion people will suffer and die prematurely as a result of cigarette smoking. I am sure that this is a gross exaggeration, but some will and if even one person dies from the habit and that person has had the choice or / and the ability to move away from the habit, then violence has been done to that individual by those who took that choice away – the Tobacco Controllers and the zealots who they created.

These people have to be fought and the battle will not be won until those disparate forces: the smokers and organisations who support smokers; the vapers and those organisations who support vapers; non-smoking individuals who can see through the haze; Public Health Officials who wish to distance themselves from the extreme elements of Tobacco Control – the battle will not be won until those disparate forces find  and hold common ground, and take the fight to those who oppose choice, and  do so with honesty and integrity, but in such a way that their  message is not just ‘dull science,’ but that is hard hitting and attractive and newsworthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infographic demonstrating how our agencies fall victim to regulatory capture, OR, They REALLY NEED us to fall ill and die prematurely through smoking.

The infographic was sent to me by a medical professional who does not wish to be identified. It is so clear that it really does not need anything else. It has been argued that infographics can be misleading – Not this time.

Recent events – in Canada, in Wales, in fact all over the world bear witness to the corruption which exists in the shady world of Tobacco Control.

Even if you are not a smoker you will know / care about someone who does. I am very much afraid that the powers that be wish to remove that person from you just as soon as they have milked every last cent they can from their existence in order to gain some profit and / or advantage for himself / herself.

Now, the infographic followed by two or three interesting links.

 

 

Reg Capture Image

Reg Capture Legend

Canada, Australia, Wales, USA, EU and others… It is not really about health, is it?
http://brainyfurball.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/margaret-chan-of-world-health.html
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhealth/42/42.pdf
http://necsi.edu/research/economics/capture/RegCap.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999539/
http://www.cwu.edu/~tenerelt/handout%20-%20regulatory%20capture.pdf
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/NewsEvents/ucm436783.htm
Yes, it is about money and power.
http://www.ecigarette-politics.com/the-20-prevalence-rule.html

All is Water

So, fine, e cigarette vapour is not water – and it is not vapour either, it is an aerosol (or so I have been led to believe). But, getting straight to the point, Thales of Miletus would have had a great deal to say on the issue of vaping – but he’s dead now.

‘All is water: all is air; all is fire,’ the early philosophers tried the lot. They were the first scientists and they applied logic based on what they had observed and on what they ‘knew.’ And do you know something, although they were wrong, they were not really that far off the mark. There are basic elements from which everything is made. Pretty smart stuff considering…

And so science (and philosophy began) actually, that was not the beginning, but let’s not split hairs – scientists and philosophers never do that. Let us face it, when dealing with fact and logic, how would that be possible? Just one question, should science be in brackets and not philosophy? Ah! Forget it, which would be splitting hairs – No! Let us not forget it – Is there a difference between science and philosophy? Answer for yourself, and if you think that it is not important, ok, forget it!

There would be no problem in making a definition between science and philosophy if it were not for us. You know, our need for recognition, for power, and that has got in the way of science and philosophy somewhat: human nature; greed.

And so we enter the debate about e cigarettes…

Now, you are sitting in front of a device which has access to the internet. So, use the brain that God (perhaps) gave you – perhaps God, perhaps brain, and use the infernal device to work out what is true and what is not, and keep in mind that your collective opinion may mean the saving of millions from unnecessary suffering and premature death.

And THAT is a fairly comprehensive summing up of the philosophy and scientific debate on e cigarettes.

All is water: all is air; all is fire – and do you think that was backward?

Having Fun with Wikipedia

With just a few minor changes in terminology, the description of regulation and control of e cigarettes fits in neatly with that of the Spanish Inquisition as it is presented in the introduction to the topic on Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

The regulation, control and inquisition of electronic cigarettes officially known in the EU as, the ‘Tobacco Products Directive, Article 20’, and in the USA, ’Substantial Equivalence,’ under the auspice of the FDA, was established in the early 21st century by the European Union and Government of the United States of America. It was intended to maintain public health orthodoxy in the kingdoms and to supplement the ‘medieval’ FCTC which was under World health Organisation control. It became the most substantive of the different manifestations of the wider anti-tobacco inquisition along with other individual national inquisitions.
The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from tobacco cigarette smoking. This regulation of the lives of the newly converted was intensified after Tobacco Control decrees issued in 2013 / 2014 ordering the smoking public to quit using only recognised NRT, or face the risks of continued smoking.
Various motives have been proposed for the decision to found the Inquisition such as increasing political authority, weakening opposition, suppressing conversions, profiting from tax revenues and profits generated through tobacco and drug industry sales, reducing social tensions, and protecting the kingdom from the danger of a fifth column.
The body was under the direct control of the World Health Organisation and was not definitively abolished until 2230 AD, after a period of huge population decline due to massive, increased tobacco consumption the previous century.
The E Cigarette Inquisition is often cited in literature and history as an example of Public Health intolerance and repression. Modern historians have tended to question earlier and possibly exaggerated accounts concerning the severity of the Inquisition. Although records are incomplete, estimates of the number of persons who have died as a result of the Inquisition range from hundreds of millions up into the billions.

Fire in the Madhouse

Fire in the Madhouse

Existentialists challenge you to buck conventional wisdom – I am not sure about, ‘conventional,’ but Tobacco Control certainly bucks wisdom. However, there is an area of existentialism which asserts that one is anything that an individual thinks she/he is. I think that this is the principle that this collection of organisations are following. Take for example…

Nicotine is deadly and very, very bad, unless, it is, ‘my’ nicotine.

Up until very recently, nicotine was thought to be highly addictive, a dangerous poison, and some (still) argue that it is carcinogenic: This, I suppose, is understandable given its close association and cofuscation with tobacco smoking, but, for the most part, it is accepted that nicotine does not cause cancer, is not so highly addictive as once thought, and, as far as the levels contained in e cigarette liquids are concerned, is  no more toxic than dishwashing liquid (and that is only the higher concentrations).  There are studies which do indicate a theoretical connection between nicotine and cancer, but they are far from conclusive.  For those of you who wish to read more about nicotine, smoking and harm click here.

Moving back a couple of years: when e cigarettes started to become popular; when the pharmaceutical giants began to feel threatened; when governments realised the impact these infernal newcomers would have on their revenues, the Tobacco Control machine ground into action. Using the funding from Pharma and governments and using their bought politicians – and bought / deceived doctors and scientists, the nicotine scare was promoted.  (For an indication of the power and influence of the pharmaceutical industry within the UK Government see, here,)  (For a general outline of the pharmaceutical industry and its methods and influence, see here. [My own blog I am afraid])  Add to this Tobacco Control links to the media and nicotine was further demonised.  For example, “Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes,” was the headline in the New York Times of March 23, 2014.  The paper intimates that e cigarette liquid spilt onto the skin was life-threatening.  Typical of the scare stories and dramatic headlines was, “A New Warning about E-Cigarettes and Heart Attack Risk.”   This headline was generated after Chi-Ming Hai of Brown University unveiled his findings at the American Society for Cell Biology’s annual meeting in New Orleans (2013) after publication in the journal, Vascular Pharmacology.  Headlines from single studies appear to be replicated on a huge scale, from serious medical publications all the way down the line to the tabloids. The aforementioned study generated, “ It’s Not The Smoke, It’s The Nicotine: E-Cigarettes May Damage Arteries.”  And moving into 2014, still the story persists with the headline, “E-Cigarettes: Tobacco-Free, But Your Heart May Still Be at Risk: Electronic devices still carry the dangers of nicotine.” The same study was being presented as evidence:  The repetition of headlines all over the world was not slowed by the counter arguments of some of the world’s leading experts on the topic – was not slowed by the irrefutable evidence provided over many years of snus use in Sweden, but I am afraid that the facts do not seem to matter when weighed against the power of the media and the ability of industrial giants to fund both the ‘research’ and then the subsequent, massive media campaigns. Carl V Phillips sums things up very succinctly, here.

 

But the debate over the issue of potential risk by nicotine is secondary: the objective here is to demonstrate the hypocrisy ingrained in the pharmaceutical industries’ campaign against e cigarettes, via, of course, Tobacco Control.

Who or what is Tobacco Control?

Following on from the work of Richard Doll who publicised the causal link between smoking and lung cancer in 1952, there were moves to curtail smoking but this was not wholly satisfactory.  This was followed by the creation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control or FCTC for short. This is a treaty where nations have signed up to follow certain protocols. For an overview, click here. The FCTC control and encourage most of the myriad of research, educational, publicity, medical and governmental activities to do with the ‘intended demise’ of tobacco products. This, in short, means that any organisation whose stated aims are ‘seeing an end to the use of tobacco products,’ particularly if they are influenced and / or funded by government, or, are influenced and/ or are funded by organisations who are influenced and / or funded by government.  Complicated, is it not? But it means that just about any organisation that stands in opposition to tobacco use is part of Tobacco Control. But where does this leave the pharmaceutical industry? Never forget the pharmaceutical Industry: never leave them out of the equation.

National governments provide funding, but there is a great deal more… in fact, so complex it cannot be addressed by me effectively, however, if you wish to examine the money trail, click here. Enough said that the pharmaceutical industry pumps billions upon billions into Tobacco Control. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Tobacco Control groups ARE the pharmaceutical companies: Well, maybe not, but pharma certainly appears to be the puppet master. But here is the odd one – the tobacco companies also support Tobacco Control. Here.  And, back to the pharmaceutical industry, they support cigarette smoking – that’s right…. Pfizer had the following to say about its relationship with Heartland, “Our company and its stakeholders derive significant benefits from our involvement with these organizations, which help advance our business objectives related to healthcare policy.”  You can read about heartland’s stance on smoking here. It is a right old mess, but I will leave you to work out for yourself why pharmaceutical companies support both anti-smoking and pro-smoking organisations.  Now back to nicotine.

The American cancer Society had this to say about nicotine in e cigarettes, “We do know that electronic cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine, and nicotine is addictive. This strongly suggests that e-cigarette use will lead to dependence, unless the user weans him or herself from them. Fair enough comment, I suppose, if, nicotine is ‘highly addictive.’ But look at what the same article goes on to say, “There are proven methods available to help people quit, including pure forms of inhalable nicotine as well as nasal sprays, gums, and patches.”  So, it would seem that e cigarette nicotine is addictive, BUT NRT nicotine is not. Warning! The article also contains the usual rubbish, i.e. Anti-freeze found in e cigarette:  It quotes the CDC study on youth usage – That is the one where the headline was a huge increase of young people using e cigarettes but forgot to mention a huge corresponding decrease in cigarette smoking. Well, they did mention it – a year after the headlines. Similarly we read about youth e cig usage in 2014, here. The CDC press release can be found, here.  I have added this to demonstrate how unreliable much of the criticisms about e cigarettes are.  The same applies to warnings about nicotine’s effect on the lungs and the heart. How is it possible for warnings to be issued about nicotine in e cigarettes on one hand, and claims of safety on the other when applied to their own products?  According to the opponents of e cigarettes – sorry – the pharmaceutical industry via the opponents of e cigarettes, nicotine is very, very bad, unless it is their nicotine.

Propylene glycol is harmful and very, very bad, unless it is, ‘my’ propylene glycol

This substance is used in many products and is generally considered to be safe. However regular inhalation via e cigarettes is a new phenomenon and opponents of e cigarettes, Tobacco control – sorry – the pharmaceutical industry via Tobacco Control have made it sound absolutely terrifying.  Right from the beginning the organisations and groups under the Tobacco Control umbrella have screamed (and yes, ‘screamed,’ is the operative term) that e cigarette liquid contains anti-freeze. Here they are talking about propylene glycol.  On the 22nd July, 2009 the FDA issued a warning that e cigarettes contained antifreeze. From that point, to this day, approximately six years later, the story persists. This is despite the truth of the matter having been revealed.  

One of the most outrageous examples of the demonization of propylene glycol was when Chest Journal, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, published a report entitled, “An Unexpected Consequence of Electronic Cigarette Use.”  Here, e cigarette use was blamed for causing lipoid pneumonia. This was totally rubbished as was a second similar report from Spain.

Now, I am not a scientist or doctor, in fact I have only a modest education, yet, if you look closely at the Chest report you will see that the doctors make the ‘schoolboy’ error of thinking glycerol is a lipid (and I would not have known that) but, they fail to find the real cause of the illness.  Now (again) I think I can – I am not saying this because I wish to boast, though I am feeling rather smug. I am using it to point out that the doctors did not just make one glaring mistake, they made two. I am using it to demonstrate how prejudice can blind, even an expert mind, where something can be so very obvious, but is missed.  The Chest article states, right at the beginning….

the patient

Any scientists and doctors reading this will see in an instant the potential cause for the woman’s condition – I had to work my way through them.  I wish they had put, ‘albuterol metered dose inhaler,’ at the beginning of the list. Here, on investigation I came across one of the ingredients… oleic acid… a lipid.  So how did these doctors make a silly mistake in classifying glycerol as a lipid and on top of that, fail to see the real cause (if it was such)?

It happened because they were so blinded by their prejudice they failed to see what even a rank novice, worse, someone with no scientific training whatsoever could see. The article ends with the comment that the woman’s condition cleared after withdrawal from e cigarettes, but, would her inhaler not have been withdrawn as well?  It appears to me that the woman’s recovery was down more to good luck than anything else.

Nonetheless, the story hit the headlines

It would therefore seem that medically approved devices with propylene glycol can result in lipoid pneumonia but they are ok,however, e cigarettes which contain propylene glycol are not… unless… they are medically approved e cigarettes or similar. For example, the new Voke produced by a tobacco company and making its way, so far with success, through the MHRA maze of regulation, and, the existing NRT spray.

Using devices where one looks like smoking is setting a bad example and very, very bad unless it is, ‘my’ device one is using.

I am tempted just to write, ‘ha-ha, ha-ha, ha…,’ here but I will go one better.  It would appear that Tobacco Control, sorry, the pharmaceutical industry through Tobacco Control, have not got the intuition / common sense of primary school children. A recent, albeit, small study was conducted in New Zealand where young children were asked what they thought when they were shown e cigarettes being used. At first they confused the devices with smoking, but many did note differences such as the fact that they were not being lit up before use and that they were being placed in the users pockets in between puffs. The net result of the study was that when the youngsters understood what the devices were and why they were being used, they thought that e cigarettes were a good thing: “they should normalise quitting behaviour.”

I have mentioned the Voke which is soon to be presented as a medical device and, in all honesty it cannot be mistaken for a tobacco cigarette. This is the Voke

Voke2 As you can see, it is nothing like a real cigarette.Here, on the other hand, is an e cigarette of the kind the regulators and Tobacco Control, sorry, the pharmaceutical industry through Tobacco Control, will see an end to. You will note the similarities of the device and a tobacco cigarette.

Mod

Looks like smoking” – are they nuts?

 

 

 

Toasters are very, very bad and must be banned unless the toast is produced without first heating the bread.

One of the main selling points of the Voke is that it operates without heating. In the advertising blurb this is emphasised. It is no coincidence that some (very bad) studies and articles have been appearing lately arguing that formaldehyde and metals have been found in e cigarette vapour.

A report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine claiming that, at high temperatures, more formaldehyde was produced by e cigarettes that from conventional tobacco cigarettes. And, once again the media latched on and the news was spread around the globe.  There were, however, a number of weaknesses and these were highlighted by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos. Here.  Without going into the detail (the link is there for you) no one in their right mind would use an e cigarette at the temperatures suggested in the original study.

 Toast

This is the equivalent of what the researchers produced and vapers would no more use e cigarettes at the temperatures needed to produce the toxins discovered any more than you would eat burnt bread like this. But the results of studies like this, and I include inaccurate conclusions and fear inducing tabloid style headlines as, ‘results,’ are part of the case being made against e cigarettes and vaping.

Products of an established level of safety are not safe and very, very bad because they are not proven to be such:  The medical product is of a proven level of safety, because we say so.

Medicalised devices are approved in the UK by the MHRA. Many countries have similar organisations to control medical products. The claim is that licencing by the MHRA ensures safety – does it really. On the other hand e cigarettes have been adequately demonstrated to be 95% – 99% safer than conventional cigarettes. They are nearly always used by cigarette smokers looking for a safer alternative.

Virtually every single study conducted by world experts either establishes a relative level of safety or fails to establish any real danger. I have not come across anything which would prevent me from vaping and I have read a great deal over the last two or three years.

I would go as far as to say that the MHRA cannot be trusted any further than the FDA and CDC in the US on their commentary about e cigarettes.  The pharmaceutical industries’ hold on government is just too great: their pockets are just too deep; history demonstrates a catalogue of errors and sometimes even deliberate deception by pharma in order to sidestep the regulation supposedly supervised by regulatory bodies – indeed these organisations designed to protect us have been subjected to so much ‘creep,’ I do not consider them to be anything more than extensions of the pharmaceutical industry itself.

A 1914 UK Government Select Committee had this to say,

“After careful consideration of the evidence laid before them your Committee find: That there is a large and increasing sale in this country of patent and proprietary remedies and appliances and of medicated wines. That these remedies are of a widely differing characters, comprising genuine scientific preparations;  unobjectionable remedies for simple ailments; and many secret remedies making grossly exaggerated claims of efficacy… That this last-mentioned class of remedies contains none which spring from therapeutical or medical knowledge, but that they are put upon the market by ignorant persons, and in many cases by cunning swindlers who exploit for their own profit the apparently invincible credulity of the public.  That this constitutes a grave and widespread public evil…”

And nothing much has changed.

The 2014 UK Government Select Committee has this to say,

“These problems … reflect its (Pharma’s) influence. People have been taking ineffective and harmful medicines for centuries. However, there is reason to fear that the industry has positively nurtured anxieties about ill-health. The fundamental problem, it is alleged, is that the industry is increasingly dominated by pressure from its investors and the influence of its marketing force and advertising agencies rather than its scientists. The industry is hugely influential, affecting every aspect of the medical world, including prescribers, patients, academics, the media, and even the institutions designed to regulate it. Its influence in Parliament is extensive.”

For a humorous overview of pharma high jinks, click here.

And when a regulatory organisation claims ‘safety,’ is it really: This from the US. “The FDA buries evidence of fraud in medical trials.” Here

Or how about, “The extent of industry influence over drug regulation, at the expense of other interested parties suggests that the current system could be more robust.” ‘Suggests … could be?’    Well, it is The Lancet after all. Here

Then we have, “Institutional Corruption and the Pharmaceutical Policy.” This from Marc A. Rodwin Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School: Here.

There is so much more but I think the above is enough to establish that, ‘safe,’ from the MHRA or other regulatory organisations does not actually mean, ‘safe.’

 

A tobacco product is a medical product when something which is not a medical product has to be considered a tobacco product, (Not too sure which one, or both, or none, is very, very bad, but, in the spirit of the madhouse, who cares!) but if the product is not a medical product, OR, a tobacco product it must be very, very bad, because it is neither, OR, it is very, very good. (For much the same reason)

I am still trying to work out what I mean by this. It has to do with early attempts to maintain that e cigarettes were medical products with the subsequent legal challenges and the realisation that they could not be classified thus, then the claim that they are tobacco products which they are patently not, and now the production of a tobacco product, which it is patently not, where the MHRA are classifying it as a medical product – see what I mean?

Anyway, it is a consumer product. Simple really!

A pharmaceutical company is still a pharmaceutical company even when it is a tobacco company, or is it the other way round?

A little dig at pharmaceutical companies which have interests in tobacco companies and vice versa.

 

ANYWAY

 

Would someone call the emergency services, there is a fire in the madhouse.

E cigarettes and the Washing of Hands

E cigarettes and the Washing of Hands

By Just a Vaper: “Just a Vaper” is the name chosen by the author because, like most vaping advocates, he is not funded by anyone in any industry. He is, like the name says, just a vaper.

Just a Vaper is not Brainyfurball, though Brainyfurball wishes very much he had thought of this first.

*******

In the mid-1800’s, a physician named Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis noticed that there seemed to be a relationship between the handling bodies of people who had died of disease and mortality rates due to puerperal fever in women that had just given birth in a women’s hospital. In 1847, he suggested strongly that all doctors and nurses wash their hands after handling someone who died of any disease before tending to living patients. The doctors refused (thinking his theory was ridiculous), but the nurses couldn’t refuse. The result was that the mortality rate of women who had just given birth at this hospital decreased from 10% to 1-2%. The doctors were still not convinced (or maybe they were just not comfortable with being told they had to wash their hands) and began a campaign to discredit him, forcing him to leave the country.

He continued telling anyone who would listen (and more that would not) about his theory for 18 years. At this point, enough doctors were able to get together and agree that his obsession was a sign of mental illness and they were able to have him committed to an asylum, where he died 2 weeks later of sepsis (likely from the beatings he received from the guards as asylums were not really good when it came to patient rights at the time). But one of the people that had listened was Louis Pasteur. Starting from Semmelweis’ work, he continued his studies, eventually coming up with his Germ Theory of Disease based on his study of puerperal fever (the same one that Semmelweis noted was killing one in ten new mothers). Joseph Lister, acting on Pasteur’s theory instituted the practice of hand washing in hospitals and the practice caught on from there. I wonder how long this practice would have taken to develop if Dr. Semmelweis, who died with his contemporaries (including his wife) thinking he was insane and sending him to die in an asylum, had not pushed to get his idea out there?

The reason I was thinking of this is because I believe there is a type of consumer product that has the potential to get smokers to quit without harming others, but there is a strong movement to ban them (or restrict them to the point where they are no longer available) by the World Health Organization; public health departments; some of the pharmaceutical companies, and well intentioned (but completely misguided) organizations that want every smoker to quit (organizations that see no difference between nicotine and tobacco) – the electronic cigarette. It’s not for everyone, but for the people who use it, it helps them to cut down and quit better than anything else on the market today. Dr. Semmelweis’ work and theories ran against conventional medicine in his day and was not only suppressed, but his career was ruined by others in his field, eventually culminating in his death by their actions because they didn’t like his message. 150 years later, I really hope the medical community doesn’t do to e-cigarettes what their predecessors did with Dr. Semmelweis and his work through their campaign, a campaign that caused many new mothers to die prematurely because of bull-headedness.