Sacrificial Lambs

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PhD in The Art of being Unclear?

A recent study, entitled, Effects of in-vivo and advert observation of e cigarette vaping and smoking desire and urge in young adult smokers. purports to support the view that watching someone smoking or vaping increases their desire to do the same, whereas, seeing someone drink a glass of water, does not have the same effect.  http://www.srnt.org/SRNT_2015_Abstracts_WEB.pdf

Well I never!

The researchers claim that they directly tested the impact of observing e-cigarette use by in-vivo and advert exposure in young adult smokers.

They did nothing of the kind!

They then build on the above mistake (fabrication) to reach the following conclusion… “Results from Study 1 showed that observing water drinking did not affect participants’ smoking desire or urge ratings. However, observing both e-cigarette vaping and regular cigarette smoking significantly increased combustible smoking desire and urge (ps<0.05) with observation of e-cigarette vaping also increasing e-cigarette desire (p<.01). In Study 2, viewing the e-cigarette advert increased ratings of desire and urge to use a combustible cigarette and an e-cigarette (ps<0.05) but this was not the case for the water advert. Further, these increases in smoking urge were significant for both positive and negative reinforcement effects. In sum, this research is the first to our knowledge to examine direct observer effects of e-cigarette use which may act as a cue to increase desire for both combustible and e-cigarettes. The results may have implications for product regulation and marketing. Results expand the debate about e-cigarettes to include effects on persons exposed either in person or by advertisement to product use.”

So did the researchers directly test the impact of observing e-cigarette use by in-vivo and advert exposure in young adult smokers? I am very much afraid that they did not. 

Let me digress slightly: I am not a scientist, doctor, advocate, or anything like it. Indeed I have only a modest education by comparison to the PhD’s who litter (pun intended) the document where I found the above.  So how is it that a few minutes thought reveals to me a glaring weakness in the study which has supposedly gone unnoticed by the ‘experts?’ It, I think, has not, and if it has not, the research here is a downright lie.

First of all the researchers were: Andrea King, Lia Smith, Daniel Fridberg, Dingcai Cao, Patrick McNamara, Hannah Resnick, Norvel Brown, belonging to one of the following: University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience; University of Chicago; Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience and / or University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Health Systems Science – Wow! Impressive!

The reason for my admission that I am not a scientist is so that I can get away with what follows, or, if you can cheat to get the results you want, so can I. Except for the fact that I admit to cheating and explain in detail what the cheat is.

The cheat is that I will base everything on an assumption, but that assumption gives the lie to the idea that this research directly tested the impact of observing e-cigarette use. As pointed out, all of the researchers belong under the same umbrella organisations, the Universities of Chicago & Illinois and my assumption is that the research took place within the premises of these esteemed seats of learning.  If I am correct, everything they claim goes absolutely pear-shaped as a result. How can that be?

It is very, very, very simple.

Take a look at this UIC page , http://www.uic.edu/uic/about/tobacco-free/index.shtml and this one https://humanresources.uchicago.edu/fpg/policies/600/p603.shtml  (Note the last paragraph about the hospitals’ policy.)  So the poor smokers participating in the research were not allowed to smoke or vape prior to the experiment – how long I wonder?  They finally are admitted to the building and are already thinking about their next smoke / vape. The big moment arrives and they are seated, and next to them are two glasses of water. The researcher drinks from his/her glass, ‘so what! The subject wants a vape / smoke not a drink of water. You see, the desire has already been created – even before setting foot in the room.  What happens with the cigarettes and the e cigarettes is a complete irrelevance. Given the opportunity to have a cigarette or vape will be pounced upon by the poor deprived subject whether he / she observe someone else doing it or not – the whole experiment is a complete and utter farce. Equally, when shown images of someone doing something which you already desperately want will obviously demonstrate some reaction,  and the same would happen with water if you were thirsty enough.

A smoker or vaper’s desires are not dictated by the actions of others or by what he / she sees going on around them. Being deprived of something though does increase desire, and being reminded of it simply brings to the surface feeling which have been repressed.

The one and only thing this research establishes is that smoking and vaping bans increase the desire to indulge in the activity which then shows in the subject’s response.

And psychologists, you know, the ones with the qualifications, failed to realise this?  No chance!

The Physician and the Snake

A little prose/poetry story dedicated to the World Health Organisation

A quiet moment and he drummed his fingers on his desk. Another year had turned: Another year of the pain he had shared so willingly – shared so secretly. Another year had turned, and still the snake on the staff stayed his hand. The doctor failed to understand the snake’s demand, to cure the sick, to do no harm, but also keep silence: To give advice when he, the doctor, knew it wrong to hand out lies, prescribing only second best. Gums and patches, and the rest – all failed. He drummed and drummed his fingers on the desk

A year had passed since that evening when that crowd had gathered on the excited street below, and, looking down, he remembered how the jostling and the clamour grew. ‘We have something new.’ They cried. ‘Look Doctor, we have something new.’ And each and every one held up a light. ‘We no longer have to fight.’ They cried. ‘Look! We no longer have to fight.’

The snake had also heard and had slithered down from off its stick. And shocked, the doctor saw the venom drip from hidden fangs, and from the window backed away. ‘Cure the sick and do no harm,’ the creature hissed. ‘Those outside, they won’t be missed. Give out only lies and second best, and if that fails, well, prescribe some rest. But be warned, dear doctor; say nothing of what you saw tonight. Say nothing of that awful blinding light that burns me to my very soul. Say nothing.

And thus the doctor, on the snakes command, stayed silent and said nothing of what he’d seen. Yet, in bed at night, he’d dream that in his hand there was a light which cured the sick, but on awakening all he had was a snake curled round a wooden stick.

Dancing in the Dust (Poem_

And there we were

High in the house

Locked and shuttered in the disappointment room*

While from far below

The laughter and music drifted up

And we knew that crystal chandeliers hung

Casting light and warmth

Over our elders while they danced at the ball

And we could imagine the wine in sparkling glasses

And see the taste, and feel it spilling down our parched throats

So we held each other close

And danced in the dust.

*A  room, usually on the top floor of the house, where mentally disabled or mentally ill children were kept during the 1800-1900s to remain out of the public eye.

A Dialogue with Pigs (Poem)

He talked to pigs
And hearing his words
Plunged their snouts back into the trough
But Merlin gained a gift through madness
And out of the wilderness he came, with power.

And though we too talk to pigs
Though they hear our words
They do not listen
And plunge their snouts deep into the trough
But we will gain a gift in madness
And out of the wilderness we will march,
with power.

I am Concerned

“I am concerned that e cigarettes will act as a gateway into smoking.” This is a lie, but how to prove it? Actually it is very easy. You see there is now such an abundance of evidence that this is not happening that, any ‘expert’ must be aware that there is no gateway effect. Add to this the twisting of statistics and other shoddy and desperate tactics, and it is easy to see that the advocates of this concern must be the ones most aware that they have no need to be concerned in the first instance.

Look at the statement, “I am concerned that…” This is often read to mean that there is some danger that ‘it’ might be happening, or might happen sometime in the future – but the evidence says otherwise.  

I could claim to be concerned that the moon might fall out of the sky, but my experience says otherwise, and no one would believe that this was a genuine concern.  I could express concern that the next car heading towards me will suffer catastrophic brake failure and run me down, but my experience says otherwise, and I would be mad to live my life thinking about this kind of possibility.

I could parade in the shopping centre with a placard saying, “The end of the world is nigh.” Let me rephrase that, “I am concerned that the end of the world is nigh.” And people would walk past and when past, smile a little. So when professors of Public Health state that they are, “concerned those e cigarettes might lead to cigarette smoking,” why does no one walk past smiling?  

Oh! The evidence……. Well, a taster….

http://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-b-siegel-the-e-cigarette-gateway-myth-1407283557

http://www.totallywicked-eliquid.co.uk/news/2014/november/e-cigarettes-are-not-a-gateway-to.html

http://www.clivebates.com/?p=1262

http://antithrlies.com/2014/03/07/stanton-glantz-is-such-a-liar-that-even-the-acs-balks/

http://antithrlies.com/2014/03/07/stanton-glantz-is-such-a-liar-that-even-the-acs-balks/

http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

“Regular use of electronic cigarettes amongst children and young people is rare and is confined almost entirely to those who currently or have previously smoked.”

So despite the evidence, despite the fact that it is not happening Public Health officials repeat the dire warning and express their concern.  Concern! Concerned about something that is not happening, has never happened and is not likely to happen – what next? The end of the world perhaps?

“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/