The Secret to Tobacco Harm Reduction is Accurate and Actionable Information


“The public and especially users of multiple tobacco and nicotine products need to be provided

accurate and actionable information on major differential tobacco and nicotine product risk.”


The focus of Vaper’s Vortex is usually on the science, politics and regulatory policies that affect smokers and vapers in the U.S. But the death toll from combustible tobacco is not limited to the U.S. The fight for reasonable, evidence based regulatory policies for alternative nicotine delivery systems is not just a U.S. challenge. The secret to harm reduction is accurate and actionable information. Surely every bit as important in other nations as it is right here at home.

This op-ed piece discusses Canadian Senate Bill S-5 that is currently being debated. It is one of the best arguments I have ever read for a common-sense approach to regulating reduced risk products for nicotine delivery. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Technology has provided the Canadian government (and every government) tools to dramatically shorten the timeline for achieving smoking cessation goals.
  • For decades demand side regulations – taxes, minimum age laws, advertising bans – were the only option for tobacco control. We now have a supply side tool that has been shown, here and here and here , to be dramatically more effective.
  • Regulators need to get it – all forms of tobacco and/or nicotine use are not the same. Terms like “harmless” or “safe” are irrational standards that cost lives. There is a continuum of risk that equates to “less harmful”, “safer”, and a reduction in smoking related deaths.
  • In Canada (and many other countries around the world), public health, harm reduction and common sense, are losing out to ideology and moral hypocrites that demand nothing short of prohibition.
  • Consumers have the right to evidence-based information that will allow them to make informed choices on alternative reduced risk products.

For those who have read my September 26th blog , you know that Big Tobacco companies are racing to develop and market reduced risk products. So it may come as no surprise that this op-ed piece was written by Andre Calantzopoulos, the CEO of Phillip Morris International.

Many will dismiss Calantzopoulos’ remarks as just the latest example of Big Tobacco lies motivated by corporate greed. Fair enough.

Dr. Lynn Kozlowski of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Buffalo:

“The public and especially users of multiple tobacco and nicotine products need to be provided accurate and actionable information on major differential tobacco and nicotine product risk.

Deception or evasion about major differences in product risks is not supported by public health ethics, health communication or consumer practices.

Public health agencies have an obligation to correct the current dramatic level of consumer misinformation on relative risks that they have fostered.”

David Sweanor of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa:

“We know that people can only make as good a decision as the information available to them allows, and in this case we see a quarantining of the information, keeping information away from consumers rather than empowering them to make better decisions.

You are going to reduce risk by at least 90 percent for smokeless tobacco compared to cigarettes, but only 1 in 10 Americans believe that any smokeless tobacco product is less hazardous than a cigarette, so they have been phenomenally misled.”

Big Tobacco CEO. Medical doctor and University Public Health professor. Attorney and University Health Law professor. It’s not the messenger that’s important. It’s the message.

 


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Is Big Tobacco Initiating a Big Change? Or a Big Con?


“If we can put a man on the moon, we can deliver tobacco to people with less risk than smoking.”

A dozen organizations – could have made that statement. Millions of vapers – could have made that statement. Medical doctors, lawyers, public health officials – could have made that statement.

So, who made that statement? Her name is Debra Crew. Ms. Crew knows quite a bit about delivering tobacco to people. More than most. As the Chief Executive Officer of Reynolds American, delivering tobacco to people is literally her job. She made the comment in her speech to the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum in New York. Is Big Tobacco initiating a big change? Or a big con?

Reynolds American is not the only Big Tobacco organization that is shifting their focus. Andre Calantzopoulos, Phillip Morris International’s (PMI) chief executive officer stated that the FDA’s July 28th announcement was “one of the best articulated positions in many years.”

In June of 2015 I wrote a blog discussing PMI’s investment of more than $2 billion for research and development of reduced risk products. In the two years since that piece was written, PMI’s investment has increased to $4 billion.

Much of that investment was focused on the development of PMI’s “heat not burn” product – IQOS. IQOS debuted in Japan in 2016 and is expected to be available in 35 markets by the end of this year. IQOS currently has 3 million users including about 10% of the Japanese cigarette market. According to PMI, 70% of those users have switched to using IQOS exclusively. And PMI claims that 8000 new customers are switching every day.

IQOS is currently not available in the U.S. but PMI has filed a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) application with the FDA. Greg Conley, President of the American Vaping Association sent a letter to the FDA urging approval of the PMI MRTP application.

“As strong believers in the possibility of the United States attaining a ‘smoke-free’ future with technology, innovation, and a recognition of informed human choice, we strongly recommended that the FDA approve these MRTP applications.”

Guy Bentley along with  Brian Fojtik of the Reason Foundation also filed a comment with FDA in support of PMI’s MRTP application.

“According to PMI Science, 18 chemicals whose concentrations the FDA deems as essential to evaluating the relative safety of tobacco products are reduced by 90-95 percent in IQOS.”

For those skeptical of any science conducted by one of the world’s largest producers of cigarettes (which is just about everyone), Bentley went on to say:

“Thankfully, PMI Science is not the only source of the relative risks of IQOS. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens and world-renowned researcher on e-cigarettes, conducted investigations into the toxicity of IQOS in a non-PMI lab and found broadly the same results.”

As of this writing, a total of 34 comments have been submitted to FDA regarding PMI’s MRTP application. Nearly all of them in support of FDA granting PMI the modified risk designation. If successful, this would be the first MRTP application ever approved by the FDA. That would allow PMI to market IQOS as a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes.

An FDA spokesman has indicated that FDA intends to review the December 2016 application within 360 days. Accomplishing that will be a monumental challenge. You see, the application, it’s 2 million pages long. 4,000 reams of paper weighing 20,000 pounds and standing 68 stories high if stacked vertically. Hopefully PMI numbered the pages. Just in case.

Is Big Tobacco initiating a big change? Or a big con? The answer to that question depends very much on who is doing the answering. Proponents of harm reduction will see it as a very positive change. The prohibitionists are going to be thinking (and shouting) “con” all the way.

Big Tobacco has spent decades marketing the deadliest consumer product ever created. Big Tobacco has lied to their customers. To the general public. To the World Health Organization. To healthcare providers. And to the U.S. Congress.They have made mind boggling profits in the process. They continue to do so. There is no credible reason to believe that they will stop any time soon.

Conversely, Big Pharma, public health organizations and agencies of federal, state and local governments, have spent more than a decade fighting tobacco harm reduction in favor of a prohibitionist approach. They maintain that abstinence is the only acceptable option. Big Pharma and public health have lied to their customers. To the general public. To the WHO. To healthcare providers. And to the U.S. Congress. Big Pharma has made mind boggling profits in the process. Universities and independent research organizations fiercely compete for millions and millions of research grant dollars. Governments at every level have collected billions of smoking, and now vaping, tax dollars. They continue to do so. There is no credible reason to believe that they will stop any time soon.

What was once a clear dividing line between the “black hats” and the “white hats” is now far from clear. Both sides have a credibility problem. Mind boggling profits and credibility do not go hand in hand.

Are we being conned by Big Tobacco? I don’t think so. What we are seeing is BT’s response to a seismic shift in the nicotine market. The epicenter is e-cigarettes. Smoking rates are at historic lows. Because of e-cigarettes. And they are continuing to decline in developed counties at unprecedented rates. Because of e-cigarettes. And now, finally, the FDA has adopted a policy of evidence based harm reduction. Because of e-cigarettes. Big Tobacco is looking at big trouble. In the not too distant future. Because of e-cigarettes. Time for a new plan.

Regardless of how ruthless and dishonest BT may be, when all is said and done, these are businesses. Businesses that are seeing their customer base decline. And the vaping market growing faster than ever. BT is turning over a new leaf. It’s not about the goodness of their non-existent heart. It’s about money. They will capture the lion’s share of the emerging market. They will deliver nicotine to people with a delivery system that poses dramatically less risk than smoking. Crazy as it sounds, BT will take the lead in tobacco harm reduction. And they will continue to make tens of billions of dollars in profit along the way.

“Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less-harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts. And we believe it’s vital that we pursue this common ground.”                      Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner

Big Tobacco is changing their cornerstone. Who knows, they may even improve their credibility.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Appropriate or Appalling?


“Any effort to treat cigarettes no differently from massively less hazardous alternatives like vaping protects the cigarette business rather than public health. It is akin to whiskey distillers wanting orange juice to be subjected to identical regulations.”
David Sweanor, University of Ottawa

(TLDR – When I started working on this piece I wanted to get a feel for the response to FDA’s unprecedented about face on tobacco regulation. Appropriate or appalling? I was surprised by the exceptionally wide spectrum of individuals, organizations, researchers, politicians, and even foreign governments that have weighed in on the subject. The diversity makes It impossible to give you guys an honest picture within the normal length of my blog posts. So my apologies for the length of this piece. But I hope that you’ll come away with a better understanding of the many different points of view on this dramatic change. D.C.)


At the 30-day mark after Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s surprise announcement outlining FDAs’ intention to regulate a reduction of nicotine in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels, the reactions have been revealing.

Science

A number of research studies have been released on the heels of FDAs’ announcement.

“Though the opioid crisis is currently attracting the attention of the media and decision makers across society, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States causing more than 480,000 deaths a year. To put the scourge of cigarettes in context, smoking kills 15 times more Americans per year than opioids.”  Michael P. Eriksen, Professor and Dean, School of Public Health, Georgia State University. Published August 22nd in “Business Standard”.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Public Health determined that 52 percent of daily e-cigarette users had successfully quit smoking in the past five years. Success quit rate for those adults who had never used e-cigarettes – 28 percent. Daniel Giovenco, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of Sociomedical Services at Columbia:

“While questions regarding the efficacy of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation remain, our findings suggest that frequent e-cigarette use may play an important role in cessation or relapse prevention for some smokers.”

 

Public Health Agencies and Organizations

In a response to an August 5th editorial in the Washington Post, Dr. Enid R. Neptune, Vice Chair of the American Thoracic Society’s Tobacco Action Committee wrote:

“The commissioner seems unconcerned about switching one form of nicotine addiction with another. Nicotine in any form is bad for your health, adversely affecting neurological and cardiovascular systems and reproductive health. Evidence shows that nicotine can be a gateway drug. Flavoring agents and other chemicals in e-cigarettes, when vaporized, are harmful.”

In response to Dr. Neptune’s comment, Dr. Michael Siegel, Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health:

“Switching from a high-risk addictive substance to a low-risk addictive substance is not a zero-sum game. It is a critical and life-saving intervention. Just as methadone maintenance programs have saved thousands of lives from heroin-associated morbidity and mortality, electronic cigarettes are saving thousands of lives from smoking-associated disease and death.”

Harold J. Farber, MD, MSPH, pediatric pulmonologist at Texas Children’s Hospital:

“This announcement indicates the FDA’s failure to protect our youth. If the FDA wanted to protect our youth they would start with a ban on characterizing flavors — which make the tobacco products essentially highly addictive candy. The real story is that the FDA is shirking the responsibility to regulate e-cigarettes and cigars — many of which come in fruit and candy flavors and are addicting our young people. Delaying regulation of these products puts our youth at risk.”

Eric Donny, PhD, professor of psychology, University of Pittsburgh and behavioral health oncology program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:

“Reducing nicotine in cigarettes should minimize the chance of youth becoming lifelong addicted smokers, so I am not sure how that is failing youth. NIH/FDA has also discussed the product standards that reduce appeal, addictiveness, and toxicity are high priorities. I would predict [the FDA’s plan] would make cessation easier for young smokers because use of low nicotine cigarettes for an extended period of time reduces dependence.”

 

Big Tobacco

According to a Bloomberg report , Gottlieb’s proposal to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels:

“…wiped about $36 billion off the value of tobacco companies in a single day, initially hitting those with the biggest U.S. exposure, such as Lucky Strike owner British American Tobacco Plc and Marlboro parent Altria Group Inc., the hardest.”

In an interview with Euronews, Andre Calantzopoulos, CEO for Philip Morris International (PMI) weighed in on Gottlieb’s proposal with a surprising response calling the FDA’s announcement:

“One of the best articulated positions in many years.”

(PMI has invested billions in their heat not burn product IQOS which has gained rapid popularity in the Japanese and other international markets. Calantzopoulos went on to say that 3 million people have switched to IQOS from regular cigarettes and 8,000 more are switching – every day.)

 

International

Public health experts in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Finland and the UK have responded to Gottlieb’s proposal with interest in, or proposals for, implementing similar plans for reducing nicotine in combustible cigarettes. It has been widely reported that the U.K.’s Department of Health has discussed the U.S. proposal with FDA representatives.

UK ministers want to slash smoking rates 25% by 2022 by urging millions to switch to e-cigs. The UK’s Action on Smoking and Health predicts the UK could be smoke free – with less than one in 20 lighting up – by 2030.

 

Politicians

A letter to Gottlieb dated August 4th and signed by thirteen Democratic Senators states in part:

 “Many of us wrote to you in May urging you to steadfastly implement the FDA’s deeming rule, which- for the first time ever-enacted oversight over e-cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products, helping to protect public health and prevent tobacco use by young people. Instead, last week’s announcement indicates that you intend to delay implementation of key provisions of the deeming rule, giving e-cigarette and cigar manufacturers- including flavored products – a free pass to stay on the market for years with minimal oversight and restrictions. This is a step backwards and contradicts years of data demonstrating the danger these products pose to public health.”

(I would be interested in hearing the Senators thoughts on why the deeming rule contained no “key provision” regarding Big Tobacco’s combustible cigarettes. A “free pass” for the deadliest consumer product ever created to remain on the market forever with minimal oversight and restrictions. A step backwards that contradicts years of data demonstrating the exponentially greater danger these products pose to public health versus electronic cigarettes and other smokeless products.)

 

Opinions and Editorials

In an Op-Ed piece published in the New York Post, Jeff Stier, head of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research writes:

“The US and UK governments see lower-risk nicotine products as a tool to bring smoking-related diseases down to levels not seen in generations.”

Guy Bentley, Reason Foundation in a piece published in the Washington Examiner titled “ Evidence over prejudice: Ending the anti-vaping hysteria ”:

“By highlighting the role that reduced risk products like e-cigarettes can play in helping people quit smoking, Gottlieb is sending the message that a policy that fails to recognize relative risk and the potential for harm reduction will be a failure.”

On August 4th the Washington Post wrote in an opinion piece :

“The Food and Drug Administration unveiled last week what may be one of the most important public-health initiatives of this century: an ambitious long-term strategy to finally end tobacco’s cycle of addiction and death, a scourge that has taken the lives of millions of Americans over centuries of cultivation and consumption.”

In a recent editorial published in BMJ Journals, Dr Robert N Proctor, Department of History, Stanford University:

“Overall, though, this new FDA plan is certainly a breath of fresh air. If carried through with courage and conviction, it could save more lives than any other act of a governmental agency in all of human history. The magnitude of the harms is that great. We hear a lot about tobacco endgames: this one could be a game-changer.”

 

David Sweanor, Adjunct Law Professor, University of Ottawa and the author of several e-cig studies:

“The key thing in my view is what (Gottlieb) is saying on continuum of risk, encouraging innovation, backing off from onerous requirements on alternatives to cigarettes, etc..”

“This is a huge switch from the tobacco-free world/abstinence-only/quit or die approach to tobacco and nicotine by U.S. government agencies. It will now be very hard for instance, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to continue engaging in misinformation campaigns on relative risks.”

(Apparently Sweanor hit the nail on the head when it comes to the CDC. My research has not turned up a single statement from the CDC regarding the FDA’s new direction. The former CDC Director, Thomas Frieden would have been pouring out misinformation campaigns to every media outlet in the country. The new Director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald was only appointed on July 7th. The big question? Will Dr. Fitzgerald allow politics to overrule science as her predecessor did? Or will she envision CDC’s role as a true public health advocate?)

Matthew Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reacted to the FDA’s proposal by saying it:

“…represents a bold and comprehensive vision with the potential to accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use and death.”

Myers then quickly added that the extension of e-cigarette deadlines:

“will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight.”

In a separate statement, Myers is quoted as saying the proposal could lead to:

“The most fundamental change the tobacco industry has ever seen.”

Last but not least, any coverage of responses to FDA actions would be remiss without mention of the predictable rantings of Stanton Glantz, University of California, San Francisco:

“I think this announcement is good news and bad news. I think that the FDA moving forward to regulate the levels of nicotine delivered in combustive cigarettes can be a good thing. If they do it right, it could be a very good thing and could have a lot of positive public health benefits. But the other thing that they did, which was to basically back off any type of meaningful regulation of e-cigarettes is just a public health nightmare, completely at variance with what science shows and generally appalling.”

(The scientific community has, on numerous occasions, been appalled at what Glantz regards as “science”.)


By offering something to both camps in the tobacco controversy, the new FDA Commissioner has demonstrated a keen awareness and understanding of the politics surrounding tobacco regulation.

Nicotine’s addictiveness is the root of the problem. But not the source of the death and disease caused by smoking. Reduce the level of nicotine in combustible tobacco to non-addictive levels and a reduction in smoking will follow. If there is an alternative source of nicotine.

Nicotine’s addictiveness is also the root of the solution. One that does not involve combustion and the staggering death toll caused by smoking.

Public health nightmare? A plan that could save more lives than any other act of a governmental agency in all of human history? Appropriate or appalling?

We are about to find out. Once and for all.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!
Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .
The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Gets It – But Can He Sell It?

August 18, 2017

“Nicotine lives at the core of both the problem and, ultimately, the solution to the question of addiction, and the harm caused by combustible forms of tobacco.”
Scott Gottlieb, MD

 

The passage of the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) in 2009 put the spotlight on two very distinct camps. With two very different positions on reducing the death toll resulting from cigarette smoking.

The U.S. tobacco control camp has steadfastly maintained an abstinence only position. Nothing short of prohibiting all use of tobacco products and all use of nicotine, is acceptable. A position that critics have labelled “Quit or die.”

The second camp advocates harm reduction as the preferred path for reducing smoking related deaths. Abstinence they insist, is not achievable in any acceptable time frame, if at all. Critics insist that harm reduction is simply substituting one form of addiction for another.

In the eight years since the TCA was passed, the battle between the abstinence only camp vs. the harm reduction camp has changed very little. Both sides remain entrenched. Adamant. Uncompromising. Unyielding.

If this was a sporting event, the score would be 0-0. And that’s after eight years. Something needed to change. And on July 28, 2017 something did. The game has a new referee. Well technically, a new Commissioner.

Commissioner Gottlieb, did more for public health in one day than the Congress, the FDA, state and local politicians, and all of the public health agencies and organizations in the U.S. combined did in eight years.

At the very heart of FDA’s new direction is Gottlieb’s recognition that  n i c o t i n e  is not only the key to the problem, but the key to the solution as well. Unfortunately, several studies have determined that the majority of Americans still do not understand that nicotine is not the source of smoking related disease and death.

The overwhelming amount of the death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes. Addiction causes long-term sustained use. But it’s exposure to the harmful chemicals [from combustion] that causes disease.”

The challenges faced by Gottlieb went way beyond recognizing the importance of nicotine. He had to recognize that abstinence is not achievable without a realistic plan for making it happen. Decades of research, reports from the Surgeons General, unanimous agreement by doctors that smoking is the number one cause of preventable death, the dismal ineffectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy, sin taxes, age restrictions, millions of dollars spent on a 50-year anti-smoking crusade. And what do we have to show for it? An annual smoking death rate in the U.S. of 480,000. An annual cost in healthcare and lost productivity of $300 billion dollars.

What’s now clear is that FDA is at a unique moment in history, with profound new tools to address this devastating impact.”

While it would be almost impossible to overstate the importance of the FDA’s new direction under Gottlieb’s leadership, the real work is just beginning.

  • Will the FDA openly promote the use of e-cigarettes and other smokeless products as less harmful and proven aids for smokers wanting to quit? Maximizing the benefit of reducing nicotine content in cigarettes to non-addictive levels will require giving smokers an alternative delivery system for obtaining the nicotine they are addicted to. Reduce nicotine in cigarettes without an alternative and smokers will turn to the inevitable black market.
  • Will the FDA be successful in implementing a policy of regulating “tobacco products” based on the continuum of risk that Gottlieb addressed in his plan? Will they be allowed to regulate and enforce based on the fact that not all products present the same health threat to public health?
  • Innovation in safety and efficiency of e-cigarettes is stagnant. Nothing in Gottlieb’s plan improves the prospects for product innovation. Until the arbitrary and unjustifiable 2007 predicate date is changed, innovation is at a standstill. And only Congress can change the date.

FDA Commissioner Gottlieb gets it – but can he sell it? Eliminating the deadliest consumer product ever created starts with harm reduction. Harm reduction starts with a regulatory environment that acknowledges its importance to public health. But the regulatory environment is subject to the opposition of politicians and giant organizations with deep pockets.

To have any chance of succeeding, a new plan going forward will involve concessions to both camps – tobacco control and harm reduction. Neither camp will get everything they want. There’s nothing wrong with setting abstinence as the ultimate goal. But achieving that lofty goal starts with emphasis, above all else, on harm reduction as the first step. Lives depend on getting the priorities straight.

Success does not mean pleasing everyone. Success does not mean doing the best we can. Success does not mean all or nothing.

Success means doing what is necessary. In the interest of public health.

Public health is about saving lives, not fighting for some ideological principle of no addiction to any substance, regardless of how low-risk the product might be or how the product might be saving a life by switching someone to a much safer form of drug delivery.”

Michael Siegel, MD


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last eight years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

FDA – A NEW DAY AND A NEW WAY

August 3, 2017


We all did it!! The FDA has backed down!”
Congrats to all who will now live longer & keep their jobs/businesses.”

A Billion Lives (via Twitter)


July 28, 2017. Less than 90 days after being appointed FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, MD outlines a new and many would say, long overdue, direction for FDA’s oversight of tobacco product regulation.

For those who have followed the debate since the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) was signed into law in 2009, the scope of the changes outlined in Gottlieb’s speech are nothing short of remarkable. This is a plan of action that not only includes provisions for changes in compliance requirements but, for the first time, positions the FDA squarely in support of evidenced based tobacco harm reduction. A position that has for years been vehemently rejected by ideological “quit or die” public health individuals and organizations. Commissioner Gottlieb:

“Armed with the recognition of the risk continuum, and the reality that all roads lead back to cigarettes as the primary cause of the current problem, we need to envision a world where cigarettes lose their addictive potential through reduced nicotine levels.  And a world where less harmful alternative forms, efficiently delivering satisfying levels of nicotine, are available for those adults who need or want them.”

Gottlieb acknowledges the importance of product innovations. Two changes announced in his speech are crucial steps in the right direction. First, he has extended newly regulated products to include all products on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016.

“The FDA is committed to encouraging innovations that have the potential to make a notable public health difference and inform policies and efforts that will best protect kids and help smokers quit cigarettes. To make this effort successful, the agency intends to extend timelines to submit tobacco product review applications for newly regulated tobacco products that were on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016.”

Second, compliance requirements under the former FDA regime would have eliminated 99% of vaping businesses in the U.S. in 2018. The cost and complexity of the requisite Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) were simply beyond the reach of all but Big Tobacco. Gottlieb has pushed the compliance date back by four years to Aug. 8, 2022. But he didn’t stop there. Under the previous FDA rules, any products not approved by 2019 would be taken off the market. Under the new rules, those products will remain on the market pending the outcome of the approval process.

“The agency plans to issue this guidance describing a new enforcement policy shortly. Applications for non-combustible products such as ENDS or e-cigarettes would be submitted by Aug. 8, 2022. Additionally, the FDA expects that manufacturers would continue to market products while the agency reviews product applications.”

In addition, Gottlieb is suggesting streamlining and increased transparency for product reviews:

“To complement these larger policy considerations, the FDA plans to issue foundational rules to make the product review process more efficient, predictable, and transparent for manufacturers, while upholding the agency’s public health mission. Among other things, the FDA intends to issue regulations outlining what information the agency expects to be included in Premarket Tobacco Applications (PMTAs), Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) applications and reports to demonstrate Substantial Equivalence (SE).”

David Sweanor, Adjunct Law Professor at the University of Ottawa, emphasizes the importance of Gottlieb’s focus:

“…continuum of risk, encouraging innovation, backing off from onerous requirements on alternatives to cigarettes.”

“This is a huge switch from the tobacco-free world/abstinence-only/quit or die approach to tobacco and nicotine by U.S. government agencies. It will now be very hard for instance, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to continue engaging in misinformation campaigns on relative risks.”

So what is the response from public health organizations to this very significant change in the FDA’s approach to tobacco regulation?

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

A spokesman for CTFK, Vince Willmore stated – “To Dr. Gottlieb’s credit, when he looked at the issue, he realized that to be effective, the promotion of less-harmful tobacco products must be paired with reduction in the use of the most harmful products.”

Matthew Myers, President of CTFK – the FDA’s proposal “represents a bold and comprehensive vision with the potential to accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use and death.”

Myers then went on to say – the extension of e-cigarette deadlines “will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight.”

American Lung Association

“We are concerned about how long a product standard on reducing the addictiveness of cigarettes is going to take based on the process outlined on Friday.”

American Heart Association

“FDA’s move today to lower nicotine levels and take a harder look at how flavored tobacco products attract the young is to be commended. However, the association is disappointed with the agency’s decision to delay certain e-cigarette and cigar compliance deadlines. Altering the deadline for FDA review of e-cigarettes and cigars is a troubling step and one that we will closely monitor.”

There are many questions still to be answered. Much work to be done. And no doubt lawsuits to be litigated. But these things will take place in a dramatically different landscape. A landscape where public health is the driving force. A landscape where harm reduction and evidence based science is the focus for saving lives. A landscape that has no tolerance for combustible tobacco cigarettes.

It is a new day and a new way. Harm reduction. Science and evidence based policy. Consumer choice. Lives saved. Aaron Biebert and “A Billion Lives” has my sincere and utmost respect. But they got this one wrong. The FDA has not backed down. The FDA has stepped up.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last ten years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Gateway to Smoking

Vaper’s Vortex

June 17, 2016


“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


The FDA and the CDC have spearheaded a seemingly unstoppable campaign. Built on the Gateway to Smoking foundation. Well organized. Well executed. Well funded. The only problem is that their campaign is based not on credible science, but instead on FDA and CDC dependence on funding from Big Pharma and Big Tobacco.

The FDA tells us it “does not currently have sufficient data about e-cigarettes and similar products to fully determine what effects they have on the public health.”

How much data could the FDA, the CDC, or any other “public health” entity possibly need to determine that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes? Insufficient data is not a justification. It’s a diversion. What are they hiding?

Within the last few days, the University of Southern California published a study in the journal Pediatrics. The predictable and intentional result was a media blitz complete with alarmist headlines like “Teens who vape e-cigs ‘six times more likely to smoke cigarettes!” and “Vaping is a gateway to smoking!”

This “study” makes no contribution to science. This “study” makes no contribution to improving public health. This “study” is propaganda, bought and paid for by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products.

Perhaps the FDA and NCI should consider the response to their study by internationally recognized tobacco control experts.

Prof. Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London

“If the conclusion that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking cigarettes was true “we would be seeing large increases in tobacco smoking, but instead we are seeing marked declines in youth tobacco smoking since e-cigarettes came on the market. This suggests e-cigarettes are actually helping young people not to smoke tobacco cigarettes (something this study did not even consider).”

Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London

“The authors misinterpret their findings. Like several previous studies of this type, this one just shows that people who try things, try things.”

“To assess whether e-cigarette experimentation by adolescents encourages smoking, one has to examine whether an increase in e-cigarette experimentation is accompanied by an increase in smoking on the population level. Such data are available and they show that as e-cigarette experimentation increased, smoking rates in young people have gone down. In fact, the decline in youth smoking over the past few years has been faster than ever before.”

Michael Siegel, Professor at Boston University School of Public Health

“This study is virtually meaningless in terms of its evaluation of the “gateway” hypothesis.”

“In addition, the study counted anyone who had ever puffed a cigarette as being a smoker. So theoretically, a subject could have had a single puff of an e-cigarette and hated it, and then had a single puff of a cigarette and hated it, and they would be considered someone who initiated smoking because of first becoming addicted to vaping.”

“In fact, the strongest argument against the paper’s interpretation of its findings is their inconsistency with the population-based data. If youth who experiment with e-cigarettes really were six times more likely to initiate smoking, then given the high level of experimentation, the observed rate of youth smoking would certainly be substantially higher than revealed by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Youth smoking rates would not have experienced a 41% decline, concomitant with a 24-times increase in e-cigarette experimentation, if e-cigarette use were really a substantial promoter of smoking initiation.”

Prof Neil McKeganey, Founding Director, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow

Prof McKeganey speaking at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw Poland, June 17, 2016:

“There was very little indication amongst the young people interviewed that e-cigarettes were resulting in an increased likelihood of young people smoking. In fact the majority we interviewed, including those who were vaping, perceived smoking in very negative terms and saw vaping as being entirely different to smoking.”

Jacob Sullum, Contributor to Forbes

“This study does not come close to confirming the hypothesis that teenagers who otherwise never would have smoked get addicted to nicotine by vaping and ultimately progress to conventional cigarettes. It does not show that any of the teenagers vaped enough to get hooked on nicotine (or even that the e-liquid they used contained nicotine). It does not show that teenagers who tried vaping and subsequently tried smoking liked either of them, let alone that they developed a long-lasting, life-threatening tobacco habit. Most crucially, it does not show that the availability of e-cigarettes had any impact on teenagers’ subsequent decisions to try the real thing.”

The FDA, CDC and all the other alphabet non-profits (AHA, ALA, ACS, CTFK, ad nauseum) may succeed in banning vaping products in the U.S. But their success would not be the result of insufficient data. It would not be the result of protecting public health. It would not be the result of credible science.

If they succeed, it will be the result of money, power and rampant corruption. There oughta be a law.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Pulse Victims Fund

https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

 

Beginning Monday, June 13 and running through Sunday, June 19, DIYELS is proud to do our part in supporting the families of the victims of Pulse Florida.

All DIYELS products, storewide, are 10% off. Please enter the promo code “PulseFlorida” at checkout. More importantly, DIYELS will donate 100% of sale profits to the Pulse Victims Fund. As of this writing, the fund has raised more than $3 million and is growing every single second.

Whether those reading this post take advantage of our efforts, or choose to donate directly to the Pulse Victims Fund, please donate what you can. The amount does not matter. The outpouring of love and support does.

There simply are no words to rationalize an irrational act of hate and terror. We – as a nation, as Americans, as mothers, as fathers, as sons, as daughters – as a family, we will never forget.

If you would like to donate with DIYELS without product purchase, you may also do so at:
https://www.diye-liquidsupplies.com/product/pulse-orlando-fundraiser/

ACCOUNTABLE

Vaper’s Vortex

May 31, 2016


“Accountable: a person, organization, or institution required or expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible. Government must be accountable to its citizens.”

May 17, 2016. The FDA receives a letter addressed to FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD. A letter that Dr. Califf and many others at the FDA will not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to. The FDA will respond. The May 17th letter is signed by Ron Johnson – United States Senator, Ron Johnson (R – Wis). But in the eyes of the FDA, Sen. Johnson is not just any Senator. Sen. Johnson is Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Later this year, the Senate will consider passage of the Fiscal Year 2017 Agricultural Appropriations Bill. A $21.3 billion spending bill. Which includes $2.7 billion of “discretionary funding” for the FDA. That is more than half (56%) of the $4.78 billion total FDA funding for 2017. Funding that prior to moving to the Senate floor for debate, could be changed, by the committee, chaired by Sen. Johnson.

The Appropriations Bill also has a rider on it. One that would change the “predicate date” (aka the Grandfather date) to the date FDA regulations become effective. Every vaping product on the market prior to the effective date of FDA regulations would not be subject to Pre-Market Tobacco Application requirements.

The FDA has “skin in the game”. Sen. Johnson is in a position to influence how much skin the FDA keeps. Or loses.

Sen. Johnson is “requesting” FDA provide answers to some very pointed questions.

“I write to request your assistance in understanding the consequences that this new regulation may have on small businesses and the public’s health.”

Sen. Johnson then goes on to say:

“In order to assist the Committee in better understanding the FDA’s decision to expand its authority on e-cigarettes, I ask that you please provide the following information and materials:

  • Will the FDA issue a revised rule if there is sufficient data that finds that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes? Please explain.
  • How is the FDA’s regulation of e-cigarettes not a premature restriction on an industry given the FDA’s admission that it does not have “sufficient data” about e-cigarettes to determine the effects on the public’s health?”

Sufficient data. The FDA justifies their regulatory action on the basis of data they do not have. Questions they have no answers to. Perceived threats they cannot objectively substantiate. Given the sweeping and prohibitive nature of their regulation, is it not prudent and reasonable to expect FDA to provide plausible justification for their actions?

  • What is FDA’s definition of “sufficient data”?
  • In the last seven years, how much of the billions of dollars of “discretionary funding” has FDA allocated toward gathering “sufficient data”?
  • How much of the billions of dollars of future “discretionary funding” will FDA allocate toward gathering “sufficient data”?
  • What is FDA’s estimated timeline for gathering “sufficient data”?
  • What is FDA’s estimate of the number of American lives that will be lost to the deadliest consumer product ever created, while FDA gathers “sufficient data”?
  • Is the FDA seriously suggesting that “comments were divided on the safety and toxicity of e-liquids, e-cigarettes, and the exhaled aerosol” is justification for the most blatant example of Prohibition in more than 80 years?

Sen. Johnson:

Some stakeholders claim that the FDA’s rule on e-cigarettes will stifle innovation and result in the closure of many small businesses that create and sell e-cigarette products.

  • Did FDA determine how many e-cigarette businesses will be affected by the rule? If not, why?
  • If so, please provide that data.
  • Of the e-cigarette businesses that will be affected by the rule, how many of those businesses does the FDA predict will exit the market as a result of the new requirements?”

By their act of imposing these regulations, FDA would have us believe that:

  • They have “sufficient data” to decimate the vaping industry.
  • They have “sufficient data” to justify elimination of tens of thousands of jobs.
  • They have “sufficient data” to force thousands of small businesses to close their doors.
  • They have “sufficient data” to justify handing the entire vaping industry over to Big Tobacco.
  • The FDA does not have “sufficient data” on which to meet their mandate to regulate. But they have “sufficient data” to arbitrarily and single handedly eliminate.

Sen. Johnson:

“Has FDA considered the unintended consequences if decreased access to e-cigarettes leads to increased consumption of traditional cigarette and tobacco products? Please explain.”

Yes indeed FDA, please explain.

  • How the regulations you are implementing will reduce the estimated 480,000 Americans who die, every year, as the result of combustible tobacco products.
  • How the regulations you are implementing will reduce the estimated 6 million deaths worldwide, every year, as the result of combustible tobacco products.
  • How the regulations you are implementing will reduce the estimated 1 billion who will die, in the 21st Century, as the result of combustible tobacco products.
  • How the regulations you are implementing will impact reductions in smoking rates achieved over the last five years. Reductions so dramatic they have no historical precedent. Reductions achieved in five years that could not be accomplished in more than fifty years of efforts to reduce smoking. Fifty years of failed efforts. Fifty years with no viable alternative to combustible tobacco products.
  • How will the regulations you are implementing contribute, in any way, to tobacco harm reduction?
  • How the consequences of the regulations you are implementing could in any rational context be considered “unintended”.

Sen. Johnson closes his letter with two very succinct messages to the FDA.

  • “Please provide this as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 31, 2016.” And…
  • “The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is authorized by Rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate to investigate “the efficiency and economy of operations of all branches of the Government.” Additionally, S. Res. 73 (114th Congress) authorize the Committee to examine “the efficiency and economy of all branches and functions of Government with particular references to the operations and management of Federal regulatory policies and programs.”

This is the Legislative Branch of government sending a clear message to the Executive Branch of government – justify your actions. Explain the efficiency and economy of the operations and management of FDA. And do so by 5:00 p.m. today.

The FDA now has “sufficient data” to draw an important public health conclusion – the FDA is – accountable.

 


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

CDC Says U.S. Adult Smoking Rates are Plummeting – What’s Happening and Why?

Vaper’s Vortex

November 17, 2015

“The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 16.8 percent in 2014.”

Five days ago, November 12th, the CDC released a report stating that data from the National Health Information Survey (NHIS) determined that in 2014, the number of U.S. smokers age 18 and over was 16.8%. That represents a full percentage point drop from the 2013 rate of 17.8%.

So what happened? What conclusions can be drawn from this dramatic drop that will be the basis of future efforts to reduce smoking even further? First we’ll examine the CDC’s conclusions. Then we’ll examine an alternative explanation.

CDC Conclusions

A November 12th NBC News article states:

“They’re [federal health officials] not sure of all the reasons why, but credit anti-smoking campaigns, better insurance coverage to help people kick the habit, and tougher laws that make it harder to smoke in a growing number of places.”

The article goes on to quote CDC researchers:

“The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 16.8 percent in 2014.”

“The researchers say it’s not clear if products such as e-cigarettes are helping people quit. So far, there’s little evidence that they are.”

CDC Director, Thomas Frieden:

“Smoking kills half a million Americans each year and costs more than $300 billion.”

“This report shows real progress helping American smokers quit and that more progress is possible.”

“Last year, smoking rates hit a 50-year low. Now they’re even lower.”

“Significant additional increases in federal and state cigarette taxes can further drive down smoking rates.”

In a Consumer HealthDay article , Brian King, Deputy Director for Research Translation for the CDC expands on the statements of his boss:

“Interventions like increasing the price of tobacco and the passage of comprehensive smoke-free laws at both the state and local levels have made a difference. Mass-media education campaigns led by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have also contributed to dropping smoking rates.

“But as cigarette smoking falls, other forms of tobacco use are rising. We’re seeing increases in the use of e-cigarettes and hookah use, particularly among American youth.”

“Going forward, we really need to carefully look at how all the different tobacco products are being used, and make sure we’re not simply playing a game of whack-a-mole,”

Matthew Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids:

“Our tremendous progress shows that we know how to win the fight against tobacco. Proven solutions must be fully implemented across the nation, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs that include mass media campaigns, and comprehensive, barrier-free health insurance coverage for smoking cessation treatments.”

“After stalling in the mid-2000s, adult and youth smoking rates began declining again after the federal cigarette tax was increased by 62 cents in 2009. Significant additional increases in federal and state cigarette taxes can further drive down smoking rates.”

So to summarize, the CDC, the CTFK, and other public health organizations attribute the sharp decline in adult smoking rates to:

  • Higher tobacco taxes
  • More and stronger smoke free laws
  • Well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs
  • Mass media campaigns
  • Evidence of any contribution to the decline in smoking as the result of electronic cigarettes is lacking.

An Alternative Explanation

“The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 16.8 percent in 2014.”

20.9 percent in 2005, 16.8 percent in 2014 – that’s a 4.1% decrease in adult smokers over a ten year period. Smokers declined from 45.1 million in 2005 to 40.0 million in 2014. But when you look just a little closer, you have to wonder why the CDC chose that particular time frame to promote the effectiveness of their efforts.

According to CDC’s published records, in 2005 the adult smoking rate was 20.9%. In 2009, the rate was 20.6%. In that five year period, the decline in smoking was 0.3%. That represents a 1.4% decrease over the five year period (0.3/20.9=1.4%). And in that five year period, electronic cigarettes were not available in any significant quantities. The D.C. Appellate Court decision on the Sotera case was not handed down until January of 2010.

In 2010 the smoking rate dropped from 20.6% to 19.0%. 1.6% in a single year. 2010 was the first year that electronic cigarettes became widely available. In 2014 the smoking rate was 16.8%. In the five year period from 2010 to 2014, smoking declined from 20.6% at the end of 2009, to 16.8% at the end of 2014. That represents an 18.4% decrease over the five year period (3.8/20.6=18.4%).

In other words, for the five year period from 2010 to 2014, the rate of smoking decline in the U.S. was more than thirteen times greater than the rate of decline for the preceding five years. 93% of the total ten year decline in smoking occurred during the second five years. According to the CDC’s NHIS, 2014 smokers were 40 times more likely than never smokers to currently vape (15.9% vs 0.4%). Recent former smokers were 55 times more likely to vape (22.0% vs 0.4%).

Breaking News

Just when we thought the news couldn’t get much better, a report in today’s U.S. News and World report states that, for the first six months of 2015, smoking rates have declined even more. A LOT more.

“The number of American adults who light up has fallen to a new low of just 14.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The CDC says U.S. adult smoking rates are plummeting and they have the data to prove it. We know what’s happening. The question is – do we know why?

We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

FDA – Flavored Tobacco Products Appeal to Youth

Vaper’s Vortex

November 3, 2015

“The cross-sectional analysis does not allow direct estimation of flavoring’s role in initiation of tobacco use among youth.”


Flavored tobacco products appeal to youth. That’s the FDA’s message in a new report published in JAMA on Oct 26.

“The majority of youth ever-users reported that the first product they had used was flavored … including 81.0% of e-cigarette users.”

“For past 30-day youth tobacco use, the overall proportion of flavored product use was 79.8% among users of any product and … 85.3% among e-cigarette users.” [Emphasis mine]

Of course the media feeding frenzy started within minutes of JAMA’s publication. Note the headlines:

U.S. News and World Report: Kids Drawn to ‘Gateway’ Flavored Tobacco Products, FDA Finds

Medical News Today: Is flavored tobacco to blame for teen smoking?

Los Angeles Times: First-time tobacco users lured by flavorings, report says

99% of the public reading this report will respond with alarm. Exactly what the FDA intended. The problem is that 99% of the public will not actually read the report. Instead, they will read the biased interpretation of portions of the report carefully crafted by the FDA, CDC, ALA and the media.

The findings of the report are based on an analysis of the 2013-2014 “Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study”. The PATH study includes adults and youth. The total number of youth (ages 12-17) surveyed was 13,651. The report includes two tables created by the authors.

Table 1

Table 1 includes figures for “Ever Product Use” and “Past 30 Day Product Use”. The following numbers are taken directly from that table.

Ever Use of Any Tobacco Product:

2,900 or 21.4%. Out of 13,651 youth surveyed, one in five had ever used any “tobacco product”. Almost 80%, or four out of five, had never used any tobacco product.

Ever Users reporting their first product was flavored:

2,256 or 80.8%. Of the 2,900 ever users of a “tobacco product”, four out of five used a flavored product.

Ever Users reporting their first product was an e-cigarette:

1,452 or 10.7% of 13,651 youth surveyed. One in ten ever users, of any tobacco product, chose an e-cigarette.

Ever Users reporting their first use of an e-cigarette was flavored:

1,154 or 81.0% of the 1,452 ever users of an e-cigarette. Four out of five first time youth e-cigarette users chose a flavored e-cigarette.

Notice how the percentages fluctuate dramatically, in a pattern. Low, high, low, high. Why? For two of the comparisons in the table, the authors reported percentages of the total 13,651 youth surveyed. Resulting in lower percentages. When they wanted to report alarmingly high percentages, they used the much smaller subsets of 2,900 and 1,452. That’s how you generate headlines.

Now compare the Ever Use numbers, to the Past 30-Day Use numbers. The definition of Past 30-Day Use – using a product, on 1 or more days, during the past 30 days.

Past 30-Day Tobacco Product Use

1,152 or 8.5% (of 13,651). The number of Past 30-Day Users of any product – 91.5% of all youth surveyed did not use any product, even one day, in the preceding 30 days.

Past 30-Day E-Cigarette Use

418 or 3.1% (of 13,651). The number of Past 30-Day Users who used an e-cigarette. 96.9% of Ever Users of an e-cigarette did not use an e-cigarette, even one day, in the preceding 30 days.

Table 2

Table 2 examines the reasons Past 30-Day Users indicated for using each of the products studied in the survey. The survey offered eleven reasons as possible options. I’ll limit the information here to the responses for e-cigarettes, and to the three reasons most often cited.

Before we look at the reasons, keep in mind that Past 30—Day Users of e-cigarettes, 418 in total, represent 3.1% of all youth surveyed. They are included if they used a product on 1 or more days during the past 30 days. “Use” defined as even a single puff.

I used an e-cigarette because they come in flavors I like.

338 or 81.5% (of 418 individuals).

 I used an e-cigarette because they might be less harmful to me than cigarettes.

331 or 79.1%

I used an e-cigarette because they might be less harmful to people around me than e-cigarettes.

            327 or 78.1%

As of Fall 2014, 3.1% of youth used an e-cigarette on at least one day within the past 30 days. That’s what the survey determined and that’s what the tables in their report show.

U.S. News and World Report (HealthDay) concludes:

“Candy, fruit and other flavorings are hooking America’s next generation of nicotine addicts, a new U.S. government study finds.”

The American Lung Association:

“This confirms our worst fears,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, senior scientific advisor for the American Lung Association. “Young people are being hooked on tobacco products through the use of flavoring that appeals to them.”

This in spite of the statement, in the report, by the investigators – “The cross-sectional analysis does not allow direct estimation of flavoring’s role in initiation of tobacco use among youth.”

Medical News Today starts with an undisputed fact and then just transitions to an outright lie:

It is a well-known fact that cigarette smoking carries with it significant health risks, but the younger a person starts smoking, the more problems it can cause. Now, a new study suggests flavored tobacco products may be the main culprit in attracting young people to start smoking.”

Suggesting that electronic cigarettes attract youth to smoking is like saying soft drinks are a gateway to alcoholism.

The response by California’s Los Angeles Times is – typically California:

“Since 2009, the FDA has had sweeping powers to regulate tobacco products in the interest of the public’s health. New evidence that flavorings play a key role in easing a would-be tobacco user’s introduction to the product is sure to spark renewed debate over outlawing flavorings.”

This analysis was funded by FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products and administered by the National Institutes of Health. Four of the seven report analysts are “affiliated” with the FDA. Including the two lead investigators.

Clearly this an attempt by the FDA to build public support for regulating flavors. The fact that the report was released for publication at the same time that the FDA’s final deeming regulation is being reviewed by the OMB is hardly coincidence.

Electronic cigarettes are an opportunity to reduce smoking related death and disease. Opportunity, comes with risks. And benefits. Appropriate regulations maximize benefits. While minimizing potential, but as yet undefined, risks.

The FDA and the media would have everyone believe that the use of e-cigarettes by 418 youth should be the basis for FDA regulations. Regulations that as proposed, will eliminate electronic cigarettes as an alternative to combustible tobacco. Federal regulatory policy based on their ability to make electronic cigarettes the villain. And the FDA the hero.

Public health’s campaign is not about promoting health. It’s about promoting fear. And It’s working. But who or what should we fear the most?

The villain? Or the hero?


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

HR 2058 vs. FDA

Vaper’s Vortex

October 28, 2015

“The FDA claims that it lacks the legal authority to change the February 15, 2007 date even though it has used regulatory authority to make a number of decisions that were not spelled out in the initial Act.”


HR 2058 vs. FDA – truly a story of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Ugly

The FDA, supposedly a champion of public health and science based regulatory policy, has turned a hypocritical blind eye to both. Without regard for exhaustive research studies done by many of the world’s foremost tobacco control researchers, without regard for the inexcusable death toll attributed directly and undeniably to combustible tobacco, without regard for public health, the FDA is aggressively and irresponsibly attempting to virtually eliminate the vaping industry and the potentially life-saving products it offers.

The Bad

If it becomes law, the FDA’s proposed “deeming regulation” would result in the following:

Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTA)

  • PMTAs would be required for every single vaping product not on the market prior to February 15, 2007 (the so-called “grandfather date”).
  • Cost estimates for PMTAs – $2 to $10 million dollars. For each individual product.
  • PMTAs would wipe out 99% of vaping product manufacturers and retailers.
  • Who wins? Big Tobacco.
  • Who loses? Everyone else.

Modified Risk Tobacco Product Applications (MRTP)

  • Under FDA’s proposed regulation, manufacturers and retailers will not be allowed to inform consumers of crucially important information that would allow them to make informed decisions.
  • Any mention of relative safety when compared to combustible tobacco products – prohibited.
  • Any mention of reduced risk – prohibited.
  • Any mention of harm reduction – prohibited.
  • Any mention of the fact that electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco – prohibited.
  • All factual. All supported by science. All needed by consumers to make informed choices. All vitally important in the interest of public health. All prohibited.
  • Unless an MRTP application is filed with the FDA. FDA’s estimate for review and rendering of a decision on each MRTP – one year.
  • To date, the FDA has not approved a single MRTP application. Including one submitted by Swedish Match that includes more than 100,000 pages of data, spanning more than 40 years of research, on the smokeless product snus. Undeniable research from the country that has the lowest rate of lung cancer in all of Europe.

The Good – HR 2058

The FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2015

  • On April 28, 2015, Representative Tom Cole introduced this bill to the U.S. House of Representatives – HR 2058 .
  • The bill has one, and only one, purpose. Rep. Cole:

“I rise to introduce legislation, the FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2015, to make a technical change to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA).”

  • What was the basis of the February 15, 2007 date? Rep. Cole:

“Questions may be raised as to why the so-called predicate/grandfather date of February 15, 2007 was picked in the Act. If you look at the legislative history, February 15, 2007 was the date the Act was introduced in the 110th Congress. There was no other specific reason for the date chosen in the Act. Moreover, the 2007 date reflects the predicate/grandfather date for those immediately regulated products–not for products that FDA could choose to regulate at a later time.”

  • Does the FDA have the authority to modify the grandfather date? Rep. Cole:

“The FDA claims that it lacks the legal authority to change the February 15, 2007 date even though it has used regulatory authority to make a number of decisions that were not spelled out in the initial Act. The agency should apply that same authority to altering the predicate/grandfather date for newly deemed tobacco products, while maintaining this important transition period.”

  • What impact will FDA’s failure to exercise their authority to change the grandfather date have? Rep. Cole:

Should the agency choose not to alter the date, the February 15, 2007 predicate/grandfather date will make it [prohibitively] costly and create significant [insurmountable] barriers for the industry and the FDA to bring innovative new products that may significantly reduce the harms associated with tobacco to market, and could force the withdrawal of many products that have come to market since February 2007.”

  • What about Big Tobacco’s products? Rep. Cole:

“The end result will be that newly deemed tobacco products would be treated much more harshly than immediately regulated products. Specifically, the “look back” period for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco products was two years (June 2009 to February 2007) while the period for newly deemed products would be eight years (June 2015 to February 2007) if FDA meets its June 2015 target to publish a final deeming rule, and perhaps longer if FDA does not publish its final rule in time.

It makes no sense that immediately regulated products–which Congress decided were most in need of FDA regulation–get such an advantage over later regulated products.”

  • What effect will HR 2058 have? Rep. Cole:

“Even though the FDA already has this authority, the legislation I introduce today will underscore that FDA should choose a new grandfather/predicate date each time the agency deems new tobacco products. Specifically, the bill would make the grandfather/predicate date for newly deemed tobacco products the effective date of the final rule and mimic the 21-month transition period provided for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco.

Accordingly, on the crucial issue of path to market, later regulated products would be treated no better and no worse than immediately regulated products.”

The American people are faced not only with an unbelievably irresponsible act on the part of the federal agency entrusted with protecting public health. We are faced with sitting idly by while hundreds of thousands are condemned to a premature, painful and preventable death. If you find that unacceptable – do something about it!

CASAA HR 2058 Call to Action!


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

CDC – E-cigarette Flavors Must Go

Vaper’s Vortex

October 12, 2015

“Is it time for a change in CDC leadership?”


In a September 30th Press Release , CDC Director Thomas Frieden is quoted:

“Flavored tobacco products are enticing a new generation of America’s youth into nicotine addiction, condemning many of them to tobacco-related disease and early death.”

E-cigarette flavors must go! It’s not the tar. It’s not the carcinogens. It’s not the smoke. It’s the flavors! Along with the nicotine! Flavors and nicotine. Condemning America’s youth to tobacco related disease and early death.

First let’s get the obvious out of the way. As an M.D., Frieden knows, or he should know, that nicotine does not condemn anyone, young or old, to “tobacco-related disease and early death.”

Nicotine is a mild stimulant. Resulting in a slight increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Changes so mild and passing so quickly that many doctors do not even consider them clinically significant. With the exception of pregnancy or nursing, nicotine has not been shown to be a health threat.

But what about the question of nicotine’s addictiveness? A 2014 article in Discovery Magazine, Nicotine, the Wonder Drug?:

“In short, the estimated 45.3 million people, or 19.3 percent of all adults, in the United States who still smoke are not nicotine fiends. They’re nicotine-anabasine-nornicotine-anatabine-cotinine-myosmine-acetaldehyde-and-who-knows-what-else fiends. It is tobacco, with its thousands of chemical constituents, that rightly merits our fear and loathing as the Great Satan of addictiveness. Nicotine, alone: not so much.”

The problem that Frieden is facing is that the FDA recently issued their first Advanced Notice of Propose Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding e-cigarettes. Lots of media coverage, lots of buzz, etc. etc. Frieden, desperate to seize the opportunity to advance his obsession, needed something, anything, to get some visibility. So he fell back on his old standby – flavors. And of course, kids.

Smoking rates for both youth and adults are at all-time record lows. Frieden doesn’t want the public to be distracted by those trivial facts so they are seldom mentioned by the CDC. Wouldn’t want to hurt “the cause” with “the truth”.

Brian King, Ph.D., deputy director for research translation in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health:

“Efforts to curb the availability and use of flavored tobacco products could help reduce overall rates of tobacco use among our nation’s youth.”

Then again, it could increase the overall rates of tobacco use among our nation’s youth. Or it might create a black market for flavored tobacco products. Or possibly be a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars. Might be a waste of time. Possibly a significant detriment to public health. The speculative possibilities are endless. As long as you don’t get all bogged down with things like science and research and evidence.

Michael Siegel, M.D., MPH – Professor in Boston University’s School of Public Health

“It’s easy to see that a ban on flavors is essentially a ban on electronic cigarettes. It would ban virtually every electronic cigarette currently on the market.”

Siegel goes on to point out:

“It is difficult to imagine a youth switching from a gummy bear flavored e-cigarette to a Marlboro.”

Jacob Sullum writing for the New York Daily News and Reason.com

Critics like [NYC Councilman] Constantinides and [U.S. Senator] Rockefeller, guided by little more than their own idiosyncratic tastes, want to decree which flavors adult vapers may consume, even at the cost of deterring smokers from quitting. These taste tyrants elevate hypothetical teenagers above verifiably real adults, with potentially deadly consequences.”

“This is where the logic of regulating “for the children” leads. Attempts to child-proof the world do not necessarily make kids any safer, but they always make adults less free.”

Dr. Gilbert Ross, Executive Director, Council on Science and Health

“The data have shown — although you won’t find it among the papers supplied by the CDC — that the overwhelming majority of teen vapers are ex-smokers escaping the deadly attraction of cigarettes.

The stats say that they would very likely have become smokers if there were no e-cigs/vapors around. Restricting flavors due to someone’s baseless concern that they could or might attract youth is counterproductive.”

Eliminate flavors in e-cigarettes and you eliminate e-cigarettes. That is Frieden’s goal. And he has made it the CDC’s goal.

It is extremely unlikely that the CDC’s call for the elimination of flavors in e-cigarettes will ever become a reality. That decision rests in the hands of the FDA. At least for now. Even if the FDA should make the epic blunder of trying to regulate flavors/e-cigarettes out of existence, the resulting lawsuits would drag on for years. Science and individual freedom of choice would almost certainly prevail.

But none of that changes the impact that the CDC has on the public’s perception of e-cigarettes. None of that changes the impact that the CDC has on countless public health organizations. None of that changes the impact that the CDC has on “tobacco-related disease and early death”.

The CDC is not a group of bad people. The CDC is a group of good people being led by one man, making bad decisions. Decisions that have and will continue to result in thousands of pre-mature deaths. Frieden presents it all in the name of public health. Personally, I find it all in the name of control, manipulation, obsession and misuse of power to protect the financial interests of those with the most to lose, Big Pharma.

Is it time for a change in CDC leadership? It might, maybe, possibly – be long overdue.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Conflict of Interest

Vaper’s Vortex

September 25, 2015

“A situation that has the potential to undermine the impartiality of a person [or bureaucracy] because of the possibility of a clash between the person’s [or bureaucracy’s] self-interest and professional interest or public interest.”


The recent report by Public Health England (PHE) stating that e-cigarettes are “around 95% less harmful” than smoking made headlines around the world.

The full report, authored by Professor Ann McNeill of King’s College London and Peter Hajek, of Queen Mary University, London, is 111 pages and contains 185 references. Ten days after the release of PHE’s report, the medical journal Lancet published a critical editorial in which Lancet states the PHE report:

“… is made all the more perilous by the declared conflicts of interest surrounding its funding, raises serious questions not only about the conclusions of the PHE report, but also about the quality of the agency’s peer review process.”

One of the studies referenced in the PHE report, and the focus of the Lancet editorial, was performed by twelve experts, from six countries, and included a behavioral pharmacologist (who was Past President, Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco), medical doctors (including Chair of the South African Medical Association and Past President of the World Medical Association), an attorney with more than 30 years’ experience in tobacco control, an eminent toxicologist, and others with extensive publications on nicotine and tobacco. The study was published in European Addiction Research and clearly stated that it was:

“… funded by Euroswiss Health and supported by Lega Italiana Anti Fumo.” (LIAF is the Italian Anti-Smoking League).

So Lancet’s position is that PHE’s report should be discredited based on a single study where two of the twelve authors had an alleged conflict of interest. The “conflict” in the form of support for the study that was provided by an anti-smoking organization. On that basis, Lancet contends that findings of the study are “perilous”, the conclusions “raise serious questions”, and PHE’s peer review process lacks “quality”.

McNeill and Hajek

“The Lancet believes that the message smokers can benefit from switching to vaping is an undesirable one.”

“Current evidence indicates that smokers who switch from smoking to e-cigarettes reduce the risks to their health dramatically. We believe this needs to be communicated and that undermining this message will keep smokers smoking and dying as a result.”

PHE

“We are disappointed The Lancet fails to highlight the other important findings in the review, including the worrying shift among smokers toward the inaccurate perception that e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking tobacco.”

Konstantinos Farsalinos

“What the Lancet implies is that 2 of the 12 authors of the Nutt paper framed everyone else into creating a biased document to support their financial interests. That is insulting not only for the two authors mentioned (one by name) but also for the others. Of note, all authors in the Nutt paper were among the most active researchers in tobacco smoking (which Lancet seems to ignore). And of course they based their conclusions on evidence, as was PHE.”

British Heart Foundation

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF: “This comprehensive review of the evidence sends a clear message that switching to e-cigarettes will be far less harmful than continuing to smoke – a habit that will kill one out of every two long-term smokers.”

“Good quality evidence like this is crucial if we’re to see a further drop in the number of people smoking in the UK.”

Cancer Research UK

Professor Linda Bauld: “Fears that e-cigarettes have made smoking seem normal again, or even led to people taking up tobacco smoking, are not so far being realised based on the evidence assessed by this important independent review.” 

“In fact, the overall evidence points to e-cigarettes actually helping people to give up smoking tobacco.”

Action on Smoking and Health

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive: “However, if every smoker switched overnight to electronic cigarettes many hundreds of thousands of premature deaths would be prevented in the years to come.”

The UK’s Faculty on Public Health

“And yet, millions of smokers have the impression that e-cigarettes are at least as harmful as tobacco and we have a responsibility to provide clear information on the facts as we know them to be. It is our duty to provide reassurance for the 1.1 million e-cigarette users who have completely stopped smoking to prevent their relapse.”

“We should not forget what is important here. We know that smoking is the number one killer in England and we have a public health responsibility to provide smokers with the information and the tools to help them quit smoking completely and forever.”

Public Health England is the first high level government agency in the world to unequivocally endorse electronic cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. They have taken the lead in educating the world about what may well be the most important public health breakthrough of the 21st century.

Scrambling for something, anything in the way of rebuttal, the best the Lancet could come up with was a “conflict of interest” accusation. The irony is that the e-cigarette debate is entirely about conflicts of interest. Public health’s money, power, prestige, stature, respect, credibility vs. simply saving lives.

People don’t like being deceived and manipulated. PHE decided it was time for people to hear the truth. As we know it to be. At this point in time.

What does that say about the many factions in public health, politics and the media who find the truth to be a conflict of interest?


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Electronic Cigarettes – Harm Reduction’s Finest Hour?

Vaper’s Vortex

September 22, 2015

“Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data.”


The debate regarding every aspect of electronic cigarettes is, to say the least, often contentious. Some would even argue that it frequently gets downright ugly – Clash of the Titans.

With so many weighing in on all sides of the question, it can be difficult for the majority of us to reach any meaningful conclusions.

It is rare, perhaps only once in a lifetime, that one stumbles across a scientific study so profound that the conclusions drawn are as shocking as they are undeniable. The results universally applicable. A study so well done that the objectivity of the researchers is beyond question.

Now, those with a keen eye for detail may notice that the focus of this study is not electronic cigarettes. I noticed that as well. So what’s the point? The point is that the questions asked, and the conclusions drawn from observational data, are the exact same questions surrounding e-cigarettes. With the observational data on e-cigarettes pointing to the exact same conclusions.

The very definition of “not safe but safer” brought into laser focus. A compelling argument for the ability of disruptive technology to save lives. An honest, unbiased perspective on risks vs. rewards. Costs vs. benefits. Opinion vs. science.

Harm reduction’s finest hour! Until now…

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300808/

h/t to Konstantinos Farsalinos for sharing this invaluable contribution to the questions surrounding e-cigarettes.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

FDA Deeming on Electronic Cigarettes – What’s the Hold-Up?

Vaper’s Vortex

September 15, 2015

“The Obama administration has failed to finalize federal regulations for e-cigarettes nearly a year and a half after a proposed rule was issued, which has public health advocates clamoring for a decision to quickly rein in the growing industry.”


That is a quote from a recent article in the Washington Examiner, Health groups fume over delayed e-cigarette rules. The latest example of pressure being applied to the FDA to expedite their initial ruling on electronic cigarettes. The FDA has received a letter with the same theme from nine U.S. Senators. Another one signed by 40 state Attorney Generals. Still others signed by 20+ public health organizations. So what’s the hold-up?

Sales to Minors

From the Washington Examiner article, Vince Willmore, spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids:

“Right now we have a wild west market of products with e-cigarettes.”

Willmore went on to say that a “federal ban” is needed to reign in those states that have not passed laws prohibiting sales to minors. The article states that “at least 46 states” have passed those laws. Apparently those last four states are annoying the hell out of CTFK. I guess that’s their definition of a “wild west market”.

If there is one aspect of the e-cigarette debate that is agreed on by virtually everyone, it is the fact that e-cigarettes are an adult consumer product. An FDA ruling to that effect would produce zero controversy. Doesn’t seem likely that the question of sales to youth is delaying FDA action.

Advertising

Big Tobacco is marketing to kids. Note that I said “Big Tobacco”, not the vaping industry as a whole. So something meaningful needs to be done about BT’s advertising of vaping products geared toward youth. There is some legal precedent regarding restrictions imposed on BT for cigarette advertising. Nevertheless, restricting BT advertising for electronic cigarettes would not be easy. The courts have ruled that “commercial free speech” is protected under the First Amendment.

Safety

The Washington Examiner again quotes Willmore:

“Oversight is not just needed to protect children, but also adults.”

Protect adults? From what?

Public health and politicians are quick to point out that nobody knows the long term health implications of e-cigarettes. You can’t know the long term health implications of a product that hasn’t been on the market long term. What can be done, and has been done many times in the past, is to extrapolate long term risks on the basis of what is known about short term risks. Study after study have conclusively shown the safety of electronic cigarettes relative to combustible tobacco. So again, protect adults from what?

Opinions vs. Regulations

Unlike the CDC, ACS, ALA, CTFK and countless other “public health” organizations, the FDA is a regulatory body. The FDA does not have the option of implementing regulatory requirements based on the opinions of anti-tobacco, anti-nicotine and anti-vaping activists. The FDA is mandated to regulate within the authority it has been granted under the 2009 TCA, consistent with available science, and in the interests of the health and safety of the population.

There is almost no legal precedent, no “case law” on which to base regulatory decisions. Electronic cigarettes are a new, unique and disruptive product. A second year law student could easily raise questions that would serve as the basis for lengthy and costly litigation.

Frieden vs. Zeller

There is a reason why CDC’s Frieden is a medical doctor and CTP’s Zeller is an attorney.

Frieden has proven, “beyond a reasonable doubt”, that he can say anything he chooses to say. He can bias study results to fit his own personal agenda. He can choose to ignore any and all studies, regardless of how numerous, regardless of how well done, that conflict with his crusade.

He can manipulate the media. He can manipulate billions of dollars of federally funded research grants. And he can do so with almost total impunity from legal action. All in the name of “expert opinion”.

When we look at the challenges faced by Zeller, the picture is dramatically different.

Zeller cannot exercise regulatory authority based on his personal opinion. Zeller cannot, in the interest of “quick enforcement action”, ignore dozens of studies focused on the relative safety of e-cigarettes. Zeller cannot hide behind the absence of science regarding the “long term” safety of e-cigarettes.

Michael Felberbaum, spokesman for the FDA:

“Rulemaking is a complex process.”

Experts with decades of public health experience are in almost unanimous agreement – whatever action the FDA ultimately takes is certain to be challenged. Litigation that could delay the implementation of new regulations for years. With a price tag in the tens of millions of dollars.

Legal Issues

Phil Daman, CEO and president of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association:

“The FDA knows it is not allowed to expand its jurisdiction to vapor products.”

With all due respect to Mr. Daman, I’m not sure that is not a little over-stated. But whether or not it is over-stated will depend on FDA’s answer to some very difficult questions.

  • “What is the definition of a “tobacco product?” It has been repeatedly suggested that e-cigarettes are a “tobacco product” because the majority of them contain nicotine derived from the tobacco plant. So if FDA rules that e-cigarettes are a “tobacco product”, what implications would that have for FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy products? A multi-billion dollar product line for Big Pharma. Is nicotine the defining factor or not? Will the courts allow FDA to have it both ways?
  • “Is the ‘grandfather date’ legally defensible?” If Congress or the FDA allows the 2007 grandfather date to stand, it surely will be challenged in court. The letter dated November 24, 2014 and signed by six members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ leadership would no doubt figure prominently in the court’s deliberation. The letter states that the February 15, 2007 date was nothing more than a clerical formality:

“Importantly, February 15, 2007 was selected as the grandfather date for the originally regulated products simply because it was the date the Tobacco Control Act was introduced in the 110th Congress.”

  • “Is harm reduction a legal basis on which to base public health regulatory policy?” Numerous studies led to the recent report by Public Health England (roughly equivalent to the CDC in the U.S.) stating that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking. PHE even went so far as to recommend that Britain’s National Health Service offer e-cigarette prescriptions as a tool for smoking cessation. Harm reduction is not only broadly accepted, it is even endorsed by the CDC in many areas including treatment for heroin addiction and slowing the spread of HIV. Why the opposition to e-cigarettes? What’s more important – harm reduction or minimizing potential, but unidentified, risks?
  • The concept of “evidence-based” policy is widely accepted. The evidence regarding e-cigarettes, also widely accepted. The question is – “What sort of policy should result from the evidence?” Public health law scholar Wendy Parmet writing for the Connecticut Law Review:

“Public health laws that are strongly rooted in, and indeed arise from, the public, may face a quite different fate than those that derive from the good intentions of public health policymakers alone.”

Much More

  • Warning labels – Yes? No? What should the wording be? Will it hold up in court?
  • Diacetyl, acetyl-propionyl, acrolein – Easy to regulate (prohibit). Challenging to enforce. Who is responsible? E-liquid manufacturers? Retailers? Flavor extract manufacturers?
  • Manufacturing standards – Clean rooms? Product standards (batteries)? Imports?

What’s the hold-up? Maybe a more fundamental, more important question is what’s the risk?

In the name of science, in the name of harm reduction, in the name of public health, in the name of saving lives – let’s get real. The primary risk to public health is not electronic cigarettes. The primary risk to public health is excessive regulatory action based on media hype and political pressure from politicians scrambling to replace shrinking tax revenues from declining smoking rates.

That is the risk. And that is the hold-up.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Vaper’s Vortex

September 4, 2015

“The contrast was pretty striking…”


They say one picture is worth a thousand words.

The Guardian recently ran an article on the Green Man Festival in Wales. In that article, they did a blurb on electronic cigarettes:

“Particularly popular was a visual demonstration of the tar in cigarettes. We set up 2 identical apparatus consisting of a glass tube, attached to a battery powered bed pump. One machine ‘smoked’ cigarettes, while the other ‘vaped’ an e-cigarette. We hadn’t trialled this with an e-cigarette before we got there, so we were unsure what would happen. The contrast was pretty striking, within a couple of cigarettes, the ‘smoking’ apparatus was brown, and stinky. The e-cigarette apparatus didn’t change visually – though when we emptied it the water in the bottom smelt slightly of tobacco, as this was the flavour of the e-cigarette we used.”

One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Nothing Could Be Further from the Truth

Vaper’s Vortex

August 27, 2015

“The National Institutes of Health had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.”

A study by the University of Southern California was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on August 18th. Lead author Adam M. Leventhal, PhD concluded:

“Among high school students in Los Angeles, those who had ever used e-cigarettes at baseline compared with nonusers were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year.”

To this untrained observer’s eye, the study appears to be well done. The report provides specific details on Objective, Methods and Conclusion. And the research was conducted by highly educated professionals at a well-known and prestigious university.

The study also appears to be reasonably objective. While there are some suggestions of bias in the wording of the report, nothing jumps out as blatantly misleading. In spite of appearances, nothing could be further from the truth.

According to the NIH website:

“This study was funded by NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse under [research grant] R01-DA033296, and the National Cancer Institute under [research grant] P50-CA180905 with funding from the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products.”

Those familiar with the work of these federal agencies (e.g. vapers) might be tempted to suspect the presence of bias. The opening quote in this blog, taken directly from the study, attempts to dispel any concerns. It clearly states that NIH had “no role” in the conduct, preparation or publication of the study. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those not familiar with the work of these federal agencies (i.e. 95% of the public) are confident that the NIH supports scientific studies that are objective and in the best interests of public health. They’re confident of that because it says so right on the NIH website. And…nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s why.

The Objective of the USC Study

“To evaluate whether e-cigarette use among 14-year-old adolescents who have never tried combustible tobacco is associated with risk of initiating use of 3 combustible tobacco products (ie, cigarettes, cigars, and hookah).”

Study Design Based on the Objective

  1. The focus of the study was students that had ever used an e-cigarette prior to the beginning of the study (baseline), and had never used a combustible tobacco products. “Use” was defined as a single puff. The survey did not collect data that would have allowed distinguishing between experimentation and regular, ongoing use. Not part of the objective.
  2. “Directionality” was an important aspect of the objective. From e-cigs to tobacco was evaluated. From tobacco to e-cigs was not. Not part of the objective.
  3. The study was longitudinal. Six and twelve month follow-ups were conducted to determine the number of students who subsequently “initiated use” of a combustible tobacco product. And again, “use” was defined as a single puff after six and twelve months. No distinction between a single puff and a pack a day smoker. Not part of the objective.

The objective of this or any study defines what data will be collected, the parameters that will be used to evaluate the data, and the question(s) the study is expected to answer.

  • What data will be collected – directionality from e-cigarettes to combustible tobacco. Only.
  • What parameters will be used for interpretation – use defined as a single puff. Quantity, frequency and duration – all beyond the scope of the objective.
  • What question is expected to be answered – the risk of initiating use of combustible tobacco products. The objective assumes risk is present.

The results of the study are constrained by the bias of the objective. Hundreds of thousands of dollars to show that some of the students who had ever taken a single puff on an e-cigarette then went on to to take a single puff on a combustible tobacco product. The researchers themselves emphasize that no causal relationship was proven. No gateway effect was established. Not part of the objective.

Who wrote the objective?

  • NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • The National Cancer Institute
  • The Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products.

So the process was write the objective. Award the grants. Wait for the “scientific” conclusions based on the data collected. Publish in a major journal. Release to the media. Watch the desired result unfold.

  • NIH Press Release – “Teenagers Who Try E-Cigarettes Also Try Smoking, Study Finds”
  • MedPage Today – “Today’s Teen E-Cig Users May Be Tomorrow’s Smokers” The headline was accompanied by the teaser – “Study suggests that vaping is a gateway to full-on tobacco smoking”
  • The Wall Street Journal – “Study Finds Ninth-Graders Who Used E-Cigarettes More Likely to Smoke”
  • PR Newswire – “JAMA Study Raises Concerns Youth E-Cigarette Use Could Lead to Smoking Other Tobacco Products, Shows Urgent Need for FDA Regulation”

Science can be manipulated. To the point where nothing could be further from the truth.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Public Health – The Clash of the Vaping Titans

Vaper’s Vortex

August 20, 2015

 “The first official recognition that e-cigarettes are less damaging to health than smoking tobacco.”

Sometimes you find yourself wondering “What happens next?”

It has been one busy week in the vaping world. One that culminated yesterday with a landmark recommendation by Public Health England that has sent shock waves throughout the electronic cigarette debate. I’ll be discussing these stories in more detail in upcoming blogs. But for now, in case you haven’t had the time to read the dozens of media reports that have been published in the last week, here are a few of the highlights.

August 13, 2015

The British Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) released a report calling for a program to educate the public regarding the health risks associated with smoking, versus the health risks of nicotine addiction without combustible tobacco.

RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer:

“Clearly there are issues in terms of having smokers addicted to nicotine, but this would move us on from having a serious and costly public health issue from smoking-related disease to instead addressing the issue of addiction to a substance which, in and of itself, is not too dissimilar to caffeine addiction.”

RSPH membership consists of more than 6,000 public health professionals.

August 18, 2015

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes the findings of a study titled “Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Initiation of Combustible Tobacco Product Smoking in Early Adolescence”.

The key conclusion of the study:

“Among high school students in Los Angeles, those who had ever used e-cigarettes at baseline compared with nonusers were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year.”

The JAMA report was picked up by the Associated Press and subsequently published by dozens of media outlets nationally and worldwide. Media journalists had a contest to see who could come up with the most alarming headline. Many were quite imaginative. Most were not even remotely supported by the conclusions of the study. But the rules were simple – if it bleeds it leads.

Public health and the media pitched this report as the smoking gun they’ve been waiting for. This is the study. The one that proves e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. Even the authors of the study acknowledge that it proves nothing. It was clearly and carefully designed to launch yet another anti-vaping media campaign. Mission accomplished.

The study was conducted by the University of Southern California’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS). One of fourteen TCORS established at universities across the country. USC has a five year, $20 million grant. Funded by the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products through the National Institutes of Health.

August 19, 2015

Public Health England (PHE) issues a press release stating emphatically and unequivocally, vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. Based on an independent evidence review, PHE goes on to say:

“There is good-quality evidence that e-cigarettes can be effective in helping people quit smoking.”

This is the crown jewel in the evolution of the electronic cigarette debate. Imagine the CDC suddenly doing an about face and telling the world that vaping is dramatically safer than smoking. For the first time ever, a high level government agency has endorsed the use of vaping for harm reduction and smoking cessation. The government of the second largest vaping market in the world.

Prof. Ann McNeill from King’s College London:

“At the moment, 80,000 people [in England] die every year as a result of cigarette smoking. If everybody who was smoking switched to e-cigarettes that would reduce to about 4,000 deaths a year. That’s the best estimate at the moment. It may well be much, much lower than that.”

Prof Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England:

“E-cigarettes are not completely risk-free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm. The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Action on Smoking and Health:

“This timely statement from Public Health England should reassure health professionals, the media, and the public, particularly smokers, that the evidence is clear: electronic cigarettes are very much less harmful than smoking.”

The U.S. has long been the undisputed leader of the free world in matters of public health. Then along comes a Chinese pharmacist with the unmitigated gall to offer a potential solution to the greatest public health crisis the world has ever known. Millions of lives hang in the balance.

U.S. public health responds not with science and objectivity, but with ego and greed. Somebody needed to take the lead. History will record that another great nation, England, made a clear statement to the U.S. and to the world – enough is enough.

The clash of the vaping titans has begun.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

E-liquids – “What If” vs “What Is”

Vaper’s Vortex

August 7, 2015


“In any case, finding similar amounts of TSNAs in liquid and aerosol verifies that the levels of exposure through aerosol inhalation are by far lower compared to smoking.”


Many vapers are familiar with the work of Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos. For those that aren’t, you can learn more here .

Farsalinos has published more than 30 studies on health concerns pertaining to e-cigarettes. The most recent example is a study published on Jul 31st in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The full text of the study can be found here.

In this study, Farsalinos et al. examines the levels of tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA) found in the aerosol produced by e-liquids. TSNAs are known to be very strong carcinogens found at dangerously high levels in tobacco cigarette smoke.

TSNAs are naturally occurring in cured tobacco (they are not present in green tobacco leaves). Manufacturers of high quality, 99.9% pure nicotine, remove almost all TSNAs with a sophisticated (and expensive) filtering process. E-liquids manufactured with high quality nicotine still contain TSNAs. But at trace levels that are a fraction of those found in cigarettes.

Increases in levels of TSNAs as the result of tobacco combustion is not fully understood but significant increases are suspected. The question addressed by Farsalinos’ study is whether or not the much lower temperatures of e-cigarettes produce an increased level of TSNAs in the resulting aerosol. Are the levels over and above those found in the e-liquid itself?

Three commercially available e-liquids were tested. And for control purposes, the Farsalinos study created a fourth “spiked” e-liquid by adding known amounts of TSNAs.

Analysis of the aerosols produced by the off the shelf e-liquids resulted in levels of all four TSNAs below the limits of detection. In spite of the fact that detectable levels of TSNAs in all three of the commercial e-liquids tested were documented prior to heating.  

Heating of e-liquids at vaping temperatures not only failed to increase TSNAs, the resulting aerosol actually had TSNA levels below those of the unheated e-liquids. Levels so low they were undetectable.

By contrast, analysis of the aerosol produced by the “spiked” e-liquid produced high levels of all four TSNAs consistent with the known amounts that were added.

Farsalinos concludes:

“Therefore, the analysis of TSNAs levels in the liquid would be enough to estimate the exposure of consumers to these substances, without the need to perform more complex and expensive analyses in the aerosol.”

I blogged last week about the media frenzy that followed the publication of a University of Southern California study funded by the NIH and FDA’s CTP. Dozens of major and minor media outlets carried the story. And continue to do so. Many with dramatic headlines irrelevant to the actual findings of the study.

Studies like the one done by USC’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science are the perfect stomping ground for media hype. Definitive conclusions are virtually impossible. Which explains why the study itself uses terms such as “suggests”, “correlated” and “positively associated”. All of which allows the media to spin the study any way they want to. Anything suggesting a threat to youth, regardless of how baseless it may be, is money in the bank.

This Farsalinos study was conducted by two M.D.s, a PhD in organic chemistry, and a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology. The study presents detailed information on the questions they were attempting to answer, the methods they employed, the exact results they obtained and the conclusions drawn from those results. Media coverage was predictably a fraction of that afforded the USC study. Objective science is difficult to spin without looking and sounding like a fool.

Comparison of the two studies offers insight into the philosophical differences underlying the e-cigarette debate. The public health sector, opponents of harm reduction and virtually all federally funded research continues to base their positions on the question of “What if?” The scientific community stubbornly continues to base their position on the question of “What is?”

Which question will save more lives?


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

The Sound of Silence is Broken

Vaper’s Vortex

July 30, 2015


“While it is possible that some adolescents are using e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes, our data suggest that e-cigarettes may be recruiting new tobacco product users who might not have used cigarettes.”


Have you noticed? In the aftermath of months of daily, non-stop and often heated debate, protagonists and antagonists alike have fallen strangely silent.

An eerie hush has fallen over the debate. It’s almost as if everyone is holding their breath. The tension is almost palpable. Waiting. Wondering. Worrying. Watching. When will it come? What will it say? Who will be the winners? Who the losers?

The FDA’s 2015 regulatory agenda set a June deadline for the final deeming regulations. A published report on May 31st, one day before the June deadline, quoted FDA Spokesman Michael Felberbaum saying the agency “hopes to publish the final rule this summer.” Using August 31 as the end of summer, it appears highly unlikely that deadline will be met.

Once completed by the FDA, the proposed final regulation must be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for their review. While the contents of the proposed regulation will be confidential, submission to the OMB will be public record. No submission has been made. And OMB review normally takes several months. More waiting, watching and wondering.

Suddenly, in the midst of this virtual vacuum, the University of Southern California releases a new study which was published in the journal Pediatrics. A cross-sectional survey of 2,084 students – mostly 11th and 12th graders.

Lead author Jessica Barrington-Trimis:

“While it is possible that some adolescents are using e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes, our data suggest that e-cigarettes may be recruiting new tobacco product users who might not have used cigarettes.”

Heeeeere we go! The media, starved for anything that has anything to do with vaping, went on a feeding frenzy. Forbes, NBC News, U.S. News and World Report, MedPageToday, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and dozens of secondary media outlets leaped on the opportunity. The problem with a feeding frenzy? It always results in crap. Here are some of the headlines:

A recent study proved that teens smoking e-cigarettes are more likely to take up cigarettes

Are E-Cigarettes’ Popularity Causing More Teens to Smoke?

E-Cigarettes Popular with Teens Could Lead to Tobacco Smoking

Vaping Now May Lead to Smoking Later

Teens Using E-Cigarettes More Likely To Take Up Smoking Tobacco Cigarettes

This study was federally funded by a grant from the NIH and the FDA’s CTP. That fact alone makes the findings of this and any other federally funded study unfailingly predictable.

As is the case with all federally funded studies, “use” is defined as a single puff within the last thirty days. In the “Discussion” and “Conclusions” sections of the study, the term “use” is used more than 70 times.

Federally funded studies are expected to take advantage of key buzzwords.

“These results raise the possibility that the generally more favorable social perceptions of e-cigarettes could contribute to the ‘renormalization’ of tobacco products generally.”

Interpretation of results need to follow “federal guidelines”.

“…suggest that e-cigarettes could lead to nicotine dependence in adolescents who would not otherwise used tobacco products.”

“Research is needed to determine whether use of e-cigarettes by nonsmoking adolescents could function as a gateway to combustible cigarette use, leading to increases in cigarette use, either by renormalizing smoking and the social acceptability of smoking or by reducing the perceived risks associated with initiation of use as a result of exposure to marketing of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid.”

This study raises at least one valid concern. More than 40% of current and past e-cigarette users stated they had never tried combustible cigarettes. That warrants further research into the risk of never smokers developing nicotine dependence from vaping.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Irrespective of the Facts

Vaper’s Vortex

July 21, 2015

“Irrespective of the fact that there are small independent players, Big Tobacco is buying up this industry faster than I am speaking,” said California Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. Leno is pushing legislation that calls for e-cigarettes and its paraphernalia to be regulated as a tobacco product.


Interesting choice of words Senator. “Irrespective”.

Here’s what a quick search of multiple dictionaries revealed as definitions for “irrespective”:

  • functioning without or having no regard for persons, conditions, circumstances, or consequences
  • in spite of everything; without regard to drawbacks
  • regardless; without due consideration
  • without regard to something else, especially something specified; ignoring or discounting
  • not taking (something) into account; regardless of

So what you are saying Senator is:

  • “With no regard for thousands of small California business owners, we’re going to do everything possible to eliminate any competition for Big Tobacco.”
  • “Regardless of the consequences, we need to protect Big Tobacco.”
  • “No drawback is too large, no sacrifice too great, to help Big Tobacco dominate the vaping industry.”
  • “We have to discount the importance of small business casualties – in favor of Big Tobacco.”
  • “The impact of this law on small business owners is simply not worthy of taking into account. They are irrelevant to the discussion.”

So what you would have us believe Senator is:

  • “The potential of vaping products to render combustible tobacco cigarettes obsolete is totally beside the point.”
  • “The fact that youth smoking rates are at historic lows as youth experimentation with vaping continues to rise – irrelevant.”
  • “The enormous amount of scientific evidence that vaping is 95% safer than smoking – inconsequential.”
  • “Public health – not government’s responsibility. Government’s responsibility is to find ways to increase taxes. And still get reelected.”
  • “Elimination of the most important smoking alternative in more than 50 years is top priority. Compromise is not an option. No consequence is too great.”
  • “My time is much too valuable to get the facts and then make informed decisions in the interest of harm reduction. Why bother? The public will support anything pitched as a blow to Big Tobacco.”
  • As a state senator – facts are irrelevant. Statistics – irrelevant. Science – irrelevant. All that matters is convincing the voters I’m saving our children.”

Leno you are a state senator. A politician. Irrespective of the facts, without regard for persons, conditions, circumstances, or consequences, ignoring and discounting the facts, without taking them into account, in spite of everything – you are still a fool.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Think SB 2X-5 Is About Protecting Children? Think Again.

Vaper’s Vortex

July 20, 2015

“Decades ago the tobacco industry tried to fool us into believing that filtered cigarettes were a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, and now they’re making the same claims about e-cigarettes. The fact is that they’re using a new delivery system, which is currently addicting the children of California to toxic nicotine.”    Sen. Mark Leno


California SB 140 is dead. It died in committee. Long before ever making it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. And Sen. Mark Leno’s response:

A furious Leno told the panel he was walking away from the revised measure “on behalf of the next generation of Californians who will become addicted to nicotine as a result of your vote.”

“I no longer believe in it. None of my sponsors believe in it,” Leno told the committee. “I disassociate myself from it. It’s a very dangerous bill now.”

In other words, he had a temper tantrum.

SB 2X-5

In spite of the catchy name (sounds like the name for a new SpaceX rocket), SB 2X-5 is almost identical to the deceased SB 140. How did that come about?

This bill has been added to the agenda for a “special session” of the California legislature. What’s a “special session”?

Article 4 of the California Constitution allows the Governor of the state to call a special session. The legislature has the power to legislate only on subjects defined in the Governor’s proclamation. The current “special session on health” was convened earlier this month.

Governor Jerry Brown ordered the special session to address two problems:

  • California’s 50,000 miles of highways and 13,000 state-owned bridges need some repair work. $59 billion dollars’ worth to be exact.
  • California levies a tax on health plans which manage its version of Medicaid – Medi-Cal. Until June 2016. That’s when the federal government regulations are pulling the plug on $1.1 billion a year generated by that tax. It will no longer be allowed.

California has two very big, very high profile problems. Ergo the Governor ordered the special session. Two weeks after the passage of the state budget. Which provided no additional funding. For either problem.

One way or another, California taxes are going up. The Governor knows it. The legislature knows it. Leno knows it. Voila – the perfect opportunity to introduce SB 2X-5. Classify electronic cigarettes as a “tobacco product”, bury the tax increases in with all the other tax increases that are sure to come, everybody wins.

Well not quite everybody. Tax increases are frowned on by the voters. No problem. Taxpayers are naïve. It’s all in the way you spin it. Senator Leno:

“I am inspired by the Legislature’s bold move to prevent tobacco-related diseases, reduce smoking among youth and renew the call for statewide regulations on electronic cigarettes.”

“Decades ago the tobacco industry tried to fool us into believing that filtered cigarettes were a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, and now they’re making the same claims about e-cigarettes. The fact is that they’re using a new delivery system, which is currently addicting the children of California to toxic nicotine.”

What’s Different about a Special Session?

Leno is banking on some key differences between a regular legislative session and a special session.

SB 140 died in committee. More specifically, the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. One that is dominated by members who are friendly to business interests. And half of the committee’s members reportedly received more than $185,000 in campaign contributions from – Big Tobacco.

For the special session, different committees will consider the new bills (there are six tobacco/e-cigarette related bills in total). The Assembly Governmental Organization Committee will be bypassed entirely.

In addition to that, an identical bill has been simultaneously introduced to the Assembly (the lower house of the California legislature). That should make passage of one or both bills more likely.

Will It Work?

Cloak it under reducing tobacco-related diseases (none of which have ever been documented as the result of vaping). Mix in the tried and true reducing youth smoking rates (which are at historic lows and falling faster than ever previously recorded). Sprinkle in e-cigarettes as a new way to addict California children to nicotine (in the absence of even a single study showing that to be the case). And tie it all up with a nice, neat ribbon – electronic cigarettes are nothing more than another evil plot by the hated Big Tobacco!

It’s not about public health. It’s not about disease reduction. It’s not about science. It’s not about youth.

It’s about POLITICS. It’s about DECEPTION. It’s about SPIN. But most of all, it’s about MONEY.

And yeah, it just might work.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Should Vaping Products be Banned from Convenience Stores?

Vaper’s Vortex

July 9, 2015

“A current Minneapolis proposal to ban sales of flavored electronic cigarettes in convenience stores is contrary to the principles of good public health policy, ignores scientific evidence and could have the unintended consequence of keeping current smokers smoking — and dying.”


On July 2nd the Minneapolis StarTribune published an article in its Commentary section written by Richard Carmona, a former Surgeon General of the U.S. On July 6th the StarTribune published a Counterpoint article by Edward P. Ehlinger, the Minnesota state health commissioner. Both men are medical doctors. Both have years of experience in public health. And both have opposing viewpoints on the question of convenience store bans.

Banning E-Cigarette Sales in Convenience Stores

Carmona: A Minneapolis proposal to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in convenience stores is not in the best interests of public health.

Ehlinger: Limiting the sales of e-cigarettes to adult-only stores would reduce youth exposure and access to a product intended for adult smokers.

Banning the sale of electronic cigarettes in convenience stores would have a positive impact on public health. It would also have a very big, very negative impact on Big Tobacco and Big Vapor. Big Tobacco currently has 60% – 70% of the vaping market. Certainly not because they have superior products. But because they have the resources to put inferior products into hundreds of thousands of convenience stores almost overnight.

The overwhelming majority of the vaping community is current or former smokers. They are adamant about the reality that vaping and smoking are two entirely different things. 15,000 vape shops are adamant about the reality that they are NOT Big Tobacco. And everyone is adamant about limiting sales strictly to adults.

Banning sales of vaping products in convenience stores would be a huge step toward meeting all of those goals. Adult smokers looking to quit, and those that have already quit, would have little trouble finding options for purchasing vaping products. And significant reductions in illegal sales to youth would almost certainly be assured.

A Safer Alternative to Smoking

Carmona: A safer alternative to combustible cigarettes demands the widest possible distribution – in the name of public health.

Ehlinger: The widest possible distribution encourages use by youth who might avoid potential nicotine addiction with more limited access.

Smokers who are serious about living longer, healthier lives will not be deterred from seeking a safer alternative because of the need to drive a little further to purchase superior products.

No one is naïve enough to believe that removing vaping products from convenience stores will halt all use by youth. That does not mean that it is not reasonable to expect that reducing youth exposure will not reduce youth uptake. The potential benefits outweigh the minor costs.

Flavors

Carmona: Flavors are a crucially important contributing factor to the success of vaping products as a smoking cessation aid. A position supported by substantial scientific evidence.

Ehlinger: Youth tobacco use rates are “dropping dramatically”. Flavors in vaping products are attractive and intentionally marketed to youth.

No doubt about it – youth (and adult) tobacco use rates are not only declining. They are declining at rates never previously recorded. And reaching historically low levels. While public health continues to deny any connection to rising vaping product sales, they also fail to offer any other plausible explanation.

A 2014 survey found that 80% of former smokers turned vapers use non-tobacco flavored e-liquids. 60% use sweet flavors. Adults like flavors too. Flavors are key to harm reduction – for youth and adults.

The former Surgeon General is on the board of directors for NJOY. In any discussion regarding banning the sale of vaping products in convenience stores, it is impossible to deny the inescapable bias of his position. Carmona titled his comment in the StarTribune “Proposed ban on flavored tobacco in Minneapolis is counterproductive”. Perhaps a more accurate title would have been “Big Tobacco E-Cigarette Products Would be Crippled by a Convenience Store Ban”.

Should vaping products be banned from convenience stores? When viewed from a public health perspective, banning convenience store sales offers great benefits. When viewed from the goal of minimizing youth access to nicotine products, banning convenience store sales offers great benefits. One would be hard pressed to identify any goal of public health, the vaping industry or vapers that would not benefit from banning convenience store sales.

And it’s never going to happen. Big Tobacco and Big Government will never let it happen.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Is Big Tobacco Turning Over a New Leaf?

Vaper’s Vortex

June 29, 2015

“In this context, being “pro-tobacco” is perfectly consistent with advancing public health.”


The Big Tobacco We Know

Big Tobacco has a very long history of lying. To everyone. Smokers. The public at large. Even Congress. Practices which eventually led to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).

The MSA mandates that tobacco manufacturers make payments, in perpetuity, to 46 states that participated in the agreement. Payments totaling $206 billion in the first twenty-five years. It is the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history.

Times Change

A recent Reuters article details efforts of Big Tobacco to develop safer e-cigarettes. In a somewhat bizarre twist, the biggest tobacco manufacturers are hiring research scientists who have dedicated their careers to developing treatments for diseases, including many types of cancer, which are the direct result of Big Tobacco’s products.

Philip Morris International (PMI) has added more than 400 scientists and technical staff to their Switzerland facility. All part of their investment of more than $2 billion aimed at developing and testing reduced risk products.

These companies are exploring alternative and ostensibly safer “nicotine products”. E-cigarettes are continually evolving and BT is positioning themselves to be a major force in that evolution.

Big Tobacco says they are trying to improve public health. That’s tough for consumers to swallow. We are talking about an industry that has, for decades, made hundreds of billions of dollars producing products that kill half of their users.

Modified Risk Tobacco Products

It has been reported that PMI plans to file an MRTP application in 2016. The challenge of convincing consumers of their good intentions will be nothing compared to the hurdle of trying to get FDA approval for an MRTP application. Just ask Swedish Match.

Swedish Match submitted an MRTP application to the FDA that consisted of more than 110,000 pages. The message was pretty straight forward – after more than 20 years of snus being the tobacco product of choice among Swedish men, Sweden has the lowest rate of tobacco related disease in the EU, the lowest rate of oral cancer in the EU, and the lowest rate of lung cancer among males – in the world.

Thousands of pages of information. Decades of research. Tens of thousands of users. Indisputable reductions in tobacco related diseases.

And the FDA’s verdict? More than a year after receiving the proposal, FDA denied the application. FDA has never approved an MRTP application.

The Trust Issue

Can we trust Big Tobacco? Certainly the FDA and virtually every other health organization would answer with a resounding “No”. And yet…

At the third FDA sponsored workshop on e-cigarettes earlier this month, presentations were made by RAI Services Co. (a division of RJ Reynolds), Altria Client Services and Imperial Tobacco. Regardless of the assumed bias, all three presentations were professional (two of the three presenters were research scientists with PhD’s), informative, and backed by extensive and ongoing research studies.

In an April article published in Forbes titled “People Who Get Paid by Big Tobacco Should Be Able to Advise the FDA”, Sally Satel argues that the FDA’s former policy (subsequently changed as the result of a court order) of accepting members with ties to pharmaceutical interests, while excluding TPSAC committee members with any connections to tobacco interests, is “indefensible”.

“I think it derives from the misbegotten conceit that anyone who accepts funding from tobacco sponsors is somehow pro-smoking. In reality, most researchers who accept grants from tobacco interests are working just as hard to reduce smoking. It’s just that their topic of study is smokeless tobacco (and, I hope soon, e-cigarettes whose nicotine comes from tobacco) as a route to smoking cessation. In this context, being “pro-tobacco” is perfectly consistent with advancing public health.”

Whether one agrees with Satel or not, biased science is not limited to the work of Big Tobacco. Big Pharma, CDC, ACS, AHLA, Departments of Health, UC San Francisco – all have embraced bias with open arms.

It is becoming increasingly evident that public health’s overly zealous, ideologically based propaganda is getting old. Big Tobacco has a lot of company when it comes to lack of trust.

Big Tobacco Turning Over a New Leaf

Like it or not, one thing is clear. Big Tobacco has the motivation, the commitment, the scientists, the facilities, and the financial resources to make substantial contributions to the discussion of safer nicotine products including e-cigarettes. Big Tobacco is looking to add Big Vape to their resume. They are in it for the long haul. They say they are in it in the interest of safer products. In the interest of public health. Their actions suggest they are turning over a new leaf. Can they be trusted?

Perhaps Ronald Reagan said it best…

“Trust. But verify.”


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

What Happens Now?

Vaper’s Vortex

June 25, 2015

“The only problem with burying your head in the sand? Your butt is still up in the air.”


In my previous post we looked at a summary of the results of lab testing of 252 e-liquids from 42 manufacturers which were tested for Diacetyl (DA) and Acetyl Propionyl (AP). Less than 2.5% of all of the juices tested contained more than 22 ppm of DA. If that’s the “good news”, the bad news is that 24% contained levels of DA in excess of 45 ppm. What, if anything, happens now?

Vapers are faced with the reality that a significant health threat is posed by the presence of DA in almost one in four e-liquids. In some cases approaching 100 times “safe” levels.

The vaping industry needs to aggressively pursue the elimination of the use of DA in e-liquids. The question is how can that be accomplished? And who is in the best position to make it happen?

Identifying a solution begins with identifying the stakeholders. Who has “skin in the game”?

The distribution channel for vaping products involves a lot of players that can be segmented into a pyramid. With the largest group at the base of the pyramid and successively smaller groups as we move up to the pinnacle.

Consumers

Numbering in the millions, vapers are the single largest stakeholder in the equation. They make up the base of our pyramid.

Nothing happens until somebody buys something. The market responds to consumer demand. If a sufficient number of vapers refuse to buy e-liquids that contain AP, suppliers will respond by reformulating juices. Demand can dictate supply.

The downside of addressing AP at the consumer level – it could take a long time for declining sales to emerge. And there is always the possibility that sales of DA products will never decline to a point where manufacturers could justify the additional costs of reformulating dozens of popular products.

Retailers

In terms of sheer numbers, retailers would be the next segment in the pyramid. There are an estimated 15-16,000 brick and mortar retailers across the U.S. If there is an estimate of online retailers, I haven’t found it. It would be safe to say there are many thousands.

Retailers are a diverse group. Some are quite large. Others quite small. Some are not only retailers, but also manufacturers of their own juices. Some are retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers – all under one roof.

Overall, these businesses are likely to be slow to make changes until regulatory or market demands make those changes imperative.

Wholesalers/E-Liquid Manufacturers (Labs)

In this context e-liquid manufacturers are primarily wholesalers. They purchase flavor extracts and base components and then create their own recipes which they sell to retailers.

But again we run into a blurring of the lines between segments of the distribution channel. Most e-liquid manufacturers are wholesalers but many are also retailers.

Wholesalers represent a smaller group in the pyramid mostly due to higher start-up costs.

Some e-liquid manufacturers, seeing an opportunity for a marketing advantage, may incur the cost for reformulating their juices to be AP free. A handful have already indicated they will.

Others will likely be more conservative. Waiting to see how the market reacts to the AP problem before committing the financial resources to make changes.

We could see wholesalers insist that independent lab test results be provided by the extract companies. At a minimum for flavors associated with DA or AP. Possibly for all extracts.

Flavor Extract Manufacturers

This is the first of only two stakeholders in the pyramid that, should they choose to do so, are in a position to virtually eliminate the AP threat.

AP is not a component of PG, VG or nicotine. It is not a by-product of heating. Other than very low levels of “contamination”, AP is present in flavor extracts because it is intentionally added.

While removal of AP by extract manufacturers may seem to be the obvious solution, it would almost certainly lead to price increases that will ultimately filter down to the consumer.

If one or more of the extract manufacturers decided to remove AP to accommodate the vaping industry, they would likely have to create a new product line of extracts specifically for inhalation. That in turn would raise all kinds of questions regarding reformulation costs, independent lab testing costs, and product liability. Big questions.

FDA

The FDA is obviously not in the e-cigarette distribution channel. But they are in a unique position to address the AP problem. Probably with very little resistance. They also are, in this blogger’s opinion, obligated to do so.

The FDA’s mandate is to regulate in the interest of public health based on science. DA and AP are public health risks.

Extract manufacturers, some of which are very large companies, might lobby against the regulation. But given the explosive growth of e-cigarettes which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, it’s difficult to imagine existing companies and/or new ones would not be more than happy to meet the demands of this multi-billion dollar market.


In a podcast interview on SoundCloud, Mike Hernandez, Director of Operations for Vapor Shark, indicated that there has been both positive and negative feedback on their decision to publish the results of the lab testing.

The risks of DA and subsequently AP have been known for some time. If this decision by Vapor Shark ultimately leads to the elimination of these health risks, it will be a victory not only for vapers but for the vaping industry. Well done Vapor Shark.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl – What Have We Learned?

Vaper’s Vortex

June 23, 2015

“It is not a situation where one number is OK and another is not. There are many factors to be considered.”


Vapor Shark recently sent a shockwave reverberating through the vaping world. They submitted 252 e-liquids from 42 manufacturers to Enthalpy Analytical, Inc. 38 of the juices were Vapor Shark’s own brand. The samples were tested for the presence of Diacetyl (DA) and Acetyl Propionyl (AP). Vapor Shark then published the lab reports, by individual product, on their website.

Fortunately, the results of lab tests have been consolidated into a single document. I’m not sure who did the consolidating but whoever you are – thank you!

The results of the lab testing were manually transcribed (introducing the possibility of human error) from Vapor Shark’s website into a color coded summary of the results which can be seen here.

The color coding was based on the testing protocol of the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association of Canada (ECTA) – here. According to Vapor Shark’s website, they are a member of AEMSA but there is no indication that they are an ECTA member.

All ECTA members are required to submit e-liquid samples for testing every six months. Testing for members is performed by the same lab used by Vapor Shark, Enthalpy Analytical. The “minimum detection levels” used for the tests performed on behalf of ECTA members are:

  • Diacetyl: 0.742 µg/ml (ppm)
  • Acetyl Propionyl: 0.840 µg/ml (ppm)

Note: “µg/ml” = micrograms per ml and is synonymous with ppm or parts per million.

Tolerances

The following are the tolerances used by ECTA for their members.

Diacetyl

  • Not Detected (ND)
  • <22 µg/ml – ECTA members not required to disclose
  • <100 µg/ml – ECTA members are required to disclose to consumers if the product remains on the market.
  • >100 µg/ml – Fail – ECTA members are required to immediately stop sale of the product. The product can again be sold only after reformulation and retesting showing that it meets acceptable tolerances.

Acetyl Propionyl

  • Not Detected (ND)
  • <45 µg/ml – ECTA members not required to disclose
  • <100 µg/ml – ECTA members are required to disclose to consumers if the product remains on the market.
  • >100 µg/ml – Fail – ECTA members are required to immediately stop sale of the product. The product can again be sold only after reformulation and retesting showing that it meets acceptable tolerances.

The Results

Diacetyl

  • Not Detected: Out of 252 e-liquids tested, 180 or 71% did not have Diacetyl present above the limits of detection.
  • <22µg/ml: 60 e-liquids or 23% tested below 22 ppm.
  • <100µg/ml: 7 e-liquids or 2% tested at or above 22 ppm but below 100 ppm. ECTA members are required to disclose to consumers.
  • >100µg/ml: 1 e-liquid or 0.4% tested above 100 ppm for Diacetyl. ECTA members required to immediately remove from market.

Acetyl Propionyl

  • Not Detected: 153 e-liquids or 61% did not have AP present (above the limits of detection).
  • <45µg/ml: 35 e-liquids or 14% tested below 45 ppm.
  • <100µg/ml: 8 e-liquids or 3% tested at or above 45 ppm but below 100 ppm. ECTA members are required to disclose to consumers.
  • >100µg/ml: 54 e-liquids or 21% tested above 100 ppm for AP. And again, ECTA members are required to immediately remove from market.

Only eight of the e-liquids tested, less than 3% overall, contained DA above 22 ppm. In a recent podcast interview, Konstantinos Farsalinos indicated that DA levels in the neighborhood of 20 ppm are the result of contamination (probably from other e-liquids). At very low levels, a vaper would not be able to taste the DA. That would indicate the DA was not intentionally added to these flavors.

Flavor manufacturers have turned to AP as a DA substitute. 62 e-liquids (24% overall) yielded AP levels above 45 ppm. By ECTA standards, 21% or one in five of the e-liquids tested would have to be immediately removed from the market. They could not be marketed again until reformulated and retested for acceptable AP levels.

Flavor extract manufacturers responded to the widely publicized health risks associated with DA. AP is a close cousin of DA and has the same flavor. It also presents the same health risks associated with DA.

The vast majority of vapers are former smokers. As a group, vapers are well above average when it comes to their commitment to healthier lifestyle choices. And as a group, they are a $6 billion worldwide market that is projected to grow to $50 billion or more. Numbers like that are very difficult to ignore.

How should the vaping industry address this challenge? Who are the stakeholders? How will they respond? Will supply dictate demand? Or will demand define supply? We’ll examine these questions in my next blog.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Quit or Die

Vaper’s Vortex

June 16, 2015

“This means that vapor business owners and interested parties still have an opportunity to submit comments in an effort to assist the FDA in understanding the role that e-cigs and vapor products play.”


SFATA made a post on Reddit late yesterday advising everyone that the FDA has extended to July 2, 2015 the comment period for submission of written comments in response to FDA’s Electronic Cigarettes and the Public Health Workshops (Public Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1936).

As of this writing, the FDA site is showing they have received 1,463 comments. I almost did not take the time to post a comment. But the lead quote here taken from SFATA’s post kept going through my mind: “… an effort to assist the FDA in understanding the role that e-cigs and vapor products play.”

Mitch Zeller will not see my comment. Best case scenario, he will see a tally sheet summarizing key points raised in comments along with an indication of how many comments were received for each key point. Still, there is a sense of satisfaction in adding my thoughts and concerns to those of others. This is what I said.


Public Health

Smoking combustible tobacco products is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the world. The primary goal of public health should be the reduction of preventable death and disease. The response of public health organizations to electronic cigarettes:

  • Ignores science in favor of ideology.
  • Fails to offer a single alternative that even remotely approaches the harm reduction potential of electronic cigarettes, for reducing the death of 480,000 Americans every year.
  • Has been accurately summarized – “Quit or die.”

Electronic Cigarettes are Not Harmless

“Harmless” is a ridiculous, irrational standard that cannot be met by tens of thousands of consumer products found in households across the nation.

People are dying. Every day. Public health’s message? Nothing can be done. We don’t have a “harmless” alternative. We know millions will die while we pursue “harmless”. Our hands are tied. Safer? Not good enough. Dramatically safer. Not good enough. 95% safer. Not good enough. All or nothing. Quit or die.

I respectfully submit to public health, the FDA and to the American people – this position is irresponsible, unrealistic, unjustified, and inexcusable. This position arbitrarily condemns millions to a premature death. For what?

Electronic Cigarettes are Not a Smoking Cessation Alternative

  • 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey – E-cigarette use by youth surpasses cigarette smoking. Smoking drops to the lowest level ever recorded in the forty year history of the MTF survey. Year over year decline in smoking is the largest drop ever recorded in MTF.
  • 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey – E-cigarette use by youth triples in one year. Smoking rates by youth are the lowest ever recorded.
  • May 2015 – The U.K. Action on Smoking and Health announces that electronic cigarette smokers increased from 2.1 million in 2013 to 2.6 million in 2014. An increase of 24% in one year. Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH: “The number of ex-smokers who are staying off tobacco by using electronic cigarettes is growing, showing just what value they can have.”
  • June 2015 – N.Y. Gov. Cuomo announces: “With the lowest smoking rate in recorded history, it’s clear that New York State is becoming healthier than ever.”
  • June 2015 – A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 10% of U.S. adults now vape. That represents a quadrupling of American vapers in just over a year – from 2.6% in 2013 to 10% today.

Electronic cigarettes are not a smoking cessation alternative. But millions of former smokers all over the world don’t seem to understand that. As vaping goes up, smoking goes not just down, but down to levels with no historical precedence.

Electronic cigarettes are not a smoking cessation alternative because U.S. law would require that they be regulated under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The FDA estimate of the cost of new product qualification under FDC – 5,000 man hours and $300,000 per individual product.

We Must Protect Our Children

There is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind – we must protect our children. We have been attempting to protect our children for years and years. We cannot and we will not ever stop trying to protect our children.

For the first time in decades, a new product, a safer product, has surpassed youth use of combustible tobacco cigarettes. The deadliest consumer product ever created. What possible line of reasoning can conclude that this is anything but a victory for our youth? A victory for our efforts? A victory for public health?

No one is suggesting that we abandon our goal of total abstinence from the use of any nicotine product by youth. Just as no one is suggesting that we have a viable plan for accomplishing that goal. At least not yet.

What we have is a clear alternative. An option for reducing the harm caused by cigarette smoking. A major step in the direction of protecting our youth. How can we possibly ignore that alternative? How will we justify our actions to this generation 20, 30 or 40 years from now? What will we tell them? Electronic cigarettes are not “harmless”? In the interest of public health, quit or die? We meant well?

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is not a “theory”. Harm reduction is not even new. Public health experts have accepted the immeasurable value of harm reduction for many things. Needle exchange. Methadone for heroin addicts. Vaccinations. Condoms. Seat belts.

But when it comes to nicotine addiction – “Quit or die.”

Harm reduction is not about money. It’s not about politics. It’s not a crusade. Harm reduction is about science. Electronic cigarettes are an unprecedented opportunity. An opportunity for public health to again demonstrate their understanding of the necessity to weigh potential risks against potential benefits.

I call on the FDA and public health to seize this opportunity. Based on science. In the interest of public health. In the interest of doing the right thing. But most of all, in the interest of saving lives.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Are We Moving in the Right Direction?

Vaper’s Vortex

June 10, 2015

“The Universe provides the opportunities but it’s up to us to take them.”

May 25, 2015

The U.K.’s Action on Smoking and Health announces that there are 2.6 million vapers in the U.K. An increase of 500,000 over the preceding year.

June 8, 2015

New York Gov. Cuomo announces: “With the lowest smoking rate in recorded history, it’s clear that New York State is becoming healthier than ever.” The NY adult smoking rate, 14.5%. The national average, 17.8%.

Smoking among NY high school students dropped 42% over the last four years and now stands at 7.2%.

June 10, 2015

The results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll show that 10% of U.S. adults now vape. That represents a quadrupling of American vapers in just over a year – from 2.6% in 2013 to 10% today.

The poll also found that 70% of current users started in the last year and about three quarters are dual users. Almost 50% of vapers said they tried vaping because of suggestions by friends or family. 80% indicated they believed it was a good option for smoking cessation. And vapers were twice as likely as the general population to believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking.

Out of 5,679 Americans surveyed between May 19th and June 4th, 15% of users under the age of 40 now vape at least some of the time.

Bonnie Herzog from Wells Fargo Securities estimates the U.S. will see a 40% increase in demand for “vapor devices” with sales increasing from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.5 billion this year. Vape shops have increased to more than 15,000. Herzog estimates that more than half of total sales will be vapor tanks and personal vaporizers.


The published results of the poll does not indicate the age range (beyond “adult”) of the respondents who were surveyed. A conservative estimate of 10% of U.S. adults, over 18 and under 65, would be 10 million Americans who are vaping. The numbers are encouraging. Certainly closer and more detailed studies will follow this poll. The sampling size of the poll is small. Too small to justify many broad conclusions.

Anti-tobacco, anti-nicotine advocates in public health will likely be quick to remind us that electronic cigarettes are not safe. Long term health risks are unknown. Probably won’t be known for years. Possibly for decades.

E-cigarettes don’t have to be safe. Just safe-er. Millions have quit smoking using a safer alternative. If 25% of those 10 million Americans are successful quitters, that will add another 2.5 million. The resulting harm reduction is indisputable.

What we know and what we are seeing is that “quit or die” is not an answer. It is not a realistic option. It is not justified, defensible or in the interest of public health. In short, it is not acceptable.

There are 45 million smokers in the U.S. Victory cannot be claimed based on these latest numbers. They are not conclusive. They are short on science. And long on statistical uncertainty. There is still much work to be done and progress to be made.

Still, 10 million think it’s a step in the right direction.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Is Mitch Zeller Struggling to Make the Right Decision?

Vaper’s Vortex

June 9, 2015

“We need a national debate on nicotine. The issue isn’t e-cigarettes, it’s nicotine.”


In light of the amount of controversy and the very high stakes, it is not difficult to imagine that FDA is struggling with finalizing their proposal. Mitch Zeller and other key players in FDA and HHS are likely weighing “pros” and “cons” at considerable length.

The final deeming regulations must be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prior to their publication in the Federal Register.

OMB review typically takes three to six months. Given the political pressure surrounding the e-cigarette debate, OMB may expedite their review. But FDA has not yet submitted their proposal to OMB. When they do, the submission (but not the content) will be public record. It’s possible we may not see the finalized regs until late summer.

Zeller has consistently shown not only his willingness but his commitment to considering the potential of vaping in the context of what he has labelled the “continuum of risk”. In a May interview with NY Times columnist Joe Nocera, Zeller is quoted as saying “I am fond of quoting Michael Russell” – the man many consider the father of “harm reduction”. It was Russell who first said “People smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.”

In that same interview, Zeller is quoted:

“When nicotine is attached to smoke particles, it will kill. But if you take that same drug and put it in a patch, it is such a safe medicine that it doesn’t even require a doctor’s prescription.”

The following are some representative samples of the positions taken by various organizations and individuals who have weighed in on the debate. The considerable scientific research that has been published is not included. This is not intended as an editorial supporting one side or the other.

Zeller sees the potential benefit of a nicotine alternative. The question is how to reconcile that with the politics of public health. The answer will shape the future of vaping.


CON’S

Centers for Disease Control

“Use of e-cigarettes in youth doubled just in the past year, and many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes.”

“…condemning many kids to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine.”

“…significant likelihood that a proportion of those who are using e-cigarettes will go on to use combustible cigarettes.”

“That this is happening, is alarming.”

“This is a really bad thing. This is another generation being hooked by the tobacco industry. It makes me angry.”

“Use of e-cigarettes in youth doubled just in the past year, and many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes.”

“…deeply alarming.”

University of California, San Francisco

“I frankly think the fault line will be gone in another year. The evidence will show their true colors.”

“While I suppose that he [Mitch Zeller] is doing this [keynote speaker at SFATA conference] as part of the FDA’s policy of “engaging stakeholders,” he and the FDA should reconsider his participation, since SFATA is actively trying to undermine the CDC’s Tips for Former Smokers campaign by posting an ad, which looks exactly like the Tips ads, except that it endorses e-cigarettes as a cessation device.”

“…contrary to glib assertions e-cigarette enthusiasts make that “it is the tar not the nicotine in cigarettes that kills people” they add to case that nicotine, while not the only dangerous thing in cigarettes, is nonetheless dangerous.”

“There’s no question that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking.”

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

“The news that cigarette smoking is at an all-time low is colored by the fact that we have seen the greatest explosion in the use of e-cigarettes that one could imagine.”

“How many more kids have to be addicted or poisoned by e-cigarettes before our government acts?”

American Lung Association

In 2009, the FDA conducted lab tests and found detectable levels of toxic cancer-causing chemicals, including an ingredient used in antifreeze, in two leading brands of e-cigarettes and 18 various cartridges. A 2014 study found that e-cigarettes with a higher voltage level have higher amounts of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. It is urgent for FDA to begin its regulatory oversight of e-cigarettes, which would require ingredient disclosure to FDA, warning labels and youth access restrictions.”

“We don’t know what’s in it. People are inhaling some vaporized compound into their lungs without really knowing what’s in it.”

“There’s no information about whether they’re safe or not and that’s part of the problem.”

“They are nicotine delivery devices intended to be used like a cigarette. What happens to someone who stops inhaling the tars of cigarettes and inhales only nicotine? We don’t know. There is at least the potential for harm.”

WHO

“The argument for e-cigarettes is that they don’t contain the toxic byproducts found in cigarettes, such as tar, and don’t produce smoke. But the fact is that there is very little research on ENDS and no convincing evidence that they are effective as a ‘quit smoking device.”

“It contains cancer-causing agents, such as formaldehyde, which in some brands reach concentrations close to that of some conventional cigarettes. They deliver nicotine, which we know is a potent vasoconstrictor that may contribute to cardiovascular disease.”

“While some evidence does show that e-cigarettes are likely to be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, it is not known how much less toxic they are. Until we have sufficient evidence to determine the extent of their health impacts, the industry must be regulated.”

American Cancer Society

There are questions about how safe it is to inhale some substances in the e-cigarette vapor into the lungs. And e-cigarettes are not labeled with their ingredients, so the user doesn’t know what’s in them.”

“Until electronic cigarettes are scientifically proven to be safe and effective, ACS will support the regulation of e-cigarettes and laws that treat them like all other tobacco products.”

“What they’re trying to do is carve out a new definition that will muddy the waters for many other tobacco products now, and new and emerging products that we don’t know about yet.”


PRO’S

Joe Nocera

“In fact, to take it a step further, it seems pretty obvious that the decline in cigarette smoking has largely been caused by the rising popularity of e-cigarettes.”

“In a conference call with reporters, Tom Frieden, the director of the C.D.C., couldn’t stop talking about how awful this was.”

“Yes, teens are better off if they never inhale nicotine. But equating smoking cigarettes with inhaling e-cigarettes, as the C.D.C. is doing in its messaging around teen tobacco use, is a huge disservice to public health.”

David Sweanor

Discussing the unprecedented drop in smoking rates – “What other huge interventions have there been? It’s not like there has been a big new cigarette tax, or tough new package warnings. The only thing that is new is the introduction of e-cigarettes.”

Michael Siegel

“How can the CDC possibly claim that a youth smoker switching completely to e-cigarette use is not a good thing?”

The CDC “is misleading the public not only through its outright lies, dishonesty, and deception about e-cigarettes, but also by its failure to ask the right questions to actually test its pre-determined conclusions.”

“If we make it too hard for this experiment to continue, we’ve wasted an opportunity that could eventually save millions of lives.”

“These products are not acting as a gateway to smoking among youth, they are not particularly addictive among youth, and they may even be serving as a deterrent to youth who might otherwise become addicted to cigarette smoking.”

Jacob Sullum

“Although tobacco companies have begun to enter the e-cigarette business in recent years, the two industries are hardly synonymous. Leaving aside the question of ownership, e-cigarettes do not burn and contain no tobacco, which is why they are so much safer than traditional cigarettes. It is more than a little misleading to classify them as tobacco products.”

“That makes as much sense as counting nicotine gum or patches (which also contain nicotine derived from tobacco) as tobacco products.”

“Rather than admit they were wrong to claim that e-cigarettes are a “gateway” to the conventional kind, opponents of vaping have escalated their prevarications by implying, in defiance of all scientific evidence, that there is no important difference between the two kinds of nicotine delivery devices.”

Clive Bates

Prior to the emergence of e-cigarettes, the alternatives were broadly cast as ‘quit or die’ – this new value proposition fits between the two. It is likely to be successful, because it requires less effort to reduce the harm – i.e. it does not require complete nicotine cessation. Expert views suggest a health risk of at least 95% or 20 times lower than smoking.”

If vaping came close to overtaking cigarette use, it would be one of the most remarkable disruptive public health technologies of modern times.”

However, vaping does not need to be harmless or completely safe to make deep inroads into the risks of disease if people switch from smoking.”

“The aim should be to achieve a ‘sweet spot’ of regulatory intervention that builds confidence among consumers and removes cowboys and rogue products from the market, but does not impose costs, burdens and restrictions that crush the smaller players, radically change the products available and obstruct innovation.

“The optimum regulatory regime would strike a subtle balance between protecting users, non-users, bystanders and limiting the risks of harmful unintended consequences.”


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

“World Tobacco Alternative Day”

Vaper’s Vortex

June 3, 2015

“We will never be able to help smokers quit unless we can offer an appealing, satisfying and effective alternative.”


The third and final FDA public workshop, prior to release of the final deeming regulations, is now history. Two days of watching experts tell us how much we don’t know about vaping – it’s not harmless. How badly we need regulations – nicotine is addictive. How vulnerable our children are – marketing is insidiously focused on kids and right out of Big Tobacco’s playbook.

The FDA puts these things together. They invite very specific people. To tell very specific stories. In very specific ways. Fair and balanced does not come to mind.

But the vaping industry is not just the FDA. There are the business to business electronic cigarette conferences. New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Texas, Canada, Germany, the U.K. and others – all attended by stakeholders in the e-cigarette industry. Useful for keeping business owners up-to-date on the latest goings on in government and public health. Useless when it comes to helping the public understand the real story behind vaping.

Vaping trade shows are increasingly popular. Vendors purchase space for their booths and showcase their latest mods, tanks, juices – anything and everything e-cig. Great place for showing off your latest and greatest and comparing it to the latest and greatest being offered by the competition. If you’re a vaper, the bigger shows are a panacea of choices for your vaping pleasure.

All of these vaping venues are important and encourage product innovation. They help business owners understand all aspects of the business. They link sellers and buyers.  They contribute to the discussion of what’s hot and what’s not.

But workshops, business conferences and trade shows do not address the most important challenge facing the vaping industry. They do not contribute to the public’s perception of vaping. They do not invite the non-vaping public to understand the potential of electronic cigarettes to play a crucial, historic role in public health.

Taken as a whole, the electronic cigarette industry and the market that it serves, is not proactively working to inform the public. We are not reaching out. The “public” has virtually no understanding of the harm reduction potential that this novel and disruptive technology offers.

What do they know? They know that e-cigarettes are not harmless. They know that nicotine is addictive. They know that more research is needed. They know that Big Tobacco is marketing to kids. And why do they know all of this? Because the “other guys” are the only ones doing all the talking.

Contrary to outward appearances, their campaign is not focused on others in public health. Their campaign is not focused on federal and state regulators. Their campaign is not even focused on politicians. Their campaign is focused on the group that they know will ultimately decide the question – the public.

Many will respond that the vaping community does not have the numbers or the financial resources to combat the exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies. But if we simply leave it at that, we are accepting defeat.

Winston Churchill said:

“It is of no use saying ‘We are doing the best we can.’ – success means doing what is necessary.”

We don’t need a plan. We need a campaign. We don’t need someone to do it for us. We need someone to show us how to do it for ourselves. We need leadership. We need a blueprint. Ideas and suggestions for how to go about reaching out to our local communities, across the country, for the purpose of sharing our message.

There are probably a number of organizations with the skillset to lead such a campaign but two obvious choices immediately come to mind – CASAA and SFATA. Two organizations that have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment and their expertise to lead the campaign.

The WHO has organized its annual “World No Tobacco Day” on May 31st of every year.

It’s time for a “World Tobacco Alternative Day”. It’s time for the vaping industry to take the debate to the public. It’s time for them to get to know us. And us to get to know them. Before it’s too late.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

E-Cig Snapshot – May 29, 2015

Vaper’s Vortex

May 29, 2015

“The proven harm of tobacco is currently getting less coverage than the much smaller and far less certain harm from electronic cigarettes. We owe it to smokers to provide them with accurate information.”


The amount of information regarding e-cigarettes that is published on a daily basis is remarkable. “E-Cig Snapshot” is an overview of events, research, editorials, blogs or anything else e-cig related that caught my eye. Ideas presented are offered as “talking points” for the e-cig discussion. Comments are always welcome in the Vortex.

Michigan Legislature Tries Again

Michigan’s Senate unanimously approved e-cigarette legislation outlawing sales to anyone under 18. The new bill is nearly identical to a previous bill vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder. Snyder has indicated that he opposes the new bill for the same reason he vetoed the first one – because it does not classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Senator Rick Jones:

“Maybe it’s time for an override.”

British Based Charity Action on Smoking and Health Reports an Increase of 500,000 E-cigarette Users

According to an analysis by researchers at Kings College London, vaping Brits have increased from 2.1 million in 2014 to 2.6 million today.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, ASH

 “The number of ex-smokers who are staying off tobacco by using electronic cigarettes is growing, showing just what value they can have.”

Researchers also reported a 7% increase in the number of people who believe that e-cigarettes are as or even more harmful than traditional cigarettes.

“But the number of people who wrongly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking is worrying.

“The growth of this false perception risks discouraging many smokers from using electronic cigarettes to quit and keep them smoking instead which would be bad for their health and the health of those around them.”

Dr. Leonie Brose, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Kings College London

“We must clearly communicate the relative safety of electronic cigarettes to smokers.

“The proven harm of tobacco is currently getting less coverage than the much smaller and far less certain harm from electronic cigarettes. We owe it to smokers to provide them with accurate information.”

Adding to the list of the latest findings of Kings College researchers:

  • Smoking cessation was the most frequent reason for switching to e-cigarettes (48%) followed by avoiding relapse back to smoking (38%).
  • Never smokers who vape are extremely rare (0.2%).
  • In 2014, cigalikes were the e-cigarette of choice for 55% of vapers. In 2015, 66% of vapors are vaping tank systems.
16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH), March 2015, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

NOTE: The UAE has banned the sale of all e-cigarettes.

Konstantinos Farsalinos, MD, Research Fellow, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece (with 28 studies since 2012, one of the leading e-cigarette researchers in the world)

“It is a big problem. Not only is there a ban on a product that is less harmful than smoking, but smoking is available everywhere at a relatively low cost.

“I am not saying e-cigarettes are 100 per cent safe – they are not.

“But the toxic chemicals are a lot lower than in cigarettes.

“It is fair to ask why it is reasonable in the UAE to make cigarettes widely available and yet ban a product that has been proven to be a successful substitute.

“Trying to enforce restrictions on e-cigarettes is as good as promoting tobacco products.”

Referring to his online survey study of 19,441 participants:

“In fact, they quit smoking very easily within the first month of the e-cigarette use on average. That’s something you don’t see with any other method of smoking cessation.”

Margaret Chan, OBE MD, MPH, JP, Director General, World Health Organization

“Non-smoking is the norm and e-cigarettes will derail that normal thinking, because it will attract especially young people to take up smoking. So I do not support that.”

Jean-Francois Etter, Professor of Public Health, Geneva University (Internationally recognized expert on e-cigarettes with 18 years of research and more than 120 published papers on smoking prevention and cessation. He has been researching e-cigarettes since 2009.)

“E-cigarettes and nicotine and tobacco vaporizers should not be excessively regulated.”

This could “decrease the numbers of smokers who switch to these new products”, benefiting “only the big tobacco industry” whose leaders “will be able to survive in a tightly regulated environment”.

After calling WHO’s stance on e-cigarettes “political”, Etter went on to say:

“I think that the WHO people should know better than kill alternatives to smoking cigarettes.”

“Alternatives to smoking do not need to be 100 percent safe, they just need to be much safer than tobacco cigarettes. You choose the lesser of two evils.”

“They are a gateway out of smoking. [E-cigarettes provide] the same level of nicotine but people are less exposed to toxins … nicotine is not a health problem.”


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Dollars and Sense – Will Smokers Bet on Quitting?

Vaper’s Vortex

May 27, 2015

“With such unprecedented rates of success, the trick now is to figure out how to get more people to sign up — to feel like they have skin in the game.”


Results from a unique study conducted over an eight month period in 2012 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Study

2,568 participants from across the U.S., all employees of CVS Caremark (now CVS Health) who funded the study, were offered a financial incentive of roughly $800 to quit smoking. Participants were broken into five groups.

Reward Programs

  • Individual reward (reward based on individual performance)
  • Collaborative reward (reward based on group performance)

Deposit Programs

  • Individual deposit (requiring an upfront deposit of $150 with subsequent matching funds)
  • Competitive deposit (competing for other participants’ deposits and matching funds)

Counseling and Nicotine Replacement Therapy

  • Usual care including informational resources and free smoking cessation aids.

The Results

  • 90% of participants assigned to reward based programs, individual or group, accepted the assignment.
  • Only 14% of participants assigned to deposit-based programs accepted.
  • Of those assigned to reward programs (no deposit required), 16% remained smoke-free at the six month point.
  • Of those assigned to deposit programs, 10% were smoke-free at six months.
  • And among the usual care participants, 6% were smoke-free at six months.
  • There was not a statistically significant difference in the quitting success of group-oriented programs vs. individual-oriented programs – 14% vs. 12%.

All four programs offering a financial incentive were substantially more successful at helping smokers quit than the traditional counseling and nicotine replacement therapy option (provided at no cost to participants). There was, however, one surprise.

Of the 14% who accepted deposit based programs, 55% were smoke-free at six months – the highest success rate, by far, of any of the five groups. Lead author Scott Halpern, MD, PhD:

“However, among people who would have accepted any program we offered them, the deposit contracts were twice as effective as rewards, and five times more effective than free information and nicotine replacement therapy, likely because they leveraged people’s natural aversion to losing money. With such unprecedented rates of success, the trick now is to figure out how to get more people to sign up — to feel like they have skin in the game.”

What If We Up the Bet?

What if we scaled the Penn State study results up to a national level?

  • There are 45 million adult smokers in the U.S.
  • The CDC estimates that annual direct medical care costs for U.S. smokers is $170 billion.

How do we get more people, with “skin in the game”, to sign up?

  • What if the federal government offered a financial, deposit based, reward for smokers to stop smoking combustible tobacco cigarettes? By any means. The name of the game is just stop smoking.
  • Smokers would be required to pay $50 to enter the “Kick Butts Program” – skin in the game.
  • Smokers who are smoke free at the end of 12 months would receive a $500 check.

I won’t bore everyone with all of the math but:

  • Let’s assume just one percent, 450,000, of all 45 million smokers accepted the open enrollment option in first year of “Kick Butts”.
  • $22.5 million ($50 each) would be collected from all enrollees.
  • Based on the Penn State’s results, 55%, or 247,000 of those enrolled, would be successful quitters at the end of 12 months.
  • Net payout by the government would be just over – $100 million.
  • Savings in healthcare costs – $329 million.

There are a ton of variables not accounted for in this greatly simplified example. A number of assumptions are made based on the Penn State study. Assumptions that might, or might not, materialize in an experiment with nearly one hundred times the number of participants.

Then again, the concept would not have to be tested on a national level. It could easily be done in a single state. Or a single city. For now, it will be tested in a single company.

The potential to save lives, improve public health and at the same time dramatically reduce healthcare costs deserves serious consideration. Billions are being spent every year to treat the disease. For a fraction of that cost, we could focus on treating the cause.

Apparently CVS Health agrees. They are preparing to launch a new program – “700 Good Reasons”. CVS employees willing to bet on success will quit smoking, and put down a $50 bet (aka deposit). If at the end of one year they are still not smoking, they will receive their $50 back – and a $700 bonus. CVS sees that as a good investment. They typically spend $4,000 to $6,000 more per year on a smoking employee.

Will smokers bet on quitting? I’m betting they will. And many will win the bet. And the winners – they’ll be winning much more than just money.


 

We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

E-Cig Snapshot

Vaper’s Vortex

May 22, 2015

“I would be delighted if every cigarette smoker switched to e-cigarettes. We know that tobacco smoke kills. There is no debate about that.”


The amount of information regarding e-cigarettes that is published on a daily basis is remarkable. “E-Cig Snapshot” is a periodic overview of events, research, editorials, blogs, stories, reports or anything else e-cig related that caught my eye. Ideas presented are offered as “talking points” for the e-cig discussion. Comments are always welcome in the Vortex.

The following are comments and ideas presented at the February annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in San Jose, CA.

Wilson Compton, MD, MPE, Deputy Director of the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • “Electronic nicotine delivery systems have both promise and concern. But since cigarette smoking causes one in five deaths in the US every year, every approach to reducing cigarette smoking should be considered, and e-cigarette use by smokers attempting to quit is promising.”
  • Compton is one of the principal investigators in the FDA/NIH sponsored PATH study. A longitudinal cohort study started in 2011 studying tobacco exposure, risk factors and health outcomes for more than 45,000 people ages 12 and up.
  • When asked if he would advocate people replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes in spite of the fact that we still don’t have answers to a lot of questions, Compton responded – “I would be delighted if every cigarette smoker switched to e-cigarettes. We know that tobacco smoke kills. There is no debate about that.”

Kevin Bridgman, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Compliance at Nicoventures (a subsidiary of British American Tobacco)

  • “There is growing consensus among public health professionals that e-cigarettes are significantly less risky than conventional cigarettes. We believe that, in order to realize their full potential, e-cigarettes should be regulated to ensure appropriate quality and safety standards, whilst also allowing sufficiently wide retail availability, appropriate lifestyle positioning and flexibility for the rapid introduction of product innovation.”
  • Bridgman cited a study of toxicity of cigarette smoke vs. e-cigarette vapor on cells. The study found that cigarette smoke reduced cell viability to 12 percent at six hours, while a standard e-cig showed no such decrease and displayed results similar to untreated air controls.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive,  Action on Smoking and Health  (A British-based charity established by the Royal College of Physicians and dedicated to eliminating the harm caused by tobacco.)

  • “Over one thousand people will die worldwide from tobacco during this 90 minute session alone, E-cigarettes have the potential to dramatically reduce this deadly toll.”
  • “There is no evidence from the UK that the growth in e-cigarette use is leading to an increase in smoking, particularly among young people,” she said. “In fact smoking rates continue to fall.”
  • “There is a danger that the precautionary principle is being used to deny smokers access to products which can save their lives.”

Dr. Thomas Hartung, Chair of Evidence-Based Toxicology at Johns Hopkins University

  • Safety testing is key less we stamp out “a tremendous public health opportunity.”
  • “E-cigarettes are a tremendous public health opportunity, which we can easily block by applying traditional toxicity testing. If you insist on this, you are essentially killing off the sector. Flavors added to some e-cigarette brands such as popcorn or bubblegum or even gin and tonic are a big issue, and one wonders why they are there. What is safe in food is not safe if inhaled. We need data fast, but we must re-think how to go about it, as traditional toxicology is not fit for this purpose.”

Thomas Glynn, PhD, former Director of Cancer Science and Trends at the American Cancer Society

  • “If we do not step forward and consider bold actions such as embracing the potential of e-cigarettes and other harm reduction agents then we, and the next generations, may have to confront the challenge laid down by former World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland when she said: “If we do not act decisively today, 100 years from now our grandchildren and their children will look back and seriously question how people claiming to be committed to public health and social justice allowed the tobacco epidemic to unfold unchecked.”

We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Vape Shops vs. Indiana – Can They Win?

Vaper’s Vortex

May 21, 2015

“How can they suggest Indiana law somehow treats nearly identical products differently?”


What

Just in case you haven’t heard, on May 12 attorney Gregory Troutman filed a complaint (lawsuit) on behalf of three Indiana vape shop owners. They are suing the state of Indiana over their recent enactment of former HB 1432, now Enroll Act 1432. The vape shops include Derb E Cigs, Legato Vapors and Jet Setter Vapors.

Anyone who follows vaping is hardly surprised that a vape shop, or in this case three vape shops, have filed a suit over a newly enacted state law. Even Indiana’s Attorney General was not surprised – “Since there is much unknown about the new devices and health consequences surrounding e-cigarettes, litigation is not unexpected.” Same ol’ same ol’, right? Maybe. But maybe not.

Where

This suit was not filed in Municipal court. It was not filed in Superior court. It was filed in Federal court. Federal courts have jurisdiction in a variety of situations. The one most relevant to this lawsuit – “Cases involving violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal laws.” The vape shop owners, the plaintiffs in this case, are alleging that the law passed by the Indiana legislature is unconstitutional. I’m not an attorney but it’s my understanding that’s a pretty big deal.

Why

The vape shops are contending that the Indiana law is discriminatory. It treats nearly identical products differently.

Sec. 9 of the law states [emphasis mine]: “Electronic cigarette” means a powered vaporizer that: (1) is the size and shape of a traditional cigarette; (2) uses a sealed nonrefillable cartridge containing not more than four (4) milliliters of a liquid; and (3) is intended to be vaporized and inhaled. The term does not include a vapor pen.”

To get a definition of “vapor pen” we have to jump to Sec. 23 which states [emphasis mine]: “Vapor pen” means a powered vaporizer, other than an electronic cigarette, that converts e-liquid to a vapor intended for inhalation.

Sec. 10 of the law states [emphasis mine]: “E-liquid” means a substance that: (1) is intended to be vaporized and inhaled using a vapor pen; and (2) specifically excludes substances contained in nonrefillable sealed cartridges of four (4) milliliters or less used in electronic cigarettes.

So, according to Indiana law:

  • An “electronic cigarette” is a “powered vaporizer”. Shaped like a traditional cigarette. With a nonrefillable cartridge. Intended to be vaporized and inhaled. Unless – it’s a “vapor pen”.
  • A “vapor pen” is a “powered vaporizer”. Intended to be vaporized and inhaled. Unless – it’s an “electronic cigarette”.
  • “E-liquid” is e-liquid. Unless – it’s in an “electronic cigarette”. Then it’s not “e-liquid”. It’s “a liquid”.

How could the vape shop owners possibly contend that Indiana law is discriminatory? The law spells out the glaring differences in black and white! How can they suggest Indiana law somehow treats nearly identical products differently?

I’ll tell you how. These small business entrepreneurs actually have the unmitigated gall to suggest that the fine, upstanding legislators of Indiana have drafted a law that favors the only manufacturers of “electronic cigarettes” – Big Tobacco.

Is that ridiculous or what? Indiana lawmakers have very clearly stated they are acting to “promote public safety and welfare”. A goal that, as we all know, is shared by Big Tobacco.

Don’t these vape shop people appreciate the tens of millions of dollars that Big Tobacco contributes to the Hoosier state? Every single year. It would be absurd to require that these giant corporations get permits to do business in Indiana. It’s the small business owners we need to worry about!

It is unthinkable that Big Tobacco would ever fail in their promise to support Indiana legislators in “ensuring that e-liquid is not contaminated or adulterated by the inclusion of ingredients or other substances that might pose unreasonable threats to public health and safety.”

Vape shops vs. Indiana – can they win? We’ll have to wait and see. Indiana’s Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, has his work cut out for him. This legislation is blatantly discriminatory. Surely Zoeller has to know that. But he also knows the state has the right to be defended. A right he is responsible for protecting.

I once asked an attorney friend of mine how he, in good conscience, can represent a defendant who he knows to be guilty.  I’ll never forget his answer – “I’m not defending the person, I’m defending the Constitution.” That is what this case is all about.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Looking Back – To the Future

Vaper’s Vortex

May 19, 2015


“There is more to the story.”


The date is July 1, 2015. FDA has deemed electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. The Tobacco Control Act (TCA), including its February 15, 2007 grandfather date, now applies across the board to e-vapor products. What happens now?

  • Big Tobacco’s absolute dominance of all tobacco products is assured. BT will continue to market their cigalike products.
  • Product innovation slows to a crawl. Cigalike sales will, by design, remain a tiny fraction of BT combustible tobacco product revenues.
  • Big Pharma nicotine replacement therapy products will regain lost market share. Billions of dollars of pharmaceutical sales will be secure.
  • Public Health will spin the deeming as the beginning of the end for e-cigarettes. We’ve saved our children! No more teen gateway to smoking! The public has heard our warning – vaping is not “harmless”! Total nicotine abstinence is the only option! The threat of renormalizing smoking has been neutralized! This “shocking” and “alarming” threat – eliminated!
  • Politicians will double their efforts toward taxing e-cigarettes exactly the same as tobacco cigarettes. Federal and state governments, hopelessly addicted to tobacco sin tax revenues, will move quickly to capitalize on the FDA decision. New sin taxes on cigalikes will ensure that any tax revenue reductions from the declining sales of combustible tobacco will be not only be replaced, but increased to new levels. Regardless of the direction the market moves, all roads will lead to tax revenue nirvana.

That is the story that will be repeated by every newspaper, magazine, TV news broadcast, radio news broadcast, Public Health press release, medical journal, politician, doctor, lawyer and Indian Chief in the U.S. And around the world.

But there is more to the story. The part that won’t be the subject of the media feeding frenzy. That politicians won’t brag about. Public Health won’t talk about. And both will deny.

  • Cigarette sales will increase.
  • BT will protect their cigarette sales at all costs. They will continue to market cigalikes – telling the world how committed they are to a safer product. And they will continue to ensure those products are unsatisfying to smokers interested in quitting combustible cigarettes.
  • Product innovation will be relegated to BT. The only ones, under the provisions of the TCA, with the financial resources to bring new, safer products to market. And the only ones with the financial incentive, for ensuring that does not happen.
  • Small business vape shops, estimated at 16,000+, will close their doors. Tens of thousands of employees will be left jobless. Hundreds of thousands of invested dollars, much of it from life savings and 401k’s, will be lost.
  • While Big Pharma sales of FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy products will increase, their nine out of ten failure rate – will not.
  • Vapers will go back to smoking combustible tobacco. Teens will go back to smoking combustible tobacco. Historic, unprecedented declines in smoking – will all go up in smoke.
  • 540,000 annual smoking related deaths – will continue.
  • Astronomical smoking related health care costs – will continue.
  • A black market for vaping products – will be created. Virtually overnight. Family owned businesses started by hard working entrepreneurs – replaced by “criminals” willing to accept the risks in exchange for millions in profits. Tax free profits.

Science, though not perfect, remains our most reliable source of truth. When all is said and done, vaping should not be a question of ideology, regulations, or who has the most money. Vaping should be a question first of science. And then of choice.

“If the perfect defeats the good, then bad prevails.”


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Someday – But Not Today

Vaper’s Vortex

May 13, 2015

“The authors appear untroubled by the fact that smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes actually are on the order of 95-100% less risky than smoking. If you smoke this is important, health-sensitive information. If you don’t smoke, this information is merely true.”                  Clive Bates


So yesterday I’m surfing the net in my quest for vaping news. One article had a very short blurb on some California city or town that has implemented another restriction on vaping. I don’t know about you guys but I can only read so many of those. However, immediately below that was a link, “Abstinence-Only Education in Schools Violates California Law”. A glimmer of hope. So I clicked.

The story is actually about a ruling by a California Superior Court judge stating that under California law, schools cannot teach students that celibacy is the only way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.

OK, this was hardly what I was expecting. I’m pretty sure very few folks read my blog for advice on preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.

But then a quote by the judge caught my attention – “Access to medically and socially appropriate education is an important public right.”

California teens have the right to be educated about alternatives to total abstinence, for reducing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. There are a number of options, other than abstinence, for dramatically reducing pregnancy and STDs. None are 100% effective. As Clive Bates would say, if you are sexually active this is important, health-sensitive information. If you are not sexually active, this information is merely true.

California teens do not have the right to be educated about alternatives to total abstinence, for reducing cancer and heart attacks from smoking. Even though e-cigarettes have been shown in numerous studies to dramatically reduce exposure to known carcinogens. They are not “harmless” and are not 100% effective. Again, important health-sensitive information for smokers, merely true for non-smokers.

When it comes to any form of nicotine usage, the safe-sex “Just say no” message is medically and socially appropriate. But the judge has made a powerful statement – just say no, is just not enough. It turns a blind eye to what we know to be true – some youth will ignore the message. And there are alternatives for reducing unwanted consequences.

The “total nicotine abstinence”, all or nothing approach of Public Health organizations is not medically or socially appropriate. And at least in California, it’s possibly illegal. Forcing one choice on everyone is fundamentally flawed thinking.

Well organized and well funded efforts have focused on blurring the line between two separate issues. Regrettably with considerable success. Keeping non-smoking teens away from cigarettes is not the same thing as keeping e-cigarettes away from teen smokers.

Teens have the right to be educated about risks associated with their choices. And alternatives for minimizing those risks. Abstinence-only crusades are wishful thinking. Not education. And not in the interests of public health, young or old. Someday, that will become the generally accepted norm.

Someday – but not today.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Bootleggers and Baptists – United Once Again

Vaper’s Vortex

 May 12, 2015

“If vaping came close to overtaking cigarette use, it would be one of the most remarkable disruptive public health technologies of modern times.”   Clive Bates


There may be a number of folks reading this that are not familiar with the phrase “Bootleggers and Baptists”. It dates back to the early 1920’s when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution passed making it illegal to manufacture, transport or sell booze – aka “prohibition”.

The amendment was supported by both bootleggers and Baptists, for entirely different reasons.

Bootleggers were in favor of it because it greatly expanded their market and exponentially increased the prices they could charge. The infamous gangster Al Capone reportedly built a $60 million fortune on bootlegged alcohol and places for customers to enjoy it – aka “speakeasies”.

Baptists supported prohibition on moral grounds. Alcohol was seen as the root of all marital and family evils. The so-called “temperance movement” was at its height of popularity in the early 1900s. Baptists strongly favored outlawing the demon alcohol in all forms.

Perhaps you’re starting to see the parallel to today’s e-cigarette debate.

Today’s bootleggers are Big Tobacco. BT has openly, and probably not so openly, supported regulations imposing restrictions on e-vaping products. The more the better. The higher the cost the better.

The grandfather date in the Tobacco Control Act would be the ultimate prize for BT. In one fell swoop, 95% of the competition from small vape shops would be eliminated. Leaving BT as the undisputed dominant force in the market. And in a position to charge just about any price they choose. Bootleggers can do that when they’re the only game in town.

And the modern day Baptists? Public Health organizations. They object to vaping products on the moral high ground – protecting our children.

Vaping products are an adolescent gateway to smoking combustible cigarettes. Vaping products contain nicotine that may be addictive. Vaping products are not harmless. Vaping products will renormalize smoking. Vaping products will destroy all of the hard work that went into reducing, by almost 50%, smoking prevalence in the U.S. Vaping products are just BT’s latest ploy for addicting the next generation of smokers. Hallelujah brothers and sisters!

So bootleggers BT and Baptists public health are once again on the same side. And once again, for diametrically opposing reasons. Bitter enemies for decades. Now united to defeat this new threat.

Of course there is a third player in our saga – the politicians. They’re in it for the money. E-cigarettes are nothing short of a gift from the universe. The timing could not be better. Cigarette sales are declining. And cigarette tax revenues right along with it.

Then out of nowhere, technology delivers the perfect solution to their problems. Handed to them on a silver platter. Impose the same sin taxes on vaping products that they do on the real tobacco products.

Public Health loves the politicians because they’re “protecting the children”. BT loves the politicians because they’re protecting their market dominance. The politicians love Public Health and BT for giving them the perfect, politically popular excuse to increase taxes. It’s a win-win-win.

Fifty years from now a blogger will be telling a new version of an old story – “Bootleggers, Baptists and Bureaucrats – United Once Again”.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Grandfather Date – The People vs. the FDA

Vaper’s Vortex

May 8, 2015

“We do not believe that we have the authority to alter or amend this grandfathering date, which is set by statute.”


How ironic is it that the greatest single challenge facing thousands of small vaping stores is the result of nothing more than a clerical formality?

The reason the February 15, 2007 grandfather date exists? That was the date the Tobacco Control Act was introduced to Congress. That’s it. That’s the whole story behind that date. And it may take a courtroom battle to change it. What would be the basis of that battle and could the case be won in court? An attorney and a Congressman offer some insight.


Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, Washington D.C.


On August 8, 2014, the last day the FDA accepted comments to their proposed deeming regulations, Stier submitted a comment to the FDA . In his comment, he questions several aspects of the FDA’s interpretation of the TCA.

  • FDA’s current proposed rule is based on an erroneous interpretation of the statute. The agency does have the authority to change the substantial equivalence grandfather date for newly deemed tobacco products to a more current date.
  • The statute gives FDA direct authority over specific, tobacco products on the market as of February 15, 2007. That date does not apply to products that were not on the market at that time.
  • The proposed rule would harm public health by failing to provide oversight of industry efforts to develop safer alternatives.
  • The deeming regulation based on the 2007 date would stifle innovation of lower risk products. Products not considered when TCA was enacted – they did not exist.
  • The FDA has directly acknowledged that no future products resulting from technological innovation would qualify for substantial equivalence: “Moreover, new products that come on the market in the future would never be grandfathered tobacco products because they would be coming on the market after February 15, 2007.”
  • The 2007 date applies to products the FDA must regulate under the statute, specifically cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco products. Not to products that must first be deemed tobacco products by FDA.
  • Congress stated the purpose of the statute was in part: “to promote cessation to reduce disease risk and the social costs associated with tobacco-related diseases.” Failure of the FDA to exercise their statutorily granted discretion regarding the grandfather date would be a failure of the FDA to meet the requirements of the statute.
  • The statute allows for the substantial equivalence option for cigarettes. FDA misinterpretation of the statute excludes that option for less harmful, non-combustible products and forces the prohibitively expensive Pre Market Tobacco Application as the only option.

The Hon. Tom Cole of Oklahoma in the House of Representatives, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. This was Rep. Cole’s speech to the House when introducing bill HR 2058, theFDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2015, that would eliminate any reference to the February 15, 2007 grandfather date in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA).


  • The specific date of February 15, 2007 appears in the FSPTCA because it was the date the Act was introduced to the 110th Congress: “There was no other specific reason for the date chosen in the Act. Moreover, the 2007 date reflects the predicate/grandfather date for those immediately regulated products–not for products that FDA could choose to regulate at a later time. [emphasis mine]
  • “…the agency [FDA] stated it would maintain the February 15, 2007 as the predicate/grandfather date for newly deemed products even though the FDA has the regulatory discretion to choose a different date [emphasis mine].
  • “The FDA claims that it lacks the legal authority to change the February 15, 2007 date even though it has used regulatory authority to make a number of decisions that were not spelled out in the initial Act. The agency should apply that same authority to altering the predicate/grandfather date for newly deemed tobacco products, while maintaining this important transition period [emphasis mine].
  • “…will make it costly and create significant barriers for the industry and the FDA to bring innovative new products that may significantly reduce the harms associated with tobacco to market, and could force the withdrawal of many products that have come to market since February 2007 [emphasis mine]”.
  • “The end result will be that newly deemed tobacco products would be treated much more harshly than immediately regulated products. Specifically, the “look back” period for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco products was two years (June 2009 to February 2007) while the period for newly deemed products would be eight years (June 2015 to February 2007)… [emphasis mine]”
  • “Even though the FDA already has this authority, the legislation I introduce today will underscore that FDA should choose a new grandfather/predicate date each time the agency deems new tobacco products. Specifically, the bill would make the grandfather/predicate date for newly deemed tobacco products the effective date of the final rule and mimic the 21-month transition period provided for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco [emphasis mine]”.
  • “Accordingly, on the crucial issue of path to market, later regulated products would be treated no better and no worse than immediately regulated products [emphasis mine].”

Could the case be won in court? We may never know. What we know is that “harmless” is irrational. We know that harm reduction is compelling, and achievable. We know that public health should be based on science, not ideology. We know that reducing smoking related death and disease cannot, must not, be treated as a “contest”.

We know a lot. Only time will tell if what we know, is enough.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

The Grandfather Date Question – Is HR 2058 the Answer

Vaper’s Vortex

May 6, 2015


“Even though the FDA already has this authority, the legislation I introduce today will underscore that FDA should choose a new grandfather/predicate date each time the agency deems new tobacco products.”


On April 28th, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK04) introduced HR 2058 which would change the February 15, 2007 “grandfather date” currently in the Tobacco Control Act (TCA). If the bill is passed (and that’s a really big if), it would be difficult to overstate the implications for the vaping community and indeed, the entire vaping industry in the U.S.

As it stands right now

  • Tobacco products on the market prior to February 2007 are grandfathered under the TCA. Those products will be permitted to stay on the market without filing applications for FDA approval.
  • Products introduced to the market between February 15, 2007 and March 22, 2011, would also be permitted to stay on the market. But manufacturers would be required to file a “substantial equivalence” (SE) application with the FDA.
  • An SE application proposes to the FDA that a given product is substantially equivalent to a product that was on the market prior to February 15, 2007. Since there were almost no substantially equivalent products on the market prior to February 2007, 99% of current vaping products would be eliminated.
  • All tobacco products not meeting those criteria would be required to file a “premarket tobacco product application” (PMTA). The FDA estimates the cost of a PMTA application at more than 5,000 man hours and approximately $300,000. Per product. An estimated 16,000 vape shops across the country would be out of business.

If HR 2058 becomes law

HR 2058 would replace all references to February 15, 2007 in the TCA with “the effective date of the regulation under which a tobacco product is deemed subject to the requirements of” the TCA. So:

  • The “new” grandfather date would be based on whatever date the FDA makes current, or future, deeming regulations effective.
  • If the FDA finalizes the currently proposed deeming regulations on June 15, 2015 – all vaping products on the market as of that date would be grandfathered, permitted to stay on the market, and no FDA application would be required.
  • Future vaping products would require substantial equivalent applications be filed. But manufacturers would have thousands of grandfathered products on which they could base their SE applications.

Will HR 2058 pass? Probably not. There’s a good chance it will never make it out of committee. If it does, it would then go before the full House of Representatives for a vote. If it passes the House vote, it would then go on to the Senate. Where it would likely first go to another committee. Then to a full vote of the Senate. Both the House and the Senate must approve an identical version of the bill before it goes to the President to be signed into law.

Even if HR 2058 fails, the introduction of the bill to the House will strengthen lawsuits almost certain to follow if the grandfather date is not changed, one way or another. We’ll examine what the basis of those lawsuits might be in my next blog.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

The Truth About Vaping – Episode 2 “The Nicotine Misconception”

Vaper’s Vortex

May 4, 2015


“If nicotine is really so dangerous, why are nicotine replacement therapies like gums and patches available at virtually every drugstore?”


 

 

 

We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

How Addictive Are E-Vapor Products?

Vaper’s Vortex

May 4, 2015


“E-cigarettes may be as or less addictive than NRTs – which themselves are not very addictive.”

How addictive are e-vapor products? More importantly, since the majority of e-vapers are current or former smokers, are they more or less addictive than tobacco cigarettes? Are they addictive at all? Some researchers even question whether nicotine itself, in the absence of the chemicals added by Big Tobacco to cigarettes, is addictive.

In the absence of much else to say, public health and politicians are focusing the majority of their rhetoric on the addictiveness of nicotine. Which of course leads to the addictiveness of e-vapor products which contain nicotine. Which of course leads to the increased use of e-vapor by teens. Which they predictably insist is synonymous with addiction to nicotine.

Now, public health and politicians are not concerned about the presence, or lack of, credible science behind their claims. But for the rest of us, what do we know?

Jonathan Foulds, Professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine conducted an online survey to answer the question of how addictive are e-vapor products compared to tobacco cigarettes. To answer that question, online respondents were asked to complete the Penn State Cigarette Dependence Index and the Penn State Electronic Cigarette Dependence Index. 3,500 current e-cigarette users, all ex-cigarette smokers, completed both indices. The results were released in December of last year in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

  • Higher ecig nicotine content was associated with higher dependence.
  • Use of second generation e-vapor products were associated with higher dependence. Presumably because these products deliver nicotine more effectively than Big Tobacco cigalikes.
  • The longer users had used e-vapor, the more addicted they appeared to be.

No surprises there. But Foulds then went on to say:

“However, people with all the characteristics of a more dependent e-cig user still had a lower e-cig dependence score than their cigarette dependence score. We think this is because they’re getting less nicotine from the e-cigs than they were getting from cigarettes.”

Foulds concluded that not only are e-vapors less addictive than tobacco cigarettes, but improvements in the ability of e-vapor products to more effectively deliver nicotine might result in helping more users quit smoking.

The same month that Foulds’ study was released, a second study was released by Jean Francois Etter, Professor of Public Health at the University of Geneva. Etter’s survey went beyond Foulds’ and compared three groups:

  1. Daily nicotine e-cig users with daily non-nicotine e-cig users.
  2. Former smokers using e-cigs daily with former smokers using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products daily.
  3. Daily e-cig and tobacco cigarette users (dual users) with daily smokers who did not use e-cigs.

The results:

  • Users of nicotine e-cigs were only slightly more dependent (addicted) than users of non-nicotine e-cigs.
  • Former smokers using e-cigs for more than three months (“long term users”) were less dependent on e-cigarettes than “long term users” of NRT products.

That last finding led Etter to conclude that e-cigarettes may be as or less addictive than NRTs – which themselves are not very addictive [emphasis mine].

Last but not least, a third web based survey, possibly the most widely referenced in scientific circles, was conducted by Maciej L. Goniewicz, PhD et al. in March of 2013. These researchers concluded:

“Although half of respondents said they are addicted to e-cigarettes, only one-third thought e-cigarettes were as addictive as conventional cigarettes and two-thirds believed they are either not as addictive or not addictive at all. This finding is in line with previous studies.”

It is interesting to note that at the time this study was published by the National Institutes of Health, Goniewicz was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California San Francisco. Many will recognize UCSF as the stomping ground of none other than Stanton Glantz.

I’m betting ‘ol Stan was not pleased about highly respected research that contradicts virtually every word of alarmist, unsupported propaganda that he calls “science”.

Dr. Goniewicz joined the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2013 and has authored over 40 scientific papers on topics related to tobacco control, biomarkers, and nicotine-containing products.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

California Class Action Lawsuit Challenging E-Cigarettes – Who Is Guilty of False Advertising?

Vaper’s Vortex

 

April 30, 2015


“Mainstream and secondhand e-cigarette aerosol has been found to contain at least ten chemicals that are on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.”


A class action lawsuit was filed last week in California Superior Court charging Lorillard Tobacco Company with falsely advertising its Blu brand of electronic cigarettes as “safer” and “healthier” than standard smokes when they’re not.

As soon as I read this I tried every Google search I could think of for anything that could even be remotely construed as Lorillard advertising Blu as “safer” and “healthier”. I got nothing. Zip. Nada.

I’m not exactly shy when it comes to my willingness to drive a stake into Big Tobacco’s heart (here). But I must confess that I would have been shocked to find even a single example of a blunder of that magnitude by a company with the resources of Lorillard. They may be evil. But they’re definitely not stupid.

What could the law firm possibly have up their $2,000 suit sleeves that would support this accusation? While trying to answer that question something kept nagging at me – Blu e-cigs. Blu e-cigs. Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m certain that I have read something that dealt specifically with Blu e-cigs. It took a glass of wine and a lot of searching through my files but I found what I was looking for.

In December of last year, a study was published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. The study had the catchy title of:

Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air

Stated simply, the idea was to use smoking machines to capture smoke from a selection of conventional cigarettes. Then capture vapor (technically “aerosol”) from a selection of e-cigarettes. Finally, capture “blank samples” which simply meant plain old air. Analyze the smoke, the vapor, and the plain old air for nicotine and “harmful or potentially harmful components” (HPHC). Then compare the results.

Their findings:
  • The e-cigarette aerosol produced little or no detectable levels of the HPHCs tested.
  • Conventional cigarettes produced 3,000 µg/puff of the HPHCs tested. Compared to <2 µg/puff in both the e-cigarette aerosols and the plain old air – 1500 times less than conventional cigarettes.
  • In the e-cigarette aerosol samples, five of the fifty-five HPHCs tested were detected in small, but measurable quantities. Those quantities were 50-900 times lower than those found in the cigarette smoke samples.
  • Nicotine levels in e-cigarettes samples were 30 µg/puff or less. 85% lower than the 200 µg/puff for the conventional cigarette smoke samples [emphasis mine].
  • The researchers concluded: “The deliveries of HPHCs tested for these e-cigarette products were similar to the study air blanks rather than to deliveries from conventional cigarettes; no significant contribution of cigarette smoke HPHCs from any of the compound classes tested was found for the e-cigarettes. Thus, the results of this study support previous researchers’ discussion of e-cigarette products’ potential for reduced exposure compared to cigarette smoke.”

Or to put it more simply, the levels of HPHCs in the e-cigarette aerosols were more consistent with the plain old air than any comparison to the smoke from the conventional cigarette samples.

Others weigh in:

Michael Siegel (MD, MPH and Professor in the School of Public Health at Boston University) commented on this study in his “The Rest of the Story” blog:

“This study adds to the abundant and growing body of evidence that electronic cigarettes are orders of magnitude safer than tobacco cigarettes and suggests that brands of e-cigarettes that do not overheat the e-liquid may be associated with very minor absolute health risks.”

Jacob Sullum (Senior Editor for Reason.com and Columnist for Forbes) not only wrote about the results of the study, but put it in the context of California politics:

“In light of data like these, anyone who implies that e-cigarette vapor is about as dangerous as tobacco smoke cannot be taken seriously. That includes Mark Leno, the California legislator who predicts that “we’re going to see hundreds of thousands of family members and friends die from e-cigarette use, just like we did from traditional tobacco use.” It also includes Ron Chapman, [former] director of California’s Department of Public Health, who recently declared e-cigarettes “a community health threat” in a report that includes panic-promoting pronouncements like these:

E-cigarettes do not emit water vapor, but a concoction of chemicals toxic to human cells in the form of an aerosol. The chemicals in the aerosol travel through the circulatory system to the brain and all organs.

Mainstream and secondhand e-cigarette aerosol has been found to contain at least ten chemicals that are on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

“You would never guess from such dire warnings that the toxic chemicals Chapman cites are present in e-cigarette aerosol at levels nearly indistinguishable from those in the air he is breathing right now. But since that appears to be the case, there is no justification for this sort of scaremongering.”

Now what?

Will the results of this study be presented in any court proceedings that may result from this class action lawsuit? Is it germane to the question of the safety of Blu electronic cigarettes? Does the publication of this study constitute false advertising?

This study was funded by, performed at the labs of, and completed by researchers employed by – Lorillard Tobacco Company. Three of the e-cigarettes analyzed in this study were Blu e-cigarettes. “False advertising”? If it gets that far, the Court (or courts) will have to answer that question.

 

We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Proof Big Tobacco E-Cigarettes NOT A Product for Quitting Smoking

Vaper’s Vortex

April 28, 2015


“Brilliant. Well planned. Expertly executed.”


King’s College London and University College London have released the results of two studies focusing on the use of e-cigarettes relative to quitting smoking. Both studies are based on a survey of 1500 users completed in December 2012 with a follow-up one year later. So what did they find?

  • 65% of daily e-cigarette users in December 2012 went on to making a quit attempt in the next year, versus 44% of non-users.
  • An additional 14% of daily users in December 2013 had reduced their use of tobacco cigarettes by 50% or more, versus 6% of non-users.
  • Daily e-cig users were not more likely to quit during the one year period. Non daily use was not associated with quitting, attempted quitting or reduction in cigarette consumption.

The first study’s lead author, Dr. Leonie Brose, said that conclusions about the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a quitting aid cannot be drawn because the study surveyed users who were using e-cigarettes for any reason. But in spite of that fact, e-cigarette users were more likely to substantially reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and more likely to attempt quitting than non-users.

The results of the second study are where the proverbial rubber meets the road. This study examined not only how often e-cigarettes were used, but what kind of e-cigarette was used – cigalikes vs. tanks.

  • At the one year follow-up, 587 people were using e-cigarettes. 76% using cigalikes, 24% using tanks.
  • 28% of daily tank users had quit cigarette smoking at the one year mark. That’s more than two and a half times the 11% of successful quitters that were daily cigalike users, or the 13% of quitters not using e-cigarettes at all. But there’s more.
  • Only 5% of non-daily cigalike users were successful quitters. Folks who did not use any kind of e-cigarette at all were more than twice as successful at quitting as those who used cigalikes on a non-daily basis.

That fact led to an article in the UK’s daily newspaper Mirror with the headline Tobacco giants fund e-cigarettes LEAST likely to make you quit .

Why are Big Tobacco’s cigalikes so ineffective in helping smokers quit?

According to the Mirror article, Tom Pruen from the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) says he doesn’t think tobacco companies are producing ineffective products deliberately. ECITA does a lot of good work. But with all due respect to Mr. Pruen – I disagree.

What is the primary revenue source for Big Tobacco? The one that produces more than $37 billion in annual profits? The one that is known to be “engineered” with more than 600 chemicals? Chemicals  added during the manufacturing process to dramatically increase the addictiveness of their primary product? Combustible, tobacco, cigarettes.

Mass produce an inferior cigalike product. Distribute it to hundreds of thousands of convenience stores worldwide. Users try the cigalikes. They conclude that “e-cigarettes” are an unsatisfying alternative. And go right back to smoking –  combustible, tobacco, cigarettes. What better way to cripple the first viable threat in history to Big Tobacco’s dominance?

The Mirror quotes Mr. Pruen:

“I think it’s more a reflection that the simple, sealed, cigalike products are better suited to the wholesale distribution channels they use, and the poor understanding of the market they had when buying up e-cig companies.”

I think it’s a reflection of a marketing plan that is nothing short of brilliant. One that does more, much more, than simply protect their market share. It also provides public health and politicians with an irresistible opportunity. Spin e-cigarettes as “Just another ploy by Big Tobacco to hook the next generation of our kids by starting them out on e-cigarettes as a gateway to tobacco cigarettes.”

Big Tobacco virtually “hired” public health and politicians to protect, if not increase, cigarette sales. Brilliant. Well planned. Expertly executed.

And…it’s working.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .
The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Why Did Mitch Zeller Hedge On Nicotine?

Vaper’s Vortex

April 24, 2015

“We don’t know yet.”


In his video following the release of the 2014 CDC-FDA Youth Tobacco Survey, Mitch Zeller responded to the question “Are e-cigarettes addictive for kids?” Zelller’s somewhat surprising response:

“We don’t know yet. We do know that they contain and deliver nicotine, and that they could be addictive, but I can’t say definitively that they are for kids.”

Curious. This from the man that just moments earlier in the video described the NYTS results as “…astounding and disturbing.” He could have easily said “We know nicotine is addictive” and very few would have even raised an eyebrow. Why did he hedge?

Is nicotine addictive? The answer to that question appears to be not quite as cut and dried as many (including myself) might think.

“It seems very safe even in nonsmokers. In our studies we find it actually reduces blood pressure chronically. And there were no addiction or withdrawal problems, and nobody started smoking cigarettes. The risk of addiction to nicotine alone is virtually nil [emphasis added].”

That is a quote from Dr. Paul Newhouse, Director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Cognitive Medicine. He went on to say:

“People won’t smoke without nicotine in cigarettes, but they won’t take nicotine by itself. Nicotine is not reinforcing enough. That’s why FDA agreed nicotine could be sold over the counter. No one wants to take it because it’s not pleasant enough by itself. Nicotine by itself isn’t very addictive at all… [it] seems to require assistance from other substances found in tobacco to get people hooked.”

In an article in the March 2014 issue of Discover magazine titled “Nicotine, the Wonder Drug?”, nicotine used to treat disease did not result in addiction or withdrawal in studies conducted by neurologist James Boyd of the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Burning tobacco is, beyond any doubt, very highly addictive. Nicotine alone – not so much. If at all. Experiments conducted on the various properties of nicotine have revealed that it is almost impossible to get lab animals addicted to pure nicotine. But quite easy to get them addicted to cigarette smoke.

Maryka Quik, program director of the Neurodegenerative Diseases Program at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute based in California’s Silicon Valley:

“The whole problem with nicotine is that it happens to be found in cigarettes,” she says. “People can’t disassociate the two in their minds.”

Peter Killeen (now retired), was an emeritus professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. In 2009, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) invited Killeen to look into ways to improve scientific research on drug abuse, specifically nicotine addiction. And the result:

“I came up with a shocking discovery. There’s no such thing as nicotine addiction. It’s time to get our heads straight, what causes the tremendously addicting power of cigarettes is the drug cocktail of nicotine, not nicotine itself.”

As most of us could imagine, many of the experts that Killeen presented his findings to were less than receptive. But Killeen is not alone in his hypothesis and even those most critical of his findings found it difficult to argue with his reasoning:

“Studies have shown that none of the nicotine replacement therapies — chewing gum, inhalers, patches — none of those are addictive. Nicotine is not addictive.”

So if nicotine itself is not addictive, what makes tobacco cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products so incredibly addictive? Killeen theorized that the combination of monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, along with nicotine, along with 7,000 chemicals produced from burning tobacco, that is the source of addiction:

“When you put together something that directly releases dopamine [make the user feel great] and another thing that helps the brain clean up excess dopamine [take the great feeling away], you’ve got a one-two punch. It is my hypothesis that it’s a combination of nicotine with some of these other chemicals that causes the powerful addiction.”

So why did Zeller hedge on the question of the addictiveness of e-cigarettes? It was no off the cuff remark. It was calculated. Planned. And well executed. There is even some real science behind what he said. But it required that he pass on an easy selling point to an ill-informed public. Sooner or later the reason will surface. I’m betting it will be well after the upcoming FDA regulations are announced. Any takers?


 We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

New CDC Study Proves Cigarettes and Cigars Are a Gateway to E-Cigarettes

Vaper’s Vortex

April 22, 2015


 “That this is happening is alarming.”


 

Results of the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) was released by the CDC last week. The news is not good. The survey offers convincing evidence that cigarettes and cigars are proving to be a gateway to electronic cigarettes.

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera reported in his recent article that CDC Director, Thomas Frieden could not stop talking about how awful this finding was. How bad is it?

The new survey found that high school students use of e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days was 13.4%. You read that right, 13.4%. Three times higher than the 4.5% recorded in the 2013 survey. By far the biggest increase of ANY tobacco product. But how could this be?

The 2013 NYTS showed that high school teen use of all tobacco products was 22.9%. The new 2014 survey shows teen use of all tobacco products was 24.6% – a modest increase of 1.7%.  That increase represents an increase of approximately 63,000 students from one year to the next. What is shocking is that 2014 teen use of e-cigarettes reflects an increase of approximately 179,000 students! Even if we assume that all of the additional 63,000 students in the 2014 survey were using e-cigarettes, that would only account for about one third of the increase in e-cigarette use. Where did the other 116,000 students come from? How can this be?

The numbers just don’t add up. Unless – some of the high school students who were using tobacco products other than e-cigarettes in 2013, switched to e-cigarettes in 2014. To test our hypothesis, we looked at student use of tobacco products other than e-cigarettes.

In 2014, high school student use of cigarettes dropped from 12.7% in 2013 to 9.2%. That is a 25% drop in one year. A 42% drop in teen cigarette use since 2011. Almost 48,000 students that used tobacco cigarettes in 2013, did not use them in 2014. But even if we subtract these 48,000 from the unexplained 116,000 students using e-cigarettes, we are still left with 68,000 unexplained students. We kept looking.

In 2014, high school student use of cigars dropped from 11.9% in 2013 to 8.2%. A 30% drop in one year. Teen cigar use has dropped 35% since 2011. So 85% of the four year decline in cigar use was in the last year. This one year decline represents 44,000 students.

Out of an increase of 179,000 students who used e-cigarettes in 2014 that did not use them in 2013:

  • 63,000 additional students were added from 2013 to 2014.
  • 48,000 students who used tobacco cigarettes in 2013 did not use them in 2014.
  • 44,000 students who used cigars in 2013 did not use them in 2014.
  • A total of 155,000 students, out of 179,000 e-cigarette users, might be explained by these numbers.
  • More importantly, it appears that cigarettes and cigars were a gateway to e-cigarette use for a staggering 92,000 students.

Small wonder that CDC Director Frieden could not stop talking about how awful this finding was! He went on to say, “That this is happening is alarming.”

Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products echoed Director Frieden’s concern – “The 2014 results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey are astounding and disturbing.”

Can there be any doubt that our public health leaders are looking out for the health and welfare of our youth? It is “alarming”, “astounding” and “disturbing” that products like cigarettes and cigars, products that we have studied and know everything there is to know about, are acting as a gateway to e-cigarettes! The evidence is clear. America’s youth who start with cigarettes and cigars are then moving on to e-cigarettes!

We know that e-cigarettes are not harmless! We know that e-cigarettes contain nicotine! As Director Zeller pointed out, we don’t know that e-cigarettes are addictive – but they certainly could be!

Thank goodness we have men like Director Frieden and Director Zeller. Experts, with many years of experience, dedicated to stopping this epidemic of e-cigarette use dead in its tracks. And get our kids back to cigarettes and cigars.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

When Stanton Glantz Speaks He Should Suggest “They” Stop Misrepresenting the Notblowingsmoke Campaign on Ecigs

Vaper’s Vortex

April 20, 2015


 

“There’s a lot that public health isn’t telling us about vaping.”

 

My post today is a parody on the post made by UCSF Professor Stanton Glantz in his blog yesterday. Glantz seems to actually be delusional enough to believe that FDA’s Mitch Zeller needs his input. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a moment to read Glantz’s latest ego trip.


Stanton Glantz will not be a featured speaker anywhere there is anyone with any interest in hearing anything even remotely supported by scientific evidence.

While I suppose he would gladly accept any offer to take the podium and continue his usual anti-tobacco extremist tirade, he should reconsider his participation. Endlessly trying to dictate appropriate behavior according to his standards, instead of helping the public make informed decisions, is quickly eroding any influence he may have once had.

The notblowingsmoke ad looks exactly like the CDC’s Tips ad except it endorses presenting the public with evidence based information regarding a harm reduction alternative to the deadliest consumer product ever created. An alternative that could potentially save millions of lives.

These kind of look alike campaigns are used to inform the public and policy makers and invite an honest, open discussion of the substantial and growing body of evidence suggesting that electronic cigarettes are the first viable threat to Big Tobacco’s dominance in more than 100 years. One that some believe could render combustible cigarettes obsolete in less than a decade. An innovative harm reduction idea that is lost on ideological extremists like Glantz.

If he does speak, he should review how his statements are being used to expose the misinformation, lack of evidence and outright lies that he is so well known for. I have only heard him quoted in examples of how one-sided and scientifically bankrupt the views of a zealot can be.  Carl Phillips, Clive Bates, Michael Siegel, and Brad Rodu, told me that the same thing has been happening for a very long time. Too long.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

What Mitch Zeller Didn’t Say

Vaper’s Vortex

April 17, 2015


 

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”    Albert Einstein

 

 

Mitch Zeller said:

“The 2014 results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey are astounding and disturbing.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“The 2014 results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey document the continuing and unprecedented decline in the use of combustible tobacco cigarettes by our youth.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“In one year we’ve seen a tripling of e-cigarette use among middle school and high school age kids. This is an extraordinary jump, and something we are very concerned about from a public health perspective.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“The correlation between the tripling of e-cigarette use among middle school and high school age kids and the dramatic decline of tobacco cigarette use among middle school and high school age kids is clear and undeniable. As e-cigarette use goes up, tobacco cigarette use goes down.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“There’s good news and there’s bad news with the release of the National Youth Tobacco Survey results.

The good news is that cigarette use and cigar use by middle school and high school age kids continues to be down compared to where they were four, five, ten years ago.

“The bad news is that e-cigarette use and hookah use is rising and rising exponentially.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“The good news is that, as a result of the e-cigarette alternative, cigarette use by middle school and high school age kids has dropped by almost 50% over the 2011-2014 period covered by the new study.

The bad news is that hookah use, a combustible tobacco product even more deadly than traditional cigarettes, is rising and rising exponentially. An astounding and disturbing development.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“So, all the good news is being threatened by the bad news of this dramatic increase in the use of e-cigarettes and hookah.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“So, all the good news is being threatened by the bad news of this dramatic increase in the use of hookah.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“Electronic cigarettes contain and deliver nicotine.

Nicotine is very dangerous to the developing child and adolescent brain.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“Almost 45 states have passed legislation outlawing the sale of e-cigarettes to youth under the age of 18. Under the proposed regulations for e-cigarettes, the prohibition of sales to youth under the age of 18 will become federal law.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“Parents should take no comfort in the fact that their kids are using an e-cigarette rather than a burning cigarette because of the presence of nicotine.”

“Any tobacco or nicotine containing product being used by a child or an adolescent is bad for that person and it’s bad for public health.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“Parents should take no comfort in the fact that their kids are using a hookah rather than a burning cigarette. Chemical content, including more than 70 carcinogens, have been measured in the smoke produced by hookahs at levels ten times higher than combustible tobacco cigarettes. We know that cigarettes are dangerous. Hookahs are ten times more dangerous.

Any tobacco or nicotine containing product being used by a child or an adolescent is bad. We know that studies have shown that it can adversely affect brain development in youth. Parents should be informed and discuss the hazards of nicotine with their children.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“A lot of people have asked whether e-cigarettes are addictive for kids. The answer is, we don’t know yet.

We do know that they contain and deliver nicotine, and that they could be addictive, but I can’t say definitively that they are for kids.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“While we don’t have all of the answers yet, the FDA, the CDC, and NIH are working together to make better informed decisions. Funding is already in place for studies to determine not only the addictive potential of the nicotine in e-cigarettes, but other potential risks and/or potential benefits of e-cigarettes – the ‘continuum of risk’ principle.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“What I can say definitively is that nicotine is harmful to the developing teenage brain, and no teenager, no young person, should be using any tobacco or nicotine-containing products such as e-cigarettes.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“What I can say definitively is that nicotine is harmful to the developing teenage brain, and no teenager, no young person, should be using any tobacco or nicotine-containing products.

That is why we will be pursuing the prohibition of sales, to youth under the age of 18, of all tobacco products that contain nicotine.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“The latest release of the National Youth Tobacco Survey results from 2014 should raise alarm bells for parents and educators. The striking increase in middle school and high school use of e-cigarettes and hookah is really a public health emergency.

“A tripling of e-cigarette usage in one year is just an astounding finding.”

 Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“The latest release of the National Youth Tobacco Survey results from 2014 should raise alarm bells for parents and educators. The striking increase in middle school and high school use of hookah is really a public health emergency.

A doubling of hookah usage in one year is just an astounding finding.”

Mitch Zeller said:

“But the message to educators, the message to parents is, you should be equally concerned. These products contain nicotine, many of them probably deliver nicotine, and nicotine is harmful to the developing teenage brain.”

Mitch Zeller didn’t say:

“We know that nicotine is not harmless. We also know that “harmless” is an irrational standard that cannot be met by tens of thousands of products that Americans consume on a daily basis.

Government agencies and public health organizations must work together in promoting harm reduction. We don’t tell people they can’t drive cars because it’s dangerous. We create seat belt laws and encourage safer driving practices.

History tells us that prohibition is not, and will never be, the answer. Taxes are not the answer. Harm reduction – that is doable. That is within our reach. That is our responsibility. That is our super power.

 

We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .
The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Tobacco “Sin Taxes” – Who Are the Sinners?

Vaper’s Vortex

April 15, 2015


“Smugglers with ties to terrorist groups are acquiring millions of dollars from illegal cigarette sales and funneling the cash to organizations such as al Qaeda.”


Taxes are not the answer to:

  • Increasing state tax revenues or
  • Reducing the 540,000 annual deaths from smoking tobacco cigarettes.

Why is it so hard for politicians to understand that? Why is it so hard for Public Health to understand that? Why is it so hard for anti-tobacco extremists to understand that?

A February report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation tells the story. Easy to read. Easy to understand. It even has lots of graphics. All of the following are compiled from taxes in place for 2013.

Instead of increasing tax revenues, raising taxes on tobacco cigarettes often reduces state tax revenues and increases criminal black market activity.

  • New York
    • $4.35 per pack added by the state
    • New York City adds an additional $1.50
    • Together, the highest cigarette tax in the nation.
    • The result – 58% of the cigarettes smoked in New York are smuggled across state lines.
  • Washington State
    • $3.025 per pack (a new bill has been introduced that would increase cigarette taxes to 95% of wholesale cost)
    • The result – 46% of the cigarettes currently smoked in Washington are smuggled across state lines.
    • The proposed 95% tax would also apply to e-cigarettes.
  • California
    • $0.87 (a new bill has been introduced that would increase cigarette taxes by $2 per pack)
    • The result – 31% of the cigarettes smoked in California are smuggled across state lines in spite of the fact that the current cigarette tax rate is the 16th lowest in the U.S.
    • What effect will a $2.87 per pack tax have on black market cigarettes coming into California?

The Tax Foundation report shows a direct correlation between high cigarette taxes and black market activity.

  • New Hampshire
    • $1.68 per pack
    • The highest rate of cigarettes smuggled out of state in the U.S. – 29%.
  • Vermont
    • $2.62 per pack
    • In spite of a hefty cigarette tax, 3.1 % of Vermont cigarettes are smuggled out of state.
  • Idaho
    • $0.57 per pack
    • 24% of Idaho cigarettes – smuggled out of state
  • Nevada
    • $0.80 per pack
    • 19% of Nevada cigarettes – smuggled out of state

So what does this tell a politician or public health representative who has even the slightest interest in making an informed decision regarding the merit of cigarette taxes?

Why does New Hampshire, with a $1.68 per pack cigarette tax have the highest rate of out of state sales of cigarettes in the U.S.? Because it’s practically next door to New York which, at $5.85 per pack, has the highest cigarette tax in the nation – almost three and a half times higher than New Hampshire’s tax.

Why does Vermont have a 3.1% rate of out of state sales in spite of a $2.62 per pack cigarette tax? Because it shares a border with New York state. New Hampshire still gets the lion’s share of New York’s black market because of its lower cigarette tax. Cigarettes smuggled from New Hampshire are cheaper than cigarettes smuggled from Vermont.

Why does Idaho have a 24% rate of out of state sales? Because it has a cigarette tax of $0.57 AND shares a border with Washington ($3.02 per pack cigarette sales tax) AND Oregon ($1.18 per pack).

Why does Nevada have a 19% rate of out of state sales? You guessed it. Nevada has an $0.80 cigarette tax AND shares a border with California ($0.87) AND Arizona ($2.00) AND Utah ($1.70).

Between 2009 and 2013, 32 states raised cigarette taxes. Of those 32 states, three met or exceeded tax revenue projections.

Washington D.C. increased their cigarette tax in October 2009 by 25% – from $2.00 to $2.50. Five months later, February 2010, revenue from cigarette taxes had decreased by $7 million.

In 2007, New Jersey raised cigarette taxes to $2.575, from $2.40. The tax revenue generated fell short of the politician’s projections – by $52 million. Overall revenue from cigarette taxes – dropped $22 million. New Jersey’s response – in 2009 New Jersey raised the tax again by another 17.5 cents.

In response to the highest cigarette tax in the nation, 58% of cigarettes smoked in New York state are smuggled across state borders. New York’s response – in February of this year they filed a $180 million dollar suit against UPS for delivering nearly 700,000 cartons of cigarettes from out of state.

An April 12th article in the Wall Street Journal quotes a 2004 report from the Washington Post:

“Smugglers with ties to terrorist groups are acquiring millions of dollars from illegal cigarette sales and funneling the cash to organizations such as al Qaeda.”

A CNN article from May of 2013 quotes the then Commissioner of the NYC police department:

“We discovered that individuals who were on our radar for links to known terrorists were engaged in a massive raid on the New York Treasury in the form of cigarette tax avoidance.”

In my previous blog post, we looked at the potential $300 billion savings for Medicaid if smokers switched to electronic cigarettes. Millions if not billions of additional taxpayer dollars could be saved with reasonable, well informed policies regarding taxing cigarettes. To say nothing of reducing crime, both domestic and international.

Yet we have a California Senator, Mark Leno, who has introduced a bill that will almost triple California cigarette taxes and classify electronic cigarettes as “tobacco products”. Senator Leno’s justification?

“We’re going to see hundreds of thousands of family members and friends die from e-cigarettes use just like we did from traditional tobacco use.”


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

The Truth About Vaping – Episode 1 “Why They Hate Us”

Vaper’s Vortex

April 14, 2015


“The more money Big Tobacco makes, the more money California gets.”

 

This video, done by The Truth About Vaping, is the best commentary I’ve seen on the California Department of Public Health’s campaign against vaping. It really says it all – in less than four minutes.

The Truth About Vaping – Episode 1 – “Why They Hate Us”

 


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Harm Reduction is Old News – Let’s Talk about the ECONOMICS of E-Cigarettes

Vaper’s Vortex

April 13, 2015


 “The game-changing potential for dramatic harm reduction by current smokers using e-cigs will flow directly into lower healthcare costs dealing with the morbidity and mortality stemming from smoking combustible cigarettes.”      J. Scott Moody


 

Can we talk? Let’s talk dollars. Taxpayer’s dollars. A  l o t  of dollars. Yours. And mine.

J. Scott Moody recently published an analysis of the potential savings, nationwide, in Medicaid expenditures, IF e-cigarettes replaced combustible tobacco cigarettes. $48 billion dollars. Every year.

I don’t know about you but I have trouble getting my head around $48 billion dollars. Moody gives us a little help in putting that into perspective:

  • Cigarette tax collections in 2012, for all 50 states combined, totaled $24.4 billion.
  • Replace analogs with e-cigs and the revenue gained in Medicaid healthcare cost savings would exceed cigarette tax revenues by 87%.
  • Moody concludes “…given the long-term fiscal challenges facing Medicaid, the prospect of large e-cigs cost savings is worth a non-interventionist approach [emphasis added] until hard evidence proves otherwise.”
  • Out of a total enrollment in the U.S. Medicaid system of 68 million, 36 million are smokers. That’s just under 53% of all Medicaid participants.

But that’s just the beginning of the story. A 2009 study estimated the two major costs associated with smoking – lost productivity (as the result of time off work or premature death) and healthcare costs.

The cost to the U.S. economy of lost productivity in 2009 – $185 billion.

The cost of additional smoking related healthcare – $116 billion.

In one year, smoking cost U.S. taxpayers $301 billion.

The potential Medicaid savings in smoking related costs would exceed the total of tobacco tax revenues AND tobacco settlement payments in 45 out of 50 states.

Electronic cigarettes have the potential to be the greatest public health innovation in 100 years. Electronic cigarettes have the potential to add $300 billion (or more) back into the U.S. economy every year. And that’s just from savings in a single federally funded program. Electronic cigarettes have the potential to reduce smoking related deaths by a conservative estimate of 50%.

If the blindly ideological, scientifically bankrupt, morally indefensible propaganda being offered by the anti-tobacco extremists in public health and politics is successful, the economic toll will be unimaginably high. And one billion people worldwide will lose their lives in the 21st century from smoking.

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning. Anybody can start today and make a new ending.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Electronic Cigarettes are Not “Safe” – Duh!

Vaper’s Vortex

April 11, 2015


It is an ethical duty and obligation of all scientists to present the truth to the public and stop playing games which cost lives every day.”  Konstantinos Farsalinos

 

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that general perception of the safety of e-cigarettes is declining. In 2010 almost 85% of smokers believed that e-cigarettes represented a safer option. In 2013 that number had declined to 65%. Why?

In his response to this study, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos stated:

“The finding that people (specifically smokers) do not believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes is a clear indication that the part of the tobacco control movement who is ideologically opposing e-cigarettes are doing a pretty good job in MISINFORMING the public.”

Shortly after reading the results of this study, I ran across a recent example of the misinformation Dr. Farsalinos refers to. The following are statements taken from that article. It is not my intent to embarrass anyone (regardless of how deserving they may be) so I will not provide links. Names of individuals or organization are fictitious. My comments, follow each statement.

“[Dr.”Jones”], director of [“Organization X”] which works to help smokers quit believes e-cigarettes aren’t the best alternative to reducing tobacco cravings.” 

Certainly everyone, including this doctor, is entitled to their opinion. I read on anxious to discover what the “best alternative to reducing tobacco cravings” is.

“The problem is that although e-cigarettes could be less harmful, people need to know that less harmful is not the same as safe.”

Perhaps I’m naïve but I doubt that many people confuse “less harmful” with “safe”. On the other hand, people will question “could be less harmful”. Many of the staunchest opponents of e-cigarettes, however grudgingly, concede that e-cigarettes are less harmful than combustible tobacco products.

“E-cigarettes are fairly new, and scientists do not know enough about the chemicals that are produced by smoking them.”

Few on either side of the debate question the need for additional studies. The question is how much is, or will ever be, “enough”? How much is needed to reach a consensus that e-cigarettes are a “less harmful” alternative to tobacco cigarettes?

“The long-term effects are still unknown, and scientists will learn more about them in future years.”

How long is “future years”? Five years? Ten? Twenty? In the U.S. alone, 540,000 people are dying every year from smoking related diseases. That number is six million worldwide – every year. 

“E-cigarettes deliver nicotine, an active chemical found in tobacco smoke that causes addiction.” 

A factual statement. One that should be accompanied by a few more factual statements. People smoke for the nicotine. They die from the smoke created by combustion products. The combustion of tobacco, not nicotine, is responsible for the death rate from smoking.

Dr. “Jones” admitted e-cigarettes “are less harmful than conventional cigarettes…”

Now he or she has transitioned in the space of a couple of paragraphs from “could be less harmful” to “are less harmful” – we’re making progress.

“…but the nicotine content can still keep e-cigarette users addicted.”

If nicotine was not highly addictive, there would be nothing to debate. So exactly what is the point? E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes but both contain addictive nicotine therefor…what? Keep smoking those conventional cigarettes? If you cannot or will not stop smoking? Whatever you do, you certainly don’t want to consider a potentially less harmful alternative?

“One of the concerns with e-cigarette use is that current smokers won’t completely stop using tobacco, but will instead use the e-cigarette as a way to get around clean indoor air laws and policies,”

So the underlying implication is that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked has no benefit? It must be all or nothing? Sounds like more of the same nonsense that the CDC is eager to have the uninformed believe.

At last count 40 states have passed laws and policies including e-cigarettes under the same “clean air laws” that apply to conventional cigarettes. The wisdom of that could be debated but that’s for another post. This “concern” is pretty much a moot point.

“[Clinical coordinator] at [“Organization X”] urges students to find a more effective way to help people quit smoking. Although e-cigarettes might work for a few people, it is not a cure for everyone.”

Please, please share with students a clinically proven “more effective way to help people quit smoking”. One that is “a cure for everyone”.

“I do not see that electronic cigarettes, as they are currently configured, are helping people to quit. I do not see that electronic cigarettes in their current form are making a difference with our treatment population.”

So let me make sure I have this straight. You work at an organization dedicated to helping folks kick the tobacco cigarette habit. In that capacity, you don’t see that electronic cigarettes are making a difference with your “treatment population”. Which presumably is all current smokers. If they aren’t current smokers, what treatment are they seeking? What percentage of your “treatment population” is former smokers who have successfully quit smoking by using e-cigarettes or any other means?

“Almost all people who come to us for help have tried e-cigarettes and are still smoking.”

Clearly e-cigarettes are obviously not a good alternative. If they were, people who have successfully quit smoking using e-cigarettes would be coming to us for “treatment”. To quit smoking. Then we would know that e-cigarettes are an effective alternative! Seriously?

“We do not encourage e-cigarettes since not enough research has been conducted on the potentially harmful effects. Instead, we highly recommend a few Food and Drug Administration-approved medications.”

Highly researched FDA approved medications that have a 5 to 10 percent success rate. Or put another way, a 90 to 95 percent failure rate. Odd that no mention is made of the number of people who come to them for treatment that have previously tried FDA approved medications. And are still smoking. E-cigarette failures are important. FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy failures – irrelevant?

“Best success in quitting comes from use of one or more of seven FDA-approved medications: [the] nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, nicotine inhaler, nicotine nasal spray, Chantix [and] Bupropion.”

Perhaps this would be a good place to quantify “best success”? Five, maybe ten percent? What about well-publicized studies in the U.K., the U.S., Belgium and most most recently in Italy that show substantially higher success rates using e-cigarettes?

“Besides the unknown harms of e-cigarette vapor, could these products be a gateway to tobacco use through their addictive nicotine content? Certainly, there is appeal to these products, even among non-smokers.”

“Certainly”?  A number of studies  have shown that almost 100% of e-cigarette users are current smokers. Adult smoking rates are declining – worldwide. Youth smoking rates are declining – worldwide. E-cigarette usage rates are increasing – worldwide. Could these products be a gateway from combustible tobacco?

“Tobacco use drains people of money, time, health [and] stamina. People deserve evidence-based treatment, not gimmicks.”

People deserve an unbiased, objective presentation of the facts. People deserve accurate information. People deserve to make their own informed decisions. 

It is inexcusable that public health statements “… are doing a pretty good job in MISINFORMING the public.” The truth may not always be popular, but it’s always the truth.


 

We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dbave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Washington State Senate Bill 5573 – Bump in the Road or Driving Off the Cliff?

Vaper’s Vortex

April 8, 2015


 “There is levied and collected a tax upon the sale, use, consumption, handling, possession, or distribution of all vapor products in this state equal to ninety-five percent of the taxable sales price.”


 

Yesterday I blogged about the Washington House Bill 1645 which moved out of committee on Tuesday. As bad as 1645 is, Senate Bill 5573 is even worse. Here are some of the “highlights” [emphasis added].

  • “A person may not sell, offer for sale, or possess with intent to sell or offer for sale any flavored vapor product within the state.”
  • “’Characterizing flavor’ means a distinguishable taste or smell related to fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, or dessert …‘Characterizing flavor’ does not include flavors related to menthol, wintergreen, or mint.”
  • “Sample” means a tobacco product distributed to members of the general public at no cost or at nominal cost for product promotion purposes.
    • “Unless preempted by federal law, no person may engage in the business of sampling tobacco products or vapor products.”
  • “The department [Washington State Dept. of Health] must adopt a rule regulating the labeling and advertisement of vapor products. The rule must require a manufacturerto label the vapor product with (i) Disclosure of the nicotine content of the vapor product, measured in milligrams per milliliter and verified by an independent laboratory certified by the board [Washington State Liquor Control Board]; and (ii) warning regarding the harmful effects of nicotine.”
  • “By December 1, 2016, the department of health must submit a report to the governor and the appropriate committees of the legislature recommending whether the sale of vapor products with flavors other than those prohibited under section 113 of this act, such as menthol, mint, and wintergreen, should be prohibited.
  • “There is levied and collected a tax upon the sale, use, consumption, handling, possession, or distribution of all vapor products in this state equal to ninety-five percent of the taxable sales price.”
  • “The moneys collected under this section must be deposited as follows: (a) Ninety percent into the state general fund; and (b) ten percent into the essential public health services account created in section 203 of this act.”
  • “The department must use the moneys in the account for each of the three following purposes: (a) To fund essential governmental public health services; (b) to fund tobacco control and prevention and other substance use prevention and education; and (c) to use to strengthen and support public health system capabilities, including accredited higher education public health programs.”
  • Preexisting inventories of vapor products are subject to the tax imposed in section 202 of this act.”

The Bottom Line

  • No flavored e-liquids = huge loss of incentive for smokers to consider a potentially safer vaping alternative. Big Tobacco – exempt.
  • State regulation of advertising and labelling = the state will dictate what can be said, where it can be said and what information will be on all labels.
  • Laboratory testing by State approved labs for nicotine content = the majority of small business owners could not possibly afford the testing. Big Tobacco – no problem.
  • December 2016 deadline for Dept. of Health recommendation on including Big Tobacco flavors in prohibited flavors = the Senators have no need for a Dept. of Health recommendation on flavors affecting small businesses. Big Tobacco flavors – they need a DoH study and recommendation. No rush. Big Tobacco will have almost two years to lobby for the “correct” recommendation. Wonder what that will be?
  • 95% sin tax on all vapor products = Washington has the sixth highest cigarette tax in the nation. The result? 48% of tobacco cigarettes smoked in the state are illegal contraband smuggled across state lines. The fourth highest inbound smuggling rate in the U.S. The Washington Dept. of Revenue estimates the resulting loss of tax revenue at $376 million per year. This bill amounts to a legislatively mandated black market for vaping products. “Break the law. It’s the law.”
  • And where will the taxes go? 90% will go to the “General Fund”. 10% will to go to a new “Essential Public Health Services” account created by this bill. Apparently public health services were never considered “essential” for tobacco cigarettes?

SB 5573 is a public health disaster in the making.

Estimated tax revenue from this 95% sales tax – $96.5 million over the next four years – Auburn Reporter. 10% going to “Essential Public Health Services” – $9.6 million.

Washington’s State Funding for Tobacco Control for 2015: $1,850,000. State Tobacco Related Revenue: $619,900,000 – State of Tobacco.

Annual cost for smoking related healthcare in Washington – $651 million per year, $2.4 billion over the forecasted four year period.

Washington State smoking related deaths last year – 7,930 – Washington State Dept. of Health.

Small businesses, many of them family owned – destroyed. Jobs lost. Black market crime virtually guaranteed. Smokers will continue, or resume, smoking. And dying.

And Big Tobacco – it would have been cheap at twice the price. All in a day’s work. All in the name of – public health.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

One Small Step for Washington State Politicians, One Giant Leap for Big Tobacco

Vaper’s Vortex

April 8, 2015


 “If regulatory measures related to licensing and taxation unduly restrict the development of the market, and thus cause extreme increases in retail prices, then the stage will be set for the emergence of a black market similar to that experienced by the cigarette industry.”


Washington State House Bill 1645 has cleared the first hurdle on the track to becoming state law. The bill has been approved by the House Committee on Appropriations by a vote of 18 for vs. 14 against. This is a companion bill to Senate Bill 5573 (still in committee) which I will discuss in tomorrow’s post.

How does a bill become law in the State of Washington? According to the Washington .gov website:

  1. A bill may be introduced in either the Senate or House of Representatives by a member.
  2. It is referred to a committee for a hearing. The committee studies the bill and may hold public hearings on it. It can then pass, reject, or take no action on the bill.
  3. The committee report on the passed bill is read in open session of the House or Senate, and the bill is then referred to the Rules Committee.
  4. The Rules Committee can either place the bill on the second reading calendar for debate before the entire body, or take no action.
  5. At the second reading, a bill is subject to debate and amendment before being placed on the third reading calendar for final passage.
  6. After passing one house, the bill goes through the same procedure in the other house.
  7. If amendments are made in the other house, the first house must approve the changes.
  8. When the bill is accepted in both houses, it is signed by the respective leaders and sent to the governor.
  9. The governor signs the bill into law or may veto all or part of it. If the governor fails to act on the bill, it may become law without a signature.

So there’s still a long way to go. The next big step will be the “debate and amendment” following the second reading. There is much to debate.

House Bill 1645 – Full text

The following are direct quotes taken from the bill as it stands right now [emphasis added].

  • Makes it illegal for “licensed vapor products retailers to allow customers to taste vapor products prior to purchase.
  • “Prohibits the retail sale and shipment of vapor products where the sales transaction is conducted through the Internet or by mail order, and prescribes regulatory sanctions and criminal penalties for noncompliance.”
  • “Authorizes local governments to impose additional restrictions on the sale, purchase, use, or promotion of of vapor products.”
  • “Unless preempted by federal law, the board is authorized to promulgate rules regulating the chemical composition of the liquids contained in vapor products, including substances included for flavoring purposes.”
  • “A substance contained in a cartridge sold, marketed, or intended for use in a vapor product that is prefilled and sealed by the manufacturer, and not intended to be opened by the consumer, is exempt from subsection (1) of this section.”

No tasting. No Internet sales. Local governments free to add additional restrictions. No flavors. Big Tobacco vaping products – exempt.

As you read the following, again keep in mind that this is quoted directly from this piece of state legislation [emphasis added]:

“Although it is clear that commerce in vapor products should be subject to stringent regulatory controls, the development of a regulatory framework must be tempered by an awareness of the potential for creating an illegal black market in vapor products. If regulatory measures related to licensing and taxation unduly restrict the development of the market, and thus cause extreme increases in retail prices, then the stage will be set for the emergence of a black market similar to that experienced by the cigarette industry.

The legislature finds, therefore, that this act is necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by preventing youth from having access to addictive vapor products, ensuring that consumers have accurate information about potentially dangerous products, and protecting the public from nicotine poisoning.”

Yes. They walk among us. Are in politics. And continue to breed.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Poll – Should the Minimum Age for Purchasing Vaping Products be 21?

Vaper’s Vortex

April 7, 2015


Medical Xpress published an article dated April 2 on the subject of raising the minimum age for purchasing vaping products to 21.

What is the opinion of the vaping community? Cast your vote below. You will see the “current” results after you vote. We will publish “overall” results in an upcoming post.

Comments regarding the basis of your vote are not required but encouraged to provide insight into the support for or opposition to a minimum age of 21.

[yop_poll id=”2″]
 


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Signs, Harm Reduction and Killing Birds

Vaper’s Vortex

April 6, 2015


 “Their web designer could have a drop-down menu for downloadable “Poison du jour” signs.”


 

The Suffolk County Legislature in NY State recently passed a local law requiring a sign be posted anywhere where liquid nicotine is sold in the county. The first one of its kind in the U.S. I’m all about harm reduction. Who knows, perhaps their sign will help.

“Liquid Nicotine Warning:

Liquid nicotine may be poisonous if swallowed, inhaled or if it comes in contact with skin. It is not regulated so the amount of nicotine in any container is uncertain. KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN’S REACH. The use of liquid nicotine can be addictive. It may increase heart rate and blood pressure, cause dizziness and nausea, and aggravate respiratory conditions. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, persons with, or at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or taking medicine for depression or asthma should not use this product. INGESTION OF LIQUID NICOTINE MAY BE FATAL.”

  • I have read this warning a number of times. The content is accurate. Liquid nicotine is toxic by ingestion or skin absorption. Not all “exposures” are “poisonings” according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers but that’s a minor point. Our focus is harm reduction.
  • Unfortunately, some manufacturers have failed to exercise the care needed to ensure nicotine concentrations match labels. Regulation of manufacturing and labeling should improve that situation.
  • The relative toxicology of any substance is based on body weight. There certainly is a critically important need to keep nicotine out of the reach (and sight) of children.
  • There are a surprising number of medical professionals that believe that pure nicotine, such as that found in patches, gums, lozenges and electronic cigarettes, is actually not addictive. But that’s a subject for another day. Warning folks that nicotine is addictive is a well established norm and I can see a valid argument for harm reduction.
  • Nicotine is a mild stimulant and all of the symptoms in the warning, although usually mild and temporary, are well-documented. The other warnings regarding pregnant women, breast feeding, etc. are certainly valid. I think this statement is similar, if not identical, to the statement used on a variety of consumer products. All with the intention of – harm reduction.
  • Ingestion of nicotine by young children can be fatal. Personally, I would have added “EXTREME CARE SHOULD BE EXERCISED TO PREVENT INGESTION BY CHILDREN AND PETS”.

The sign is accurate, reasonably well worded and may reduce harm. I don’t see any issues that would justify any objections. There’s just one little question in my mind. Why does Suffolk feel compelled to pass laws applying specifically and in the case of liquid nicotine, exclusively, to e-cigarettes?

As long as they were on the subject of warning signs, why not create one for tobacco cigarettes? Talk about harm reduction! Sort of a “kill two birds with one law” kind of thing. Or better yet, why not “kill three birds with one law” by including alcoholic beverages as well?

Heck, with a little thought, they could have killed a whole flock of birds with one law. They probably could have done it with practically the same sign! Think about all the poisons they could target in the grocery story. OMG, what about hardware and gardening stores? Their web designer could have a drop-down menu for downloadable “Poison du jour” signs.

What is it about electronic cigarettes that the good folks of Suffolk County legislature find so uniquely threatening? I am “OK” with their sign. Not so sure about their priorities. Or their politics.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Texas: Vegetables With Nicotine Can Be Addicting!

Vaper’s Vortex

April 4, 2015


 “The good flavors of some produce are especially attractive to children.”

 

I’ve been actively researching and following the evolution of e-cigarettes for a number of years. Over that time I’ve read a lot of stories, opinions and regulatory actions, proposed or implemented, in countries all over the world. Some are based on solid, well documented evidence. Many others are based on ignorance or ideology with no objective basis. I thought I had pretty much seen it all. Until now.

An article written by Gary Wood and published on examiner.com details Texas legislation that, if adopted, will require grocery stores to “age restrict produce sections” beginning in September 2015. Yes, you read that right. Texas legislators and regulators are united in their effort and the governor is expected to sign the new law. Quoting Senator Knowsamosta “Age restrictive produce sections, clearly displaying warnings, and carrying penalties and taxes to cover the cost to our society makes sense, quite frankly.” Why? Because some produce contains nicotine.

Nicotine is a naturally occurring liquid alkaloid. It is an organic compound made up of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Tobacco is a member of the nightshade family of plants. Also in the family – tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, peppers and let us not forget eggplant. So now you get it right? Not only are these flavors attractive to children, they are obviously a gateway to nicotine addiction and cigarette smoking.

Does the FDA know about this? A deeming proposal would seem to be urgently needed to classify these vegetables as “tobacco products”.

Public health organizations need to jump on this and get the word out – it appears that these vegetables are likely safer than cigarettes but they are not harmless. We simply do not have any clinical studies regarding the long term safety of eating cauliflower.

Federal and state governments need to move quickly to require child-resistant packaging and warning labels along with detailed ingredient listings and nicotine content.

The NIH needs to allocate at least $100 million for research grants to determine the risks of long term vegetable consumption. Universities applying for grants will need to provide detailed descriptions of methods that will be used to identify all known carcinogens in any detectable amounts, regardless of how small. It is recommended that vegetables charred black (beyond recognition) be tested as many consumers are known to prefer their vegetables thoroughly burned.

Eating vegetables also needs to be banned in all public places where use of tobacco products is already prohibited. The non-vegetable eating public has a right not to be exposed to second hand baked potato smoke.

Taxing vegetables exactly the same as tobacco products is clearly a high priority. We know from our experience with tobacco that taxes are one of the most effective tools in our arsenal for discouraging youth from ever getting into the vegetable habit. The last thing we want is to normalize eating vegetables. We cannot sit idly by and watch our kids fall prey to Big Veggies!

The current unregulated environment of vegetables is a clear public health risk. It’s like the “Wild West” out there. Immediate and decisive action is urgently needed to stifle the use of this latest threat to the health and well-being of our children.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Hat tip to Gary Wood for his brilliant satirical piece. Simply superb. Gary, in the unlikely event you should see my blog post, please forgive my much less skilled attempt at adding to the discussion. I just could not resist!


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. Co-founder and partner in DIYELS, Dave has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. Based on that research, Dave is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek advice from a medical professional.

If It Bleeds, It Leads

Vaper’s Vortex

April 3, 2015


“Study Links E-Cigarettes to Formaldehyde, Cancer Risk”

 

My wife and I were watching a movie recently and two of the characters, a television news director and the show’s producer, were debating their choices for the lead story on their upcoming news broadcast. One argued for opening with the forecast for rain in a drought stricken part of the country. The other argued for going with the story of a bear that had wandered too close and was threatening children at a nearby school. It was a slow news day. The winner? Crazed kid eating bear won out over drought relief from a rain storm.

The reality of the news media – print, radio or televised, is that the more dramatic, shocking, violent or frightening a story is, the better it will do in the ratings. “If it bleeds, it leads.”

That is the unfortunate basis for public comments, studies and press releases on e-cigarettes issued by nearly every public health organization in the U.S. and widely spun by media.

U.S. ad campaign points to dangers of dual cigarette/e-cig use” – here

“More than a quarter-million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013” – here (You had to read the fine print to learn that “Just 15.7 percent of U.S. teenagers reported smoking in 2013, the lowest rate on record.”)

Sometimes a single “study” can set off a veritable storm of media headlines. One case in point was a “peer-reviewed study” published by the New England Journal of Medicine. The following are just some of the headlines in various publications. Bear in mind that these are reporting on the same study.

  • “Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols”- here
  • “E-Cigarettes Can Churn Out High Levels Of Formaldehyde”- here
  • “E-cigarettes can produce more formaldehyde than regular cigarettes, study says” – here
  • “High Levels of Cancer-Linked Chemical In E-Cigarette Vapor, Study Finds” – here
  • “Study Links E-Cigarettes to Formaldehyde, Cancer Risk” – here
  • Cancer Risk Greater From e-Cigs Than Regular Cigarettes? – here

This study was exceptionally controversial, widely criticized by experts and characterized as being little more than junk science. The conditions required to produce the formaldehyde were extreme to the point of being ridiculous. The vaping conditions simulated – puff count, duration, interval between puffs and voltage – would not occur in any realistic vaper use scenario. Any vaper that has experienced a “dry puff” knows exactly what I’m talking about. Definitely an experience you strive not to repeat.

Perhaps Professor Peter Hajek summed it up best – “When a chicken is burned, the resulting black crisp will contain carcinogens [emphasis added] but that does not mean that chickens are carcinogenic.”

Like it or not, agree with it or not, an argument can be made that the media’s penchant for alarmist headlines is motivated by public demand. Sensationalism sells. Drama creates higher ratings. Higher ratings drive increased advertising sales. It’s good business. Driven by a profit motive.

Public health must be committed to a higher standard. Politicians must be held to a higher standard. Much higher.

There is an urgent need to identify and mitigate threats to public health. There is an equally urgent need to identify and educate the public on lower risk alternatives. Subjective ideology cannot take precedence over objective science. Reducing smoking related death and disease – tobacco harm reduction – that is the “Prime Directive”.

Headline that. Spin that. Explore that. With more than 540,000 smoking related deaths every year in the U.S., six million every year worldwide, and a projected one billion deaths in the 21st century – there’s plenty of blood to lead with.

 


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Honey I Shrunk the Smokers!

Vaper’s Vortex

April 2, 2015


“Larger studies are now needed…to establish the importance of integrating these anti-smoking services into future tobacco control strategies.”

A never before done study of the efficiency of vaping products in aiding with smoking cessation has yielded results that are nothing short of exhilarating.

Ricardo Polosa, MD, PhD is the Director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology at the University of Catania in Italy. Dr. Polosa also heads the University’s Centre for Tobacco Research. He is the author of more than 200 peer reviewed books and articles dealing primarily with respiratory medicine and tobacco addiction.

Or to put it more simply for plain folks like me, he’s a really smart dude that is a highly respected advocate of the benefits of vaping over combustible cigarettes. He also gave a speech at a meeting organized by the FDA in November of last year.

What They Did

  • 71 smokers, ≥18 years old, making their first ever purchase at a vape shop, were asked to complete a form. They provided their smoking history and current daily cigarette consumption.
  • They also completed a questionnaire – the Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence – which produces a number indicative of the respondent’s level of nicotine dependence (you guys can Google if you want more info on the test).
  • All participants chosen for the study were actively looking to quit smoking.
  • All participating vape shops offered a large selection of nicotine levels, flavors and hardware including cigalikes, refillables and MODs. Details of products purchased by each participant including e-cig hardware, flavors and nicotine strength were recorded for the initial vape shop visit and all subsequent visits for a period of one year.
  • Participants were given detailed instructions on how to charge, fill, activate and use their electronic cigarettes.
  • Cigarette consumption was recorded (self-reported) at 6 months and again at 12 months.

What Happened

  • At the end of the 12 month study, participants were broken down into four categories:
    • Reducers – Sustained 50% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
    • Heavy Reducers – Sustained 80% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
    • Quitters – Sustained abstinence from all cigarettes.
    • Failures – Smokers who failed to meet any of the above criteria or failed to complete the study.
  • 49 participants or 69% completed the study.
  • As a group, cigarette consumption changed from a mean of 24.9 cigarettes per day at the start of the study, to 4.0 cigarettes at the 6 month point, to 2.6 at the 12 month end point.
  • 29 of the 71 participants were “quitters” at the 12 month point – that’s a quit rate of 40.8%.
  • 18 of the 71 participants were “reducers” at the 12 month point – 25.4%.
  • 11 of the 18 “reducers” were further classified as “heavy reducers” – 15.5%.
  • 24 of 71 were classified as “failures” – 33.8%. Note that 22 of the 24 did not complete the follow-ups and so were counted as “failures”.

Smoking reduction or cessation was achieved in 66.2% of participants. Within that group, overall cigarette consumption was reduced by 89.1% over the twelve month period.

Key Findings

  • The success rates of vaping have been reported in clinical trials and Internet surveys – but this is the first study done “under natural conditions”.
  • The quit rate was four times higher than even the most optimistic estimates for nicotine replacement therapies.
  • Success rates were not only high, but came quickly. The quit rate at 6 months was 42.2%, decreasing only slightly to 40.8% at 12 months.

So we have a first of its kind real world study. Led by a renowned leader in tobacco harm reduction. Yielding a smoking/reduction success rate that has no historical precedent. Nuff said.

How many of you think politicians and public health organizations will be issuing press releases to every media outlet in the country celebrating this new information? Raise your hands. Hold ‘em up. Nice and high. Anybody?

No, I didn’t think so.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

Death by “Public Health”

Vaper’s Vortex

April 1, 2015


 “This issue is not about a perfectionist, absolute, zero tolerance for nicotine addiction. It is about harm reduction-like seat belts, air bags, condoms and vaccinations.”


The Star Tribune, a Minneapolis newspaper, recently published two articles in their Opinion section. The first was written by John McClay, who credits e-cigarettes with freeing him from 55 years of smoking tobacco cigarettes. The second article, written in response to McClay’s, was written by physician Lisa Mattson who states “McClay does not mention whether he has a medical or scientific background, but some of his claims are mistaken, or at least premature.”

The combination of the two articles is an excellent and revealing example of a subject that history may show to be the most controversial public health topic in generations. The following are excerpts, taken for comparison purposes, from both articles.

McClay – “As e-cig use — “vaping” — has increased, smoking prevalence has decreased nationally from 21 percent in 2005 to 17 percent this year, which translates into millions of former smokers.”

Mattson – “Research shows that smoking reductions historically are caused by many combined factors, such as smoking bans and tobacco tax increases, over very long periods of time. To attribute all declines since 2005 to e-cigarettes is a serious overstatement — especially since cessation science has not suggested e-cigs are particularly effective as quit aids.”

  • DIYELS – I’m not sure McClay intended to imply that all smoking declines since 2005 can be attributed to e-cigarettes which were only introduced in the U.S. in 2007. Mattson’s point that historical smoking reductions have primarily been the result of smoking bans and tax increases, while factual, fails to acknowledge that options for significantly reducing smoking have been very limited in both number and effectiveness  – until now. On the other hand, Mattson’s statement that “cessation science has not suggested e-cigs are particularly effective as quit aids” would be considered by many to be an overstatement. One contrary to an existing and growing body of evidence.
  • Michael Siegel, M.D., Professor, Boston University School of Public Health
  • University College London
  • Konstantinos Farsalinos Study of 19,000 E-Cig Users

McClay – “The vast majority — probably well over 90 percent — of vapers are adult former smokers…”

Mattson – “Most e-cigarette users, contrary to McClay’s claims, are not former smokers, but rather people who are still smoking.”

  • DIYELS – Perhaps there is a misunderstanding of the wording here? A number of studies in the U.S. and the U.K. have found that the overwhelming majority of first time e-cigarette users are cigarette smokers.  At least one study found that number to be over 95%. The number of first time e-cigarette users who are non-smokers has been shown to be very low – less than 1%. Perhaps Mattson’s statement that most e-cig users are still smoking refers to dual use by e-cig users? Assuming a common sense definition of “most” as more than 50%, research suggests that is an accurate statement.
  • E-Cigarette Use Rare in Non-Smokers
  • Worldwide Survey of 19,000 E-Cig Users

McClay – “E-cigs are not for everyone, but for me and many others they are an elegant solution. As one who loved to smoke, I can testify that they work better than other nicotine delivery systems precisely because they mimic the smoking experience — holding them, drawing, inhaling, feeling the throat hit and watching the exhaled water vapor, which looks like exhaled smoke.”

Mattson – “McClay may prefer e-cigarettes to cessation medications, but the fact is that medications, when combined with expert counseling, remain the most effective treatment for breaking tobacco addiction successfully.”

  • DIYELS – Several studies on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes compared to cessation medications have yielded mixed results. But most of those studies have shown that e-cigarettes are at least as effective, and some have shown they are substantially more effective, than traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapy including cessation medications. The last link below was conducted using second generation e-cigarettes which appear to be especially promising.
  • U.K. Study
  • Belgium Study
  • Study Using 2nd Generation Devices

McClay – “This issue is not about a perfectionistic, absolute, zero tolerance for nicotine addiction. It is about harm reduction — like seat belts, air bags, condoms and vaccinations. It is both fair and accurate to say that vaping is a much less harmful alternative to smoking, even though nothing that we put into our bodies is 100 percent risk-free.”

Mattson – “E-cigarettes do contain fewer carcinogens than conventional ones, but the jury is far from in about their long-term effects. We know the vapor does contain carcinogens, toxic chemicals and particulate matter. It isn’t simply water, and the health effects of breathing it for users like McClay, and for anyone exposed secondhand, won’t be known for many years.

  • DIYELS – Long term effects are not known. And will not be known for many years. It literally took decades for the dangers of tobacco cigarettes to be identified and proven. By definition, determining long term effects takes a long time. But it only takes one year for 480,000 Americans to die prematurely from smoking related diseases. The price for perfectionistic, absolute, zero tolerance for harm reduction is very high.

Mattson – “It is on these grounds that public e-cigarette use was recently prohibited in MinneapolisBloomington and many other communities around the state.”

  • DIYELS – In other words, public e-cigarette use has been prohibited on the basis of questions that we don’t have answers to. Instead of allowing them on the basis of questions that we do have answers to. Instead of allowing them based on the fact that although carcinogens have been detected in vapor, under any reasonable use scenario they are trace amounts so low that numerous studies have concluded they present very little, if any, risk. Instead of allowing them based on a large and growing body of scientific evidence showing that vaping is at least 95% safer than combustible cigarettes. Some would consider that a perfectionistic, absolute, zero tolerance standard for evaluating any harm reduction option falling short of absolute certainty.

How many of the smoking cessation products currently on the market – rigorously endorsed by pharmaceutical companies, many healthcare providers, and most of the public health community  – were required to meet an “absolute certainty” standard prior to FDA approval? Followed by national and international distribution. What possible justification was there for the release of those products if not – harm reduction? On what basis can the considerable and growing body of science supporting e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, continue to be ignored?

The number of adult smokers in the U.S. is currently estimated at 42 million or 17% of the U.S. population. The Public Health community has successfully reduced the number of adult smokers by well over 50%. That is a remarkable; some would even say miraculous accomplishment. Countless lives have been saved as the result of the efforts of these dedicated individuals. But it took 50 years.

Bonnie Herzog, a securities analyst for Wells Fargo, has estimated that in the absence of unnecessarily restrictive regulation, sales of e-cigarettes could surpass sales of tobacco cigarettes in ten years. Ten years after that, tobacco cigarettes could be obsolete.

It is unrealistic to expect that e-cigarettes will ever be found to be completely “harmless”. Opponents will continue to say that we don’t know the long term risks of e-cigarettes. But many of even the staunchest, most outspoken opponents concede that there is virtually no doubt that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. How long can we afford to wait? Are we seriously going to watch hundreds of thousands die in the short term while we debate the absence of long term data? What kind of twisted logic justifies death in the name of public health?

“We didn’t have long term data” isn’t going to mean much to the families of those who die.


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

 

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

An Open Letter to the California Department of Public Health

Vaper’s Vortex

March 31, 2015


“Put Up or Shut Up!”

Karen Smith, MD, MPH
Director
California Department of Public Health
PO Box 997377, MS 0500
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377

Dear Director Smith:

I am writing to you today regarding the new CDPH “Wake Up” campaign which, according to the press release, is part of CDPH’s “educational effort to inform the public about the dangers of e-cigarettes.”

The ad campaign challenges us to “Wake Up”. I challenge the CDPH to Put Up or Shut Up.

“There’s a lot the e-cig industry isn’t telling us about vaping.”

  • For example?
  • What exactly is it that the electronic cigarette industry isn’t telling us?
  • Put Up or Shut Up.

“From the people who brought you lung cancer.”

  • The people who brought you lung cancer are doing everything possible to ensure they, and only they, not only control the electronic cigarette industry – but are the only ones in the industry.
  • With allies like the California Department of Public Health, they just might succeed.
  • How much “push back” have you seen from Big Tobacco in response to the CDPH campaign?
  • There’s nothing for Big Tobacco not to like! CDPH, under the disguise of acting in the interests of public health, is doing more to line the coffers of Big Tobacco than Big Tobacco ever could. We can trust them right?
  • Put Up or Shut Up.

“A new way to inhale…toxic chemicals.”

  • A new way to STOP inhaling more than 7,000 toxic chemicals including 70 known carcinogens.
  • A new way to end addiction to combustible tobacco cigarettes – millions have already succeeded.
  • A new way to reduce the 540,000 annual deaths from smoking related disease.
  • One study estimates that for every million smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes, 6,000 lives a year will be saved.
  • The U.S. has 42 million smokers. When all of those smokers switch to electronic cigarettes – 252,000 lives will be saved – every year.
  • Put Up or Shut Up.

“With a drug as addictive as heroin.”

  • Where the hell did that come from?!
  • No study has ever even suggested, much less proven, that nicotine is as addictive as heroin.
  • Prove it or cut the crap.
  • The “children” you profess to want to protect are young, not stupid.
  • Put Up or Shut Up.

“And unknown long term effects.”

  • “Harmless” is a ridiculous, irrational standard that cannot be met by tens of thousands of products that folks use, breathe, and yes – consume every single day.
  • We KNOW the long term effects of TOBACCO CIGARETTES!
  • Are you seriously suggesting that there is even the remotest possibility that e-cigarettes are not a safer alternative?
  • Put Up or Shut Up.

“Here we go again.”

  • Dr. Smith, we’ve NEVER been where we are going.
  • You ain’t seen nothing yet!
  • Put Up or Shut Up.

Just exactly WHO is BLOWING SMOKE?


We are sincerely interested in your thoughts and comments! Please join the conversation and invite others by sharing this post! Thank you for visiting our site and we hope that you will come back often!

Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.