Category Archives: Public Health

Worrying behaviour by Action on Smoking and Health

Vapers in Power notes with concern – and disapproval – that Action on Smoking and Health continues to oppose the replacement of the EU’s inappropriate rules on electronic cigarettes with a new regulatory framework that’s actually fit for purpose. Despite repeated attempts to explain to ASH exactly why the TPD and its UK implementation are ill-advised and harmful restrictions based on misrepresented science, they persist in their support for it.

It should now be clear to everyone that ASH’s backing for the EU’s punitive approach to vaping is not merely down to a failure to understand the harm it causes. The reality is that ASH fully support this approach. They are not on our side; they simply view us as a convenient stick to beat the tobacco industry with. It goes without saying that people who do this are rarely worried about the welfare of the stick.

We note with even more concern that ASH’s chief executive, Deborah Arnott, sits at the centre of tobacco control in the UK and has a great deal of influence internationally. This is especially worrying in light of Ms Arnott’s well-known intolerance of disagreement.

Vaping advocates who have attempted to engage with ASH feel severely constrained in what they can say, out of fear that disagreeing too openly with Ms Arnott will result in their access to public health discussions being restricted. It is now clear that consumer advocates are not the only ones Arnott sees as legitimate targets for the application of pressure.

Yesterday Lisa McNally, a public health consultant with Bracknell Council, posted a tweet critical of the latest ASH anti-smoking campaign. Ms McNally is not an employee of ASH. She is under no obligation whatsoever to refrain from criticising a campaign run by a charity if she disagrees with that campaign. Nevertheless, this morning, she received an “angry call” from Arnott, who apparently feels entitled to harass public sector employees who displease her.

truemcnally-arnott-complaint

Given Arnott’s prominence in the tobacco control field, her extensive access to politicians and the substantial government funding she receives, this revelation of her methods should be of grave concern to every stakeholder in public health. How much opposition to harm reduction and proportionate legislation is driven, not by principle or objective study of the evidence, but by pressure applied behind the scenes by Arnott?

Vapers in Power call for a halt to all public funding of ASH, and the withdrawal of Deborah Arnott’s access to the Houses of Parliament and any parliamentary committee or working group, until proper mechanisms have been put in place to stop her harassing and bullying those who dare to disagree with her.

Vapers in Power are enraged by the updated “position statement” from Public Health Wales.

The latest statement on the use of vaping products by Public Health Wales is a grotesque bundle of idealistic wishes which remove the personal freedoms of vapers and those smokers who look to switch from smoking.

The entire document is riddled with ancient arguments revolving around “might”, “could” (and not forgetting “children”) and shows that PHW have failed to keep up-to-date with the continually published research.

We believe that PHW  are now attempting to tighten the screw in a way that the previous Welsh Government Public Health Bill would be proud of. This is unacceptable!

We cannot share any stance that PHW offers in regards to e-liquid flavouring bans. There are many tens of thousands of vapers in Wales who use a multitude of flavours to maintain a harm reduced lifestyle. Restricting “confectionery” type flavours will remove a significant choice of products that can work for smokers to switch and keep vapers vaping. This will put a massive halt on Welsh tobacco harm reduction.

Not only do Welsh vapers have to cope with the monstrosity of the Tobacco Products Directive with regards to product availability, lack of awareness-raising of a harm reduction product and reduced nicotine level but if PHW get their way, vapers and smokers will once more be shut out.

PHW want to see voluntary indoor bans (they call it “restrictions”) just like the previous Welsh Assembly Government Public Health Bill and specific outdoor bans on vaping. This is utterly preposterous! The evidence is clear that the harm of vapour from any vaping product is vastly reduced in comparison to smoking and risk of harm to bystanders is negligible.

PHW shoot themselves in the foot in this statement. They contacted one of our advocate members and said “Organisationally we are now advocating a 100% switch to e-cigarettes for committed smokers and recognising the role they could have for those on a quit journey” and this is backed up by references to the Cochrane review and the RCP report. However, the remainder of the statement is full of WHO smelling anti-vaping rubbish, the statement may as well have not bothered trying to strike balance.

Dick Puddlecote joins ViP at Vapefest

Vapers in Power had a blast at Vapefest and really enjoyed meeting everyone who made it to our marquee, before it blew away!  As with Vapefest 2015 the ViP tent hosted speakers and we were delighted that Dick Puddlecote could make it this year too.  For those who missed his epic talk, here are his notes- and it’s almost as entertaining to read as it was to watch. 

CpMtCo7WAAALaB3

Dick Puddlecote at Vapefest 2016 (Taken by Richard Hyslop)

Last year I came here and spoke on way to a family holiday. Stayed for a couple of hours then went and did interesting things like eating tons of chocolate at Cadbury World and nearly castrating myself jumping in a harness off a high wire adventure course.

I thought I’d do a review of the year since then (or more accurately, I suppose, a review of what I have written about in vaping this year), so to start with, what did others do for their holiday last summer?

SEPTEMBER

14141938_757892344348846_6003963613967462618_n

Chapman vaper-spotting:
“My wife and I spent many hours every day walking around Paris (six days), Lyon (two), the Corsican towns of Bonifacio, Ajaccio and Calvi (eight days), Nice (one), Barcelona (two) and Madrid (four). We agreed to compete in spotting the highest number of people vaping, with the incentive for the daily winner being to pick where we’d eat that night. We also looked out for shops selling e-cigarettes. All sightings had to be called as they occurred, not just a winning number announced at the end of the day.
Over the 23 days, we saw just 20 people vaping: 15 in Paris, one in Lyon, one in Calvi, one in Barcelona and two in Madrid. By contrast, we saw many people smoking almost everywhere we looked at any time of day. Far too many to count. At a guess, the ratio would have been at very least many hundreds of smokers to one vaper.”
Boy doesn’t he relax like a boss! Bet his wife had a fantastic time.
Erm, aren’t anecdotes meant to be useless Simon, you decrepit piece of fossilised dinosaur crap?

McKee/Capewell wrote to the Lancet about the positive PHE report on e-cigs. Apparently it was fatally flawed because in one of the 185 studies they reviewed, a couple of ‘experts’ had once been paid for research by BAT in around 1946 or something. Riccardo Polosa was particularly criticised for IIRC having dared to do work for pharma companies. Erm … words fail. But more on that later.

OCTOBER

A quiet month. But Matt Ridley wrote to the Times to slam the TPD. Hazel Cheeseminge of ASH replied haughtily that …
“EU regulations will provide a safe framework through which electronic cigarettes can be sold, giving their users confidence in these products. This is likely to save many thousands of lives.”
Well only if they can find out about them love, considering many forms of advertising has been banned, thousands of flavours will disappear as a result, and the most useful strength for smokers wishing to switch is illegal.

NOVEMBER

14141767_757892907682123_2589095677086447335_n
Report of the Health Committee in Wales on the Public Health Bill was published.
Debate centred on the proposals on vaping in workplaces that are also homes. Especially Article 8 of Human Rights Act on right to private and family home life. The committee was of the opinion that they were entitled to ignore Art 8 for passive smoking (based on nonsense junk science) but not for vaping cos it’s not dangerous. However that … “need to protect against the risk of re-normalisation, the gateway effect and enforcement difficulties”
Because some guy vaping in his front room watching WWE will renormalize smoking, magically make kids run to the shop for a pack of Marlboro and cause a headache for enforcement officials cos he has his curtains drawn, THE BASTARD! (scenario)

On my blog I wrote about A Billion Lives. I criticised Biebert’s stupid use of the umpteen thousand kids die of passive smoke bollocks, but defended the use of other PH propaganda as a great tool to embarrass them. Smokers were absolutely livid! How dare I suggest that smoking might be risky … as I have always done? By contrast, vapers were incredibly supportive … I was only called ‘disgusting’, ‘slime’, and a ‘worm’ for daring to say anything negative about the film.
In short, smokers attacked vapers, vapers attacked smokers, it crawled all over the internet … and when it all calmed down, everyone thought I was a wanker.

 

MPs were given a new vaping area outside Westminster … and promptly completely ignored it.

DECEMBER

To the surprise of no-one, an EU court threw out TW’s objection to Article 20. The reasoning given was that they didn’t have the first clue what the devices are and why they are being regulated. Or something.

article-20-girl1
Said that it was reasonable to regulate to stop the gateway theory, yet nothing in TPD would counteract that. May as well have said we think the TPD is fine because it helps old ladies cross the road.

JANUARY

Big month for DP. After just under a year, finally got FOI answered properly on McKee/Davies emails.
This revealed that he lied in the BMJ about writing the Lancet criticism, it was shown he referred “with interest” to something he had anonymously written with fellow gobshite Capewell. And was trying hard to undermine his own profession by pillow talk with Silly Sally.
I published a few articles and he went quiet for a while. Must have worried a lot cos when he came back he was a shadow of the man he once was, his weight had plummeted to only around 20 stone!
The FOI also highlighted McKee complaining that …

“Blogs and tweets having a field day, photoshopping my face onto all sorts of things”

Yes, that’s what Twitter tends to do with an oozy lather of obesity who thinks howling at the moon is science, Martin.

FEBRUARY

EU rumoured to tax e-cigs, but that was OK because the UK govt had a veto! You know, the UK govt who loves the EU so much … except for one thing, the UK was one of 3 nations to suggest the idea!

NCSCT released guidance on e-cigs. It led to an epidemic of ‘public health’ bedwetting!

  1. Store safely
  2. Be positive … just imagine that!
  3. Don’t be alarmed about recreation!
  4. Dual use is not a bad thing … heresy!
  5. And worst of all, TALK TO VAPERS, they’re the experts!

Just imagine that! Actually listen to vapers? Calls to the Samaritans from middle-aged women in stop smoking services must have seen a spike at the very thought!

NCSCT

MARCH

Very busy month.
A small beach in Wales called Little Haven was subject to the first ever outdoor vaping ban not on NHS (as in, our) property. Faggot-lipped fuckwits at ASH Wales declared that they “fully welcomed” it. They later replied to tweets saying they tried to convince the council that it was a bad idea, but their logo is still on a no vaping sign there. In order to defend a beach visited by one man and his three-legged dog with just an ice cream trolley and a shop selling £1 nets and inflatables in the shape of a duck.

31FE6C1000000578-3483439-image-a-61_1457505426874
In other news, Drakeford hilariously lost his Public Health Bill by one vote then proceeded to blame everyone else. (Side note, but have you noticed how many “health” officials who hate vaping are fat fucks?). No, Mark, the reason you lost is because you stunningly clung onto a ridiculous ban on vaping, if you want to blame anyone look in your mirror (which presumably takes up an entire wall so he can see himself in full).

Jack Le Beau wrote a steaming pile of shit I’m not allowed to talk about and I cheered something Clive Bates said which led to just about everyone calling me a wanker … again.

APRIL

As the football season ended, a guy was banned from Leicester’s celebrations for vaping. Rightfully vapers went mad and there is an event in Sept to discuss the issue at Leicester’s ground. I’d urge anyone who is free to go along. http://www.kachange.eu/activities/dialogues 

April also saw the Royal College of Physicians report launch and what I call the “Big Scream” followed! From Dublin to Sydney via Manchester, every pretend health professional who despises e-cigs whined like fucking babies that science was trumping their deeply-held bigotry … err, sorry, beliefs!

It was by far the highlight of the year for me.

On RCP “Big Scream” I wrote: “Who knew that such a benign activity as vaping could flush out so many vile anti-social and intolerant arseholes in one fell swoop”

In other news, huge anti-vaper Simon Chapman was appointed to review Australia’s policies on e-cigs, talk about the fox guarding the hen house, and Aberdeen council proposed a ban on vaping in car parks. When asked for comment, ASH Scotland avoided comment and said “ooh is that the time, I think we have an appointment, erm, somewhere else!”

MAY

This month I wrote about the extraordinary lobbying undertaken by ASH. This was cos I was passed a FOI from Guido Fawkes with ASH emails to DoH. I STILL HAVEN’T FINISHED READING IT!

There was also the IEA debate following the TPD being officially implemented. Ian Green spoke about effect on the free market it introduced as an owner of a vape shop, Ian Barber of the advertising association spoke about effect on the free market it introduced to advertising, Lorien Jollye spoke about effect on the free market it introduced to consumers, Fraser Cropper spoke about effect on the free market it introduced to independent businesses, Mark Pawsey MP turned up late and said … look at me, isn’t Brexit shit?

maxresdefault
Callanan’s motion! A great initiative, brilliantly supported by vapers, most espesh ViP whose work ensured that all 800+ Lords received at least 3 letters from the public! (applause). If politicians didn’t know of the vaping vote before that, they certainly did after.

JUNE

BREXIT! Vapers arguably won it! Vote Leave campaign manager Matthew Elliott used it as a campaigning tool, his deputy Matt Sinclair tweeted about it and Leave.EU used article 20 as an example of EU overreach and intransigence. Meant to be free market. The Freedom Association is now here at Vapefest talking about Freedom to Vape as a campaign on its own. This is progress.

Capture

ASH Wales, who fully welcomed the beach ban in March, also absolutely loved a red button at Hywel Dda (Thanks to Rhydian for pronouncing it) which allows hideous cheesedicks to press it and “anonymously harangue smokers for doing so outdoors”. We now learn it cost £9000 thanks to Rhydian’s FOI.

Callanan came back for a last hurrah at his motion which was relegated to one of regret instead of fatal. He took the opportunity to rip into those who have been shockingly apathetic or worse about e-cigs.
On Soubry: “Cringe-making performance”
On Silly sally “Incompetence would be funny if not so serious”
On MHRA “Signally failed” the public and politicians should be “extremely cautious about listening to its lobbying”
Followed criticism of DoH earlier in the year “to its deep shame [DoH] tried to block e-cigs”
My second best moment of the year.

JULY

Royal Society of Medicine debate: I attended this which was about all types of drugs but included e-cigs. Quite stunning Q from a medical type in the post-panel Q&A.
“Could you elaborate on the benefits of drugs?”
I kid you not. Erm, how about that for millions of years humans have enjoyed getting shitfaced on them. From the first time Neanderthal man ate a berry which gave him a buzz our kind have enjoyed mood-altering substances. Any ‘public health’ type who still doesn’t get this and insists on abstinence over harm reduction is more backward than cavemen themselves.

13732003_736235996514481_4099340200479205004_o
PHE guidance on vaping in work and public was released. Instantly taken by media as being “vapers should be given more breaks”. All coverage relied on the false assumption that e-cigs are already banned or should be. Stronger message please PHE, it’s like a fucking whisper at the moment.

AUGUST

Full circle to August.

Most absurd proposal of the last 12 months. Smoking and Vaping banned on public streets! Outside a hospital. With cars, vans, buses, and two – count ‘em – TWO huge packed car parks in the same road. The public think this is a great idea! Which just goes to show how incredibly stupid PH has guided the public to be.

So what can we expect or hope to expect in the coming year? Well, the Pleasure Principle is something vapers already know about from the NNA, but also “Pleasure Economy” which was my fave phrase of the year. It was a term mentioned by European drug harm expert Axel Klein at the RSM event in July. The market for e-cigs and associated supplies is predicted to top £1bn this year. We are now a force not just as vapers but also as a market. Prohibition failed, prohibition by regulation failed, it is now not just a movement but an entire business category on its own. That carries clout and should be impossible to stop.

I once said the same about vapers. That the more there are the harder it is to silence. There are now over 1,600 vape shops in this country, 2.8m vapers and growing. It can’t be stopped so next 12 months we should seek to point that out.

Vapers mean business, vapers mean that you can earn money (public and private), vapers mean votes (Brexit proves that) and you’d better get used to it cos they’re part of the economy.

peoples_administration_direct_democracy_people_power-14B371F32D34983D8CA

You can read Dick’s blogposts at http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.co.uk/  and follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Dick_Puddlecote

 

Reaction to ASH news release 16 May 2016

 

ASH’s lack of concern for 200,000 vapers is staggering

In response to: http://www.ash.org.uk/media-room/press-releases/:new-eu-rules-on-nicotine-strength-not-a-problem-for-most-vapers

ASH’s lack of concern for the 200,000 vapers who use eliquid that will be banned is staggering. Higher strengths are used mainly by new vapers and dual-fuellers: in other words, by smokers who may be trying to give up. Not to mention future smokers that might try ecigs as an alternative. The very people ASH should be most concerned about. Higher strengths are needed to get over the initial hurdle of switching. It’s the throat hit that matters at that point – nothing to do with nicotine dependence.  ASH’s suggestion to supplement nicotine with patches completely misses the point.

Of course, ASH have form on underplaying the appalling nature of the TPD, a law that will kill people (some say up to 105 000 a year 1). Their recent “fact”sheet 2 on the impact of the TPD ignores the costs to vaping businesses (mostly small, independent, family and friend affairs) of the onerous testing regime. Costs which have been estimated to be ~£3000 per product, way above the £150 notification fee which is all ASH sees fit to mention.

We have to wonder why they are getting this so disastrously wrong when it is clear that including ecigs in the TPD will cause harm.

Lord Callanan says: “this was argued for by the pharmaceutical industry, which would have an awful lot to lose if e-cigarettes supplanted or replaced nicotine patches and gum” 3. He should know, he was there when it was being drafted.

Why are ASH suggesting it will be fine?

This is what some real people who will be affected by the TPD have to say:

Jill Baldwin (Gloucestershire): “As an ex 60 a day cigarette smoker, 24mg/ml was my life saver. A limit of 20mg/ml will stop some people from quitting cigarettes”.

Mark Magenis (Chelmsford): “In the cheaper devices many smokers still struggle at 24mg, this law demands those that do to make a bigger investment, to get high power devices, which is a leap of faith the most addicted smokers are reluctant to make”.

Liam Bryan (Bristol): “The limits on the concentration of nicotine allowed are more to do with nobbling vaping than protecting users – I’ll be ordering from abroad and hoping the package isn’t stopped. I make my eliquid myself, a safe and cost-effective practice. The TPD stops me doing that, it turns me into a criminal”.

Rhydian Mann (Swansea): “If I didn’t have access to 2.4% and 3.6% nicotine liquid I wouldn’t have been able to do so. I still use those concentrations during times of stress. Under TPD,the easiest option to get my nicotine fix will be a cigarette and I will certainly take that avenue if needs be”.

Lisa Kirkham (Hartlepool): “Outrageous and one of the incentives to switch was the cost and the strength. I did not feel deprived as it was a perfect replacement for tobacco. I don’t believe them for one second when they say it’s for safety. Corrupt liars and it’s all about money!”

Gareth Witty (Windsor): “The TPD is not a protecting rule but rather an underhand deal to try and give Vaping to the tobacco and pharma industry due to illegal deals and should not be recognised by any country”.

Lee Woolls (Cardiff): “The 2% maximum nicotine level is an attempt to make these products ineffective. The pharmaceutical lobbyists certainly earned their money that day. Shame on EU!”

Scott Gregory: “The only explanation for the results of the survey is that ASH are either asking the wrong questions, or the wrong people. It is not about those that currently vape, it is about those smokers that have yet to switch and how they manage to successfully transition”.

Kevin Crowley (USA): “Restriction on levels of nicotine is like limiting water to a fish. Current / future vapers should not be limited on nicotine levels, as it is the most important part of reducing tobacco with vaping products”.

Jamie Hollywood (North Lanarkshire): “The 20mg limit will be 1 of the barriers that stops people being able to make the switch from tobacco smoking successfully.  A lot of people won’t get a strong enough nicotine hit, thereby going back to smoking”.

Robert Jenkins (Cardiff): “I started vaping with 24mg Nicotine because it was a close match to tobacco. I truly believe if I had been limited to a lower nicotine dose I would still be smoking. Household bleach is not limited to 10ml bottles so why should E Liquid be?  It  makes no sense”.

Darren Stone: “10ml bottle will increase production costs (especially with them now having to be sealed nozzles, plus labeling is not really big enough to get all the warnings on. Plastic bottles now won’t be recyclable as can’t be washed out and will still have a small bit of nic in them (environment issue). I started on 24mg under the tpd the 20mg limit might not have been enough to get me off tobacco. 2ml tank size is just a ball ache which leads to ever more refilling for a lot of people. The fact you can’t advertise a product which gets people off tobacco whist not costing the tax payer anything still amazes me”.

Ben Parr (Leeds): “From first hand experience of managing a vape store for a few years, I still have customers who rely on 30mg and above as they don’t won’t a box mod and are still happy with there pen style, plus the 20mg max strength is going to make it hard for 30 a day plus smokers to switch, and believe me there are quite a few”.

Christina May (W Australia): “If these new regulations were in place,I would NEVER have been able to quit smoking after 47 years and to be frank I would still be incontinent. 2 yrs and 2 months of vaping and I am a new woman. And yes you may publish my name. I can sleep in peace at night now without coughing my guts up”.

Paul Barnes (Essex):

20mg/ml limit
For some vapers, the imposed limits will be more of an inconvenience than a problem. However, we mustn’t forget that the vast proportion of vapers don’t frequent vape stores, forums and social media and are most likely on “older” hardware that necessitates the use of higher strength liquids. These are the ones that will be most affected. The limit will also have a negative impact on those dual using or looking to switch, as lower strengths may not provide the satisfaction those users need.
2ml Tank Size
For many vapers this does pose a problem – lower nicotine strengths and more efficient devices do need a larger tank size to be convenient. Regular refills can be troublesome and in most cases carrying additional liquid for this purpose is simply not convenient. This won’t necessarily affect me directly in the immediate future, but will in the long term as the tanks I use regularly end up being phased out of the market.
Cost Increase
For the everyday vaper this will have a large impact as one of the primary reasons vaping is so popular is the fact that it is relative inexpensive compared to tobacco. Narrowing this benefit will likely have one of two effects – users will end up weening themselves off vaping altogether as costs increase, or they could end up (especially the newer users) relapsing back to their old habit. These products need to be cost efficient for the user to be attractive as an alternative to smoking”.

Debbie Traynor (Grantham, Lincs):
“Whilst technology has advanced and many devices are more efficient at delivering vapour/nicotine they are still many users who rely on strengths higher the 2% to divert their attention from combustible tobacco. When lower nicotine strengths tend to go hand in had with more powerful devices – it stands to reason, therefore, that larger bottles and greater strengths of nicotine need to be available to accommodate the varying needs of individuals depending on whatever is required to keep them off traditional cigarettes. Users of high powered devices may be satisfied with lower nicotine strengths but there has to be consideration for the remaining millions of smokers who need to be encouraged to make the switch. We cannot have a closed door policy, where only those who have already made the switch are the only users to be taken into consideration.
Tank size- huge mention has been made (and vastly exaggerated) over the potential hazards of some filling mechanisms; if this is the case why are users being encouraged to refill more often. If larger tanks remain available surely this would be considered ‘damage limitation’.
The limit of container size for E liquid is ridiculous, it is unwarranted as it offers no risk reduction and would only serve to increase cost of transportation and manufacture, increased waste and cost to the end user.
All of the restrictions combined will limit availability of this technology and encourage smokers back to tobacco which is easily available. I, personally haven’t had a cigarette in nearly four years, vaping has been the only long term solution for my being smoke free. Before discovering this technology I had tried every conceivable method of smoking cessation with very little success. I was so amazed at the ease of switching to vaping I wanted to encourage others, which is what lead to my opening a shop”.

Colin Hawkins (Stoke on Trent):

“Smoked up to 40 a day for around 30 years, tried every type of quitting mechanism, hypnosis, gum, patches and nothing worked for more than a couple of weeks, started vaping 4 years ago and have not touched a cigarettte since, massive health improvements as well.”

 

1 – http://londoneconomics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/High_nicotine_e-cigs_ban-Feb14.pdf

2 – http://ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_1011.pdf

3 – https://hansard.digiminster.com/Lords/2016-05-10/debates/16051044000179/TobaccoAndRelatedProductsRegulations2016

 

Nottinghamshire, Beacon of Fear

Vapers in Power are incensed by Nottinghamshire County Council’s decision to ban employees from using e-cigarettes in its buildings, land and company vehicles (1) . E-cigarettes are used by many to stop smoking and the scientific consensus is that they are at least 95% safer than combustible tobacco (2).

We regard the Council’s actions as inappropriate with regards to smoking but we are particularly concerned by the inclusion of vaping and e-cigarettes in the ban.

This ban will deter people from switching to a far safer alternative and also sends out the false  message that vaping is harmful.

We are also concerned that we have seen no justification from the Council for this ban so we can only assume that it’s lazy policy making: a knee jerk reaction to something which they don’t understand.

As Public Health England noted (2) “increasing numbers of people think e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking”. Steps like this can only compound that misconception.

Nottinghamshire County Council are part of the Smoke Free Action Coalition (3) yet the inclusion of e-cigarettes in the new Nottinghamshire County Council Smoke Free Policy is not in keeping with the advice given by this coalition on e-cigarettes and their use for harm reduction. (4)

The Smoke Free Action Coalition clearly recommends that organisations consider the following information when considering e-cigarette policy:

  • Real-world effectiveness of e-cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation: a cross-sectional population study a paper by Robert West regarding e-cigarettes as harm reduction and their effectiveness in quitting smoking (5)
  • Ash Factsheet 891 regarding who uses e-cigarettes and why they use them (6)
  • Ash Factsheet 715 regarding the basics about e-cigarettes and their risks for users, bystanders and the ‘gateway’ effect (7)

 

The Smoke Free Policy of Nottinghamshire County Council has clearly failed to take this information into account with regards to e-cigarettes.

We should also be clear that e-cigarettes are not included in the UK Smoking at Work legislation (8)

We can only conclude that this ban is yet another example of an organisation shaping their policies on fear rather than facts.

We call on Nottinghamshire County Council to re-assess their misguided policy.

E-cigarettes save lives, bans risk them.

 

References

 

  1. http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/DMS/Document.ashx
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/457102/Ecigarettes_an_evidence_update_A_report_commissioned_by_Public_Health_England_FINAL.pdf
  3. http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/index.html
  4. http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/ElectCigs.html
  5. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.12623/abstract
  6. http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf
  7. http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_715.pdf
  8. https://www.gov.uk/smoking-at-work-the-law

 

Care Home Worker Crowned E-cig Champion

I had a win at work today. In fact we all had a win!  Acceptance and recognition of e-cigs as being normal use devices in care homes.

While on my days off I had a message from my manager saying she’d had to do risk assessments for those residents that use electronic cigarettes and that she could have done with my help. I told her that I would look through them when I get back at the weekend. However, I decided to create one for her to look at and asked admin to send me a blank.

I quickly realised that I needed help in the wording, as I did not want to “scare” those reading it. Due to being on the vape scene for nearly 5 years I have obviously absorbed a lot of good information and bad information but did not want this to go the wrong way.

I also realised that this had the potential to go out to other homes within the company so it needed to be spot on.

Therefore, I dropped a message to Matt of Vapourtrails TV who advised me that his VTTV colleague Rhydian (who is also a Vapers in Power member) does this for a living. Perfect!

I waited, what seemed like an age, for admin to email me, they had computer problems apparently. Anyway, as soon as I got it, Rhydian got it.

Rhydian couldn’t have been more helpful and with what seemed like a few minutes sent me back a filled out risk assessment for me to read.

It was exactly what was needed and is very positively written. On return to work, I posted a hard copy into the Home Managers office and left a copy for my floor manager.

The upshot is that this is now in our home policy, procedures and residents and staff members are to follow it. I have also been given the title of “E-cigarette Champion” for the home; anyone requiring information or training etc need to come to me. A position I very much welcome, as I have cringed at the things I have seen in the home regards to this subject. I now have the power to correct any misuse or remove the items.

My next step is to roll the same assessment to other homes in the company. I also intend to set up some sort of e-cig presentation (when/if I get the time) and probably a monthly maintenance class for those that use them.

By Andrew Bell

Andrew works at Northview Lodge in Castledown, Sunderland which is part of HC-One Care Homes that specialise in Dementia, Nursing, Residential and Specialist Care Homes

 

A Civilised Event

I had the opportunity on Thursday night to attend an event hosted by the Merseyside Skeptics Society. The guest speaker was Robin Ireland, and the topic looked interesting.

Why vapers think that e-cigarettes will lead to the ending of cigarette smoking and why their optimism may be misplaced.

Here is how the event was described on the Facebook invitation.

Electronic cigarettes are a hot topic and not only in public health forums. Public Health England have pronounced e-cigs as around “95% less harmful than tobacco”. However the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America and the World Health Organisation take a much more precautionary stance. The latter view ‘Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)’ as having potential public health benefits but these are yet unproven. Robin Ireland, a Liverpool-based public health advocate, will discuss the evidence as much as it is available in the context of tobacco control efforts in England.

Robin is Chief Executive of Heart of Mersey and the Health Equalities Group originally established in 2003 to address the inequitable levels of heart disease and stroke on Merseyside. Robin was awarded his Master of Public Health at the University of Liverpool in 2007 and was elected Member of the Faculty of Public Health through Distinction in 2015. His position on e-cigs has led him to be vilified by vapers on social media whilst the Institute of Economic Affairs has branded the Health Equalities Group, “Sock Puppets”.

In all honesty I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The title of the talk appeared to be designed to be inflammatory, but knowing a little about Skeptics societies, I didn’t think the audience was going to be an easy one to bamboozle, if that was the intent.

I arrived at the venue early and spent some time in the bar chatting to the locals (predominantly about e-cigarettes and the physical effects of stopping smoking lol). I was joined by Adam Williams (Rojeans). Who had history with the speaker, having appeared on radio a couple of times with him. As we moved into the meeting room and took our seats Robin spotted Adam and commented that he knew he could expect some tough questions from our section of the room. Their greetings were cordial, almost jovial.

The presentation was split broadly into two sections. The first was on the subject of tobacco, and its effect on the health of the population of Merseyside. There were slides with details of life expectancy in the Merseyside area, a comparison of life expectancy in various areas of the UK and information on how smoking prevalence, which is high in the area, is believed to be a major contributory factor to comparatively low life expectancy levels in Merseyside.

To open the second section of the presentation Robin started with a slide about abuse he had received on Twitter. I’m not sure how this was really relevant to the topic at hand, though he did at least acknowledge that not all vapers were the same and that equally his topic, which assumed to know what vapers think, would not be true of all vapers.

He did a good job of outlining his reasons for concern about vaping. These could broadly be described as a concern that bill boards and flavouring were not aimed at adult smokers, but at children. A real worry that renormalisation could undo much of the hard work he had put into reducing smoking prevalence, and a large dose of ‘We don’t know what the long term risks might be’. Dual use and long-term vaping both came up for some criticism.

I felt that he was less thorough in presenting what he thought the alternative viewpoint was, though perhaps this was to be expected.

With the presentation over and a break for everyone to take a trip to the bar. We settled back down for the Q+A session, and that’s when the evening really livened up.

The questions were generally well thought out and I was pleased to see that when the speaker didn’t know the answer he had the courage to say so rather than attempt to blather. What was particularly amusing was the way that questions were not only directed at the speaker, but at the vapers in the room. After Adam asked his question and identified himself as a vape shop owner, several questions were directed our way. A cell biologist joined in on the subject of nicotine addiction, and a psychologist commented on the propensity of humans to experiment with mind altering substances.

I don’t think you could say that by the end of the evening any conclusions had been reached, but the event was entertaining, educational and above all civilised.

Adam particularly commented that he felt Robin Ireland’s position had mellowed somewhat in the two years he had known him. He’s been listening, and the emphasis on Tobacco Harm Reduction which was a feature of Adam’s participation in the Q+A did appear to be taken on board.

I had the opportunity to spend a brief time after the event chatting to Robin, and personally I found him to be quite likeable. We talked about the TPD and the issues I believe this is going to cause. My specific question during the Q+A had been about whether he was concerned that the legislation would hand the vaping industry to the tobacco companies.

He asked me about how likely I thought the TPD was to lead to shoddy black market goods flooding the UK market. My reply basically said I was very concerned, as I was going to end up using black market nicotine and I was deeply concerned that there would be little way of telling if it was the grade or strength that it purported to be.

We agreed that there are some nutters on Twitter and that I probably knew more about the wording and implementation of the TPD than he did. He came across as someone open to hearing alternative viewpoints, even if sometimes his background and training made it difficult for him to accept them. A thoroughly civilised end to what was a thoroughly civilised event.

Abi Cottrill

Calling all Vapers everywhere – Wales needs YOU

Calling all VAPERS, from every country and every nationality.

Help stop the ban of vaping in public places in Wales.

We all know that politicians generally prefer to receive communication from their constituents, but just once in a while we need to ignore that. This is one of those times.

Below is a list of Welsh politicians and their contact details. These are some of the politicians that are most likely to affect the outcome of stage 3 on the 8th of March, and the vote on March the 15th.

What we are asking you to do is adopt one. Send them a letter an email or a tweet (or all 3) and tell them about YOUR vaping story. If you are in the industry tell them how a ban would affect YOU in your country.

Keep it short, be polite, and tell them where you live.

Elin Jones – Ceredigion
Office Address:
32 Pier Street
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion
SY23 2LN
Email: Elin.Jones@Wales.gov.uk
https://www.facebook.com/ElinCeredigion
https://twitter.com/elinceredigion

Leanne Wood – South Wales Central
Office Address:
68 Heol Pontypridd
Porth
CF39 9PL
Email: Leanne.Wood@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/leanne.wood.714
http://twitter.com/leannewood

Alun Ffred Jones – Arfon
Office Address:
8 Castle Street
Caernarfon
LL55 1SE
Email: AlunFfred.Jones@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/AlunFfredPlaid

Rhodri Glyn Thomas – Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
Office Address:
37 Wind Street
Ammanford
SA18 3DN
Email: Rhodri.Thomas@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/RhodriGlynPlaid

Lindsay Whittle – South Wales East
Office Address:
2 Portland Buildings
Commercial Street
Pontypool
NP4 6JS
Email: Lindsay.Whittle@assembly.wales

Rhun ap Iorwerth – Ynys Môn
Office Address:
27 Church Street
Llangefni
Ynys Môn
LL77 7DU
Email: rhun.apiorwerth@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/rhunynysmon
http://twitter.com/RhunapIorwerth

Simon Thomas – Mid and West Wales
Office Address:
Ty Bres
Heol Bres
Llanelli
SA15 1UA
Email: Simon.Thomas@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/SimonThomasAber
http://twitter.com/SimonThomasAC

Bethan Jenkins – South Wales West
Office Address:
75 Briton Ferry Road
Melin Cryddan
Neath
SA11 1AR
Email: Bethan.Jenkins@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bethan-Jenkins-Plaid-Cymru-Assembly-Member/38277580617

Llyr Gruffydd – North Wales
Office Address:
69A Clwyd Street
Ruthin
LL15 1HN
Email: llyr.gruffydd@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/LlyrGruffydd

Jocelyn Davies – South Wales East
Office Address:
1 Griffiths Building
Victoria Terrace
Newbridge
NP11 4ET
Email: Jocelyn.Davies@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/parkgirl59

Edwina Hart
Office Address:
9 Pontardulais Road
Gorseinon
Swansea
SA4 4FE
Email: Edwina.Hart@assembly.wales

Gwenda Thomas
Office Address:
7 High Street
Pontardawe
Swansea
SA8 4HU
Email: Gwenda.Thomas@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/Gwendathomas

William Graham – South Wales East
Office Address:
19A East Street
Newport
NP20 4BR
Email: William.Graham@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/williamgrahamam

Christine Chapman – Cynon Valley
Office Address:
Bank Chambers
28a Oxford Street
Mountain Ash
CF45 3EU
Email: Christine.Chapman@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/christine.chapman.397
http://twitter.com/ChrisChapmanAM

Janice Gregory – Ogmore
Office Address:
44a Penybont Road
Pencoed
CF35 5RA
Janice.Gregory@assembly.wales

Huw Lewis – Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Office Address:
Venture Wales Building
Pentrebach
Merthyr Tydfil
CF48 4DR
Huw.Lewis@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/HuwLewisAM
http://twitter.com/huwlewis

Jeff Cuthbert – Caerphilly
Office Address:
Bargoed YMCA
Aeron Place
Gilfach
Bargoed
CF81 8JA
Email: Jeff.Cuthbert@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/JeffCuthbert
http://twitter.com/JeffCuthbert

Dame Rosemary Butler – Newport West
Office Address:
72 Caerau Road
Newport
NP20 4HJ
Email: Rosemary.Butler@assembly.wales
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rosemary-Butler-politician/144061692279715
http://twitter.com/RosemaryButler

Sandy Mewies – Delyn
Office Address:
Transport House
64 Chester Street
Flint
CH6 5DH
Email: Sandy.Mewies@assembly.wales
http://twitter.com/SandyMewiesAM

I am the knight who says “N.I.D!”

Since my guest blog about the proposed bill which contained the proposals to ban vaping in pretty much every enclosed public space in November, the Heath & Social Care Committee have been busy, as well as the Welsh Assembly as a whole.

Some of you followers of Vapers in Power may have seen the video summary of recent events in Welsh vaping politics on VapourTrails TV. If you have yet to see it, please watch it HERE!

Since that video was shared, a further twist to the tale has come to light. On January 19th 2016, the Health Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, has his amendments published on the Welsh Assembly website. You can see the entire 44 page document HERE, if you dare. Is there anything strange that you notice? No prizes for those who figure it out.

One opinion of the Health Minister
One opinion of the Health Minister

Yes that’s it. The entire 44 page document is dedicated to the control of vaping, or as the Health Minister calls them “Nicotine Inhaling Devices (NIDs)”. This clearly suggest that he is on a one-man crusade to eradicate smoking and nicotine use in Wales. This is no way to go about it. When there is an avenue for nicotine use for those addicted, in a much safer form, banning its use is no way to improve public health.

After the Stage 1 vote, the Health Minister posted these tweets himself.

prick
From the horses mouth…via Twitter (Dec 7th 2015)

Well, yet again the “Think of the children” avenue of pushing legislation through is being used. However, you may begin to think that he’s dropped the workplaces part of the original draft. Even at point of writing, a few of us are still struggling to find anything explicit relating to workplaces. You must remember that workplaces and public places cross over with vape shops. This is still a concern that there is no exemption for vape shops under “NID-free” premises.

Speaking of “NID-free” premises, there is  a massive addition to the PH Bill describing different types specifically in his Amendment 221. He is also looking to extend the most recent smoking related legislation on smoking in private vehicles with children under 18, by wanting to include vaping in Amendments 156 and 157. You can obviously realise the lack of thought which has been applied. Currently, the police have enough issues enforcing the current smoking in cars legislation by confusing vaping, which is exempt, with smoking. If this sneaky way of banning vaping in cars with children, Welsh vapers can be lumped with many fines. THAT IS GROSSLY UNFAIR!!

To carry on logically and in amendment sequence, in terms negativity that is. As I mentioned above, Amendment 221 is a big list of “NID-free” premises comprising of 4 Parts which cover; premises providing childcare, schools and public transport.

Amendment 221 by Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)
Amendment 221 by Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)

Above is a particular highlight. This section of Amendment 221 essentially overrides the current status quo regarding bars and restaurants. Now, the landlord of the establishment serving food can make their own policies regarding vaping. A well-known example is a site wide ban in Wetherspoons locations across the UK which occurred in early June 2013. This section, if included and approved by the entire Welsh Assembly, will put a blanket ban on vaping in pubs. This will also include beer gardens, despite being outside, when food is served. This is one of the most extreme examples of Wales becoming a nanny-state and Mark Drakeford being the Babysitter-in-Chief!

Babysitting, a particularly smooth segue into another ridiculous section of what Mark Drakeford wants to see in regards to vaping around children. See the excerpt below.

Amendment 221 - Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)
Amendment 221 – Mark Drakeford (19/1/2016)

If you are a person, who has a child at home and vapes, you as a parent are perfectly permitted to vape around your child. However, if you invite a babysitter whom you pay into your own home, your home becomes vaping or “NID-free” as soon as said babysitter enters your home. Talk about invasion of personal property! Conversely, if a babysitter is a duel user, as in vapes and smokes, the babysitter will not be permitted to vape under the ideology of Mark Drakeford. If said babysitter, needs a nicotine fix, the only option available is to go outside and smoke. This means there could be a moment when the child is unsupervised. This is a severe lack of application of logic and tobacco harm reduction.

With all this doom and gloom, there is a pseudo silver lining. This teeny glimpse of hope comes in Amendment 155. This amendment suggests that a landlord, shop owner and possible owner of a workplace can designate any room or area in the premises where vaping is permitted, as in “not being NID-free” BUT there is a requirement to specify the conditions met before it can be described as exempt, records to be kept and detail when the exemption no longer applies. This can be the most important positive part of the schedule for vape shops. If a Welsh vape shop can use this clause and apply it to the ENTIRE SHOP, the you can completely carry on your taste testing and device demonstrations as you currently do. This is something vaping advocates asked for from the start as a compromise to reduce the impact on the vaping industry. Yes, its not an out right, black and white, in text but it is something to bear in mind. Not only can this apply to vape shops but also pubs. Well, regarding pubs, it could revert the pubs etc. to a picture from the past of separate areas in the venue. However, some pub landlords and customers do miss the “good old days” of a packed venue with smokers and non-smokers or in this case vapers in the venue.

Well, well, there as some saving graces amongst tightening of the screws of liberties to create policies and freedom to vape. The ground must be tread carefully indeed. The best amendments were initially made by Kirsty Williams and Darren Millar on December 9th 2015. On the other hand, Darren Millar has again put in an amendment of his own on January 20th 2016  which essentially is jargon heavy but relies on proposing a resolution to unravel all inclusions of “Nicotine Inhaling Devices” in Amendment 226.

So from an overall advocacy point of view, there is much to think about when it comes to shaping the Public Health (Wales) Bill at the end of Stage 2 of the HSCC process. You have clearly seen for yourselves that there is nannying, ideology and tripe from the Health Minister but teasers that he may actually have a heart [of sorts] that wants vapers to keep vaping.

Never take what is in this blog at face value. The HSCC will be discussing all the amendments and voting on them on January 28th and February 3rd 2016. The amendments regarding NIDs is highly likely to occur in the first session as NIDs appear in the start of the Bill. The method of voting is too complicated to write about but an email received from the HSCC Clerk can summarize it. One interesting point is what happens in the event of a tied vote. IN A TIED VOTE, THE CHAIR MUST VOTE AGAINST THE AMENDMENT!! 

This can severely scupper the efforts of vapers and pro-vaping politicians such as Kirsty and Darren. If the HSCC have a tied vote on their amendment to remove NIDs from the Bill, such as Labour Against 50% v Others In Favour 50%, then the amendment will not be agreed and wont have any affect on the Bill in anyway. This is a very scary thought! After this, it’s put before the whole Welsh Assembly to vote on AGAIN! The earliest day for the Plenary vote is Tuesday 1st March 2016. The confirmed date will be published HERE.

So if you find particular amendments insulting, over the top or actually quite positive from the Health Minister [not that you would] or from other HSCC members, please contact your local AM’s, ALL 5 OF THEM, with your views and which way they should vote on the PH Bill. You can do this via  Write to Vape-Wales which we have created.

We will endeavour to keep on the pulse with all goings-on in Wales. If you want a picture of what a blanket ban on vaping in enclosed public spaces can be like, check out our most recent guest blog from Minnesota by Alex Carlson.

Rhydian Mann

Welsh Campaign Manager

Vapers in Power

Guidance for filling in the MHRA Consultation

The MHRA, who will be the regulators in the UK for the TPD are asking for responses to a consultation on their proposals – full document here.  Time is short on this – the deadline is Friday 29th January 2016.

They ask for general comments and a further 5 questions relating to the level they have set the fees at:

1. Do you agree or disagree with the levels of the proposed fees in Annex A? If you disagree, please explain why. (The fees are £220 initial notification, £110 to modify it and a £60 yearly fee to continue it)

2. Would you prefer a fixed fee covering a number of modifications to be added to the Periodic Fee? Please provide any information that could justify a change towards this alternative model.

3. Are the proposed fee levels tolerable or will they cause a significant impact on your business’s finances? (please indicate if you represent a small or micro business)

4. Please provide any data or information that will assist us to refine our volume estimates for notifications in Year 1 (16/17) and subsequent modifications.

5. Please provide any data or information that will assist us to refine our volume estimates for notifications after Year 1 (17/18 onwards)

They have said in the full document (link above): “In giving your views on the proposal described in this document, it would be particularly helpful if you could identify and quantify the effects these proposals are likely to have on your business. We would particularly like to hear from smaller companies.”

We have made a set of suggestions to help small businesses to complete this – the MHRA has been, in our view, fair in their proposals (as far as they are able) but they admit to having no clear idea of the size and mix of the UK market, and no clear idea of the effects the TPD may have on the number of viable businesses.

It is clear to us that the combined effects of the notification and testing will have a devastating effect on vaping in the UK, slimming the variety and number of eliquids (for example) on offer drastically – it is vital that the MHRA get as complete a picture of this as possible.

Blank letter to fill in and either attach or copy and paste into your response email – the email should have as the subject:  Fees Consultation MLX 390.  The MHRA have asked for responses to be in this form.

Suggestions to help with responses

Disclaimer:  We are a bunch of volunteer vapers, not experts in regulation, consultation or running a vaping business.  We have pulled in a range of vendors and industry experts to check and advise us but the suggestions and any mistakes are our own.

Any questions, feedback etc., please use the comments.