The Week in Vaping – Sunday September 20th
By Lindsay Fox Posted September 20, 2015
Another week, and more legislation, arguments about the risks and benefits of vaping, media stories about explosions and potential poisonings, new vaping gear and great blog posts from the community. So what’s been going on in the world of vaping?
Improving on our first “the Week in Vaping” post, we’ve revised our approach a little and decided to tone down the commentary and simply provide a jumping-point to the biggest vaping-related stories of the week. Since we missed last week, though, this week's version will cover some stories from then, as well as this week's news.
Additionally, we’ll be publishing on Sundays from now on, so check back each week for more!
Public Health England Controversy Continues
The declaration that e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than smoking has attracted a great deal of controversy, in part due to the alleged conflicts of interest marring the estimate, but largely due to the vocal minority who (bafflingly) oppose evidence-based communication on e-cigarettes.
Evidence about e-cigarettes: a foundation built on rock or sand? Anti-e-cig professors Martin McKee and Simon Capewell continue their opposition to the PHE report.
Professor John Britton’s comment: a detailed critique of the clams made in the above post.
In my view McKee and Capewell fundamentally misunderstand the health potential of electronic cigarettes, which offer smokers, for the first time, a population-level consumer-led solution to an otherwise lethal dependence on tobacco smoking.
Dr. Farsalinos responds: another critique of the argument from McKee and Capewell.
The “Rapid responses” section contains many other thoughtful responses on the commentary.
Public Health England’s responses: E-cigarettes: an emerging public health consensus
Call to Retract NEJM E-Cig Formaldehyde Study
There has been some action on the misleading New England Journal of Medicine formaldehyde study, with Dr. Farsalinos and Clive Bates initiating a call for the study to be retracted due to its fundamental flaws and over-hyped conclusions.
Much of this occurred last week, but this week, Dr. Farsalinos has offered a new blog post, calling attention to the damage done by the report with an email he received from a consumer, whose son was convinced to go back to smoking by the report.
Meanwhile, the authors of the original study have been rewarded for their “work” on e-cigarettes with a $3.5 million grant.
E-Cig Gateway Study Criticism
The recent study which led to claims e-cigarettes are a gateway to cigarettes has also come under a great deal of criticism (largely last week), for the obvious reasons that it established neither regular vaping nor progression to regular smoking.
Research on E-Cigarettes
As always, research on e-cigarettes is ongoing, and some new studies have been released in the last couple of weeks.
Last week, a study dealt a big blow to the “passive vaping” concerns by showing that levels of volatile organic compounds in e-cigarette vapor compare very favorably with those of ordinary indoor air and exhaled breath – air and breath actually contain more of the chemicals than e-cig vapor.
Another study from last week found that switching to vaping results in reduced exposure to carbon monoxide and acrolein, even for “dual users” – who both smoke and vape.
The journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research has released a “special issue” including many studies on e-cigarettes.
A report from the United States Government Accountability office has led to claims that the rise in vaping is not correlated with the decrease in smoking, despite the obvious fact that vaping helps smokers quit and more people are vaping.
Legislation and Vaping Bans
The steam train of misguided legislation, proposed taxes and bans on indoor vaping has been as unstoppable as ever.
FDA bans four brands of cigarettes because their submissions for substantial equivalence didn’t meet the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Michael Siegel has criticized this decision for the apparent claim that some cigarettes are safer than others, while still refusing to acknowledge e-cigarettes as safer than cigarettes. He also gives quite a hilarious response to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids’ pride in their apparent achievement in getting these specific cigs off the market.
Ramsey County, Minnesota is set to vote on whether to ban vaping in all places smoking is banned, meaning vapers would not only be barred from vaping in bars or restaurants, but also within 25 feet of the doors of public places and businesses.
Massachusetts has gone ahead with a ban on e-cigarette sales to minors across the state, effectively standardizing rules already in place.
A ban on vaping has been enacted by the National Park Service, preventing vaping anywhere smoking is banned (i.e. in many outdoor locations). The reasoning behind this? Caution and uncertainty on the science, as well as a potential “fire hazard,” according to them. This decision has come under some criticism for its lack of scientific justification.
Hawaii is also banning smoking and vaping in its parks and beaches, citing littering as a key concern.
A ban on outdoor vaping is also being considered in parks and playing fields in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
The village of Rockville Centre, New York, is considering a bill to end the sale, testing or use of e-cigarettes in any non-residential building, effectively proposing a ban on the single vape store in the village.
Manitoba, Winnipeg is also considering a bill that would prevent sales to minors, ban vaping in most indoor locations and put restrictions on advertising of e-cigarettes, which has also been amended to include a ban on flavored products.
Plans to treat e-cigarettes as tobacco products in California have been stalled, after not getting a vote before the legislative session closed last Friday.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Vuse – owned by Reynolds American – because the product “exposes smokers to ‘significant amounts of harmful carcinogens.’” This is tied to the Center for Environmental Health report, which is deconstructed here by Dr. Farsalinos.
Finally, Christopher Snowdon has written an informative briefing on how Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive will impact vapers.
Miscellaneous News: Toddler Vaping and an Explosion
There have also been a couple of examples of the media blowing the risks associated with vaping out of proportion. The risks of poisoning and explosions exist with many consumer products, but when that product is e-cigarettes, we hear about pretty much every incident.
One story focuses on a man who’s e-cigarette exploded in his face, leaving him with first degree burns, a hole in the roof of his mouth and several other injuries.
And another has the odd headline: “Toddler unharmed after puffing from e-cigarette.” The child was awake at 3:30 AM, and was found vaping his father’s e-cigarette (while dad was in the kitchen), but – despite some vomiting – the child wasn’t poisoned and is absolutely fine. Careless parenting, but thankfully with no serious consequences.
Vaping Blog Posts and Other Relevant Stories
As always, there have been some great posts about vaping, from both vaping sites and more mainstream sources, some of which are gathered here.
Facts Do Matter: Tanks, tanks everywhere… (a great post on the continual stream of new sub-ohm tanks)
Vaping Cheap: What is Sub-Ohm Vaping, and Why Should You Care? (also check out their second anniversary giveaway)
Black Note: the Future of Vaping (a detailed look at how FDA regulations will impact prospects for vapers and smokers)
New Vaping Devices
Spinfuel: VaporFi Releases the New Vox Mini – a new mini box mod, offering up to 40 W and with a minimum resistance of 0.3 ohms.
Sigelei announces 75 W Plus TC Box Mod – an upgrade to the Sigelei 75 W is in the pipeline, estimated to go into production in November.
The Apollo Reliant: a 60 W, temperature-controlled box mod.
Anything We Missed?
So that’s the week in vaping. As always, let us know if we’ve missed any of the big stories from the week and they’ll be added into the post!