The Week in Vaping – Sunday November 29th, 2015
By Lindsay Fox Posted November 29, 2015
With a pair of “think of the children!” studies, taxes, regulations, more vaping bans, a suicide tied to e-liquid and some great blog posts, it’s been a typically busy week for e-cigarettes. But keeping up isn’t easy, so we’ve collected the most important stories from the last seven days for your rundown of the Week in Vaping.
We’ve also learned that e-juice contains five ingredients: PG, VG, nicotine, flavorings and formaldehyde (because apparently e-juice mixers are just plain evil). Not really, of course, but that’s the level of Malaysian anti-vaping madness we’ve captured in Bullshit of the Week.
So let’s dive in!
New data from England is being used to argue the standard points about vaping among youths – pointing out that more young people have vaped than smoked (22 vs. 18%) – but missing the core points that regular vaping is still less common than regular smoking (1 vs. 3%) and that zero never-smoking youth were regular vapers. This is well-summarized in a blog post from Clive Bates.
Another UK study is sounding the alarm about the gateway effect, finding that – based on interviews with 13 to 16 year olds – some are using e-cigarettes “as a gateway to smoking.” However, the study isn’t easy to find, and the “evidence” seems to be just a collection of things that teenagers told some researchers, primarily coming down to the fact that some teens will undoubtedly try vaping before smoking. The real question is whether they’d try smoking when they wouldn’t have done otherwise.
Legislation, Regulations and Vaping Bans
The proposed 40 % wholesale tax on e-cigarettes working its way through the Pennsylvania legislature is still being held up along with the rest of the budget due to disputes (since Gov. Wolf is calling for the biggest tax increase in the state’s history).
The city of Saskatoon, Canada has banned vaping on outdoor city property, and although there’s an exemption in place for vape stores, the idea that vaping should be banned outside is absurd in the extreme.
Quebec has passed a bill banning vaping everywhere smoking is banned – including outdoor terraces at cafés and restaurants – making sales to minors illegal and also outlawing the sale of flavored cartridges. It seems hypothetical concerns about youth starting to vape are more important than the real-world experience of smokers who find flavors invaluable in the quitting process.
Malaysia’s uncertainty about vaping still continues, and the recent events are nicely covered in this article from the Malay Mail Online. The article argues that the government should have been quicker to act – the committee to find out more about vaping was only very recently formed – and puts forward a strong case as to why prohibition is not the answer.
There’s an ongoing legal battle in Western Australia, where it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes or vaping gear. Vince van Heerden was the first person to be found guilty, specifically of selling something designed to look like a cigarette. His case has been appealed in high court, with his lawyer arguing that e-cigarettes are more like pipes – since they’re more like a vehicle for delivering e-juice – and that they should be classed as a “smoking implement” rather than a tobacco product. A decision is expected early next year.
Planet of the Vapes has gotten hold of what appears to be a draft of the rules for e-cig advertising in the UK. The details depend on interpretation of the stuffy legal jargon, but it looks a lot like a wide-ranging ban on e-cig advertising.
News Articles, Blog Posts and Other Stuff
Michael Siegel has pointed out that Big Tobacco is doing more to protect the public’s health than anti-smoking groups, with Altria and Reynolds American supporting the bill to change the grandfather date for e-cigs – which would save the vast majority of e-cigs from a de facto ban – while the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids opposes it, implicitly supporting a world with combusted tobacco but with little to no vaping.
Clive Bates has written a post about the “a billion lives will be lost to tobacco this century” figure that the upcoming vaping documentary took its name from, looking at its origins and how reliable it is as a projection.
The Motley Fool has a post about blu’s declining popularity, which they argue began to suffer when Reynolds American merged with Lorillard and sold blu off to Imperial Tobacco in favor of their own Vuse brand.
Fontem Ventures – who are working with Hon Lik and own his patent – have settled some more litigation with other vaping companies, granting them a non-exclusive but royalty-paying license to continue selling vaping products. They recently also settled with NJOY.
SFATA has released a statement about the Center for Environmental Health’s formaldehyde “findings” and the frivolous legal action accompanying them. They call it “yet another example of rampant Proposition 65 abuses based on unrealistic use protocols.” Spot on, of course, but the delay between the news breaking and the fairly straightforward statement being released is a little odd.
There’s a tragic story from the UK, where a man committed suicide using some DIY e-liquid and drinking a lot of alcohol.
Smiley E-Liquid has published a well-written blog post looking at the most important arguments put forward by Patricia Burton (of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Tobacco Cessation Staff) to the Somerset, Kentucky City Council about their proposed ban on indoor vaping. It covers a lot of the key points raised in opposition to vaping, so it’s well worth a read.
Guide to Vaping has put out a great post about the recent We the People petition which crossed the threshold by gaining more than 100,000 signatures. The only problem is that petitions have a nasty habit of accomplishing nothing whatsoever, and the post’s author Daniel Hall points out that it’s important to do more than just sign a petition and pat yourself on the back.
Electronic Cigarette Consumer Reviews has a good post looking at the recent CDC data showing both hardly any vaping among youths and an impressive proportion of recent ex-smokers being vapers. The post argues that the CDC data cuts through the nonsense and gets to the facts.
The Ashtray Blog has published an in-depth post debunking some of the most commonly-used anti-vaping junk science studies – it makes a really handy reference for tackling misinformation about e-cigs.
Bullshit of the Week – E-Cig Ingredients: PG, VG, Nicotine, Flavor, Formaldehyde
Malaysia is currently on the offensive when it comes to e-cigarettes, and the bullshit generator seems to be working overtime. As well as a close contender for the Bullshit of the Week prize claiming that no research says vaping helps you quit smoking, the following statement came from Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya:
E-cigarette is divided into two components – device and cartridge, which the latter contains addictive substance nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, formaldehyde (carcinogenic substance used for embalmment) and flavor.
As if e-juice mixers incorporate formaldehyde as a key ingredient in liquid rather than it being a by-product of the vaporization process related to PG. The suggestion is obviously accompanied by the standard “embalming fluid” comment to drive home just how horrible formaldehyde is.
The aim is clearly to produce an image in readers’ minds of some cruel e-juice mixers standing around a vat of noxious, fiercely addictive juice and adding ladlefuls of formaldehyde to it, because… well… they’re really evil and want people to get cancer. Or something…
Come Back Next Week for More!
That’s it for this week! As always, let us know in the comments if we missed out on any important stories!