The debate and discussions continue in the EU as the Tobacco Products Directive makes it’s weary way through the committees and workshops, and we are treated to some abysmal ‘scientific’ presentations, 1200 suggested amendments to date, and a curious letter from an Italian MEP’ asking just how are they are going to replace the tobacco tax revenue, now everyone ( approx. 7 million in Europe) is vaping?
But leaving the money to one side, what about the nicotine in all this discussion?
At present, the EU seem to have dropped the 4mg/ml of nicotine cut off point, that would have essentially banned e-cigs, they appear to have come to their senses about this and the pharmacological action ‘reason’ behind suggesting it in the first place, but the general line remains that nicotine is addictive, is vasoconstrictive, and not good for you.
That’s not the entire picture – and I’m sure many of you can attest to this.
Rory Sutherland, an advertising CEO wrote about e-cigs in the Spectator Magazine recently, as he is a vaper, and his friend that he was chatting about them with, just happens to be a biochemist at a top American University, and this is what his biochemist friend had to say about it:
‘It (nicotine) improves cognitive ability, raises IQ, boosts memory function, treats mental illness… rats when given nicotine are much better at navigating mazes….’ He then explained something about T-cell receptors and synapses.’
Which we won’t go into here.
Interesting isn’t it?
And then add that, this study from 19996, where some lab rats were made to breath in nicotine mist for 2 years. It was pure nicotine, (given at the correct dose for them – we are NOT suggesting you try this at home), but after two years there was no damage to the rats – the only difference between the control rats, (those that didn’t breathe in the nicotine mist) and the nicotine breathers, was that the nicotine ‘breathers’ were slimmer.
You can read the abstract of the article here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8614291
Billed as a documentary to find out the truth, this will be an interesting project to follow. There is so much conflicting information about e-cigs circulating the nest and the newspapers, from they are toxic and contain antifreeze, to they are as harmless as a cup of coffee, one wonders if this documentary will clear it all up, once and for all?
For me, this whole project raises questions such as -Will it be able find out the truth about e-cigs, assuming there is one truth? Will we, as vapers like the results, and what exactly is the truth? Does it depend upon which side of the fence you are on?
This documentary has come about because of the EU and the way that vapers are mobilising.
The EU are proposing to put e-cigarettes under the medicinal products licence as they believe they are toxic and need controlling and regulating, despite research that is proving they are far far less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, and despite them already being regulated as a general sales product.
Due to this impending regulation that would amount to a ban, (and yes we have that confirmed by the JURI committee, one of the five committees tasked with reviewing the EU Tobacco product directive,) vapers have been turning to social media to fight this, using forums, Facebook pages and using twitter bombs under the hashtag #EUcigBAN, plus writing in their thousands to their MP’s and MEP’s.
All this attention as caught the eye of TV documentary maker Andy Sutton, and so was born his idea to make a documentary to find out the truth about e-cigs.
He says –“ we plan to create a groundbreaking series that explores this vaping community, their legal and health battles, research, the ethical and political debates. We will also conduct interviews with the leading lights in pharmaceutical industries, health charities and multinational tobacco giants.”
The project has exceeded its stated goal of £10’000, and to date has raised over £15’000. It will be interesting to not only follow this project, which we hope we can, but to see the end product, and to see what Andy can uncover and put together, in what I hope will be a balanced view.
It just remains now to see if we will like what he finds out as the ‘truth’.
One of the hue and cries amongst those wanting e-cigs to be banned is that they are a gateway product. The argument is that people, especially children, will be lured by the array of flavours, become addicted to the nicotine, and then start smoking tobacco cigarettes. This it seems is the number one reason the anti smoking lobby have for wanting to reduce e-liquid flavours down to just tobacco and menthol.
But this isn’t reality, and I can point you to hundreds of post on various forums where people are swearing blind that once they started vaping, they then tried a cigarettes for whatever reason, and the taste was so disgusting, they threw the cigarettes away, usually half smoked.
These are folk that used to smoke 20+ cigarettes a day and enjoy it.
Dave Dorn explains it really well in this video post of his.
But let’s take this further, and lets look at some actual research. This was not a large study admittedly, 288 teenagers involved, and we have to be aware that the study was paid for by the American Cancer Society.
Out of the 288 teenagers in the trial, not one of the non- smokers had tried an e-cig. And of the ones that had tried an e-cig, they were already smokers.
When these teenagers were asked if they would try an e-cig, 67% said yes, but lets’ remember they were asked, and they were teenagers – young people out to experience life. Let’s also note that the older they were, (above 13yrs), the more chance there was that they would say yes to trying one.
Next the researchers looked at the enticement of flavours – and they found that flavours did not increase the attractiveness of e-cigarettes to teenagers.
What they found was this:
“Being a smoker was the strongest predictor of willingness to try an e-cigarette. Even after controlling for other statistically significant correlates, the odds of a smoker being willing to try an e-cigarette were 10 times the odds of a non-smoker.”
So it looks like if anyone is going to try an e-cig, chances are they are already a smoker.
It doesn’t happen the other way round.
This isn’t a rhetorical question this is quite serious. I’m not asking about knowingly smoking despite being aware of the possible dangers, (which could be seen as slightly bonkers,) I’m asking – did you consider yourself a little unbalanced as well as being a pariah of society because you smoked?
Last month the Independent online wrote about a report that found that a third of smokers have been found to have a mental disorder.
This research, described as a major medical study, arrived at the conclusion that all GP’s should refer smokers to local mental health services.
But as usual, and with all research, you have to look a little closer than just the
journalist’s interpretations of it.
The recommendations and suggestions that one in three smokers have mental health issues came from the British Lung Foundation (who are anti smoking), and they suggested this action after they had read the research from the Royal College of Psychiatrist, (who deal with mental health all day).
According to the above mentioned, one out of every three cigarettes smoked is smoked by somebody with a mental health disorder.
Apparently, smoking is increasingly becoming the domain of the most disadvantaged, i.e. the poor, the homeless, prisoners and those with mental health issues. The report states that even though smoking rates have come down in most areas, the one area where they remain steady is the mental health sector, where the levels have remained at a constant 40%.
Why has that area not fallen? Nicotine appears to provide some relief from symptoms of anxiety, depression and ADHD.
The report it seems is correct then, that one in three smokers have a mental health issue, and this is down to the stats. But here comes my gripe… and another question, only this time it probably is rhetorical.
If nicotine helps reduce anxiety and depression – then why not introduce vaping into mental health units? This way patients can get their nicotine in a less harmful manner, and they don’t also have to deal with the stigma of being a smoker. What is wrong with an e -cigarette and a cup of coffee, and suddenly the world is a slightly calmer place?
No, this is the number of lawsuits that have apparently been filed against Pfiezer, the manufacturers and providers of Chantix, that infamous NRT drug that has fatal and near fatal consequences for quite a number of its users.
However it is still on the market. Prof Siegel in his excellent tobacco analysis blog raises this point - ‘if there were that many lawsuits filed against e-cigs, do you think you’d still be able to buy one?’
I am not suggesting that electronic cigarettes are nicotine replacement therapy, what I am doing here is questioning the regulators, the same ones that will rule on whether e-cigs will become a medicine – and if so, will it be OK for 2700 lawsuits to be filed against them, because as a medicine it’s OK to have that many?
Interestingly though, or maybe horrifyingly so, Chantix is still being prescribed and recommended as a nicotine replacement therapy drug. Apparently no further research into the possibility of it being the cause of over 3000 deaths is being done, no further research is being done to ascertain if the 2’700 lawsuits are as a result of death or injury from Chatix, because it has all be paid off. This should sound a bit odd, this should be raising alarm bells within the industry watchdogs, but it isn’t. That’s because Pfiezer have settled these 2700 cases out of court. They have paid out a whopping $237 million to these accusers, and have probably told them to shut up and go away too.
We are living in interesting times, we all know that, the financial system is disintegrating at an alarming rate, Cyprus is one experiment that is about to blow up in our faces, and we are learning more and more everyday how corrupt our systems are.
Electronic cigarettes are facing a ban in the EU despite no lawsuits being filed, despite no deaths being attributed to them, despite research proving that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than smoking.