“There is a pervasive myth that vaping was developed by the tobacco industry to prolong cigarette smoking,” writes Colin Mendelsohn, Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of New South Wales.
Mendelsohn highlights that the tobacco industry only controls 20% of the market, at present, but asks a pertinent question from a harm reduction perspective: “Does tobacco industry involvement matter?”
“Surely it is better for Big Tobacco to switch from making products that kill up to two in three users to products that are at least 95% safer?”
The fact that vaping offers a far safer way to use nicotine is still lost on the Food and Drug Administration, as it has visited Juul Labs and taken away documents. The media is laughably terming this a “raid”, and that the FDA “seized” the paperwork.
For an organisation that insists smokers should only use traditional NRT products, it must cause some embarrassment for those behind the raid that Jed Rose (creator of the nicotine patch and Chantix) currently believes: “E-cigarettes are one of the most promising developments in the field of smoking cessation.”
Rose is conducting trials on Juuls at the Duke Centre for Smoking Cessation. He says there is, “good reason to believe it can help people quit smoking,” and that the potential benefits far outweigh the risk posed by teens adopting vaping.
This matters not to Mitch Zeller, FDA’s director of the Centre for Tobacco Products. Zeller told the US Senate that public health would benefit from all smokers switching to electronic cigarettes – but now he blames vaping for placing the “LGBTQIA+ community at risk” and that “it is still unclear whether e-cigarettes are in fact a safer way to use tobacco.”
Zeller’s switch of opinions provides more evidence that there are things at play behind the scenes at the FDA.
Like Zeller, Jenny Salesa isn’t keen on listening to facts about vaping and harm reduction. Unfortunately for New Zealanders, Salesa is the Associate Minister of Health with responsibility for writing the legislation to create a vaping products regulatory framework.
Over the last few weeks she has been very busy – at blocking harm reduction and vape advocates on Twitter. Dr Marewa Glover called it “unfair behaviour”, and said, “MPs shouldn’t have Twitter accounts if they’re not willing for all citizens (barring abusive tweeters) to see their tweets.”
Seeing something was what concerned one anonymous complainant to the Advertising Standards Authority. They spotted an 88Vape advert in a bus shelter, and believed that as it was “in a public space in close proximity to local schools” it should be sanctioned.
The authority adjudicated that the restriction is limited to 100m, and as 88Vape’s advert was 133m away there was no case to answer.
The same can’t be said for the man who attempted an armed robbery in a vape store in Aurora, Colorado. First he fumbles when pulling out his revolver, drops it behind the counter, fails to mount the display case – and then his trousers fall down. Whatch the CCTV video here.