USA Today and Tomorrow

Posted 26th March 2015 by Dave Cross
Politicians are watching what is happening with electronic cigarette regulation in other countries, so too are businesses and investors. With a global market worth billions of dollars, health dividends are being traded off for investment fund interests and tax revenue.

Forbes, an American business magazine aiming to be the lead in reliable business news and financial information, is keen to keep investors up to date with the implications of legislation. It notes that the long-term forecast for cigarette use will continue to drop at around 3% per annum and that tobacco firms see ecigs as the best solution to maintain profits. “However,” an article says, “recent proposed regulations, as well as reports on the health impacts of e-cigarettes and their use by teenagers, could foil those plans.”

It goes on to note that the findings from a recent survey claim the reduction in teen smoking rates has “coincided with a huge increase in the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes. Their numbers increased from 79,000 in 2011 to 250,000 in 2013. In all, over 263,000 teenagers who have never used a tobacco cigarette are reported to be using e-cigarettes.”

Their confusion, and therefore that of the markets, lies in the misinformation being propagated from Glantz’ base in California: “While some reports suggest that the health concerns are not as severe as those of regular cigarettes, one report suggested that e-cigarettes may actually contain ten times the level of cancer-causing agents present in regular cigarettes. Further, other studies show that they may act as a gateway to traditional cigarette usage.”

It is hoped that the public consultation, being carried out by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), will bring some clarity and common sense answers to the debate. But, as highlighted by the Vapinglinks blog, it needs vapers to get involved with the process.

Kevin Crowley, the site’s author, explains that although American vapers might have until April 15th to put in their submissions only a handful have done so to date. He writes: “If you believe your e-cigarette has saved your life or someone you love, or if you are a smoker/tobacco user in those descriptions, you need to pay attention to those red underlined words just above in the graphic. I saw 60 something comments on Friday, as of the time of this post, there are only 75 on the FDA site.”

The FDA’s consultation is accepting contributions from individuals, vendors and manufacturers, the online form can be found here.

Mr Crowley’s irritation is something being mirrored further North, in Canada, where the National Post vent their spleen in an editorial. It is summed up by the opening comment: “The government should take up the committee’s main recommendation, and spare the country the ludicrous prospect of a black market in the production and consumption of moistened air.”

On this side of the Atlantic the air is full of anticipation over what the next UK government will do. Electronic cigarettes are already banned in Canada, although they are freely available. Thus, a health committee “was tasked with studying the potential risks and benefits of electronic cigarettes, the only question was whether it would ultimately recommend legalizing or cracking down on the popular but controversial technology.”

Despite giving the go ahead to legalise a safer product than smoking, the committee loaded the recommendation with “caveats, some seemingly more designed to placate critics than to address any real health concerns.”

It continues: “The committee recommends that the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems be prohibited in federally regulated public spaces. Yet the evidence is quite clear — even from the committee’s own report — that the risk to bystanders from e-cigarette vapour is minuscule to nil. The committee nevertheless justifies the ban in public spaces as needed to avoid the “renormalization” of smoking.”

The blinkered, scientifically baseless arguments appear to be winning the day, will American vapers be able to convince the States otherwise?

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker