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Views from the Summit

The third E-Cigarette Summit has taken place in London

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The third E-Cigarette Summit has taken place in London. Its aim is to provide “an evidence-based perspective on the public health issues raised by the growing popularity of e-cigarettes”. Speakers included many names familiar to vapers but not Simon Chapman as he, in responding to Dave Dorn’s invitation, was “absolutely not interested”.

In fact none of vaping’s biggest detractors turned up at the Royal Society to engage with vapers and experts, they still don’t see the point in dialogue. The nearest thing to it was Beryl Keeley, representing the MRHA and Charlotta Psinger. Keeley repeated the fact that 2016 will see a ban on tank volume over 2ml, refill containers over 10ml and a maximum concentration of 20mg for juice strength. She called this “light-touch regulation”.

Their position remains that manufacturers to notify the body before importing equipment or liquids and that existing products have to be registered by 20th November 2016. Juice makers must provide toxicological data regarding the product’s ingredients and emissions among other things – and there’s still reference to the mythical non-leak refilling system. It’s nothing that wasn’t already known and lamented about the forthcoming implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

Clive Bates focused on the TPD as well, beginning by pointing out that it neither represented an outright ban nor medicalization of vaping. But that was the limit to anything good he could say about it and he moved on to decry what poor legislation it is, how it places pointless limitations on manufacturers and will tie them up in red tape. It was a presentation summed up by his final slide, shown below:

Peter Hajek turned his mind to the topic of nicotine and posed the rhetorical question “Is this the problem?” in respect to anti-ecig motives. He pulled up the oft-quoted figure that a 30-60mg dose is lethal but pointed out that this was a fictitious 19th Century level. In fact, he cited cases where people have attempted suicide through administering up to 1,500mg that resulted in vomiting and a full recovery.

He pointed out that whereas lab animals will willingly self-administer alcohol and cocaine it is very difficult to get them to do it for nicotine. It simply doesn’t bear out the addictive tag that ecig opponents would like to lay on it. But then, as Hajek demonstrated using the survey tricks they use, sticking to the truth is not their objective. The survey structure is relevant because when the results are drilled into the constant conclusion across them is that only smokers become regular vapers and teens do not become addicted to the nicotine – there is no gateway effect.

So, when considering surveys, where can we put faith? The answer has to be in the research carried out on an annual basis by Robert West on behalf of Smoking England. He is not paid by tobacco companies when he says: “E-cigarettes are being used primarily by smokers want to stop or reduce their smoking.”

West carried on to state that: “They are the most popular aid to cessation and appear to be effective,” and “there is no clear association between growth in e-cigarette use and changes in smoking cessation rates or smoking prevalence.”

None of which will be of interest to Simon Chapman.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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