World News Roundup

Posted 16th January 2018 by Dave Cross
Canada continues its war on vaping, mirroring the disinformation currently doing the rounds in Thailand. Some think the FDA can learn from Japan’s approach to harm reduction, but America is more bothered about a film star vaping in public. European vapers are being warned about batteries on planes, while councils face huge cuts to stop smoking services. It’s a good job apples and tomatoes might be rushing to the rescue.

Canadian Vaping Association’s Jesse Kline writes: “Those intent on scaring the public are misrepresenting what the science on e-cigarettes actually says. One common refrain is that vaping is a ‘gateway’ to smoking. This is just a variation of the same failed argument that anti-drug warriors made for decades: that marijuana is a gateway drug to harder narcotics. That’s now been shown to be a myth. Opioid overdoses in Colorado increased every year for 14 years before pot legalization, but have fallen by six per cent since. That hasn’t stopped people from recycling the fallacy for e-cigarettes.”

Kline’s article highlights the worrying position being adopted by those with influence in many parts of the world. After Wales’ brief flirtation with, and fortunate escape from, a prohibitionist route, echoes of arguments heard in the Assembly can be witnessed in Canada and Thailand.

Dr Assadang Ruayarchin, deputy director-general of the Public Health Ministry’s Disease Control Department is now on record unequivocally stating to the press: “electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are hazardous to health and should not be used as a means to quit smoking.” It is clear that Ruayarchin is either incredibly stupid or a massive liar.

Japan has been a test market for Philip Morris’ IQOS heat-not-burn (HNB) product. Huffpo are claiming Japan International, British American Tobacco and Philip Morris’ cigarette sales have all been hit by the success of the new device, and that almost 3 million Japanese smokers have made the switch to HNB tech. Whatever we think of the coverage of vaping, it is likely to pale compared to the objections to HNB as Morris market IQOS more intensively, globally, in 2018.

While Huffpo believe the FDA should turn its attention to HNB, Americans and Daily Mail readers are more vexed by the sight of Jack Nicholson vaping a cigalike at a sporting event. The pictures of him enjoying nicotine while watching the Los Angeles Lakers caused more than a few fuses to pop in the anti-harm reduction community.

Celebrities are the least of the European Aviation Safety Agency’s concerns, as long as they pack their batteries safely. In a holiday season message, it wrote: “It is important that airlines inform their passengers that large personal electronic devices should be carried in the passenger cabin whenever possible.” With the large numbers traveling over the holidays, POTV hopes all vapers have followed our battery storage advice.

Advice is something that faces being cut back in 2018 as councils struggle with more cuts to budgets. The Independent reports that millions of pounds is set to be slashed from stop-smoking services, while the same local authorities invest what money they have in Big Tobacco shares. Maybe local burghers are hoping that is everybody eats lots of tomatoes and apples they can undo the smoking damage the councils are now almost powerless to help prevent.

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