News Roundup

Posted 26th October 2018 by Dave Cross
Dr Joe says tobacco control plays the man instead of the ball when it comes to industry funding. Portland schools now class possession of a vape device as a drug and alcohol-related offence. The FDA is considering making vape products only available in B&M stores. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes vaping “could be less devastating” than cigarettes. Northwestern University researchers say “Ecigarettes should not be treated like regular cigarettes” and Sarah Jakes speaks about the latest Philip Morris ad campaign.

ATHRA & Funding

Writing on the ATHRA website, Dr Joe likens our DNA heritage to the way money trickles down to researchers. “All of us have 4,096 people in our lineage if we go back 12 generations. It is likely we all have some ancestral input we would not expect,” he says.

ATHRA doesn’t accept tobacco money but was recently criticised for accepting a one-time donation from Knowledge Action Change (KAC). While the British public health body has taken donations from the tobacco industry, Dr Joe asks whether it is fair to track convoluted money trails.

“Employees of any company (e.g. a supermarket), which generates revenue from the sale of tobacco products, are paid wages which are in part due to sale of those tobacco products. In turn any employer donation to any health charity must, to follow the logic, also be tainted.”

Joe argues ATHRA are no guiltier of tobacco funding than the Australian Medical Association that receives funding derived from the sale of cigarettes.

Punishing Portland

KPTV reports that schools in Portland, Oregon, are “taking a stand against vaping”. It used to be the case that vaping on school property was treated the same as if a student were caught smoking – a level 1 violation.

Vape Club

Now, as school administrators claim there is no way to test what is in the eliquid, vaping is going to be classified as being “a drug and alcohol-related offence”. To compound this madness, anybody standing near a student who is caught vaping will be deemed to have involved in “drug and alcohol-related behaviour” too.

FDA Still Fapping Over Teen Sales

CNBC reports that the Food and Drug Administration still has the hots for implementing overreaching measures to curb the vape industry.

The news organisation quotes Commissioner Scott Gottlieb saying: "We're looking at what can be sold in brick-and-mortar stores and whether or not flavoured products can be sold in regular stores like a 7-Eleven and a truck stop and a gas station, or whether or not flavoured products on the market should be confined to adult vaping shops, which generally tend to do a better job of checking ID.”

The FDA is still considering banning online sales and flavoured products in the United States.

Premier Ecigs

The Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has published its second annual report and lends very tentative support to vaping and its role in tobacco harm reduction.

The report focuses on a main target: “We believe Africa is the world’s most important priority for the foreseeable future. What happens to the large number of young people there will be the single biggest determinant of whether the world makes progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals — that is, whether life on this planet keeps getting better."

To this end, from a harm reduction perspective, it adds: “E-cigarettes and other alternative tobacco produces are not harmless, but they could be less devastating. Researchers need to better understand whether e-cigarettes could lower smoking rates without addicting youth.”

Northwestern Support

Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, have stated in a paper that vaping – they cite Juul in particular – shouldn’t be conflated with tobacco cigarettes, and should be treated differently.

One of the authors, Matthew Olonoff, is quoted as saying: “Even in its name, electronic cigarettes, it has implications for how we view its dangers, its benefits, how people are going to use it. Just being able to remove those assumptions… will make it better for researchers to make more informed opinions and beliefs in research about how people actually interact with these devices.”


“Rather than looking at how people might get sick, we may start looking at how smokers switching to these products actually have been better in terms of lung function, coughing, things like that.”

NNA’s Jakes on PMI Ads

New Nicotine Alliance’s Sarah Jakes is becoming a bit of a media celebrity as she pops up all over the place. Her latest interview took place on BBC Radio Coventry. Phil Upton laughed as she told him, “It’s not a good business plan to kill your customers.” Upton was probing her feelings about the widely criticised Philip Morris wraparound Hold My Light advert in the Daily Mirror.

“It’s still feeding nicotine into your system,” declared Upton.

“It is, but nicotine is not the problem,” responded Jakes. “If the tar is removed, if the delivery system is ‘clean’ compared to smoking, then you are going to reduce the harm people do to themselves. If you are going to be pragmatic about it, if a smoker can’t or doesn’t want to stop using nicotine then it’s better they switch to a reduced harm product.”

“[The tobacco industry is] eyeing this up as a Kodak moment for them – but at the moment that tends to only apply in the developed world, where smokers are switching to reduced harm products, and not parts of the world like Africa and Asia. I think that when tobacco companies come up with things like this, it’s reasonable to ask ‘what are you doing to reduce harm in other parts of the world?’ It’s all very well doing it in the UK, but if you’re still pushing tobacco in low and middle income countries then are you really committed to a smoke-free world?”


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
Not Blowing Smoke