Germans were ecstatic to wake up on 1 July to the news that Federal drug commissioner Daniela Ludwig wanted to ban all flavoured eliquids [link]. At least all other European politicians were focussing on proper issues rather than inventing stuff to be concerned about? Well, no, exactly the same thing was happening on the same day in the Netherlands [link].
It just rolled on; a doc substituted opinion for evidence [link], billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s minions maintained their campaign of fabrications and fear [link], and baseless allegations were levelled at harm reduction experts [link].
Still, as bad as it might appear, you could be in Nova Scotia facing arrest for owning more than 240ml of juice or 5 vaping devices [link].
At home, ONS data revealed vaping was having a massive impact on smoking rates [link], ex-Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health and Primary Care Steve Brine spoke out in favour of vaping [link], more councils decided to push the idea of switching to vaping through their quit smoking programs [link] and the New Nicotine Alliance supported Dutch vapers [link].
America was grappling with COVID like it does vaping – badly, and with a debate largely consisting of lies. Surgeon General Jerome Adams had laughed at the danger of the coronavirus and pleaded with the public not to buy masks. His ignorance of viral transmission rivalled his woeful understanding of tobacco harm reduction – he was no superhero [link].
Calls were now being made to The American Journal of Preventative Medicine to retract another of Stanton Glantz’ works of fiction [link]. His paper attempting to link vaping to the EVALI outbreak was slammed by Kenkel, Wang, and Mathios, who wrote: “We find no evidence that current or former e-cigarette use is associated with respiratory disease. Replication is a vital part of the scientific method,” adding that Glantz and Bhatta made, “spurious associations with health problems”.
Over in the part of research occupied by people trying to discover the truth rather than fabricate their own version of it, a UCL team found zero evidence of an American teen gateway [link] and nicotine addiction was shown to be much less in vaping compared to tobacco [link].
Canada’s Professor David Hammond was forced into conceding he totally misrepresented his teen vaping rate figure in one of his studies but hid the retraction as much as possible [link].
The UK was getting to grips with a post-lockdown environment as Doctors Farsalinos and Polosa released a paper stating: “Smokers do not seem to be more susceptible to infection or disease caused by the coronavirus, and, quite surprisingly, the scientific evidence suggests the opposite, that smoking may be protective against COVID-19. This is still an area of active research and the jury is still out. For smokers who cannot or do not want to quit, there is an alternative, which is switching to much less harmful, combustion-free products such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products” [link].
People were now allowed to watch fast cars once more and thrilled at the prospect of seeing them go around in circles on television. “Which would be the best car this week” was the question on the lips of an uncounted number of POTV forum members. Meanwhile, in a Bath University department funded by Bloomberg’s money, professors complained about two words that meant nothing to almost everybody watching Formula 1 [link].
The pandemic meant some people were working from home, some people were pretending to work from home, and a whole host of people faced not being able to work at all. Ruth Malone, editor-in-chief of the BMJ’s ‘Tobacco Control’ journal, knows what works: bans. Ruth thinks the war on drugs has been an overwhelming success. Ruth’s logic would say she thought America’s alcohol prohibition successful. Ruth wants a total ban on vape products and she told her readers so [link].
American anti-vaping sentiment slowly started to spread the jitters. Facebook, famously slow to act in cases of fake news and vile abuse, was swift to block an account held by Regulator Watch [link]. The Orthopaedic Institute Pain Management Centre of Western Kentucky announced it would no longer provide medication to vapers [link].
It’s clear why, nicotine is such a frightening drug. We need to take drastic action on something that can alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia. “The findings highlight that a single dose of nicotine can improve a range of cognitive functions in schizophrenia subjects, such as attention, working memory, and executive functions, with attention being the most responsive domain” [link].
Evil nicotine; seemingly protecting us against COVID and reversing neuropsychological problems. A new study from France concluded: “[nicotine] was associated with a lower risk of severe Covid-19” [link].
The continual onslaught against vaping and nicotine was working. Americans were going back to tobacco and smoking more [link] thanks to misinformation flooding the media – shamefully from sources like the World Health Organization that just refuses to accept the concept of tobacco harm reduction [link]. London Fire Brigade said it had noticed the impact too as the number of cigarette-related home fires increased by 20% during the year [link].
Action on Smoking and Health spoke out this year about misinformation feeding adult belief that vaping is as or more dangerous as smoking. Many wondered what possessed it to then attack a vape company for providing free starter kits to smoking police officers, NHS staff, and blue light card holders [link]. As was shown previously, and again later in December, ASH has veered away from an evidenced-based approach to its harm reduction work to become a shrill appendage to the Bloomberg misinformation empire.
Come September, say hello to some good news: Researchers found no evidence of elevated levels of heavy metals in the blood and urine of vapers when compared to non-smokers and non-vapers [link]. Part funded by the American Heart Association, it should have had a major impact on the harm reduction debate but was quietly ignored by those opposed to vaping for ideological reasons. Instead, the Antz spoke about how vaping doesn’t work [link] on the same day advocates celebrated that it does [link].
Celebrations really kicked off the day Stanton Glantz announced that he was retiring with immediate effect [link], the same week that he wrote: “E-cigarettes are about as bad as cigarettes -- you're still breathing … heavy metals and flavours that have high pulmonary toxicity.”
The month culminated with not one [link] but two [link] pieces of research supporting vaping as a smoking cessation tool. Also, a UK study providing teen vaping evidence that “confirm[s] initial indications of e-cigarettes as a ‘fad’ that had peaked and become of less interest.”
A shame then that the month drew to a close with the publication of the European Commission’s SCHEER report [link] that presented as blinkered a view on vaping and tobacco harm reduction as would be possible to achieve.