News Roundup

Posted 8th December 2021 by Dave Cross
In a collection of stories, Cochrane has provided an update on plans for the future on its Twitter account. Meanwhile, politicians are looking to clamp down on All-party parliamentary groups, but risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Finally, CASAA address the current fear being shared in the States that the drug fentanyl is being found in e-liquids.

Cochrane Clarification

Concerns have been raised that Cochrane’s funding problem (as reported last week) could negatively impact the quality of research produced in the UK.

Cochrane has responded on its Twitter account to state: “Thanks. We're optimistic about securing new funding so that we can persist as a research group, but the wider funding situation means that Cochrane is moving to a new review production model, so while we will continue our research, we won't be a Cochrane group.”

APPG Action

As the whiff of corruption continues to blight the current Government, MPs have made calls to see stronger anti-lobbying rules applied to All-party Parliamentary groups (APPG).

While some see this as a means to clamping down on outside interests corrupting the legislative process, others believe it could restrict the ability for groups to do their work efficiently.

Rose Whiffen, Transparency International UK, said: “All-party parliamentary groups still provide a backdoor for lobbying. [They] can be used by both foreign governments and private companies to curry favour with those in high office, putting parliamentarians in a precarious situation where their public role may be at odds with their outside interests.”


The people responsible for managing the APPG for Vaping (the secretariat) is the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA). The secretariat for the APPG on Smoking and Health is provided by ASH UK. The former offers government the experience of industry, and has attracted criticism for that reason, the latter has been accused of giving the Bloomberg funded views from Bath University to much credence.

While neither were cited during a recent debate, Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Standards Committee, has launched an inquiry into the way APPGs are run. This inquiry will produce a report in the new year.

Tom Brake, former deputy leader of the House of Commons, said: “There really should not be a scenario where a member of Parliament is part of an APPG that is representing the interests of a particular sector, and who is at the same time receiving funds as an adviser to a company in that field of activity.”

Fentanyl-laced Vapes

Fentanyl contamination of e-liquid is the latest fear being propagated in the United States.

Fentanyl is a synthetic prescription opioid, similar to heroin and morphine and sometimes used for recreational purposes – but carrying the dramatic warning that it is “50 to 100 times more potent” than morphine.


WKYT is just one outlet that reports, “Fentanyl-laced vape pens among teens concern after Tennessee high school incident” – apparently, they would have you believe, it’s “a dangerous and potentially deadly trend among teens.”

Consumer group CASAA address the subject in a video discussion (1:35:30):

School officials were exposed to carfentanil because of a student’s vape pen…but [it was] later determined [it] was not present in the e-liquid.”

The video places the story into context perfectly.

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