Vaping News

2021 First Quarter Flashback

The year is closing and we look back at the first three months of 2021 to see how it all began

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News from America created a negative beginning, depressingly so as Covid rates ensured that the government shut down all the UK brick and mortar stores again. Negative stories flooded out but the news from home remained positive. It set the bar for the year to come.

Dr Farsalinos kicked off January by launching two defamation cases against articles written by The Investigative Desk and published by VPRO (a Dutch public broadcaster) and French national newspaper Le Monde.

He wrote: “Bloomberg disgrace. They hate studying nicotine (NRTs!!!) for COVID, so they hire ‘journalists’ (who hide their sponsoring) for ad hominem attacks with LIES against me, Changeux and other researchers! Mafia-like tactics! Science is NOTHING to them!

Farsalinos’ sin was to be looking into a link between nicotine and lower than expected numbers of smokers displaying severe symptoms of Covid-19 [link].

President Trump, once lauded as a potential hope for saving vaping in the USA, proved that he couldn’t be relied upon as he announced a vapemail ban [link].

AVA President Greg Conley said: “If the increase in shipping costs wasn’t enough, the bill also imposes huge paperwork burdens on small retailers and backs it up with threats of imprisonment for even innocent mistakes. This is not a law designed to regulate the mail-order sale of vaping products to adults; it’s an attempt to eliminate it.

Glantz reappeared as he co-authored a laughable ‘study’ finding that vaping does not help people quit smoking, and an American/Australian study produced some junk mouse science to justify a call to ban flavours [link]. These and similar studies were typical of what had come before and the kind of substandard work that authorities would go on to cite during 2021.

Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, managing editor of Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group, is just one of those not being listened to. She took to YouTube to livestream, saying “There's not much debate on whether e-cigarettes are a better alternative for smokers than traditional tobacco”, and found that vaping worked as an option for smokers [link].

Likewise, little coverage was given to work produced by Professors Jackson, Brown, and Jarvis at University College London. They blew a hole in the argument that there’s a teen epidemic of vaping in the United States [link] – and that teen vaping is linked to other factors such as alcohol use, marijuana use, impulsivity and their parents' education levels and tobacco history.

Regardless, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Port Director Timmy Lemaux announced a swathe of product siezures: “Many counterfeit, unapproved or unauthorised products are likely produced in unregulated facilities with unverified ingredients posing a serious health concern to consumers. It is especially alarming when these types of counterfeit and unauthorised products find their way into the hands of children as studies indicate.”

The media preferred to cover a TikTok user claiming vaping gave her Chlamydia [link] rather than cover the excellent documentary You Don’t Know Nicotine [link].

At home, our newspapers covered the Bloomberg-funded World Health Organization call to ban open system vapes. Expert Clive Bates commented: “The advice is completely irresponsible and bizarre. If governments take it seriously, they will be protecting the cigarette trade, encouraging smoking and adding to a huge toll of cancer, heart and lung disease. Something has gone badly wrong here.” [link]

The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, also part-funded by Michael Bloomberg, continued its ideological attacks on vaping, claiming that Tom Jones, Lionel Ritchie, Simple Minds, and Bonnie Tyler were being used to promote vaping to children. [link]

The United Kingdom continued to deliver a big slice of common sense to the rest of the world.

UKVIA was demanding Essential Status for vape shops – something the government failed to support, but it did open up a consultation exercise to obtain evidence for the new Tobacco and Related Products Regulations. We were due to see the new TRPR by the end of 2021 but it didn’t happen.

The British Lung Foundation published a report highlighting that our doctors still have a poor level of training in and understanding of vaping [link].

A number of British experts contributed to a letter slamming the “war on drugs” style approach to nicotine that relied on “false and misleading claims about the risks of e-cigarettes” [link].

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping conducted a fact gathering inquiry, hearing from the UK Vape Industry Association, Professor Lynne Dawkins, the New Nicotine Alliance and WeVape [link].

Public Health England released its seventh independent report on vaping in England, produced by researchers at King’s College London. It found vaping products were the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit and helped more than 50,000 smokers stopped smoking who would otherwise have carried on smoking [link].

Action on Smoking and Health released its update on teen ecig use in Great Britain, finding a large majority of 11–18-year-olds have never tried or are unaware of e-cigarettes - only 1.8% of young people used e-cigarettes more than once a week [link]. We described it as “stunningly good news for advocates, vapers, and the industry”.

Finally, Yorkshire Cancer Research produced a film attacking misconceptions about vaping for National No Smoking Day [link].

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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