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A roundup of some current vape and tobacco harm reduction related news stories

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In a roundup of current vape and tobacco harm reduction related news stories, we discover that the Conservative Party has received a substantial donation from a disposable vapes company. The Foundation for a Smoke Free World has published a research paper and is set to host a Biomarkers webinar, and the World Vapers’ Association has praised Sweden’s “progressive” harm reduction step.

Tories Take £350,000 Vape Cash

The optics couldn’t be worse at a time when a growing number of politicians are pushing for a complete ban on the sale of disposable vapes. The Conservative Party has accepted £350,000 from the chief executive of Supreme Plc, Sandeep Chadha.

The media has responded to news of the gift by trotting out phrases like ‘vapes are marketed at children’.

Supreme Plc is the UK distributer for Elf Bar and Lost Mary vapes and retails its own 88Vape line of disposable products. It reported that the last year had seen an “outstanding contribution” from its vape business – the same financial report that contained a warning of a threat to business being the risk of government action in imposing a stricter regulatory environment.

Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, leapt on the revelation, saying that the UK is, “sleepwalking into a new generation of children getting hooked on nicotine. Yet the Tories put lining their own pockets ahead of protecting children's health.”

Foundation for a Smoke Free World and Biomarkers

The Foundation for a Smoke Free World says its new research paper is challenging a long-standing belief in the tobacco control community.

For too long, potentially less harmful alternatives like e-cigarettes have been dismissed due to ‘lack of evidence.’ Now, researchers Derek Yach and Gerhard Scherer present a promising tool that could change this narrative: biomarkers,” it says.

Derek Yach, one of the authors of the study, commented: "The reluctance to accept less harmful nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, has always been rooted in the fear of the unknown and the desire for long-term evidence. Our research now showcases a robust method to bridge this knowledge gap sooner than previously imagined.”

Biomarkers are measurable substances in our bodies – present in fluids, tissues, and cells. They give information about our exposure to certain compounds and potential physiological effects. The use of these biomarkers could revolutionise the way we evaluate the harm reduction potential of new generation tobacco and nicotine products (NGPs). Instead of waiting for decades to understand the long-term effects of these products, we can rely on these indicators for quicker assessments.

"The future of public health depends on us embracing modern methodologies. Biomarkers offer a real-time snapshot of exposure levels, eliminating the traditional waiting period of 40-50 years to understand the effects of new products on our health," Gerhard Scherer, the research co-author added.

Discussion of the study will take place in a free webinar this Wednesday 13 September – register here.

Sweden Takes Progressive Step

The Swedish government has announced its plan to reduce the tax on snus, a smokeless tobacco product, by 20% while increasing the tax on cigarettes and smoking tobacco by 9%.

Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA), commented: “Sweden's new taxation policy is an exemplary move in fast-tracking the country even further towards its smoke-free target. By making less harmful alternatives like snus more accessible through tax reductions, Sweden is not just theorising harm reduction; it's effectively implementing it. It's time for the EU to take a leaf out of Sweden's book.”

The WVA says this announcement marks a significant advancement in tobacco control efforts. Sweden is enhancing its already impressive public health record by encouraging smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives through a reduced tax on snus.

Sweden's ground-breaking policy decision cements its harm reduction leadership role, setting an exemplary standard for the EU and member states to follow. Risk-based taxation and regulation can encourage smokers to transition to less harmful products, such as vaping and nicotine pouches.

"Now is the time for the EU to follow Sweden's lead. Implementing risk-based taxation and regulation for less harmful products like vaping and nicotine pouches—and legalising snus in the EU—would be a game-changer in public health policy," added Michael Landl.

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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