Feds waste $200,000 on Twitter vaping study
Despite the US government moving to cut public spending in the face of a spiralling deficit, the National Institutes of Health have announced that they plan to spend $199,665 on analysing tweets about vaping. The project, snappily titled “Toward Fine-Grained E-Cigarette Surveillance on Social Media”, plans to study every vaping-related tweet sent in the year to June 2017.
It’s unclear what, if any, scientific value this study is supposed to have, but statements by the researchers suggest the real reason behind it. Apparently, their aim is to find out how vapers communicate so they can use this to make anti-vaping campaigns go viral. The project is being conducted by the University of Kentucky but the funding is coming from the US taxpayer.
Glantz melts down over NRT
In an astonishing public meltdown, notorious anti-vaping activist Stanton Glantz this week released a study claiming that the tobacco industry has been complicit in marketing ineffective nicotine replacement therapies for the last thirty years. Glantz is well known for his bizarre insistence that vaping makes it more difficult to quit smoking, but this is the first time he’s directed similar claims at medical products.
Glantz’s complaint seems to be that the tobacco companies realised NRT wasn’t affecting their sales because it doesn’t work. However he and co-author Dorie Appolliono have spun this into a conspiracy theory where the tobacco companies want people to get nicotine and are “open-minded about how they get it.” This suggests that Appolliono has no experience, or knowledge, of business; companies are generally not open-minded about their customers buying a competing product.
Appollonio also claimed in a press release that “tobacco companies put out these products as a way to sidestep policies”, apparently being unaware that almost all NRT products are actually sold by the pharmaceutical industry. Appolliono’s public statements suggest that she’s behind some of the wilder claims in the study, but by putting his name on such a mess Glantz must have seriously dented his remaining credibility.
China seizes “smuggled” e-liquid
In a surprising statement released on Monday, police and customs in southern China claimed to have seized 600 tonnes of e-liquid that had allegedly been smuggled into the country. According to Zhou Bin, head of the customs office in the city of Gongbei, hundreds of police raided four companies which between them supply most of the liquid on the Chinese market.
What surprised many vapers is Zhou’s claim that the majority of the e-juice sold in China is imported. China itself has several extremely large e-liquid manufacturers which export worldwide, after all. The quantity claimed by Zhou translates to 60 million standard 10ml bottles.
According to reports, twenty suspects are under arrest and the investigation is continuing.
Thai anti-vaping crackdown continues
Following on from May’s arrest of a tourist who was then heavily fined for vaping in public, Thailand is stepping up its campaign against e-cigarettes. Thai news is now reporting that police have broken up “a major online electronic cigarette sales ring” and seized a large quantity of vapour products.
According to the Bangkok Post a police raid in the western town of Kanchanaburi found 57 e-cigs, 555 “other smoking kits” and almost 3,000 bottles of liquid in a warehouse. The owner, a Thai businessman who police say was working with a Malaysian partner. Apparently the arrests of two other men last month led police to this business, and they’re now looking for two others they believe to be involved.
The police seem to be using this incident to reinforce the country’s anti-vaping campaigns. Under Thai law, only nicotine products made of tobacco can be legally imported. This puts e-cigs in the unusual position of being regulated in the USA because they’re made of tobacco, and being banned in Thailand because they’re not.
“Vaping” study finds what bears do in the woods
In one of the least surprising results in all of human history, a new study has found that flavours make things taste better. A team of US academics from Drexel University, Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction recently set out to prove that flavours are causing a gateway effect in American teens, and while they failed to do that they did manage to produce a report of truly Glantzian awfulness.
Bizarrely, rather than asking subjects to vape flavoured and unflavoured liquids then rate them for pleasantness, the researchers decided to mix up their own PG/VG/flavourings blends, contaminate them with a chemical which produces a strong burned taste, dilute them with distilled water and spray them into the subjects’ mouths.
Much to nobody’s surprise, they found that flavours make things taste better.