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NZ stop-smoking services “will lose customers” if they don’t embrace vaping

A leading New Zealand tobacco control expert says new research shows government-run stop smoking services face a crisis unless they fully embrace vaping as a harm reduction tool. The findings add pressure on the government to make progress with legalising nicotine e-liquids, which are currently banned in the country.

The study, led by Professor Marewa Glover of Massey University, looked at the obstacles smokers face in switching to safer alternatives. The participants, 29 former smokers who have switched to vaping, were asked what barriers they had met on the road to quitting. Professor Glover found that stop smoking services’ refusal to discuss vaping as an option was a serious roadblock – but that, ultimately, the losers would be the services themselves.

According to Glover, vapers are stepping in to give smokers the help official services are denying them. People who’ve already switched are giving friends and family advice and helping them to get the right equipment. One group, she said, even set up a mentoring network across the country to assist smokers who wanted to quit. She warned that the numbers using government services will continue to fall unless they become more accepting of reduced-risk consumer products like e-cigs.

Canadian anti-vaping groups to close after government drops funding

Two of the anti-harm reduction groups which have been pushing for tougher restrictions on Canadian vapers are to close, it was announced last week. The groups, the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association (NSRA) and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada (PSC), have spent years campaigning to block budget cuts announced in 2012, but their time ran out at the end of March. Now they’ve said that, instead of trying to raise funding from donations, they will close.

Originally both groups were funded under Ottawa’s Tobacco Control Strategy, which Justin Trudeau’s government had promised to renew. They hoped this would allow them to keep being funded by the taxpayer, without the inconvenience of having to build public support and seek donations. However the government decided to spend the money on combating contraband tobacco and persuading smokers to quit rather than funding the tobacco control industry, and like similar groups in the UK, when the flow of tax money dried up they immediately threw in the towel.

Legal journal slams FDA position on e-cigs

A prestigious legal publication, the Brooklyn Law Review, has published an article that harshly criticises the Food and Drug Administration’s stance on vapour products. The author, Lauren H Greenberg, argues that not only has the FDA been given inappropriate powers to regulate e-cigarettes, but that its ham-fisted application of those powers threatens to destroy the USA’s independent vaping industry.

Greenberg argues that the whole point of vapour products is to give smokers a less harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes; therefore it’s inappropriate to regulate them in the same way as traditional tobacco. She says that implementing the FDA’s current plans won’t lead to a safer market in vaping gear; it will simply wipe out hundreds of small businesses.

According to Greenberg the Deeming Regulations are unfair, and there’s no reason at all to implement them. E-cigarettes were invented as an alternative to smoking, she says, so it’s unjust to regulate them under a regime intended to make tobacco products harder to obtain.

 

California anti-vaping activist faces second sexual harassment case

Last week one of California’s most vocal opponents of tobacco harm reduction, Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California in San Francisco, faced new allegations of sexual harassment from an ex-colleague.

Former research associate Juliette Jackson alleges that Glantz created a “sexually charged and hostile work environment”, routinely staring at women’s breasts and making racially inflammatory remarks to colleagues. She says that she reported Glantz’s behaviour to the university disciplinary system but was forced to open legal proceedings when no action was taken by the university.

Jackson’s allegations follow a similar case filed in December by another woman who worked with the controversial professor, Eunice Neeley. Like Jackson, Neeley claims Glantz regularly stared at her breasts, made inappropriate comments and indulged in racially insensitive behaviour. Neeley also says that, when she complained, the university was complicit in Glantz’s retaliation against her – the removal of her name from a paper she had written.

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