ANTZ already complaining that FDA flavour ban isn’t harsh enough

Mere hours after the FDA’s ban on many flavoured vapour products went into effect on Thursday, opponents of tobacco harm reduction are already complaining that it doesn’t make enough things illegal.

The FDA’s new restrictions are targeted at cartridge-based systems like JUUL, which the ANTZ have been blaming for the so-called “teenage vaping epidemic”. Now that JUUL has been restricted to tobacco and menthol flavours, ANTZ seem to have decided that pod mods weren’t the problem after all; the new target is disposable e-cigarettes, which (along with open-system devices and traditional e-liquids) aren’t covered by the FDA rules.

Professor Bonnie Halpern-Felcher of Stanford University said, “I’m not very optimistic… We really do need to have enforcement of the law across all tobacco products, regardless of these loopholes.” Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids insisted that “The new policy,” – which is exactly the policy he’s been demanding for at least the last two years – “does not solve the problem.”

Maine e-cig ban runs into opposition

A proposal in the Maine state legislature to ban sales of almost all vapour products is facing opposition from harm reduction advocates, who say the tough restrictions would make it harder for adults to quit smoking. Maine already has strict limits on vape sales, including a minimum age limit of 21 and a destructive 43% wholesale tax, which vape shops must pay before making any money on sales. Now advocates say the state is going too far.

The new state bill, introduced by Democrat state senator Rebecca Millett, would ban sales of all vaping devices and e-liquids until the federal government proves they can help smokers reduce their tobacco consumption. This is basically a trap, because all the FDA is interested in doing is verifying that e-cigarettes don’t introduce any new health risks.

Millett claims vaping is causing lung disease, and has tried to link it with the ongoing outbreak of illness and deaths caused by black market cannabis vapes containing Vitamin E acetate. Maine’s state centre for disease control is being noncommittal about her bill, but vape shops and consumer advocates, who turned up in large numbers for a public hearing last Wednesday, say it’s a blunt instrument that will push people towards smoked tobacco or dangerous black market products.

Health advocates criticise JAMA over flawed Glantz study

A leading harm reduction advocate has criticised the Journal of the American Medical Association for failing to correct a flawed study published eight months ago. The paper, by Dharma Bhatta and Stanton Glantz, claimed to have found evidence that vaping increases the risk of heart attacks. However, it included a serious flaw which has affected several other papers by Glantz – it counted heart attacks as having been caused by vaping even if they occurred before the victim switched from smoking to e-cigarettes. When these cases were removed from the data, the increased risk “found” by Bhatta and Glantz completely disappeared.

Brad Rodu of the University of Lousville wrote to JAMA last July when the paper was published, pointing out the research failures and their effect on the study’s conclusions. However, eight months later JAMA still hasn’t printed a correction or acknowledged that the study presents false conclusions.

Another California city bans vape sales

Unfortunately, vapers in California aren’t getting the support they are in Maine. Last Tuesday the city council of San Luis Obispo voted through a new law that bans sales of all vapour products within the city. This follows a similar ban passed by San Luis Obispo County a few weeks ago.

The SLO ban applies to all e-cigarettes and liquids that haven’t been approved by the FDA – and, so far, no liquid-based vapour products have been approved by the FDA. The only vaping device that’s received a Pre Market Tobacco Authorisation is the heat-not-burn iQOS, produced by Phillip Morris.

NHS Scotland promotes vaping despite upcoming ad ban

The National Health Service in Scotland has launched a series of advertisments urging smokers to switch to safer electronic alternatives. This puts the service on a collision course with the SNP-run Scottish government, which is trying to pisg through a total ban on e-cig advertising.