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How to use “chemicals” to deter dual use

I guess it’s a case of “start as you mean to go on” regarding ‘scientific research’ on e-cigarettes. The very first paper I read in 2017 has this in its conclusion:

FDA is required to publicly display information about the quantities of chemicals in cigarettes and cigarette smoke in a way that is not misleading. This information, if paired with information from advertising or FDA disclosures indicating that e-cigarette aerosol contains lower amounts of those same chemicals, could have the unfortunate effect of encouraging smokers to become dual users or increase their existing dual use under the mistaken impression that they are significantly reducing their health risks.

That’s quite a statement to make. Here smokers, don’t go dual use tobacco and e-cigs ‘cos you’re not actually reducing the harms. What a way to start 2017.
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News designed for panic

In an all-too-familiar refrain, the Daily Fail has once again thrown journalistic integrity out of the window (as if they had any to begin with) to boldly tell the world that “e-cigs are bad mmkay”. Regular readers will of course remember a similar “study” – these things seem to come out at regular intervals – that claimed e-cigs have the potential to have severe adverse effects on the heart. It was a festering pile of fetid dingo kidneys then and, guess what, it still is.

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Precisely what risks?

As part of the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive – 2014/40/EU – and specifically Article 20, the section that relates specifically to e-cigarettes the European Regulatory Science on Tobacco (EUREST – what can I say, the EU does alphabet soup better than the Americans) – the EU wanted a report on the “potential risks” of the product. To be fair, that is a laudable goal considering the use of the product. The problem, of course is the implementation. Not to mention the cost.

The report, edited by Constantine Vardavas and Panagiotis Behrakis (and no, I couldn’t actually pronounce those names), complete with a list of experts (I’ll leave it to you to decide how “expert” they are) – Agaku Israel, Filippidis Filippos, Girvalaki Charis, Gratziou Christina, Lundback Bosse, Maciej Goniewicz, Radu-Loghin Cornel, Tsatsakis Aristidis, Tzatzarakis Manolis (and no, I couldn’t pronounce those names either), and presented to the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety Health Programme (I’m surprised they didn’t make an acronym out of that) cost EUR €180 450. You can find the grant award here, search the document for Chafea/2014/Health/17.

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Whispers in the Dark

If there’s one thing that public health like to do, it’s to provide advice on how we, the Proles, live our day to day lives. This advice, which always ranges from the “no shit sherlock” to the “what the hell are you thinking” type. The vast majority of such “advice” is pretty much common bloody sense. Thing is, nanny seems to think us Proles don’t have any, so they have to spoon-feed us guidance on a regular basis, just so we don’t forget who’s in charge. (more…)