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New study shows #e-cig vapour as good as clean air

By Editor
July 15th, 2015 at 10:09 am | Comments Off on New study shows #e-cig vapour as good as clean air | Posted in Uncategorized

Due to pressure of time, because it’s important, and because no main stream media seems to have reported the findings as we publish, we are “Doing a BBC”  [as we call it] by simply printing a press release verbatim. Well, if it is good enough for the BBC eh?

We will update as more info/critical observations/analysis becomes available.

Released by British American Tobacco 14th July 2015:

Human respiratory tissue test reveals e-cigarette vapour
produced similar result as air

Six hours of exposure to cigarette smoke resulted in near-complete cell death, but the same exposure to e-cigarette vapour did not affect tissue viability.

14 July 2015, Southampton, UK.  e-cigarette vapour from two different types of e-cigarette had no cytotoxic impact on human airway tissue, according to new research published in In Vitro Toxicology DOI: 10.1016/j.tiv.2015.05.018.

Scientists at British American Tobacco and MatTek Corporation used a unique combination of tests to investigate the potential adverse effects of e-cigarette vapour on airway tissue compared with cigarette smoke. ‘By employing a combination of a smoking robot and a lab-based test using respiratory tissue, it was possible to demonstrate the ability to induce and measure aerosol irritancy and to show that the different e-cigarette aerosols used in this study have no cytotoxic effect on human airway tissue,’ says spokesperson Dr Marina Murphy.

This new methodology could be used to help develop product standards for these kinds of products in the future.

E-cigarette vapour can contain nicotine, humectants, flavourings and thermal degradation products, so it is important to understand the potential impact on biological systems. Until now, there have been no aerosol studies of potential adverse effects of e-cigarette vapour on in vitro models that so closely mimic the structure, function and exposure of normal human airway tissue.

The researchers combined a commercially available 3D model of respiratory epithelial tissue and the popular VITROCELL smoking robot, an aerosol exposure system, to assess the irritant potential of e-cigarette vapour from two commercially available e-cigarettes on human airway tissue. The results show that, despite hours of aggressive and continuous exposure, the impact of the e-cigarette vapour on the airway tissue is similar to that of air. Furthermore, the study represents an initial move towards socialising and debating potential industrial guidelines.

The airway tissue model – EpiAirway – comprises human tracheal/bronchial epithelial cells that have been cultured to form differentiated layers resembling epithelial tissue of the respiratory tract. The VITROCELL system mimics the exposure when humans inhale by delivering emissions from cigarettes or e-cigarettes or just air to the EpiAirway tissues.

The researchers first tested the biological system with known irritants applied in liquid form. Then they exposed EpiAirway tissues to cigarette smoke or aerosol generated from  two types of commercial e-cigarettes for up to six hours. During that time, cell viability was measured every hour using an established colorimetric test. The amount of particulate mass deposited on the cells’ surface was also quantified (using dosimetry tools) to prove that smoke or vapour had reached the tissue throughout exposure. The longer the time the cells were exposed, the bigger the dose they received in an incremental manner.

The results show that cigarette smoke reduces cell viability to 12% (near complete cell death) after six hours. In contrast, neither of the e-cigarette aerosols showed any significant decrease in cell viability. Despite 6 hours of continuous exposure, the results were similar to those of control cells exposed to only air.  Even with this aggressive exposure, the e-cigarette vapours did not reduce cell viability.

‘Currently there are no standards concerning the in vitro testing of e-cigarette aerosols,’ said Marina Trani, Head of R&D for British American Tobacco’s next generation nicotine products. But, she adds, ‘our protocol could prove very useful in helping the process by which these guidelines might progress.’

This study shows that, in this human airway tissue model, cytotoxicity is unaffected by aerosols from two different types of e-cigarette, but further studies will be needed to compare the  effects of other different commercially available products, formats and formulations.”

Press release ends. But here is the picture:

ecig test 1

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BMA: it it moves tax it, if it still moves ban it

By Angela Harbutt
July 13th, 2015 at 3:30 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

In its latest attempt at extreme social engineering, the increasingly preposterous British Medical Association (the trade union for doctors and medical students) is today demanding a 20% tax on sugary drinks “to subsidise the cost of fruit and vegetables”.

What they don’t mention, but what Christopher Snowdon points out, is that:

“The BMA don’t mention that their soda tax will cost the public £1 billion a year, nor do they acknowledge that it would be deeply regressive. Indeed, they want to make it more even more regressive by taxing fizzy drinks (which are disproportionately purchased by people on low incomes) and use the money to subsidise fruit and vegetables (which are disproportionately purchased by people on high incomes). Nice.”

You may be surprised at that. Particularly when you consider that the BMA rejected a fat tax back in the summer of 2012 because:

“The idea of a fat tax on unhealthy food was rejected because it would have an unfair impact on people from a disadvantaged background.”

How is a tax on sugary drinks any different from a tax on fat? [Joined up  thinking ? I don’t think so]. But then again we should not be surprised at the lack of consistency in BMA proposals, or the absence of science-based thinking when it comes to its policies. This publicity-hungry, industry-hating trade union seems to have a policy of acting first and thinking afterwards.

This, after all, is the body that secretly awards its senior staff pay hikes of up to 137% – without bothering to inform its members. And a body that seems to have scant regard for the truth – with BMA spokespeople taking to the air to spout downright lies in support of their extreme views on ecigs and smoking.

That particular trait, of “massaging the facts” to suit the narrative, is displayed yet again today with its claims on sugar. As reported by Mr Snowdon:

“In the pages of The Guardian, their spokeswoman, Sheila Hollins, resorts to flat out lying…

“We know from experiences in other countries that taxation on unhealthy food and drinks can improve health outcomes, and the strongest evidence of effectiveness is for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.”

…..”[Mr Snowdon writes] the evidence on sugary drinks, in particular, is consistent in finding little, if any, change in patterns of consumption and no change at all in ‘health outcomes’, including obesity (see here and here for a summary).”

It is also the body that has consistently promoted a whole raft of policies which are potty at best and downright dangerous at worst. Here is a taster of some of its recent ludicrous proposals:

Ecigs – In December 2013 the BMA wrote to a number of football clubs urging them to end sponsorship deals with e-cigarette companies “smoking products” and to ban the use of e-cigarettes at their football grounds. [Err no e-cigs are not a “smoking product” – do at least get your facts right].

ECigs – The BMA has also been at the forefront of those demanding that all e-cigarettes are forced to be licensed medicinal product, and in the BMA’s 2014 annual meeting, it’s members called on governments to prohibit ‘vaping’ on e-cigarettes in public places where smoking is prohibited. [Hmm send them outside to smoke real cigarettes rather than vaping indoors – that will improve health [not].

Alcohol – In Jan 2015 the BMA demanded that politicians introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol. [Errm thought you were against regressive taxes? So middle classes can drink their French Chardonnay, but those on low incomes should be priced out of the market. This is prohibition for the working classes.]

Alcohol – In June 2015 the BMA called on all UK governments to introduce “clear and unambiguous” health warnings on alcohol. It also called on additional measures that “limit the affordability, availability and promotion of alcohol”. [Just to be clear will you restrict when I buy my alcohol from Ocado, or when they deliver it? Oh I forgot, you only wish to restrict those on low incomes from buying alcohol, not the middle classes with a credit card and an au pair at home to take delivery].

Alcohol – In June 1025 the Scottish BMA called on a ban on all alcohol advertising on television before 9pm “watershed”. [That might have worked in the 1970’s – but honestly.. in 2015?].

Alcohol – In July 2014 BMA in Northern Ireland called for a reduced hours of sale for alcohol. [Yep, let’s drive consumption out of pubs with responsible landlords and towards drinking in the home, because that is bound to work [not].

Smoking – In June 2015 – rather than vote FOR the legalisation of cannabis, the trade union voted for a BAN on the sale of all cigarettes to those born after 2000. Yes really, by 2030 you would” need ID to prove you were 31, not 30, to buy cigarettes”. [Well it was only a matter of time before they called for prohibition… Because that obviously works [not].

… that is to list but a few of BMA’s proposals. There are many more.

The BMA demand for a tax on sugar is yet another head-line grabbing, ill-thought through, plan, all too similar to those above: demonise industry; hit those on low incomes; tax where you can and ban where you can’t.  It is an archaic approach not fit for the 21st century.

It claims to want a comprehensive approach to “tackling obesity” and, it says, it sees  its role as “supporting the government and other stakeholders in taking action“. Sorry, but that claim rings hollow. You only have to read the foreword of the latest booklet to see the BMA’s primary objective – to end the relationship between Government and [one of the key stakeholders] industry.

“Addressing the commercial influences that have such a strong impact on diet will be key.”

“These range from the way unhealthy food and drink products are promoted and made widely available and affordable, to industry influence on the development of food and nutrition policies.”

“Without a stronger regulatory framework, commercial interests will continue to overshadow public health interests.”

“Many of these [measures] will not sit comfortably with the government’s approach to partnership working with industry.”

“My belief is that it is commercial interests that are excessively influencing people’s decisions about their diet.”

“How can we expect a child to develop normative behaviours about eating healthily when so many of the messages they are exposed to promote the opposite?

I don’t know which supermarket BMA bigwigs shop in, but when I go into a supermarket my problem is choice, not lack of it. Alongside normal coke I am offered Diet Coke [No sugar] “Coca Cola Zero” [No sugar] “Coca Cola Life” [Lower calorie sweetened using natural sources].. oh and “Caffeine Free” [also “lower calorie”]… and all with calorie content clearly shown on the tin.. if I care to look. I can also buy in a range of sizes from 150ml mini-cans, all the way up to 1.75 litre bottles, if I wish to limit portion size at any point.

And just in case that is not enough for you Coca Cola has, since 2012, reduced the average calories per litre in its sparkling drinks by 5.3% ; reduced the calorie and sugar content of Sprite, Dr Pepper, Fanta Fruit Twist and Glaceau Vitaminwater by more than 30% ; and increased its marketing budget in zero calorie colas by 52%. All as part of its “responsibility deal” with Government. I can also go to the Coca Cola calorie counter, where I see what exercise I can do to work of the calories in one can (11 minutes of squash or 32 minutes of pilates, (or if you prefer 19 minutes of stair climbing or 70 minutes of ironing) to work off 139 calorie can of normal Coca Cola.

Where is the praise from the BMA about how much has been achieved? How much of that would have been achieved if Government had opted to demonise the industry rather than working with it?

Moving away from all things fizzy, how much more could be achieved if this Government-industry relationship was extended to e-cigs and tobacco? Think of the public health advances that could be achieved if  Government worked with the tobacco industry on reduced risk products [such as PMI’s “heat not burn” products] rather than absurdly excluding them from an increasing number of conversations?

It is time for doctors to take back the BMA, sacking the self-serving fat cats at the top of this body, banging on like an old record about taxes and bans and little else. Surely they can see that the BMA is a fast-fossilizing dinosaur, desperately determined to remove all voices from the health debate except its own, regardless of the consequences. If they can’t see it, or won’t do anything about it, then public health is truly not safe in their hands.

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EU challenge – it’s about time

By Editor
February 10th, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Comments Off on EU challenge – it’s about time | Posted in Uncategorized

H/T Velvet Glove Iron Fist has flagged up a new campaign that is up and running… and most intriguing…

Totally Wicked, the British e-cigarette company, is challenging the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive’s regulation of e-cigarettes. The company’s challenge is based on the view that

“Article 20 of the TPD represents a disproportionate impediment to the free movement of goods and the free provisions of services, places electronic cigarettes at an unjustified competitive disadvantage to tobacco products, fails to comply with the general EU principle of equality, and breaches the fundamental rights of electronic cigarette manufacturers and users.”

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will hear the case later this year. In the meantime the guys and girls at Totally Wicked are looking to gather as many signatures as possible to demonstrate to the CJEU, come the glorious day, that this is not just a single self-interested UK company having a whinge.

We reckon the campaign deserves our support. Why ? If for no other reason, its good to see a company with cajones…. putting its money where its mouth is. And of course there are the more tangible reasons. The EU e-cigarette rules as the stand will result in much less choice for consumers, render e-cigarettes useless for many heavier smokers/vapers, threaten the very livelihood of smaller entrepreneurial businesses and almost certainly have the effect of driving vapers into the shadow economy. Some of the specifics:

  • The proposed 2ml tank capacity limit means that a significant proportion of most popular products will be unavailable across many countries in the EU.
  • Harsh regulations around fluid and emissions testing mean that small entrepreneurial e-liquid manufacturers will go out of business, significantly reducing consumer choice.
  • The 20 mg/ml nicotine strength limit means that e-cigarettes will be less likely to satisfy the nicotine demands of  many consumers.
  • Demanding “leak free refilling” will result in the vast majority of current refillable products disappearing, to be replaced by e-cigarettes with the same generic and standardised filling mechanism. Goodbye innovation, hello Trabant.
  • Advertising restrictions will limit consumers ability to make informed decisions and for manufacturers to put their products to the wider market.
  • and so on… you get the picture…

For more information on the campaign and to sign up click here.

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Could the increasing popularity of harm reduction products impact cigarette consumption?

By Guest
July 10th, 2012 at 11:55 am | 3 Comments | Posted in Government, health

Not if the Public Health Industry has its way

One obvious failure of the 2006 Health Act is the fact that the much vaunted smoking ban has had no impact on smoking prevalence in the UK. Not that those people who rely on the mainstream media for news would necessarily be aware of this as the pampered public health industry has gone to some lengths to hide the negatives and is even now clinging to patently false claims of alleged benefits. Sadly the media seems quite happy to indulge this penchant for deceit and the DoH has gone out of its way to ensure the outcome of a “review” by paying a tobacco control activist to come up with the “right” conclusions.  Harsh words perhaps, but how else does one explain a scientific advisor with no science qualifications and a less than objective public profile?

Despite the poisonous environment created by the media, the public health industry and the DoH, harm reduction alternatives seem increasingly popular and may therefore be more likely to impact on cigarette consumption than tobacco control inspired crack downs.  These alternatives will certainly not appeal to all smokers but the evidence from Sweden is that significant numbers of people choose safer forms of tobacco given the option. Sweden does not have especially low levels of tobacco consumption but the popularity of oral tobacco in the form of snus mean that it does have a low incidence of male cigarette consumption and also the lowest incidence of lung cancer in the EU

Although the Nordic tradition that contributes to the success of snus in Sweden does not exist in the UK where less harmful tobacco formats are in any case banned, legal smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes do seem to be increasingly popular as evidenced by the fact that mainstream retail outlets like WH Smith are now promoting them. In a country where government is actively pursuing policies of denormalization and intolerance towards smokers it is perhaps unsurprising that a product that mimics some of the pleasure obtained from cigarettes but can be enjoyed in public is a potential winner. After all, as the marketing blurb says, e-cigs can be enjoyed legally anywhere. This is not strictly true as e-cigs are specifically banned on Virgin flights for example, but as water vapour shouldn’t trigger smoke alarms, vapers might risk a crafty one in the toilets.

Faced with the obvious benefits of harm reduction, we might expect the politicians, the media and the likes of CRUK to embrace snus and e-cigs as safer alternatives to smoking.

They don’t.

CRUKs otherwise often informative Web pages barely mention e-cigs and contain only a short ill-informed and misleading section on snus. This low key and dismissive attitude typifies tobacco control output and partially explains the EUs collectively miserable record on harm reduction which gives Clive Bates former head of ASH cause for concern. Bates criticises public health failure under 3 headings:

  • Public health science ignored and abused
  • Ethics and consumer rights violated
  • EU legal principles disregarded

Jean King, CRUK’s director of tobacco control says:

“There has been little research into how safe e-cigarettes are. And there’s also very little regulation to control these products or their marketing. The only way to be sure of any risks or benefits is through rigorous testing.”

As a product lacking known carcinogens is likely to be relatively beneficial, one would expect the public health industry to have mobilised its vast resources to perform at least some testing as a matter of urgency.

It hasn’t.

The industry is apparently much more interested in its on-going war with “big” tobacco and smokers as evidenced by the vast amount of effort and (public) money it has put into vanity projects such as shop display bans and plain packaging campaigns.  If our divided, fear ridden society is genuinely concerned about exposure of children to the very sight of age restricted products why not consider selling such products in age restricted shops or sections within shops? That way, children don’t see displays or packaging, adults can choose their product without feeling like they are buying a class A drug and our money could be spent on something more useful.  I am not necessarily advocating this policy but I am suggesting that it has not been considered because it is insufficiently aggressive towards the tobacco industry and not as humiliating for smokers as the tobacco control preferred alternatives.

It is hard not to believe based on the available evidence, that the public health industry is motivated more by its hatred of certain other industries and its constant need to satisfy its own justifiably  fragile ego than it is by any genuine concern towards us as individuals. How else can one explain the myopic adherence to its “quit or die” dogma and the breath-taking arrogance of continuing this one-dimensional approach in the light of the historical evidence and human experience?

It is noteworthy that “big” industry in the form of tobacco companies and major retailers are popularizing harm reduction alternatives while the public health industry and UK government pointlessly pursue “plain” packaging apparently as part of a utopian project for a brave new smokefree world.  Utopian projects are, as they always have been, fundamentally and necessarily illiberal.

By Chris Oakley. Chris has previously posted on Liberal Vision:  Smokers-State Aprroved hate and Intolerance is UK policy,   Alcohol is Old News – Minimum Pricing for Digestives is the “Next Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth , A Liberal Tolerant nation?What hope is there for liberty if truth becomes the plaything of political lobbyists and Public Health Success?

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