Another vaping ban on the cards in the United States

In August last year, I wrote about a meeting of the Allegheny County Board of Health which held a public hearing to help decide if there should be a ban on the indoor use of e-cigarettes in public places. Here is an extract: Continue reading

Fun in the Pleasure Zone

This campaign has received some criticism in the past from Simon Clark, director of Forest, for appearing to throw smokers out with the bathwater in favour of vapers' rights. I can assure him that this is not the case. The Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco, to give Forest its full title, rightly stands up for smokers' rights against a barrage of nanny state and illiberal policies emanating from the Government and the Government's friends in ASH. I, on behalf of The Freedom Association, have regularly taken to the airwaves to criticise, for example, the silly ban on smoking in cars with under-18s present. The ban is unenforceable, as is the silly suggestion that smoking is banned on Brighton beach. We have campaigned against the plain packaging of cigarettes which, ironically, will mean it is easier to sell counterfeit cigarettes. It is a policy that is damaging to public health, yet those who advocated plain packaging appeared not to appreciate the irony. Continue reading

The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance blasts decision to maintain ban on e-cigarettes

Aussies are renowned for plain speaking, and you have to hand it to the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance - if plain speaking were an Olympic sport, they would be gold medallists. Here is a flavour of their response to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration's (TGA) decision to maintain the ban on e-cigarettes. It make my response look very tame!  This pro-cancer decision by the TGA has demonstrated - without question - that the TGA has no interest in evidence, or in fulfilling its statutory obligations. It is - to put it frankly - an absolute disgrace. Continue reading

Will the vaping scare stories stop?

After all the scare stories in the media, finally we have a retraction and apology courtesy of the Daily Mail:  "A Health article on January 27 said some experts believe electronic cigarettes can be more harmful than real ones. In fact we are not aware of any experts who hold this view compared to the risks of cancer, heart disease and lung damage from real cigarettes. We apologise for any contrary suggestion." So where did the quote come from? I'll leave that question hanging in the air, as only the Daily Mail can answer it, but it opens up a whole new debate on the veracity of media stories surrounding e-cigarettes. Bad news sells newspapers, or more accurately these days, gets clicks on newspaper websites. A headline of "E-cigarettes are wonderful. Every smoker should try them" is hardly going to generate much interest. A scare story about health risks (ignoring the obvious health risks surrounding smoking) are sexier, especially ones about exploding batteries with photographs of people looking like death in a hospital bed with burns around their face and hands.  Continue reading

Australia's backward step

Australia could do with a large dose of liberalism - and I mean the proper variety, not the sort doled out by nanny statists who call themselves liberal when they are anything but. The opening line of the Australian national anthem is, "Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free." Well, not as free as you would think. Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced it will keep its current ban on the sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. The reasons it gave are just a rehash of the tired and discredited arguments used here in the UK. It said that legalising nicotine in e-cigarettes will normalise smoking again. The argument goes that if you try and give up smoking through vaping, you will encourage teenagers to experiment with a pack of 20 cigarettes. As Professor Colin Mendelsohn, a Tobacco Treatment Specialist in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at The University of New South Wales, put it, "After ten years of overseas experience, there is no evidence that they act as a gateway to smoking in young people, in fact they appear to be replacing smoking in young people rather than encouraging it.". He went on to say, "The TGA decision appears to be driven more by ideology than science and will cost the lives of thousands of Australian smokers.” Quite.  Continue reading