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Passenger Plane Takes a Dive Thanks to a Vaping Pilot

Two pilots working for Air China have been stripped of their licences to fly following an electronic cigarette incident on board. One of the pilots had decided to vape while flying from Hong Kong to Dalian. He attempted to switch off a fan to prevent the vapour from the e-cig reaching the main cabin. However, instead of stopping the fan he switched off the aircon unit.

This led the oxygen levels in the cabin to fall, which in turn caused the crew to initiate an emergency descent. The plane dropped by 10,000 feet and oxygen masks were deployed from above the passengers. It was only after this that the crew realised what had occurred. The aircon was then switched back on to restore the cabin pressure to its normal levels. The plane reached its destination safely, although not without some concern from its passengers, no doubt.

Smoking and vaping are both banned according to aviation regulations issued in China. While Air China did not initially comment on the incident, it insisted a ‘zero tolerance’ approach was employed when considering the actions of its crew members. The revoking of their licences confirms this to be the case. Air China has since been required to perform a safety review lasting three months, while incurring a fine and a drop in the number of flights allowed on Boeing 737s.

No doubt this was a worrying incident for those on board. There are no indications that anyone was in any danger at the time. However, it is obvious the pilot should not have been vaping in this scenario.

This would appear to be an isolated incident and the pilots have paid for it with their licences. What are your thoughts on what happened? Do you agree pilots should be banned from vaping, given what occurred here?

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Support for Vaping on Hospital Grounds

Many studies have indicated vaping is the most likely way for smokers to quit the habit. It has been suggested by some that vaping kits should be made available on the NHS to try and help bring down the number of smokers in the UK.

Now, the Royal College of Physicians has suggested support should be made available for both staff and patients in NHS hospitals. The report, “Hiding in plain sight: Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS”, was released on 26th June. It suggests offering “default, opt-out” interventions for smokers when they are seen by clinicians.

25% of hospital patients smoke

The stat was provided within the report, which also revealed the cost of treating smokers is around £1 billion a year. The report also points out there is no cohesive approach towards vaping on hospital grounds. Some freely allow it, while others only permit vaping in certain areas. Other hospitals have banned it, leaving vapers unable to use e-cigs while in hospital.

What is the opt-out model of treatment suggested?

The Royal College of Physicians has suggested the NHS should adopt an intervention process that would be offered as a matter of course. They state people are not usually asked if they smoke, which means the chance to offer help is not always there.

The report goes on to say over one million smokers end up in hospital each year. It causes death and disability and the NHS largely treats the conditions caused by smoking rather than trying to offer help to quit the habit at an earlier stage. The report even states it is unethical not to offer smoking cessation services as an opt-out element of the NHS.

Will smokers reject the help or appreciate it?

No one enjoys being told what they can and cannot do. That means some smokers may not be happy at being given smoking cessation services as a matter of course. However, for some who want to quit but haven’t yet done so, it could be the support element they need.

If electronic cigarettes were made available on the NHS, the upfront cost of providing them would surely be offset by the expected drop in treatment required for treating diseases caused by tobacco. We wonder whether this will eventually happen, and whether the idea of providing smoking cessation services with an opt-out feature would be the best thing the NHS could do. What do you think?

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Number of Prisoners Vaping on the Rise

In years gone by, smoking was far more common in prisons than in the general population. For every person smoking outside, four people were smoking behind bars. However, 2017 saw a sea-change in this, as smoking was banned throughout all closed English and Welsh prisons. This was done because of continued complaints from non-smoking prisoners and staff, who were concerned about the effects of inhaling second-hand smoke.

So, it should come as no surprise to learn that vaping has increased. This has occurred following riots when the ban was implemented. Smokers were not happy; it was even suggested some were trying to make their own cigarettes using nicotine patches. Whatever the truth of that idea may be, the prison service in Wales decided to run a scheme where electronic cigarettes and refills were made available for prisoners to purchase. It is now estimated that around 33,000 prisoners have made the switch from smoking to vaping.

The trial was successful, leading to the scheme being expanded throughout other prisons throughout England and Wales. While prisons in Scotland have not yet banned smoking, they will do by the end of this year. In contrast to the ban in England and Wales, where vaping was only provided as an alternative following the riots, Scottish prisons will introduce vaping supplies from next month.

It would be interesting to see if the prisoners using vape supplies will continue to do so upon release, or whether they only switched because they had to. The riots show how difficult it is to quit smoking with no form of support. Vaping has been proven time and again to be the best option. It is a far safer method of getting that nicotine fix without being exposed to the dangers of cigarette smoke, tar, and other contaminants.

Prisoners are also understood to be offered support if they wish to quit smoking, with nicotine replacement therapy another option. With one estimate putting the percentage of smokers in UK jails at 80%, it seems a good idea to make vaping supplies easily available to prisoners. One report states around £65,000 a week is being spent on vaping supplies, so it seems to be working well.

What are your thoughts on vaping in prisons? Do you think allowing vaping has been a good move – and will prisoners continue to vape once they are released? Let us know in the comments.

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Could Vaping on Holiday Land You in Jail?

If you vape in the UK, chances are you know what the law is, and you know where you can and cannot do it. However, it all changes when you go abroad. Vapers are being warned to look up vaping laws in other countries before they travel, as there is a real risk of being fined or jailed if you fall foul of those laws. Vaping may be welcome and legal in the UK, but it is a very different picture in some countries around the world.

For example, Thailand has put a blanket ban on vaping. If you do it out there and you’re caught, you could face up to 10 years in a Thai prison. Other countries including Malaysia, Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore, and even Australia have also banned vaping. In the latter, you’d need a prescription to vape legally. And remember, it is not a defence to say you weren’t aware of the law. It falls to you to abide by the law in any country you are visiting, regardless of whether you think the law is silly or not.

The US, Canada, and Turkey haven’t outright banned vaping, but they have restricted the use of electronic cigarettes. If you are travelling to those countries, check the current position before you go.

Another point to note is that you can be sent to prison just for being found with a vape kit on your person – even if you weren’t using it at the time. This is most likely in the Philippines and in India.

What are your thoughts on the bans on vaping in other countries? Would you risk taking a vape kit with you – even if you knew it meant you could risk a prison sentence? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Wales Smoking Ban on Hospital Grounds on the Horizon

Most people who have had cause to visit hospitals will have seen people smoking outside. This seems an odd situation to have, especially since smoking is associated with so many serious health conditions.

But now, smoking on hospital grounds looks set to be banned in Wales. Many hospitals in Wales and the rest of the UK have already implemented such bans, but legislation in Wales looks set to make this illegal. At present, most hospitals enacting a ban do so based on their own decision-making. In some cases, however (and perhaps in many), the bans have proven to be hard to enforce with action. This has left defiant smokers deciding to smoke outside the entrances to hospital departments – something non-smokers are unhappy about, and for good reason.

Coming in summer 2019

The new legislation will officially make smoking on hospital grounds, whether by the entrance or elsewhere, against the law. As such, Wales will be ahead of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland in bringing such a ban into law. Welsh Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, spoke of the “remarkable culture change” that has occurred in recent years. He also mentioned “overwhelming public support” for the change in legislation.

What about vapers?

Some are concerned that vaping might also come under the ban. However, the Act refers to tobacco products. Since electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, anyone who tries to vape would not be breaking the law.

With that said, no vaper can be certain they would be allowed to vape while on hospital grounds. As we mentioned above, the current stance is for individual hospitals to decide whether they should ban smoking and vaping. While the new legislation looks set to make the situation clear regarding smoking, the same will not apply to vaping.

That means checking the rules enforced at each individual hospital – and that applies across the UK, not just in Wales. While one hospital may allow both patients and visitors to vape on the grounds, another one a few miles away may have a ban in place.

So, while the law will make the ban on smoking clear from next year, the same cannot be said of vaping. It is hoped that many hospitals will allow it, since anyone looking to quit smoking may run into problems if staying in hospital for a few days for some reason. Being able to vape outside would be a big step in the right direction in making it easier for them to quit.

Indeed, some hospitals have permitted vaping in specific areas, including a couple in Suffolk and in Essex, England. In those cases, smoking rates have dropped sharply, indicating there is good cause for letting people vape where they can.

What are your thoughts on the forthcoming smoking ban on hospital grounds and in other public places in Wales? Do you think this is another step in the right direction to encourage more people to quit smoking and switch to vaping? Let us know in the comments section below.

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World Health Organisation Vaping Stance Criticised

Did you know 31st May marked this year’s World No Tobacco Day? Even though it has been and gone, this year was the 30th anniversary of the very first World No Tobacco Day originally introduced in 1988 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It would seem to be an opportune moment to promote methods that have been proven to help smokers quit the habit. Yet WHO has continued to ignore the potential of vaping when focusing on its anti-smoking campaigns.

This year, the focus of the campaign was to highlight the link between smoking and heart disease. Since they are clearly so keen to support people in quitting smoking cigarettes and other tobacco-based products, it is odd they have ignored the one method that has arguably proven more successful than any other for doing this.

They are keen to provide help to those who wish to quit smoking, yet there is no mention anywhere of the possibility of switching to vaping. Yet many people have quit by doing just that.

Countries are relying on evidence to formulate their own approaches

This is perhaps the most sensible approach to take. Many countries have explored the evidence on smoking and electronic cigarettes when deciding whether to formally back vaping as a method for helping people quit smoking. Countries such as the UK, France, and the US have seen a major drop in the percentage of people who smoke since they began promoting e-cigarettes as a cessation method.

Yet the WHO is still hugely reluctant to even mention vaping in any of its materials on health and World No Tobacco Day. Despite the huge amount of research that has proven, time and again, that vaping is safer than smoking, they seem to have ignored it.

This is concerning given their focus on world health and on improving the health of the population in all countries. Moreover, we cannot see a change occurring anytime soon. Perhaps by the time World No Tobacco Day rolls around in 2019, they will have changed their stance.

What do you think about the views of the WHO? Do you think they should be supporting the switch to vaping in the hope of reducing smoking rates even further? The stats prove smoking rates drop by considerable amounts when countries support the use of vaping. How long do you think it will be before the WHO catches on?

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Calls to Ban Flavoured E-Liquids by Experts

Chances are you haven’t read the European Respiratory Journal. If you had, you would be aware that both doctors and scientists are pushing for flavoured e-liquids to be banned. They have warned that flavourings are one of several ways e-cigarette manufacturers are promoting the appeal of their products to young people.

They went on to argue that vaping provides an easy pathway through to smoking for young people. While many studies have shown that vaping is a successful way to quit smoking for many, evidence is thin on the ground when trying to prove young people may start vaping and then switch to smoking later.

Could we see a ban on flavourings?

However, this has not prevented those who produced the report from calling for an instant ban on flavoured e-liquids for use with electronic cigarettes. With flavours including bubblegum available, their idea is that they are promoted to try and attract younger people to start vaping. They claim vaping is ‘normalising’ smoking.

Vaping is certainly much safer than smoking, thanks to the removal of tobacco, which is known to be harmful in many ways. The worry among the experts behind the report is that young people will try vaping and become hooked on the nicotine in the e-liquids. Making those liquids in a range of appealing flavours, they suggest, may hook youngsters who would not otherwise have touched nicotine or smoked a cigarette.

What are your thoughts on this view?

Many people use vaping as a method for quitting smoking. Many have tried and failed in using other methods, while succeeding by switching to vaping. Yet this report suggests there could be dangers for those who haven’t yet smoked.

Do you agree with this? Would you be happy to see a ban on flavoured e-liquids? Let us know your opinion below.

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Hawaiian Vapers Could Face a 70% Tax on E-Liquids

Hawaiian vapers are on the verge of being penalised by a dramatic change to the law on the sale of e-liquids. The innocuous-sounding Bill SB2654 relates to the proposed addition of 70% in tax the state is intending to charge on the sale of e-liquids. The bill is designed to make shipping tobacco products to those outside the industry illegal. If you sell tobacco, you can sell vaping products. If you don’t, you’re out of the running.

This same bill is set to lump e-liquids in the same category as other tobacco products… even though e-liquids do not contain any tobacco. The bill is designed to make it illegal for anyone to sell these liquids to private buyers. Vaping businesses are already concerned that if the bill goes through, it will mean the beginning of the end for them.

Despite the fact numerous pieces of research confirm vaping is a far healthier alternative to smoking, some lawmakers seem hellbent on outlawing the option. In a time when governments everywhere are increasingly looking for ways to cut deaths from smoking, banning sales of vaping products is a strange approach. It is essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Vaping provides a healthier solution to help people quit smoking, and yet there is little evidence those in charge are listening to the evidence.

Hawaiians are being urged to contact Representative John Mizuno directly to raise their concerns. The sooner this is done the better, if there is any chance of this proposed law being overridden and withdrawn.

What are your thoughts on the potential ban of sales of e-liquids to private individuals? Are you surprised at the decision, or that the law is close to going ahead? Let us know your opinion below.

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