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The Perversity of Government

Okay I understand Governing a country isn’t easy – there are competing political pressures from many sides and the modern economy is working in an integrated complex world economy.

I also understand that politicians have differing and various agenda’s and are influenced by many factors.

BUT take a look at the ongoing proposed legislation debate, rumour in the electronic cigarette industry and you will despair as to how any small entrepreneur can plan in this industry.

Within the same month that Public Health England concluded that, on “the best estimate so far”, e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes (,) we have another arm of government trying to implement the Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) produced by the EU and intended to be operational in 2016.

Just to give you a flavour of what the TPD expects every producer and manufacturer to do.

  • Any new product, both batteries and liquids must be notified to the Government 6 months before they can go on sale after the introduction of the TPD
  • Every existing product must be notified to the Government 6 months before the introduction of the TPD
  • A list of all components and ingredients at any part of the manufacturing process must be traceable, accountable and documented and available to the Government.
  • No product can have a refill of nicotine more than 10 ml
  • The nicotine-containing liquid may not contain nicotine in excess of 20 milligrams per millilitre
  • Each unit packet and any container pack of the electronic cigarette or refill container must carry a health warning consisting of the text: “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for use by non-smokers”, in a manner which conforms with paragraph (5).
  • The health warning must –

    • appear on both the front and back surfaces of the unit packet and any container pack;
    • cover 30% of the area of each of those surfaces, calculated in relation to the area of the surface concerned when the pack is closed;
    • be in black Helvetica bold type on a white background;
    • be in a font size which ensures that the text occupies the greatest possible proportion of the surface area reserved for it; and
    • appear at the centre of that area.
    • Where other text appears on the surface concerned, the health warning must be parallel to that text, or if there is more than one piece of text, the most prominent text.

And by the way – although this potential legislation will already impact on our existing manufacturing and planning processes – the politicians are very likely to change their minds at the last minute and completely change how they intend to impose any legislation.

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Should E-Cigarettes be available on the NHS?

If you’re an e-cigarette user, you’ve probably been wise to the idea that e-cigarettes are much better for you than smoking tobacco, it’s even quite likely you were an ex tobacco smoker and made the switch to e-cigarettes for this very reason. Having made that switch, you no doubt feel healthier and happier with yourself knowing that you may have avoided serious health problems in the future related to smoking tobacco.

Well, it appears now Government health officials also agree with you and would like to see more tobacco users using e-cigarettes instead. This comes after a review they published stating that vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco. In light of this review officials want GPs to be able to prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS to reduce the number of people dying of tobacco related diseases every year in the UK by reducing the number of smokers.

E-Cigarettes have become popular in recent years, it’s even spawned a culture of fanatic vapers and vape culture across UK, Europe and the US. However for most vapers, it is the similarity between e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes that has aided their efforts to quit smoking and take up what is considered to be a healthier alternative. The familiar glow of an e-cigarette and the ability to draw on vapour laced with nicotine which resembles smoke has proved to be a very popular tool in helping people quit smoking. E-Cigarettes are now also being trumpeted as a potential game changer in public health here in the UK.

As it stands, GPs and smoking cessation services are not currently able to prescribe or recommend any e-cigarettes brands as none of the e-cigarettes available on the market are licensed. Public health officials are hoping this will change soon.
A recent concern which has been voiced in the media and anti-vaping community is that vaping normalises smoking which would encourage younger children who do not smoke at all, to be lured into the habit of smoking through the route of vaping. Despite the concerns, officials say that there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes act as a route into smoking for non smokers and children. Infact, research shows almost all of the vaping population are either current or ex-smokers with only a minority of virgin smokers now vaping.

In general UK is witnessing a decline in the number of people smoking tobacco and professionals believe that e-cigarettes are one of the main contributing factors towards this declining trend. However, the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes has been met with equal distrust, misinformation and myths all contributing to negative press. But as the paranoia and rushed opinions on vaping come to settle, new reports are shedding a much clearer light on the actual health implications of vaping vs tobacco. Evidence from a new British report says vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco. One of the largest concerns with vaping is that the vapour produced by e-cigarettes by heating flavoured liquids contains ingredients, by-products and contaminants which could potentially be harmful to health. Studies however have rebutted the claim by showing these are found at very low levels in the actual air people breathe.

Smoking is currently the biggest killer in England and health officials and professionals widely agree that while quitting smoking altogether would be the best thing any smoker could do, many also agree that vaping and e-cigarettes provide a much healthier alternative to smoking tobacco.

Knowing that smoking is the number one killer and vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco many now also feel that spending tax payers money on funding the availability of e-cigarettes on the NHS is a justifiable cause as it would save thousands of lives.

What do you think? Should E-cigarettes be prescribed on the NHS?

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E-Cigarettes better for public health, says Experts

There’s been no shortness in a controversy and debate lately over the ill speculated health risks and benefits of smoking e-cigarettes over tobacco products. But in the corner of the more reasoned arguments, the Royal Society for Public Health is encouraging health bosses to promote the use of e-cigarettes and also suggests licensing tobacco sellers.

E-cigarettes better for public health than tobacco

As E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular with the vaping public there has been a somewhat knee jerk negative reaction from various sectors including government, health campaigners and the media. Criticisms of e-cigarettes have ranged from the lofty claims such as “e-cigarettes normalise smoking” to speculative and unproven health concerns. Despite the unwarranted negativity and misinformation surrounding e-cigarettes, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has urged Health chiefs across the UK to adopt a less negative attitude towards the use of e-cigarettes and instead direct their focus towards the far more harmful habit of tobacco smoking. The RSPH has also suggested an educational campaign is required to help people better understand the difference between the addiction to nicotine and the inhaling of harmful chemicals and substances such as tar, arsenic and other cancer causing chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. Such an education would help dispel the myth that nicotine is as bad for you as tobacco and help people better understand that e-cigarettes better for public health.

The RSPH also says new “exclusion zones” should be setup which would ban smoking outside schools, pubs, bars, public squares and parks but e-cigarettes should be exempt from the ban. This comes after Wales recently barred smoking of e-cigarettes in pubs and other enclosed spaces.

The benefits of using of e-cigarettes as a behavioural and nicotine substitute is an attitude which has been embraced and adopted by the North East and in particular, Leicester, where behavioural support is being offered to people who are looking to quit smoking tobacco and use e-cigarettes to help them do so. Although other nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum are offered to people wanting to quit tobacco, e-cigarettes cannot yet be offered by smoking cessation services due to no e-cigarettes yet having a medical license.

The RSPH is also advocating for the licensing of all tobacco retailers. The RSPH would like all local authorities to be able to ban sales of tobacco products by any shop failing to comply with tobacco related legislation such as age restrictions and display restrictions. It would also like to see the compulsory selling of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRTs) such as nicotine gum and patches and to rename e-cigarettes to nicotine sticks or nicotine control products.

With over 6,000 public health professionals who are part of the RSPH charity, if the proposed policies were to become a reality, they would signal one of the largest shifts in the public perception and attitude towards e-cigarettes and nicotine ever seen in the UK.

The policies put forward by RSPH has also been positively received by the Charity Ash and the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association have welcome the differentiation between nicotine and the more harmful chemicals found in tobacco and the proposals to help educate the general public and help clear up the confusion and misinformation which has surrounded the e-cigarette market as it has become increasingly become more drawn into the public eye and political discussions.

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The truth about Vaping and Health

Vaping – Is it Healthy ? Is Vaping healthier than smoking tobacco?

Simply put it’s a question of how you frame the debate. However lobbyists and organisations are campaigning harder than ever before to win public opinion in their favour that vaping is harmful and should be avoided. So we’re asking two simple questions: Is Vaping healthy, and is vaping healthier than smoking tobacco?

A simple conclusion to the two questions are No and Yes.

In reality you have to face it – smoking e cigs or Vaping is not going to make you healthy – but then again it would be illogical if it did, how would smoking anything make you healthier ?

The real key in answering the question is to ask how unhealthy is Vaping and who benefits from emphasising the misinformed fact that e cigarettes are not healthy?

Enter the Anti E-Cigarette lobbyists, anti e-cig lobbyists come in three main guises –

The e-cig health question becomes ever more contradictory  to actual research

The vaping health question becomes ever more contradictory to actual research as lobbyists and organisations battle for public opinion

Health Lobbyists

Would it be too extreme to say – they just want everything banned?

Pharmaceutical Lobbyists

Would it be too paranoid to note that big Pharma is feeling the pinch as its (very profitable) smoking cessation products are taking a hit as people use e cigarettes? So could it be the case that they end up paying people to rubbish and demonise e cigarettes and vaping – so the health industry will continue to prescribe big Pharma’s very profitable products?

Tobacco Lobbyists

And while we are being paranoid – lets note that big Tobacco is feeling it in its pockets as well – so would it be beyond the imagination to see one or two of them to dip into their considerable and deep pockets to try and infer that e cigarettes is just as bad as smoking tobacco – so you may as well just stick with tobacco?

The key is the how to assess risk?

The reality is that virtually all studies show that e cigarettes and Vaping is considerably healthier than smoking – and that’s the real key. Study after study shows this.

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a world renowned cardiologist and leading e-cigarette and vaping researcher has been conducting scientific studies on e-cigarettes since they first became popular back in 2007.
In his latest study published today, he found that “Vapers are not exposed to dangerous levels of aldehydes.” My reading of the evidence is that e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking. Smokers should be encouraged to switch to vaping.
The anti e cig lobbyists will flip this report and note that by inference e cigarettes are not healthy for you.

But let’s be e grown up’s and acknowledge this – but also let us emphasise that vaping is a lot healthier than tobacco.

What do you think about the climate of opinions on Vaping and health? Let us know below.

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Will England follow Wales and ban Vaping in Public Places ?

Thankfully the latest news indicates that England will not be following suit and making E-cigarettes illegal.

The latest reporting by licensed industry experts by Publicans Morning Advertiser indicates this will not be the case.

They note that The Department of Health has confirmed to them that England would not follow on from the Welsh Government and pursue a potential ban on Vaping in Public places.

Is this a rare case of a Government taking a balanced and sensible approach to legislation in respect of Vaping? we at Matchless can only hope so and perhaps hope the same common sense approach is eventually adopted by the Welsh Government.

All within the Vaping community are a little flabbergasted by the approach and logic of the Welsh Government and neutral observers on the whole replicate that feeling, best emphasised by The Daily Telegraph comment “The Welsh ban on Vaping indoors makes no sense”

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a charity that working to reduce and stop the damage caused by tobacco has also said it did not support the sort of ban proposed by the Welsh government.

The Welsh government’s argument is totally specious and runs along the lines – Vaping looks like smoking – we know smoking is bad – so Vaping must be bad – so let’s ban Vaping with no reference to fact or study.

You thus have law proposed and potentially implemented on ignorance and inaccurate supposition.

This leaves one in the rather bizarre position of mentally congratulating the “English” Government” for not being as totally illogical as the Welsh one.

I am sure the Welsh (and the Scottish) will point to many advantages of Devolution – I just wonder how many Welsh Vapers will rue this particular piece of legislation – if indeed it goes ahead.

If you happen to be a Welsh Vaper – perhaps you would like to make representation to your local Welsh Assembly Member and mention your disquiet at this potential piece of legislation.

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