Monthly Archives: August 2014

2014-08-26 BBC: “‘Ban E-cigarette use indoors,’ says WHO”

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Comic strip by Mike Peters, reproduced from St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Comic strip by Mike Peters, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2014-08-24.
ref: http://www.grimmy.com/comics.php

The subject of e-cigarettes has surfaced again and, in addition to the WHO article below, I came across the above timely comic strip in the local newspaper recently. (Note that Mother Goose is smoking outdoors! – albeit near an open window.)

The WHO report by the BBC garnered a lot of responses. I read a few of those featured as Editor’s Picks, which unanimously favor the use of e-cigarettes as a way to either switch from smoking regular cigarettes or quit entirely.

‘Ban E-cigarette use indoors,’ says WHO

COMMENTS (1531)

By Smitha Mundasad

BBC News Health reporter, 26 August 2014

 

There are more than 8,000 different flavours of e-cigarettes.

There are more than 8,000 different flavours of e-cigarettes.

The World Health Organization says there should be a ban on the use of e-cigarettes indoors and that sales to children should stop.
In a report the health body says there must be no more claims that the devices can help smokers quit – until there is firm evidence to support this.
WHO experts warn the products might pose a threat to adolescents and the foetuses of pregnant women.
But campaigners say regulations must be proportionate.

Tempting flavours

According to the WHO legal steps need to be taken to end the use of e-cigarettes indoors – both in public spaces and in work places.
And the report focuses on the potential for products to spark wider cigarette use in children.
The health experts call for a ban on advertisements that could encourage children and non-smokers to use the devices.
And they say fruit, candy or alcoholic-drink style flavours should be prohibited too, while the sales of electronic cigarettes from vending machines should be heavily restricted.

1. On some e-cigarettes, inhalation activates the battery-powered atomiser. Other types are manually switched on

2. A heating coil inside the atomiser heats liquid nicotine contained in a cartridge

3. Liquid nicotine becomes vapour and is inhaled. The ‘smoke’ produced is largely water vapour. Many e-cigarettes have an LED light as a cosmetic feature to simulate traditional cigarette glow.

‘Health threats’

The WHO warns exhaled e-cigarette vapour could increase the background air levels of some toxicants and nicotine.
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Observing a lab test comparing traditional smoking with e-cigarettes
According to the team while e-cigarettes are likely to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes, they may pose threats to adolescents and the foetuses of pregnant women who use these devices.
But some researchers suggest tough regulations may prevent smokers having access to products that are potentially less harmful than conventional cigarettes.
A spokesman for the British American Tobacco company said: “We have always said that given nicotine is addictive, minimum age laws of 18 for the sale of e-cigarettes should be introduced.
“However, if overly restrictive regulations are introduced hampering innovation or adult usage, then this could simply stifle the growth of new products and prevent smokers from being aware of and having access to them – this can only be bad thing for public health.”
Hazel Cheeseman, at the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said there was no evidence of any harm to bystanders and warned regulation needed to be proportionate.
She added: “Smoking kills 100,000 people in the UK alone.
“Smokers who switch to using electronic cigarettes in whole or in part are likely to substantially reduce their health risks.
“Although we cannot be sure that electronic cigarettes are completely safe, as the WHO acknowledges, they are considerably less harmful than smoking tobacco and research suggests that they are already helping smokers to quit.”

Global guidelines

A UK Department of Health spokeswoman said: “More and more people are using e-cigarettes and we want to make sure they are properly regulated so we can be sure of their safety.
“We have already set out our intention to change the law to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children under 18.
“The UK has an existing licensing system for higher strength products and those that claim to help people quit.
“We are also bringing in new European rules to cover lower strength products which will ban most advertising, limit nicotine levels and set standards for ingredients, labelling and packaging.”
The WHO’s recommendations were published ahead of a meeting involving all countries that have signed up to an international convention on tobacco control.
New global guidelines could be agreed during the October meeting.

The tobacco lobby continues to influence legislation

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My thanks to Stan Cowan, who e-mailed me several interesting articles, both about the influence the tobacco industry continues to wield, as well as a recent potential setback for them.

While it may have lost a major lawsuit – we won’t know until the appeals process is complete and a final damage figure, if any, is announced – the tobacco industry is regaining clout in some states.

John Britton in State Capitol

John Britton in Missouri State Capitol

Victor Crawford during 60 Minutes interview

Victor Crawford during 60 Minutes interview

Regarding the recent obituary of former tobacco industry lobbyist John Britton, and another, Victor Crawford, who eventually exposed dirty industry secrets before his death from throat cancer in 1996 at age 63, Stan wrote:

“Victor Crawford wanted to come clean. He knew he had done wrong.

[Please see original 60 Minutes interview of Victor Crawford by reporter Lesley Stahl at tinyurl.com/qfgvjgf]

John Britton never did express regret that his actions on behalf of the Tobacco Institute and later, Brown & Williamson, may have caused countless more Missouri youth to become addicted, additional diseases to be manifested, and more premature deaths.

You may appreciate some of the recent editorial and newspaper stories regarding tobacco industry political contributions.”

California Democrats accept more from tobacco industry 8-2-14

CA tobacco money over public health OpEd 8-7-14

What if tobacco companies were treated like other drug pushers?

Why tobacco companies deserve punitive damages 08-03-14

John Britton: A lost opportunity?

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Following the death of John Britton, a good friend and smoke-free air ally, Jim Blaine, M.D., replied:

Here is his obit:

http://www.newstribune.com/obituaries/2014/aug/07/john-britton/

Makes me wish that I had taken the time to get to know him better. He could have been very effective if he had decided to turn State’s evidence near the end.

Best,

Jim

Interestingly, the obituary referenced above makes absolutely no mention of Britton’s highly influential and damaging work for the former Tobacco Institute. But the observation that “He could have been very effective if he had decided to turn State’s evidence near the end” is certainly valid, if unfortunately too late.

It reminds me of the late Victor Crawford, also a very effective lobbyist, who DID expose his former paymasters after contracting terminal throat cancer. He was the subject of a 60 Minutes segment and an Ann Landers column that appeared in a Spring 1995 MoGASP Newsletter, reproduced below:

Victor Crawford expose

Please click the above repeatedly to enlarge. Use the back-button to return to this page.

2014-08-06 P-D: “Lobbyist John Britton dies after a half-century as one of the most powerful people in Missouri”

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The death of John Britton at age 88 proves that cigarette smoking is good for you and increases longevity. Either that, or he’d made a pact with the Devil (and the tobacco industry, for whom he lobbied very effectively in the State Capitol in Jefferson City for many years).

Even without Britton, the tobacco lobby remains very influential and I don’t expect any good state smoke-free air bill being introduced anytime soon.

I’ve featured Britton before and it’s worth revisiting this earlier blog, posted on August 31, 2009:
Columnist Bill McClellan on tobacco lobbyist John Britton, aka “Mayor of Jefferson City”

John Britton in his Jefferson City office (Photograph courtesy & copyright: Parker Eshelman)

John Britton in his Jefferson City office
(Photograph courtesy & copyright: Parker Eshelman)

The obituary by reporter Michael D. Sorkin in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch is here:
Lobbyist John Britton dies after a half-century as one of the most powerful people in Missouri

The first two paragraphs sum Britton up well, although the full story contains interesting details of which I was formerly unaware, like his military service and education:

John Britton was a recovering alcoholic known for being ready with a case of beer for legislators in Jefferson City. In addition to being the lobbyist for the world’s largest brewery, he was the chain-smoking representative for the tobacco industry.

With his influence, the beer industry routinely stopped the state from raising taxes on its products. The tobacco companies regularly beat back every effort by the state to restrict smoking in public places.