Growing health scare around the safety of ‘vaping’ provokes industry backlash and stern threats of court action
The fog of war: e-cig companies are gearing up for a long battle
The electronic cigarette industry is preparing to launch a legal bid to silence critics who raise “misleading” health concerns about the safety of “vaping”.
At a fundraising event in California last night, a global group called The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) raised a massive $110,000 (£72,000).
The “Line in the Sand” meeting was hailed as the most successful fundraiser in the history of the e-cigarette industry.
It is part of a global effort to challenge critical voices and tackle legislation designed to clamp down on the potentially dangerous tobacco replacement technology.
More events will be held in the coming weeks to pump even more cash into the war chest.
Stefan Didak, co-President of the Northern California SFATA, tweeted the words “fear us” following the success of the fundraising event.
He said the industry backlash was provoked by “disinformation campaigns” from scientists and public health authorities.
“Several state funded tobacco control coalitions have taken their approach too far and crossed a few lines that we are going to have examined by lawyers,” he told Mirror Online.
“Misleading arguments can and will end up in court in front of a judge,” he added.
The cash will also be used to hire spin doctors to evangelise about e-cigs and lobbyists to put pressure on politicians.
“The only way to combat influence over public opinion would be to present the facts… combined with political pressure through lobbyists,” he continued.
“To top it all off [there will be] some specific litigation against the worst offenders who knowingly engaged in publishing misleading information.”
The so-called “vape community” is vast and passionate, with a massive internet presence.
It claims scientists are scaremongering about e-cigs and tries to debunk health studies showing the dangers of vaping.
The community is also gripped by conspiracy theories about “big tobacco”, a shadowy alliance of firms alleged to use their money and influence to fund negative research.
According to the editor of an influential British journal called Addiction, there may be truth to some of these claims.
Professor Robert West, from University College London’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, told Mirror Online that researchers behind studies showing the positive health implications of e-cigs often found it difficult to publish their work.
He said: “Bad studies on e-cigarettes are easy to do and easy to get into top journals, which are hungry for publicity.
“Good studies are hard to do and are difficult to get into top journals if they do not lead to scare stories.”
Regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes, health warnings about electronic cigarettes keep coming.
Even though many doctors regard them as safer than cigarettes, there are serious concerns that they could cause major illnesses.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, warned of the lack of “conclusive evidence” of the long term impact of e-cigs.
“Amongst the wider population, we know many smokers have found e-cigarettes a useful aid to quitting,” she said in an emailed statement.
“However, until such time as more research has clarified the long-term health impact of vaping, we wouldn’t advise their use by non-smokers.”
Tobacco giant uses smoking robot and human lung cells to test the health risks of ‘vaping’ – with astonishing results
News Technology & Science e-cigarettes
E-cigarette vapour has NO toxic effect and is as safe as AIR, shock study claims
Tobacco giant uses smoking robot and human lung cells to test the health risks of ‘vaping’ – with astonishing results
Electronic cigarettes pump out vapour which has NO toxic effect on the cells found in human lungs, scientists have claimed.
Fresh research funded by British American Tobacco has suggested inhaling nicotine vapour could be as safe as breathing air.
To perform its experiments, the tobacco giant teamed up with the MatTek Corporation, which makes models of human cells used in ‘in vitro’ laboratory experiments.
Scientists then used a “smoking robot” to expose these lung cell replicas to tobacco smoke, the vapour from two different brands of e-cig and just plain old air.
When exposed to old-fashioned smoke for six hours, the cells died.
But after subjecting the cells to an “aggressive and continuous” dose of vapour, researchers claimed the damage to the airway tissue was “similar to that of air”.
‘By employing a combination of a smoking robot and a lab-based test using respiratory tissue, it was possible to demonstrate…. the e-cigarette aerosols used in this study have no [toxic] effect on human airway tissue,’ said BAT spokesperson Dr Marina Murphy.
There are now plans to carry out the same tests using the vapour from a wider variety of e-cigs, to prove its results.
“Currently there are no standards concerning the in vitro testing of e-cigarette aerosols,” said Marina Trani, Group Head Scientific Product Stewardship at British American Tobacco.
“Our protocol could prove very useful in helping the process by which these guidelines might progress.”
A debate about the safety of e-cigarettes has now been raging for several years.
Study after study have highlighted health risks, although most experts agree vaping is much safer than smoking cigarettes.
Dr Michael Siegel, professor in the department of community health sciences at Boston University’s school of public health, welcomed the latest study as evidence of the safety of electronic cigarettes.
“Despite the limitations of the research, it adds additional evidence to support the contention that vaping is a lot safer than smoking,” he said.
He called on public health bodies and anti-tobacco groups to encourage smokers to swap to vaping – a step which would “transform the nicotine market and achieve a huge public health victory”.
Such a phenomenon would result in the greatest public health miracle of our lifetimes,” Dr Siegel proclaimed.
However, the health expert warned that overheating liquid nicotine could produce dangerous toxins.
Vaping advocates previously claimed the results of research which found e-cigs pumped out dangerous chemicals were false because the nicotine liquid had been exposed to high temperatures.
Earlier this year, British American Tobacco announced the release of a device called Voke which is licensed as a medicine and produces no heat, working more like an asthma inhaler than an electronic cigarette.
Tom Pruen, chief scientific officer of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association, told Mirror Online he was satisfied the latest research was accurate.
“While I’m sure that for many the source of the research will be a problem, of recent years the science conducted by the tobacco industry has been of very good quality, and despite the historic issues I wouldn’t view it with any greater scepticism than research conducted elsewhere,” he said.
“The results are not unexpected.
“Not only are the components of an e-cig aerosol expected to be of low toxicity, based on a large number of analytical studies, but this research broadly agrees with a previous study.”
1.What the new changes are
From 1 October 2015 it will be illegal:
- for retailers to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to someone under 18
- for adults to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18
- to smoke in private vehicles that are carrying someone under 18
2.Rules about smoking in private vehicles
From 1 October 2015, private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18.
So it will be an offence:
- for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18
- for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances
The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes.
The fixed penalty notice fine for both offences is £50. Somebody who commits both offences could get 2 fines. Private vehicles must be carrying more than one person to be smokefree so somebody who is 17 and smoking alone in a private vehicle won’t be committing an offence.
Enforcement officers (usually the police) will use their discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or whether to refer an offence to court.
2.2What classes as an enclosed vehicle
The legislation covers any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. A convertible car, or coupe, with the roof completely down and stowed is not enclosed and so isn’t covered by the legislation. But a vehicle with a sunroof open is still enclosed and so is covered by the legislation.
Sitting in the open doorway of an enclosed vehicle is covered by the legislation.
The rules apply to motorhomes, campervans and caravans when they are being used as a vehicle but don’t apply when they are being used as living accommodation.
The rules don’t apply to:
- boats, ships and aircraft, as they have their own rules
- work vehicles and public transport, as they are already covered by smokefree legislation
2.3Why the law is changing
Every time a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals. This puts them at risk of serious conditions, such as meningitis, cancer and respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also make asthma worse.
Secondhand smoke is dangerous for anyone, but children are especially vulnerable, because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways, lungs and immune systems. Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect.
The law is changing to protect children and young people from such harm.
this is what happens when you buy cheap or go to markets or garages or supermarkets or the internet always use your local vape shop who specialize in these products and always check the security codes on the products if they have them to make sure they are genuine and not clones a good vape shop will let you check the codes before you buy if they wont let you then walk away
A nationwide alert has been issued warning of the dangers of fires caused by exploding e-cigarette chargers.
More than 100 fires have been blamed on the devices over the past two years, according to fire service figures.
The Local Government Association (LGA), representing the 49 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, wants e-cigarette manufacturers to display warnings on packaging.
Fire chiefs say many blazes are caused by the wrong chargers being used.
If a charger that is not compatible to the device is used, too much current goes into the batteries, meaning they can overheat and eventually explode.
More than two million people across the UK are estimated to use e-cigarettes, which deliver vaporised liquid nicotine but do not contain tobacco and do not produce smoke.
Many e-cigarette smokers use incompatible or cheap chargers however, the LGA says.
Emergency services received eight call-outs to fires related to e-cigarettes in 2012, according to data from 43 of the 49 fire authorities.
That number rose to over 40 in 2013, and there were more than 60 in 2014.
Cases that have emerged recently include:
- A man who died after a charging e-cigarette apparently exploded in Merseyside, igniting oxygen equipment he was using. A coroner later said the explosion was likely to have contributed to his death
- A Leicester woman who said her e-cigarette and car charger adaptor exploded while it was recharging
- A block of flats being evacuated in Poole because of a fire thought to have been caused by the charging of an e-cigarette
How to safely charge your e-cigarette
- Always use the correct charger and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Never charge a battery that has been damaged, dropped or struck
- Never plug a charger into a non-approved mains power transformer
- Check your battery has overcharge or overheat protection
- Don’t overcharge. Remove the battery from charge when complete
- Never leave a charging battery unattended
- Don’t use if wet
- Do not overtighten the atomiser when connecting it to the charger
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, chairman of the LGA’s fire services management committee, said users should be “vigilant at all times”.
“We are warning them that it is simply not worth risking their lives to save a few pounds by buying dodgy, dangerous or incompatible chargers,” he said.
There was no way of knowing the true figure of incidents as many are going unreported, he added.