Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Why isn't Totally Wicked receiving more support?

Firstly, let me state I don't happen to use Totally Wicked products so have no conflict of interests

The TPD especially Article 20 has dire consequences for users, vendors,manufacturers of what is undoubtedly the most popular method worldwide of Tobacco Harm Reduction ie the bloody things work for a vast number of people and THIS is THREATENED

Without a definitive and  long winded history of  opposition towards the TPD, two campaigns have received modest support from the general public

EFVI  http://www.efvi.eu/  which although now complete received 185,000 signatures (the totals continue after the expiry date) . From an estimated 10 million users across the EU this was disappointing.

Totally Wicked http://article20legalchallenge.com/challenge/

These figures imply that  many of our European neighbours have either ignored this or considered it a UK only initiative with zero relevance to them . 

Surely,in the absence of anything else to challenge the TPD WE all should be  actively supporting the actions of Totally Wicked . 33,437 signatures of support (taking 5 secs) is mediocre at best . Let them walk into the courtroom with a minimum of 100,000 signatures of support to strengthen their argument . 

Who else is mounting a  very costly legal challenge from any direction?now is the time to put  commercial expoitation fears and any past bad feelings (whether justified or not) towards TW aside.

Fatilistic or 'bury the head in the sand' approaches are not required - get supporting! 

 ps..  If you are still dubious, please read this excellent blog http://fdm.ukvaping.com/2015/04/why-we-should-support/ that is very persuasive 

Where Half truths misinform

This is my starting point, the above comes from the Explanatory Memorandum justifying the Welsh Government proposed Bill to ban the use of e-cigarettes from all enclosed spaces  http://www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/pri-ld10224-em/pri-ld10224-em-e.pdf  , I will highlight the 3 linked sources contained 

199:- http://ecigintelligence.com/

The last of the 3 links provided in the justification could be described as literally misleading (199)

The factors mentioned in the document ie over- saturation and age of sale restriction may well have played a part in the dramatic reduction of the e-cigarette market but ignores the role of a relentless negative campaign towards e-cigs that exists in Spain mirrored in the media.

One particularly high profile lipoid pneumonia scare story attracted enormous press attention, and even though the offending doctor was successfully challenged in court that was not deemed newsworthy. Two excellent blogs explain this in far more detail http://www.e-volutas.com/2014/01/expediente-l-la-falsa-neumonia-lipoidea.html , http://vaporyciencia.com/sobre-el-glicerol-y-la-pretendida-neumonia-lipoidea/

The afor mentioned ecigintelligence eludes to this here http://ecigintelligence.com/a-tale-of-two-tank-markets-success-in-u-s-woes-in-spain/

Propaganda is clearly rife in Spain, the observation that 'repeat a lie often enough until it becomes the truth' seems very appropriate here, and by implication the Welsh Government who cherry picked its 'evidence' to justify its proposals

The real scale of the reduction in e-cigarette use in Spain is a 90% reduction in retailers and 80% of consumers since early 2014, this is an unfolding tragedy of monumental proportion.

Yet the WHO on advice from local tobacco controllers estimate an 8% reduction in smoking rates from 29-21% in the upcoming 10 years http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/156262/1/9789241564922_eng.pdf?ua=1, without THR products this seems an overly optimistic estimate.

Once again I encourage readers to visit here  http://jester-midnightmusings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/hscc-issues-call-for-evidence.html,which is an excellent explanatory blog from Simon Thurlow for actions that Vendors and Consumers should read and act upon.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Correlation,Causation or Coincidence in Wales?

I will leave the choice of the 3C mentioned in the title as to which applies here,please see this if necessary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

UK population = 64.6 Million http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/25/uk-population-at-record-high-with-net-migration-the-biggest-driver and http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_406922.pdf

Welsh Population = 3.1 Million http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/mid-year-estimates-population/?lang=en

ASH.org.uk  Estimates of sole users of e-cigarettes = 1.1 million UK users  http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

Pro-rata estimate for Wales = 52,786 sole users (who were all probably former smokers) The Welsh Government assumes 33,600 in its Explanatory Memorandum so a fair discrepancy is displayed here!

**note** dual users by my population data and ASH estimates  equates to  ~72,000 out of   124,768 total users **

Many assumptions used there ,but the Welsh Government uses ASH data in its own Explanatory Memorandum http://www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/pri-ld10224-em/pri-ld10224-em-e.pdf

From 2007 until 2013 Cigarette Smoking Rates had decreased by 1% of the population ( total of 31,000 people)http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-smoking-survey-results-spark-3863819 confirmed by ONS stats throughout the period 2007-on http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/search/index.html?pageSize=50&sortBy=none&sortDirection=none&newquery=Wales+Smoking+Rates

from 2013 to present day a further 2% fall in Cigarette Smoking Rates( total of 62,000 people)

Whatever the various reasoning advanced  93,000  have quit since 2007,

52,786 Welsh sole e-cigarette users represents 57% of ALL 93,000 quitters since 2007, please decide for yourself which of the 3C mentioned above could be assigned here (if at all)

 Is this coincidence or should the Welsh Government re-appraise its intended legislation to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places, can they be certain that the unintended consequence of a reversal of  smoking rates is implausible as advanced in their overview? This is especially relevant with regard to dual-users,who need encouragement and positive assistance to fully transition,any perceived negative messages towards dual-users in the proposals cannot be dismissed lightly .

This is but one aspect of many contentious issues contained in the proposals.

Responses need to be sent into the Welsh Government from Vendors and members of the Public  http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=181 closes 4th September 2015

Far more info is shown here produced by Simon Thurlow,and is a strongly recommended read  http://jester-midnightmusings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/hscc-issues-call-for-evidence.html

Sunday, 28 June 2015

E-Cigarette Market Myths

How many times do we hear that the Tobacco Industry owns the e-cigarette market either directly or implied in learned articles or journals the latest example shown here http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h3317/rr-2

It really is a gross distortion of the facts, Tobacco co. involvement in the e-cig market  only commenced in earnest in 2012, a full 7 years after their introduction . Without exception Tobacco Co are only involved in the 'cigalike' in appearance market , an excellent analysis from Euromonitor is shown here regarding the current and future market share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMshMze9ZdY&feature=youtu.be

The Generation 1 'cigalike' market is a reducing sector of the market, newer type open tank Generation 2 and upwards are now the dominant sector and exclusively owned by independents (zero tobacco co involvement) . To justify that statement :-

Market analysts Nielsen produce statistics such as https://www.srnt.org/conferences/FDA/FDA%20PreWorkshop%20Delnevo.pdf  but acknowledge that their data only covers Tobacco Co published sales statistics,  excluding independents or internet sales

Gerry Stimson wrote this excellent analysis utilising Wells Fargo statistics https://nicotinepolicy.net/gerry-stimson/1317-wells-fargo-march-2014

More up to date or definitive statistics are very difficult to obtain ,but was estimated as $3.5 billion  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c3ec5924-8f6b-11e4-b080-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3eNHkjwjK which was divided up as $2billion open tank and $1.5 billion 'cigalike' . Nielsen  possibly underestimated the open tank data from independents/internet sales, but even accepting this analysis it would  indicate that only 43% has a Tobacco Co presence (and some independents involved here further reducing  tobacco co. ownership)

Tobacco Co involvement has certainly muddied the waters in recent years, but it needs to be acknowledged that they represent possibly only 25-40% of the current e-cigarette market. Opponents deliberately misinform to imply that its 100% and this myth is then disseminated widely to a gullible public.The lack of reliable data assists in myth making! Internet sales possibly contribute upwards of 60% of total sales of a far larger than estimated market, but that is a hunch without any substantiation

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Astrotuf Accusations Towards Vaping Advocates revisited

My first encounter with this astroturf term was in 2013 and was made by an obscure Irish MEP Paul Murphy, this excellent blog from the highly recommended Dick Puddlecote explains with great clarity and style  http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/ignore-public-listen-to-macavan-and-her.html , I readily admit I had to read what the definition  of astroturf accurately meant when it was first mooted, as I had never encountered the term previously.

MP + Regulators
The term was a  cynical dismissal of the many thousands of people throughout the EU who objected to ill thought through EU legislation :- the TPD http://www.clivebates.com/?p=1747, accusations are made, has anyone ever been named in this fantasy world that exists for some unaccountable unapproachable politicians ? MP are obliged to meet with constituents who request such meetings (sometimes with a bit of persistence on our part), but surprisingly no such obligations exist for MEP,AM and presumably MSP,MLA! the meeting is an important aspect of demonstrating that we are real people ,with genuine concerns and a very powerful individual story to be told, that is hard to ignore. I can imagine that totally uninformed legislators of whatever hue may well dismiss hundreds of e-mails,tweets,petitions or any other impersonal representation as organised  anecdotes.
My own MP Glyn Davies http://www.glyn-davies.co.uk/  has been met by myself and partner Eirlys on a number of occasions, and whether we have played any part in his education and tacit support is debatable, but Montgomeryshire contains few vapers and even fewer retailers (none in fact) and Glyn is a member and vice chairman of the new APPG on e-cigarettes  so just maybe our meetings were not in vain http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/e-cigarettes.htm

To complete this section is simple - I appeal to everyone to meet with their representatives to at least make them aware that you are real, and  that you are very concerned with upcoming legislation that they may well not be fully familiar with, or understand its impact on YOU.

Public Health 

Here, it is totally wrong to tar and generally label all with the same brush , in fact it is only the very vocal minority who have accused Vapers of 'astroturf' . This minority though have senior positions ,have influence and have earned reputations whether deserved or not as 'experts', many excellent blogs exist eg https://therandomvamper.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-response-to-martin-mckee-which-the-bmj-wont-publish/ and http://www.clivebates.com/?p=2391 cover this particularly well and the response here from Robert West  to a recent BMJ article is a masterclass in subtlety directed towards the noisy outspoken ones http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h3317/rr written by a man who is a genuine expert in the field of smoking cessation unlike the others.

My interpretation of what he wrote could well differ from others ....it was along the lines of stfu and leave a subject you know nothing about alone to genuine experts not overblown windbags pontificating or manufacturing fake concerns and accusations

With all of the resources available to some of these 'experts' why is innuendo still the tactic when accusations of astroturf are forwarded?  Are they going to attempt to name names ?

Of course they bloody well can't. Its a manufactured figment of their imagination that educated passionate people could not possibly inform themselves to  such an extent that  lies, spin,junk science and pronouncements are robustly challenged and not dutifully accepted.

 More thoughtful,open-minded  PH colleagues must be horrified at this ongoing so called debate conducted in an increasingly acrimonious public manner, High level conferences or meetings have been called for from many quarters to arrive at solutions, however the vociferous ones seem unwilling or unable to attend.

50 million current e-cig consumers and billions of smokers worldwide deserve far better than this shambolic game that is happening with THR denial, nicotine demonisation,and accusations of astroturf from faded/befuddled academics who have lost sight of the big picture. Smokefree targets are appearing in every country, without a consensus, imagination, and attractive alternatives these targets are a pipe-dream with negligible chance of success.

To end this on a positive note, although this only seems to currently apply to parts of the UK :-

Recent announcements and position statements by Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation ,ASH(all UK),Fresh NE, Tenovus, NCSCT, Public Health(England)RCP ,CIEH,encouragingly seem to prefer an  evidence based approach towards e-cigarettes as opposed to the moral panic,fake concerns and disinformation regularly disseminated by others such as BMA,FPH,WHO,CDC

Journeys into the Unknown

As a 62 yo. self confessed technophobe, who only started to use a computer  in about 2007 there has been a slow but steady evolution in my skillsets, always prompted by necessity not curiosity per se .

Although University courses in the late 70's included brief glimpses of computing I was not bitten by the bug and could see little relevance for me(stupidly).

Moving forward twenty or so years to the early- nineties, I was retraining to become a mathematics teacher, computing or use of computers in general was encouraged, but not demanded, so other than the compulsory element of a word processed dissertation I once again avoided further involvement(stupidly)

My mathematics lessons occasionally involved the use of computers, to avoid this myself and a few others would exchange lessons with a keen and competent colleague(stupidly)

Retirement in 2003 meant I had an abundance of free time to travel and do the things I had dreamed of  for many years, naturally this did not involve the use of a computer(stupidly). Satellite TV via bulky separate aerials,stands,wires,digibox was sufficient entertainment for use in our well used motorhome that roamed across Europe .

My elder brother David has always been far more enthusiastic and in fact lectured in Computing Science and Electronic Engineering for upwards of 30 years, he has drip-fed me with latest trends (usually musical)that may have been useful at the time. This brings me back to the opening paragraph where I wished to convert my cd collection into mp3 format and the purchase of my first computer.

For the next 5-6 years post 2007, the computer was used in a minimal way barely scratching at the surface of its potential . Yes,e-mail accounts were introduced, TV was watched on-line, on-line banking introduced, Spotify and Last-Fm largely replaced my mp3 useage, and I was satisfied and reasonably competent in my very limited world .

All through these years I was a very heavy 40/day smoker, until early 2013, this was transformed by my conversion to e-cigarettes - my true halleluja moment both in terms of the product but more especially for the purpose of this blog it demanded that I have had to acquire some new skills to become as effective an e-cig advocate as I am capable of . Watching the ENVI committee discussions led by Linda McAvan(rapporteur) regarding the TPD was the true turning point in this need to learn how to improve my shoddy skills,but more of that another time maybe!

To anyone out there reading this (hah!), please excuse my first ever dabble at blogging both in terms of content,language and general presentation


ps  Any confusion regarding Christian names of myself were part of my lack of skillsets when establishing accounts, foolishly I used my full birth certificate name + sooner than changing the overly formal @ I have stuck with it, unfortunately it commences with my fathers name Gordon + was consequently unused in real life.