There’s a figure that is often quoted by vaping enthusiasts: e-cigarettes are 5 per cent as harmful as traditional combustible cigarettes. That figure comes from Public Health England.
But according to Dr Sarah White, director of Quit Victoria (part of the Cancer Council), this is a “spurious made up figure”. She says the constant quoting of Public Health England is disingenuous. Most scientific studies find the risks outweigh the benefits.
“I have a box full of the position statements and evidence reports that are anti-e-cigarettes. The pile of paper is about 20 centimetres high, and there’s another one that’s pro, and it’s about 4 centimetres high. And all the stuff from the pro camp is all England with one exception, which is Canada.”
Most reports conclude the chemicals in the vapour inhaled from e-cigarettes probably have negative health impacts. The long-term effects of these health impacts won’t be known for many years.
The other major risk is that it will lead non-smokers, especially young non-smokers, to take up vaping, and that this could be a gateway to traditional cigarette smoking.
Dr White is critical of the British government’s bullish approach, calling it a “massive natural experiment”.
“I think they came to it with a concept that was coming from the right place and was a really good idea, but instead of testing it they kind of threw themselves in. And I think they’ve actually got themselves into a position where there was a lot of criticism from around the world and they’re just digging in now.
“When you look at the data, the number of people making quit attempts in the UK is dropping. The number of people using gum, patches, lozenges, all those sorts of things, is dropping. The number of people accessing stop smoking services is dropping. And we know that the most common form of use for e-cigarettes is to continue to use them along with cigarettes.
“We know that there’s just no safe level of cigarette smoking. So if we have what’s called dual use, we know that there’s no health benefit there.”
She warned Australia against following suit, because as the market grows, its lobbying power also grows. That would make it difficult to reverse – as has been seen with governments’ decades-long effort to regulate the sale of tobacco.
“If you let the genie out of the bottle, it’s going to be nigh on impossible to put it back in,” Dr White says.
Most health bodies in Australia agree with Dr White that caution and more research are needed. That includes the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the National Heart Foundation, and the government’s own health research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Those who argue in favour tend to be tobacco companies, tobacco retailers, political libertarians, a handful of individual doctors – by far the most prominent being Sydney smoking cessation specialist Dr Colin Mendelsohn – and, of course, vapers like Margaretha and Adrian.
News Corp publications have also run many pro-vaping stories, most of which quote Dr Mendelsohn. News Corp denies this has anything to do with Rupert Murdoch once being on the board of Philip Morris, or the fact that his lead director, Peter L. Barnes, spent most of his career at Philip Morris. Read this 2014 piece by The New Daily’s Michael Pascoe to learn more about News Corp’s longstanding support of big tobacco.
So far the Australian government has listened to expert bodies rather than big tobacco, vapers, libertarians and News Corp.
In a statement to The New Daily, a spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt said: “The overwhelming medical advice and evidence is that it [e-cigarette use] is likely to lead to the uptake of smoking and we cannot support that.
“This is the view of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia’s chief medical officer, chief health officers from all Australian states and territories and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
“The Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of GPs are also concerned and have presented clear evidence highlighting this.”
But this will not stop big tobacco – with the support of Liberal MPs like Tim Wilson, Eric Abetz and Trent Zimmerman – from lobbying energetically for a relaxation of the laws. Only last month, they appeared to gain a small victory, when Mr Hunt agreed to set up an independent inquiry into the health risks and benefits of e-cigarettes.
Regardless of whether or not e-cigarettes are a lifeline for smokers who can’t quit any other way, one thing is clear: big tobacco isn’t in it for the health benefits. It wants a piece of the action because it has sniffed a new opportunity to rake in billions off people’s addiction to nicotine. For that reason, most health experts agree that their nice-sounding words must be rigorously scrutinised.
In his submission to the parliamentary inquiry earlier this year, Renee Bittoun, a smoking cessation specialist at the University of Sydney, put it in no uncertain terms.
“It is naïve to believe that the tobacco industry, given its past history, will not endeavour to expand its market and sale of this highly addictive substance. In particular, the seductive and alluring marketing to gain an adolescent consumer who may become a life-long nicotine addict is reprehensible. No health worker should be complicit in this.”
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For more DATA on E-Cigarettes and Vaping
The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides this fact sheet about e-cigarettes, which includes their effects on teens, how teens are using them, the link between e-cigarette use and traditional cigarette use, and information about nicotine addiction.
Conclusions: Beyond the role of cognition in vulnerability to substance use, the concurrent and lasting effects of adolescent cannabis use can be observed on important cognitive functions and appear to be more pronounced than those
observed for alcohol.
As the very, very false perception that ‘Weed is harmful’ goes down – consumption goes up, and up, and up! Big Tobacco 2.0 is now in full flight and like version 1.0 is conning too many people, particularly the young. Ah! But that’s the key demographic to seduce and manipulate if you want to drive your industry profits moving forward – customers for life – Addiction is the business model and the emerging generation will be the first causalities, then families, then communities, then….
In short, there are now twice as many daily or near daily marijuana users in the country than just a decade ago. Additionally, there are now over 8,000 new marijuana users each day and 22% of 18 to 25-year-olds are currently using the drug - the highest number for all three stats in recent memory. Worse, annual use by ages 16 and up has significantly risen since last year.
Marijuana use has skyrocketed in our country as the perception of harm has plummeted. The marijuana industry, just like Big Tobacco years ago, continues to glorify marijuana as a cure-all substance that offers no risk to anyone.
The reality is this: if it were not for marijuana, overall drug use in the country would be going down. Mental health issues are rising, more people are dying due to marijuana-impaired drivers, and positivity rates among our workforce are up. None of this will help our country succeed and be productive.
This extremely ambitious book by Dr. Robert DuPont is the first book that I know of by a leader in the drug abuse prevention and treatment field that has highlighted the message of Pope Francis: that engaging in drug taking for experiential purposes is tantamount to allowing oneself to become enslaved. No one would ever willingly accept such a fate. When one gives up one’s will power, the theosophists say that one gives up one’s soul power. The Dalai Lama has said that a person who uses drugs give up his or her authentic self. This book provides a range of significant roadmaps that have been used by a country, Sweden; and by institutions, treatment programs, families, and individual drug users and addicts, to safeguard or sustain and retain that authentic drug-free selfhood. By bringing to light in one place, many of these roadmaps, Dr. DuPont shares insights into how that authentic self can be safeguarded from the pitfalls of drug taking behavior. He shares insights into the steps that many have taken to retain or reclaim their authentic selves, initiative, will power, brain power, judgment, creativity, and essential humanity.
Breana Noble, The Detroit News Sept. 5, 2018
Marijuana use among college-age people is at the highest level in three decades and fewer think using it is harmful, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.
Months before Michigan voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the annual study found marijuana use among the nation's 19-to-22-year-olds has increased gradually over the past decade as marijuana becomes more easily accessible and young people view the drug as less risky.
Researchers also found that youths who do not attend college are more likely to use marijuana. The study also surveyed other drug use among the age group and found non-medical use of prescription narcotic drugs was at its lowest since the late 1990s.
The federal National Institute on Drug Abuse paid for the survey, Monitoring the Future Panel Study.
"In this country, laws are changing, attitudes are changing, people are not perceiving use, even regular use, as dangerous as they used to," said John Schulenberg, the study's principal investigator and a psychology professor at the university.
"And this could be the problem. On this daily use, the scientific evidence is pretty clear that this gets in the way of things, and it can be associated with, if not contributing to, a decline in mental health.
"If one is involved in heavy use, and they continue with that," Schulenberg said, "then their health and wellness and happiness is probably not as high as those who do not use or do not continue to use."
Taking Action - Stopping Ice
United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime: Drug Prevention & Treatment
Medicinal Cannabis –
Access to medicinal Cannabis Products (TGA)
Access to medicinal cannabis products: steps to using access ...
Presentations, Statements & Conference Resources from WFAD 2018 Forum