Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Euro Madness - the TPD public hearing to ban e-cigarettes

Yesterday, I sat and watched the whole live broadcast of the public hearing that was part of the new Tobacco Products Directive in the European Parliament.

It was utter madness.

The meeting was Chaired by the Irish Health Minister, Dr James Reilly, and whilst much of the meeting was taken up by discussions around health warnings on packets of cigarettes, banning "slim" cigarettes and banning Menthol flavoured cigs, the meeting confirmed the plan to keep the existing ban on Snus and introduce a de-facto ban on electronic cigarettes.

The meeting started out with a speech from Reilly about the need to take action to "save lives" which was followed by a lecture from the EU Health Commissioner himself, Tonio Borg.

Borg started out by saying that there was a need to take action because new tobacco products "looked like lipstick" !

Borg went on to (wrongly) say that the EU had a ban on Snus 20 years before Sweden joined (it was 3 years) - the false statements continued as Borg (wrongly) told the meeting that there was "no evidence" that Snus reduces smoking. He was keen to stress that he did not want to "interfere with peoples choice" and proceeded to announce plans to remove the choice to use Menthol, Snus or electronic cigarettes.

There were then some questions from MEPs who did not appear to be entirely convinced. Asking about harm reduction, the first mention of electronic cigarettes, asking for evidence to support the new policies (there isn't any) and concerned that it was prohibition for the sake of it and would promote the trade in illegal tobacco.

Some more balanced questions from the MEPs including "why should we make it more difficult or more expensive for people to buy e-cigarettes?" followed by the first criticism of the 4mg limit and an MEP saying that people use e-cigarettes to stop smoking.

These criticisms were answered by saying (bullshitting) that the Tobacco Products Directive is a "compromise" directive.

Irish Health Minister Reilly explained that they are "anti smoking" and went on to explain that he was also anti low risk alternatives, followed by the bizarre statement that "we are not a nanny state, people can do as they like"   -  except use e-cigarettes (or snus or menthol) - followed by the (unsubstantiated) claim that the TPD would save 700,000 lives per year and a torrent of other errors - The measures should be implemented because "we must not harm others" with no explanation as to just how exactly an e-cig could "harm others" !

Then Tonio Borg came back - and we braced ourselves for more bullshit.

It came, as Borg used the seatbelt argument (these laws are for your own good) as he started talking more windy nonsense - he showed that he was appallingly ignorant of the basic facts, and also a liar, as he proclaimed that electronic cigarettes "give people a false sense of security" and "do harm just the same". These evidence free statements were followed (yet again) by him saying "we are not a nanny state".

Next up, it was time to hear from the "experts".

Someone from the Smoke Free Partnership droned on and on, without actually saying anything, except that it was a battle like the one between David and Goliath (with the tobacco companies being Goliath) - complete emptyness of a statement, and frankly came across as rather childish.

As the discussion returned to the subject of tobacco.

The next mention of e-cigs came from Jean King of Cancer Research UK - her attacks on the tobacco industry ring hollow when she is trying to help them by banning electronic cigarettes. She is opposed to e-cigs because "we don't know what is in them" - when asked about illicit cigarettes she said that they were not concerned as they can not be any worse that legal cigs.

So - Cancer Research UK wants e-cigs banned because they don't know what is in them, but unconcerned over illicit tobacco cigarettes because they cannot be any worse than the real ones !

But just when we thought that the lies, bullshit, waffle and disinformation about e-cigs just could not get any worse - up steps Dr Martina Potschke-Langer of German Cancer Research and the WHO, who took to the floor to tell the MEPs that :

- e-cigs can contain dangerously high levels of nicotine
- that e-cig use could result in levels of nicotine building up and up in the body until there was an overdose
- and, bizarrely, that one of the dangers of e-liquid was that people could put it in their fridge and then accidently mistake it for food and eat it !

The panel consisted of a range of anti-smoking campaigners, plain packaging campaigners and one single representative of the tobacco industry.

There was one big thing missing from the whole meeting.
One obvious thing.

There was absolutely no-one there who knew anything at all about electronic cigarettes that they want to ban. No expert knowledge, no evidence. Professor John Britton wasn't there, Clive Bates wasn't there, ECITA wasn't there - anyone who knew anything about electronic cigarettes was excluded.

It was all a depressing load of bollocks providing a window into the way laws are made from misinformation, ignorance and a complete lack of evidence.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

'Stopping' or 'Quitting' smoking with e-cigs

This is an interesting subject, and one which I will return to in more detail after the MHRA announcement that is due in March 2013.

Do electronic cigarettes help people stop or quit smoking ?

Here in the UK, the electronic cigarette industry has been very careful not to make any health claims about e-cigs. It should never be claimed that an e-cig can be used to "quit" - and this is not because it is not true (it may or may not be true) - it is because in the UK these claims are classed as medicinal claims, and any product that makes medicinal claims needs a very expensive licence from the MHRA. They are always very careful to describe e-cigs as "recreational" (which they are) but not a tool for "quitting" smoking.

But is this correct ?

Part of the problem is that people have different definitions of "quitting" - to some they feel that they have quit  if they no longer smoke tobacco, to others quitting is about stopping the use of nicotine altogether.

So there is a difference between stopping smoking and quitting.

The fact of the matter is that electronic cigarettes are very good for stopping smoking, in other words no longer smoking tobacco, and there is evidence for this HERE.

All the available evidence points to the fact that smokers who go on to use electronic cigarettes on a regular basis will reduce the amount of cigarettes that they smoke or stop smoking cigarettes altogether.

Logically, this has to be the case because the opposite scenario doesn't make sense, e-cigs are not going to make you smoke MORE are they ?

"I used to smoke 20 a day and since I started using my e-cig I now smoke 30 a day as well as using my e-cig in between smokes"  -  this is never really going to happen, is it.

Smokers use electronic cigarettes in place of tobacco, so logically they will reduce tobacco consumption.

Regardless of what electronic cigarette companies are allowed to say, the truth of the matter is that electronic cigarettes help people to stop smoking. Whether or not people then decide to go on to "quit" nicotine is up to them.

Professor John Britton, who leads the Tobacco Advisory Group for the Royal College of Physicians recently said, in an interview with the BBC -  "if all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today"

5 MILLION DEATHS saved - with so much at stake, e-cigarette companies must now have the shackles taken off and be allowed to tell people the TRUTH, that e-cigs can help you to stop smoking.

Now that people know that e-cigs can save 5 million deaths, anyone who takes steps to restrict them is guilty of a crime against humanity, and one day should be made to answer for their crimes.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Behind the scenes at an E-Cig company

Ever wondered what it is like behind the scenes at an electronic cigarette company ?

Well, Ecigwizard have published this short documentary video of the guys hard at work.

LOL - so this is what it is like !

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Romastino - What a great guy !

Romastino has decided to retire from making his e-cig review videos.

Many people in the UK Vaping world will know of Romastino (Glenn) as a result of his informative and entertaining You-Tube reviews and videos that he has published over the last few years.

He has built up an army of fans who watch his You-Tube videos, in which he talks about different electronic cigarettes and provides reviews for viewers to watch. These videos have been educational and informative and throughout them all, his affable character comes across.

There are so many people that will be familiar with the words:
"Hiya folks, Glenn here ... " the opening line for most of his videos.

Which was why I was very sad to hear that Glenn had decided to 'retire' or quit his review videos.
It must have been something that he has given a considerable amount of thought to - so I have to respect his decision.

On a personal level, Romastino has had a very big impact on my life. When I started out with e-cigs, I was desperate to learn more about them and I always bookmarked his videos to watch and learn from. He most certainly helped me on my e-cig journey. Batteries, Cartomisers, Atomisers - I learned so much from Romastinos' videos.

So did several thousand other people.

Perhaps he will return, perhaps not - that is up to him.

But thinking about it, lets not feel sorry that he has decided to quit - lets feel good about all of the videos that he has done. He dedicated a lot of his own time to educate others for no other reason than to share his obvious passion for electronic cigarettes.

I am very grateful for the work that he has done over the last few years. 

- So,

THANK YOU, Glenn for taking the time to make those videos - THANK YOU for helping others to learn about e-cigs.

Rather than feel sorry that you have quit - I feel so pleased that you were there for us when we needed you.

Romastino - always a vaping Legend.

Local News Story - Pub Bans E-cigs (again)

It seems that every few weeks, or so, a local newspaper publishes an article about someone, somewhere, who is annoyed and doesn't understand why they are not allowed to use their e-cig in a local pub, usually a Wetherspoons.

This week, it is the Hartlepool Mail who report that 2 local e-cig users are shocked to discover that e-cigs are not allowed in some of the town centre Pubs.

You can read the full story here :

Whilst I cannot see why a pub would ban an electronic cigarette, I do accept that pubs and clubs are private property and the owner can apply any rule they like, and they do not have to give a reason.


I do like reading these stories. Everytime a pub asks a person not to use an e-cig on their premises and that person goes running to the local paper to complain - It gives electronic cigarettes a free advert.

Every time this happens, there is a story about how someone who has smoked for 20/30/40 years has not had a cigarette since using an e-cig. How e-cigs produce harmless vapour and how there is no reason why they cannot be used indoors.

So, thank-you Wetherspoons for another free advert for our wonderful electronic cigarettes, and there are plenty of other pubs who have no problems at all with their customers using a harmless e-cig whilst having a drink. 

There is only one loser in this kind of story (clue - begins with the letter W)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Is the British Medical Association safe ?

I think that it is fairly easy to say that electronic cigarettes are 'safe' - they have been used around the world by millions of people for several years now - with nobody getting ill as a result.

Okay, no ultra-long term studies have been possible, but there is no reason to suspect that there is anything particularly 'unsafe' about an electronic cigarette. Experts say that they represent about 1% of the danger of smoking a tobacco cigarette - that is Experts that have actually studied e-cigs, rather then spokespeople who have read one-sided press releases about them.

One thing that is pretty clear is that if you are a smoker (for whatever reason) then you are better off, massively better off, using an electronic cigarette rather than smoking tobacco.

So, with the ever increasing use of electronic cigarettes, the BBC decided to run a feature about them for their breakfast news show.

The clip can seen here :


Professor John Britton, a leading expert in Tobacco who leads the Tobacco Advisory Group for the Royal College of Physicians said that nicotine is not a hazardous drug and on a par with caffeine - he went on to say that electronic cigarettes could save 5 million lives in the UK alone.

5 million lives saved by electronic cigarettes.

Well this is great news for the medical profession, surely ?

Not so, according to Dr Vivienne Nathanson speaking on behalf of the British Medical Association (BMA)

On hearing the news that e-cigarettes will save 5 MILLION lives, the BMA came up with the incredible statement that they should be "taken off the shelves immediately" !!!

So if the British Medical Association are recommending a policy that could result in up to 5 million deaths, it begs the question - Is the British Medical Association safe ?


Friday, 8 February 2013

Letter from the Department of Health

Okay, so over the last few weeks I have sent off several letters, on the subject of electronic cigarettes (leccys) to various MPs, MEPs etc, and one of my letters was to the Department of Health - and today I have received a reply.

The reply came from Anna Soubry MP - who is a Health Minister in the government.

It does indicate what kind of time frame the government are looking at in terms of e-cig regulations.

The first half is the usual waffle, and the final 2 paragraphs say :

We want to ensure that an effective regulatory framework exists to protect consumers from any electronic cigarette products that fail to meet acceptable standards for quality, safety and efficacy. Reducing the public health impact of smoking remains a priority for the Department of Health. We do not want to reduce the availability of products that help to reduce smoking but we do want to ensure that smokers have access to products that are acceptably safe and that support smokers in reducing the number of cigarettes they smoke or quit. 
The Government will be reviewing the proposals in the draft TPD carefully, with the ongoing work of the MHRA in mind. The TPD proposals will be discussed by the Member States and by the European Parliament and will be subject to change during this process. This means that the legislation is unlikely to be adopted before 2014 or to come into effect before 2015-2016.
I hope this reply is helpful.


A couple of points there - first of all the Government say that they do not want to "reduce the availability of products that help to reduce smoking" - that's good. Electronic cigarettes help to reduce smoking, everybody knows that, okay there might be some smokers that do not get on with them, but overall it is pretty damn obvious that electronic cigarettes "reduce smoking".

Secondly, and I think more importantly, they indicate the time frame that the Government is looking at. It would appear that the MHRA proposals that were due to be introduced in Spring this year have been sidelined and that legislation is unlikely to be adopted before 2014 or to come into effect before 2015-2016.

Which gives us plenty of time to get it amended. It also means that :

We have the time-scales and every chance that before the legislation is 'adopted' we will have surpassed the Tipping Point - e-cig sales are growing exponentially at the moment, and in 2 years time there will be far too many million people using them here in the UK, let alone the EU, to make it practical for the Government to effectively introduce any severely restrictive regulations.

Love your Leccy !

It is not an e-cig, or an electronic cigarette, the latest craze it to call it a Leccy !

Yep both a noun and a verb,

You can use your leccy
or have an early morning leccy.

Now a fun new blog has sprung up called Leccy Love, which can be found here


People send in pics of themselves using their beloved Leccy in different situations, all good fun.

Have a look !  -  http://leccylove.com/

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Update on ClearStream E-cig Clinical Resarch

The ClearStream project, funded by FlavourArt in Italy has been given approval to start a new round of clinical trials looking at the effect of electronic cigarette vapour on human beings.

A statement from Dr Romagna says 

Now that all details have been settled, we are confident of being able to collect the first data in a short time.
Ongoing projects are numerous and will assess the impact of electronic smoke on human beings
More details here


Dr Elisabeth Pott "misquoted" in Mail e-cig article

Following from the article that appeared in the Mail on Sunday newspaper last weekend, by Susannah Butter, entitled "e-cigs could be more harmful than smoking, experts say" - The article that triggered a tidal wave of complaints to the PCC resulting in the web page being taken down.

The article was later copied by fashion magazine Marie Claire.

The good people at CASAA, in the USA, have done some research and contacted Dr Elisabeth Potts' department directly to check the validity of the statements that were used in the Mail story.

I have seen a forwarded copy of the e-mail reply that they received back, which very clearly states :

Quote:"Dear Mr. [],

Thank you very much for your query. I would like to inform you that there
must be a misunderstanding/misquoting ... "

So the official statement from Dr Pott is that she was "misquoted" in the article, something that many of us suspected all along had to be the case.

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Zipporin, the Zippo-likey elecronic cigarette

I was surfing around the web, looking at e-cig websites to see if there was anything new on the horizon, and I found this little gem on the Kanger website.

It is a brand new e-cig that is 'inspired' by the iconic lighter.

It is called the ' Zipporin ' and looks very cool indeed. It holds a 380mah battery and comes with a USB charger, and will be available to work with either KR808 or 510 cartomisers.

It is so new, that it is not on sale yet here in the UK, but I am sure that it won't be long before one of the many e-cig Vendors picks it up.

As a novelty e-cig, or something to put it your pocket when you are going to the pub, for example, this does look ultra-cool. I cannot see me ever switching to using it as my main e-cig, but as a quirky extra or a coffee table accessory, then this could just be a winner.

Here is a brief demonstration video from the Kanger website:

I want one, and when I get one, I will let you all know what it is like.

Can't wait !