Despite deeming the Massachusetts vape ban as “unlawful” a judge has upheld it for the time being.
Meanwhile in the UK and despite a negative anonymous anti-vape article being published in the Lancet, British medical experts say vaping is not only safe but saving tens of thousands of lives per year – more on that in a moment.
Once again it’s a case of the great vape divide with the UK and America poles or should that be oceans apart when it comes to vaping.
Over in Boston, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins, wrote a 32 page ruling on Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency ban order brought into force back in September.
The Massachusetts 4 month long ban was for all things vape and not just flavoured e-liquid – and was brought in as an emergency order rather than passing through the usual democratic procedures.
This says Judge Wilkins was ‘probably unlawful’ however he felt that lifting it now would most likely “contravene the public interest.”
Just what that interest is is unclear.
However he did recognize the impact the ban was having on vaping businesses and has given Baker’s office a deadline of October 28th to better prepare its case and to hold a public hearing so opponents to the ban can be heard.
Judge Wilkins said:
While the plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success, the balance of harms weigh in defendants’ favor in some respects, and an immediate injunction against the entire order would contravene the public interest.
The court therefore allows the defendants an opportunity to cure the defects identified above.
Governor’s Baker’s office showed no signs of relenting on the ban order with a spokesman saying:
The administration maintains that the order was properly issued pursuant to the Commissioner’s emergency powers and will work with the Attorney General’s Office on next steps.
Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, that had brought in the appeal, was a little disappointed saying it was wrong:
…to allow this improper ban to stay in place for a week while the State considers other regulatory alternatives.
The hearing took evidence from a number of health professionals including pro-vaping advocate Professor Michael Siegel who said vapers would return to smoking and the ban order would create a dangerous black market adding:
From a public health perspective, I believe this regulation or order does not serve the interests of the public’s health and it actually significantly harms the health of some.
UK Medical Experts Say Keep On Vaping
With 3.6million vapers here in the UK and not one case of so called EVALI [e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury] – the name given to the spate of deaths and illnesses related to contaminated cannabis vape cartridges – health experts say carry on vaping.
As we’ve always stated, vaping is 95% safer than smoking and here in the UK all vape products are heavily regulated.
The consensus among the UK health experts and organizations is that vaping is considerably safer – however and despite that, the odd study or article questions that stance.
None more so than an anti-vape article published in the lofty medical tome the Lancet recently.
The anonymous article claims many of the ingredients found in e-liquids can “cause adverse health effects” linking to a couple of minor studies as proof.
The writer is also very pro World Health Organization – a body that is one of the most anti-vape on the planet and the article ends with a dire warning from history:
In 1610, Sir Francis Bacon noted that tobacco smoking seemed to be highly addictive and was a tough habit to quit.
Later, in 1643, the Chinese scholar, Fang Yizhi, wrote that smoking tobacco for too long would “blacken the lungs”.
Despite this foreboding, it took more than 400 years to generate the scientific evidence and political will to act against the scourge of tobacco.
With vaping increasing at an unprecedented rate, we need to act swiftly to ensure we do not blunder in to another long-running unhealthy, life shortening, odyssey of replacing one bad habit with another.
Thankfully Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, was quick to respond.
In an article also published in the Lancet, he said:
It is unfortunate that these tragic events are being used to promote the wholesale restriction of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. Good evidence from randomised controlled trials supports use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.
Tens of thousands of smokers appear to be using e-cigarettes to successfully quit smoking.
And there is international consensus that use of e-cigarettes is likely to be much less harmful than smoking tobacco.
Is it not time for The Lancet to realign its approach with the facts and the evidence and accept that e-cigarettes have an important part to play in tobacco control?
Nicely put sir.
Listen America – Vaping Save Lives – It’s That Simple
As the American anti-vape machine grows ever larger and more powerful, the facts are that vaping saves countless lives.
A study I touched on in Sunday’s Vape News, shows that here in the UK almost 70,000 lives per year have been saved thanks to e-cigarettes.
Our new time series paper published in @AddictionJrnl found that in 2017 around 50,700 to 69,930 smokers had stopped as a consequence of e-cigarettes who would otherwise have carried on smoking https://t.co/KjU4m6Lcim@robertjwest @jamiebrown10 @SusanMichie
— Dr Emma V Beard (@DrEVBeard) October 17, 2019
The study – snappily titled: Association of prevalence of electronic cigarette use with smoking cessation and cigarette consumption in England: a time series analysis between 2006 and 2017 – and breathe – showed that almost 70,000 lives were saved in 2017 thanks to smokers making the switch to e-cigarettes.
Lead author, Dr Emma Beard, Senior Research Associate at UCL, showed that when the number of UK vapers plateaued, the number of successful quit smoking attempts dropped but increased when vaping picked up again.
Her study using data from the Smoking Toolkit Study said this meant in 2017 at least 69,930 had quit and turned to vaping adding:
This study builds on population surveys and clinical trials that find e-cigarettes can help smokers to stop. England seems to have found a sensible balance between regulation and promotion of e-cigarettes.
Marketing is tightly controlled so we are seeing very little use of e-cigarettes by never-smokers of any age while millions of smokers are using them to try to stop smoking or to cut down the amount they smoke.
The study was welcomed by pro-vaper – Professor Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London.
He said the study proved once again that e-cigarettes are without doubt the very best way for smokers to quit:
This new study provides an estimate of the population impact of e-cigarettes on quitting rates. This represents an important addition to evidence that already exists from multiple sources showing that e-cigarettes are helping smokers quit.
The study shows that with the increase in e-cigarette popularity, success rates of quit attempts and overall quit rates among smokers have increased, most likely because those unable to quit with other approaches are now benefiting from vaping.
The study also found that cigarette consumption in remaining smokers did not change. This is also encouraging.
If e-cigarettes were only helping light smokers, the proportion of heavy smokers among the smoking population would increase and average cigarette consumption would appear to be going up.
As the transition from smoking to vaping continues, the benefits to public health are likely to be substantial.
Amazing news for sure and once again one has to ask: Are you listening America?