Sunday, 15 October 2017

The level of Support Required for New #ecig Switchers and a few suggestions

None of what I shall be writing here is rocket science or even original content,apart from a wacky idea that I shall advance towards the end of this blog

After this quite encouraging but slightly misguided RCGP conference summary was published,it triggered an instant response from me in the comments section

Without rehashing the same comments, it ran along the lines that GP and most Stop Smoking Service(SSS) have neither the knowledge, or in particular the financial resources(+staff) to fully support new switchers, if they have chosen to use e-cigarettes in place of tobacco cigarettes. Please note, I do not expect, or am advocating for free kits to be provided by SSS, however if their budgets allow,this could well be very helpful(but piss off non-smoking taxpayers?) Hampshire and Bristol have just  introduced such schemes .

The vast majority of #ecigs users will have transitioned from tobacco cigarettes without any GP or SSS involvement whatsoever. There are a few notable exceptions, such as Louise Ross from Leicester SSS, who have been incredibly supportive since 2014 pioneering and campaigning for an e-cig friendly service(along with so much more).

How, many of the 1.5 million UK sole users have been 'supported' to date

1) Vaping Forums  eg AAEC , Planet of the Vapes , UK Vapers , E-Cigarette Forum are the 'Big Four' in the UK

Each of these have new user sections, the level of knowledge,guidance, general product and mental support awe inspiring, and certainly not to be dismissed or discounted.

2) Dedicated Facebook Groups :- way too numerous to make a meaningful list, but try this 

3) Twitter - very quickly can get support from #Vapefam, most folks very willing to help new users. try this site to get you started  as a suggestion(thousands of others also exist)

4) Bricks and Mortar Vape shops - again a vast amount of knowledge exists here

Items 1-4 have supported 'many', but I cannot and would not estimate how large a proportion of the 1.5 million sole users(out of 2.9million total users) were exposed to this knowledge and information

**Note, after writing my blog, this academic article appeared on twitter, which covers the above points in a similar, but more rigorous manner, covering 4192 former smokers.

Hare brained Suggestion Time to provide additional useful Support

 a) Social Media from Central Governmentt Sources/ Public Health England/NHS dealing with Smoking eg #Stoptober here 

 b) As above but local Government based + funded (eg pre-existing SSS.)

c) 'Sympathetic' University Departments


Operate a dedicated #Switch2Ecig  website+ Social Media sites with  both a) +b)+c) providing funds + personnel to establish and operate, BUT crucially involve the genuine experts :- VAPERS to help run this (try NNA and VIP, even IBVTA /ECITA for knowledgeable volunteers).

It only needs a handful of folks to operate,and potentially be a very cost effective scheme, especially as austerity measures continue to bite. Empowerment is a word frequently used...this would be a good opportunity to demonstrate just that!


E-Cigarettes are primarily a pleasurable consumer device, that have the added benefit of being a highly popular and effective aid to stopping smoking . Other aids are available, having varying effectiveness, the key to cessation success, is consumers having access to detailed accurate information, and making an informed choice of method. This blog was not intended to 'knock' SSS(many of which are under great financial pressure), rather to inform GP and interested others, of what *alternatives* currently exists for new switchers and how that could be enhanced.

As mentioned above,and as we are all aware  many local authority SSS have received massive reductions in their budgets  which politicians and NGO such as ASH and CR_UK are campaigning Central Government to address. However this is further complicated by many local authorities antipathy towards Vaping , without a wholehearted embrace of Vaping as a valid cessation method , ,they should be defunded or have their budgets slashed, as has been the case.

Why should Central Government bale out rogue councils who have decided that the advice and guidance from themselves via PHE,NCSCT, Stoptober(NHS) is ignored for ideological reasoning, to the detriment of their citizens. This commentary from LGE  (2016)is illuminating, giving a glimpse of the conflict and ignorance that exists(recently reinforced via this damning follow up survey) .

In economic terms the costs/quitter figures do not make for enthralling or edifying reading  this quotes £55,571 per quitter, although I have read estimates of £74,000 elsewhere...... naturally a price cannot be attached to a smokers life BUT surely a more radical commonsense  approach needs examining and implementing?

The solution is staring cash strapped councils in the face, what are they waiting for? All professional and responsible bodies apart from the BMA have made positive reports or commentary towards Vaping in England, surely the WHO negativity(heavily criticised) should hold zero credence!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Lengthy reply Removed by Moderator

One of lifes' little frustrations, is writing what you consider a courteous detailed reply to someone, only for the moderator to jump in and remove the commentary(their prerogative of course!)

This happened today Monday 21/8/17 in reply to  Prof Michael Eriksen in the Conversation here 

my reply was thus :-  .....


Much to admire in your article referring to the recent announcement from the FDA, I wish to make a few points regarding a few of your comments

You stated ‘I can assure you that few smokers derive true pleasure from their addiction. My research team has found that most smokers regret that they ever started, and they desperately want to quit the habit.’

I make the observation that many of those surveys compiled data from smokers who had a clear determination and motivation to quit as they had accessed stop smoking services.

As an ex-smoker myself, it is not quite as cut and dried as you imply,I cannot provide counter-data, but believe a 'love-hate' affair is probably nearer the truth for many smokers,unrecorded by researchers.

Additionally the notion of smoking pleasure was dismissed, however these  items(many others are available) present a different picture.

I have no desire to labour the point further, but a substantial number of smokers derive pleasure from their smoking and have zero desire to quit.

However, even though now a non-smoker for well over four years, I read some of the claims from tobacco control with ever increasing scepticism. Truth and facts should not require embellishment, 'the end must not justify the means' in what has become an ever more acrimonious pro-anti nicotine 'debate', with the consumer as the casualty in this war.


The notion and appeal of Very Low Nicotine Content Cigarettes(VLNC) to Smokers having no desire to Quit is either very low or zero. These gentlemen put across the arguments against VLNC,far more succinctly than I could hope to achieve

Prof. Kozlowski

Clive Bates

Prof. West

Regarding the possible size of the black market you said ‘Of course, regulators would have to figure out how to prevent black market sales of high-nicotine cigarettes.’

I honestly believe that you,the FDA and all who are advancing VLNC have grossly underestimated the scale of this market, and the unintended consequence of empowering and emboldening the criminal element who would willingly supply and satisfy the demand. 1920’s-30’s alcohol prohibition was not a glorious chapter in US History, it will be repeated if this VLNC folly continues.

Nothing rude,maybe some items are contentious,but that is debate?

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Challenges for Vendors and Desirability of Compulsory Membership of a Trade Association

I am not a vendor and so claim zero expertise or deep knowledge on the details of running a successful business, but as a consumer directly influenced by their current and future viability these thoughts are directed towards them.

I do not propose to rake over the sad history of how and why TPD2  evolved as it did, or bleat about how the MHRA is implementing such as this, despite Lord Prior stating
But rather concentrate upon what was said in these tweets via ECF 

'It's obvious that without consistent, professional and unified industry representation vaping will face continual challenges.''

More to the point, how to convince this disparate industry that without a well-funded professional body the future is not good?''

The disturbing reality is that out of 2000 vendors,equipment manufacturers,juice makers....etc there exists only a tiny number who are involved or members of a trade association

see ECITA , IBVTA and yes even the infamous TVECA ,UKVIA for current UK membership numbers *please note,no details of subscription costs are included in my blog*

whilst some of the big players are contained here,there are vast numbers who are not involved whatsoever. Again, I don't want to now start a long script extolling the virtues of belonging to a trade association other than saying 'strength in numbers, helps to protect your business', 'helps to guarantee the quality of the ''product'' and to avoid rogue traders'................. 

It is inexplicable that vendors have not joined up, and a false economy to save upon the membership fees, when the very future of their business is in the balance.

Maybe controversially, I shall advance a thought that all vendors should  belong to a trade association (of their choice ), on a compulsory basis. I am a libertarian by nature, but something along these lines has to be at least considered, before regulators decide that for you. 

Licensing(of e-cig outlets) appeared in recent Welsh and Scottish proposed legislation,inevitably this will be passed eventually.This is but one example of where a meaningful 'lobby' that a strong trade association could represent, may help favourably frame the debate with legislators.

The same circumstances exist in the US(and elsewhere), with the same unwanted outcome expected so fgs. Get yourselves organised NOW!  

Join one of the 3 UK based Associations asap or if you are from a European country without a Trade Association consider ECIV 

** I regularly listen to Dimitris  on here  bemoaning the lack of vendor involvement in the various state trade associations ** so the problem is far from unique to the UK

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Action Required to Halt Plummeting Public Perception

Despite weighty reports from Public Health England, Royal College of Physicians, from Eire the Health Information and Quality Authority, from the US Truth Initiative and recently from Canada University of Victoria and News articles such as this in the Guardian  it is my contention that the battle for hearts and minds(of the general public) is losing ground quickly.

ASH UK estimated the following in 2016 here with the disturbing analysis of only 15% of the adult population believing that e-cigarettes are a lot less harmful than smoking

Other jurisdictions had similar dismal results Germany recorded 20.7% In the US ''According to the survey, 35 percent of adult smokers perceived e-cigarettes to be equally or more harmful than combustible cigarettes in 2015''. What will these figures be like in 2017? if comments sections in various media outlets are any guideline,there is little cause for optimism.

Without some immediate action from the likes of Public Health England,ASH UK,CRUK, this situation will be irreversible. 

Over the last 3 weeks we have witnessed the most concerted negative media campaign against e-cigarettes that I can recall over the last few years, whether it be reduced male potency(sperm),additional violence and burglaries,maladjusted children, philandering adults associated with e-cigarette use amongst the most bizarre claims.......endless baseless junk, BUT syndicated around the World, and as Brad Rodu recently indicated is only the tip of the iceberg of what is in the pipeline for the coming year. 

Undoubtedly Duncan Selbie, Kevin Fenton and Martin Dockrell at Public Health England are very well aware of all of these 'facts', but when are they going to counter it? 

I could waffle on about Public Health Campaigns,TV + Newspaper advertisments......... but if they wish to preserve their groundbreaking, immensely brave decision from 2015 status (to be supportive of e-cigarettes), vigorous action is required asap. 

Monday, 26 December 2016

New Head of RCGP provokes an angry Twitterstorm

This was the title of a Times Article  that appeared on Christmas Eve

''Put vaping under medical control, says GPs’ leader '' 

Dick Puddlecote immediately covered this in his own inimitable style here 

There's A New Idiot In Town  

I for one expected that would be the last we heard about this from the new head of the RCGP(Royal College of General Practitioners)  and here  .

But no, thanks to interventions from the likes of Lord Hunt (also President of RSPH) and presumably behind the scenes anger from RCGP members. 

A mini retraction was issued by the lady 

If one looks at her original quotations in the Times 


Irrespective of whether one word was a mis-quote, taken out of context,the nature and tone of the quotations are perfectly clear to any reader,and what prompted my blog..Helen has badly misjudged here, and a speedy retraction and clarification is most definitely required. Whether through Chris Smyth the Times journalist, or via her own RCGP blog to confirm the agreed policy,either avenue needs pursuing asap.

The recent RCGP policy position was announced less than one month ago,and was commented upon in a previous blog which noted that every single respected Public Health body was e-cig supportive,with the exception of the BMA and a few noisy renegades.

''To vape or not to vape? The RCGP position on e-cigarettes'' 

The timing of this article in the Christmas- New Year  peak resolution period to Stop Smoking is particularly unfortunate,specialists in this field of study will be dismayed at the apparent naivety displayed.I could fling further mud at Helen, regarding her recent forays into the mass media.However that would be counter- productive,but I strongly suggest that she takes the wise and honourable step of a full retraction to clear this particular sorry mess up.

To conclude this,I leave this short but very cutting comment.

 My commentary assumed naivety and inexperience from Helen, and thus was of a charitable nature.However,there was a clear similarity in her commentary with that of the Public Health renegade element I mentioned earlier.If Helen has fallen under their influence, I suggest a rapid rethink is called for, as they are becoming increasingly isolated,so back the righteous and winning horse,....'You decide' !  

As another update this confusion at the RCGP resulted in this video from BBC South on the 4th January  the in video commentary was annoying, the accompanying general public comments truly mind-numbing in their ignorance and lack of empathy. 

**** noticed 26/7/17
Further updated , the RCGP website has removed any reference to the policy position from November that was 'reasonable' and any search on the website => fault page,..... thus leaving the commentary from Helen as the ONLY resource from RCGP covering the topic of Vaping. Does this adequately cover the complexity of the topic :- 'You Decide' 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

'Moments' on Twitter :- An Aid to Info Gathering?

If like me you don't always spot what Twitter and Facebook 'updates' have actually done,please read on.

Once again a twitter conversation piqued my interest with a feature that has been on the twitter dashboard for months Moments wtf are they ? I had occasionally glanced through at the feature and decided(incorrectly) that there was nothing there of use.

Many thanks to Moments (read link)guru Norbert Zillatron  for his subtle guidance to allow me to scratch at the surface of what is actually possible with this feature. Within 24 hours I was producing this as an example of a quick 3 hour collection of anything I could locate on Battery Safety 

 The virtue of  any Moment that you produce, is that it updates itself in real-time when you add or edit it, entries can be moved up/down or removed at any time..

Ho hum I hear some of you saying .

What else is possible to build upon that , Neil Robinson suggested curated research links were possible :- accessible to anyone eg using a # like

#MomentsResearch or whatever, but endless possibilities are possible see here for my effort so far

There exists much knowledge out there on Social Media, google search,google scholar....etc etc Bill Godshall gives a comprehensive weekly update regularly published by Chris Price , there are Daily updates from Nicotine Science and Policy can we have too much information. Most of us bookmark pages and generally store away information on an individual basis on our devices.

What I see here is the germ of an idea that could result in a 'twitter persons library' and I advocate that we all embrace this notion of creating 'Moments'

 SEE  #CollectionOfVapingMoments - This is a very powerful feature that has the germs of an idea to create a central library accessible to anyone! At the moment about 10-12 moments exist in that collection #

IMPORTANTLY anyone can add their own Moment here on a topic that may be of General  Vaping Interest. We all have strengths+ weaknesses along with many varied interests, as long as the content is Vape related eg from DIY mixing up to high-powered research anything is fair game for inclusion.

The Library creation feature seems well-worthwhile pursuing, and may be a useful addition for any of the major Vaping Forums, where they could readily take away the useful links that are contained within. Maybe they could encourage their members to add their own Moments to the #CollectionOfVapingMoments? <<< Please examine the current content 

I hope this is a Sir Francis Drake moment of returning home with tobacco or potatoes from the New World rather than a blind-alley of fruitless effort. So some feedback would be more than welcomed

This was heavily modified on 16th December and may be updated again in the future

Two years ago a Fb group examined the feasibility of establishing a Library,some good thoughts but not actions were the fruitless result of that. Could the more computer literate readers examine the possibility of transferring all of these Moments elsewhere to a website that would allow a search function (or is that an impossibility?) Or examine other avenues to utilise these Moments??

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Antipathy of BMA towards Vaping

Vaping proponents and advocates of Tobacco Harm Reduction in general have been baffled and confused by the curious inability of the BMA(British Medical Association) to change its policy towards e-cigarettes . As an example of this, simply type search e-cigarettes onto their website a plethora of negativity results.

Following the Royal College of GP latest announcement,to align with the policy positions of most Public Health organisations in the UK, the BMA is now an outlier, along with a few influential rogue malcontents. ** note this announcement was revoked and replaced Jan 2017 by RCGP(no reason given)

It is unconscionable for them to maintain this position, especially as they seem to be the 'go to' organisation for commentary on e-cigs in the media.Their media influence has undoubtedly influenced the attitude of non-smokers, and smokers alike, contributing to the dismal public perception of 15%  believing much safer than smoking.
 Some absolutely shocking media interviews could be cited as examples here eg Banfield (Wales), Rae(N.E.) but I shall spare readers further grief.

Various conspiracy theories exist for this increasingly implausible policy position, maybe some have a part to play in the antipathy of the BMA ,but it is this authors contention that the paucity of education(in Nicotine and THR) whilst training has played a huge part in their flawed policy.

Recent examples of this misperception exist a,b,c,d,e within Dr's and Health professionals, I maintain it could well be due to flawed,possibly biased but certainly incomplete Education(but we need a large UK study of this phenomenon to confirm this ).

A perfect example of what educators need to foster is demonstrated here , stimulate the intellectual curiosity, and challenge the perceptions!

So Why is this important ?

The BMA  policy has to be voted upon(via members proposals) by a membership who have anything up to 50% misperception of the harms of nicotine and the value of Tobacco Harm Reduction

The(possible) self-perpetuating spiral of ignorance reflected in its policy needs addressing AND SOON! Inaction literally does kill!

Naturally this will not be unique to the UK, all Doctors Medical Associations around the World will probably demonstrate the same antipathy for similar ill-founded reasoning.

Time to #ReThinkNicotine ! and maybe they take some advice