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Hey guys, welcome back. Dawn here, your A Clean Cigarette blogger and as you know on April the 29th we once again headed down to Washington DC to see what would be said at this year’s electronic cigarette summit.
In our last blog, we covered a significant amount of information on this subject and my intent here today is to finish up with the last of the news out of Washington DC. The thing is there is still a lot of information in the last bit so we need to get right to it.
In previous years the CDC has been all but silent. They have certainly never had a speaker at the summit before. Which is really very odd since the CDC is located right there in Washington DC. None, of that matters though because this year not only were they there, they even had a speaker to give us a peek into what they are thinking. Yay!
So what was said? Well according to Dr. Brian King who is the Director for Research Translation Office on Smoking and Health the CDC is concerned about youth vaping. Which is not surprising. He called out companies like Juul and the Blu who’s past advertising campaigns appear to be directed at minors and young adults.
The fact that Dr. King was the senior associate editor of the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report, “E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults.” tells us a lot about what he is thinking. You may remember that report was the one that showed how youth vaping has raised something like 70% in the last two years. Well the CDC does not think it is a coincidence that pod products like Juul were first released about two years ago.
Basic CDC Talking Points From Dr. Biarn King
As you could tell in our last blog even though the summit was in Washington DC. our countries capital. We were not the only country with something to say regarding electronic cigarettes. We have already talked about Australia and the UK now it’s time to hear from one of our neighbors. Canada.
Canda is really a late player in the game but that has not held them back much. In fact, according to Director Von Loop ( Director of Tobacco Control Directorate, Health Canada), Canada’s smoking rate is at an all-time low and they think that vaping can help them reach their goal of less than 5% by 2035.
Professor David Hammond another speaker out of Canada stated that most nicotine will be delivered by vapor in the future. In addition, Prof. David Hammond shared information from the NYTS report (National Youth Tobacco Studies). While he shared the findings of that report he did make sure to note that Juul and other products containing the highly controversial nicotine salt additives came out about halfway through this study. Possibly skewing the numbers.
That was the basic message although there were the typical comments about more research. and they mentioned things like health claims and warning on packages. Mostly the typical stuff. Overall I think this quote from Director Van Loon describes the message that Canada had for the E-cigarette summit in Washington DC.
“For smokers, this (Vape) is less harmful than smoking, for youth vaping this (Vape) is bad.”
We have talked about a number of countries now it’s time to talk about what’s going on in our own country. The good ole US of A. I bet it will come as no surprise to you that an E-Cigarette Summit in held in Washington DC had a lot of information about e-cigs and US regulatory affairs and the people who influence them. With that in mind instead of talking about individuals, I am just going to bulletin point a handful of topics and comment. (The Image: Color-coded vape usage by state)
According to Cliff Douglas, who is VP of Tobacco Control for the American Cancer Society too much focus has been diverted away from traditional burning tobacco. He pointed out that the harm that burning tobacco does “is scantily talked about verses e-cigs”. While they did not go so far as to say e-cigs were good they did point out that 98% of all tobacco-related deaths are from cancer. Another speaker from this topic, Prof David Levy out of the Lombardi Cancer Center was the co/author of one our favorite studies that claim if all smokers switched to e-cigarettes of burning tobacco as many as 6.6 million lives could be saved in the next 10 years.
This category has two of my favorite speakers, Dr. Robin Mermelstien, Dr. Nancy Rigotti. Both can agree that it is an unfortunate truth that most physicians get the majority of their “education” regarding e-cigarettes from the media. in addition, they can both agree that patients are asking questions and physicians need to be able to sit down and have adult conversations with them. Dr. Mermelstien showed us a range of studies, including some that she tore apart as “bad science” in an effort to show how confusing the current evidence is. She also noted that since e-cigarettes are not advertised as quit aids. adult smokers are not as motivated as they could be to switch away from deadly burning tobacco.
We saw a ton of studies. I will be doing blogs on some of them in the upcoming months. Because of that, I am going to keep this fairly short. Was there new research? YES. Did that research look good for the goals of this industry? You betcha! Was there some bad news? Always. What were the most talked about finding? Easy. The two most talked about topics were smoking cessation and the effects of high levels of nicotine in vape products. Fingers were pointed at vape salts and companies like Juul that use extremely high doses of nicotine in their devices. On the smoking cessation end, all fingers were pointed at the question of keeping kids off while promoting an effective product for adults to quit smoking.
There was so much more at this event then I am able to share here. The good news is that it was taped and you can watch the speakers or even view the powerpoint slides: 2019 Electronic cigarette summit/ Washington DC.
As a rule, I do try not to talk about our competition. For good or bad. Juul, however, keeps making that almost impossible.
I will admit I almost felt bad for the Juul representatives that were in the audience. Mind you this was the first year that I saw them there. It was hard not to feel bad though when one after the other each and every speaker had something to say about them. They were actually mentioned well over 100 times before I lost count. Accusations came from every area but the group that appeared to hate Juul the most was Tobacco-Free Kids.
You may remember me talking about Mathew Myers in past blogs, well he let loose on Juul. Of course, he dislikes us all, but his hate for Juul was very evident. But his hate for Juul could affect the entire industry. Mr. Myers wasted no time pointing to the Altria buy-in and the obviously youth based marketing. The whole time arguing that Juul’s actions are proof that the electronic cigarette industry cannot abide by rules and needs to be cut off at the knees before big tobacco can take over.
He went so far as to say all should be medical and there should be NO flavorings, even flavors that mimic menthol and non-menthol tobacco flavors. Basically bringing ENDS products back to the nicotine inhalers of the past.
He also has no sympathy for companies when it comes to the crazy high cost of the Pre Market Authorization. A process that could cost every mid-size and small shop multiple millions in the next couple of years. putting most out of business He even said that if they could not afford the process they should not be selling an addictive drug like Nicotine.
(What the heck? Did he lose his mind while in Washington D.C for this summit? Out of one side of his mouth, he says big tobacco is taking over, on the other side he says if you don’t have big tobacco level money you should not be allowed in the industry. Seriously. How about we make the playing field fair and make common sense rules that help the public and smokers. Why not work against big tobacco vs setting the table for their feast? Sorry, not Sorry Matt, your logic this year was flawed and your grumpy demeanor looked like a child throwing a fit. Instead of trying to find obstacles to helping smokers and kids at least look at some common sense solutions?)
Most of the speakers at this years summit gave absolutely no quarter to Juul’s argument that it was an oversight to advertise to youth. Most speakers just bluntly said that Juul is a huge issue and the majority of the youth vaping issues. They did not only point at Juul there were a few others were mentioned briefly. None of them with the frequency as Juul though.
They specifically pointed at advertising tactics with traveling keg buses and loud concerts. As well as young attractive models in “lifestyle” type advertising.
Well, that’s a bit of insight about this year’s E-Cigarette Summit in Washington DC. There was one speaker there that I want to mention before I let you guys go. Her name is Rachelle Annechiho and she joined us from the Critical Public Health Research Center. This lady researches research and analyzes things like how social and mainstream media affect public health. She is also my new hero.
While her speaking skills were not the best in the room, her message was one I have never seen talked about at this level before. She is absolutely convinced that the negative propaganda and misinformation regarding electronic cigarettes is as out of this world and illogical as the propaganda from the past regarding Cannabis. She even went so far as to put up a slide with a piece of e-cigarette propaganda next to an image from the “Reefer Madness” propaganda of the past. While calling on her fellow researchers and the media to stop creating panic and start focusing on telling the truth. Her lecture took bravery and a level of honesty that I respect.
From all of us here at A Clean Cigarette, Thank you, Rachelle Annechiho. You freaking rock.
Thanks for stopping in today. I certainly hope that you found it informative. As always if you have any questions please reach out to me at Dawn@ACleanCigaretteBlog.com. I would love to hear from you. Also if you would like more information on A Clean Cigarette brand electronic cigarette, please stop by our website. www.acleancigarette.com. We hope to see you there!