Hello everyone! Dawn here your A Clean Cigarette blogger. It’s that time of year again. That time where we here at A Clean Cigarette travel to our nations great Capitol and have an opportunity to hear what the scientific and regulatory communities are thinking when it comes to E-cigarettes and Vapor products. Now last year when we reported on this event is was an eight-part series that spread over two months. We are not doing that this year.
Instead, this year’s E-cigarette Summit coverage will be two or three-part series with just a brief description of what each expert spoke on. Keep in mind that unlike some of our opinion post this post is designed to report on the events that happened at this summit. Not to report our opinions or to make any claims. These experts and scientist are doing research to find the truth but until the FDA has decided on how things can be said we will not be making any claims we will only be reporting on the findings.
The findings from the 2018 Washington DC E-cigarette Summit are in no way tied to A Clean Cigarette brand e-cigarettes. A Clean Cigarette brand e-cigarettes contain nicotine and are in no way intended to treat or diagnose any disease or addiction. Nicotine is highly addictive in any form. If you are a never smoker, never start. Not even with an AClean Cigarette brand of e-cigarette.
On to the good stuff:
What IS the E-cigarette Summit? It’s simple, once a year top minds from the science communities, regulatory communities, e-cigarette communities and health care communities gather together to discuss everything e-cigarette and vapor related. And when I say top minds I really mean it.
At this years summit, we had 20+ speakers and panel contributors. We had people like Mitch Zeller the current director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products who spent a good amount of time helping us to understand what the FDA is looking for as far as regulations and evidence. He outlined some things we may see moving forward as far as product standards are concerned and he touched on flavors and why the FDA is taking commentary right now.
Zeller also went on to acknowledge that No nicotine does NOT cause cancer and yes e-cigarettes are less harmful than burning tobacco but then he went on to say that regardless of those two facts nicotine is still addictive and more evidence is still needed as well as more regulations and easier to understand product standards. (BTW I am not claiming that I am ONLY reporting what he said.)
While Mitch had a lot to say he was not the only mind so what we are going to do is just an image and a brief chat with most of the speakers and their topics.
This is Dr. Lion Shahab. He is an avid ENDS user and supporter as well as an addiction specialist. Being that he can see both sides of the story as not only a user but a health care participant Dr. Shahab’s voice rang with an air of certainty as he tackled such topics as the “gateway theory” and “renormalization of smoking”. Below is a list of the claims that he spoke about. In every case, he was able to bring proof that the claims were wrong.
Speaking topic: Exploring Five Common Claims About E-Cigarette Use.
- “This talk will cover published and unpublished data from the Smoking Toolkit Study, various national youth surveys, the Cochrane collaboration and other observational as well as experimental studies to look at five common statements relating to e-cigarette use. In particular, this presentation will address and critically dissect evidence relating to the claim that e-cigarettes 1) renormalize tobacco use; 2) are a youth gateway to smoking cigarettes; 3) are ineffective as a smoking cessation tool; 4) are as dangerous as conventional cigarettes and 5) that they are completely safe.”
Our next speaker was Dr. Nancy Rigotti MD, who is a Primary Care Giver as well as a Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center there. Dr. Rigotti spoke primarily about the recent study was done at Congresses request. We have covered this study in a past blog that you can find HERE if you are interested.
During her lecture, Dr. Rigotti asked a very important question: “What should Doctors be saying to patients?” In her opinion, they should not discourage already smokers from switching to a less harmful form of nicotine delivery. We hope that Healthcare providers across the country are hearing her answer.
Speaking topic: The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Report on E-Cigarettes – Summary and Relevance to Clinicians
- Rigotti will summarize the conclusions of the recent NASEM report and the priorities that it identified for future research. Additionally, in the current state of incomplete organizations, she will discuss the challenges for individual clinicians and their professional organizations as they attempt to answer patient questions and create clinical guidance.
This is a face that you may remember from last year’s E-Cigarette Summit. Mathew L Myers is the President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. And for obvious reasons, he is not a fan of this industry. That being said, compared to last year where it seemed he had NO interest in the good side of this industry, this year he came with ideas to help. Things like standardized packaging and design restrictions to prevent the marketing of nicotine to minors all seemed like fair ideas to me. The issue he says is that ENDS are not A product they are a series of products. Which makes it hard to standardize anything.
Even as I give him props for bringing ideas I keep in mind that this is the organization that is currently suing the FDA for holding off on finalizing the regulations until all the evidence is sorted through and new regulations based on us instead of burning tobacco products are formulated. It seems as if he would rather shut it all down until regs can be made. Quite possibly at the cost of millions of smoker’s lives. (Take note of the quote in his speaking topic to see how he REALLY feels about us.)
The Tobacco Industry: Harm Reduction and the Unique Need for Regulation
- The debate around E-Cigarettes revolves around whether they are more effective at helping people quit smoking than existing products or whether they will enable more people who would not otherwise quit, to switch completely to products that will significantly reduce their risk of disease. However, the real debate is around whether a free market approach with only minimal government oversight or whether an approach that provides the government the opportunity to review products, verify claims and set standards to insure that consumers receive independently verified and reliable information is the best to way to accomplish these goals. The “Trust me” approach has been tried in this field before and failed and is not working with e-cigarettes. Meaningful regulation is needed for products that claim to help those who suffer from a disease and are seeking cures that they can trust. Regulation would already be happening if the e-cigarette industry hadn’t resisted it at every step.
Here is another face we remember from last year’s Summit, although this one is a MUCH friendlier face. Attorney General Tom Miller is a nine-term AG out of Iowa and a friendly voice in the battle for this industry. I have him quoted as saying “Every Smoker should know that if they either can not or will not quit smoking they should switch to E-cigarettes.” He not only said it in his lecture he reiterated it a few times. In his opinion, people FALSELY believe that e-cigarettes are harmful and FALSELY believe that they don’t work.
With his work as an AG he considers it a vital part of his job to ensure the industry is communicating TRUTHS to consumers. He also believes that that is not happening in the US right now and in fact, lies and misinformation are a huge part of what consumers are hearing.
Speaking topic: Honest Communication to Consumers
- The duty of an Attorney General is to act as gatekeeper and steward for consumer protection and ensure that information is accurately communicated to the public so that they can make informed decisions. AG Tom Miller historically held the tobacco industry to account for inaccurately communicating the harm and risks of their products. With the introduction of alternative nicotine delivery systems he will explore the new questions this has raised and how different and sometimes misleading perspectives on harm reduction are influencing consumers and ask what lessons can be learned.
Again with the familiar faces! This is Dr. Robin Mermelstien PHD who comes to us out of the University of Chicago. Like the message she delivered last year at the Summit, Dr. Mermelstien had a lot of positive things to say but is always seeking evidence. In my past E-cigarette Summit blog, I made note that she seemed in search of the real truth, regardless of what that truth is. I still feel that way. She fully understands the millions of lives that burning tobacco-related illnesses claim each year and she is hoping to find a way to beat that epidemic. Politics aside for her, a truth seeker is what she is.
Speaking topic: Switching from Combustibles to E-Cigarettes: What We Need to Know and Strategies Moving Forward
- This presentation will present data from an observational study of dual cigarette and E-cigarette users focusing on patterns and predictors of switching products, discuss gaps that need to be addressed in developing approaches to help combustible smokers switch, and suggest potential strategies for advancing our knowledge of what works to help smokers switch.
Professor Hayden McRobbie may also be a familiar sounding name but not because he was at the last E-Cigarette Summit. His work on a variety of different studies and research documents has made appearances on this blog quite a few times. Prof. McRobbie is most famous for the work he has done in New Zeland when it comes to e-cigarette and vapor regulations and standards. In NZ e-cigarettes with nicotine are a medical device and require a doctors prescription.
Speaking topic: The New Zealand Experience with E-Cigarettes
The sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes (EC) is currently illegal in NZ, although people can legal import EC for their personal use. In June 2016, the Cabinet Social Policy Committee decided, in principle, to legalise the sale of EC, but with appropriate controls. The potential of e-cigarettes to help improve public health depends on the extent to which they can act as a route out of smoking for New Zealand’s 550,000 daily smokers, without providing a route into smoking for children and non-smokers. In 2017 the Government proposed to change the law regulating e-cigarettes. These proposed changes included the legalization of the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid as consumer products, but with controls. This presentation will provide an overview of the journey to date and possible future direction.
Here is another name AND face we know. Not only was Professor Ann McNeil at last years summit she is also the main Authors of the Public Health England commissioned systematic review that found E-cigarettes to be about 95% less harmful than burning tobacco. If you would like to read up on that click HERE.
Throughout her lecture, Prof McNeil noted that the misinformation and propaganda around electronic cigarettes is hurting the overall success these products could be having on public health and burning tobacco-related illness. While Professor McNeil does support e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices and does believe the evidence shows that e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than their burning tobacco counterparts. She also believes that safeguards need to be in place to prevent the misuse of these products, particularly in the case of e-cigarette sales to minors and never smokers.
Speaking topic: Public Health England’s Independent Expert E-Cigarettes Evidence Review – Misinformation, Misreporting and Public Understanding
- The 2018 PHE report highlighted the pervasiveness of misunderstandings in the nicotine product field. Perceptions of the relative harmfulness of nicotine compared with smoking have changed little over the last 15 years and underpin misperceptions about relative risks, addictiveness and harm. Inadequate or inaccurate reporting of scientific studies regularly generate media attention which misleads the public and as a consequence smokers continue to smoke. Gateway scares are prevalent in the media, despite the fact that UK surveys provide no evidence that e-cigarettes are leading never smokers to take up smoking. The PHE 2015 report indicates that this theory is extremely difficult to test in humans and recommends gateway terminology be abandoned until the theory can be tested in the field.
Wow, I find that we are at over 2100 words for the day. I think we will stop here lol. I hope you guys are finding this information as interesting as I did. If you are looking for more info on the Summit itself visit their website at: www.e-cigarette-summit.us.com If you are interested in more information regarding A Clean Cigarette brand electronic cigarettes feel free to check out our webpage at: www.acleancigarette.com.
Thank you so much for stopping in and as always if you have questions or thoughts about today’s blog topic or really anything e-cigarette and vapor related feel free to leave a comment below or reach out in private message on Facebook. Thank you!!