Chris Ravin is our featured guest with a great piece that's very well documented. This is an invaluable tool for any vape advocate and hopefully thought provoking and ultimately, opinion altering.
I would be more than happy to discuss the below in person or via phone (contact info at the end).
For the record, I am a scientist in the biotech industry, I have no financial interests in the ecig industry. I KNOW the falsehoods being pushed upon the general public by anti-vaping organizations. I also know the generally poor job many politicians and other outlets do with what is going on and reinforcing half-truths and lies. Especially when it comes to science. We need SCIENCE and DATA based decision making for policy makers. Not fear, hypothesis or opinion. That is why I left the republican party. Amazingly the rest of the world still looks to the US (surprising, after the way our politics have been going the last 2 years), so ill conceived policy will propagate and affect more than US citizens.
Please, please, please read the FACTS below. From my own experiences and that of literally thousands of other people’s experiences, flavors are CRITICAL to helping quit smoking. Please don’t give in to the overhyped and unreal “epidemic” (a horrific methodology of skewing the numbers in a way that any statistician would immediately see as bogus, more on that later). What you are being sold by the anti-vaping folks there has NEVER been shown a link that vaping leads to smoking. No DATA OR FACTS support that THEORY.
I smoked for 20+ years. I tried the patch, gum and Chantix. Nothing worked for more than a month or so away from cigarettes. Then I found vaping. Vaping worked, after 1 week I kicked cigarettes. I went from the equivalent of a cigarette in 20 puffs to a cigarette’s worth of nicotine in 120 puffs of vaping in less than a month. In fact, Vaping is twice as effective than any other cessation aid (https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779) this is an actual study following the same subjects over time, not latitudinal data analyses, which are problematic for PROVING anything beyond a correlation (frequently bandied about as proof). The reason for the success of vaping over other aids are that it treats more than just the chemical addiction, it treats the habitual addiction, this is absolutely CRITICAL for long time smokers. Sure, people against vaping will say this is anecdotal evidence. However, there are 5 million people that have the same result. Enough instances mean it is no longer anecdotal. Imagine if we (as a country) got behind vaping? 480,000 lives a year could be saved. 480,000.
I breathe better, no longer getting winded walking up stairs. My lung function is better than it's EVER been. I can enjoy food much more, I can smell things. I don't have the perpetual stink of cigarette smell all over me and my clothes anymore.
FACTS about the lung disease epidemic:
- Vaping is a verb. When you vaporize something.
- Vaping nicotine (ecigs) and vaping THC (NOT ECIGS) are apples and oranges, totally different.
- One is water soluble and in vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, that contains nicotine and flavorings. All used in food products for decades, propylene glycol being used in inhalers for decades.
- THC is not water soluble, oil miscible. This is where lipid pneumonia comes in, vitamin E and other oils that the black market uses to cut the THC liquid.
- You CAN'T get lipid pneumonia from ecigs, there are no lipids.
- The FDA knew it was THC from the start as they clearly stated in early September.
- The CDC dragged their feet on ecigs vs. THC for a while, for a reason that one can only speculate.
- For some unknown reason the CDC considers THC vapes "ecigs" even though they are not (more on that below).
- EVERYONE outside of the CDC and government Public Health orgs knew this rather quickly:
- https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/counterfeit-thc-vapes-cdc-vaping-health-alert-875931/ yes that’s right, The Rolling Stone did a better job at digging into the story than almost every other media outlet.
- All but one of these cases are in the US (the other in Canada). Millions of people use ecigs around the world….
- ~80% of the cases were THC linked as of 9/27/19 (numbers wobble a bit depending on the region) https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2019/09/27/most-vaping-related-lung-injuries-linked-marijuana-products-cdc-says/). The rest are likely people lying in fear of prosecution. These THC products were bought on the black market. Further they could have been knock off JUUL pods filled with anything (you can get those from China); hence people being confused about whether they were using THC.
Which goes to my next point, prohibition doesn't work:
- Alcohol prohibition failed and gave rise to organized crime.
- The drug war is a massive failure. http://fileserver.idpc.net/library/Shadow%20Report_FINAL_ENGLISH.pdf
- Opioid epidemic - this may be a very unpopular opinion (yes, an opinion, but follows the same pattern as these lung illnesses epidemic.) The US had a lot of people abusing and addicted to OxyContin. However, our Public Health groups (in their infinite wisdom) rather than take a step back and plan a way to identify and get people off the drugs with treatment made the drug harder to get. Almost overnight, there was a new black market for the pills. As further clamping down on prescriptions ensued, many turned to heroin. The Policy makers of this country are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for every single heroin OD for a person trying to feed their addiction as they could no longer get OxyContin. Suing the drug maker does literally nothing to help those addicted.
- Prohibition of THC is EXACTLY what has caused these issues with lung illnesses over the last couple of months.
- Banning flavors will force MANY back to cigarettes, other to ANOTHER black market.
Facts about flavors:
- There is literally no proof that flavors are for kids. I'll say that again, this is an ASSUMPTION, there is no PROOF that this is true. I eat sweets and fruits and deserts all the time. How can this country have such an obesity problem without adults consuming these foods at an alarming clip? “Common sense” is the cry of the ignorant with no data to back them up....
- FDA hosted survey, shows the necessity of flavors for adult ecig users. https://www.dropbox.com/s/b8uwoxay6i2fzb2/Docket%20No.%20FDA-2017-N-6565_FARSALINOS.pdf?dl=0
- Note how few use tobacco flavors? Because they don't taste like a cigarette AT ALL. Most find them disgusting. The people orchestrating these bans don't even know that because they have taken no time to talk to those that use these products and just assume we're all evil like smokers. Additionally, why would anyone want to be reminded of cigarettes when trying to quit?
- Flavored vaping products have been around for more than a decade. It wasn’t a youth issue until the last two years. Until high nicotine, low complexity systems came about (pod systems) Hint: they do it for the buzz
- IF flavors entice kids, why are nicotine gum/lozenges/sprays flavored? And if they only do it because of flavors why are kids abusing them too? Becasue flavors don’t matter according to the FDA itself https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12175452/ why would it matter with vaping? Hint: They vape for the buzz.
- Why are there a MYRIAD of flavored hard alcohol products on the market?
- Why are flavored cigarillos still on the market?
- And why in the name of all logic (in THC legal states) is there literally THC laced candies and cookies available? Kids can easily get these from older people as they can vaping stuff.
Facts about vaping:
- A very good paper that goes through many of the possible effects of vaping (many incorrectly reported in news media): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17476348.2019.1649146
- The UK has the second lowest smoking rates in Europe due to their embracing vaping as a harm reduction tool.
- The Royal College of Physicians (you know the group that discovered the now obvious link of smoking and cancer, while the US ignored it to protect the Tobacco industry for the better part of a decade) one of the premier health/science organizations in the world fully embraces vaping they have proven it is 95-97% less harmful than smoking with less than 1/200 the amount of carcinogens than smoking. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review
- Since that was published in New Zealand, France and others reversed their policies, from banning and restricting vaping to embracing it and enjoy plummeting smoking rates.
- Myths about vaping https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/20/clearing-up-some-myths-around-e-cigarettes/
- No one in ten years has gotten sick from nicotine vaping. I'll say that again, no one.
- In fact, vaping may reverse COPD https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6113943/
- Over the course of three + years no ill effects from vaping according to this study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14043-2
- More facts (though an opinion piece) https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/09/setting-the-record-straight-on-vaping/
- Cigarette smoke has ~6000-7000 chemicals in it. Vaping has ~300. Most at barely detectable levels. The ones present in higher concentrations are NOT carcinogenic.
- Cigarettes contain a multitude of addictive or chemicals that make smoking more pleasurable https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2040350/ (see the table), vaping has ONE (nicotine).
- Formaldehyde fears are completely unfounded. Dose makes the poison, there simply isn't enough emitted to be an issue (many times more in cigarettes) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691517305033
- Diacetyl is present in much higher concentration in cigarettes, no one ever got popcorn lung from smoking http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/12/new-study-finds-that-average-diacetyl.html
- Nicotine doesn’t cause cancer https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallysatel/2015/06/19/nicotine-can-save-lives/#69057d526f43
- The recent recent mouse study (https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/10/01/1911321116) is ludicrous…. when you expose a model to so much of a thing (in this case vapor) that many DIE DURING EXPOSURE protocol, it doesn’t doesn’t matter what the other effects are downstream. You’ve obviously flown past the reasonable, practical and comparable use realm into silly. This is reminiscent of the saccharin studies in the studies where the rats were fed ridiculous amounts of saccharin (orders of magnitudes more than humans would ever consume). Dose makes the poison (again). “Poisoning animals in their cages is not informative of what happens to consumer under normal condition of use.” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17476348.2019.1649146 mouse models are generally poor correlators to human cancer development (8% align with human studies) even Scott Gottlieb admits this study is less than stellar https://twitter.com/ScottGottliebMD/status/1181346635365912576 also https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-study-on-ecig-vapour-and-cancer-in-mice/ https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/ecig-vapour-and-cancer-in-mice/
- 200 + articles that show the harm reduction capabilities, efficacy for ecig use, lack of harm from use and/or shoot down poor studies indicating "ecigs bad" https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17H3rBQIroLZdleUBalP45BG9PlXsSyL-DQPIbGRvY-I/htmlview?pli=1#gid=0
- A Juul pod does NOT equal a pack of cigarettes.... a Juul pod is .7 ml of 58 mg/ml = 40.6 mg of nicotine. Your average cigarette is 12 mg. Therefore, a Juul pod is 1/6 that of a pack of cigarettes. The fact that this is thrown around clearly emphasizes my point that little thought is being used by the public health or media and they just regurgitate things without verifying the truthfulness of each statement. AND smoking is a much better way to get nicotine into your system than vaping, basically comparing mg/ml nicotine across different ecig products is silly when you compare to smoking. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0220300
- No one thinks vaping is harmless. Obviously breathing anything but air isn't smart. But it is CERTAINLY LESS HARMFUL than smoking. FULL STOP.
- It's absolutely wrong, bordering on evil to tell people to smoke over vaping.
- There is much more to the vaping market than the Juul. Although Juul is bordering on criminally detestable for their actions during these trying times, they make a simple and effective tool to get people off the butts. They represent the largest segment of the closed pod market, yes. This is the easiest product for people to be introduced to vaping i.e. the likely best product to get people off cigarettes. But there’s more to vaping than Juul
Hopefully the above has shown you the facts. Smoking Kills 480,000 people in the US alone annually, 1 of every two that use it long-term. To date nicotine vaping has killed none, there is no tar, no carbon monoxide, and almost no carcinogens (and what is there is at levels too low to be problematic). But why are the US governmental public health organizations so against vaping? A great question. Many people outside of the government (public health, doctors, etc.) understand the harm reduction boon that vaping can give us and the number of lives it can save:
- Dr. Michael Siegel (Boston University) -http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/
- Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos (cardiologist) http://www.ecigarette-research.org/research/
- Dr. Charles A Gardner
- Dr. Sally Satel
- Dr. David Abrams https://www.cbsnews.com/news/vaping-deaths-us-blowing-single-biggest-public-health-opportunity-in-120-years-as-debate-e-cigarettes-scientist/ (the heart thing is way overblown, caffeine does the same)
- Dr. Brad Rodu https://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com/
- Dr. Scott Gottlieb (look at his recent tweets, clearly states that banning is a bad idea.)
- and many more.
States are banning this product over 17 deaths in three months. A product that in reality has NOTHING to do with this "epidemic" of illness. Care to guess how many people died from cigarette related illness in that time? 120,000. This is insane.
First off, of course kids shouldn't be smoking or vaping. T21 is a good idea. Banning is not.
Further these numbers are GREATLY inflated by their classification system. A horrific methodology of including a person who used an ecig once in the last thirty days the same as someone using them every day. That is mathematical malpractice. If one has a single beer a month are they an alcoholic? Of course not. If someone commits one crime are they a habitual offender? Of course not. It's absolutely preposterous to claim that. Only 8% of ecig users (those that TRIED an ecig) in the NYTS never used another tobacco product, regular users of ecigs that never smoked is 0.6%.
They do it for the buzz, not the flavors: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/28/opinions/e-cigarettes-emergency-opinion-shapiro/index.html ban it, and they go right back to smoking.
So why do Government health people hate the vaping so much?
A good question. I can speculate all day long. But it's a simple as: they don't understand the product, they don't understand what nicotine addiction is like, they don't understand that vaping is not smoking. Some will say "you're still smoking” but they are wrong. By definition, there is nothing burning.
AND THEY ARE JUST FINE WITH ALL THAT. They show zero effort to look into anything and just assume they are right. That is flat out not how science works. They are stuck in the 1980s view of addiction and treatment of said addictions
Keep in mind these are the same people that thought: “We have an issue with people abusing prescription Opioids? Well let’s just make them hard as hell to get, it’ll sort itself out no problem!”
Additionally, they display behaviors that are very similar to that of the anti-vaxxers. They belittle any science that doesn't fit their massive bias, regardless of how solid it is, and embrace the worst science that enforces their views. Case in point, all the recent studies that have found something bad in vaping (formaldehyde etc). Detecting something bad is easy, but the dosage is critical; I can dig in my yard and find several atoms of uranium, but it's so little it's irrelevant, no need to freak out and make it a superfund site. If it's below cigarettes dosages it is completely IRRELEVANT as we are talking harm reduction here.
Further the fundamental model of nicotine addiction is likely wrong. It would never pass muster in today’s scientific community https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116468/ (especially interesting is that smokers get the same relief from denicotinized cigarettes!) The “addictive as heroin” has ZERO scientific backing, yet is mentioned daily. The fact is that the addiction is more likely due to the cocktail of other alkaline compounds added to cigarettes. As the above paper states, it’s hard to get animals addicted to nicotine. This wrong model also explains why traditional cessation aids fail so often and why vaping works better. Vaping address nicotine and habitual satisfaction, without all the extra dependency causing compounds.
SCIENCE over EMOTION. The UK is seeing unprecedented drops in the smoking rate. We will see our rates go back up if these bans hold. More importantly, 30 million people will not get the chance to try and quit with far more effective vaping (again 2x more effective than patches or gum).
So what should we do?
- Not ban flavors, as mentioned earlier this is literally the worst thing we can do. It will push many back to cigarettes and prevent many from getting off cigarettes. ESPECIALLY in the underhanded "lung illness" epidemic excuse.
- ENFORCE THE LAWS WE HAVE. Someone sells to a minor? Do the same you would if they sold them cigarettes. You vape in school? Same punishment as smoking.
- T21 with a grandfather clause for those that currently smoke so they can quit.
- Limit nicotine concentration of nicotine to 25 mg/ml across all devices. However, pod systems are critical for getting more people to quit smoking. They are just so easy to use.
- Stop treating ecigs (even the nicotine containing ones) as a tobacco product, it is not. It is no more a tobacco product than Pepsi is a coffee product because it contains caffeine that came from the coffee bean.
- REASONABLE regulations to protect vapers from people doing stupid things like what has happened with the THC carts. While there are already current standards in use (ISO and GMP) and all juice makers have filed recipes with the FDA (yes that's right the "we don't know what's in them" is, pardon my french, bullshit). This is CERTAINLY NOT the current PMTA process. That process was invented to make it nearly impossible for cigarette makers to introduce new products, which will lead to a black market when nothing gets approved by the FDA (or more likely no liquid companies can afford the PMTA in the first place). We need a new framework that can be deployed rapidly, unlike the PMTA that takes YEARS.
- Terminate the truth and anti-vaping ads. They are pathetically full with lies, stupid faux dramatic silliness and literally entice kids into vaping. instead go for FACTS, not production values and scare tactics. https://academic.oup.com/ntr/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ntr/ntx239/4588312?redirectedFrom=fulltext https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070719170315.htm
- Be honest with teens about the risks and why they don't want to be addicted to a substance. Don't shun them if they do get addicted. Help them quit (like we should have with opioids.)
- The Iowa Attorney general gets it https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/media/cms/MillerOMB_follow_up__3_Oct_2019__Pu_AD6FE02B6AB9B.pdf
- Ecigs are not THC or oil based vapes. All these illnesses CAN'T be from vaping nicotine.
- Ecigs, while not without questions about long term use, are certainly MUCH MUCH less harmful than smoking. Fear of the long-term effects is a diversionary tactic; they just CAN’T be as bad for you long term as smoking (lung cancer, heart issues, emphysema etc. Literally nothing people consume is tested for long term effects before it hits the market, nothing. Not medicine, pharmaceuticals, food products, nothing.
- Prohibiting them is a bad move and it will screw 13 million vapers that just want to stay away from deadly cigarettes, and prevent others from getting off cigarettes. And open a potentially deadly black market with no controls or standards.
- There is clearly a lot of half-truths and BS going around, this must cease. PH “experts” must research the literature, discuss with people that know about vaping and harm reduction and not just throw out tired anti-tobacco opinions. Media needs to do more research rather than vomit up the same half-truths and lies that was published elsewhere the day before.
- There are clearly other agendas OTHER than public health afoot (MSA, Tax revenue, plummeting sales of OTC cessation aids, and ignorance)
- I hate to even mention it, but thousands of jobs are on the line here.
- Science over hysteria, data-based decision making.