Let me start this blog post with one key statement. I was never born into an ecig family dynasty. I made the decision to expand from my laboratory into Vape and Juice, based on a realistic, rational, sensible interpretation of the only genuine evidence on electronic cigarettes that is available. This is not newspaper headlines, this is a close inspection of the argument for and the argument against. Closer still was the attention I have paid to the quality of studies on both sides. I have seen case after case of smokers turning to vaping and NEVER looking back. I am yet to meet a smoker who became one after using electronic cigarettes. I am yet to see any external evidence either. I am yet to hear of the death of a vaper from regular sensible controlled use of an electronic cigarette bought from a clean source. I am yet to read about one either.
I believe in this industry. If you have evidence you have a discussion, if you don't, then you ought to stay out of the debate.
To vapers, the innovation of the electronic cigarette is a game-changer. It's a seismically relevant revolution of a dangerous habit. Vaping is to smoking, what smartphones are to telegrams. The look that comes across a newbie vaper's face the moment they first inhale on a hookah pen is the same all the time. The look that is 'That look'.
As a humble Professor of Vaping, you may think I have a vested interest to speak highly of the electronic cigarette industry - you are only half wrong. I do speak highly of the innovation, I do speak highly of the tool as a true alternative. I also have the time to give as much respect for the genius mind that developed this product in China in 2003; that perhaps counters for the thoughtless somewhat quasi racial stereotyping that comes out of parts of the developed world as, 'Chinese stuff is a bit dodgy'.
No, China is a centre of scientific, academic and in recent years, economic excellence. China are the masters of reverse engineering but forgetting are we not that the ancient Chinese civilisations have been the pioneers of so many discoveries. I am therefore minded to think that when the time and money was invested and still is invested into the devices that we see today, they may have built something that would be an improvement on current nicotine replacement therapies. After all, it is certainly in the interests of electronic cigarette manufacturers for their products to be proven concepts and to be a safer option. It is to no-ones benefit to cause fatalities or harm, lest they see the value of their investments wiped out.
It was with this I gave sufficient consideration to the product when trying to find a way to quit smoking. Nicotine patches that more often than not contain more nicotine than most ejuices on the market today; are really not a quality proposition. Nicotine inhalers have a place but again, they do not replace the fidget, the learned desires - for humans are creatures of habit. Only an ecig helped me break the spell, I became a believer from experience, from actual evidence.
It seemed that I wasn't alone, many more people could speak no ill of electronic cigarettes and this group was global too. A decade and a year has passed since the birth of the ecig and to date no one has died from the use of working product using safely developed juices. Sure the media may pull out the case of a man who after downing 20 pints of lager, consuming two ecstacy pills, taking a puff on a friend's ecig and then leaping off a balcony as potential evidence that an ecig can kill; but to those who rationally or irrationally buy a $15-20 box of 20 coffin nails daily, ecigs seem a better bet.
All retailers in the UK certainly welcome the licensing regime in 2016, that requires manufacturers of nicotine juices to meet certain rigorous standards. In fact many suppliers already operate to those standards to ensure they have no issues when 2016 comes around. Of course the mainstream media looking for a cheap news piece wouldn't let you hear that. In fact the only concerns come 2016 is that the licensing is not simply a tool to extract huge tax revenues. We as a nation have long lived on the blood money of cigarette taxes and it is these that should be banned immediately. The cost to the NHS annually for smoking related illnesses and cessation advice is very large indeed, but is still only 30% of the tax receipts HM Treasury earn from the deal. Imagine a 'quit smoking' solution that the NHS do not have to administer, that would certainly free up some cash in the hospitals. Something like vaping perhaps?
By banning vaping in public places, the Government is taking away an incentive for smokers to make the switch to electronic cigarettes. Sure, it is not great to be addicted to anything, caffeine, alcohol, the internet, sugar but if you can reduce some of the noxious chemicals going into people's bodies by making the ability to sit indoors and vape socially, legal, then you are creating an answer to a question that has evaded some of those professionals currently advocating this ban now. Lets not forget, the same people that have failed to find a coherent solution to help people give up smoking, are now the same people suggesting ecigs should be banned in public because it 'renormalises smoking'. Thats a downright nonsense and suggests they have never been in the situation that a vaper has when faced with the prospect of a cancer stick again. When you have vaped for 1/15th of the price of a cigarette, apple pie juice, INSIDE the pub with your mates, and come home smelling the same as a non smoker, with cleaner breath and teeth; there really is no going back. These are genuine facts, evidenced over ten years from millions of people. As yet there is not one statistically significant piece of evidence to suggest that vaping leads people back to smoking.
In the last 12 months, a number of rushed research reviews that have been funded by undisclosed sources, on small sample sizes that pose flawed questions and have not been peer reviewed; are being used by the anti-ecig lobby as their evidence. This is doing a disservice to the population. Talk from professors of universities of lethal doses of nicotine poisoning being around the corner, makes me question the veracity of their professorships - as no one smokes concentrated nicotine cigarettes and no one vapes concentrated nicotine juice. Not now, or ever; just as no one drinks methylated spirit, beyond the odd looney. Hardly a reason to prohibit the best chance of cutting out tobacco and tar related deaths since the birth of smoking.
Our stores do not smell of vape odours, nor do the ceilings tell a tale of yellow stains. A century of research has told us historically that nicotine does not itself cause cancer, the remaining ingredients of ejuices are made up of substances known as safe to humans. A classic cigarette contains nearly 4000 chemicals of which over 60 are known to cause cancer. If nicotine does have some question marks over its consumption, then we may want to withdraw nicotine patches also.
A review last year involving testing on animals (Gotta love their ethical stance) saw quantities of nicotine on mice increase the growth of tumour cells. What the review fails to discuss is whether other cells growth was stimulated too, such as white blood cells. It fails to discuss whether the nicotine alone was responsible for the tumours in the first place OR NOT. Most importantly there is no indication of the sample size, e.g. how many mice and to give validity to the study, the quantity of nicotine applied. Are we talking a nicotine bombardment or small doses?
From this ambiguous report has spawned a volley of anti-ecig headlines in the media. Sufficiently so to possibly deter smokers from dropping tobacco and tar from their lives by steering clear of ecigs. That would be pretty sad news, for smokers quitting attempts and for the health services. Smokers have become cynical about the abilities of electronic cigarettes and this has to be laid at the door of the anti lobby.
As a simple matter of deduction, Tar + Tobacco + Nicotine = greater harm than just nicotine.
BBC Celeb Doctor Christian Jessen leaves us with this statement on whether ecigs are safer:
"For the record, I wholeheartedly support use of e-cigs"
As I said, I believe in this industry.