More to do – but what’s already done?

Today we’d like to talk about action.
In recent years, quite a few things have happened to see the debate on vaping move forward. This list may not be exhaustive, but it includes as many as we think may illustrate our point.

 

Public health groups have reviewed the evidence and concluded that vaping products are about 95% safer than smoking lit tobacco.

Twelve health and public health and anti-smoking charities publicly endorsed this evidence review.

Health service clinical guidelines have said that tobacco harm reduction should be recognised.

Anti smoking group ASH have endorsed their use as part of a quit attempt.

Stop smoking services have become ”e-cig friendly” and welcomed smokers who wish to give vaping a try with encouragement and advice.

A study has begun, looking at the role their possible benefits might be for lung cancer patients who still smoke and can’t seem to otherwise quit.

A study trialing their effectiveness for smoking cessation vs traditional methods in the stop smoking clinic setting has been ongoing now for a year.

There has been a concerted effort to counter some of the still pervasive myths about nicotine in order to educate smokers and the public.

Local councils have teamed up with researchers and local vape shops to bring awareness to the fact they’re a positive tool for smokers looking to reduce their risk.

There has been public endorsement by the prime minister in Parliament.

Anti smoking group ASH, tobacco control experts and researchers have all cautioned against their taxation in order that they remain attractive to smokers so more will make the switch to their use, and suggesting that such an excise tax would be disastrous for public health.

There has been a debate including users on vaping should be considered within workplace smoking policies.

A public lecture on harm reduction spoke about how e-cigarette manufacturers, vape shops and vapers themselves are the new front-line in smoking cessation, and praised how this new technology is a cost saving for the state.

Smoking cessation service trainers engaged with users and experts in order to produce a comprehensive briefing on how best smoking cessation service providers should talk to smokers about their use, with practical and empathetic advice all backed up by evidence.

Public health leaders are suggesting frameworks of how their use can be integrated into existing policy strategies.

Hospitals are rolling back their campus usage bans as they correctly identify that their use poses no discernible risk to bystanders and their use on hospital grounds is a boon for patients, public health, and staff.

There have been seminars, conferences, summits, cross party parliamentary group meetings all discussing a variety of things like the implications of policy, what the currently available evidence tells us, and user and industry engagement can inform debate.

There has been a landmark review of evidence that concluded with a report and a recommendation that they be widely recommended to smokers.

This same report drew attention to some of the negative aspects of the incoming EU TPD regulations – namely taxation, advertising bans, warning labels and caps on nicotine strength.

Scientists, researchers and veteran leaders within tobacco control have gone public refuting widely exaggerated scare stories in the media so that smokers aren’t put off trying them and so there is better public understanding about the products themselves, and their relative risk to smoking.

There has been a debate in the upper house of Parliament where attention was drawn to the most egregious measures of the tobacco products directive as it pertains to these products, those involved who use these products spoke in detail about how unscientific and arbitrary these measures are, and even questioned why vaping products were ever included in a tobacco products directive at all.

The enforcement body tasked with deciphering what may possibly be the least harmonising EU directive they’ve seen has consulted with manufacturers, importers and retailers throughout the implementation process and kept them fully informed of updates along the way.

 

That’s quite the list, isn’t it?

Lots of action around this disruptive technology that represents a real and viable alternative to smoking and has the potential to be one of the most important things to happen to public health in generations.

 

So it’s regrettable that none of the above is happening in Ireland.