The Regulation of Ecigs

I am a regular reader of Carl Philips blog:

He has reported today on another submission which has been made to the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) in the US by Igor Burnstyn about the toxicity of ecig vapour. Essentially Burnstyn said that any toxins in ecig vapour are way below levels which are considered in the least bit dangerous. “The poison is in the dose”. What is always missing is “How many doses?”. For example, in a simple way, when using paracetamol, we always get instructions to take ‘one, or two, tablets not more than three times a day’. Thus, according to the instructions, taking ‘one, or two, tablets not more than three times per day’ will do us no harm, even if we do so every day. Thus, the time-scale is infinite, and only governed by the duration of our life-time (when we die, we stop taking the tablets). I personally have to take certain tablets for the rest of my life (prostatism). It does not bother me at all – ‘c’est la vie’. But I wonder what would happen if I shortened the time-scale and took a hundred of these tablets all at once? I’ve no idea. But, being some sort of chemical, it is not unlikely that doing so would kill me. There must be some danger because I am only allowed a month’s supply at a time.

The Burnstyn submission is only one of many. In that case, it was about the toxicity aspect, but there have been many about either of two possibilities:

1) According to the Zealots, ecigs  could  lead to smoking.

2) According to the Wise, ecigs could lead to cessation of smoking tobacco.

There is no actual evidence for 1) and plenty of evidence for 2). So what on Earth is the problem?

The problem lies here:

The FDA is being pressed from above by ‘Government’ to bash ecigs. It is also being pressed from below by Big Pharma and academics to bash ecigs. Those pressures are neither medical not scientific – they are political. It is hard to see how the FDA will be able to resist the political pressure.

But it is not unimportant that the FDA should be advised in no uncertain terms about the toxicology (or lack of) because, eventually, the fraud will be revealed. In past times, it took decades for bad laws to be repealed. Things have changed. Better communications (the internet above all) mean that everyone can be better informed. Time-scales which took decades can be reduced to a few years.

But, perhaps, there are other important ideas. I, personally, see the high taxes on cigs (and alcohol) as persecution. I know that the origins of these taxes were US Independence in the case of tobacco and a war with Portugal in the case of alcohol long, long ago. More recently, they have been justified as ‘luxury’ taxes; now they are justified as ‘sin’ taxes. I don’t know what justifies petrol taxes, although I suspect that, when these taxes were first raised, driving cars was considered to be a luxury.

But smokers and drinkers are beginning to wake up. Why should their little pleasures be taxed in an extraordinary way? They are no more luxuries than are tennis or painting or blowing a trombone.


Most of all, as regards ecig ‘dangers’, the Zealots have not demonstrated any time-scale for danger. The Doctors Study had a time-scale of some 30 years before any significant danger of death appeared. What is the time-scale of danger from SHS, and what is the time-scale of danger from vaping, and what is the time-scale of danger from second-hand vapour? Only smoking has been demonstrated (epidemiologically) to have a long-term effect. How much longer is the long-term effect of not smoking? It is said to be about ten years in longevity terms. How much longer is the effect, in longevity terms, of the effect of not being subjected to SHS or Vapour?

It is because no one has the incentive to fund studies into these questions that there is no information about them.

That is scientific ignorance.


6 Responses to “The Regulation of Ecigs”

  1. prog Says:

    It’s merely a matter of name of tax and how much. Virtually everything we spend money on, bar most food, is taxed to some degree. Out of, of course, any earnings net of income tax. The private sector, its employees and anyone with property and assets bear the ultimate cost of propping up what is increasingly turning out to be an untenable social/political system.

  2. junican Says:

    I assume that you are talking about the failure to back ecigs. Well, yes, of course. The ‘big plan’ seems to be a slow, annual decrease in smoking to keep the taxes rolling in, and allow other taxes time to take the place of tobacco. Ecigs have thrown a spanner into the calculations.

    • beobrigitte Says:

      Indeed, E-cigs have thrown a spanner into the anti-smoking zealot machinery. They are whispering into gullible politicians ears that e-liquid should be taxed as tobacco – in order to get there, vaping has to be banned where smoking is banned.
      This raises a question: the smoking ban was dictated out of fear (passive smoking “kills”)…….. Passive vaping “kills”? REALLY????

      • junican Says:

        For ecig juice to be taxed, it has to be equivalent to tobacco. That is what all the fuss is about.

    • prog Says:

      Anyone who thinks that vaping will escape not subject to duty in the future is living in cloud cuckoo land. When the time’s right, they’ll simply add non medicinal nicotine to the list. And why not ? – traditional sin taxes were not based on trying to prevent consumption, but mainly as a means to raise revenue. Fuel duty is a classic example. Yes, the government makes lots of noises and laws to hinder smokers but, surely, if smoking was that bad they ban it outright. £12 billion a year (the price we pay them not to so so) is a good reason it hasn’t. Fear of political oblivion is another.

      • junican Says:

        Well, yes, but justification will be required. As Mylene Klass said to Ed Milliband, “But you can’t just point at it and tax it!”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: