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OWN #6 | 13-19 MAY 2019

Another week, another news roundup. For the first time we have some vape coverage from a local publication, namely Daily Maverick, about the World Health Organization's (WHO) stance on vaping. And yet again a study "proving" the dangers of vaping - or does it. And finally, an American teenager is shot and killed for some vape juice - sure to be used by anti-vape parties to prove the evils of vaping. On to the news then.

Also, World No Tobacco Day is on 31 May 2019 - let's vape extra hard that day :)

The World Health Organization (WHO) vs vaping

This is an opinion piece written by Ivo Vegter from the Daily Maverick - a South African publication known for it's hard line journalism and professionalism. However, this piece is full of factual information which paints a very grim picture of the world's global "health organization".

Let's look a quick look but the full article is linked below, highly recommended reading. This write up will be quote heavy, since Ivo says it best.

The WHO recommends strict regulations on vaping products - which goes beyond it's mandate and against mounting evidence. This is not their first such overbearing (and unproven) tactic - sugar tax is a prime example, which has been proven to have little positive effect on public health and negatively impacts jobs and economic value.

Evidence from countries that imposed a sugar tax suggests that it does not achieve public health objectives, but does destroy jobs and economic value. Studies that claim a sugar tax works are easily debunked as deeply flawed.

The WHO seems to have taken an autocratic stance on what it decides is bad - as was proven in 2014 when the public and media was ejected from its talks on imposing a global tax on tobacco products.

The goal to discourage smoking does infringe on the individual right to take whatever risks they want with their own health in pursuit of a happy life. One might just as well prohibit skateboarding or mountaineering on the grounds that it poses risks to one's physical health.

Assuming that the anti-tobacco stance is legitimate, the WHO seems to be advocating policies that are useless, or cause harm. For example, plain packaging for cigarettes does not seem to affect smoking rates. It costs money, but delivers no benefits.

When it comes to vaping, the WHO recommends restricting the sale and banning all advertising of vapes - since 2014.

The WHO in 2016 claimed that these restrictions are justified by the lack of evidence of harm reduction and the ability of e-cigarettes to help tobacco smokers quit. This position is rather ironic, given how little concern it has for scientific evidence in the case of alternative medicines.

Between 2014 and 2018, the WHO claims there have been "no international consensus" on whether or not e-cigarettes have a positive or negative impact - yet they deem to regulate it.

If there was indeed a lack of evidence at the time these statements were made (between 2014 and 2018), then there were no grounds for regulation in the first place. It is farcical to regulate that which is not known to cause significant harm.

The South African government, like many others, are adopting the WHO recommendations without any proper examination. The Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill proposes to treat vapes (with or without nicotine) as tobacco products, as recommended by the WHO.

There have been many studies since 2014 which have proven that vaping is a highly effective harm reduction tool for smokers.

The evidence keeps piling up against the authoritarian WHO approach to tobacco control. Some of its recommendations have no effect, such as the move towards plain packaging, and other recommendations are actively harmful to the objective of getting smokers to quit, such as its stance on e-cigarettes.

It is clear that we cannot rely on our own government to correct the mistakes of the WHO. On the contrary: The South African government is barreling right ahead with laws to restrict the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes as if they were tobacco products, despite the mounting evidence that they substantially reduce harm by comparison with cigarettes, pose negligible risk to bystanders, are more effective as quitting aids than anything else on the market and do not lead to, or renormalise, tobacco smoking among the youth.

There is a lot more meat to this story, and if you are ever going to read a full article, this should be it:

Flawed study "proves" vaping doubles risk of heart attack

Yes, here we are again. A new study shouting out the harms of vaping from the rooftops...before being proven to be utter nonsense.

A recent study by the University of California has discovered that regular vapers are twice as likely to have a heart attack. Game over...or is it?

The problem with the study's conclusion is that this is a cross-sectional analysis and the researchers have no idea which came first: the vaping or the heart attack, heart disease, or depression.

Once again, the need to show vaping in a bad light trumps the scientific process of reasoning. Read it and weep. The second article illustrates how eager the media is to report on these studies before any peer review.

Teenager killed for ejuice

The American youth is out of control. School shootings are out of control - with 14 incidents so far this year, according to wikipedia.

In the latest incident a 18 year old from Colorado was shot and killed for some ejuice. If it weren't for the rest of the shootings, which had nothing to do with vaping, this would seem to indicate that vaping makes kids crazy.

So kids are killing other kids - for various reasons - but they call vaping an epidemic among teenagers. It is infinitely more sad when a young person senslessly loses their life because kids have access to firearms.

Lloyd Chavez, 18, was shot outside his Centennial, Colorado, home on May 8 around 9:30 p.m. and later died at a hospital. After interviewing witnesses and friends, authorities this week filed arrest warrants for 16-year-old Demarea Mitchell, 17-year-old Juliana Serrano, 17-year-old Dominic Stager, and 17-year-old Kenneth Gallegos. Each was suspected of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, and conspiracy.

The suspects have since been arrested and are being tried as adults.

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