Activist Angst | Bill S-5 to FDA Deeming Rule



joining us today for part 2 on our special series discussing the findings from the recently released study young people's use of e-cigarettes across the United Kingdom his lead author Linda bald Linda is a highly respected researcher in the field of tobacco control she is a professor of health policy at the University of Stirling she is the deputy director at the UK Centre for tobacco and alcohol studies and she's also a co-author of the Royal College of Physicians report nicotine without smoke the study examined e-cigarette and tobacco use among 60,000 young people between the ages of 11 to 16 from across the UK Donna was gathered from five large scale surveys conducted between 2015 and 2017 the study found that of the sixty thousand young people surveyed a cigarette experimentation does not turn into regular cigarette use and levels of regular cigarette use in young people who have never smoked remained very low between one tenth and one half of one percent when to picking up where we left off we were discussing common methodological problems concerning gaping research as a whole and specifically the challenges of measuring teeny cigarette use we zeroed in on two studies one in Canada that claims youth vaping doubles the risk of you smoking and the other from the u.s. that claims that youth aping is a one-way bridge to youth smoking I find that a really unfortunate term there are many many things that make teenagers susceptible to trying a tobacco cigarette or becoming a regular smoker the main ones to be frank we know from decades of research or whether their parents smoke whether they live in a community with lots of smokers so when we talk about the bridge this is a body of research which is very limited and we need to also recognize that there might be a bridge out of smoking but for kids who use these products if they are already tobacco smokers and let's keep it away from our study and the studies in the u.s. in particular the vast vast majority of teenagers who regularly use electronic cigarettes already smoke lindo we hear all the time from regulators that the big danger of youth vaping is nicotine use what do we know about this issue researchers at the University of Michigan published a paper in tobacco control that showed for example in one's 12th graders only 20% of them reports it that used an e-cigarette last time that contain nicotine and although another papers showed that a red one in four products contain nicotine when you ask young people I think we need to recognize that some of this experimentation potentially a lot of this experimentation is happening with products which don't contain nicotine and if that's the case then that underlines even more that some of the headlines would be unnecessarily alarmist Linda what concerns you the most about the alarmist headlines my concern is that the headlines generators by these studies are used by regulators to really crack down on e-cigarettes in a way that actually might prevent access for smokers or also teenagers who smoke and Olinda isn't that the issue when it comes to regulation the entire regulatory effort is predicated on protecting youth so to try to introduce regulations that limit the promise of new nicotine containing devices for those adults smokers on the basis that we must protect kids there's a real mismatch there and we need to recognize prevention is a success story including in Canada we shouldn't take our eye off the ball but we need to do much much more to help adult smokers to quit and we can't use concerns about the children as the main rationale for introducing restrictions which I'm not going to be helped Linda I'd like to get your perspective on regulatory developments here in Canada and in the u.s. let's start first with Canada as you know bill s5 is quickly moving through Parliament and the regulatory consultation process is also underway there's also growing opposition to the legislation and a general angst is building over the future of vaping in Canada so I think we should be open-minded about s5 I know there's a lot of hatred and disappointment in the bill and and I no longer popular by saying that we shouldn't be totally negative about s fight but you know what just to reflect for a moment in Europe in the UK we have the European tobacco products directive we had a really poor piece of legislation in some ways while other things in there were really good but you know what we've tried to make a success of that the UK government took the light-touch approach we've tried to recognize the good things in the regulation and allow and the products to still be available to still have some forms of marketing and now of course we've changed tack we have a new consultation to allow health claims to be made clearly in the UK in the future particularly by public health parties but also around the products generally so hopefully this is what's going to happen in Canada you've got a piece of legislation which might not be perfect but I think it's better than what you had before in terms of the products were officially illegal let's see what success can be made of that Lindos reg watts reported earlier this month bill has five opponents believe the fatal flaw is that vaping as being shoehorned in alongside tobacco into the new tobacco and vaping products act you know the Canadian I can see it's been playing with tobacco but they're not calling e-cigarettes tobacco product the way they are in the US so that's an important distinction you know the Canadian legislation it has lots of limitations to it definitely I'm particularly concerned about the limitations on manufacturers and retailers around the kinds of information they could give to consumers about the fact that these products are less risky than tobacco it's absolutely crucial that that message gets across and there are ways to communicate it I know the consultation is out now and we certainly will be responding to it from the UK UK Centre for tobacco and alcohol studies a number of the large organizations that have been very vocal and pro harm reduction in the UK will be responding to that consultation so you can expect input from us I'm sure a lot of Canadian vapors take comfort in hearing that Linda but what about long-term input after the consultation process is over I know that healthcare and their colleagues at the Canadian Institute for Health Research I've been looking at these cigarettes for a while and they're very keen to have good research in Canada so my understanding is they're bringing together a group of experts to work with them over the next few years and I've been invited to join that group I'm really delighted there are other colleagues from Canada primarily but also the US who are certainly very aware of the harm reduction agenda and are very positive about the promise of tobacco harm reduction who will be invited to be on that group it's a real possibility in Canada that you will see a positive attitude towards these products and recognising the promise of them in the future and I think officials are included in that they've changed their view they've been very open they're continuing to try to be open and they're listening to international experience Linda public health officials in Canada may be hearing the harm-reduction message but when you read the federal legislation and how the province of Ontario describes vaping it's hard to not come away with the belief that vaping is a health hazard yeah and I think that's really interesting I think there's a lot of powerful voices still in Canada that are very are using them what about the children argument John your mind a pro harm-reduction argument and I think that's dangerous I see it I think we know who some of those individuals are made very strong beliefs and for whatever reason and so that's influenced the kinds of questions that are being asked in the framing of the legislation and of course keep in mind that your average legislator in Canada as in the UK doesn't know this topic in depth has read the newspapers just like everybody else and is probably getting that message that these are dangerous products and we must protect the children and you know that is not the primary thing I think from from my perspective so let's recognize that my my limited experience there are definitely colleagues within Canadian government who get this they know it's about supporting adil smokers to stop smoking and by accessing a far far far less harmful product being able to use that Linda do you have a message for Canadian vapors on how to best survive the uncertain around regulation well they would say two Canadian matrices I know this is a difficult time and I know that what the Canadian government is doing now looks like something that could be very damaging to the products that you use the businesses that sell them and you know the route the Canada's taken over the last few years where we certainly see people using e-cigarettes somewhere hugely promising what I would say is that I think attacking everything about the last five and regularly attacking all the legislators and people who are working on it is not helpful we saw that in Europe and achieved nothing really very little it's important to advocate to do that in a measured way and to respond to the consultation and ask for the changes that you want but aggressive attacking particularly of individuals and other strategies like that and really do the work for us and so let's stick to what we know provide personal experience which is hugely powerful and get that message across and just emphasize that lives can be saved by these products coordinate message Linda and what I'm certain could apply to our us vaping viewers as well I know people are very angry in the u.s. they don't trust government they don't trust public agencies because let's face it what was on the table just a few months ago did look hugely damaging but I think changes are afoot they're being made now we have some seen some very positive announcements so Labour's need to keep communicating with regulators and government sharing their experience and that includes the particularly small business people but I think we need to recognize this shift and try and be a little bit more positive and not always be on the attack because it's easy just to shut things down and not listen if everything new year is negative Linda last question you referenced the policy shift underway in the u.s. do you think the change is being brought in by new FDA Commissioner Valley are mere tweaks or are they transformational I think the u.s. is waking up to the fact this is not a disaster that the way they're classifying these products hasn't been helpful that the deeming rule and the timing around it's going to be a total disaster and they've backtracked what you're seeing is a big big putting the vehicle in reverse gear I'm certainly pressing pause so let's be pleased about that they're listening to the International experience they're recognizing that actually we have a huge problem still smoking is killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year and they need to allow these less risky from our safer products to continue to be available so I think the changes we've seen in the US over the last few months are positive and we should try and be positive well that's it for this special edition a reg watch before you head off please like us on Facebook and don't forget to follow us on Twitter for Regulator watch com I'm Brent Stafford

5 Comments

  1. Is the entire world trying to take away flavors?

  2. But the reverends wife knows best! https://youtu.be/RybNI0KB1bg

  3. I had a conversation the other day taking about how the U.K. base their regulations on doing research not what they read in the bias media like they do here in the U.S.

  4. excellent

  5. It is good to know that there is support for us here in Canada from the UK. Hopefully there will be some positive movement here with their input. Thank you for this.

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