The Good, the Bad and the downright ugly, ecig news.

A few days ago the findings of a scientific review that had been commissioned by British Government agency Public Health England (PHE) were released. In the report amongst other things, it was claimed that the use of electronic cigarettes were 95% safer than that of tobacco cigarettes.

Public Health England Report Cause For Optimism?

Operating under the UK’s Department of Health, Public Health England recommended that electronic cigarettes should be made available by prescription for heavy smokers who wish to quit smoking.

If this goes through Parliament successfully which could happen as early as 2016,  smokers will be able to go to their general practitioner who if satisfied, will issue them a heavily subsidized National Health Service prescription, for a government approved electronic cigarette kit.

The regular use of e-liquid for the electronic smoking device for this purpose will be a bottle of 20mg/ml nicotine, and it will take on the classification as being “medicinal”. As such, it too will be provided under the National Health Service.

Vote For E-Cigs!

Such a planned positive course of action being taken by a government almost seems like fantasy. Often governments say one thing and do another. Particularly when looking to be re-elected, or elected for the first time.

No promise is too big to break, it’s easy to offer confusing rhetoric once they are in power as to why they now can’t do what they promised. Who hasn’t heard all the fanciful promises made by politicians to secure votes, only for them to do a U-turn once they’ve been elected into power.

Potential E-Cig Introduction – Consistent With UK Government Policy

However the British Government already have a good track record. They have already taken remedial action to help smokers with their Government funded “Quit Smoking” services, which as well as providing nicotine replacement products such as nicotine patches, sprays and chewing gum, also provide counselling for those who wish to quit.

UK Quit Smoking Registration Service Figures Down – Due To Electronic Cigarettes!

Whilst registration for these services in some parts of England last year dropped dramatically, educated opinion has it that this was in large part due to increased popularity of electronic smoking devices.

For example, Greater Manchester in the UK, had 56% less Smokers register for the NHS Quit Smoking service in 2014-2015 versus 2013-2014, But it is not all bad news as over 39% of those on the program not only managed to quit, but also do so by the date they said they wanted to.

Should electronic cigarettes now be added to the list of nicotine replacement products to help smokers quit smoking, it goes without question that the UK are going to be able to provide some very solid proof to ward off the naysayers who are still trying to blind the public with erroneous statements and misinformation.

£2 Billion A Year Spent, Treating Smoking Related Diseases

£2billion a year is spent by the UK’s National Health Service in treating those with smoking related diseases. This figure will undoubtedly fall dramatically given time, but ultimately it is the sheer impact it will have on the mortality rate of the smoker. That is the smoker that makes the switch from tobacco cigarettes to the already established, new healthier alternative.

It has already been determined that if someone quits smoking tobacco cigarettes by the age of 40 years, they will increase their life span by an additional 10 years.

One would think this would be great cause for celebration amongst the masses, however good news doesn’t sell newspapers as well as controversy, and anything to perpetuate an ongoing debate is always going to be the main focus of the media, be it print or TV, be it true or otherwise.

An Anonymous Editorial From The Lancet Medical Journal – Say Who?

It was only going to be a question of time before someone would look to discredit the latest findings from the Public Health England and their report for the British Government and it comes in an attempt from The Lancet medical journal.

In an anonymous editorial an unnamed, unidentified writer, points the finger at three of the scientific experts conclusions. This editorial accuses them of conflict of interests.

An Effort To Discredit Findings – Clutching At Straws

Specifically this unnamed editorial writer has taken ONE of the many studies done, and has claimed that three of the eleven authors that Public Health England has analysed and included in its findings, had ties either to electronic cigarette companies or at the least are affiliated to organisations that are pro e-cig.

It appears that the contention is over one particular study  “Reference 10” from an original study led by Professor David Nutt DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, FSB, FMedSci, in conjunction with a private health services company EuroSwiss and Lega Italiana Anti Fumo.

Co-author of the paper Dr. Richard Polosa is also the chairman of Lega Italiana Anti Fumo and a consultant to Arbi Group Sri an Italian e-cigarette distributor. Public Health England didn’t mention this in their review and this seems to be their bone of contention.

Deflection And A Lot About Nothing

What this should have to do with anything seems to be non-consequential, especially in the light that Reference 10, has been reviewed completely independently by different experts in the field anyway, it all seems rather a moot point.

The professor is a consultant to an e-cig distributor? Pat them on the back by taking their business so serious and getting expert advice from an extremely well qualified professional. One who has also made recommendations to the Australian government over that Government’s controversial approach.

How it casts any doubt over the findings led by Dr. Nutt and the rest of his team seems like scraping the barrel trying to find something negative to write, and when they do eventually seemingly come across something, it’s of little to no significance anyways.

Another author, Professor Jonathan Foulds who is Professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry at the Penn State University, College of Medicine, has connections to smoking cessation product manufacturers such as Novartis, GSK and Pfizer. Wow, what an incredible earth shattering revelation.

Then there is also the big news the third author out of the eleven, Swedish scientist Karl Fagerstrom, has also “admitted” to consulting with companies who have an interest in tobacco dependence products. 10 years in prison sounds fair, what do you think?

Nothing Hidden – Everything Disclosed!

In the original study, Dr. Ricardo Polosa, one of 11 authors of the research, disclosed his ties to the Italian cigarette company mentioned. The other two scientists mentioned whom we assume are suspected of some kind of conflict of interests, were linked to a) pharmaceutical companies and b) tobacco companies. Neither companies would have an interest in enhancing electronic cigarette popularity by funding research on vaping, why even suggest it?

Ok, so what have we discovered? These three experts in their field have disclosed, not hidden that they offer their very considerable experience and talents to companies that seek expert advice. Sorry are we missing something here?

That’s what experts do, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have made a fortune out of it. If they can walk the talk good luck to them, there is nothing at all suspicious here! One can only question the motives of the journal casting aspersions on these gentlemen, we’re only interested in meaningful facts, not little bits of trivia.

The report put together by Public Health England examined many other studies. Scientists are not known for jumping to conclusions. And certainly don’t pick out one particular study at the exclusion of everything else like it would appear The Lancet has done.

One Hundred Percent Opinion And It’s All Their Own!

In this amazing anonymous editorial they go on to say the claims of electronic cigarettes being 95% less harmful, are conclusions of a two-day workshop on the perceived dangers of nicotine products that was conducted in, wait for it…2013!

They go on to further state:

“The group (an international expert panel) scored the products for harm, and weightings were applied to the results.

“Based on the opinions of this group, cigarettes were ranked as the most harmful nicotine product with a score of 99·6.

“E-cigarettes were estimated to have only 4% of the maximum relative harm.

“It is this result that yields the ‘95% less harmful’ figure reported last week.”

The author in The Lancet goes on to say:

“Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly how reputed scientists like Professor Ann McNeill (King’s College London) and Professor Peter Hajek (Queen Mary University of London), who led the review, conduct most of their research…”

How on earth can these folks possibly draw such conclusions, do they know these eminent scientists on such a level they know how they conduct their practices?

Have they bothered to interview them to find out how they reviewed all these different studies? Far be it for us to suggest it, but is there perhaps a tinge of professional jealousy that their opinions at the Lancet weren’t requested?

The Lancet editorial goes on to accuse Public Health England of falling short of their mission to improve and protect the health and wellbeing of their nation basing their major conclusions on flimsy foundations.

In other words they are right and all the other experts of all the other studies conducted of which there are many, are all totally wrong. What utter nonsense.

Now For Some Proper Facts!

Just for the record to back up what we say and not the conjecture that we have felt compelled to inform you of, lest you get the wool pulled over your eyes, The Public Health England report has received the backing of the following:

The British Heart Foundation

The Royal Society For Public Health

ASH UK (Action On Smoking & Health)

The Royal College Of Physicians, anti-smoking pressure group

Cancer Research UK

As well as these, there are plenty of other private and public health organisations that are all firmly behind the findings, and basically just confirm what electronic smokers who have been using these devices for years, already know.

Misinformation Is The Nature Of The Beast!

Not to say that this will stop the British and overseas Media looking for a little titbit, to sensationalise and cast doubt in the mind of those wanting to quit smoking, looking for something that will work.

One only has to look at some of the headlines in the Mail online and The Telegraph, suggesting that the report was compiled by electronic cigarette industry financed scientists.

Seriously what poor journalism from such reputed newspapers using an anonymous unsigned editorial as a reference, claiming it to be written by “health experts writing in the respected medical journal The Lancet”. There are other commentators of the same opinion, this is not just our viewpoint.

Misinformation about electronic cigarettes is nothing new. Especially when it comes from the media and ill-informed politicians jumping the gun. When it comes in the form of discrediting renowned scientists based upon some anonymous opinion, it proves some people will do and say anything they can to steal the spotlight.

From Duncan Selbie Chief Executive Of Public Health England

Keep up to date and informed with as we dig deeper and deeper to get to the truth. As Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England said in the Forward of their 111 page document prepared for the British Government, and anyone who is serious about getting the facts:

“The role and impact of electronic cigarettes has been one of the great debates in public health in recent years and we commissioned this independent review of the latest evidence to ensure that practitioners, policy makers and, most importantly of all, the public have the best evidence available.

“Many people think the risks of e-cigarettes are the same as smoking tobacco and this report clarifies the truth of this.

“In a nutshell, best estimates show e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful to your health than normal cigarettes, and when supported by a smoking cessation service, help most smokers to quit tobacco altogether.

“We believe this review will prove a valuable resource, explaining the relative risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, in terms of harm reduction when compared with cigarettes and as an aid to quitting.

“ We will continue to monitor the position and will add to the evidence base and guidance going forward.”

The full report can be read here – you be the judge.