Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 4

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38 tobaccoasia E-CIGARETTE NEWS 电子烟新闻 US E-cigs 'As Safe As Air' New research funded by British American Tobacco (BAT) has suggested inhaling nicotine vapor could be as safe as breathing air. To perform its experiments, the tobacco giant teamed up with the MatTek Corporation, which makes mod- els of human cells used in in vitro laboratory experiments. Then scientists used a "smoking robot" to expose these lung cell replicas to tobacco smoke, the vapor from two different brands of e-cigarettes and just plain old air. When exposed to old-fashioned smoke for six hours, the cells died. But after subjecting the cells to an "aggressive and continu- ous" dose of vapor, researchers claimed the damage to the airway tissue was "similar to that of air". "By employing a combination of a smoking robot and a lab-based test using respiratory tissue, it was possible to demonstrate.... the e-cigarette aerosols used in this study have no [toxic] effect on human airway tissue," said BAT spokesperson Dr Marina Murphy. There are now plans to carry out the same tests using the vapor from a wider variety of e-cigarettes to prove its results. "Currently there are no standards concerning the in vitro testing of e-cigarette aerosols," said Marina Trani, group head scientific product steward- ship at BAT. "Our protocol could prove very useful in helping the process by which these guidelines might progress." Dr Michael Siegel, professor in the department of community health sciences at Boston University's school of public health, called on public health bodies and anti-tobacco groups to encourage smokers to swap to vaping - a step which would "transform the nicotine market and achieve a huge public health victory". He proclaimed that "such a phenomenon would result in the greatest public health miracle of our lifetimes". UK Wrong Chargers Blamed A nationwide alert has been issued after a "highly disturbing" spate of fires caused by exploding e-cigarette chargers. The country's fire services say incidents occur because some electronic cigarettes smokers are not using compatible chargers, causing overheating. As e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular, with over two million Britons using them each year, the number of fires caused by incompatible chargers is rising. Figures from nationwide fire services reveal that they have attended 113 calls to e-cigarette-related blazes in recent years: there were only eight calls in 2012, but the number soared to 43 in 2013, and there were at least 62 in 2014. Firefighters say many fires occur because some smokers are not using compatible chargers. This means too much current goes into the batteries and they overheat and eventually explode. A similar e-cigarette battery exploded when it was left to charge in a house in Solihull, causing a fire and subsequent smoke damage to much of the room and its contents. The local government association, which represents all 49 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, is calling for e-cigarette manufac- turers to do more to warn of the dangers. "The recent spate of fires connected with e-cigarettes is highly disturbing and we are issuing a nationwide alert to users to be vigilant at all times. We are warning them that it is simply not worth risking their lives to save a few pounds by buying dodgy, dangerous or incom- patible chargers," said councillor Jeremy Hilton, the association's fire services management committee chair. E-Cig Ban in Wales Wales is planning to ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces and workplaces, dividing opinion among health groups. Under a new public health law, people will be banned from using electronic cigarettes in areas such as bars, restaurants, and offices. They will also be prohibited in trucks and taxis. However, a host of respected organizations oppose the move. Data From 2014 Youth Survey Show No New Smokers Newly released data from a 2014 survey entitled "Smoking, Drinking, and Drug Use among Young People in England" show that while some 22% of children age 11-15 had experimented with e-cigarettes, only 3% have become regular vapers and none of these regular vapers are smokers. This report contains results from an annual survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15), where 6,173 pupils in 210 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2014. Key facts of the survey are: • In 2014, less than one in five 11 to 15 year olds (18%) said that they had smoked at least once. This was the lowest level recorded since the survey began in 1982, and continues the decline since 2003, when 42% of pupils had tried smoking. • Over a fifth (22%) of pupils had used e-cigarettes at least once. This included most pupils who smoked cigarettes regularly (89%). E-cigarette use was considerably lower among pupils who had never smoked (11%). • One in ten (10%) of pupils had used water pipe tobacco at least once. • In 2014, 38% of 11 to 15 year olds had tried alcohol at least once, the lowest proportion since the survey began. • The prevalence of drug use among 11 to 15 year olds in England declined between 2001 and 2010. Since then the decline has slowed. In 2014, 15% of pupils had ever taken drugs, 10% had taken drugs in the last year, and 6% had taken drugs in the last month. • The estimates from this survey indicate that in England in 2014 around 90,000 pupils aged between 11 and 15 were regular smokers, around 240,000 had drunk alcohol in the past week, 180,000 had taken drugs in the last month, and 310,000 had taken drugs in the last 12 months. The figures show that youth smoking in England dropped to its lowest level since the survey began in 1982, despite the dramatic increase in teenage e-cigarette experimentation in recent years. In spite of various dramatic statements coming from anti-smoking groups and advocates about e-cigarettes being a gateway to youth smoking, there remains no evidence to support that contention and a growing body of evidence that refutes it.

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