Monday, 3 March 2014

Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS) comments on the approval of the TPD

Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research
- Sirus supports Norwegian vapers
After the TPD was approved SIRUS and their head of research, Karl Erik Lund, received a lot of requests for comments on this. Not very surprising as SIRUS has been one of the biggest supporters and advocates for e-cigarettes here in Norway. Due to the amount of requests, Karl Erik Lund and SIRUS chose to write a public response on the Norwegian Union of Vapers' (Norsk Dampselskap) Facebook page. We are indeed lucky here in Norway to have SIRUS to support us vapers. Karl Erik Lund is usually the one speaking on their behalf in the media and I've got to say his statements always appears well though out, well formulated and convincing, which is really helping the case here in Norway. (Lund also spoke about the TPD and what it means for us here in Norway in an article on nrk.no on the 28th of February: http://goo.gl/zYdu0e, in Norwagian but google translate might work)

On the before mentioned facebook page Lund writes that it is appropriate to consider two different aspects of the TPD: The procedures that has been followed, and the result. He says that from his point of view the results are much better than the procedures, but that does not necessarily mean the results are good. The procedures have been close to a scandal, he says, with allegations of corruption leading to John Dallis resignation as Commissioner (read more about the "Dalligate" scandal here: http://goo.gl/Hkwnug), absence of consultations with scientific groups, abuse of research results, skullduggery concerning the voting procedures and so on. He refers to Clive Bates' blogg (http://www.clivebates.com) for more information on this. The results are not optimal either, according to SIRUS: The 20mg/ml limit has no scientific foundation, the option for members state to regulate them as medicines creates openings for over-regulation (read my post on the consequences of over-regulating here: http://goo.gl/mrE4bS) leading to less product variety, higher prices and standardized products that have as little appeal to smokers as the nicotine inhalers of the pharmaceutical companies have today, standardized nicotine delivery that requires technology that is not available yet, refill limitations, and so on. So as you can see, SIRUS really gets the point, which is a very good thing for Norwegian vapers.

Now, regarding the situation in Norway, Lund says that the health authorities and the Cancer Society are still clinging to their precautionary principles, but as the scientific results are starting to get to the people in charge, the ban here in Norway is loosing support among them, and the reasoning for keeping the ban is pulverizing. Lund, and a lot of the vapers I know, including myself, is especially disappointed in the Cancer Society. In my opinion their arguments have been based on speculations, not science and they appear to just take everything the EU say as the truth. The smokers could really have benefited from having this organization supporting them in the fight for a harm reducing nicotine alternative and the design of a strategy for increased product safety, Lund says.

"Norsk Dampselskap" (Norwegian Union of vapers)
fights for vaping in Norway
Despite it's many deficiencies, article 18 (editor: now article 20) will have more positive than negative consequences - in Norway, Lund writes. Norway is not part of the EU, but we are part of the EEA, which means we implement most EU directives anyway. So here in Norway, if the TPD is implemented in it's current form, the ban we have today will be repealed and we'll have regulations (although totally over-regulated) to ensure product safety. Now it is still uncertain how the Norwegian health authorities will regulate e-cigarettes but now, with the TPD the debate has changed from being focused on whether or not a ban should be in place to being a debate on how to regulate them. This is progress, says Lund. The demonizing of nicotine (for example in the anti-tobacco movement) is an inappropriate approach to the regulation question, he adds. 

I've seen some positive feedback on the TPD among Norwegian vapers lately, stating that it will actually better situation for vapers in Norway. And they are right about that, as SIRUS also points out here. But I'd like to stress, again, that we are not fighting this fight only for our own sake, but for all the smokers whose lives could be saved, not only in Norway but all over the world. And I think it's important for Norwegian vapers to be aware that even though this means a step in the right direction for Norway, it's a long step backwards for the countries where we buy our vaping equipment and e-liquid today. And thus it is very important that we continue the fight here in Norway as well, and try to get our politicians to take science and facts into consideration when the laws regarding e-cigarettes in this country is written, and not just adopt the EU directive directly. As I said yesterday: Vapers should write the law on vaping. If we do win that fight we would be a good example for the EU on how it should be done as well and might be able to help others.

3 comments :

  1. Superbly written and the fact that we as vapers today need to protect the interests of future vapers is the most valid fact! None should be born to die for the profit of big companies and tax revenue

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