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VALIDITY OF UC SAN FRANCISCO’S META-ANALYSIS ON E-CIGS AND CESSATION BROUGHT INTO QUESTION BY RESEARCHERS

Cancer Research UK and Public Health England, Among Others, Condemn Faulty Analysis; SFATA Urges Media to Reference Science Media Centre

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2016 – The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), the largest trade group representing the vapor industry, today expressed surprise that a leading medical journal would publish a meta-analysis titled, “E-cigarettes and smoking cessation in real-world and clinical settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” which finds e-cigarette use actually lowers smokers’ odds that they’ll quit tobacco by about 28 percent.

Authored by Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California San Francisco, the meta-analysis, published today in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, comes amid criticism of Glantz’s previous work on the topic in a submission to the FDA by the Truth Initiative (formerly Legacy For Health), a U.S. public health nonprofit, calling the research “invalid” and “scientifically inappropriate.”

“While the majority of the studies we reviewed are marred by poor measurement of exposures and unmeasured confounders, many of them have been included in a meta-analysis that claims to show that smokers who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit smoking compared to those who do not,” reported The Truth Initiative. “This meta-analysis simply lumps together the errors of inference from these correlations. As described in detail above, quantitatively synthesizing heterogeneous studies is scientifically inappropriate and the findings of such meta-analyses are therefore invalid.”

SFATA is urging media covering this research to reference the Science Media Centre, where a cadre of leading scientists have rebuked the meta-analysis, calling it “unscientific” and “incorrect.” Some of them include: Prof. Linda Bauld, University of Stirling, Cancer Research UK; Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Tobacco, Alcohol & Drugs, Public Health England; Prof. Peter Hajek, Queen Mary University of London; Prof. Ann McNeill, King’s College London; and Prof. Robert West, University College London.

“We are not in the business of smoking cessation, but are in the business of helping smokers switch to a less harmful alternative,” said Cynthia Cabrera, president of SFATA. “While more data is always needed, the gold standard of the preparation of meta-analyses, the Cochrane Collaboration has concluded that vapor products and e-cigs provide acceptable alternatives to combustible cigarettes. It’s unfortunate that self-interested studies from Professor Glantz and other anti-vaping researchers are being published and not properly vetted, creating confusion and ultimately misleading the public about the efficacy of vapor products.”

About SFATA

Founded in 2012, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) is the largest trade association in the vapor products industry with more than 800 members and 19 chapters located across the country, representing online retailers, brick and mortar vendors, distributors, manufacturers, importers and wholesalers. For more information, visit SFATA.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @SFATA. Download a copy of SFATA’s “Top 10 Vapor Facts: Demystifying Misconceptions about the Vapor Industry” by visiting http://bit.ly/toptenvaporfacts.

SFATA Encourages Maryland E-Cigarette Business Owners to Fight CB-91-2013

Following other counties and cities in the United States, a council member in Prince George’s County in Maryland has recently introduced a bill titled CB-91-2013 that would outlaw the use of electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars and public and senior housing units.

Many outsiders are claiming because people are not allowed to smoke traditional cigarettes in public places (i.e. bars and restaurants), the same theory should apply for e-cigarettes. The Smoke Free Alterative Trade Association (SFATA) dispels this comparison by pointing out that e-cigarettes produce no smoke and do not possess tobacco or the nearly 3,000 known carcinogen chemicals that traditional tobacco cigarettes contain.

The electronic cigarette is an innovative technology that delivers nicotine from a cartridge in the form of water vapor. The e-liquid inside of an e-cigarette generally contains nicotine, Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). Both PG and VG are FDA approved substances and can be found in several toothpaste and shampoo products at your local grocery store.

Prince George’s County Council Member Ingrid Turner is responsible for proposing this new Maryland bill, claiming that she is trying to make Maryland ‘more healthy.’ SFATA is encouraging County Council Member Turner to learn more about this innovative product and the overall industry before imposing severe regulation that could negatively affect her local constituents. If you are an e-cigarette business owner or advocate who lives in Prince George’s County, we encourage you to reach out to Ingrid Turner via email to express your concerns as to why this bill should be revoked. For more e-cigarette industry updates and news, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page.

More Medical Professionals Back E-Cigarettes As Reliable Adult Alternative

As electronic cigarettes continue to become more mainstream, the Food & Drug Association (FDA) is expected to announce proposed regulations on the industry as early as this month. In preparation for this legislative move, the Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association (SFATA) is urging elected officials and government agencies to consider respected medical professionals expertise on the e-cigarette field when creating recommendations.

E-cigarette advocates and business owners across the United States are concerned that the FDA will make the mistake of lumping e-cigarettes in with traditional cigarette regulation as part of its oversight. Such a move could impose severe restrictions on e-cigarette production, advertising, flavor selection and online sales. If this course of action becomes a reality, not only will access to e-cigarettes be severed, but economic growth will be negatively impacted.

SFATA is encouraging the FDA and elected officials to refer to research established by credible health professionals who offer scientific evidence proving that e-cigarettes are a reliable, adult alternative and that they are producing results that other smoking cessation methods are not.

Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, is a prominent e-cigarette expert and a dependable source for information on why regulation under the tobacco act is inappropriate for these innovative products.  Through his Tobacco Analysis blog and 25 years of experience in the field of tobacco control, Dr. Siegel has learned the science and mechanics behind electronic cigarettes. In addition, he understands why e-cigs offer an alternative for adults looking to switch to a smoke-free lifestyle. Dr. Siegel spent two years working at the Office on Smoking and Health at the Center for Disease and Control (CDC), where he conducted research on secondhand smoke and cigarette advertising. With nearly 70 published papers related to tobacco, Dr. Siegel has the knowledge to assist the FDA in creating fair regulation that would not impede American’s rights or interrupt economic growth.

Dr. Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general who highlighted the dangers of secondhand smoke and supported a ban on all tobacco products, joined the board of directors of a prominent electronic cigarette company earlier this year. SFATA is hoping that this move will add legitimacy to e-cigarettes as a viable alternative to traditional cigarettes.

The latest medical professional to come out and support e-cigarettes as an adult alternative is Gilbert Ross, a medical doctor and the executive and medical director of The American Council on Science and Health in New York. In a recent Forbes article, Dr. Ross argued that e-cigarettes are actually helping individuals switch from a worldwide condemned habit that has killed millions of people across the world. Dr. Ross stated in Forbes that “e-cigarettes work by delivering a potent ‘hit’ of nicotine in water vapor, with flavorings and propellants of no significant health concerns — neither to the “vaper” (as they call themselves), nor to bystanders.’

If you are an e-cigarette business owner or advocate, make sure to share this blog post with your friends and family members in an effort to further educate & inform the public about electronic cigarettes. To receive further updates on the electronic cigarette industry, “Like” the Official SFATA Facebook Fan Page and follow SFATA on Twitter.

SFATA Member Debunks Common E-Cigarette Myths In NY Times

SFATA founding member and co-founder of VMR Products LLC, published a full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday, October 14th.

In an open letter to elected officials and FDA regulators, thought leader and CEO, Andries Verleur, dispelled common e-cigarette myths while encouraging fair and common sense regulation.

With anti-electronic cigarette and big tobacco groups pressuring the FDA to regulate the e-cigarette industry by the end of October, VMR thought it was imperative to get fact-based information to the officials in charge of monitoring and regulating the industry. In the letter, Verleur focused on three primary myths that are commonly misunderstood by many outsiders who are not familiar with electronic cigarettes, stating, “while the two look similar, their differences are tremendous.”

SFATA continues to promote this same philosophy– how can e-cigarettes be classified as a tobacco product if they do not possess any tobacco?  In addition, well-respected public health experts are advocating for the electronic cigarette industry based on the fact that e-cigarettes contain zero tobacco and are a truly reliable combustion-free, adult alternative.

Following an extremely misleading report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which falsely claimed the percentage of minors using e-cigarettes has more than doubled, Mr. Verleur also offered up facts as to how the e-cig industry purposely does not sell to minors. “We voluntarily label our products ‘Underage Sale Prohibited’ and fully support youth bans, the We Cart initiative and age verification laws for online e-cig sales in all 50 states.” In addition, VMR’s CEO stated that because there are almost 50 million active smokers in the United States, “the need to sell or market to the youth is not necessary.”  VMR, along with other industry leaders and other SFATA members do not conduct youth-oriented marketing promotions and continually enforce that policy.

Please share this blog post in an effort to promote the truth about electronic cigarettes and debunk inaccurate myths. As SFATA gears up for the first-ever Fly-In Event in Washington D.C. on November 4th & 5th, e-cig advocates are encouraged to contact their respected elected officials by telephone, email, standard mail and social media to tell them to not implement harsh regulations on the industry.  To take action, please retrieve the appropriate congressmen and women’s contact info from this post. Make sure to follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” SFATA’s official Facebook Fan Page for daily e-cig industry updates and news.

Is the E-Cig & Alcohol Regulatory Arena a Leveled Playing Field?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for “protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, the food supply, cosmetics and products that emit radiation.” In doing so, they monitor and regulate various industries including cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco as well as most food products and dietary supplements. Alcoholic beverages in particular are monitored by several different federal agencies including the FDA. Other agencies that also monitor and regulate various aspects of the alcohol industry include the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Although the food, alcohol and narcotic industries are regulated by different federal agencies, they all have one end-goal: to keep Americans safe and to promote innovation.

A recent Wall Street Journal article examined the alcohol industry’s booming popularity in sweet and candy-flavored alcoholic beverages. Not only does the federal government permit various flavored alcoholic beverages for public consumption, but they also allow them to be readily available at a diverse set of public places including sports events, concerts and other entertainment events. In addition, alcoholic products are also being marketed with the help of millions and billions of dollars across mass mediums including cable television channels, social media, radio and print outlets.

For many e-cigarette consumers, business owners and advocates, the playing field for the consumption and promotion of alcoholic beverages appears uneven compared to the nicotine industry. Although tobacco, nicotine and alcohol products are all legal in the United States (in limited amounts), alcohol brands are allowed to market and revolutionize their products in many ways that e-cigarettes cannot. This point alone has many wondering why one industry is allowed more freedom to promote and sell while the other is not.

Elected officials in Washington D.C. are currently taking the next few months to review the e-cigarette industry in preparation for possible regulation. During this time, many electronic cigarette advocates are concerned that certain anti e-cig groups that have proposed and encouraged e-cigarette bans will cause negative implications on the entire industry. In particular, some groups are proposing that flavored e-cigarettes become banned, except for Menthol and Tobacco flavors. This model is not random at all and is the precedent of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which bans “characterizing flavors of tobacco cigarettes.” SFATA and other e-cigarette advocates are questioning why the government would ban e-cigarettes with “characterizing” flavors but not sweet flavored alcohol products?

Although some uninformed outsiders are claiming that flavored e-cigarettes are appealing to under age users, the same argument could very well go for flavored alcoholic beverages. SFATA believes the opposite is true for this argument when it comes to the e-cigarette industry. From state regulations that prohibit minors from buying e-cigarettes in retail stores, to age verification software for online e-cigarette purchases, as well as voluntary age restrictions imposed by many e-cig vendors, there is little room for minors to access electronic cigarettes.

Many traditional tobacco cigarette users have stated that in the absence of flavored e-cigarettes, they would continue using tobacco containing cigarettes rather than its combustion free, smoke-free alternative.  By imposing a ban on various flavored e-cigarettes, the government can also potentially impair domestic and international economic growth and take away a useful product that millions of people have found to be reliable and useful.

SFATA urges elected officials and the FDA to implement common sense e-cigarette regulation in the U.S. by allowing innovation and access to this technology. SFATA believes parallels exist between the e-cig industry and the alcohol industry and calls for a judicious and cautious legislative movement by the federal government. For more e-cigarette industry tips, advice and updates, follow SFATA on Twitter and “Like” the official SFATA Facebook Fan Page!