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Thread: Message to the Tasmanian Cancer Council

  1. #1
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    Message to the Tasmanian Cancer Council

    This is an email which I collaborated on with "our Rose" over the weekend, with special thanks to MargyB for help with the links to research and information included. Rose and I decided we'd like to share it with the community on AVF as we think it packs a punch and rights some wrongs which they have published on their website. It's rather long, so I'm going to go ahead now and reserve some space to share it in several parts. Identities have been changed to protect the 'innocent'.

    To the Cancer Council Tasmania CEO, Penny Egan. 30/03/2014
    A copy of this letter will also be posted on the forum in the Media section, as a matter of interest to smokers and vapers alike.
    Dear Penny,
    We are writing to express concern about information (or rather disinformation) about electronic cigarettes, posted on the Cancer Council Tasmania website, dated 6 February 2014. Cancer Council TasmaniaNo evidence e-cigarettes are safe | Cancer Council Tasmania
    Firstly, a brief introduction:
    Rose’s story:
    I am 52 years old, smoked for 35 years and suffered from chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing as well as frequent bouts of bronchitis (about twice a year). I tried my first electronic cigarette 1 year and 11 months ago and have not smoked since. I managed to quit cold turkey temporarily some years ago and I experienced many positive health effects from quitting, including the relief of all the symptoms listed above, but the insatiable desire for the hand to mouth aspect of smoking never left me. I gained 10kg and eventually succumbed to re-establishing the habit after a 12 month absence. This time around, switching from smoking to "vaping" has led to exactly the same health improvements except that I have not suffered the huge weight gain or the mental anxiety associated with the first attempt, so ecigs are by far the most effective method to stop smoking tobacco I have ever encountered. I have not had a single episode of bronchitis since I started vaping. I am therefore a passionate advocate of electronic cigarettes and vaporisers. I should make it clear though that the first generation "cigalikes" did not provide enough vapour to be effective. I use second and third generation refillable nicotine vaporisers which produce more power and therefore more satisfying vapour.
    It is obvious to me as an ex-smoker (with a 40 a day habit), that these vaporisers are one of the greatest inventions of the last hundred years, and are capable of saving millions of people from premature death.
    "If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save five million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize."- Prof. J Britton, Royal College of Physicians
    mrsgruffy’s story:
    I’m 47 years old and quit smoking nearly 18 months ago, after countless quit attempts using all that is offered by modern medicine, allied health and even pop psychology, including patches, gum, inhalers, Champix, Zyban, hypnotherapy, counselling, Allen Carr’s book, and so on. In fact, when I ordered my ecigarette, I was so certain that I was going to die a smoker that my motivation for ordering the product was to possibly cut down on my 50 cigarette a day habit. Nobody was more surprised than I was when after only 2-3 days of use, I told my partner that I actually thought I could use this gadget to quit smoking. I was experiencing a nice flavour, my desire for nicotine was sated and the habitual hand to mouth action associated with smoking was well catered to as well. I very rapidly began to enjoy the vapour much, much more than I’d ever enjoyed smoked tobacco. My partner had the same experience. I took 6 days to transition from cigarettes completely and he took 7 days. We feel it is a miracle, after countless failed attempts over the years to quit tobacco smoking.

    Before we quit, we had some serious health issues. I had virtually uncontrollable hypertension and very high cholesterol levels, which led to hospitalisation on two occasions. It was clear to me that it was only a matter of time before I would experience a catastrophic tobacco related health event, yet I kept smoking. My latest blood tests from a few months ago were very telling. Absolutely normal and healthy cholesterol levels. My hypertension has also completely resolved, and I no longer take the 4 medications I had to take prior to quitting tobacco smoking. Since nothing else has changed in my lifestyle, I can only attribute this to quitting, and to me, it also proves, at least in my case, that vaping is not dangerous to my health, at least in the short term. I am keenly following the ever increasing body of scientific work which appears to be confirming my own experience that vaping is a far safer alternative to smoking tobacco.
    Electronic cigarettes are a huge threat to the Tobacco and Pharmaceutical industries, and to those paying attention it is clear these parties would rather see them banned or restricted in a way that would mean that only they would be able to sell them. There is consequently an onslaught of negative propaganda about them in the mainstream media. It is no surprise to vapers that the corporate media does corporate bidding, and protects the interests primarily of the Pharmaceutical industry which provides a great deal of funding through advertising. There is also the tobacco tax to be considered which covers the cost of treating smoking related illness several times over and is needed more to help pay the national deficit than to cover the cost to society incurred by smokers.
    It is, however, alarming that an independent non-government organisation such as Cancer Council Tasmania is blindly following the corporate agenda, and simply repeating the same nonsense we expect from ignorant and highly compromised courtiers on television infotainment shows or in the tabloid press. Does CCT have a research department, or anybody responsible for making sure you get your facts straight before publishing on the internet?

    In the interests of providing the best information possible to Tasmanian smokers, we would like to assist you by pointing out your errors in the hope that they may be corrected. We have selected exact quotes from the above-mentioned website.

    1. " no evidence that e-cigarettes were safer than normal cigarettes,
    As you would no doubt be aware, normal cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals including Tar, Formaldehyde, Benzene, Polonium 210, Vinyl chloride, Chromium, Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, Carbon monoxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, Ammonia, Butane, Toluene, 1,3-Butadiene, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Nitrosamines, Acrolein, Nickel, Cobalt, Beryllium, Acetaldehyde, Hydrazine, Nitogen Oxides, Sulphur Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulphide and Pyridine.
    Sources: CDC - 2010 Surgeon General's Report - Chemicals in Tobacco Smoke - Smoking & Tobacco Use
    Smoking and cancer: What's in a cigarette? : Cancer Research UK
    Remember, there are over 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke as a result of the combustion of tobacco and hundreds of additives. We have listed 27 of them as a starting point. For a full list of 599 additives in cigarettes submitted to the United States Department of Health and Human Services in April 1994 follow this link: List of additives in cigarettes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by mrsgruffy; 31-03-14 at 07:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    NE Tasmania
    Electronic nicotine vaporisers by contrast, contain 3-4 ingredients: Propylene Glycol and/or Vegetable Glycerine (both generally regarded as safe ... GRAS), food flavourings and nicotine. Nicotine is a widely studied substance and has never been directly linked to cancer. It is considered to have a similar health profile as caffeine, and like caffeine should not be used by people with hypertension, heart disease or by pregnant women. For anyone else it is a safe and enjoyable recreational drug, just as caffeine is. The Swedish government has done extensive studies on the effects of Swedish Snus (which we know delivers nicotine very effectively). The following graph shows that smokers who switch to snus have a similar life expectancy to smokers who quit nicotine entirely, and that life long snus users have a life expectancy virtually the same as people who never smoke or use snus: Swedish snus is not the same as American oral tobacco which is known to cause oral cancer. The Swedish product is pasteurised rather than fermented and toxic substances destroyed in the process. Does CCT have an opinion about the fact that Swedish snus is banned for sale in Australia?

    The only unknowns about vaping are the food flavourings. Food flavouring manufacturers have always been reluctant to disclose the secret chemical combinations of their products which means we don't know what chemicals we are ingesting when we eat processed food either. So vaping is most likely at least as safe as eating 80% of what we buy at the supermarket. However, Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, a well-known and respected researcher on electronic cigarettes' safety/risk profile is currently raising funds to test more than 100 e-cigarette liquids from manufacturers all over the world. We would advise CCT to await the results of this research before engaging in unnecessary scaremongering. Vapers themselves, as well as global vendors of ecigarettes, are so keen to get the answers on this that they have been crowd sourcing the money required to fund Dr Farsalinos’ latest research into the inhalation risks relating to food flavourings. Please visit his website to expand your awareness of the positive research that is being done on ecigs: Home
    Any smoker with an average IQ who is interested in learning about vaping will, after a couple of hours doing their own independent research, come to the rational conclusion that vaping is obviously vastly safer than smoking. Apparently CCT requires extra help in figuring this out, so here are some extra links for your perusal:
    1. Nicotine and Health: A Publication of the American Council on Science and Health.
    "Extra mortality risk due to electronic cigarettes is estimated at near zero, as for nicotine gum in (6) below, on the basis that nicotine is the active ingredient, neither nicotine nor its main carrier propylene glycol cause cancer, and worldwide no deaths attributed as at March 2013 to electronic cigarettes in the medical literature since sales began in 2007. One non-attributed death was reported by BBC in 2012." Page 30 Nicotine and Health

    2. Research on Safety of Electronic Cigarettes: Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos
    " Based on currently available data, it is reasonable to expect a significant benefit for the health of smokers who switch from tobacco to e-cigarette use, even in long-term users."

    3. Peering through the mist: What does the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tell us about health risks? Igor Burstyn, PhD
    Department of Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health Drexel University.
    "Even when compared to workplace standards for involuntary exposures, and using several conservative (erring on the side of caution) assumptions, the exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity. That is, even ignoring the benefits of e-cigarette use and the fact that the exposure is actively chosen, and even comparing to the levels that are considered unacceptable to people who are not benefiting from the exposure and do not want it, the exposures would not generate concern or call for remedial action."

    4. Article: New Study Shows that Electronic Cigarette Vapor is Much Less Cytotoxic than Cigarette Smoke
    "At the highest dilution, 20 of the 21 brands of electronic cigarette showed no signs of cytotoxicity. One brand showed evidence of cytotoxicity at the highest dilution but not at any lower dilutions. Even at this high dilution, the cytotoxicity was more than two orders of magnitude lower than that of cigarette smoke. In contrast, cigarette smoke was cytotoxic up until the third level of dilution." The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary: New Study Shows that Electronic Cigarette Vapor is Much Less Cytotoxic than Cigarette Smoke

    5. E-cigarettes: harmless inhaled or exhaled: Health New Zearland
    Report from Health New Zealand stating e-cigarette vapours do not contain substances known to cause death in the quantities found. Ecigarette mist harmless, inhaled or exhaled

    6. Levels of selected carcinogens and toxicants in vapour from electronic cigarettes: The British Medical Journal.
    “The levels of the toxicants were 9–450 times lower than in cigarette smoke and were, in many cases, comparable with trace amounts found in the reference product.”
    Last edited by mrsgruffy; 31-03-14 at 07:14 PM.

  3. #3
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    2. "some e-cigarettes may contain life-threatening doses of nicotine if ingested."
    Some other substances that could be lethal if ingested are air freshener, dishwashing detergent, bleach, carpet shampoo, drain cleaner, furniture polish, oven cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner. Nicotine, like all these other products is not supposed to be ingested. Nicotine juice or ejuice should be labelled "Do not swallow" and "Keep out of reach of children" like any of these other products, but there's no need to be hysterical about the nicotine. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the fatal overdose level for nicotine is now believed to be far higher than the generally accepted 50 to 60 mg (this being based on dubious experiments made in the 19th century) and is more likely to be 500-1000 mg. With uptake becoming more prevalent, there is obviously a need for responsible education for users of recreational nicotine delivered in liquid form. The vaping community would absolutely welcome this. For further information please read the following presentation from the E-Cigarette Summit 12/11/13
    Nicotine safety in the context of e-cigarette use and tobacco dependence
    "So the lower limit causing fatal outcomes is 0.5–1 g of ingested nicotine (oral LD50 of
    6.5–13 mg/kg, agreeing well with nicotine toxicity in dogs, which exhibit responses to
    nicotine similar to humans."

    "On ten cases of children ingesting tobacco cigarettes. Ingestion of 0.5-1 mg/kg produced symptoms of salivation and vomiting within 30 min. Ingesting of 3-6 mg/kg produced salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, tachypnea, tachycardia, and hypertension within 30 min; depressed respiration and cardiac arrhythmia within 40 min; and convulsions within 60 min after ingestion. Within 5 days all children
    recovered with no complications."

    In actual fact the lethal dose is likely to be even higher. As cited in the following article one woman "was admitted to the emergency ward after ingestion of 50 mL of nicotine liquid labelled as containing 30 mg of nicotine/mL, to commit suicide.
    What is very surprising is even though the patient ingested 1500mg nicotine, two hours after ingestion the symptoms present were abdominal pain, nausea, and voluminous vomiting.
    Medicinal treatment: Activated charcoal and observation for 6 hours."

    The largest capacity of a refillable vaporiser is about 5 mls. For 5 mls of eliquid to contain even 1000mg of nicotine, the strength of the liquid would have to be 200mg/ml or 20% strength! This is unheard of, and your statement is blatantly false. No ecigs being sold here, even illegally, contain anywhere near life-threatening doses of nicotine. Even DIYers do not use a nicotine base any stronger than 100mg/ml and they dilute that to their desired strength.

    Vapers do not use pure nicotine, but safe levels averaging 16mg/ml (which is 1.6% of the strength of pure nicotine) although some may use up to 36mg/ml in the early stages of converting to vaping if they have been particularly heavy smokers. This is certainly not dangerous to inhale, nor lethal to ingest, though obviously these products must be kept away from small children. Apart from being false, the claim you have made on your website is alarmist and counter-productive in contrast to the enormous benefit these products can provide to smokers looking for a safer alternative.

    3. "no evidence that e-cigarettes were effective in helping people to quit"

    Certainly the small "cigalikes" are not particularly effective, and have been shown to be only marginally more successful than nicotine patches. The cigalikes being sold in Australia which can legally only be sold without nicotine are virtually useless. But what these products are is a gateway out of smoking and a gateway into the use of second and third generation vaporisers which are very effective indeed. Please view the following graphic so you can understand the difference between these generations of ecig :

    In the U.K. alone the number of users has swelled to nearly 2 million currently, from just a few hundred in 2009. There are presently estimated to be more than 7 million e-cigarette users across Europe, and over 4 million in the USA. Wells Fargo Securities, has estimated Reynolds (makers of Camel and Pall Mall) will have $4 billion in revenue from e-cigs in 2021 compared with $3.9 billion from conventional cigarettes.

    The Ecig business is booming across the world. Even here in Australia where those of us who make the switch are handicapped by scandalous laws making nicotine illegal to sell here, and have to import it for personal use from overseas, the uptake of ecigs is growing exponentially. Even your own website states that ecig usage in Tasmania is growing dramatically. If smokers are switching to ecigs in "dramatic" numbers why state there is "no evidence that e-cigarettes were effective in helping people to quit". Does anybody proof-read what you publish to avoid such embarrassing contradictions?

    4. "No e-cigarette product has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Act 1989 as a safe and effective product to assist smokers to quit."

    Does the TGA approve the coffee you drink? Do they approve the glass of wine you enjoy with your evening meal? Of course not. The TGA only has a mandate to advise on policy regarding medicines, medical devices, blood and blood products. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are not medicines. They are recreational drugs. The majority of us who use ecigs have no intention of giving up nicotine. Many of us are those 17-20% of smokers who either can't or won't quit. Vaping gives us a safer alternative. Ecigs are not cessation devices, although there are some who do use them as such. They are simply a way of replicating all the actions and satisfaction of smoking without anywhere near the danger of inhaling smoke. The TGA has nothing relevant to say about the recreational use of nicotine.

    It is also worth noting that since 1998 the TGA stopped being a government funded statutory body and has ever since received 100% of its funding from industry levies. As Senator Nick Xenophon correctly observed the TGA is now "a watch dog in need of a guide dog". It is now nothing more than a clearing house for the pharmaceutical industry and has no credibility at all. If the TGA were doing what it is supposed to be doing the most dangerous prescription drug on the market (Champix) would have been banned long ago. Many of us who have converted to vaping have horror stories to tell about Champix which is nothing more than an experimental psychoactive drug. But as smoking has become more demonised so have smokers themselves, and no public health bodies seem to care about the dreadful side-effects of Champix including the growing number of suicides attributed to its use. Why do you defer to the "authority" of such a corrupt organisation? If you want to gain credibility with smokers and vapers, CCT must remain independent of the TGA.
    Last edited by mrsgruffy; 31-03-14 at 09:48 PM.

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    5. “When a person who smokes is ready to quit, they should seek professional advice from a reputable source regarding TGA approved medications that are proven to be safe and effective."
    This statement beggars belief in the light of what we have just said about Champix, a "TGA approved medication". Nicotine patches and gum are also TGA approved and have a 95% failure rate. It verges on negligence for CCT to be trying to steer smokers away from ecigs and towards the deplorable array of products approved by the TGA. Another product the TGA approves is Nicorette QuickMist Spray. This "medication" contains exactly the same ingredients as an ecig: propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, nicotine and food flavouring. It also contains anhydrous ethanol, trometamol, poloxamer 407, sodium hydrogen carbonate, levomenthol, sucralose, acesulfame potassium and hydrochloric acid. Just using basic common sense, no need for any scientific knowledge, which do you think is the safer product for a smoker? Or does CCT actually approve of the TGA actively protecting the interests of the pharmaceutical industry rather than the interests of the public?

    6. "we do not yet know what the short and long term health implications might be from using e-cigarettes"

    We do know the short term health implications of using ecigs: they have been in wide use for more than 6 years, provided a safe alternative to smoking for 10s of millions of people and to date the number of hospitalisations across the world attributed to vaping is zero. That's correct, zero. The long term effects won't be known for another 30 years at least. Considering that the vast majority of vapers are ex-smokers who would go back to smoking if vaping were ever banned outright, there is a ready-made study group of millions who will, in 30 years time provide the necessary data to settle the argument. It is irresponsible to steer smokers away from a product which is showing such promising results and improvement in health of nicotine users, just because the long term effects are unknown. It would be appropriate to state this on your website, but in context of the fact that they are obviously still safer than cigarettes.

    7. “More research is urgently needed on e-cigarettes because of the paucity of reliable data to inform the debate"
    A paucity of reliable data? There is a tsunami of reliable research being done, certainly enough to convince any rational smoker that vaping is a wise alternative if they can't or won't give up smoking. The research articles we have linked to in this letter are only the tip of the iceberg. If you need more we can provide plenty but we would want to be placed on the payroll of CCT as you clearly are in dire need of some research assistants.

    8. "Mrs Egan supported the announcement by the Director of Public Health, Dr Roscoe Taylor, yesterday warning retailers and consumers of e-cigarettes containing nicotine."
    If Mrs Egan and Dr Taylor cared at all about the health of smokers and the minimisation of the incidence of cancer they would be warning consumers that ecigs legally being sold in Australia do not contain nicotine, rendering them useless as a replacement for smoking.

    We urge all staff at CCT to consider the points raised in this letter. The vaping community is well informed and the warnings on your website simply make a laughing stock out of CCT. It honestly appears that you are serving corporate interests rather than the interests of the 50% of all Tasmanian smokers who will be condemned to premature death if they take your advice seriously.
    We look forward to your response and hope that after you have read through all the articles we have linked to, you will be able to amend your site and provide accurate information to all Tasmanian nicotine users.
    Kind regards,
    Actual names and addresses of the parties removed.

    ETA: This is largely Rose's work, with a few additions and addendums by me. You're a legend, Rose!!
    Last edited by mrsgruffy; 31-03-14 at 09:50 PM.

  5. #5
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    Grumpy Old man, Living inPerth Northern suburbs
    Quote Originally Posted by mrsgruffy View Post
    yet another saved space

    Bloody squatters!!!
    Because I trust no-one Who tells me FACTS with no proof

  6. #6
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    Oct 2013
    good work girls! very well written and informative. It really beggars belief that places like the cancer council need to be told this stuff by lay people, they should not be this misinformed! The TGA is an utter joke and we are constantly told that THEY have not approved ecigs as if it is meant to mean something.

  7. #7
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    Perth, Southern Suburbs
    Quote Originally Posted by vaping_gal View Post
    good work girls! very well written and informative..
    No.... Great work.
    Sent by DaveJ

    Sorry, I don't have a witty signature.

  8. #8
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    Semaphore, SA
    Thank you so much for writing this and collecting the relevant pieces of research together in one coherent piece There are other bodies apart from CCT which need the same kind of information sent to them, and if it was possible to sticky or store this so others can use the body, that would be great. Also, if it was stored, then relevant sections could be upgraded as new research came to hand. cheers Deb
    GirlyPantz likes this.

  9. #9
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    Bellevue Heights, SA
    I applaud you for writing this fantastic piece of literature!

    I will be printing it and keeping it in my laptop bag for quick reference whenever challenged
    lozza 82 likes this.
    Vaping - Where have you been all my life?!?!?!

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2014
    Fantastic work and yes it should be a sticky and sent to every polly in Australia. Well done

    Nic Free Since 12th May 2014


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