torstai 3. syyskuuta 2015

Translation: THL blog post on ecigs

Again, more translating business. This thing is just.. Holy crap. Once more there was no intention to change the content. I'm sure the text speaks for itself. Was trying to fact check the claims on criticism for the PHE report, haven't managed to find anything substantial. Note that like the Lancet piece, this is also published anonymous.. And I felt I needed to get some more eyes on it. I apologize for any errors that might exist, I'm not a professional translator.
Is this how science is communicated now? Really? Evidence just doesn't matter anymore, does it?

- Juhani Orelma

Rest of this post is the translation of a piece under "news" that was published at in finnish only.

Electronic cigarettes are not solving the smoking problem

The international health community was recently shocked by the health agency of Englands’ (Public Health England) report on electronic cigarettes. The report says, that electronic cigarettes are much more harmless than cigarettes and a good way to quit smoking. According to the report, the availability of electronic cigarettes should not be restricted.

The report immediately stirred confusion and strict criticism from many organizations and experts. Criticism has been submitted by for instance the English doctors association and English public health agency and internationally the US public health agency and World Health Organization.
So what is it all about? There’s no doubt that an electronic cigarette or snus would not be less unhealthy than a cigarette. However, since cigarettes are highly dangerous, this doesn’t mean that electronic cigarette or snus would be safe by any means. A lot of study is needed on the health harms of electronic cigarettes.

The report proposes that electronic cigarettes are a good way to quit for smokers. Evidence on this is also flimsy, especially compared to the carefully studied smoking cessation products already on the market.

However, the core of the problem is elsewhere. The report examines current smokers and their switch from cigarettes to electronic tobacco. If this was the only viewpoint, the situation would be different.
Youth often starts experimentation with electronic cigarettes or snus. Using them can quickly lead to long-term nicotine dependence.

In turn, nicotine dependence leads to mixed use of nicotine products in many cases – also cigarette smoking that is. Evidence for this is rather strong. Therefore electronic cigarettes will not lead to the end of smoking cigarettes.

“In this situation it is understandable, that also the background of this startling report is investigated. As is noted by the recent editorial in the journal Lancet, the report appears to trace back to industry funding. The previously described progress, widespread marketing of electronic cigarettes and the continuation of smoking cigarettes are all in the interest of the tobacco industry” chairman of the expert team evaluating the WHO FCTC Pekka Puska notes.

“It is desirable, that this English report is received against this background also in Finland. I think it is important, like is planned in Finland, that electronic cigarettes are equated with cigarettes in tobacco legislation. This also matches the strict line regarding electronic cigarettes in the EU tobaccodirective” – Puska continues.

Read more
More information
Pekka Puska
THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland)

torstai 27. elokuuta 2015

Meet the e-cigarette regulation proposal by the Health Ministry of Finland

Translations for the rest is underway, but here are the directly user
related bits.
The justification is mostly based on harmonization restrictions

with cigarettes, protecting the children, protecting the public from
exposure and the "national" plan of getting rid of nicotine product 
use in Finland by 2030.
No evidence was cited.

Electronic cigarette is defined as a product that CAN be used to consume nicotine containing vapor via a mouthpiece, along with any parts of such a product.

- Selling or otherwise hand over electronic cigarettes or liquids to persons below 18 years of age
- A sales person must be present when an electronic cigarette or liquid is handed/given/sold to a customer
- Automatic vendors not allowed
- Consumers cannot acquire or receive electronic cigarettes or liquids via mail or other similar means from outside Finland
- Can’t be sold or otherwise handed over via any kind of distance means, phone internet mail-order etc
- Product must release consistent dose under normal operating conditions (included provisions for variable wattage devices and puff length, so basically I think most devices can manage this)
- Electronic cigarettes and liquid containers must be protected from children, misuse, breakage and leakage and must have a leak-proof filling system
- Container maximum size 10ml, nic level 20mg/ml
- Devices can only ever fit a maximum of 2ml liquid, regardless of type
- Liquids cannot have any flavors. Flavoring products also cannot be sold or otherwise handed over together with liquids or if the packaging suggest they are intended for e-liquids and cannot be placed in close proximity of e-liquids in stores.
- Import restriction is set at 10ml for liquids that do not have warning labels in finnish and swedish, this is based on an estimate that the liquid is equivalent to 200 cigarettes. No mention of nicotine strength.
- Selling liquids requires a permit, costing 500 euros a year.
- Marketing banned
- Electronic cigarettes and liquids and their brands cannot be displayed in retail stores. A dedicated store can display their products provided the space has a separate entrance and products are not visible from the outside.
- Ban on usage in any indoor area expected to be open to employees or the public including transportation. Also any outdoor event areas where people are expected to stand still.

Restricted markings:
- Cannot reference any kind of health effects, benefits or positive effects (personal, enviromental or fire hazard)- Cannot mention flavor, aromas, smells or similar in any way
- Resemble cosmetics or foodstuffs
Retail packaging:

- Ingredients by descending weight
- Nicotine content and dosage
- Manufacturer batch number
- Suggestion to keep away from children
- Health warning in Finnish and Swedish, the content, font, position and size will be determined by the health ministry at a later date 
- Liquid containers 10ml size and 20mg/ml nic max

- Usage instructions, including a mention the product is not intended for youth or non-smokers
- Information about conditions that might prevent the use of the product (pregnancy etc)
- Warnings for specific risk groups
- Information on the possible adverse effects or harm of the product
- Information on the toxicity and addictiveness of the product
- Contact information for either an european manufacturer or importer