Nicotine In the News Nicotine in the News

Nicotine in the News is a new NSP column authored by Harry Shapiro.

Harry is Director of DrugWise an online drug information service and managing editor of DS Daily - an online news service on drugs, alcohol and tobacco. He is an author, journalist and lecturer who has written widely on the subject of drugs. He is the author of several books relating to drugs and popular music including Waiting for the Man: the story of drugs and popular music; Shooting Stars: drugs, Hollywood and the movies; Jimi Hendrix, Electric Gypsy; Eric Clapton: Lost in the Blues and Jack Bruce: Composing Himself : the Authorised Biography.

12 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

As a newcomer to the world of tobacco harm reduction, I am continually impressed by the expert forensic scrutiny of the published research much of which is aimed at undermining the positive impact of heat not burn technologies when compared to smoking cigarettes.

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13 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

It strikes me there is a marked difference between the way US and UK governments and their agencies handle information about controversial subjects. In the US, there is an obvious moral underpinning to much of what is published about drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Or what isn't published. As the major donor of the WHO, the US government has previously suppressed WHO reports stating cannabis was no more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco – and another which stated that moderate use of cocaine appeared to have no long term health consequences. Yes folks, this is the WHO speaking.

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15 January 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Welcome to my new column brought to you by Nicotine Science and Policy. The idea is that I provide a summary and commentary of the weeks' news and events for those who have not had the time to check out the NSP News Digest on a daily basis or missed an important news item from elsewhere.

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18 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Forget La La Land (you know, that place where WHO and CDC views on vaping live) – instead grab your popcorn for some much more rewarding screen time.

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20 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

In a departure from the normal round-up, I want this week to focus on the idea of how increasingly propaganda and lies are trumping facts – and the pun is intended. I am prompted in this by a very interesting and frankly scary and depressing article by Tim Harford writing in the Financial Times about the 'problem with facts'. 

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22 January 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Having done a brief round-up of 2016 in my first column, this week's column is a catch-up on the news so far in 2017.

Previously I mentioned the harm reduction battle cross-over between drugs and e-cigarettes: reports in the news this year highlight another connection – how scientists, clinicians and the media can mislead the general public.

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26 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Despite the best efforts of the powers-that-be to convince Americans that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as smoking tobacco, a new study ( http://www.news-medical.net ) shows that among US smokers with respiratory conditions who continue to smoke, many are switching to e-cigarettes believing them to be less harmful.

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27 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

There has been some debate on the wires that the FDA Mission statement only seems to be concerned about reducing tobacco use by minors but not adults. The exact wording is “ FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors”.

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29 January 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

OK, so let's start with some good news for a change.

In Canada, the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC) in a report called “ Clearing the Air” have concluded that fears of vaping being a gateway to tobacco smoking are unfounded.

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6 February 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Writing for the Australian online news outlet News.Com Joe Hildebrand reported, “when I quit smoking last year, I got a message from Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn from the School of Public Health at the University of NSW “Congratulations,” he said. “You’ve just added almost 10 years to your life.” He then added: “You’re also now a criminal.”

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6 March 2017

Harry Shapiro Director DrugWise

Back in the day, I worked in the library of the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence. The collection policy was literally everything in English on illegal/non-medical drug use. We ended up with one of the best English language drug libraries in the world. But there was a lot of dross – and the one category we soon dropped were animal studies. Researchers would inject a rodent with high levels of the psychoactive THC, watch it fall over and then declare that cannabis caused everything from cancer to Ebola. And we would be sent many similar studies, so reproducability wasn't the issue, it was just pointless with no relevance to real world situations and just a way of building up a publishing record.

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Nicotine Science and Policy posts news items on a wide range of issues related to the use of nicotine and posting of a news item does not imply endorsement of the views expressed in any item.