Wednesday 30 March 2011

Harm maximisation

Bit busy at the moment but there are a couple of harm reduction-related stories that you might be interested in.

Via F2C, I see that the BBC has implied that e-cigarettes might have killed a man in North East England.

Gateshead doctor calls for research into 'e-cigarettes'

A doctor from Tyneside has called for more research into "electronic" cigarettes following the death of one of his patients.

The wording of this non-story is extremely vague for the very good reason that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes did—or could—contribute to this man's death. El Beeb doesn't mention that the deceased had been a heavy smoker for decades, nor that the doctor involved—Dr Robert Allcock—is not any old GP, but is on the advisory panel of Smokefree Northeast and campaigns for various anti-tobacco policies. UKVapers has a more sober assessment of the story here.

And via Snus Central, it seems that another alleged health group is turning the screw in its efforts to keep people smoking cigarettes:

The Swedish snus eStore owned by World Wide Snus AB has been shut down and its assets seized. At the time of this writing, we're told a cancer organization in Finland filed suit against the Swedish snus store for allegedly selling snus to customers in Finland. This cancer organization apparently won the suit.

Latest information is that Finland presented the findings to Swedish Customs. On Tuesday, March 22nd, the Swedish Customs Service and local Police raided the facilities and seized them along with the inventory and other contents. World Wide Snus AB's bank accounts were simultaneously frozen.

If I'm not mistaken (let me know in the comments) this represents enforcement of the existing EU ban and is not a new restriction. It is illegal to export snus from Sweden for sale in any EU state—and that includes mail order and internet sales. Nevertheless, it is interesting that a "cancer organisation" would go to such trouble to prohibit a product that does not cause cancer.

Hopefully, the EU will see sense and repeal this absurd and counter-productive ban when the new Tobacco Products Directive is issued. In the meantime, Finns will have to buy their snus illegally, or from the US, or get back on the cigarettes.


Ben said...

"Hopefully, the EU will see sense and repeal this absurd and counter-productive ban"

Dream on ... The EU and sense?

Jean said...

"If I'm not mistaken (let me know in the comments) this represents enforcement of the existing EU ban and is not a new restriction. It is illegal to export snus from Sweden for sale in any EU state—and that includes mail order and internet sales. "

It's difficult to know whether it is legal to buy snus on the net from the EU.
From what I've seen, the vendors relied on the sales point location loophole. If the website is in Sweden, then you could more or less pretend that the sales took place in Sweden.
As for what is happening now, it seems that Finnish busybodies have obtained a court order to shut down one website and that other, similar websites decided to suspend their activity in order to be cautious. But maybe they got shut down too, it's difficult to know.
So I'm trying to figure out some way to get snus all the same, maybe through the US or Switzerland to France. It's getting a bit complicated just to live a normal life.

Anonymous said...

I went for a few days holiday in Prague a week or so ago. I got chatting to a swiss couple in the bar which I made my base. After a chat about this and that, the guy offered me some snuss.

For those who do not know, it comes in a tin/jar/packet and looks a little like pipe tobacco - very dark. It has a granular appearance, is damp and slightly sticky. You roll up a little ball and shove it up inside your top lip and leave it there.

I am sure that there is a technique, but it was not for me. I could feel it and taste it - very bitter. No way could I have a drink of my beer. I removed it after a little while.

But it was interesting to try it.

Snowdon. You're article points out what we are all beginning to understand, and that is that once the EU create a regulation, there is no way back. It is almost as though Parliament could never repeal an Act. It seems to me that this fact knocks on to member states in that, once they implement a direction, they cannot then retreat from it, because of the Treaty (Lisbon).

Of course, there must be a revolution sooner or later (I mean within the political classes). Sooner or later, some matter will arise which is of great importance and which will require an edict of the EU to be overturned, which is legally impossible. When that happens, The Treaty will become dead in the water.

Obviously, the snuss trade will go underground. But that will suit the EU because they will be able to claim that the trade does not exist. "There is no evidence..."

The shame of it is that people who like snuss but are out of the loop will be persecuted even more. For example, I personally am not in the loop for 'smuggled' tobacco - I do not move in those circles. I wouldn't even know where to start. It may be that, for the most part, A knows B who knows C....Trusted individuals introduce other trusted individuals who introduce....I am Z.

But we can certainly see how trust in Government is being undermined by Government itself. All these stupid bans can only have that result. Does anyone respect Government these days?

BigMick said...

Chris, you are correct that this is enforcing an existing regulation, but up until this it was overlooked.Now it seems that some of the manufacturers, the big ones not just the smaller players, are demanding the web stores cease shipping to the EU.
All in All very bad news for THR and EU snus users.
This is one time I'm glad I only have to deal with the P.A.C.T. Act.

Dr Evil said...

I was looking at a clinical trial and there was a death. I was asked if it was attributable in any way to the drug being tested or a co-morbidity? No says I, he was run over. But still had to be counted as dying during the course of the trial. The Devil is in the detail.

Anonymous said...

Five years ago, the snus sites stated they would not post orders to the UK. This changed and a year ago I ordered some from one of the Swedish sites. I emailed them first, asking whether it was likely to get stopped by the UKBA. I was told that Swedish Post parcels were almost never searched. My order never arrived. I never found out why, but I don't think it was stopped by customs as I didn't receive any notification. I am keen to arrange a regular supply of snus. Does anyone have any experience?