University of Oxford PhD Studentship ~ Developing and testing peer-led interventions to promote switching from smoking to vaping.

Developing and testing peer-led interventions to promote switching from smoking to vaping.

PhD Studentship ~ Closing date: 26th May 2017

Applications are invited from individuals with a strong academic record who wish to develop a career in behavioural or primary care research. The student will join the thriving Health Behaviours team in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences who are working on range of interventions to support harm reduction and smoking cessation.

The project: The rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes (‘e-cigarettes’) in recent years has been accompanied by a growth in the number of virtual ‘vaper’ communities, with people sharing their advice and experiences of e-cigarettes with peers on internet support groups and discussion forums, many of which address ways of reducing or stopping smoking. The rise of peer to peer support is unique to e-cigarettes; no other means of stopping or reducing smoking attracts such passionate engagement from members of the public. This raises the possibility that we could better harness this peer support to enable more people to reduce or stop smoking using e-cigarettes and this project examines this. Continue reading

How safe is vaping? Media coverage, dilemmas and solutions in work and social spaces

As part of on-going work in relation to tobacco harm reduction, Knowledge-Action-Change is organising a series of dialogues, to examine the often contentious issues that attach to the use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping, in workplaces, places of entertainment and public spaces.

The series entitled ‘How safe is vaping? Media coverage, dilemmas and solutions in work and social spaces’ will take place:
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Why these dialogues now?

There is still a lot of debate between scientists and policy makers about the nature, use and safety of nicotine containing products. The media has produced a lot of stories about e-cigarettes, not all of them either accurate, or supported by scientific evidence. Nonetheless these stories have an impact and can influence peoples’ thinking and reactions on issues. This dialogue is a place where everyone can bring their concerns, air them and hopefully become better informed about the products and their use.

Most vapers are former smokers who have switched to this safer way to use nicotine. Professionals working in public health largely accept that this is a much safer form of behaviour – for users and those around them – but there remain concerns about the impact of their use in some circumstances and in this dialogue we aim to identify some of these and try to address them.

What are the dialogues?

These short events are designed to enable interactive discussion and debate – involving public health professionals, academics and scientists, policy makers, consumers, owners and managers of premises and members of the public – on a range of issues surrounding the increasing use of safer nicotine products (including e-cigarettes) as an alternative to smoking.

During each dialogue a panel of speakers, representing different interests, each make short presentations, addressing different issues relating to e-cigarette use. Q&A and discussion involving the audience follow the presentations.

The dialogues are filmed with the proceedings posted on the web, with the aim of providing information to those who might be interested in the subject and to assist those charged with making policy in having a cross-section of views to draw upon.

Previous dialogues: Knowledge-Action-Change has produced a number of dialogues to date and some of these can be viewed here.

Last chance to register for the E-Cigarette Summit 2016

There are only a few spaces left for the forthcoming E-Cigarette Summit which will take place in London on 17th November at The Royal Society.  If you would like to view the programme or book a place please go to www.e-cigarette-summit.com .

This year has an unrivalled line up of speakers including Prof Neal Benowitz a global expert on nicotine, Pro David Spiegelhalter who is the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk from Oxford University and Tom Miller The Attorney General of Iowa, who historically led the successful multibillion dollar lawsuit against the tobacco industry for knowingly misrepresenting the risks of smoking.

At the Summit, AG Miller will look at whether the public are being given accurate information on e-cigarettes.

The key debates this year will include:

  • Communicating Research and Evidence on E-Cigarettes: How do you convey the relative risks of smoking and e-cigarettes based on what is currently known about them?

  • Should Nicotine Use Be Accepted in Society –  What are the absolute and relative risks?

  • Will regulation support or stifle the disruptive potential that e-cigarettes pose to the tobacco industry and smoking?

  • Can there be a balanced debate on e-cigarettes and harm reduction, when there is no consensus on where the “middle ground” lies.

2017 will be a watershed year for electronic cigarettes as new regulations come in to effect across Europe and America.   These first attempts to regulate an entirely novel product category will set the agenda for decades to come and is likely to be viewed as a pivotal era in both tobacco control and combustible tobacco use in the future.  On the International arena, The Summit  is immediately after FCTC COP7 and it will be the first opportunity to examine and discuss the scientific responses and reactions to the likely position that the WHO recommend on e-cigarettes and harm reduction. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. The role that the WHO and the FCTC play in setting public health agendas and tobacco control policies is the single most important framework that those dedicated to reducing smoking related and tobacco death and disease has worked within.

Good regulation and policy is essential to ensure that consumers and the broader public health are protected from corporate invested interests and that products are safe, effective and marketed appropriately. How far regulation has to go to deliver these goals can only be informed by well-structured research and balanced analysis and communication of evidence.  The E-Cigarette Summit has a single aim of facilitating respectful dialogue and thoughtful analysis of the latest evidence in context of public health concerns. Knowing how to accurately convey information to the public, especially adult smokers about the available evidence on the harm of e-cigarettes has also been a contentious issue.  The number of people who believe that vaping is as dangerous as smoking has tripled since 2012, which some would argue is an appropriate caution for an addictive product, but very few scientists would argue that this is an accurate assessment- given the known harms of smoking.

The E-Cigarette Summit provides a unique opportunity to examine the latest research and to discuss how the evidence should be interpreted and communicated to deliver the most effective health strategies to reduce smoking related death and disease.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Prof. Ann McNeill (Chair Person) – Professor of Tobacco Addiction (UKCTAS)
  • Attorney General Tom Miller – Attorney General for Iowa, USA
  • Prof Neal Benowitz – Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, USA
  • Prof. Jean Francois Etter – Professor of Public Health, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Mr Ram Moorthy – Deputy Chair of the BMA board of science, British Medical Association (BMA)
  • Prof. Robert West – Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies (CRUK)
  • Tim Baxter – Head of Public Health Policy and Strategy Unit, Department of Health (DoH)
  • Martin Dockrell – Tobacco Lead, Public Health England (PHE), Alcohol Drugs and Tobacco
  • Beryl Keeley – E-cigarette Notification Scheme Lead, Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA)
  • Prof David Spiegelhalter – Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University
  • Tim Phillips – Managing Director, ECigIntelligence.com
  •  Louise Ross – Stop Smoking Services and Tobacco Control Manager, Leicestershire NHS Trust
  • Prof. Marcus Munafo  – Professor of Biological Psychology, University of Bristol
  • Prof. Peter Hajek – Professor of Clinical Psychology, Queen Mary University, London
  • Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos – Researcher, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre, Greece
  • Prof. Ricardo Polosa – Director of the Institute for Internal Medicine, University of Catania
  • Prof. Linda Bauld – Professor of Health Policy, University of Stirling and UKCTAS
  • Fraser Cropper – CEO,  Totally wicked and Chair of IBVTA (Independent British Vape Trade Association)
  • Dr Lynne Dawkins – Associate Professor of Psychology, School of Applied Sciences, London South Bank University
  • Deborah Arnott – Chief Executive Officer, Action on Smoking (ASH)
  • Prof Scott Leischow – Mayo Clinic, USA
  • Prof. David Abrams – Professor , The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public

To see the full agenda please go to www.e-cigarette-summit.com

Experts say WHO needs better understanding of the evidence on e-cigs to inform its international tobacco control treaty.

A new WHO report fails to properly evaluate the evidence on e-cigarettes and could even undermine international efforts to reduce smoking, says a group of UK based academics.

UK academics are calling for better understanding of the potential benefits of e-cigarettes to reducing the smoking pandemic ahead of an international gathering of countries that have signed the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control.

The 7th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global public health treaty, will be held in Delhi, India from 7th-12th November 2016. At this meeting, Parties to the treaty (countries and other jurisdictions) will discuss whether similar policy measures recommended to reduce tobacco use should be applied to e-cigarettes.

In advance of the COP the World Health Organisation published a report about Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDDS), also known as e-cigarettes. This aimed to summarise the evidence about these devices.

Academics from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence, have today published a robust critique of the WHO report setting out a series of concerns about the content of the document which, in their view, screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-12-37-14does not fairly represent existing evidence on e-cigarettes. Their critique examines each element of the WHO report and identifies flaws in the way the evidence is presented and problems with how the report could be interpreted, potentially encouraging countries to adopt excessive restrictions on e-cigarettes which could undermine efforts to reduce smoking.

The UKCTAS critique points to evidence set out in the recent Royal College of Physician’s’ report ‘Nicotine without Smoke’ and subsequent research which recognise that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking and that smokers who find it difficult to stop should be encouraged to use them.

The WHO report fails to accurately present what is already known about e-cigarettes. In particular, it: positions e-cigarettes as a threat rather than an opportunity to reduce smoking; fails to accurately quantify any risks of e-cigarettes compared with smoking; misrepresents existing evidence about any harms to bystanders; discounts the fact that e-cigarettes are helping smokers to quit; does not recognise the place of some promotion of e-cigarettes to encourage smokers to switch to these less harmful products; fails to understand that the flavours in e-cigarettes are useful for people trying to stop smoking; mischaracterises the current e-cigarette market screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-12-39-18and appears to support very restrictive policies on e-cigarettes without including any good policy analysis. In addition, the WHO report does not acknowledge that significant restrictions on e-cigarettes could lead to unintended consequences, including increases in smoking.

Finally, the researchers point out that the WHO briefing is based on four unpublished papers which are still undergoing peer review, which does not allow for open, transparent scrutiny of the evidence. This does not, therefore, provide a good basis for policy making and risks undermining rather than promoting the aims of the FCTC, which is a treaty that was designed to help countries reduce smoking rates and save lives.

To read the full report click here.

Continue reading

The international symposium looking at Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems & Smoking Cessation

La Rochelle – France

December 1st & 2nd, 2016

Tobacco will be the leading cause of death in the 21st century, and projections by the World Health Organization (WHO) are nothing short of alarming: 600 million deaths world-wide. The WHO considers smoking as “one of the most serious threats that ever faced mankind”.
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The e-cig symposium was created in this context and will present the latest research results on the potential of new electronic nicotine delivery devices in the form of electronic cigarettes, and more broadly, of aerosol therapy. Devices which, for the first time, may reveal potentially effective treatment solutions to stop smoking with confort and pleasure.
The e-cig symposium has clear objectives : gathering medical, scientific, and technical research to review and summarise the studies done on electronic cigarettes, and more globally on electronic nicotine delivery devices used as an alternative to tobacco smoking.
The e-cig event will:
  • present the latest research results on the potential of new electronic nicotine delivery devices in the form of electronic cigarettes, and more broadly, of aerosol therapy. Devices which, for the first time, may reveal potentially effective treatment solutions  to quit smoking with comfort and pleasure.
  • provide the latest research developments on the effectiveness and safety evaluation methods of electronic cigarettes, as well as on the standards and regulations of these products.
  • gather both public and private physicians and researchers working on topics directly or indirectly related to the delivery of nicotine and smoking cessation.

Who’s going to be there?

attendees.pngCall for communications is open: Be part of the e-cig panel speakers : +60 oral communications will be selected from the call for papers. Submit your paper below!

Program at a glance | Submit your abstract | More information