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NJOY CEO Craig Weiss correspondence with Smokefree Pennsylvania's Bill Godshall on UK MHRA e-cigarette regulation

Discussion in 'Legislation News' started by Bill Godshall, Jul 17, 2013.

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  1. Bill Godshall

    Bill Godshall Executive Director
    Smokefree Pennsylvania
    ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 2, 2009
    Following are relevant excerpts of an e-mail exchange I had with NJOY President and CEO Craig Weiss in response to an article at
    E-cigarette brands back MHRA plans for medical regulation
    stating that NJOY has endorsed the UK MHRA's proposed regulation of e-cigarettes as medicines.


    My e-mail to Craig:

    Hi Craig,

    There are more than 1,000 different e-cigarette products on the market, and the overwhelming majority (perhaps all) of those products would be banned under the vague "medicines" regulatory policy announced by the UK MHRA.

    Although NJOY and several other e-cigarette companies may have millions (or tens of millions) of dollars to submit each application to MHRA (for each e-cig product) in the hopes of gaining approval, the vast majority of e-cigarette manufacturers and importers don't have those resources, and will either disappear or go underground.

    Philip Morris deployed a somewhat similar regulatory strategy (to protect its Marlboro cigarette empire from competitors, and from far less hazardous smokeless tobacco products) a decade ago when it endorsed FDA regulation of tobacco products, negotiated the FSPTCA with CTFK, and aggressively lobbied Congress for its enactment.

    While I understand NJOY's desire to increase sales and gain market share, the vast majority of vapers do NOT use NJOY products, and many former NJOY consumers have switched to other vapor products they find superior and/or at lower cost.

    There's no evidence that NJOY products are safer or are more effective alternatives for smokers than are other e-cigarette products on the market. Consumers now determine winners and losers in the e-cigarette market, but MHRA would determine all the winners and losers under its policy announcement.

    Even if MHRA approves some e-cigarette applications, the cost of those products would increase (perhaps beyond what many/most smokers and vapers can afford). And of course, there's no assurance that MHRA will ever approve any e-cigarette as a medicine.

    Just as FDA's unlawful 2009-2011 import ban on e-cigarettes created a black market that grew by 500%, MHRA's announced policy is likely to create a similar black market for totally unregulated e-cigarettes, which could pose threats to consumers.

    If MHRA officials truly desire to keep e-cigarettes legally accessible for vapers and smokers, the agency would never have advocated enactment of the proposed EU Tobacco Products Directive, which would ban the sale of e-cigarettes in ALL other EU countries. Threatening the lives of tens of millions of smokers throughout Europe is public health malpractice, not public health advocacy.

    As one who collaborated with Clive Bates more than a decade ago (when he was director at ASH UK) advocating sound policies that reduced smoking and cigarette consumption in the UK, I totally agree with Clive's recent analyses and policy proposals for e-cigarette regulation in the UK and the EU.

    Please reconsider your support for MHRA's announced policy, and please read Bates' most recent posts at and those by ECITA at ECITA Blog

    We were pleased to support and assist with NJOY's legal challenge to FDA's import ban from 2009-2011, and we'll be pleased to do so if/when the FDA bans the products again (as the agency has repeatedly stated its intent to do via the "deeming regulation").


    Bill Godshall
    Executive Director
    Smokefree Pennsylvania
    1926 Monongahela Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15218


    Craig's reply e-mail to me:

    Having litigated the regulatory issues against the FDA over an extended period and at an enormous financial cost, NJOY fully understands and appreciates the litigation pathway, and that it is sometimes warranted. However, NJOY believes that the FDA circa 2009 is not the MHRA circa 2013. We sincerely believe that the MHRA, which has been at the forefront of harm reduction, "gets" electronic cigarettes. We believe that they see these products as part of the "cure" and not part of the "disease" and want to see them on the market — provided that there is an assurance that there is appropriate quality control and that folks are getting what they think they are getting when they buy an electronic cigarette, in terms of nicotine content, etc. They also want to ensure that the products are stable and consistent. Finally, they want to see that the products are delivering an efficacious amount of nicotine, as compared to NRT products or tobacco cigarettes.

    The pathway outlined by the MHRA does not rise to the level of FDA drug jurisdiction — and, among other things, will not require clinical trials to demonstrate efficacy. This is critical — lengthy, large-scale clinical trials are typically what accounts for the years-long process and multi-million price tag associated with drug approvals. In effect, the MHRA has created an achievable hurdle that any responsible company should be able to clear. As well, Action on Smoking and Health, Britain's leading anti-smoking NGO, similarly gets these products and has written several excellent monographs on electronic cigarettes. They have been an extraordinarily powerful and persuasive advocate for electronic cigarettes in the UK. At the same time, they have been clear that they too favor a sensible regulatory regime that will ensure appropriate quality, consistency, stability, etc. At the end of the day, this approach has enormous potential to really give existing tobacco smokers — who have been subject to all manner of misinformation about electronic cigarettes — a powerful comfort level with this technology, and a motivation to try these products.

    We hear the voices of Clive Bates and others who have argued against any medicinal regulation of electronic cigarettes, and we are sympathetic. Clive is a pioneer in this field and a brilliant thinker on harm reduction, and we will always consider his point of view with respect to any regulatory issue that comes up. However, we do take the MHRA at its word that it is trying to do something sensible here, and we believe we (and others in the market) can and should work with them. We have tried to be clear that our support is specific to the MHRA and its specific policy recommendation. We do not support medicinal regulation across the board, absent a comfort level that a particular agency understands the technology and is looking to support rather than suppress it, through a light-touch type of regulatory regime.

    With respect to your comment that there is no evidence that NJOY's products are safer than other electronic cigarette products on the market, we can only say that we have rigorously tested our products and continue to do so, and believe we can satisfy the standard articulated by the MHRA. We cannot speak for other companies and do not know whether they have similarly approached the testing/quality issue. Certainly, for the good of the industry generally, we encourage all electronic cigarette companies to take to heart the basic — and achievable — message sent by the MHRA. Doing so is not a multi-million, much less multi-ten-million, dollar undertaking.

    We take strong issue that we are in any way trying to limit competition from any of the smaller players on the market. We created the legal framework for the electronic cigarette industry in the U.S., for the benefit of all and with no financial contribution from anyone. We believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, and want to see a robust industry in the UK as well. Again, we believe the requirements the MHRA (and ASH) are focused on are achievable by any responsible actor, and we certainly don't believe that a total absence of regulation is in anyone's interests. As for those who try to lump us in with Big Tobacco — please be assured that NJOY is not in any way part of Big Tobacco — and remains fiercely and proudly independent. Our mission, of course, is to obsolete cigarettes, a statement that no tobacco company can make.

    Very truly yours,


    Craig Weiss | President & CEOO: 480.397.2300 | C: 480.201.8221

    NJOY Electronic Cigarettes
    15211 North Kierland Blvd., Suite 200
    Scottsdale, AZ 85254

  2. YKruss

    YKruss Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 21, 2009
    Springfield, VA
    Craig Weiss wrote:
    Somehow I don't like this part of Craig's response (and some other parts).
  3. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    To address a couple of Craig Weiss's points:

    1. "...we certainly don't believe that a total absence of regulation is in anyone's interests."

    If this comment is applicable to the UK, and it seems to be since the main topic is the MHRA, then Mr Weiss should be informed that the UK may be the only country in the word where e-cigarettes are already comprehensively and effectively regulated. As far as I am aware (and I invite correction) it is the only country which has a full set of statutes (17 in total) that must be complied with by vaping products, plus (and most importantly) sufficient inspectors in every local area to ensure that all consumer products are safe. The inspectors visit premises, inspect them, inspect marketing, take away stock, and inspect, test and analyse the products. If non-compliant products are found they must be removed from sale and the vendor risks prosecution.

    In addition we also have the federal-level RAPEX system of the EU, in which inspectors from one country can advise those in others of products with potential problems. This reveals that only 9 notices have been issued for vaping products, and all concerned minor issues; in contrast with other types of consumer products such as electrical goods, toys and cars, which have all received thousands of notices, some with serious implications (such as faulty car brakes, dangerous mains electrical goods, and poisonous toys). This alone shows the relative safety level of vaping products.

    To add to these three protection systems we should add a fourth: the community safety network. This is a powerful community safety weapon that ensures we all know very soon about any possible safety issues, and vendors take action as a result.

    It is inconceivable that (a) any dangerous product could remain on the market given this 4-layer protection system (although there can always be a first); or that (b) any product could ever approach one-thousandth of the proven level of danger of some pharmaceutical products. Indeed, pharmaceutical licensing appears to be a mechanism that ensures products that kill hundreds of people cannot be removed from the market. Consumer products and in particular e-cigarettes are clearly demonstrated to be thousands of times safer (in the UK).

    I cannot speak for other countries and Mr Weiss may be correct that in some (or many) places there is no effective regulatory or consumer protection system. I would be grateful if Mr Weiss did not confuse the UK with such other places: we already have sufficient regulation and, what is more, it is proven effective. More regulation would be counter-productive and indeed would remove choice and therefore cost lives.

    2. "We sincerely believe that the MHRA, which has been at the forefront of harm reduction, "gets" electronic cigarettes. We believe that they see these products as part of the "cure" and not part of the "disease" and want to see them on the market — provided that there is an assurance that there is appropriate quality control and that folks are getting what they think they are getting when they buy an electronic cigarette, in terms of nicotine content, etc. They also want to ensure that the products are stable and consistent. Finally, they want to see that the products are delivering an efficacious amount of nicotine, as compared to NRT products or tobacco cigarettes."

    If this is what Mr Weiss actually believes then perhaps he needs a reality check. The MHRA will do absolutely everything it can to remove e-cigarettes from the market, including delaying medical licensing as long as possible. This agency is probably the UK's best example of a regulatory-captured agency and appears to execute the pharmaceutical industry's wishes to the letter. They certainly "get" e-cigarettes: they get that pharmaceutical industry income in every area related to smoking, and several that aren't, is likely to take a 50% hit as a result of the likely 50%+ switch from tobacco cigarettes to PVs; their job appears to be to delay this for as long as possible.

    As to the statement that 'the MHRA has been at the forefront of harm reduction', I cannot answer that for disbelief. They have been at the forefront of harm reduction like American Legacy and Tobacco Free Kids has been. The term 'forefront' in this case presumably means standing in front of it fighting its advance aggressively.

    The rest of the statement about what the MHRA wants to see is piffle, hogwash and tripe - and that is being kind.

    The MHRA is about the best example I can think of for a government agency whose conduct would lead to a very great number of preventable deaths if their policies were fully implemented. Most people would probably agree that this is not the usual goal of an agency involved with public health. In the UK currently we refer to this type of health service policy as the 'Stafford Care Pathway'. The MHRA appear to be the leaders in the field since my interpretation of Prof Britton's figures indicates that if MHRA policies are fully implemented we are looking at 2.5 million preventable deaths in the UK.

    I believe that the MHRA should get the Care Quality Commission award for excellence because no one else has shown any promise of implementing the Stafford Care Pathway quite as effectively as the MHRA.

    explanations for non-UK residents

    The CQC were supposed to be in charge of hospital care but when it was reported that some hospitals had appalling standards of care and unacceptable patient death stats, tried to bury the report.
    The Liverpool Care Pathway is a protocol designed to allow doctors to manage end of life care for terminal patients but was abused at hospitals such as Stafford, who used it as an excuse for poor care that led to a significant number of deaths among patients who probably weren't terminal when they went into hospital.
    The UK Dept of Health has lately had a difficult job explaining some issues. I am a huge supporter of the NHS - but this does not include their bungling, hugely incompetent and obviously corrupt masters at the DoH and one or two of its integral agencies.
  4. 2coils

    2coils Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 29, 2012
    New Jersey
    All I can say as of now, NJOY is making their own bed, they better be prepared to lay in it. This does concern me though for the pending US regulations. How far is NJOY willing to bend? We will see!
    EDIT: Additionally, I dont believe for a minute that NJOY has not or will not sacrifice some of their dollars to be one of the few left in the game!
  5. djsvapour

    djsvapour ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Oct 2, 2012
    England and Wales
    I feel that certain brands are playing "chicken" over this. They believe that by supporting the MHRA will help them long-term and annihilate most of the competition along the way. They might be right.
    There's little we can do, but I've now heard from 3 different sources that e-cigs "will not require clinical trials to demonstrate efficacy".
    So, if true these "judas" companies are already safe in the knowledge they can afford whatever it takes and will clear all hurdles without risking their horses legs.
    BUT, and this is the weird bit; if companies believe that there are bad products on the market, there are better methods to root these out. It doesn't require the big stick of a "medicine" label, it requires light-touch consumer regulation. This would leave most of the also-rans in the equation....which is why they are secretly banking on getting full approval and waving "bye-bye" to competitors in one double whammy.

    it's quite evil, but it's business.....

    - - -
  6. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    A pharmaceutical product, in the UK, does not need to work in order to get a license.

    I was told this repeatedly by Jeremy Mean and Julia Rayne of the MHRA at a meeting where there were dozens of witnesses and for which I have a set of minutes taken independently, that detail their repetition of the fact that a product does not need to work, does not need to be shown to work, and will not be checked by the MHRA as working. No requirement or evidence for or checking of efficacy will be needed. What the product must do, on the other hand, is be shown to deliver the drug (or other mechanism for functionality) that it is supposed to, and this must be demonstrated.

    Thus, an e-cigarette will not need to be shown as efficacious for any purpose such as smoking cessation or smoking replacement; but it must be shown to deliver nicotine if that is what its desired efficacy is based on. This is the reason why in the UK a 45mg nicotine strength is used in mini ecigs, because nic strengths below this are not effective at raising blood plasma nicotine levels in e-cigarette naive subjects [1]. Multiple published clinical trials demonstrate this. In contrast, Intellicig's unpublished trial, for the purpose of achieving a pharmaceutical license, I am given to believe demonstrates that a 45mg strength refill will elevate plasma nic levels above a point considered as the minimum for demonstrated efficacy of the delivery system (which may be 10ng/ml), even for users unfamiliar with the product and its optimum usage protocols.

    [1] This means beginners (a medicine or medical device must work for people who have never seen it before and have no training in its use).

    This is a reasonable requirement because when you get your prescription you don't get a training course. Mini ecigs with regular strength refills simply don't work, in terms of any useful alkaloid delivery; they are what may be called an uprated placebo, like the half-strength NRTs used as placebo in manufacturer's trials. Where ecigs are concerned, a good placebo may work as much as 10% of the time; but a good working product ought to aim at a 60% success rate as anything lower indicates issues with the product or mentoring.
  7. Bill Godshall

    Bill Godshall Executive Director
    Smokefree Pennsylvania
    ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 2, 2009
    Rolygate wrote:

    Same in the US, as both UK MHRA and US FDA approved nicotine gums, patches and lozenges have a 95% failure rate as smoking cessation aids and for what they are actually approved for (treating the disorder of "tobacco dependence").
  8. hifistud

    hifistud Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sunderland, UK
    What NJOY may not be aware of is that the MHRA's Jeremy Mean is on record, publicly, as stating that "nothing currently on the market would qualify for an MA". That, naturally, includes all of NJOY's products. Or should I say includes them OUT of gaining marketing authorisation - like every other e-cig, PV or whatever you want to call it on the market today. Also, in the Impact Assessment, it is explicitly stated that, while the MHRA at the moment anticipates that clinical trials MAY not be required, there is every possibility that they WILL be required, and that the economic impact of that runs into "many hundreds of thousands of pounds". And that is PER PRODUCT.
    Again, the one UK e-cig company currently undergoing the MA process has reportedly spent over £2,000,000 and is still no nearer gaining the required paperwork - they have submitted as medicinal by presentation.
    Is NJOY aware of these facts?
  9. mwa102464

    mwa102464 Resting In Peace ECF Veteran

    Follow the NJoy's Corp Attorney's ulterior motive , which leads to the money trail for there share holders and top Exec's !
  10. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    The MHRA stated that any clinical trial reports or similar documentation already in existence could be used by a new applicant for what is essentially the same product. This was, again, repeated multiple times. It appears to imply that if Intellicig provide clinical studies to support their application, and if the application is approved, then NJoy could use those studies instead of running the same trials again.

    A study that showed the Intellicig product delivered sufficient nicotine could not be used for the NJoy product; but any other materials of a non product specific nature probably could be used. For example, any study that showed nicotine is acceptably safe, or that showed subjects regard e-cigarette products to be as acceptable or more acceptable than current NRTs, and so forth. Any generic material, or material specific to ecigs but not product-specific, could be used. Someone else's product-specific material might be used for generic purposes.

    It is probably the case that licensing costs will be reduced for subsequent applicants because of this factor. The first successful applicant probably won't be overly pleased about this, but they will have the first-to-market advantage.

    With regard to Jeremy Mean's clear statement that nothing currently on the market would succeed in gaining an MA, no doubt he has to make this point for multiple reasons. If current products could be licensed, then many/most ecigs are acceptable as pharmaceutical products, are acceptably safe, and there is no need to prevent them being sold. Of course, a licensed product is simply a badge-engineered version of the regular product: no one has invented anything new, or something that works better, otherwise it would clean up the market in the consumer product area. Instead, the opposite is the case: new consumer products are significantly better than prospective licensed products. A licensed product by definition is one that was popular three years ago; that's about like a rotary pulse-dial bakelite phone with the plaited cord, compared to an iPhone. Things move a long way in three years in this game. Licensed products will be obsolete in consumer terms (and probably ridiculously expensive for an obsolete, inefficient product in today's terms).
  11. Mudflap

    Mudflap Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 19, 2010
    Tyler, Texas
    I suspect NJOY cut a backroom deal with the MHRA. I base that on no facts, but just my own cynicism.
  12. Kurt

    Kurt Quantum Vapyre ECF Veteran

    Sep 16, 2009
    Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Njoy's argument in the 2010 lawsuit along with Smoking Everywhere that ecigs should not be considered medical products? And did they not win this argument? How much legal and community support was given them to win this case?

    How frightened we all were during those dark days of FDA seizures, and how we danced and cheered when Judge Leon sided with us. Now this. By NJoy. Thanks. Thanks a whole lot.
  13. zainwolf

    zainwolf Reviewer / Blogger Verified Member

    Oct 14, 2011
    Darwin, Australia
    perhaps many of the smaller mom & pop type business can band together to help them fend off being muscled out of the picture by big business... sanity must prevail at some stage though

    the "might makes right" attitude of big business sickens me, they're all too happy to muscle smaller competitors out of the picture and mr NJOY doesn't fool me one bit with his political doublespeak

    of course they lost my interest forever when they propped Courtney Love up to swear at someone who thought she was smoking... not the best ambassadors for vaping by any stretch >.<
  14. Orb Skewer

    Orb Skewer Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 19, 2011
    Terra firma
    It's the pricing structure thats all wrong-if a 300mAh cigalike with a pre filled carto stuck on top was priced at 75 cents a piece (probably all its worth) then N-Joy (and others) would be providing a product within its actual real value (when compared to much more effective kit)-
    But they're not.
  15. djsvapour

    djsvapour ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Oct 2, 2012
    England and Wales
    Can I ask (does anybody know) why so many of the so-called "top" mini e-cig brands sell cartos designated as 16/18/24 mg?

    I believe most of these products are little more than a placebo. I would consider trying a 45mg look-a-like if push came to shove.
  16. djsvapour

    djsvapour ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Oct 2, 2012
    England and Wales
    I agree. I spent large amounts of an expensive product that did nothing to help me. The company involved have a multi-million pound turn over and stand by their claims to the extent of harassing people who write negative reviews.

    I don't like these companies or their product, but if they end up as the "sole" makes of e-cigs how come we are all getting so worked up about medical concerns, when i.m.o. their marketing doesn't even stand up to scrutiny. Surely the basics need to be right before anything else?
  17. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    Multiple reasons:

    1. For historical reasons these are the regular strengths.

    2. They work fine for some people, especially as an intro to vaping - either those who need low nicotine, or experienced users with good technique. Keep in mind some people are light smokers or social smokers; if you just use an ecig two nights a week in social situations and have low tolerance to nicotine, these devices may be a good choice.

    3. Some models work better than others - so model X with 16mg might be equivalent to model Z with 24mg.

    4. A placebo that delivers some of the active drug but well-replicates all other functions that may contribute to the dependence profile for some people may be successful (dependence is not always chemical; or the chemical dependence may only be a small part of the dependence profile). A recent clinical trial showed that a mini with low-strength refills, used by smokers who did not want to quit, enabled 10% of the subjects to switch 100% at the 12-month mark. This seems to show that an ecig that probably delivered something like 3ng or 4ng/ml to the blood plasma (a very low level indeed, most vapers would read 8ng to 15ng) and is therefore what you might call an 'uprated placebo', nevertheless works as well as or better than pharmaceutical interventions in those strongly motivated to quit. It means that such a device might work for perhaps as many as 20 or 30% of those strongly motivated to quit - double or treble the success rate of the most effective pharmaceuticals. (Leaving aside the issue that switching and quitting are taken to be the same thing - which ordinarily they are not - for the purpose of such a trial; which is probably not relevant.)

    5. Some people have an extremely low tolerance to nicotine, as is shown by those who state they cannot vape 12mg and therefore use 6mg (in an efficient and effective device). These appear to outnumber the very few who must use 60mg (not a misprint) in order to avoid relapse to smoking. (We can show a factor 10 difference in tolerance to nicotine, on ECF.) For such people, very sensitive to nicotine, a mini with a regular strength refill seems a good choice (ignoring the battery life issues).
  18. Bill Godshall

    Bill Godshall Executive Director
    Smokefree Pennsylvania
    ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 2, 2009
    Back to topic.

    While NJOY sells lots of e-cigs in the US, I wasn't aware that NJOY had/has a large market presence in the UK or the EU.
    It's been my impression that NJOY's e-cig sales in the US are at least 10 times greater than in the EU.
    Can someone knowledgeable from UK or EU confirm, correct or clarify?

    If that's the case, NJOY's decision (to support MHRA's vague regulatory proposal) also factored in the potentially huge impact MHRA approval of an NJOY product could have on NJOY's e-cig sales in the US (as word would quickly spread to US vapers, smokers and regulators).

    So far, NJOY and Nicolites (is that the same as Intellicig?) have publicly endorsed MHRA's regulatory proposal, and I strongly suspect that BAT's Nicoventures is supporting it behind the scenes. It's my understanding that all other e-cig companies in the UK oppose the MHRA's proposed regulation.

    Although I strongly oppose MHRA's announced regulation of e-cigs as "medicines" (because it would ban the vast majority of e-cig products now sold in the UK and would grind new product development in the UK to a slow crawl), if/when MHRA approves the first or several e-cig products, sales and regulatory acceptance (and legalization) of e-cigs could further surge worldwide (or at least outside the EU) because many/most people will correctly believe that ALL e-cigarette products are safe and effective smoking cessation aids (not just the first brand(s) that are approved).
  19. Orb Skewer

    Orb Skewer Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 19, 2011
    Terra firma
    Slightly left of topic:

    Advertising will focus on NJOY’s mission “to make cigarettes obsolete” and features messages such as “the cigarette has met its match”. “We see ourselves as a technology company and we are serious about our mission statement,” said Anise.

    Ekberg added: “We really see cigarettes as analogue to our digital.” The market was currently fragmented, split between 40 to 50 players - but this was likely to settle down to around four or five, he predicted.

    NJOY aims to repeat US e-cig success
  20. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    NJoy's market strategy seems to be to dump EU e-cigarette sales in favour of supporting medicalisation and thus get a foot in the door when the licenses start to come in.

    Their US sales must be at least 20 times EU sales, so they can afford to do this, keeping in mind that early ecig MAs will be a license to print money. It looks as if all the firms with ecig license applications in motion are backing the MHRA statement in order to curry favour. It is a good business decision. People should remember that once a community-based activity like vaping goes mainstream, it becomes a business, and some players will attempt to destroy the others. This is far more likely for the vendors of minis as they have very little community connection and indeed may feel excluded by the community. In the beginning, only minis existed; then penstyles; then it exploded. The mini vendors were basically excluded at that point; but because of their financial strength (about 80% of the market) they have the power to influence the regulatory process. At this time, the upgrade market / aftermarket is their enemy in multiple ways and they would be happy to see it removed by regulation.

    BAT has just established a department dedicated to harm reduction sales as they have numerous irons in the fire. I think we will see most/all of the major tobacco companies going in this direction. This is what they must do to counter the 50% fall in cigarette sales they will experience in the foreseeable future in the developed countries of the West.

    Bill G said:
    Yes, this must be correct. As soon as one or more ecigs receive a medical license, it is inevitable that some methods of opposition become redundant. For example BAT will sue anyone aggressively attacking ecigs with the usual misinformation we have come to expect because they will have (a) a big stake in the consumer market, and (b) a massive stake in the medical ecig market.

    I also think that the MHRA is under intense pressure from just about every quarter over this issue. For example, Pfizer (who don't have an ecig product) will rapidly see losses in their smoking cessation pharmaceutical interventions market when an ecig gets an MA (since all other interventions will be rendered obsolete at that point), and can be assumed to have made their displeasure known to the MHRA. But the MHRA will have pointed out to Pfizer that blocking ecig MAs is not possible in the long term - delaying tactics are all that can be employed. BAT will be 'advising' the MHRA as well. The government have numerous agencies all interested in the outcome, some pro and some con. The MHRA's bosses at the Dept of Health are very close indeed to pharma interests who want to see an MA for ecigs delayed as long as possible (if it can't be blocked). Indeed, some may be working up their own products and need Intellicig's delayed as long as possible.

    So it is a tough time for poor old Jeremy at the MHRA, you almost start to feel sorry for him. It's ulcer-creation pressure for him every day.

    And now his boss at the DoH, Anna Soubry, is coming under some political pressure that reveals her shortcomings, and she won't be happy about the support she has received from staff - she was seriously exposed in a House of Lords committee hearing on the e-cigarette situation and appeared to either lie to the committee or not have the slightest idea what is going on; she had no answer to accusations that she was deliberately trying to misinform the committee; she could not defend against the charge she was trying to bypass normal political process and dispense with procedures that she must know of in her position, or if ignorant of should not be in her job. In political terms this was a thrashing and if she was not in fact lying, reveals she is being sidelined by others in her department.

    This may even indicate that there is a rift in the DoH and an internal dispute of some kind.
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