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August 24th, 2016:

Report: Vaping Has the Potential to Replace Smoking within 30 years

Could Save Nearly a Billion Lives, More than Half of those in Asia

(Hong Kong – 24 August, 2016) A new working paper from Reason Foundation examines how vaping, which is estimated to be 95% safer than smoking, could extend and improve the lives of smokers. But it warns that those benefits will be lost if governments in Asia and elsewhere continue to impose undue restrictions on vapor products. A November meeting in Delhi of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control presents an opportunity for governments to commit to a more positive approach towards vape products.

Vaping is displacing smoking and, if not subject to unnecessary and counterproductive regulations or bans, has the potential to improve and extend the lives of “hundreds of millions” of people in Asia alone, according to a new Reason Foundation working paper that compares the health effects of vaping to smoking, examines the rate at which adult smokers have been switching to vaping and the effect the availability of vape products has on rates of smoking.

Asia has the highest number of smokers yet, ironically, in the continent where the “electronic cigarette” was invented, vaping has not yet taken off because of bans and other egregious regulations. Many countries in the region have prohibited them (Singapore, Thailand) or de facto prohibit them as unlicensed medicines (Australia, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan). Still others are uncertain how to regulate them (China, Indonesia). By contrast, other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have avoided over-regulation and as a result vapour products have become popular and innovation has been rapid, resulting in dramatic public health improvements.

“If product quality and diversity continue to increase and costs continue to fall, within 20 years vaping could cut smoking rates by 50 percent or more. In 30 years, vaping might eliminate smoking altogether. If that were to happen, it would effectively save most of the billion lives — and perhaps eight of the 10 billion life-years — that might otherwise be lost to smoking,” the Reason Foundation working paper, The Vapour Revolution, concludes.

The research by Julian Morris, vice president of research at Reason Foundation, and Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, a noted Indian economist, shows how vape technologies have developed, their potential to improve lives and their policy implications.

Morris and Khan explain that rapid innovation, driven by competition in a relatively unregulated market, has resulted in vape products that are attracting millions of smokers to switch from
cigarettes. Considered 95 percent safer than smoking, vaping enables smokers to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Economies also benefit from increased economic activity and lower health care costs. With continued innovation, the authors expect vape products entirely to replace smoking within three decades.

“In less than 10 years, vape products have seen a dramatic increase in quality, efficacy and safety, while prices have fallen. Already, millions of smokers have switched,” said Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, co-author of the paper. “Vaping now has the potential to prevent over a billion smoking- related deaths, extending the lives of smokers and potential smokers by perhaps 10 billion years.”

The authors warn, however, that continued innovation and these massive health benefits may be thwarted by regulations, especially if promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Excessively restrictive regulation of vape products will drive up costs, reduce choice, and undermine competition and innovation. While some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have encouraged innovation by avoiding over-regulation, others have already banned the technology or imposed excessive restrictions.

WHO plays a key role providing guidance to countries on tobacco control policies with its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global treaty. Unfortunately, to date, WHO has been hostile to the health benefits of harm-reduction products like vaping, instead focusing only on getting smokers to quit entirely. When WHO hosts the seventh conference of the parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Delhi this November, Morris and Khan say it should abandon this so-called ‘quit or die’ approach and embrace the potential of vape technology and innovation to reduce smoking and improve health outcomes.

“The WHO’s FCTC should change its approach to vape products, recognizing their life-saving potential,” said Julian Morris, co-author of the report. “At the very least, WHO should include in its deliberations some of the many health experts whose research shows that these vaping innovations can, and do, save lives.”

Working Paper Available Online:

The full report, The Vapour Revolution: How Bottom-Up Innovation Is Saving Lives, by Julian Morris and Amir Ullah Khan is online at:

For further information or to interview the authors, contact:
Simon Lee +852 9388 5895

About the authors

Julian Morris is Vice President for Research at Reason Foundation. Julian graduated from Edinburgh University in 1992 with an MA in economics. He has an MSc in environment and resource economics from University College London, an MPhil in land economics from Cambridge University, and a law degree from the University of Westminster. Julian is the author of dozens of scholarly articles on the relationship between institutions, development and environmental protection, and the editor of several books, including Sustainable Development: Promoting Progress or Perpetuating Poverty (Profile Books, 2002). Prior to joining Reason, Julian was Executive Director of International Policy Network, which he cofounded. Before that, he ran the environment and technology programme at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Dr Amir Ullah Khan has a PhD in Economics and Business Studies from the Jamia Millia University. He has worked as Researcher for the Ministry of Finance, Government of India and the UNDP at Project LARGE (Legal Adjustments and Reforms for Globalising the Economy). He then was Academic Head at the Indian School of Finance and Management, after which he worked with Encyclopædia Britannica as executive director and editor. He is senior policy advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr Khan is currently a member of the Board of Governors at the Presidency University, Bangalore. He is also a member in the Telangana Government’s Commission of Inquiry on Socio economic conditions headed by G Sudhir. He has been a senior fellow at the India Development Foundation and Adjunct Professor of Business and Law at the Edith Cowan University. He teaches at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, the Manipal Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in Delhi.

About Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets. Reason Foundation produces respected public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically acclaimed Reason magazine and its website For more information please visit

Notes for editors

• The first vape product was an “electronic cigarette” developed by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003.
• Subsequent competition among producers in a relatively unregulated marketplace, combined with user modifications, information sharing, and standard setting has resulted in dramatic improvements in the quality and effectiveness of vape products – and reduced cost.
• Smokers appear to be switching to vaping at a rapid rate, with new devices attracting additional converts year-on-year.
• By 2014, over 6 million people in Europe alone had switched from smoking to vaping.
• Asia-Pacific is home to more than half the world’s smokers.
• According to research conducted by Ipsos in 2015, a large majority of Asian smokers surveyed said they would consider switching to e-cigarettes if they were legal, met quality and safety standards, and were conveniently available.
• Smokers who vape but do not quit smoking, tend to reduce their cigarette consumption.
• In the UK, the proportion of people who vape exclusively has increased, suggesting that as products improve, people are more likely to switch entirely to vaping.
• The vapour produced by heating e-liquids in a vape device contains only a tiny fraction of the number of chemicals in tobacco smoke—and most of those chemicals are harmless.
• The best estimate so far produced puts the risk posed by vaping at approximately 5% that posed by smoking. In other words, vaping with e-liquid is at least 95% safer than smoking.
• People who both vape and smoke (“dual users”) experience dramatic reductions in markers for tobacco use, suggesting that even dual use is healthier than exclusively smoking.
• Contrary to some reports, the availability of vape products appears to reduce smoking initiation among young people.
• Over the course of the next two to three decades, vaping might gradually replace smoking altogether, thereby saving most of the billion lives—and perhaps 8 of the 10 billion life years—that otherwise would be lost to smoking over the coming century.
• Innovations have resulted in vape products that are more effective, safer, and less costly.
• Innovation has been far more rapid in jurisdictions where vape products are regulated as consumer products than in more heavily regulated jurisdictions.
• New products, including fourth generation “mods,” a new generation of cigalikes, and vape devices that heat tobacco without burning it, offer enormous potential to attract smokers to these much less harmful alternatives.
• If innovation is to continue to deliver better, safer, less expensive products—and thereby attract more smokers to switch—it is essential that producers, retailers and consumers be free of excessive regulatory intervention.
• The World Health Organization and its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) exert considerable influence on domestic policies towards tobacco in many countries. In 2014, at the 6th Conference of the Parties to the FCTC, parties left open how best to regulate vape products.
• Since 2014, the evidence of public health benefits from vape products has been mounting — as documented in this study.
• It is important that governments meeting for the seventh Conference of the Parties to the FCTC, which will take place in Delhi in November 2016, take on board this new evidence and support policies that do not impose unnecessary impediments to the development, promotion, sale, and use of vape products.

Africa: Rwanda Hosts High Level Tobacco Taxation Meeting

Participants from all over Africa are meeting in Kigali for a 2-day meeting on tobacco taxation, during which they will analyze the policies of successful countries such as South Africa, the Gambia and Kenya.

The meeting will also identify challenges to tax policy change and recommend areas of technical assistance to overcome these challenges for the benefit of public health.

Marie Aimee Muhimpundu, the head of the Non-Communicable Diseases Unit at the ministry of health, said that tobacco is one of the most common risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) such as heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancers.

A recent study conducted by Minisante shows that 14% of the population uses tobacco.

“We are convinced that higher taxation of tobacco products can lead to high prices, thus discourage consumption and reduce the health risks,”Muhimpundu said.

According to statistics from the ministry of finance, tobacco taxation has increased over time – from 60% in 2001-2006,to 120% in 2007- 2009 and 150% for 2009-2015 at 150 %.

Emmanuel Nkurunziza of Minecofin said that increased taxation has reduced tobacco consumption by 11%,which is hoped to further increase with higher taxation in the near future.

According to WHO, while tobacco use is falling in high income countries (HICs) and many lower and middle income countries(LMICs), mortality from tobacco use will continue to increase in the coming years, with over 175 million people expected to die from a tobacco-related disease by 2039.

Moreover, the WHO indicates that the burden of tobacco use continues to shift from HICs to LMICs as their share has increased to about 70% of global tobacco production and consumption.

Espionage claims as tobacco war hots up

Cape Town – Serious allegations of espionage have been levelled against established cigarette manufacturers, including tobacco giant British American Tobacco of Southern Africa (Batsa), in a Western Cape High Court application lodged by Carnilinx, the manufacturer of low-cost brands.

Carnilinx claims that the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa), of whichBatsa is a principal member, has been carrying out covert, unlawful surveillance of its operations and tracking its vehicles in an effort to force it out of the industry.

Carnilinx is a member of the Fairtrade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) with other low-cost brand manufacturers.

The two associations have been at loggerheads for some time and, in the court application, Carnilinx alleged that Tisa contracted private security firm Forensic Security Services (FSS) to conduct unlawful surveillance of its operations and track its vehicles.

Carnilinx also claims Tisa procured covert electric surveillance of its business premises, delivery vehicles and distributors, intercepted and detained its products, and reported its products to Sars and the police as illicit.

It sought an interdict against Tisa, which it claimed wanted to protect its members against those affiliated to Fita.

Tisa denied most of the incidents as well as the allegations of unlawful conduct.

The difficulty for Carnilinx, however, was the manner in which it lodged the proceedings.

By the time the case went to court, the parties agreed that the matter could not be decided on the papers only and Carnilinx applied to have it referred for trial instead.

In his judgment, Judge Lee Bozalek said the legal underpinnings of the case were certainly not made explicit in Carnilinx’s papers. It was only when it presented its argument that it revealed that it relied on breaches of certain rights.

However, he said there was “little value, if any” to be gained from referring the matter to trial. Judge Bozalek found, instead, that it was best that Carnilinx institute fresh proceedings.

He warned, however, that this did not mean he was suggesting that there was no merit in Carnilinx’s case.

Tobacco industry insiders behind ‘initial attacks on Sars’ – former unit head

Johannesburg – Former head of the Sars investigation unit Johann van Loggerenberg released a statement on Tuesday night indicating that the initial attacks on Sars, himself and the unit had been driven by people inside the tobacco industry.

“As early as 31 July 2014 Sars was on record that at least the initial attacks on Sars, me and investigative units that I managed were driven by persons associated with the tobacco industry.”

Van Loggerenberg made his statement after it emerged that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan could face arrest by the Hawks.

News24 revealed that Gordhan not only faced possible arrest, but that Sars had also launched a massive new forensic probe into deals concluded during his tenure at the organisation.

Sars appointed accounting firm Grant Thornton to conduct a forensic investigation into its modernisation and technology programme, which was implemented between 2007 and 2014.

Gordhan was Sars commissioner from 1999 until 2009.

The Daily Maverick on Tuesday night reported that the Hawks had asked Gordhan, his former deputy at Sars Ivan Pillay and three other former senior Sars officials to provide warning statements.

Appearing before Hawks

A warning statement is a precursor to a suspect being charged criminally.

Gordhan, Pillay, former head of risk Pete Richer, and Van Loggerenberg were summoned to appear before the Hawks on Thursday morning.

The Western Cape Hawks had already obtained a warning statement from Van Loggerenberg’s predecessor, Andries “Skollie” Janse van Rensburg.

News24 understands Gordhan and his four former colleagues were expected to be charged under the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act of 2002 and the National Strategic Intelligence Act of 1994.

The charges related to the alleged establishment of intelligence capacity in Sars, the recruitment of investigators to work for this unit and “Project Sunday Evenings”. The latter was an allegedly illegal Sars operation to record conversations of members of the now-defunct Scorpions unit.

Grant Thornton said its forensic investigation at Sars was in progress.

Two transactions in focus

The firm was “specifically appointed to conduct an independent preliminary forensic investigation of the modernisation and technology programme from 2007 to 2014″.

This was according to a statement in answer to News24’s queries, issued by communications firm StratComms.

The programme was started in 2007 and saw Sars adopt new software and IT systems, such as its e-filing platform and its electronic system for customs payments.

It is understood that two transactions in particular had been in the Grant Thornton investigators’ sights: one involving software development firm BBD, and another involving state-owned software firm Interfront.

The Grant Thornton probe was known within Sars as “Project Lion”, say sources familiar with the development.

Van Loggerenberg said he believed it was in the public interest to provide a response to the allegations that he had been asked to provide a warning statement to the Hawks.

“I urge the public to not overreact on mere speculation,” he said. “I have continuously offered my co-operation to the authorities since as early as 2014. I have nothing to hide and deny any wrongdoing.

“As stated before, I have no doubt that if the Hawks conduct their investigations without fear or favour, the truth shall ultimately triumph.”

‘Creating confusion’

Substantiating his allegations regarding the attacks on the tax organisation being driven by people associated with the tobacco industry, Van Loggerenberg referred to an article run in The Star at the time.

The article said that a clampdown by the taxman on the tobacco industry had resulted in a backlash which saw Sars investigators becoming the target of “spies, double agents, dirty tricks and the leaking of false allegations to discredit them”.

“There are people who have a vested interest in creating confusion among State institutions. Sars is in no doubt that they are behind these allegations, as they have been in the past,” then spokesperson Adrian Lackay said at the time.

Sars had sent letters, under the project name “Honey Badger”, to the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa) and the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association, which represent the majority of stakeholders in the tobacco industry in South Africa indicating there would be investigations.

Van Loggerenberg said that recent revelations on social media platform Twitter by a whistleblower in the tobacco industry, @EspionageSA “have a direct bearing on the matters at hand”.

The leaks contain hundreds of pages of documents revealing alleged spying by British American Tobacco through their hired security company FSS on their competitors, particularly Carnilinx. The documents contain private information on employees of competitors, which was allegedly obtained through spying and bribing of police officers.

Heads in the sand

Van Loggerenberg has been openly commenting on the leaks on Twitter over the last few days, indicating frustration that the revelations are not being investigated by the authorities.

“I can confirm that all indications are that the real rogue unit exposed by @EspionageSA is not being investigated,” he tweeted.

He retweeted The Star’s 2014 story and commented: “Well before the rogue unit sham. Eventually the truth will out. Waiting 4 my day 2 be heard [sic].”

He also posted a picture of people sticking their heads in the sand, and commented: “Certain journos who drove Sars ‘rogue unit’ narrative 30+ articles over 2 years after @EspionageSA leaks be like…”

Another tweet had a picture of an ostrich with its head in the sand and went: “Hawks after @EspionageSA massive leaks of corruption, money-laundering, illegal covert rogue intelligence units.”

Daily Maverick’s 28 questions for the Hawks

One of the most sensational leaks alleging serious criminality in the tobacco industry occurred on Twitter earlier this month. Thousands of documents, photographs, sound clips and affidavits were dumped online implicating the multinational British American Tobacco company in various acts of criminality including bribing SAPS, SARS and other government officials and conducting industrial espionage on its rivals. The leak, if documents prove to be true, provide evidence of a serious threat to democracy. By MARIANNE THAMM.

The leak by an account, @EspionageSA, began early in August and confirmed, to some extent, what journalists at amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism had been writing about for years. That it reveals, according to former Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes, how “a messy nexus of intelligence networks employed by competing tobacco firms works and how their activities compromise state bodies, notably in the the battle for control of the SA Revenue Service”.

“What fewer people have noticed is that amaB, and Sam Sole in particular, have been tracking connections between the tobacco industry, big and small, licit and otherwise and grand corruption for over a decade. Many of the names in the mix in the SARS debacle, including Martin Wingate-Pearse, also featured in the M&G’s investigation into Jackie Selebi.”

Dawes added that prior to these investigations were those into “dodgy aviation and cigarette firms operating in Johannesburg that were linked to former apartheid spies, Russian aviation firms, and arms smugglers. I spent a lot of time snooping around hangars at Rand Airport and Rustenberg and talking to Russian pilots. Sam got deeper into the guts of the system.”

This was, he added, “an industry in which criminality and state capture aren’t accidents, they are baked into the mix, and in South Africa with its new and fragile institutions it poses a clear and present danger not just to health, but to the functioning of democracy”.

In light of the seriousness of these allegations Daily Maverick sent the following 28 questions to the Hawks.

Do you have any knowledge of the content of what has been publicly released on Twitter by @EspionageSA?

Do you have any knowledge of the disbandment of the Tobacco Task Team and its private partners, including FSS, TISA and BAT?

Who were the stakeholders who formed part of the Tobacco Task Team?

Do you have any knowledge of the existence of the Tobacco Task Team headed by Hawks Brigadier Casper Jonker?

Can you confirm that the Tobacco Task Team was managed by a team consisting of Brigadier Jonker as the head, Lieutenant Colonel Hennie Niemann of SAPS Crime Intelligence and SSA officials, Ferdi Fryer and later Chris Burger and NPA advocate Johan van Heerden and others of the NPA, SAPS, and FIC?

Can you confirm that attorney Belinda Walter was a paid informant for the Tobacco Task Team? Can you confirm that she was by way of introduction by the Tobacco Task Team also an informant to FSS and BAT for which she was also paid? Is it lawful to recruit and pay a lawyer for information on clients?

Can you confirm that FITA was formed “in conjunction with the Tobacco Task Team and the SSA”?

Can you confirm that SARS was not a permanent member of the Tobacco Task Team? If not, why not?

What were the aims and objectives [mandate] of the Tobacco Task Team and subsequent operating environments?

How were the members of the Task Team recruited/selected? Were recruitment processes followed? How were the private partners/stakeholders selected?

Who was heading the Tobacco Task Team and who was it responsible and accountable to?

Do you know anything about the illegal entry of tobacco manufacturer Carnilinx’s property by a joint team comprising members of the Tobacco Task Team and private security firm FSS where a person named “Rassie” wore a black “catsuit” and required everybody with him to wear gloves?

Who were Jonker, Niemann, Fryer, Burger, Van Heerden and what were their positions, roles and responsibilities within the Tobacco Task Team?

Can you confirm that the Tobacco Task Team, FSS, TISA and BAT co-operated in conducting surveillance of citizens of this country with the necessary legal authority?

Kindly share with us or provide a copy of any agreements between the Hawks, SSA, NPA, FIC, SARS, SAPS crime intelligence that guided the activities of the Tobacco Task Team?

Was the Head of the Hawks [accounting officer] briefed about all key strategic operations of the Tobacco Task Team?

Is it standard practice, for instance, for someone like Lt-Colonel Niemann to meet with informants together with FSS investigators and then sign confirmation of payment to the informer using funds obtained from FSS?

In light of the views expressed by the Ministers of Police and State Security on 3 March 2016 with respect to the so-called SARS “rogue unit”, can you confirm that the acquisition and use of sophisticated spy equipment with interception and surveillance capabilities by FSS is also being investigated by the Hawks?

The payment by FSS to individuals in a concealed manner in exchange for information on the commercial competitors of BAT and TISA members suggest the offences of money laundering, corruption and FICA contraventions. Were you aware of these practices? If not, are you intending to investigate those implicated?

Is there anything that the Tobacco Task Team, Hawks officials and police officials and those associated with the Tobacco Task Team may have been involved in that you would not have been aware of?

Do you know anything about operations code named “Charlie/Oudtshoorn/Black Widow/Bravo/Vlakplaas/Piper/Siera/Alpha/Ching” or the installation of sophisticated surveillance equipment at 19 De Beer street Lydenburg and Carnilinx, Salisbury Street, Johannesburg?

Who authorised these? Is this in line with the Tobacco Task Team mandate and was it done lawfully?

What were the objectives and targets of these projects?

Did the relevant Ministers approve the establishment of and identify members of the respective departments to work within the Tobacco Task Team? Provide evidence.
Were there things at the Tobacco Task Team that would have happened without your knowledge?

Did members of the Tobacco Task Team appear on the Hawks, SAPS, SSA, NPA, FIC, SARS normal employees’ payroll?

If this Tobacco Task Team was operating legitimately, why were they operating from guesthouses, hotels, restaurants and private dwellings? Further, why were they not provided with Hawks, SARS, SAPS, NPA or FIC equipment? Why did they use privately purchased equipment that belongs to private investigations firms?

How was the funding of the various operations managed? Which costs were paid for by the Hawks, the SSA, NPA, SAPS, FIC, SARS, BAT, TISA, FSS and others?

Who authorised the procurement of the surveillance equipment to be utilised during the Tobacco Task Team operations?

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (as espionage and bribery are surely priority crimes?) spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi responded; “We only comment on official complaints and the BAT is one of those that was leaked to the public and no formal docket has been opened. Unless otherwise you have a case number we can assist and if not we cannot help, this goes to the SAPS as well.”

Tobacco plain packaging law takes another step towards reality

NZ First MP Barbara Stewart said 12 weeks was not enough time for businesses to transition to plain packaging.

Plain packaging for cigarettes has taken another step towards reality, despite suggestions that manufacturers and retailers should be given more time to sell their old stock.

The Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill is heading to its third and final reading at Parliament, after passing the committee stage by 108 votes to 13 on Wednesday morning.

The law would make it illegal for tobacco companies to print any branding on cigarette boxes, only allowing the name in small plain type with graphic warnings about the risks of smoking.

Stephanie Erick, director for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) calls for MPs to end delays on the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.

NZ First MP Barbara Stewart accused the Government of rushing through the change, saying the transition period for retailers and manufacturers to replace their old stocks should be extended from 12 weeks to six months.

“The bottom line is that 12 weeks is not sufficient to basically get rid of all your old stock and sell it on,” she said.

“No doubt the minister would be very happy when some of these ram raids [by thieves] are carried out, because then all of the [branded] cigarettes and all of the tobacco is taken by these people.”

Stewart said although the bill had been introduced three years ago, a date had never been set for the law change.

Labour health spokesman Chris Hipkins took issue with Stewart’s stance and showed less sympathy for business owners.


Hipkins said the burden and cost of the plain packaging bill would fall on the tobacco industry.

“It is an industry entirely without conscience and entirely without any moral compass. This is an industry that sets out to kill its customers.

“I have to say to the members opposite that they should search deeply within themselves to find their own moral conscience.”

Hipkins argued against Stewart’s support of business owners and said businesses had known about the law change since 2013 and “had plenty of time to prepare”.

“The cost will predominantly fall on the tobacco companies whose job, as I’ve said, is to kill people. That is what they set out to do.”