World cup munchies

I have been following the World Cup closely, and must confess to a dark secret. Hoping against hope, and being dashed at every step, I still am an England fan. I’m not a Rooney fan, but I still hold a very dim candle for England

Their performance at this World Cup was not exactly stellar, but it also wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Yes, Rooney looked his usual sulky self and seemed that he was always on the verge of a temper tantrum but there were a number of bright spots. That cannot be said of the regular defense. That looked completely out of its league in the first two games, although the replacement players that were used in the last game, especially the goaltender looked much sharper. I can’t in all fairness say they were robbed of a place in the last 16, but their overall performance deserved better than two losses and a draw

But that isn’t the reason for this article, I just needed to get it off my chest.

What I want to talk about is the sex rules that are in place at the world cup. Yes, teams actually define nooky rules for their players that run the gamut from no sex during the tournament, to no sex the night before a game or the one that I love, no acrobatic sex. I would have thought that would have lead to very cranky players and a much higher incidence of bad tempered fouls. Which brings me to the game between Italy and Uruguay, otherwise known as the Hunger Game.

During the game, Louis Suarez seemed to take a bite out of one of the Italian players. Apparently this isn’t the first time that he has had the munchies mid game, and one has to wonder if the Uruguay Sex Rules have anything to do with it. Is it possible that Louis was driven mad by no nookie? Could it be that cannibalism is a side effect of not getting any?

I better stop before my imagination runs away with me.

It was a pretty despicable act, and needs to be addressed by FIFA with a ban on Suarez for the remainder of this Cup. That way he can sit in the stands and eat hotdogs rather than opposition players.

 

FDA and vaping – ridiculous part 2

This is important to me as vaping has allowed me to give up cigarettes. Rather than my pack a day habit, I am now simply vaping. I haven’t had a cigarette since October, and all of my prior efforts to quit had been unsuccessful.

The proposed FDA regulations are going to insist that any vaping products, such  liquids must be reviewed and prior to  being allowed to be sold. The application fee is $2500 just to start, Then they also have to pay an additional $1500 per ingredient. Now some nicotine juice only contains as few as 4 or 5 ingredients, which means that the combined cost for the PMTA would be about $10,000 dollars. But that is misleading. That is for each juice, so if you manufacture 25 juices at 4 levels of nicotine, that is 100 applications, so a total of a million.

The exact rules are

1. Products that were already on the market as of February 2007 are grandfathered in and allowed to be sold without review, although the FDA could hypothetically order them off the market.

2. Products introduced between February 2007 and March 2011 are allowed on the market while under provisional review. Producers have had to submit applications, but they are allowed to continue selling while the FDA reviews them.

3. Since March 2011, all new products must receive FDA approval before being sold.

This will totally destroy the small vaping community, just leaving the big players (who are mostly owned by big tobacco companies now), as most, if not all current vaping products came into existance after the 2007 date, so that will put all of the current market under review.

If there was one shred of evidence that vaping was dangerous, I could look at this and say that it was for health reasons, but there isn’t. It is ludicrous that vaping is falling under the Tobacco Control Act. One interesting note is that the Tobacco Control Act was fully backed and negotiated by Philip Morris. They knew what they were doing. 

Not only that but the review process is a snail. It has been reviewing applications for four years on tobacco products, currently has more than 150 employees working on reviews, has received approximately 4,000 applications, and has managed to rule on only 34 of them. 

 

FDA and vaping – ridiculous

refillable vaporizer The FDA has come out with a draft regarding its position on vaping and it is now open to public commentary. I’m in Canada, so not directly affected, but where the US goes Canada seems to like to follow. The proposed FDA regulations are restrictive and very far-reaching and any vaper needs to take note and hopefully act.

The FDA seems to be grouping vaping under tobacco regulations, which is very silly, but I suppose as a lot of e-juice contains nicotine, there is a certain twisted logic. It is like grouping mouthwash under the liquor control board because they both contain alcohol. The draft regulations are a very long read, but there are three areas that stand out.

Age control – the FDA is looking to restrict vaping to 18 or older. To my mind, this is sensible and should move forward, although there is a great deal of evidence to support the position that banning something makes it even more attractive to those under the age of majority.

Warning labels – the FDA is proposing that e-liquids have warning labels on them. Again, this would seem sensible and I have even less objection to that than the age limits. Lets face it, a lot of e-liquid contains nicotine, which is addictive. That being said, so is caffeine and I don’t see coffee being similarly controlled.

The third area is the one that I have huge problems with. The FDA is proposing that all vaping gear and supplies needs approval before it is legal to sell them. This imposes a huge and probably unmanageable overhead on small manufacturers and sellers. This would hand the vaping world over to the large manufacturers, especially big tobacco, who already have to live under these restrictions. Most vaping gear consists of either batteries or units that contain coils to vaporize e-liquid. It is ridiculous to control these units – heck its like trying to control flashlights. As far as e-liquids are concerned, there is something to be said for a full statement of contents and potentially a ban on including certain products such as diacetyl which can be found in certain food flavorings, but approval – no – that is going way too far. That would mean that a small boutique e-liquid manufacturer would have to get approval for each and every liquid they create, for each mix of PG/VG, for each level of nicotine and for each flavor. That is something that would be completely unmanageable for a small outfit and would force them either underground or out of business.

Please watch this video – it does a good job of explaining what the FDA is proposing here

If there is any evidence that vaping is in any way dangerous to health, either to the vapers themselves or more specifically to those around them, then lets see that evidence and use that as the basis for sensible regulations. If I was suspicious, I would say that big corporate interests had significant input into these regulations with the intent of taking control of the vaping industry, and if these regulations proceed through as they are, then there is a pretty good chance that they will succeed.

For those of you that are vapers in the USA, or friends of people that have given up smoking by switching to vaping, you need to contact your congressman and tell them how much vaping has helped in your lives. This legislation must be stopped or heavily amended. It is just wrong that something that has helped me and thousands of others is going to be treated this way.

 

Celebrities and bad science

jennymcThere is a serious measles outbreak in New York City. As of Tuesday, 20 confirmed cases (11 adults and 9 children) have been identified, according to the New York Times, and city officials are warning unvaccinated New Yorkers to get shots or, in some cases, to get revaccinated.

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that causes a blotchy rash, fever, and tiny white spots inside the mouth and can lead to further complications such as pneumonia, conjunctivitis, ear infections, and even death, says the Centers for Disease Control. it spreads person-to-person, usually by airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough or from direct contact from touching contaminated surfaces. It can be prevented with a measles vaccine hence doctors recommend that children receive shots between the ages of 12 and 15 months and again between 4 and 6 years.

If measles sounds like an old-fashioned disease, that’s because it was. Measles was virtually eliminated in the United States from 2000 to 2011, and the last U.S. outbreak was in 1967. In the UK, the numbers are similar, with cases in the single digits up until. 2006.

Since that time the number of cases has grown dramatically, with the UK showing over 2000 cases for 2012, and now we are seeing similar trends in the US.

The basis for any immunization campaign is what is called herd immunity. Not everyone has to be vaccinated, but a significant proportion of the population does. For herd immunity to kick in you have to hit a certain threshold, and that threshold is based upon how infectious the disease is. In the case of Measles – it is a very infectious disease, so the threshold is between 83 and 94 percent. With a less infectious disease it would be lower.

Now here comes the celebrity connection. In 1997 the medical journal the Lancet published a small study of one dozen children with behavioral and intestinal problems. Eight had been vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, a shot that prevents measles, mumps, and rubella. As a result of the report, many parents stopped vaccinating their children.  One of these parents was Jenny McCarthy, whose 10-year-old son was vaccinated and was also diagnosed with autism in 2005. McCarthy has been an outspoken critic of vaccination since and other celebs have also taken a similar position.

The problem: The study was majorly flawed. The British Medical Journal found that British study author Dr. Andrew Wakefield had misrepresented or altered the medical histories of the children and basically the study was a fake. Not only that, the Wakefield study had been funded by a law firm that was suing vaccine manufacturers (a fact that Wakefield never disclosed). Wakefields medical license was subequently revoked and other researchers have been unable to reproduce similar results.

The result has been that the percentage of the population that is getting immunized has dropped and in the case of measles, it has dropped below the threshold.

Now is Jenny McCarthy responsible for this? No – you cannot establish a causal link between the two, but it is certainly an influencing factor.