Organised by Aidan Gilligan, Founder, CEO SciCom - Making Sense of Science; Member of the Governing Board of Euroscience. 

E-Cigarettes Evidence & Ethics - ESOF 2014
10:30 - 11:45 , June 25 2014 (Malting Hall)

Session Description

Not since the Internet has society seen a comparative disruptive technology with the capacity to so fundamentally impact lives as the electronic cigarette. Hundreds of versions have sprung up, online sales are sky-rocketing and specialized e-cig shops cannot be built fast enough. Tens of millions of smokers have made the switch in a tidal-wave of support. Yet, are e-cigs ‘safe’ or simply ‘safer’ than classical cigarettes. If the former, shouldn’t all harm reduction advocates welcome them? Or does their nicotine-infused vapor risk developing cancer in certain types of human cells much in the same way that tobacco smoke does? Are they child-proof enough?

Are they a gateway to smoking for teenagers? And what concerns should we have about billions of discarded nicotine-laced cartridges and lithium batteries? This session unites leading medical, industry and civil society experts involved in the policy-making cycle to explore the latest data for and against e-cigarettes. A common aim will be to advocate for greater evidence-based clarity and acceptance of the globally accessible evidence now made possible by unprecedented advances in information gathering, imaging and analysis. At the heart of the session will be a focus on the ethical importance of giving more thoughtful consideration to the way in which information about science and technology and their products is used for societal benefit, evaluated for potential risks, and communicated beyond the scientific community to end users where it matters most.

Session Format: Traditional lecture but highly interactive

Session Duration: 1h15 minutes

Target Audience: Scientists, General Public, Policy-Makers

Category:  Healthy Society


Irish Flag Organiser:
Aidan Gilligan,
Founder, CEO SciCom - Making Sense of Science, Euroscience Governing Board Member, ESOF Copenhagen 2014, International Media & Marketing Committee Vice-Chair. 121 Rue Franklin, 1000, Brussels, Belgium. Phone Number: +32(0)474042602; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
South African Flag Co-organiser & Moderator:
Professor Julian Kinderlerer,
President of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), reporting to European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso; Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Cape Town; Adviser to the South African Dept. of S&T; Occasional Adviser to the UN Environment Programme, UN Industrial Development Organisation & World Intellectual Property Organisation, Former Director of Institutes on Biotech Law, Ethics & Society at the Universities of Delft and Sheffield. European Commission, Berl 8/362, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium. Phone Number: 0027826157274; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
German Flag Discussant:
Dr. Thomas Hartung,
Professor and Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology, Director, Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing; Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dept. of Environmental Health Sciences. 615 N. Wolfe Street, W7032, Baltimore, MD 21205. Phone Number: 410-614-4990; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Presentation Title: Understanding Nicotine Addiction and its Brain Reward Systems

US Flag Speaker 1:
Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E.,
Deputy-Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health Former Director, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research. Phone Number: 301-443-6504; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Talk Description:

Placed in the context of international efforts to reduce the harm caused by smoking classic cigarettes and an ever-increasing range of nicotine-based products, this presentation will place under the microscope the principal reinforcing component responsible for addiction - nicotine. A much maligned substance, nicotine gets the blame for the harm caused by smoking. Yet scientifically speaking, nicotine is a relatively innocuous substance. Medical products containing purified nicotine, for example, are not associated with adverse health effects. Neither are people becoming addicted to nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gums or nasal sprays. In this presentation, I will examine what recent clinical and preclinical findings are telling us about variations in our genetic material that can increase our vulnerability to develop nicotine dependence. In particular, I will focus on what the behavioural, molecular and biochemical evidence is telling us about the brain's regulation of the aversive properties of nicotine on one hand, and increases in vulnerability to nicotine dependence on the other.

Presentation Title: E-Cigarettes: What’s the Real Medical Innovation Breakthrough?

UK Flag Speaker 2:
Dr. Sudhanshu Patwardhan MBBS, MS, MBA,
Senior International Engagement Manager, Nicoventures. 22 Tudor Street, London EC4Y 0AY, London, United Kingdom. Phone Number: 00442079360648; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talk Description:

Society at large doesn’t yet know what to think or do about e-cigarettes. What is clear is that according to the WHO, one billion preventable tobacco-related premature deaths are at stake in the 21st Century. My talk will demonstrate the medical breakthroughs implicit in e-cigarette technologies. I will prove that actually, customer-focused, rigorous and high-quality science is fast addressing many of the valid concerns about safety and quality. E-cigarette users themselves are increasingly looking for pharmaceutical grade nicotine, accurate labelling for nicotine content, batteries that are safety tested, and vapour that has been risk assessed for toxicology. My message will be that regulators should resist the urge to jump on highly restrictive measures that have the perverse effect of prolonging cigarette smoking. Instead, the way forward is to encourage manufacturing of e-liquid and devices to an agreed quality standard, maintained across batches that can be reliably demonstrated through a documentation and audit trail. In short, science needs to fill the gap, but it needs to be heard by regulators who, in turn, encourage smokers to make the switch.

Presentation Title: Global Tobacco Control: What to do about E-Cigarettes?

UK Flag Speaker 3:
Deborah Arnott MBA FRCP (Hon),
Chief Executive, Action on Smoking & Health (ASH). Suites 59-63, 6th Floor, New House, 67-68 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JY, UK.Phone Number: +44 (0)7976935987; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talk Description:

Smoking remains the major preventable cause of death in the twenty first century as it did in its predecessor, still killing 6 million people annually. For the first time, a real possibility exists for this to end, and rapidly. Millions of smokers are making the switch to e-cigarettes. There is little evidence to-date of harm from e-cigarettes, especially in comparison to smoking. Yet, some groups are calling for their outright ban, while others are campaigning for public place bans, fearful that they could ‘renormalise’ smoking. From the middle of 2016 they will come under the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive, except where therapeutic claims are made or they contain over 20 mg/ml of nicotine, when they will require medicines authorisation. Proposals are emerging from the World Health Organization, the US Food and Drug Administration and several influential governments to introduce sweeping new rules extending regulatory authority from cigarettes to these popular nicotine delivery devices. Approaches clearly differ. My talk will provide insights into the best policy-making practices and pitfalls encountered by Action on Smoking & Health (ASH), a front-line campaign organization working for greater harm reduction and product regulation, both inside the UK and internationally. A clear focus will be on counteracting moralistic dogma and separating fact from fiction about what the scientific evidence is actually telling us.