So, I've been a smoker since the age of 14...I'm approaching 50 now so thought it would be a good idea to kick the habit.
Early in November I started using e-cigs, namely, the 10 Motive brand. You can buy them at Tesco, they are very cheap and still give you the nicotine hit. After three weeks I moved on to the menthol version and, I have to say, they have helped me a great deal. If I crave a cigarette now I just inhale on the e-cig - Job done.
They are still banned on most, if not all, airlines...this baffles me as no smoke is emitted from them.
There are rumours abound that the UK government are seeking to target the e-cig industry as more and more smokers switch to them - No surprise there.
On average a pack of smokes in the UK cost around £8.
With the e-cigs being considerably cheaper and the government losing revenue in tobacco you can see that these rumours may not be rumours after all.
Step in to the melting pot one GlaxoSmithKline. The British pharmaceutical company who just can't stay out of the news. If they are not denying their medicines kill people [babies included] they are covering themselves in garlands and boasting how they help third world countries. It's a bit like a serial killer giving money to charity.
Ecigadvanced.com has opened a can of worms, they write...
Leaked correspondence between major pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline and EU regulators have revealed that the company is seeking harsh regulations against electronic cigarettes. This comes as no surprise to many electronic cigarettes community members and business leaders who have long suspected major pharmaceuticals companies would view the products as a threat to their smoking cessation profits.
Ecigadvanced quote The Times as the news breaker.
Let's look at the evidence.
E-Cigarettes, to my knowledge, have not caused anyone to kill themselves. They do not cause horrific withdrawal, they do not make you feel suicidal, they do not make you feel homicidal, they do not give you electric zaps in the head, they do not give you violent thoughts or visual or sleep disturbances.
Now, let's take a look at Glaxo's smoking cessation drug, Zyban.
First off, Zyban is a trade name. The active ingredient for Zyban is Bupropion.
When we look at the history of Glaxo's Bupropion we can see that it wasn't originally a medication to help people stop smoking...it was in fact, and still is, an antidepressant marketed and sold by GlaxoSmithKline as one of its other trade names, Wellbutrin. [Don't you just love they way they use the word 'Well']
Let's just take a look at the side effects associated with Glaxo's smoking cessation drug/antidepressant.
This from the MHRA website. The MHRA are the [ahem] regulatory agency that safeguard us Brits from dodgy prescription drugs.
To date there have been a total of 20,469 reported reactions to Bupropion.
There has been 9,329 adverse reactions. Adverse means harmful.
And how many deaths have been linked with Glaxo's Bupropion?
Ah, just 83, a small number when one is conducting a mafia-like business.
There have been over 500 cardiac disorders reported with Bupropion use, 33 of which have been fatal.
Almost 4,000 Nervous system disorders reported with Bupropion use, 11 of which have been fatal.
670 Respiratory disorders reported with Bupropion use, 7 of which have been fatal.
The full list is available on the MHRA website, I'm unsure if this link will take you directly to the Bupropion drug analysis print, if it doesn't then interested parties can contact me by leaving a comment underneath this post.
The scandal doesn't end here. In fact it just gets better and better.
On the 21st December 2012 GSK, the company who pay fines and settlements whilst never admitting to any wrong-doing, paid $21.5 million to plaintiffs who had claimed that GSK had forced them to pay higher prices for antidepressant Wellbutrin SR, also known and branded as the smoking cessation drug, Zyban.
The settlement resolves [ahem] allegations that GSK violated antitrust, consumer fraud and consumer protection laws and made an unjust profit from the sale of Wellbutrin.
Way to go Glaxo!
For those who don't know, last year GlaxoSmithKline, the company that want us to believe that their violations are a thing of the past, entered a guilty plea into, amongst other things, the off-label promotion of drugs. One such drug was Wellbutrin. Glaxo were subsequently fined a massive $3 billion.
So, not only were they promoting this antidepressant cum smoking cessation drug to people it should never have been prescribed to, they were also forcing those buying it to pay higher prices.
More on the $21.5 billion settlement here [subscription needed]
Friend of David Cameron and Glaxo CEO, Andrew Witty is no stranger to Wellbutrin. I wrote about his involvement with Wellbutrin before.
Glaxo Wellcome'sVP-General Manager of Marketing Andrew Witty, as he was known between 1997/98, worked very closely with prescription drug ads on TV. This is known as DTC or Direct to Consumer advertising.
In August 1997 the US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] relaxed its rules on DTC, it basically meant that the FDA were giving carte blanche to the pharmaceutical industry whereby they could promote their products in TV ads without giving detailed medical information on the indications, potential side effects, or proper use.
Witty was quick to pounce. Why wouldn't he? DTC is lucrative for the pharmaceutical industry, well, it is in America and New Zealand as these are the only two countries that allow TV ads for prescription medication.
Witty added more products in 1997 with Glaxo's new anti-smoking pill Zyban, [buproprion] which got an estimated $55 million in support (the brand is even got TV teaser ads prior to its launch)
You see bupropion is used to treat major depressive disorder and seasonal affective disorder and it is also used to help people stop smoking by reducing cravings and other withdrawal effects.
So, in 1997, Witty pushed Zyban, Wellbutrin, call it what you will, onto the TV screens and into the homes of millions of Americans. He was in actual fact pushing an antidepressant onto an unsuspecting public.
Here's a Zyban ad from 1997, this is one that Witty would have been behind as Glaxo Wellcome'sVP-General Manager of Marketing. What I find remarkable about this ad is that they do not distinguish the two brand names as being practically the same. The only warning they off is, "Don't take Zyban if you are taking Wellbutrin" - Surely it would have been morally ethical to tell the consumer, "If you take Zyban and Wellbutrin together you will actually be overdosing on the active ingredient, bupropion." But hey, why would a pharmaceutical company, like Glaxo, wish to inform its consumers that a drug that could help you quit smoking was really an antidepressant?
Glaxo never stopped there.
Back in 2010 GlaxoSmithKline associate general counsel, Lauren Stevens, was indicted with making false statements and obstructing a federal investigation into illegal marketing of the a 'drug' for weight loss.
That drug, ladies and gentlemen was Bupropion, Glaxo's antidepressant/smoking cessation drug. It's akin to giving athletes foot powder to someone with a headache. [Back story]
So Glaxo oppose e-cigarettes huh?
Well, I oppose their Seroxat birth defects, Seroxat suicides, horrific Seroxat withdrawal along with all their other drugs and vaccines that have harmed and killed men, women and children over the years.
Get your e-cigarettes online...it won't be too long before the MHRA join forces and call for a ban folks.
According to GlaxoSmithKline's disclosure of contributions for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and for the first two quarters of 2012, eight anti-smoking groups which have all called for a ban on electronic cigarettes received nearly $1.4 million during the period 2009-2012 from GlaxoSmithKline alone.
The contributions by organization are as follows:
American Cancer Society: $602,010
American Lung Association: $143,461
Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence: $5,000
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: $400,000
American Heart Association: $115,000
American Medical Association: $15,000
American Academy of Pediatrics: $65,075
American Legacy Foundation: $10,000
Total: $1.36 million [Source]