Author Archives: Catherine

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Stands Corrected on E-Cigs

In CNN’s “Paging Dr. Gupta” series last week was a question regarding e-cigs

The question posed was whether or not there was any dangerous secondhand smoke from the e-cig, and I was disappointed to find the same old misleading information in the answer given by Dr. Gupta.  It was pretty clear he was trying to give his readers an uneasy feeling about the e-cig, however, what makes this blog posting noteworthy is the heartwarming response given in the comments by e-cig supporters.  So far 96 comments have been added (and those are just the ones they chose to print), the vast majority of them slamming Gupta’s stance on the e-cig, accusing him of not doing his research, and abundantly supplying him with the correct information on the constituents of e-cig vapor.

While it certainly is great to see the e-cig supporters so vocal and willing to step forward in defense of their own health, I can’t help but think how unfortunate it is that other smokeless products don’t have such a following.  If only smokeless tobacco users had been as well informed, and less vilified (and thus disempowered), the misinformation that has been allowed to spread over the last decade about smokeless tobacco might have been quelled (and we may perhaps have millions fewer smokers today).



Call for experts in behavioural psychology

Call for expression of interest for experts in behavioural psychology in relation to the work on potential health risks posed by food-imitating and child-appealing outdoor nature products.

Common nature products, such as belladonna berries (nightshade), jellyfish, colourful caterpillars, mushrooms (like the poisonous Amanita muscaria with its shiny red top and what looks like peanuts sprinkled on top), daffodil bulbs (resemble onions), and the brightly coloured bees and wasps, are at times presented to the consumer resembling foodstuffs or are child-appealing due to their shape, colour, appearance, texture, consistency, or other characteristics.

The resulting confusion may lead vulnerable consumer sub-groups (e.g. children, elderly visually impaired, etc), to ingest them. (Afterall, what child can resist a brightly striped and soft bumblebee?) Be it because of their inherent toxicity properties, be it from other characteristics (stingers, indigestible ingredients, and the potential for pretty wild and crazy hallucinogenic trips) ingestion of these products may pose a risk to the health of consumers.

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers has requested the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) to assess the potential risks related to such food-imitating or child-appealing nature products. The call is launched on basis of a mandate for this assessment.

The relevant SCCS working group has identified a need in the field of consumer’s behavioural psychology. In line with the Rules of procedure of the Scientific Committees Translations., a call for expression of interest for experts in this topic is launched.

In particular, experts with relevant professional experience in the area of consumer awareness of risk related to the products of evolution and the appealing effect for consumers (mainly children or seniors) of products which their texture, colouring, or soft jelly centres imitate food products, are invited to register to the database of experts by submitting an application form according to the instructions indicating “SCCS: Food Imitating Products – call for experts” in the subject title of the message.

Deadline for submission of applications for experts on behavioural psychology for the work of the group on Food Imitating Products: 9 April 2010.(registration to the database is permanently open for experts with regard to the general work of the Scientific Committees)
More information on SCCS and the other non-food Scientific Committees of the European Commission.