Monthly Archives: June 2015

Erik Befrits – Reuters Tobacco Harm Reduction article gratefully acknowledged to Toni Clarke

Very interesting and well researched article by Toni Clarke for Reuters.

There are allusions and quotes in it pointing out that the Tobacco Industry has made several “health claims” before that have turned out to be either false or in some cases directly causing even more harm. The Industry has  thus earned perpetual distrust and animosity from the “Tobacco Control Industry” and most of those who work in it.

No matter how true and historically proven this may be; With the WHO calculating one billion deaths from smoking before 2100 and 78,5 million and counting since 2000, we simply do not have the luxury of excluding the Tobacco Industry from working toward a solution.

We most definitely do not have the luxury of also launching the entire arsenal of countermeasures against vastly safer nicotine products envisioned by entrepreneurs and novel thinkers who have no ties to the traditional Tobacco Industry, who often even shun any notion of working with traditional Big Tobacco.

Per capita motoring historically took an absolutely horrific toll on motorists in the west. In many countries in Asia and Africa the situation today is no better than it was in the west 40 years ago. Almost all motoring progress in the west, better roads, safety belts and airbags, are all products of development within the Automotive industry.

Given modern information technology, and the Tobacco Industry’s research being the most harshly scrutinized research in the world today; it is simply not possible for the Tobacco Industry to present any new products that would not be significantly harm reduced compared to cigarettes. With 1.3 billion nicotine users in the world and a projected 1 billion deaths this century, of which at least 95% from cigarette smoking, Tobacco Harm Reduction is an ugly duckling that by necessity has to become a swan if we are to even approach coming half way to set goals against tobacco related disease.

“No Nicotine and No tobacco” is a goal that has proven totally unattainable, obviously unattractive due to consumer preferences, and the horrific disease toll very much avoidable simply through safer use.

If 20% of current and future smoking could be diverted to 98% safer tobacco/nicotine use, we would see a net lifesaving benefit of 196 million lives.

Safer sex, safer drug use, safer tobacco/nicotine use.

I simply cannot find any fault in the above sentence, can you?

INSIGHT – In a twist, scientists join tobacco companies to fight cancer

Scientists who have devoted years developing medicines to cure disease are now working for tobacco companies to make e-cigarettes.

Philip Morris International Inc has hired more than 400 scientists and technical staff at its research facility in Neuchatel, Switzerland, including toxicologists, chemists, biologists, biostatisticians and regulatory affairs experts.

Altria Group Inc, makers of Marlboro, has recruited dozens of scientific and healthcare experts, as have independent e-cigarette companies such as NJOY. They bring experience developing inhalation devices and navigating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, valuable knowledge in the new world of electronic cigarettes.

They say they’re trying to improve public health.

“We were looking at drugs that make people very ill and maybe extend their life by 12 to 14 weeks,” said Gizelle Baker, a PMI biostatistician based in Neuchatel who previously worked at the cancer drug developer Poniard Pharmaceuticals. “If you have a product that prevents cancer in the first place you can have a much bigger impact on public health.”

The goal is to improve the current generation of e-cigarettes and, where possible, provide evidence that they reduce the risk of disease. Companies that succeed could have an advantage in a market that Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, sees surpassing combustible cigarettes in the U.S. within the next decade.

Products declared reduced risk by the FDA could be treated with a lighter regulatory hand.

“If tobacco companies can prove there is reduced risk, e-cigs are likely to remain less regulated and taxed than cigarettes,” said Philip Gorham, an analyst at Morningstar who views PMI as leading the way in the industry. “If they can’t, they will likely be subject to the same restrictions.”


PMI has poured more than $2 billion into developing and assessing reduced risk products. Next year it plans to apply for a modified risk claim with the FDA for its iQOS product, a tobacco stick that is heated just enough to produce an aerosol but doesn’t combust. Burning tobacco produces most of its toxic chemicals. The company is betting the presence of real tobacco may make it more satisfying to smokers than existing e-cigarettes. It is also developing next-generation e-cigarettes.

But proving a product reduces risk requires sophisticated science, and the FDA wants to see health benefits for both individual smokers and the population as a whole.

Manuel Peitsch, a professor of bioinformatics at the University of Basel and former senior official at Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, helps lead a effort at PMI to analyze the constituents in vapor, assess their effect on cells and model how likely the products are to cause disease.

The company is also conducting clinical trials in humans to assess whether the products reduce a person’s exposure to harmful constituents and, if so, whether that reduction corresponds to a lower risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

Tobacco companies have not historically had these skills in-house. But they are the life blood of the pharmaceutical industry and that is where tobacco companies are turning for talent.

“They have in essence been preparing for this for 20 years,” said Dr. David Kessler, the former FDA commissioner who led the agency’s investigation into the tobacco industry in the 1990s. “They have understood for a long time that they are in the nicotine-delivery business.”

Tobacco executives say they have found willing recruits from the pharmaceutical industry, thanks in part to a wave of mergers and acquisitions that left many researchers looking for work. The 2008 financial crisis led to tens of thousands of job cuts and rattled even those who retained their positions.

Not all companies have the resources to conduct the kind of clinical trials being run at PMI, but many are looking for medical device experts who can help make higher-quality products.

Chenyue Xing is a chemical engineer who worked for MAP Pharmaceuticals and cancer drug company Genentech. Two years ago she joined the San Francisco-based vapor company Pax Labs Inc, where she mixes and tests potential liquid nicotine formulations.

The work is similar to that at MAP, where she tested ingredients for use in the company’s inhaled drug devices. But she likes the entrepreneurial atmosphere at Pax and the idea of creating a smoke-free alternative to cigarettes.

“I grew up in China where there were far fewer smoke free areas,” she said. “I am very sensitive to smells and for a long time if people were smoking next to me, I shut off half of my breath.”

Dr. Joshua Rabinowitz, the interim chief executive of NJOY, said he too was drawn the public health potential of e-cigarettes. Rabinowitz co-founded Alexza Pharmaceuticals Inc , which makes an inhaler that allows drugs to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Some sought-after experts help companies comply with FDA regulations and steer new products through the approval process.

Altria hired James Dillard to head its regulatory affairs division. Dillard holds a degree in biomedical engineering from Tulane University and spent 13 years at the FDA, eventually becoming director of its cardiovascular and respiratory devices group. PMI hired Bruce Clark in a similar role, as vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, a position he previously held at drugmaker Apotex Inc.

Some healthcare recruits are willing to develop reduced risk tobacco products but not for a company that also sells cigarettes.

“The whole set-up is schizophrenic,” said Dr. Lars Erik Rutqvist, an oncologist and former professor at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute who has been approached by big tobacco companies before. “I wouldn’t want to be part of that because they still make most of their money from cigarettes.”

Rutqvist works instead for Swedish Match AB, which sells smokeless tobacco products known as snus. The company was the first to file a modified risk application with the FDA for its snus products. A panel of advisors to FDA recommended in April that the agency reject the application.


The tobacco industry has recruited healthcare experts before, but not on today’s scale. Past veterans and many public health experts question the motives behind the current recruiting. They fear e-cigarettes will do nothing to benefit smokers and may instead simply introduce a new generation to nicotine at a time traditional cigarette smoking rates are falling.

“With each new generation of products there’s a temptation to believe they got it wrong before but they’ve got it right now,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”

Victor DeNoble, an experimental psychologist specializing in the impact of drugs on the brain, joined Philip Morris in 1980 to create a cigarette that caused fewer heart attacks, a challenge he found exciting. But when his work showed that nicotine is addictive the company closed down his lab and suppressed the research. A decade later, DeNoble became the first whistleblower to testify against the industry before Congress.

“The tobacco industry now says ‘we made mistakes and we want to correct them, and that’s why we want you to join us,'” he said. “The lure is still public health. But I’m older and wiser and I can’t trust an industry that has repeatedly broken its promises.”

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington. Editing by Michele Gershberg, Sue Horton and John Pickering)

Erik Befrits – WHO’s calculator isn’t working, again! (Illicit trade in tobacco)

Please see below Press Release from WHO from a month ago. I had completely missed the “fine print” in it.

WHO argues that if all tobaccos sold were licit then the sales would generate 31 billion USD annually in extra tax revenue that could be used to combat tobacco, fine.

In the same paragraph the WHO state that this would also curb revenue for the Tobacco Industry, wait a minute!!

Isn’t projected tax revenue calculated on projected sales? Does not that mean that it would be vital for WHO and for Tobacco Control that the Tobacco Industry actually continues to sell an equal or larger amount of tobacco products? Just 100% normally taxed tobacco products?

For any tax measure to be effective in curbing industry revenue it would by necessity have to be a measure that makes the (supply/demand equilibrium) and therefore net sales from the Industry lower in total, thereby also lowering revenue. that is economy 101 for absolute beginners.

The only other alternative would be for the industry to lower factory prices to meet a new supply/demand equilibrium given all products are taxed, or accepting lower revenue.

Is the WHO really admitting to that she is OK with an equal amount of sold tobacco products and an equal amount of cigarette related disease world wide, just as long as it punishes the Tobacco Industry?

Would not that then mean that the WHO also freely and in writing admit that they would prefer equal or higher sales of cigarettes, as long as Tobacco Control gets full tax money to continue working against tobacco?

That has to be one of the most flagrant examples of being biased and sitting on 2 chairs at the same time that I have come across in a very long time.

WHO calls for action against illicit tobacco trade on World No Tobacco Day

New release

 Eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco would generate an annual tax windfall of US$ 31 billion for governments, improve public health, help cut crime and curb an important revenue source for the tobacco industry. Those are the key themes of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May when WHO will urge Member States to sign the “Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products”.

“The Protocol offers the world a unique legal instrument to counter and eventually eliminate a sophisticated criminal activity,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Fully implemented, it will replenish government revenues and allow more spending on health.”

So far, 8 countries have ratified the Protocol, short of the target of 40 needed for it to become international law. Once that happens, the Protocol’s provisions on securing the supply chain, enhanced international cooperation and other safeguards will come into force.

The Protocol is an international treaty in its own right negotiated by parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which has been ratified by 180 Parties. Article 15 commits signatories to eliminate all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products.

The Protocol requires a wide range of measures relating to the tobacco supply chain, including the licensing of imports, exports and manufacture of tobacco products; the establishment of tracking and tracing systems and the imposition of penal sanctions on those responsible for illicit trade. It would also criminalise illicit production and cross border smuggling.

“The Protocol faces overt and covert resistance from the tobacco industry,” says Dr Vera da Costa e Silva, Head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat. “Manufacturers know that once implemented, it will become much harder to hook young people and the poor into tobacco addiction.”

The illicit tobacco trade offers products at lower prices, primarily by avoiding government taxes through smuggling, illegal manufacturing and counterfeiting. Cheaper tobacco encourages younger tobacco users (who generally have lower incomes) and cuts government revenues, reducing the resources available for socioeconomic development, especially in low-income countries that depend heavily on consumption taxes. This money might otherwise be spent on the provision of public services, including health care.

While publicly stating its support for action against the illicit trade, the tobacco industry’s behind-the-scenes behaviour has been very different. Internal industry documents released as a result of court cases demonstrate that the tobacco industry has actively fostered the illicit trade globally. It also works to block implementation of tobacco control measures, like tax increases and pictorial health warnings, by arguing they will fuel the illicit trade.

“Public health is engaged in a pitched battle against a ruthless industry,” says Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of the WHO’s Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases. “On this World No Tobacco Day, WHO and its partners are showing the ends that the tobacco industry goes to in the search for profits, including on the black market, and by ensnaring new targets, including young children, to expand its deadly trade.”

Policy makers should recognize that the illicit tobacco trade exacerbates the global health epidemic and has serious security implications. Ratification of the Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is a necessary step to combat these twin evils.

Editor’s note

Tobacco-related illness is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. Approximately one person dies from a tobacco-linked disease every six seconds, equivalent to almost 6 million people a year. That’s forecast to rise to more than 8 million people a year by 2030, with more than 80% of these preventable deaths occurring among people living in low-and middle-income countries.

The WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) entered into force in 2005. Parties are obliged over time to take a number of steps to reduce demand and supply for tobacco products including: protecting people from exposure to tobacco smoke, counteracting illicit trade, banning advertising, promotion and sponsorship, banning sales to minors, putting large health warnings on packages of tobacco, increasing tobacco taxes and creating a national coordinating mechanism for tobacco control. There are 180 Parties to the Convention.

Erik Befrits – Nicotine and Science Media Update December 23rd 2014

A parliamentary committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) is weighing up an amendment to China’s advertising law that would protect minors from harmful adverts, including cigarette ads, the Xinhua news agency said. If the amendment is approved, all such ads will be banned except those posted in tobacco shops, Xinhua said, citing an official at the NPC law committee.


Smokers who are unwilling or unable to quit smoking may benefit from using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for harm reduction. This may include the partial or complete substitution of cigarettes with NRT. A taxonomy of the characteristics of those using NRT for harm reduction would be helpful in tailoring advice and treatment. Although attempts to categorize those using NRT for harm reduction have been made, these have largely been based on quantitative data.


Survey results released last week indicate that use of electronic cigarettes by American teenagers continues to rise, even as their use of conventional cigarettes continues to fall. You might think these diverging trends would give pause to critics who worry that e-cigarettes are “reglamorizing” the old-fashioned, combustible kind. Yet opponents of vaping seem undeterred by reality’s failure to match their predictions. […]


[…] Oxford Dictionaries selecting vape as its Word of the Year 2014. The selection actually made sense, as more and more people are choosing to ingest their cannabis via increasingly popular vape pens — portable, pen-like vaporizers that are discreet and ubiquitous. Cannabist critics have been reviewing the best (and worst) vape pens on the market all year long, and we’ll continue to review the technology throughout 2015 as well.


More than 30 percent of retailers in Maryland sell cigarettes to underage youth, according to state health officials. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said its inspectors found that nearly 32 percent of retailers sold cigarettes to underage kids. Their findings were done in a series of random inspections from May through September. It is a violation of both Maryland and federal laws to sell cigarettes to minors.


Zero. That’s an important number in New Jersey’s fight against smoking. […] zero is the amount of state funding for tobacco prevention in New Jersey. This is deplorable, because we can do better than zero. Every other state does. By spending nothing — zero — on tobacco prevention, New Jersey is putting the health of its kids and families at risk. And not just physical health.


Erik Befrits – Nicotine Science and Media Update December 22nd 2014

This is the first study designed to actually answer the question of whether electronic cigarettes are a gateway to smoking because it is the first one to assess whether e-cigarette use preceded or followed cigarette use. It is inexplicable why some tobacco control advocates (Stan Glantz) and public health agencies (the CDC) had already concluded that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking in the absence of a single study that actually examined this question.


State-level laws banning “gutka” – a form of chewing tobacco – are having a positive impact on Indian youths, according to a study by WHO. The World Health Organization (WHO) study was conducted in Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and the national capital region. It revealed that the support for gutka ban is very high (92 percent) across the studied jurisdictions.


In the executive summary of his 2009 paper, “Air Pollution and Public Health”, the University of Hong Kong professor Anthony Hedley wrote: “There is incontrovertible evidence that pollution levels currently experienced throughout the year in Hong Kong are causing an epidemic of health problems arising from damage to lungs, heart and blood vessels. Hong Kong’s pollution is a significant cause of premature death from cardiopulmonary disorders.”


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Though marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the country, little is definitively known about its impact on the brain. A study taking place at Indiana University is designed to help change that. Clinical psychologist Brian O’Donnell and colleague Sharlene Newman are recruiting current and former marijuana users to participate in a study in which their brains will be analyzed for changes in structure and function.


If you’ve just discovered the vaping universe, you know it isn’t difficult to become confused by the selections of devices and accessories available. Take heart. It’s not as hard as you might imagine. The central part of the e-cigarette, the part which contains the battery, atomizer and liquid, are all pretty much the same. There are only so many ways to mix electricity and atomized nicotine.


Nearly 1.1 billion Chinese people are either smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke, an official said Saturday. About 356 million people above the age of 15 are smokers, while another 738 million are passively smoking, said Jiang Yuan, director of Tobacco Control Office of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “China has to adopt comprehensive, long-term and effective tobacco-control measures,” she said.


Erik Befrits – Nicotine Science and Media Update December 19th 2014

One in seven Canadian adults have tried e-cigarettes, and the vast majority have done so to help them quit smoking tobacco, a new poll shows. The national survey conducted by Forum Research to be released on Thursday found that 64 per cent of those who vape also smoke. Another 27 per cent used to smoke tobacco but quit, while 9 per cent of vapers never smoked.


HALIFAX — Nova Scotia will hold consultations next month on whether certain flavours should be exempt from a ban on flavoured tobacco and e-cigarette juice. The provincial government plans to gather input through online submissions in January and focus groups will be held to collect feedback from youth. Meetings will also be held with e-cigarette vendors and small business organizations representing tobacco vendors.


Smoking in cars carrying children is set to become illegal in England late next year in the biggest crackdown on lighting up since the ban on smoking in public places in 2007. On Wednesday the government will lay the regulations in parliament needed to pave the way for the new restriction on smoking, which is likely to come into force on 1 October 2015. The ban is subject to a vote by both MPs and peers early in the new year.


The more than 800kg of tobacco and cigarettes left at the border since 1 November is a further step towards reducing the damage caused by smoking, say Customs Minister Nicky Wagner […] The duty free allowance fell from 200 cigarettes to 50 cigarettes on 1 November. This has resulted in about 810kg of cigarettes and tobacco being left by travellers at the border and almost $259,000 in tobacco revenue being raised.


Cytisine, a smoking cessation medication available only in Eastern Europe, worked better than conventional nicotine-replacement therapy in a clinical trial. The drug yielded a 1-month continuous abstinence rate of 40% compared with 31% among quit line callers provided nicotine patches along with gum or lozenges (P<0.001), Natalie Walker, PhD, of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and colleagues found.


“Currently, there are not adequate safeguards or regulations regarding those producing electronic cigarette components including what chemicals may be used, and no clear requirements to warn consumers of potential risks and hazards of inhaling these varied emissions deeply into the lungs,” Health Commissioner […] said. “Some are also suggesting health benefits regarding these products that are not appropriate or adequately supported by evidence.”


Erik Befrits – Nicotine and Science Media Update December 18th 2014

THERE are few more reliable routes to an early grave than cigarette smoking. But despite the dangers, nicotine addicts find it almost impossible to kick the habit. Half of those who try to stop “cold turkey” will fail within a week. Fewer than 5% manage to stay clean for a year or more. Crutches such as nicotine patches or gum, which provide the drug without the cigarettes, can help—but only a little.


The report, Smokeless Tobacco and Public Health: A Global Perspective, is being released today by the CDC and the National Cancer Institute at the National Conference on Smoking or Health in Mumbai, India. Thirty-two leading experts from around the world contributed to the report. […] As the report explains, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer in humans.


We are still waiting to hear whether the UK government will rule in that all tobacco products should be placed in standardised packaging. Jane Ellison, the under secretary of state for public health, has the power to introduce standardised packaging under Section 94 of the Children and Families Act 2014. Yet, despite two public consultations, […] the future for the branding of tobacco packs remains unclear.


A University of Alberta economics professor has discovered a link between contraband cigarette use and illicit drug use among Canadian teens. The study shows that 31 per cent of adolescent smokers in Canada between grades 9 and 12 use contraband tobacco and indicates that teens who smoke contraband tobacco are more likely to use illicit drugs. “The rate of illicit drug use among the contraband smokers is higher […]


The first legal cannabis e-cigarette could soon be landing on British soil. And when we say soon, we mean next Thursday – or so say the Metro. The company behind the cannabis e-cigarette, KanaVape, claims that the vaporiser is perfectly legal due to the lack of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is a chemical found in the drug. THC is known for its mind-altering effects and can induce hallucinations and a change in thinking, as well as cause delusions.


The challenges facing both companies are well known — the percentage of American smokers has declined from 42% in 1965 to 18% in 2012, according to the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. In response to this shrinking market, both companies slashed jobs, raised prices, and expanded into non-cigarette product categories to protect their bottom lines.


Erik Befrits – Nicotine and Science Media Update December 17th 2014


Most popular in news last week:

  1. Want to help smokers quit? Stop lying about e-cigs  – read more…
  2. E-cigarette use rare in non-smokers, UK survey finds – read more…
  3. Controversy over e-cigarettes and ‘vaping’ heats up – read more…

Electronic cigarettes double smokers’ chances of quitting and can also help them to cut down, an overview of gold-standard research has concluded. “Vaping” was just as effective as other nicotine replacements, and no sideeffects were seen in the studies, according to an analysis published by the Cochrane Library, a collection of six databases used to analyse evidence.


E-CIG smokers in Greater Manchester are being forced into the outdoor smoking shelters inhabited by those hooked on the more traditional source of nicotine. More and more venues across the region are now banning the devices which are widely-seen as an essential aid for those wanting to kick tobacco. ‘Vaping’ is outlawed at Old Trafford and The Etihad, on trams and Metrolink stops, trains and train stations, […]


We’ve news from the government that the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, is on the rise among schoolchildren and teenagers. We might think that this is a health story and it is, but behind it is an interesting little economic point and a guide to public policy. The question really revolves around whether vaping is a substitute for smoking or a complement (yes, complement, not compliment).


With an aim to curtail cigarette smoking and consumption of other tobacco products in the state, tourism-related bodies are set to revitalise their fight against the use of tobacco in public places. “We are very much serious in promoting a tobacco-free Kashmir and to realise this, we will pool in our resources and ensure that public places like hotels and restaurants which are under our control, are made hundred per cent tobacco free zones,” said Showkat Chaudhry, […]


Hungary’s parliament Monday introduced a state wholesaler in the tobacco trade and continued working on legislation designed to introduce new taxes on the sector, in a controversial move that has led to public protests. The bill, […] and adopted Monday, introduces a state- owned wholesaler that will act as an intermediary between producers and retailers, with the declared goal of freeing up competition in the market.


East Tennessee State University’s Dr. Hadii Mamudu likens the difference between electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes to the result of someone falling off a 10-story building and falling off a 100-story building. The result is going to be the same, and in the case of what he calls “completely unregulated” electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, that result is early death.


Erik Befrits – NIcotine and Science Media Update December 12th 2014

For years I have been swimming against the tide and arguing that cigarette taxes are too high. There are two reasons. First, as a practical matter, sky-high cigarette taxes ($5.85 a pack in New York City) are extremely difficult to enforce. The opportunities for arbitrage are irresistible. Multinationals earn profits in the United States and book them in tax havens. Smugglers buy cigarettes in Virginia […] and sell them in Staten Island.


According to a law amendment proposal submitted to Parliament by an MP of the ruling Fidesz party, tobacco companies in Hungary will be subject to a special levy, which would be progressive and depend on total revenues. Analysts at the Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest (FRIB) showed on a telling chart which companies will benefit and which will suffer next year as a result of the new legislation.


The current study, from researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, found that using both snus and the milder tobacco smoked through hookah pipes increased teens’ and young adults’ risk of becoming regular cigarette smokers. About one in five boys and one in six girls have used hookah in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Despite collecting billions in tobacco-related revenues, states plan to spend relatively little on control and prevention programs in the 2015 fiscal year. Only two states—North Dakota and Alaska—plan to spend as much on tobacco control and prevention as recommended by the CDC, according to the report, titled “Broken Promises to Our Children” and produced by a coalition of groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids […]


It’s hardly a secret that the number of smokers in the United States is on the decline. Altria sustained a 3.5% drop in smoking volumes for its Philip Morris USA division over the first nine months of the year. Going forward, Altria management forecasts a 3%-4% long-term annual volume decline. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why the company’s revenue is falling — down 1% net of excise taxes through just the first three quarters of 2014.


London — Several of the world’s biggest tobacco companies pledged on Wednesday to end child labour in their supply chains, a landmark agreement a rights group said could protect thousands of children from hazardous work in tobacco fields. Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International and British American Tobacco were among the firms that signed the pledge, […]


Erik Befrits – Nicotine and Science Media Update December 11th 2014

America’s public health establishment, including big nonprofit organizations and many academics, is playing a shameful role in fighting our nation’s most important health scourge: cigarette smoking. Without exception, our health leaders have proven reluctant to help smokers quit; although three-quarters of smokers wish to do so, only one in twenty succeed in any given year.


The trade union of tobacco industry workers has organised a full-day demonstration for Dec. 15 in Budapest against the government’s new measures affecting the industry, the organisers said. Some 1,200 employees in tobacco sales and logistics positions will be affected by the government’s amendments which seek to place a middleman between retailers and wholesalers on the market with a monopoly of state-licenced tobacco retailers.


The use of electronic cigarettes in England is largely confined to smokers and ex-smokers, according to a government-backed survey, the latest report to suggest that e-cigarettes were not attracting new smokers. The Health Survey for England found that among men who were not smokers, only 1 percent had ever tried e-cigarettes, while 29 percent of smokers and 6 percent of ex-smokers said they had.


Every day, 5500 children in India start using tobacco. If they continue the habit, as many do, the illnesses brought about by tobacco addiction will kill about half of them. In the meantime, Big Tobacco is allowed to continue glamorising the habit through fancy packages that appeal to youngsters. Nearly half of all males in India use tobacco in some form. In total, about 275 million people use tobacco.


When it comes to measuring teen smoking trends, many public health agencies rely too heavily on reports of monthly cigarette use, a broad statistic that makes it difficult to draw conclusions about current habits and historical changes in behavior, according to a new study. The figure often used to describe current use of cigarettes among high school seniors is derived from a survey question asking about smoking behavior over the past 30 days.


To study e-cigarette dependence, the researchers developed an online survey, including questions designed to assess previous dependence on cigarettes and almost identical questions to assess current dependence on e-cigarettes. “We found that e-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes in a large sample of long-term users,” said Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. […]


Erik Befrits – Nicotine and Science Update December 10th 2014


Most popular in news last week:

  1. Leading Alternative Cigarette Firms Challenging the Big Tobacco Industry  – read more…
  2. Why Anti-Smoking Groups Should Endorse Snus And E-Cigarettes – read more…

In his commentary, Dr. Marlow argues that in its proposed deeming regulations, the FDA has completely skewed its cost-benefit analysis by failing to recognize the dramatic negative effect its burdensome regulatory requirements for electronic cigarettes will have on the public’s health by virtue of the suppression of the e-cigarette market that these regulations will cause.


COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Health System is rolling out a new “nicotine-free hiring policy” that forbids new employees from using nicotine – on or off the clock. Come Jan. 1, the system will no longer hire people who use any form of nicotine, will test for nicotine during pre-employment drug screenings, and can fire employees if it’s sniffed out later that they misled human resources, according to the policy.


Experts at a Heritage Foundation panel Tuesday compared the marijuana industry to big tobacco companies in the last century, saying there is a concerted effort to distort the science and target children. “I don’t know why we would want to repeat that nightmare,” said Kevin Sabet, co-founder and president of Project SAM […] marijuana advocates have funded much of their own research and tried to hide negative effects of smoking pot.


E-cigarettes are no longer a marginal phenomenon in Germany. They are being and advertised in this country on the internet, at gas stations and kiosks, […] In Germany, the advertising of e-cigarettes has not yet been subjected to regulation. By spring 2016 at the latest, when the EU Guideline on Tobacco Products will have been transferred into German law, the practices will be restricted in the same way as tobacco products.


Health fanaticism has become so tyrannical that critics are muzzled. Lies repeated often enough acquire the appearance of truth. Unlike health despots, people who value facts and freedom should encourage what they regard as healthy living as resolutely as they defend the rights of those who disagree. To that end, this column addresses two of the most egregious myths: that smokers increase healthcare costs and that smoking has no benefits.


A tobacco treatment program in a psychiatric ward for inpatients with comorbid mental health and substance abuse disorders led to lower rates of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use, researchers reported here. Compared with patients in the usual care group, patients in the tobacco cessation group were twice as likely to stay off tobacco 1-year later (22% versus 11%) and have lower rates of drinking (22% versus 58%) and cannabis use […]