Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

March 24, 2023

Vira Pravosud, PhD

In 2017, California passed a $2 cigarette tax increase, and between 2014-2020, local Bay Area cities passed local flavored tobacco bans. Dr. Vira Pravosud led a new study that showed that between 2014 and 2020, cigarette prices increased even more than the $2 tax, and prices were higher in San Francisco and in cities in Alameda County with local flavor bans. San Francisco was more expensive than any other city in Alameda County.  The study also found that the menthol flavored tobacco policy in San Francisco was well implemented. The retail stores in San Francisco had completely stopped selling Newport menthol cigarettes and Blu brand menthol e-cigarettes in 2019. This study suggests that local flavor bans affected menthol product availability and might also have indirect effects to increase tobacco prices. Higher prices and elimination of flavored tobacco products should help reduce youth tobacco use.

February 28, 2023

Mehrdad Arjomandi, MD
A Study of 13 Million Veterans finds Smoking is associated with Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a rare inflammatory disease that often affects the lungs and many other organ systems. The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. Large epidemiological studies on sarcoidosis are scarce, but a few small studies in the past found a higher prevalence of sarcoidosis among nonsmokers. In this large epidemiologic study of the nationwide United States Veterans Affairs electronic medical records, Mohamed Seedahmed and colleagues identified 23,747 veterans with a diagnosis of sarcoidosis among over 13 million veterans who received care through or paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. They found that a history of tobacco use was associated with a 58% higher likelihood of incident sarcoidosis.

February 21, 2023

Neal Benowitz, MD

Benowitz and coworkers published a public health warning in the Journal of Medical Toxicology about the potential for inhaled delta-8 THC-O-acetate (THC-O) to cause lung injury, similar to that seen in the EVALI epidemic in 2019.  The lung injury seen in EVALI cases is believed to have been largely caused by inhalation of delta-9 THC oil containing vitamin E acetate (VEA), used a diluent. When heated, the acetate moiety of VEA is converted to ketene, a highly potent lung toxicant, similar in action to phosgene.

February 7, 2023

Joanne Lyu, PhD

A new study examined the role of peer mentoring to enhance social media interventions to support adolescents and young adults who want to quit e-cigarette use. E-cigarettes are the most common tobacco product used by US adolescents and young adults. Nicotine contained in most e-cigarettes can harm young people, as brain development continues through the mid-20s. Being deeply integrated into the life of young people, social media have become a promising channel to deliver interventions to young people to help them quit e-cigarette use. However, many social media programs have a high dropout rate and declining participant engagement over time, which lower program efficacy. Peer mentoring is a promising way to enhance engagement, but it has not been studied in social media-based tobacco cessation programs.

December 1, 2022

Julia Vassey, MPH, MS

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) discourse has been divisive for the tobacco control community, partially because it sometimes aligns public health and tobacco industry interests. Industry funding is contentious as it influences study outcomes, and is not always disclosed in scientific publications. Vassey and colleagues examined the role of disclosed and undisclosed industry support on THR publications via social network analysis. The study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research revealed that authors with industry support exerted a stronger influence on the THR scientific discourse than non-industry-supported authors. They had twice as many publications (Median = 4), 1.25 as many collaborators on publications (Median = 5), and higher likelihood of connecting other authors and thus having more influence in the network, compared to non-industry-sponsored authors. E-cigarette industry-sponsored authors had stronger association with undisclosed industry support than authors supported by pharmaceutical or tobacco industry. The study is available on the NTR website and on PubMed.