Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

March 20, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

As I have written before, the battle for a ban on flavored tobacco products (including ecigs and menthol cigarettes and little cigars) before the Sacramento City Council is a strategic fight that is likely to affect the fate of a similar law being considered in the California State Legislature.  The legislature is just a few blocks from City Hall and the mayor of Sacramento is Darryl Steinberg, the former President Pro Tem of the State Senate, so a strong flavor ban in Sacramento City could help pave the way for state legislation.  Conversely, an ineffectual bill (as promoted by Juul and other tobacco industry interests) could have become the model for bad state legislation.

Despite the industry pulling out all the stops, the City Council’s Law and Legislation Committee voted 4-0 to reject he industry proposal and stay with the strong ordinance. 

The Sacramento Bee has a good story on what happened.  It talked to a colleague in Sacramento who was at the meeting reported that the industry put on an impressive show, vastly outnumbering the health forces in the audience and at the podium.

March 15, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Kim Nguyen, Laura Schmidt, Casey Palmer and I just published “Tobacco industry involvement in children’s sugary drinks market” in BMJ.  This paper use previously secret tobacco industry documents to show how the tobacco companies transformed marketing of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) to target kids using the strategies that the tobacco companies had developed to sell cigs to kids.

This paper is also relevant to the current concern over how the tobacco companies (including Juul) are using flavors to attract and hold kids.  The tobacco companies have known all about flavors, colors, and kids for a long time and how to transfer that technology between products.  

Here this the UCSF press release on the paper.  There is also an excellent story in the New York Times.

Soft Drink Companies Copy Tobacco Playbook to Lure Young Users

Cigarette Giants Bought Food Companies, Used Cartoon Characters, Colors, Flavors to Boost Sales of Sweetened Beverages

March 14, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Samir Soneji and colleagues’ new paper “Use of Flavored E-Cigarettes Among Adolescents, Young Adults, and Older Adults: Findings From the Population Assessment for Tobacco and Health Study” adds to the overwhelming case  that flavors are an important reason that kids use e-cigarettes.  They also specifically debunk the claim – made in all the debates over local laws banning the sale of flavored tobacco products -- that flavors are necessary to encourage adults to use e-cigs to quit smoking

This argument also ignores the fact that, for most smokers, using e-cigs makes it less not more likely that they will successfully quit smoking.

March 13, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

With the vote on Sacramento City tobacco flavor ban approaching, the Sacramento Bee recently published opposing op-eds on the subject, one supporting the ban by Drs. David Cook and Phil Gardner, “To save African American lives, flavored tobacco ban must include menthol cigarettes,” and one opposing the law by vape store owner Noordidin “Noor” Kachhi, “Ban on flavored vaping products will kill small businesses like mine.” 

Cook and Gardner frankly lay out the racial dimension of the importance that flavor bans include menthol, not just because many kids start with menthol cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigs, but because menthol has been a key element of tobacco industry targeting of the African American community.   They pointedly note that “In California, 70 percent of African American adults who smoke consume menthols compared to just 18 percent of white adults who smoke.” 

March 13, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Jeremy E. Drehmer and colleagues just published “Parental Smoking and E-cigarette Use in Homes and Cars“ in Pediatrics showing that adults with children who are dual users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes are less likely to have and enforce smokefree policies in their homes and cars than parents who just smoke.  This matters because it is yet another way that the advent of e-cigs is harming the health of children (and their parents and other bystanders).

As the authors point out, most people think e-cigs are safer than cigs (even “safe”).  This perception seems to be spilling over to affect policies even when the same people are smoking cigs.  The authors repot, “a perception may exist among many parents that e-cigarette aerosol is safe for their children because the majority of dual users had a strictly enforced smoke-free home policy (63.8%), whereas a statistically significant lower percentage of these parents had a strictly enforced vape-free home policy (26.3%)... Additionally, parents who dual use cigarettes and e-cigarettes were less likely to have strictly enforced smoke-free policies for the car and vape-free policies in the home and car than parents who only use traditional cigarettes."