Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

May 24, 2022

Mehrdad Arjomandi, MD

We know that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke – even in the distant past – is associated with reduced exercise capacity and abnormal lung function with air trapping in the lungs. However, the cardiovascular health effects of remote exposure to secondhand smoke are less clear. In a new study, which was funded by a research award from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute and published in the BMJ Open Respiratory Research (https://bmjopenrespres.bmj.com/content/9/1/e001217.long), Arjomandi and colleagues found that past secondhand smoke exposure was associated with exercise capacity due to effects on both the lungs and the heart.  They evaluated the health effects of remote exposure to secondhand smoke in nearly 250 never-smoking flight attendants who had worked in smoky aircraft cabin before smoking was banned on commercial airlines. They found the secondhand smoke exposure was associated with reduced exercise capacity both because of direct effects on cardiac output, also because air trapping in the lungs affected the heart. These findings suggest the presence of subtle cardiopulmonary pathology related to prolonged past exposure to secondhand smoke impairs the oxygen carrying machinery, which could be disadvantageous during the times of increased stress or disease.  

April 1, 2022

Suzaynn Schick

As more states and locales legalize the smoking of cannabis at special events, cannabis stores, restaurants and hotels, nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke and vape aerosol are also increasing.  However, we still don’t have much scientific data on how much secondhand smoke cannabis use creates and what the exposure levels might be.  A new paper in JAMA Network Open shows that smoking cannabis with a bong (a water pipe) can release extremely high concentrations of fine particles creating exposures that are very likely to harm the health of others.  Researchers measured the fine particulate matter under 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) in a living room where people were smoking cannabis with a bong.  Over eight experiments, Nguyen and Hammond showed that the average PM2.5 concentration was 1,300 µg/m3.  This is 37 times higher than the US EPA 24-hour standard for safe concentrations (37 µg/m3) and 1050 µg/m3 higher than the concentrations that the EPA deems hazardous.  

December 22, 2020

We submitted the UCSF TCORS public comment on FDA's draft guidance on how to design and conduct Tobacco Product perception and intention studies. The comment tracking number is: kiz-5uf9-042s.  Word and PDF versions of the document are attached.

September 7, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The same day the Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB792 into law, a group of people with ties to the tobacco companies filed the paperwork to start collecting signatures to force a referendum on the law.  It is a forgone conclusion that they will get the signatures to qualify the referendum since they will spend whatever it takes to pay people to collect the signatures.

 

Once the signatures have been submitted, the law will be suspended until the next statewide election when the voters will decide whether or not it will take effect, which is likely November 2022.

 

Given that the health groups have soundly defeated two earlier San Francisco ballot measures, Reynolds’ referendum to overturn the flavor ban (Prop E in 2016, with 68% supporting the law) and Juul’s effort to rewrite all e-cig laws (Prop C in 2018, with 82% supporting current law), the industry has to know they will lose the election. 

 

This is especially true because the health groups know what campaign the industry will run and how to counter it.  (It will, of course, take a lot of money, unfortunately).

 

The tobacco companies are almost certainly running this referendum just to buy a couple more years to keep selling their flavored products in California.

 

September 3, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Two papers authored by large diverse groups (including several e-cigarette enthusiasts who have supported companies like Juul), just concluded that e-cigarettes don’t help people quit smoking.  Even more important, e-cigarettes have displaced FDA-approved therapies for smoking cessation and people who use e-cigarettes in quit attempts are more likely to still be using e-cigarettes later than people who use conventional therapies.

These are very important findings that should inform FDA assessment of whether allowing e-cigarettes to be sold as consumer products would be “appropriate for the protection of public health,” the standard in the law.

These results should be particularly sobering to Mitch Zeller, head of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, who was recently quoted (again) as saying that e-cigarettes might be beneficial for people who “switch completely.”  These studies show that “switching completely” is rare.

And, of course, there is also the huge problem of youth nicotine addiction initiation with e-cigs.

Here is the press release UCSF put out on the two studies, with a little editing from me to put it in the present tense:

 

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