Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

December 31, 2017

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

It is with great sadness that I report that Richard Barnes passed away earlier this week from complications of lung cancer. 
 
Richard never smoked, but was exposed to secondhand smoke earlier in his life.
 
Richard worked with me for many years as his second career after he retired as a practicing lawyer in Oklahoma.  While working there he also served as the American Lung Association’s volunteer lobbyist, where (as described below) he played a key leadership role in passing important tobacco control legislation. 
 
After he “retired,” he applied for and won one of our first postdoctoral fellowship in tobacco control, then funded by the American Legacy Foundation (now called Truth Initiative).  Most postdocs are young people who just finished the PhD, MD, JD, DDS, or other doctoral degree.  It was unusual for such a senior person to apply to such a training position, but Richard made a strong case that he was using the fellowship to launch his second career.
 
And, as illustrated by the many important papers and reports he wrote with me (listed below) as well as his own independent writing he certainly did that.
 

December 27, 2017

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

One of the arguments that e-cigarette apologists have used against the strong and consistent evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to cigarette smoking is that, despite the fact that most of the studies on the relationship between e-cigarette use and starting to smoke cigarettes is longitudinal, is that there could still be some form of reverse causality.  They argue that the kids who start with e-cigarettes might have started with cigarettes, but just didn’t.
 
Krysten Bold and her collages at Yale just drove a big stake through the heart of that (already implausible) argument.  In their paper “Trajectories of e-cigarette and conventional cigarette use among youth” published in Pediatrics they followed Connecticut high schools students over three different times and examined the relationship between e-cigarette and cigarette use in both directions.  In particular, they looked at whether e-cigarette use at one time predicted cigarette use at the next time and whether cigarette use at one time predicted e-cigarette use at the next time.
 

December 21, 2017

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Eric Leas, John Pierce and their colleagues at UC San Diego just published “Effectiveness of Pharmaceutical Smoking Cessation Aids in a Nationally Representative Cohort of American Smokers” in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which adds to the case that NRT used over-the-counter without being part of an organized smoking cessation effort that includes counselling does not work. 
 
This is, of course, something that the tobacco industry has known for a long time, ever since shortly after NRT was introduced.  As Dorie Apollonio and I pointed out in our paper “Tobacco Industry Research on Nicotine Replacement Therapy: ‘If Anyone Is Going to Take Away Our Business It Should Be Us,’” that is why the tobacco companies don’t fight spending money giving away NRT and and why they are now selling their own recreational NRT.
 
It also points to the folly of the FDA adopting the tobacco industry’s “harm reduction” approach of simply seeking alternative delivery systems for nicotine other than conventional cigarettes.
 

December 21, 2017

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

It is almost an article of faith in tobacco control that about 90 of adult smokers smoke their first cigarette before age 18 and that virtually no one starts smoking after age 26.  That is likely why all the studies on the gateway effect of e-cigarettes leading to smoking have been done with youth, where the evidence is strong and consistent.
 
Now a troubling new study shows that e-cigarettes have changed that. 
 
Brian Primack and colleagues recently published “Initiation of Traditional Cigarette Smoking after Electronic Cigarette Use among Tobacco-Naïve U.S. Young Adults” that shows that the odds of never-smoking young adults (age 18-30) who use e-cigarettes having started to smoke cigarettes 18 months later at 6.8 times higher than young adults who don’t use e-cigarettes even after adjusting for a wide range of other factors that predict smoking.
 
This is a stunning result.  They found that 47.7% of never-smoking young adults who used e-cigarettes at baseline were smoking cigarettes a year later compared to just 10.2% of non-users.
 

December 21, 2017

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We submitted this letter to the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Committee on the PMI MRTP application.  A PDF of the letter, including all the UCSF public comments to date on the IQOS is available here.
 
December 20, 2017 
 
Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee
c/o Caryn Cohen
Office of Science
Center for Tobacco Products
Food and Drug Administration
Document Control Center
Bldg. 71, Rm. G335
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20993–0002
[email protected]
 
Re: 82 FR 27487, Docket no. FDA-2017-D-3001-3002 for Modified Risk Tobacco Product Applications: Applications for IQOS System With Marlboro Heatsticks, IQOS System With Marlboro Smooth Menthol Heatsticks, and IQOS System With Marlboro Fresh Menthol Heatsticks Submitted by Philip Morris Products S.A.; Availability
 
Dear Committee Members:
 
We are submitting the 10 public comments that we have submitted to the above-referenced docket on Philip Morris’s modified risk tobacco product applications (MRTPA) for IQOS.
 
It is barely a month before the meeting and the docket on IQOS has not even closed. 
 

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