Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

January 26, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Kim Nguyen, Casey Palmer, Laura Schmidt and I recently published “Transferring Racial/Ethnic Marketing Strategies From Tobacco to Food Corporations: Philip Morris and Kraft General Foods” in American Journal of Public Health.  This paper, based on the tobacco industry documents, shows how Philip Morris transferred the knowledge of how to target racial and ethnic minorities it developed to sell them cigarettes to sell them junk food.

This paper is a companion to our earlier paper, “Tobacco industry involvement in children's sugary drinks market” that showed how RJR did a similar technology transfer from tobacco to sugary beverages in order to increase youth use of sugar sweetened beverages.

Both these papers show the value of cross-industry analysis of industry documents to understand how these major multinational corporations trade public health for profits.

Here is the abstract for the new paper:

Objectives. To investigate the transfer of marketing knowledge and infrastructure for targeting racial/ethnic minorities from the tobacco to the food and beverage industry in the United States.

January 17, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Jim Lightwood and I have published a series of papers on the short-term (one year) medical care cost savings associated with drops in smoking.  The most recent of these showed an elasticity between changes in smoking and changes in medical care costs of 0.11.  What this means is that a 10% relative drop in smoking (about 1.5% drop in absolute prevalence) would lead to a 1% drop in aggregate health care costs the following year.  This has powerful policy implications because this is a big effect in terms of dollars, policy makers are looking for ways to lower medical costs, and this change is fast.

For example, I used this elasticity to estimate the immediate (one year) savings on state-by-state Medicaid expenditures of a 1% absolute drop in smoking prevalence; the total savings for all states totaled $2.6 billion (in 2017 dollars). Each state saved a median (interquartile range) of $25 million ($8 million to $35 million).

January 10, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Amit Yadav, Pam Ling and I just published “Smokeless tobacco industry’s brand stretching in India“ in Tobacco Control.  This paper, published in the journal’s Industry Watch section, shows how the smokeless tobacco companies introduced look-alike non-tobacco products that they then promoted as a way to get around India’s ban on tobacco advertising and promotion.  It points to the need for a clear and uniform policy against brand stretching of tobacco products that harmonizes different laws and regulations to mitigate the problem permanently.

January 9, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Thomas Eissenberg, Aruni Bhatnagar, Simon Chapman, Sven-Eric Jordt, Alan Shihadeh, and Eric. Soule just published an excellent commentary in American Journal of Public Health, “Invalidity of an Oft-Cited Estimate of the Relative Harms of Electronic Cigarettes” that shows, once and for all, how silly the claim – which is still being promoted by Public Health England and others – that e-cigarettes are “95% safer” than conventional cigarettes.

They note that the original 95% estimate was not based on any actual evidence and summarize some of the evidence that e-cigarette damage cells, harm users, and have a gateway effect on youth.  They have a nice online appendix that lists some of the relevant research to back up these conclusions.  (A full list would likely include hundreds, if not thousands, of studies.)

Eissenberg and colleagues also treated the original Nutt et al paper gently; they did not talk about all the industry ties and conflicts of interest among the people who came up with the 95% number.

January 8, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The evidence of substantial health risks for e-cigarettes just continues to grow.  Tarang Parekh and colleagues’ paper “Risk of Stroke With E-Cigarette and Combustible Cigarette Use in Young Adults” in American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports elevated risk of stroke in dual cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users beyond the risks of smoking.  Significantly, they also show no benefit of “complete switching.”


They do find that people who just use e-cigarettes (and never smoked cigarettes) have a lower risk of stroke than people who just smoke, but most adult e-cigarette users are dual users or switchers.

Here is the abstract:

Introduction.  Rising trends in stroke incidence and hospitalizations because of combustible cigarette smoking have been noted among younger adults. However, the association between e-cigarette use and stroke in this population remains largely unknown. This study examines the association between e-cigarette use with or without a history of previous or concurrent combustible cigarette use and stroke among young adults.