Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

February 24, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The American Law Institute, which produces influential reports on the law, recently published a lame response to our paper in the Iowa Law Review demonstrating how the tobacco companies quietly worked behind the scenes to get the ALI to recommend laws and judicial interpretations that shielded the tobacco companies from liability for the death and destruction they caused for decades.

Rather than dealing with the massive evidentiary record that we presented, the ALI dismissed the problems of conflict of interests by asserting that we just did'nt understand how the law works.

Needless to say, we responded, pointing out that the ALI ignored the substance of our paper.

Hopefully some ALI members will demand that the organization actively engage the serious problems that we identified. (One already has.)

In the meantime, no one should take ALI's recommendations seriously as independent objective advice.


February 14, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Judge Gladys Kessler’s ruling that the major cigarette companies formed an illegal “enterprise” to defraud the public and that those efforts to defraud the public are continuing and likely to continue in the future, provides an amazingly well-documented (and, surprisingly, readable) history of the tobacco industry activities over more than a half century, including, in particular, how the tobacco companies sought to manipulate scientific discourse and the policy making process.  These issues are of central importance to the FDA in deciding how to interact with the tobacco industry.
Yet, in the many discussions with people at the FDA I have been astonished that, while they are generally aware of the decision, no one seems to have actually read it or the DC Court of Appeals decision upholding Judge Kessler’s Findings of Fact.
While some of the decision deals with legal technicalities (such as why the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act applies) and the nature of the remedy, much of the 1683 page decision represents carefully documented factual conclusions with citations to specific supporting evidence.

February 13, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Over a span of nearly 20 years, California’s tobacco control program cost $2.4 billion and reduced health care costs by $134 billion, according to a new study by UC San Francisco.
Additionally, the study -- covering the beginning of the program in 1989 to 2008 -- found that the state program helped lead to some 6.8 billion fewer packs of cigarettes being sold that would have been worth $28.5 billion in sales to cigarette companies.
The study was designed to calculate the fiscal impact of California’s large public health program on smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption. The new research shows that tobacco control funding is directly tied to reductions in both the prevalence of smoking and cigarette consumption per smoker – and generates significant savings in overall health care expenditures.
“These health care cost savings began to appear almost immediately after the program started and have grown over time, reaching more than $25 billion a year in 2008,’’ said first author James Lightwood, PhD, a UCSF associate professor of clinical pharmacy.
The study was published online Feb. 13, 2013 in the journal PLOS ONE.

February 7, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that arose spontaneously in 2009, the Tea Party developed in part as a result of tobacco industry efforts to oppose smoking restrictions and tobacco taxes beginning in the 1980s, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco.

“Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party movement have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry’s anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda,” said senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (CTCRE) and a UCSF professor of medicine and American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor in Tobacco Control.

The study, which appears on Feb. 8, 2013 in the journal Tobacco Control, shows that rhetoric and imagery evoking the 1773 Boston Tea Party were used by tobacco industry representatives as early as the 1980s as part of an industry-created “smokers’ rights’’ public relations campaign opposing increased cigarette taxes and other anti-smoking initiatives.

February 6, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Ruth Malone has just posted an entry on the Tobacco Control blog explaining why she is again declining the FDA's invitation to participate in a meeting hosted by the FDA on "Third Party Governance of Industry-Sponsored Tobacco Product Research."  (Her original letter and reactions to it is available here.)  

I strongly agree with Ruth and urge others to follow her lead.

For those who feel compelled to attend the FDA meeting with the tobacco companies, I urge you to make the same comments to the FDA.  Regardless of divided opinion on whether it sends a stronger message the FDA to decline to attend its meeting or to attend and speak, there seems to be a broad consensus that the FDA is not doing its job to protect the public health.  Those who decide to attend the meeting need to be strong and forthright in supporting the views that Ruth advances in her letter.