Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

April 3, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

I recently posted a comment noting that I agreed with the FDA’s decision not to appeal the misguided court ruling against the graphic warning labels it had issued.  At this point, the question is what the FDA should do now to get warning labels on to the front of  the package as quickly as possible.

To quickly get warning labels on the front of the packs, the FDA should issue simple warning labels that are consistent with what the courts have said they cannot and can do.     

The court said that graphic warning labels could not:

1.                  Use “non-factual cartoon drawings.”

2.                  Use digitally enhanced photos.

3.                  Use pictures of people crying or graphics that are overtly intended to “evoke emotion.”

4.                  Require the “1-800-Quit Now” hotline number to be part of the warning label.  

April 2, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

I am among the many public health professionals who were shocked to hear that former Surgeon General Richard Carmona joined the board of directors of e-cigarette company NJOY.  

Echoing justifications physicians gave for working with the conventional cigarette companies decades ago, Carmona told the Associated Press, “I’m probably going to be [the company’s] biggest critic. … I still look at my job as being a doctor of the people, and I’m going to look at the science. … If we can find a viable alternative that gave us harm reduction as people are withdrawing from nicotine, I’m happy to engage in that science and see if we can do that.”

The problem with this statement is that the e-cigarette industry is already aggressively promoting their products as safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes that can be used to help quit smoking.

April 2, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

E-cigarette company is trying to mobilize opposition to SB648, a bill in the California legislature that, quite sensibly, would protects innocent bystanders from  e-cigarettes the same way that California protects them from cigarettes.

According to V2cigs, the bill “declares that the use of electronic cigarettes is a hazard to the health of the general public”  and proposes to regulate e-cigs “to the same extent and in the same manner as cigarettes and other tobacco products.”   If passed, the bill would:

- Ban smoking within 25 feet of a playground, punishable by a $250 fine.
- Prohibit the use of e-cigs in enclosed places of employment, punishable by a fine of as much as $500.
- Prohibit the use of e-cigs on any railroad, bus or plane that provides departures from the state of California
- Force landlords to prohibit the use of e-cigs on their rental property, including any exterior areas (balconies, patios, walkways, etc.)

March 21, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would not be appealing the Court of Appeals decision striking down the current warning label regulation.  Holder noted that, "the court concluded that FDA had not established that 'the graphic warnings will 'directly advance' its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.''"

The court was, unfortunately, correct in that the FDA did not make a compelling case that the warning labels would have an important effect on smoking largely because of  the poorly done cost-benefit analysis that both grossly understated the benefits and overstated the costs of the warning labels. 

March 17, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We determined whether racial/ethnic disparities existed in coverage by type of 100% smoke-free private workplace, restaurant, and bar laws from 2000 to 2009. To do this, we combined US census population data and the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation US Tobacco Control Database to calculate the percentage of individuals in counties covered by each type of law by race/ethnicity from 2000 to 2009.

More of the US Hispanic and Asian populations were covered by 100% smoke-free restaurant and bar laws than non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black populations. Asian coverage by smoke-free bars laws increased from 36% to 75%, and Hispanic coverage increased from 31% to 62%, compared with 6% to 41% for non-Hispanic Blacks and 8% to 49% for non-Hispanic Whites.

Hispanics and Asians benefited more from the rapid spread of smoke-free law coverage, whereas non-Hispanic Blacks benefited less. These ethnic disparities suggest a likely effect of geographic region and may provide a basis for more effective, community-based, and tailored policy-related interventions, particularly regarding areas with high concentrations of non-Hispanic Blacks.