Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

December 5, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We (and others) have shown that as little as 30 minutes of breathing secondhand smoke impairs the ability of arteries to dilate (get bigger) in response to increased demands for blood flow.  This effect  occurs because secondhand smoke exposure turns off an enzyme called nittric oxide synthase in the artery walls that releases nitric oxide which, in turn causes the artery to relax and dilate.  (Stimulating nitric oxide synthase is how Viagra works to increase blood flow to the penis to cause an erection; secondhand smoke is like anti-Viagra..)  This impairment of arterial function plays in important role in development of heart disease and in mediating the response to a heart attack.

The question has repeatedly come up of just how fast this effect can happen.

My colleague Matt Springer has developed an exposure chamber in which rats can be exposed to secondhand smoke in a controlled way to measure its effects on arteries.  His group (which incldes me) just published a paper in Nicotine and Tobacco Research  showing that as little as 1 minute of secondhand smoke exposure at about the level of a smoky restaurant or bar measurably reduces the ability of arteries to dilate.

This information adds to the case that the cardiovascular system is exquisitely sensitive to something in tobacco smoke.

December 2, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

New York City is considering the sensible step of adding e-cigarettes into its smokefree law.  This makes sense because, as I have noted earlier, e-cigs pollute the air with exhaled nicotine, fine particles.

Even more important, there is direct human evidence that passive vapers absorb nicotine from secondhand exposure to e-cigarette aerosol at levels compariable to that found in people breathing secondhand smoke. (Here is the study.)

The policy issue is whether e-cig companies (which are more-and-more becoming cigarette companies) can force people who chose not to use their nicotine delivery products to suffer the consequences of absorbing secondhand nicotine (and other chemicals) into their bodies.

I say "no."  New York has cleaned up the indoor air.  There is no reason to allow it to be re-filled with nicotine and other toxic chemicals. 

November 28, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

I am cross posting the CPATH analysis of the TPP because it is so well done.
Intellectual Property Chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement, Tobacco, and Public Health

CPATH Analysis - November 25, 2013
New analysis of the leaked Intellectual Property Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) finds potential threat to tobacco-control measures, and the sovereign ability of nations to protect public health from tobacco-related disease and death.  (See complete CPATH Analysis.)
Understandings Regarding Public Health Measures provide significant loopholes for tobacco companies to file trade charges, while offering no clear legal protection of public health.

Reference to the “TRIPS/health solution” does not apply to tobacco products, or to protection of public health from tobacco-related disease or death.  (Focus on the TRIPS/health solution also limits the right of all TPP countries to provide access of medicines to all, for example, by granting compulsory licenses to produce affordable generic drugs to meet public health needs within their own borders.)

November 25, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

E-cigarettes have been widely promoted as a way for people to quit smoking conventional cigarettes.  Now, in the first study of its kind, UC San Francisco researchers are reporting that, at the point in time they studied, youth using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less.
 “We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic and a new route to nicotine addiction for kids,” according to senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.  

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that look like cigarettes and deliver an aerosol of nicotine and other chemicals. Promoted as safer alternatives to cigarettes and smoking cessation aids, e-cigarettes are rapidly gaining popularity among adults and youth in the United States and around the world. The devices are largely unregulated, with no effective controls on marketing them to minors.  

In the UCSF study, the researchers assessed e-cigarette use among youth in Korea, where the devices are marketed much the way they are in the U.S. The study analyzed smoking among some 75,000 Korean youth.

November 25, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Twenty-seven attorney general have submitted a comment to the FDA calling for a complete ban on menthol.  Their full letter is here.  Some key statements in the letter are: