Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

September 1, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Of all countries grappling with e-cigarettes, health advocates in the UK have been the most optimistic that they would actually reduce harm.  ASH UK has even said that it"does not consider it appropriate to include e-cigarettes under smokefree regulations," opening the door for normalization of e-cigarette use everywhere.

The hope is, as John Britton recently wrote, that smokers will switch the less dangerous e-cigarettes or use them to quit nicotine use altogether.  No one seems to be considering the possibility that the aggressiive marketing of e-cigarettes will increase youth initiation or deter quitting enough to offset any drop in individual harm from switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.  (Dual users, who simultaneously use both products, are unlikely to see much, in any, health benefit because of the continued cigarette use, even if daily consumption drops.)

September 1, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Two of the comments on the August 30 story, "E-Cigarette Makers’ Ads Echo Tobacco’s Heyday," in the New York Times should give pause to those in the public health community who are so convinced that heavy promotion of e-cigarettes will reduce the health toll of nicotine addiction:

As a smoker who is in the midst of yet another attempt to quit, I find these ads for electronic cigarettes disturbing in that they are glorifying smoking and making it look 'cool'. There is nothing 'cool' about addiction, especially not cigarettes. I have very few regrets in life, but the one big one I do have is that I ever started smoking. I have smoked for 37 years and can only imagine the health issues that are going to show up for me because of my addiction. If you've never smoked, PLEASE - do not start, even with these electronic cigarettes. It is just not worth it. This trying to quit is pure mental hell. (Patricia, 30 Aug 2013; 6:01 am)

And:

August 27, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Letter Asks Major Studio to Keep Smoking, Brands Out of Trailers
Washington, D.C. – Today, public health groups have joined state Attorneys General offices to call out the depiction of tobacco brand imagery and smoking in promotions for the movie Rush – coming out in September – citing its potential impact to tobacco use among youth. In a letter to Comcast Corporation (parent company of Universal Pictures), the groups ask the company to take proactive steps minimize young people’s exposure to brand imagery and actors smoking readily visible to youth in the film’s promotions.

Rush hits theaters next month andis based on a historic rivalry between two race car drivers competing for the 1976 Formula One racing championship.  However, promotions for the movie are available through different mediums, including movie trailers on television, YouTube, the official website and in theaters containing images of smoking as well as the Marlboro brand name.

August 26, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

A little over a week after the Obama Administration caved to pressure from the tobacco industry and dropped the idea of its already tepid efforts to prevent the tobacco companies from turning the pending Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement into another tool to fight public health regulations, Malaysia has proposed a "carve out" for tobacco to protect tobacco control regulations.

Public health advocates here in the US should continue to pressure President Obama to accept Malaysia's proposal.  More important, advocates in Australia, which is already fighting industry challenges to its plain packaging and New Zealand, whose government has committed to implementing plain packaging, need to press their governments to back Malaysia's proposal.

This is another important example of a small country standing up to Big Tobacco while America quakes in its boots. 

August 16, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Statement of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics

WASHINGTON, DC – It is disappointing that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has retreated from a proposal to the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement that would have made it more difficult for tobacco companies to challenge domestic tobacco control measures under the terms of international trade agreements.  The U.S. is negotiating the TPP with 11 other countries, with the next round of negotiations scheduled for August 23-30 in Brunei.

Previously, USTR in May 2012 had announced it would propose new language to the TPP that would have created a “safe harbor” protecting national tobacco control measures from being challenged under the agreement. USTR stated at the time that the proposal would “explicitly recognize the unique status of tobacco products from a health and regulatory perspective.”  Our organizations have urged – and continue to urge – USTR to move forward with this proposal and ensure nations can take effective action to reduce tobacco use, which is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. and around the world.

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