Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

May 17, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The motion picture industry, working through the BBC, which has production facilities in Wales, has been pressing the government to create an exception for smoking on soundstages.  Under pressure mobilized by ASH Wales, the government just announced that the law would be left as it is. 

On May 16, ASH Wales reacted. saying, ""After a year-long campaign the Health Minister announced yesterday that, after reviewing the evidence, the Welsh Government would be abandoning its proposals to exempt the film and TV industry from the smoke-free legislation."

Wales was not the first time that the movie industry has worked to keep smoking on sound stages. 

In the United States, only North Carolina (headquarters for Reynolds American) gives media productions a blanket exemption from smokefree laws. The exemption was added to NC's hard-fought 2009 smokefree legislation at the eleventh hour, when Motion Picture Association of America VP Vans Stevenson told state newspapers that Hollywood would pull the plug in North Carolina unless movie smoking was exempted. 

May 8, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

California governor Jerry Brown has proposed amending Proposition 65, California's law requiring public warnings about exposures to carcinogens and reproductive toxicants to reduce "frivolous lawsuits.

I was surprised to read that Matt Rodriquez, secretary of CalEPA, supported the governor by citing a recent Proposition 65 case in which a Southern California group claimed that banks had violated Prop. 65 by not posting warnings about secondhand smoke that came from smokers near entrances or ATMs as "frivolous" because CalEPA identified secondhand smoke outdoors as a carcinogenic toxic air contaminant in 2007. Rather than ridiculing the fact that outdoor secondhand smoke can be a serious problem he should use his rregulator authority to protect people from secondhand smoke near bank entrances, ATM lines, bus stops and other outdoor environments, which would make the Prop 65 lawsuits unnecessary.

April 30, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

I spent three great weeks in New Zealand, one week hosted by the University of Otago ASPIRE 2025 tobacco control program, where I presented lectures in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin.  The visit generated substantial media coverage dealing with smokefree movies, effective anti-tobacco media campaigns, and e-cigarettes.  The Nine to Noon interview provides a good summary of all the issues that came up (as well as my days working at NASA on Project Apollo) and the TV one interview a good summary of why New Zealand should invest more in industry and secondhand smoke denormalization ads.

With a foundation of its existing ad ban, high taxes, point-of-purchase restrictions, (reasonably good) smokefree policies, and pack warning labels (with plain packaging on the way), allocating available resources towards these more aggressive approaches will make it easy for New Zealand to reach its goal of being smokefree by 2025.

April 23: NZ Herald: What do you think about smoking in movies?

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.