Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

April 19, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds (and a few pals) have started their media blitz against Proposition 29, the initiative to be voted on this June that would increase the cigarette tax by $1 and allocate the money to reinvigorate Californian's anti-smoking program and fund medical research on cancer and other tobacco-induced diseases.  What is amazing is how little has changed since voters saw through Big Tobacco's lies in 1988 and passed Proposition 99 that changed the world of tobacco control by creating the California Tobacco Control Program.

April 18, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Joseph Califano, Jr., and a distinguished group of former Secretaries of Health, CDC Directors and Surgeons General have again called on the FDA to act on well-established science demonstrating that menthol in tobacco products endangers public health.  My only criticism of what they are demanding is that it does not go far enough.  The FDA should not just prohibit menthol flavored cigarettes, but any use of menthol in tobacco products.  In addition to being a "characterizing flavor" in some varieties of cigarettes, it interacts with nicotine to modulate the "impact" of smoking.  The cigarette companies can "tune" the levels of nicotine and menthol to achieve the desired effect.  That's why menthol is an additive in 90% of US cigarettes.

The hope among the optimists is that President Obama doesn't want to issue any controversial new regulations (and we all know that Big Tobacco will make a decision to get rid of menthol controversial).  He will so something after the election, we are assured. 

March 31, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The Korean tobacco company, KT&G, has developed a clever way to use "educational programs" as a way to get around South Korea's restrictions on cigarette marketing.  The courses both improve the company's image (in itself important, since young adults who do not like or trust tobacco companies are less likely to smoke and, if they do, are more likely to be planning to quit [evidence 1, evidence 2]) as well as to promote its brands as examples of desirable brand imagery in its marketing courses.  This case both illustrates the way that "corporate social responsibility" is part of marketing and the importance of the need for aggressive enforcement of marketing restrictions.

Read the full paper, just published in Tobacco Control by clicking here.

March 23, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We just published a paper showing the need for ongoing pressure on politicians to keep tobacco control programs not only alive, but functioning and effective.  In Florida the health groups secured a constitutional amendment to create and fund a tobacco control program that had to follow CDC best practices.  The problem is that the Crist Administration and its health department purposefully maladministered the program so that it would not have much effect and the health groups were unwilling to force them to do a good job.

This failure not only meant that more people are smoking in Florida, but that the poor results there can be used to undermine CDC best practices, claiming that they don’t work.

Here is the abstract in the American Journal of Public Health:

March 20, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We must have hit a really raw nerve at Philip Morris with our December 2011 paper, "The toxic effects of cigarette additives. Philip Morris' Project Mix Reconsidered: An Analysis of Documents Released through Litigation," that showed how Philip Morris used tricky normalizations and underpowered studies to try an argue that additives did not increase cigarette toxicity when, as we said in the paper, "The case study of Project MIX shows tobacco industry scientific research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value. The results demonstrate that toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes, including the level of [total particulate matter]."