Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

April 18, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

I have been a skeptic about the value of minimum purchase laws as strategy for reducing youth smoking, but a study we just published from England showed that increasing the minimum purchase age from 16 to 18 was associated with a drop in smoking among 11-15 year olds, even after taking into account the existing downward trend.  The effects were similar across socio-economic groups. We did not have the data to evaluate whether these effects persisted as kids got older (i.e., Did the law prevent initiation or just delay it?).  It will take a few years to answer that question because we have to wait for the kids to get older. In any event, raising the minimum age to 18 was a good thing.

March 23, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Pascal Diethelm recently circulated a great example of how BAT is pushing menthol to young people in Switzerland using "flavor capsule" technology.  Halfway through puffing on a Kent cigarette, the smoker can break with his/her teeth a capsule of menthol located in the filter and the cigarette will deliver the menthol flavor.  It would only be a small step from this to suggest using a menthol snus or orb with your cigs if menthol was banned from the cigs per se. See the ads at Kent Add 20Minutes 21 Feb 2011 Full page  and Kent Add 20Minutes 21 Feb 2011 Ad only. Accomplishing this aim will require strong and unambiguous pressure on the FDA by a unified health community.  

March 19, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee released its long-awaited menthol report yesterday, March 19, 2011.  The overall conclusions and recommendations in the report are on page 208 of the PDF.  There are two major scientific findings, repeated below (broken out into individual statements, but direct quotes, and one recommendation: "Removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States." The TPSAC reached this conclusion based on two more detailed important conclusions:

1. "Menthol cannot be considered merely a flavoring additive to tobacco. Its pharmacological actions reduce the harshness of smoke and the irritation from nicotine, and may increase the likelihood of nicotine addiction in adolescents and young adults who experiment with smoking."

March 13, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Ever since Philip Morris (and other multinational tobacco companies) have gone into the smokeless business, particularly with snus co-branded with cigarettes they have been trying to make claims that promoting smokeless is a good harm reduction strategy.  They have even petitioned the FDA to allow them to make explicit health claims in their marketing.  

One big problem with all this is that the companies are aggressively promoting "dual use," when smokers would use snus when they couldn't smoke cigarettes and cigarettes the rest of the time (hence Marlboro Snus and Camel Snus).   As part of the effort to build this case,  Philip Morris researchers published a paper in Nicotine and Tobacco Research last December that reviewed that available literature and concluded " Overall, the concern about dual use appears to be contradicted by the evidence in the literature that dual use of smokeless tobacco and cigarettes may result in reduction in smoking-related harm as smoking intensity is decreased and smoking cessation increases."

March 10, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The youth-rated (PG) film Rango is the smokiest in years, a fact that is attracting a lot of attention.

Here is a chronology of recent events:

• January 19, 2011 | the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced it had rated a forthcoming Paramount animated feature film, Rango, "PG for rude humor, language, action and smoking." 

• Wednesday, February 23 | Having confirmed some of the tobacco imagery in the movie with more than one source, Smoke Free Movies ran this ad in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

• Friday, March 4 | Rango opened on 3,900 screens and grossed $38,079,323 through the weekend.

Rango has the most tobacco incidents of any animated film since 101 Dalmatians (1996). Rango delivered nearly 300 million tobacco impressions to theater audiences across the US and Canada in its first three days.