Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

August 15, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Companies that violate laws intended to protect kids from nicotine addiction, tobacco-related diseases and death can face penalties ranging from a slap on the hand to seizure and removal from the market.

The FDA Center for Tobacco Products has several options for enforcing against tobacco companies that violate the law.  They can assess civil money penalties, obtain injunctions, impose no-tobacco sales orders, or seize and remove products from the market.

The first step is for FDA to issue a warning letter.

August 11, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

There have been several reports, mostly in non-peer reviewed preprints, reporting lower levels of COVID-19 infections among smokers than nonsmokers. This is a surprising finding because, based on what we know about the effects of smoking and vaping on immune function of the respiratory system, one would expect that smoking and vaping would increase risks of COVID infection.

A big problem with all the studies to date has been that they have been based on people who were tested, rather than samples drawn from the population as a whole.  Because of limited availability of tests in many places, the resulting samples are biased toward people who may already have symptoms.

August 5, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Senator Jerry Hill’s SB 793 made it out of the Assembly Health Committee relatively unscathed and is now heading to Assembly Appropriations for one last hearing before going to the full Assembly.  (It already passed the Senate.)

Thanks to a massive tobacco industry mobilization, Sen Hill had to accept narrow amendments to exempt premium cigars and pipe tobacco (in addition to previous amendments exempting hookah), but the large health coalition was able to keep menthol and all other cigars in the bill. 

Keeping most cigars in the bill – including little cigars popular with poor kids – was particularly important.

July 28, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Steve Anderson and Jim Lightwood just published Health Care Cost Savings Attributable to the California Tobacco Control Program, 1989 to 2018 through the University of California eScholarship initiative.  Using sophisticated econometric analysis they convincing show that in its first 30 years, the program reduced actual medical costs by a total of $500 billion (in 2019 dollars). 

In 2019, California medical costs were about $37 billion below what one would have expected had the voters not passed Prop 99 in 1988.  At a time that California, like all states, is struggling with the financial challenges created by the coronavirus epidemic, the California Tobacco Program (CTCP) is not only saving lives but also making a substantial contribution to helping California meet its current financial challenges.

This amount only includes medical care costs (doctors, hospitals, drugs, and related costs), not indirect costs such as lost productivity or the value of lives lost.   The savings in those areas are generally even more than the direct medical costs.

Moreover, using an alternative measure of medical costs, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the estimated savings are even higher: $737 billion.