Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

August 18, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Today SB 793, Sen. Jerry Hill’s bill to end the sale of almost all flavored tobacco products – including menthol – faces its last committee vote before going to the full Assembly.  In an effort to get an exception for smokeless products, last week lobbying firm Norwood Associates wrote members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee arguing that because FDA had authorized (not “approved” as Norwood claimed) sale of Swedish Match snus, the committee should amend SB 793 to exempt flavored smokeless tobacco.

Bonnie Halper-Felsher, Lauren Lempert and I wrote the committee pointing out the misrepresentations of the FDA action in the Norwood letter and, more important, flavored smokeless tobacco is popular with youth and likely to get more popular if it is the only youth-friendly flavored tobacco product on the market.

We also tell the Committee that Norwood – on behalf of Swedish Match – has made illegal cessation claims for snus and Swedish Match’s even-more-youth-friendly ZYN nicotine pouches.

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.