Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

May 12, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Smoking significantly worsens COVID-19, according to a new analysis by UC San Francisco of the association between smoking and progression of the infectious disease.

In a meta-analysis of studies that included 11,590 COVID patients, researchers found that among people with the virus, the risk of disease progression in those who currently smoke or previously smoked was nearly double that of non-smokers. They also found that when the disease worsens, current or former smokers had more acute or critical conditions or death. Overall, smoking was associated with almost a doubling of the risk of disease progressing (OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.42-2.59).

May 5, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

When FDA announced that it was going to clamp down on flavored e-cigarettes that are popular with kids, it left a couple huge loopholes, including disposable e-cigarettes like the popular Puff Bar even though Puff Bar is a big hit with kids.

Now, embracing the time-tested strategy of never letting a crisis go to waste and instead seizing the opportunity it presents, the vaping industry has swooped in with ads targeted at the millions of teens who are stuck at home and glued to their smart phones and computer screens for school, entertainment, and socializing. Puff Bar’s ads have been especially brazen.  For example, in April Puff Bar urged kids to “stay sane with Puff Bar this solo-break” since it’s the “perfect escape from the back-to-back zoom calls” and “parental texts.”


April 27, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

My colleagues and I have submitted this public comment to FDA in response for its request for information on what not to allow in e-cigarettes in light of the outbreak of serious lung disease (EVALI) last year.

While there are some obvious things to exclude (like vitamin E acetate), we caution the FDA not to create a de facto “safe harbor” list of elements for “acceptable” e-cigarettes.  The tracking number is 1k4-9gd3-yb2m.  A PDF of the comment is here.


FDA should prohibit additives and design elements in e-cigarettes known to increase the risk of severe lung injury, but the burden remains with manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are appropriate for the protection of the public health, notwithstanding the fact that their products exclude the prohibited ingredients and designs


Lauren K. Lempert, JD, MPH; Gideon St.Helen, PhD; Carolyn Calfee, MD, MAS;

Jeffrey Gotts, MD, PhD; Michael A. Matthay MD; Matthew L. Springer, PhD;

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD




Docket No. FDA-2020-N-0597


April 24, 2020 


April 21, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Dharma Bhatta, Eric Crosbie, Stella Bialous and I just published “Defending comprehensive tobacco control policy implementation in Nepal from tobacco industry interference (2011-2018)” in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.  This paper describes how health advocates in Nepal, with assistance from international organizations, successfully defended its comprehensive tobacco control law from continuing industry attacks after it was passed.

There has been a lot of research on how laws get passed, but less on what happens during the implementation period.  This case shows that even in a low and middle income country it is possible to defend and enforce strong legislation.

April 20, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Heated tobacco products like Philip Morris’ IQOS are being promoted as safer than cigarettes in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast, PMI’s own data that was submitted to the FDA shows that, in terms of effects on lungs, including inflammation and depressed immune function, IQOS is not distinguishable from a cigarette. 

My colleagues at UCSF published “Assessment of industry data on pulmonary and immunosuppressive effects of IQOS” last year that provides the details.

Here is the abstract:

Introduction Heated tobacco products are being touted as novel reduced-harm tobacco products by tobacco companies. In the USA, Philip Morris International submitted a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) application to the US Food and Drug Administration in 2016 in which it purports that its heated tobacco product, I-Quit-Ordinary-Smoking (IQOS), is associated with reduced harm compared with conventional cigarettes.

Methods We reviewed Philip Morris International’s MRTP application to assess the pulmonary and immune toxicities associated with IQOS use in both animal and human studies.