Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

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 convincingly 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.

July 27, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Here is what the WHO had to say:

WHO takes this opportunity to remind Member States that are Parties to the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) of their obligations under the Convention. Heated tobacco products are tobacco products, meaning that the WHO FCTC fully applies to these products. (Decision FCTC/COP8(22)) Specifically, Article 13.4(a) obliges Parties, to prohibit "all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship that promote a tobacco product by any means that are false, misleading or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions."

WHO reiterates that reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) does not render them harmless, nor does it translate to reduced risk to human health. Indeed, some toxins are present at higher levels in HTP aerosols than in conventional cigarette smoke, and there are some additional toxins present in HTP aerosols that are not present in conventional cigarette smoke. The health implications of exposure to these are unknown.

June 29, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

FDA Disregarded its Own Scientists’ Recommendations and Independent Research Showing that IQOS Presents Carcinogenic, Genotoxic, Hepatotoxic, Cardiovascular, and Pulmonary Risks and Misapplied the Law

Lauren Lempert and I just published “Analysis of FDA’s IQOS marketing authorisation and its policy impacts” in Tobacco Control that raises serious questions about how FDA assesses whether new tobacco products are “appropriate for the protection of public health,” the standard in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that gave FDA jurisdiction over tobacco products.

IQOS is a “heated tobacco product” that generates a nicotine aerosol by heating a slick of tobacco rather than a liquid, which is how e-cigarettes work.  (IQOS can be thought of as a solid e-cigarette.)

June 19, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Lynn Silver, Amanda Naprawa, and Alisa Pardon just published “Assessment of Incorporation of Lessons From Tobacco Control in City and County Laws Regulating Legal Marijuana in California” in JAMA Open.  This paper comprehensively reviews all state and local laws on marijuana in California and finds that few are incorporating any best practices from tobacco control.  The State is clearly prioritizing increasing sales and even working to undermine the local control provisions in Proposition 64, the ballot initiative that legalized adult use sales.

Of the 539 local jurisdictions, only 8 have rules exceeding state regulations, 1 which prohibits sale of favored products, 3 prohibit marijuana-infused beverages, and 5 imposed some restrictions on edible products.  27 allow onsite consumption of marijuana, which exposes people to secondhand smoke, something the state ended for tobacco a quarter century ago.

June 17, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

I applaud the African American Tobacco Control Leadershp Council and Action on Smoking and Health for suing the FDA for its continued inaction on menthol.  The FDA's own analysis showed years ago that banning menthol would save lives.

My one quibble with the lawsuit is that they left out the important fact that when FDA issued its "deeming" rule for e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products, it tried to prohibit all flavors absent specific evidence that allowing a specific flavor would be "appropriate for the protection of public health," the standard in the law, but the Obama White House dropped 17 pages from the rule.  The rule, as submitted to the White House, would have resulted in all newly deemed menthol products to have been ordered off of the market by November 6, 2016, and would remain off the market unless the manufacturers could demonstrate these products protect public health.  This action is detailed in our June 2016 blog post, "The White House told FDA that black lives don't matter."