Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

June 11, 2018

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Proponents of tobacco harm reduction, including the FDA, take British psychologist’s Michael Russell's idea that, " It's not the nicotine that kills half of all long-term smokers, it’s the delivery mechanism” advanced in his 1991 paper "The future of nicotine replacement" as an article of faith, despite the fact that he simply presented it as a “hypothesis.”    In addition, as I noted before, this view was promulgated long before we knew that nicotine has many direct adverse health effects, particularly related to cardiovascular and lung disease (including, perhaps, a causative role in COPD) as well as cancer promoter.

Now Jesse Elias and Pam Ling have published a paper showing direct collaboration between Russell and the tobacco industry in their paper “Invisible smoke: third-party endorsement and the resurrection of heat-not-burn tobacco products.”

Here is the introduction to their discussion of Russell:

June 7, 2018

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Rachel Barry and I just published “Marijuana Regulatory Frameworks in Four US States: An Analysis Against a Public Health Standard” in American Journal of Public Health.  This paper presents a normative framework for marijuana regulation based on best practices from tobacco and alcohol control and assess the laws in the first for states to legalize adult use marijuana.  In particular, we assess what has happened so far in the legalizing states against 67 public health best practices and find that, overall, only between 34% and 51% of states are following public health best practices. 

The paper also contains a detailed appendix assessing all four states against the specific policies and the sources for these policies.

Here is the abstract:

June 7, 2018

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Senate Concurrent Resolution 143 passed the California State Senate Health Committee on June 6, 2018 on a vote of 6-0  (5 Dems, 1 Rep).

SCR 143, authored by Senator Richard Pan, urges the major motion picture companies and their trade association, the Motion Picture Association of America, to give an “R” (Restricted) rating to any new film designed for viewing by children or teenagers that contains scenes of tobacco use, with limited exceptions.  This Resolution is sponsored by BREATHE CALIFORNIA Sacramento Region.

Dr. Gordon Garcia, a physician at Kaiser and father of Claire Garcia, who runs the Thumbs Up Thumbs Down data collection that the whole worldwide Smokefree Movies movement is based on represented Breathe California Sacramento Region and Dr. Stanton Glantz, Director, of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education Smokefree Movies project testified.

While the MPAA did not have the courage to formally oppose the resolution, a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America “expressed concern about” the Resolution, giving the MPAA’s standard set of half-truths.  Obviously, the members of the Committee were not persuaded by their comments.

June 6, 2018

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

With 68.4% voting “yes” San Francisco voters crushed RJ Reynolds (US subsidiary of British American Tobacco) $12 million effort to overturn San Francisco’s ban on flavored tobacco products. 

RJR’s last-ditch effort to roll back this law illustrates just how important flavors are to the tobacco industry’s efforts to hook kids and keep adults smoking, a lesson that public health advocates should take seriously and prioritize passing the same legislation (right behind comprehensive smokefree laws) around the country and the world. 

This is also the best empirical evidence that the FDA needs to warrant getting rid of flavors in all tobacco products.

As I wrote earlier, this year’s Proposition E is, in many ways, a replay of 1983’s Proposition P, when the tobacco companies unsuccessfully sought to overturn San Francisco’s (by today mild) restrictions on smoking in the workplace.  The industry’s loss then lit the afterburners on the smokefree movement; this loss should do the same for flavors.

June 4, 2018

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Washington (June 4, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, was today joined by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in calling on the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to take action to reduce youth exposure to smoking imagery, including e-cigarette depictions, in youth-rated movies and ensure responsible and consistent practices in rating youth movies with tobacco imagery. Although tobacco impressions in youth-rated movies declined from 18.2 billion in 2002 to 2.9 billion in 2015, they have increased over the past two years to 4.6 billion in 2017.

“Although the evidence connecting smoking imagery to youth smoking initiation is strong, MPAA has yet to take meaningful action to discourage tobacco imagery in films or effectively warn viewers and parents of tobacco’s presence in a movie,” write the Senators in their letter to MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin. “Our nation’s dramatic decline in youth tobacco use is a tremendous achievement, but on-screen depictions remain a threat to this progress and threaten to re-normalize tobacco use in our society. We cannot afford to lose any ground in this area.”