Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

September 30, 2015

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Nicotine is the addictive chemical in cigarettes and the FDA has the authority to require that the nicotine levels in cigarettes to be reduced (although not eliminated).
 
The suggestion has been made for some time that the FDA should cut the level of nicotine in cigarettes (and other tobacco products) to such a low level that the cigarettes would no longer be addictive.  The biggest concern with this suggestion is that, because smokers smoke to deliver nicotine to their brains, cutting the nicotine content in cigarettes would lead to so-called smoker compensation, where smokers smoke more cigarettes or inhale more deeply in order to get their usual level of nicotine and increase the damage to their health by effectively smoking more. 
 
Indeed, this is exactly what happened with people who smoke the industry’s “light” cigarettes, which are designed to encourage this (unconscious) behavior.  (The FDA and a federal court now prohibit the companies from using terms like “light” and “mild” to trick smokers, but the companies simply dropped the words and color-coded the packs, something both the FDA and Department of Justice have let them get away with for years.)
 

September 28, 2015

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

It’s About a Billion Lives
 
 
Celebrating Tobacco Research and Education at UCSF
 
What will It Take to Transform the Prediction of a
Billion Deaths into a Billion Lives Saved

Matthew Myers
President, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
 
You Are How You Smoke: Implications of Different Patterns of
Adolescent and Young Adult Smoking Behavior

Lauren McCarl Dutra, ScD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education
 
Thirdhand Cigarette Smoke, a Persistent Environmental Contaminant
Suzaynn F. Schick, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
 
Electronic Cigarette Use by Individuals in Treatment for Substance Abuse
Noah Gubner, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education
 
Implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control:
Challenges and Opportunities

Stella Aguinaga Bialous, RN, DrPH, FAAN
Associate Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing
 

September 15, 2015

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

As someone who has been critical of the FDA for not making any meaningful decisions that actually affect the cigarette market, I have to applaud their decision to block Reynolds from marketing four products with menthol "flavor capsules" in the filter. 
 
They did so by issuing a "not substantially equivalent" (NSE) order that concludes that these products are "not substantially equivalent" to products that were grandfathered into the market in the 2009 FDA law.  The companies have been using the "substantially equivalent" loophole to market thousands of new products, so this is an important step forward for the FDA. 
 
While the NSE order covers a wide range of issues, the FDA concluded that  the addition of "a capsule containing menthol in the filter of the new tobacco product" which "allows users to choose whether to smoke the new tobacco product with or without menthol, effectively creating an adjustable menthol/non-menthol cigarette.  In addition, non-menthol and menthol-smokers can share cigarette packs of the new tobacco product.  As a result, this difference in flavor delivery system between the new and predicate tobcco products may influence consumer perception and use by providing users with a novel, versatile flavor delivery system."
 

September 15, 2015

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

On August 19, 2015, the UK Government issued a press release with the headline “E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco estimates landmark review”  publicizing a new report commissioned by Public Health England by and led by Professor Ann McNeill (King’s College London) and Professor Peter Hajek (Queen Mary University of London), extolling e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy and minimizing the associated risks.  It was the claim of virtual safety, however, that attracted tremendous media interest.
 
The report immediately spread around the world, including being widely distributed to members of the California Legislature by tobacco industry lobbyists opposing proposed legislation that would have included e-cigarettes in the state’s clean indoor air cigarette sales licensing laws. 
 
Many people emailed me for comment, something I could not do because I was off backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with my wife.
 

September 10, 2015

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

On 8 September, opening day of the Toronto International Film Festival, the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU) released a new report detailing the cost in lives and money when US movies with smoking are dumped into Canada’s youth market. 
 
DOWNLOAD: Youth Exposure to Tobacco in Movies in Ontario, Canada: 2004-2014
 
Analyzing nearly 1,600 top-grossing movies released in Ontario from 2004 to 2014, researchers found that Ontario’s film rating practices make nearly all movies with tobacco accessible to adolescents.
 
• 90 percent of the movies were youth-rated (G/PG/14A) by the Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB).
 
• 86 percent of movies with smoking were youth-rated in Ontario, compared to 54% in the United States.
 
• Of 29,620 tobacco incidents in the movies, 85 percent were in youth-rated films, twice the number in the U.S.
 
• 89 percent of all tobacco impressions (an index of audience exposure) were delivered by movies youth-rated in Ontario, compared to 55 percent in the U.S.
 
Using US CDC models, the Ontario researchers conservatively project:
 

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