Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

April 17, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

In a letter sent on April 15, 2019, three U.S. Senators — Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) — queried thirteen of America's largest media companies on how many of their films and TV shows featured toxic tobacco imagery in the past five years and asked each company to take a position on recommended policies to protect kids' health.

The Senators reminded traditional broadcast and film producers CBS, Comcast, Disney (owns Fox), Lionsgate, Sony, and Viacom that kid-rated smoking remains a major public health threat. Several of these companies also run on-demand film and TV services.

Senators also broke new ground by warning "disrupter" streaming and on-demand companies Alphabet (YouTube), Amazon (Prime), Apple (iTunes, Apple TV+), AT&T (owns Warner), Hulu (controlled by Disney), and Netflix not to make the same mistakes with tobacco that old-line companies have.

April 16, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Lauren Lempert and I read the complaint in the class action Juul lawsuit filed in Florida. We think this lawsuit, which echoes the state and federal lawsuits against the tobacco companies, is strong.  Because fraud and strict liability may be harder to prove, the complaint also includes negligence claims.  It also lays a nice groundwork for a claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act claim, using similar arguments as the federal 2006 RICO case (described in Sharon Eubanks and my book Bad Acts), and in fact suggesting that Philip Morris/Altria/Juul deliberately used the same advertising and marketing techniques (but amped up with social media and newer advertising strategies than were not available in the earlier case) that were deemed to be RICO violations by Philip Morris and the other cigarette companies.

The fact that Juul studied how they could learn from the cigarette companies by researching how to design their product and market to kids using the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library was especially fun.

April 15, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Weeks after Disney completed its buy-out of Fox, Screen Daily reports how Disney will roll out its new Netflix-battling streaming service, Disney+:

Still unknown? Whether Fox films will be offered on Disney+ and how Disney will monetize Fox’s many tobacco-contaminated films safely.

The explosion of smoking in recent Fox films — documented in Breathe California-UCSF’s latest film report — makes this an urgent public health question. 

Large investors have challenged Disney twice about Fox’s film library and future Fox-labeled films, in 2018 and 2019, and not gotten an answer.

Fox long had a special relationship with Philip Morris, trading board members over a 25-year period, up to just five years ago.

(This post was prepared by Jonathan Polansky.)

April 12, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

I just published “Estimation of 1-Year Changes in Medicaid Expenditures Associated With Reducing Cigarette Smoking Prevalence by 1%” in  JAMA Network Open.  As the title indicates, this paper estimates immediate (next year cost savings to Medicaid in each state if they reduced smoking prevalence by 1% (absolute).

Here is the UCSF press release on the paper:

Medicaid Could Save $2.6 Billion Within a Year if Just 1 Percent of Recipients Quit Smoking
The Median State Would Save an Estimated $25 Million in Medicaid Expenditures, Says UCSF Research 

Reducing smoking, and its associated health effects, among Medicaid recipients in each state by just 1 percent would result in $2.6 billion in total Medicaid savings the following year, according to new research by UC San Francisco.

The median state would save $25 million, ranging from $630.2 million in California (if the smoking rate dropped from 15.5 percent to 14.5 percent) to $2.5 million in South Dakota (if the rate dropped from 41.3 to 40.3 percent), the research found.

April 10, 2019

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

On March 29, 2019 Jidong Huang and colleagues published “Changing Perceptions of Harm of e-Cigarette vs Cigarette Use Among Adults in 2 US National Surveys From 2012 to 2017“  in JAMA Network Open, reporting that in two nationally representative multiyear surveys of US adults, the proportion who perceived e-cigarettes to be as harmful as or more harmful than cigarettes increased substantially from 2012 to 2017.  They conclude that there is a “need for accurate communication of the risk of e-cigarettes to the public is urgent and should clearly differentiate the absolute from the relative harm of e-cigarettes.”

I wrote an accompanying editorial that summarized the consistent epidemiological evidence that e-cigarettes increases the risk of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease and the emerging molecular biological evidence suggesting that e-cigarettes may also increase cancer risk, concluding that The Evidence of Electronic Cigarette Risks Is Catching Up With Public Perception.