Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Smokeless smokers

Puffing on "e-cigarettes" can be a route toward quitting, advocates say, but the practice is clouded with controversy.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer
May 25, 2011

Gregory Conley can't go inside his favorite Starbucks in Mount Laurel to take a few puffs, so he enjoys his habit outside. To passersby, it may look like he is drawing deeply from any old cigarette, but a closer whiff proves otherwise.

That's because the newest smoking rage, boosted by "vapers" (that's with an e, not an o), is not to smoke - sort of.

E-cigarettes are illegal in some countries, including Australia, Singapore, and Brazil. Pennsylvania and most other states do not have laws restricting them, though last year New Jersey prohibited e-cig sales to minors and included them in its indoor smoking bans.

That's why Conley, a 24-year-old Rutgers-Camden law and business student, has to sit outside to savor his e-cigarette along with the victory over the FDA.

"Thankfully, we've won a majority of battles," says the ex-smoker, who handles legislative affairs for the Alabama-based activist group Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association....

Read full story >

Monday, May 23, 2011

E-cigarettes vs. Chantix

In light of the thousands of serious adverse events involving users of Chantix and the apparent fact that Pfizer is undermining its own warnings by denying any causal association between Chantix and the reported events, why is it that the anti-smoking groups which have called for electronic cigarettes to be pulled from the market are not calling for Chantix to also be pulled?

Read this insightful blog post by Dr. Michael Siegel:

Chantix Implicated in Suicide; How Many Will It Take Before Anti-Smoking Groups that Demand E-Cigs Be Pulled From Market Also Call for Chantix Ban?

Tobacco Truth: Misinformation from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Massachusetts Dental Society

The list of prestigious medical organizations that exaggerate and distort the risks of smokeless tobacco is growing longer. On May 12, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and… among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States,” and the Massachusetts Dental Society, “a 5,000-member professional association… dedicated to improving the oral health of the public in the Commonwealth,” released demonstrably false information about smokeless tobacco risks (article here).

The Dana-Farber article says that these organizations “are partnering to spread the word that chewing tobacco, otherwise known as spit, dip, chew, or smokeless tobacco, is not a safe alternative to smoking.” Using an “absolutely safe” straw-man standard is now standard fare among smokeless prohibitionists....

Read More >

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ban on Indoor 'Vaping' Draws a Crowd

Tacoma Weekly
By John Larson
Thursday, 19 May 2011

Tacoma, Washington--Smoking has been prohibited in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys and other public places in Washington for several years now. But should “vaping” be allowed? Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department is pondering that question.

“Vaping” is the term for using battery-powered cigarettes. The devices have become popular in the last two years, primarily among smokers, or former smokers, who use them as an alternative to the real thing.

The department is considering a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and anywhere else where it is already prohibited to smoke cigarettes. The proposal would ban their sale to minors and prohibit their distribution for free or at a considerable discount for a promotional activity.

The department held a public hearing on the topic on May 16. Greg Jacoby, legal counsel for the department, noted that a similar ban went into effect in King County in January. A doctor at the table noted there are five studies underway on the devices, but there is not yet conclusive data on what impact they have on health.

All who testified were against the proposed ban.

Thad Marney of Portland is on the board of directors of Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives. Marney said carbon monoxide and tar are the major culprits in cigarettes as far as a threat to the health of users. He dismissed the idea that minors want to use these devices....

Read full story >

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Creating Foundations to Move Their Ideals...and Products

Ever wonder why groups like the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and Campaign for Tobaco-free Kids oppose tobacco harm reduction and e-cigarettes?
Keep reading.
The New Corporate America Business Model                 
Creating Foundations to Move Their Ideals...and Products

By Pam Parker

               There's a new and dangerous business strategy being employed in the United States.  Corporations are creating Foundations who give grants to non-profits who push for laws that move their products.  One thing the corporations, foundations and non-profits all share is profitability.  One such corporation is Johnson and Johnson.  Those who share in the profits are their partners.

              The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was created  by the founder of  Johnson  & Johnson with over ten million shares of Johnson and Johnson (JnJ stock)[i].   In 1972, it was established as a national foundation worth $1.2 billion [ii].  In 2009, the Foundation's investment portfolio increased $1 billion to $8,379,808,000[iii].  RWJF's mission today: to help society transform itself for the better.  Noble sounding, until you delve into the fact that it's what RWJF considers "for the better", foregoing what we want for ourselves or for society.  The horrifying truth is RWJF profits from what it wants for society.

              The RWJF Anthology "Taking on Tobacco: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Assault on Smoking" publication [iv]  outlines how they gave $99 million in grants to fund coalitions "housed in organizations" such as the American Cancer Society (ACS), American Lung Association (ALA) and American Heart Association (AHA).  This publication outlines all the organizations who received over $446 million in grants just through January, 2008.  In the beginning, grants were given to organizations to promote tobacco education.   Once organizations were used to receiving funding, if they did not move on to tobacco "control", their funding was cut off.  The Foundation makes it perfectly clear in their publications that as a Foundation, their grant money cannot be used for lobbying.  However, to quote Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, that's just geography.  It's just moving money from point A to point B while accomplishing lobbying, with smoking cessation as RWJF's ultimate goal.  Over $99,000 in grant money was invested in Evaluating an Innovative Communications Campaign Designed to Increase Consumer Demand for Tobacco Dependence Treatment by Medicaid Recipients [v]Nearly $97,000 in grant money was invested for Individual and Policy Level Influences on the Use of Various Cessation Strategies and Abstinence from Cigarettes Among Adult Smokers [vi].

              RWJF points out repeatedly that coalition building is the key.  Here are but a few.
O   The Center for Disease Control has received grant money from RWJF [vii]
o   RWJF provides funding to TFK for polls used to influence lawmakers, such as an Ohio poll [viii] on raising cigarette taxes. 
o   RWJF is a major funder of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium [ix] who helps works with communities with tobacco law-related issues such as smoke-free policies (smoking bans) and tobacco control funding laws.  
o   Steven Schroeder, former CEO of RWJF, returned to the University of California, San Francisco, with a $10 million RWJF grant for the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center[x]
o   GSK, marketer of Nicorette, Nicoderm, Nicoderm CQ, is quoted in this article as applauding two organizations for their efforts to improve the regulation of smoking cessation aides.  The two organizations, Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD) and the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SNRT) both urged the FDA to adopt more flexible regulatory approaches to expand access to and the use of NRT products.  ATTUD's FDA petition drive [xi] was funded, in part, by RWJF.  SNRT is funded [xii], in part, by RWJF, Johnson & Johnson, Glaxo Smith Kline, and McNeil.
o   Professor Stanton Glantz, University of California, San Francisco, received grants over $1,071,000 to create Tobacco Scam to claim smoking bans don't hurt the Hospitality Industry.  It's been proven that most bars are hurt by smoking bans, but Glantz combines restaurants with bars (restaurants outnumber bars 5:1 while restaurant employees outnumber bar employees 10:1).  (RWJF Grants 52810 and 36173).           Glantz' job?  To say it's all a Big Tobacco lie and that's what his website claims [xiii].
If a group doesn't exist, then RWJF just creates and funds it.  For example - Tobacco-Free Kids.  A brilliant marketing strategy.  After all, who wouldn't want kids to be tobacco-free?  RWJF created and funded Tobacco-Free Kids [xiv] (TFK) with $84,000,000 in start-up money.  In 2000, TFK drafted the core principles for the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  In fact, interveners for the Master Settlement Agreement [xv] have all received funding from RWJF (ACS, AHA, ALA, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights [xvi][xvii], the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network [xviii]).   The Master Settlement Agreement was originally to settle states' Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of tobacco-related health care costs [xix].  It has evolved into lobbying states to spend the money on smoking cessation, quit lines and giveaways of nicotine replacement products, such as patches and gum.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Proposed e-cigarette regulation sets off a spark

Tacoma, WA - The Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health may have been surprised Monday night by the crowd that filled their meeting room, waiting for their chance to speak regarding proposed regulation changes to the Environmental Health Code.
One particular proposed regulation, "Environmental Health Code, Chapter 9: Restrictions on Sale, Use and Availability of Electronic Smoking Devices and Unregulated Nicotine Delivery Products," has sparked controversy because it "prohibits smoking and the purchase of e-cigarettes and other unregulated nicotine delivery products by youth under age 18, disallows e-cigarettes to be used in public places and anywhere that regular cigarettes are prohibited and prohibits free or heavily discounted e-cigarettes."
E-cigarettes are battery operated devices which vaporize a liquid solution of water, propylene glycol and food flavoring and are available with or without nicotine. Because the devices do not burn tobacco, many smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking now use them as a reduced-harm alternative to traditional cigarettes and argue that there is no justification to ban their use in public spaces.
The majority who attended, some of whom drove hours from other parts of the state to attend the meeting, spoke in opposition of the proposed regulation. They were largely organized by the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) and local e-cigarette seller Kim Thompson, owner of The Vaporium in Lakewood. Only two in the room spoke in support of the proposal.
While the group universally supported banning sales of e-cigarettes to those under age 18, they spoke passionately about their positive experiences with e-cigarettes and urged the board to use caution when considering regulation of a product which has not been shown to be a danger to the public.
CASAA Director Thad Marney traveled from Portland, Oregon to speak on behalf of the local members of CASAA, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about reduced harm alternatives to smoking. Marney explained that the vast majority of harms associated with tobacco use come from combustion, including carbon monoxide and tar, which the FDA did not find in its testing of e-cigarettes. "At this point, no one has documented anything in the vapor itself that could be harmful to bystanders," he said.
The Board of Health may vote on these regulations at the June 1, 2011 Board of Health meeting and the Health Department said it is interested in receiving feedback from the community prior to that date. To provide written feedback on the proposed regulations, there is a public input form, which can be found here:
More information on e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction may be found on CASAA's web site at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So we're a tobacco product. Now what?

CASAA Legal Director Yolanda Villa, CASAA member and advisor Julie Woessner of Midwest Vapers Club & advisor Bill Godshall of Smokefree Pennsylvania will be appearing on a special VP-Live blogtalk radio show Thursday night, 9:00PM EST: VP Live Special Edition: So we're a tobacco product. Now what?

CORRECTION: The show starts at 9:00Pm EST, NOT 7pm!