(828) 698-5795 

Marijuana Reform Organization Issues Warning Against Vaping THC Oils Obtained from Unlicensed Sellers; CDC Does Not

It is a sad state of affairs in public health when we have to rely upon a marijuana law reform organization to issue a critical health warning on the severe risks of vaping unlicensed THC oils, while the CDC remains silent.According to an article in USA Today, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) warned consumers "not to buy THC vape products from unlicensed retailers." The organization's Deputy Director--Paul Armentano--explained the danger associated with the use of illicit THC vaping products: "Unregulated illicit market cannabis products, like products in any unregulated marketplace, are of variable quality and may put some consumers at risk. These incidents linked to the use of unregulated, illicit market vapor cartridges reinforce the need for greater market regulation, standardization, and oversight ... Consumers must also be aware that not all products are created equal; quality control testing is critical and only exists in the legally regulated marketplace."In response to the occurrence of seven cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome that were linked to the use of THC or CBD oil extracts purchased from the illicit market, the Hanford (CA) health department issued a very specific warning to the public not to vape cannabis or CBD oils obtained from an unlicensed seller. The warning was issued in no uncertain terms: "Under no circumstances should you vape cannabis or CBD oils obtained from a “pop-up shop."The Rest of the StoryThe CDC continues to remain silent, even though it has become clear that vaping THC oils, particularly those obtained on the street from unlicensed sellers, is a risk factor for the "mysterious" respiratory illness that has affected close to 200 individuals. The CDC has yet to issue any kind of warning, preferring instead to continue to scare people about the dangers of all vaping products, making no distinctions whatsoever between the myriad types of vaping products on the market.The Office on Smoking and Health continues to hammer home its meaningless mantra that e-cigarette aerosol is "not harmless." In its August 23rd media briefing, the Office on Smoking and Health not once but twice reiterated the earth-shattering statement that "e-cigarettes do not emit a harmless aerosol."And then once again in the excellent USA Today article from yesterday, the Office on Smoking and Health once again offered the extremely helpful information that "e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless."In addition, the Office on Smoking and Health continued to harp on the dangers of "traditional nicotine vape liquid." And even when given the opportunity to emphasize the dangers of vaping THC oil, the Office on Smoking and Health tried to divert attention from that concern back to the thousands of other vaping products that are not causing any problem: "Though the government knows people use substances including THC in vape pens, King said, "the bottom line is there’s a variety of things in e-cigarette aerosol that could have implications for lung health."This is completely irresponsible. People are dying or having severe, life-threatening illnesses and instead of warning people about the risks of using illicit THC oils that have been linked to many of the cases, CDC is more concerned about making a political statement demonizing e-cigarette aerosol without any evidence that traditional e-cigarette aerosol has been associated with any of the reported cases.In fact, it appears that the Office on Smoking and Health tried to imply that traditional nicotine e-liquids could cause respiratory disease before acknowledging that none of the cases has been linked to traditional nicotine e-liquids but then warning anyway about the respiratory risks of the traditional vaping of retail e-cigarette products: "Dr. Brian King of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health told reporters that harmful ingredients in traditional nicotine vape liquid had been identified that included ultrafine particulates, heavy metals such as lead, cancer-causing chemicals and flavoring used in e-cigarettes to give it a buttery flavor. Those ingredients had been related to severe respiratory illness, he said. While they haven't been linked to the current cases, 'we know that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless,' King said." Why is the CDC pointing the finger at every constituent in normal e-cigarette aerosol, implying that any of these chemicals could be the cause of acute respiratory distress syndrome, but protecting illicit cannabis vaping?The rest of the story is that in its zeal to demonize electronic cigarettes, the CDC is actually protecting illegal drug dealers at the expense of the protection of the health of our nation's youth.Original author: Michael Siegel
  30 Hits
  0 Comments

Federal Officials Admit That Smoking Among Young Adults E-VAPORates



One month ago I used data from the federal National Health Interview Survey (or NHIS, which is administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to illustrate that smoking among young adults (age 18-24 years) is evaporating.  In fact, the prevalence of current smoking in this group, defined in NHIS as every day or some days, was 7.8% in 2018.  The federal National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is another annual survey that measures smoking.  It is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  Although the NSDUH collects information on smoking, in addition to alcohol and many other drugs, it does not use the every-day or some-day questions.  Instead, it asks about use in the past month. Recently SAMHSA published a report on the NSDUH, which contained information about smoking in young adults (defined as 18-25 years) and teens (12-17 years) from 2002 to 2018.  I’ve illustrated those results in the chart at left.       First, note that the green and blue lines demonstrate considerable decline in both age groups across the entire period.  The lines start at least 8 years before e-cigarettes were used by anyone in the U.S.  More importantly, note the numbers above the lines indicating the average annual decline over the periods outlined by the faint vertical lines.  There is no question that the declines accelerated during the last two periods, when vaping occurred at so-called epidemic rates among teens and young adults. It is remarkable that the prevalence of smoking among young adults in NSDUH is nearly the same as that in NHIS in 2018.  This is important, because NSDUH always has higher prevalence than NHIS, as I documented in previous research using these surveys. Curiously, the NSDUH does not collect information on vaping.  However, the government officials who wrote the NSDUH report commented, “Some of this decline [in smoking] may reflect the use of electronic vaporizing devices (‘vaping’), such as e-cigarettes, as a substitute for delivering nicotine.” A surprising and welcome admission from a federal source.  FDA and CDC: follow the data. H/T to Jacob Sullum for writing about this story. Original author: Brad Rodu
  31 Hits
  0 Comments

IN MY VIEW: CDC and Health Groups' Bias Against E-Cigarettes is Putting Kids' Lives at Risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have now been 153 reported cases of severe, acute lung disease caused by "vaping" across 19 states. Tragically, one of these cases resulted in a death. Most of the cases are occurring among youth or young adults. The acute disease appears to be taking the form of lipoid pnemonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and/or chemical pneumonitis.Physicians, health departments, and the CDC have almost uniformly informed the public that these cases are caused by "vaping" and have advised youth and young adults to avoid using "e-cigarettes."The Rest of the StoryThe advice from health agencies, including the CDC, to avoid using "e-cigarettes" is irresponsible. This is such a broad category of products that it doesn't really give people any guidance whatsoever in terms of what to avoid. There are millions of people who are vaping nicotine-containing e-liquids and it would not be prudent for these millions of people to return to smoking in order to avoid the risk of this "unknown" and "mysterious" medical condition. Moreover, with such vague advice, no one is likely to change their behavior because they are not being warned about any specific, identifiable risk.The truth is that in every case so far in which a specific e-liquid has been identified, that product has been a THC-containing e-liquid, typically purchased off the street and often in open cartridges such that they could contain a contaminant or other drug. In at least some of the cases, the use of a THC oil, such as butane hash oil, has been implicated. In January of this year, there was a published case report of a severe, acute respiratory illness attributable to the use of butane hash oil. Apparently, all 21 cases in California were attributed to vaping of marijuana with all the THC e-liquids being purchased on the street.Since lipoid pneumonia is caused by oil inhalation, it seems pretty clear that those cases diagnosed as lipoid pneumonia are being caused by the use of e-liquids that are oil-based, not alcohol-based. Most nicotine-containing e-liquids are alcohol-based, meaning that they contain as excipients some combination of propylene glycol and glycerin. These products do not pose a risk of lipoid pneumonia. There are some nicotine-containing e-liquids that are oil-based, and these should absolutely be avoided.Although we do not have a single common link between all the reported cases, there are useful recommendations that the CDC could be giving. At a minimum, they should be telling the public not to vape THC oils, including butane hash oil. Second, they should be telling people not to use any oil-based vaping e-liquid product. Third, they should be telling people not to use any e-liquid unless you know what is in it -- that is, do not buy products off-the-street and stick to products being sold at retail stores, especially closed cartridges where there is no risk of contamination or the presence of unknown drugs.These would actually be useful recommendations that could possibly help prevent further cases. Instead, the CDC and other health groups are providing such generalized and vague advice that it is essentially meaningless.Sadly, the failure of CDC and other health agencies to provide appropriate recommendations is putting kids' lives at risk. Since there has been no admonition to avoid the use of THC oils, kids are going to continue to use these products. This is why the CDC's recommendations are irresponsible.The question is: why are the CDC and other health groups being so broad in their statements, warning broadly against "vaping" or using "e-cigarettes" but failing to warn against the use of THC oil?The answer, I believe, is that these organizations have such a pre-conceived conclusion that vaping is hazardous and such a bias against the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation that they are hoping to be able to attribute these cases to traditional nicotine vaping.   By no means are we in a position currently to be able to conclude that vaping THC oils or other oil-based e-liquids is solely responsible for the observed cases nor are we sure that street-purchased products are solely to blame. However, I think we know enough to be able to offer a specific recommendation that people not use these products. That CDC has failed to do this is irresponsible, putting lives at risk, and demonstrating the agency's bias in its views of the science around smoking and vaping.Original author: Michael Siegel
  27 Hits
  0 Comments

Sunday Science Lesson: spookiness bias

 

Continue reading
  28 Hits
  0 Comments

Essay on bans by Marewa Glover

by Carl V Phillips

Continue reading
  21 Hits
  0 Comments

Vaping risk compared to smoking: challenging a false and dangerous claim by Professor Stanton Glantz


HINTS 2017 Risk perceptions


…and VAPING IS SMOKING

Continue reading
  28 Hits
  0 Comments

Nick Buonoconti Spoke Truth to Power on Smokeless Tobacco



Nick Buonoconti, a 15-year All-Pro NFL linebacker who contributed to the Miami Dolphins’s 1972 perfect season and Super Bowl win, died on July 31 at age 78, following a battle with dementia.  Buonoconti’s tenacity, dedication and intelligence made him an NFL star, despite the fact that scouts had considered him undersized. Buonoconti found success well beyond football.  The new HBO documentary “The Many Lives of Nick Buonoconti,” describes his influential roles as lawyer, advocate and negotiator for pro athletes; NFL commentator; and dedicated fundraiser for the Miami Project, where he generated nearly $500 million for spinal injury research following his son’s catastrophic injury in a 1985 college football game.  Buonoconti was also an unlikely hero for smokeless tobacco users.  According to Sports Illustrated, in the 1970s he started working with US Tobacco, the maker of Copenhagen and Skoal dip products.  In 1983, he became executive vice president for legal and federal affairs and public relations; two years later he was named president and chief operating officer. As I noted previously, the campaign against smokeless tobacco started in 1981, with an articlein the New England Journal of Medicine.  In February 1985, Buonoconti squared off with Ed Bradley on the influential news show “60 Minutes”.  The following exchange from that appearance appears at 24:35 in the HBO Buonoconti documentary:     Ed Bradley: “The people who are dipping smokeless may think they are avoiding the dangers of tobacco by not smoking.  But there is substantial evidence that they’re not.” Buonoconti: “The science as we know it today tells us that smokeless tobacco has never been scientifically established to cause any harm to humans.  That includes oral cancer.  There is no one saying it does cause a problem.” Bradley: “The Surgeon General says it does.  The American Health Foundation says it does.” Steve Croft, another “60 Minutes” correspondent, defends Buonoconti in the HBO documentary: “My feeling is he handled it very well, better than most CEOs that we interview and ask tough questions.”  However, the interview inaccurately and permanently stained Buonoconti as a tobacco industry shill.  He assumed that he had made a terrible mistake, noting, “I have to live with it.” It turns out that Buonoconti was perfectly on target in challenging the bogus claim that dip and chew products cause mouth cancer.  Like everyone else, he was deceived by three decades of distorted research, exaggerated findings and unscrupulous campaigning by supposedly credible medical organizations.  His remarks proved prescient when a large 2016 federal study found no elevated risk for mouth cancer among American men who dip or chew tobacco. HBO has done a public service in chronicling the many achievements of this multi-talented football legend.Original author: Brad Rodu
  33 Hits
  0 Comments

Heads Up – News – Updates 7.31.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
  162 Hits
  0 Comments

Panel Examines Youth Vaping ‘Epidemic,’ Overlooks Real Threats



Yesterday Inside Sources published my column on how Congress focused on the vaping “epidemic” while ignoring legitimate threats to American teens.  Read it here or at Inside Sources. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held two days of hearings last week on “JUUL’s Role in the Youth Nicotine Epidemic.” Make no mistake: the hearings were about congressional grandstanding, not a discussion of what really threatens American teens. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the high school vaping rate is lower than that for marijuana and alcohol use. It’s about the same as binge drinking (four or five drinks within a couple hours).  And, as we know, these activities don’t typically occur in a vacuum. High school students frequently drive after marijuana use, ride with a driver who has been drinking, text or email while driving, have sexual intercourse, and consider suicide. But despite these truly worrisome activities, tobacco prohibitionists like Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have convinced Congress, school boards and parents that e-cigarettes have created “a public health emergency.”  Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and other government officials fueled this anxiety by referring to the rise in teen vaping as an “epidemic.” The hysteria stems from the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, which federal officials refer to as the gold standard of information about teen vaping. But they tout these numbers without any context.  And that context is critical. We frequently hear that 3 million high school students in 2018 were “current vapers.” But if you look closer at the data, 3 million teens had used an e-cigarette at least once in the past 30 days. And 600,000 of the high school vapers were 18 or older, so they could purchase tobacco products legally in most states. The rest were underage. Of the 2.5 million underage vapers, about 1.7 million had also smoked a cigarette, cigar and/or had used smokeless tobacco. Of the 807,000 underage vapers with no history of other tobacco use, 70 percent had used e-cigarettes only one to five days during the month — the equivalent of trying one at a party. Only 95,000 students had used the products 20 to 30 days, suggesting that they might be addicted.  And this represents just 0.6 percent of the nation’s nearly 15 million high school students — a far cry from Gottlieb’s hysteria that we’re “hooking an entire generation of children on tobacco and nicotine.” These estimates are based on the CDC’s youth tobacco survey, so they’re certainly not “underestimates.”  Yet the rabidly anti-tobacco Truth Initiative produced an estimate for 2018 that is nearly half that of the 3 million number touted by the CDC. In addition to faulty data, the House hearing echoed the government’s false narrative blaming teen vaping on illegal retail sales and “kid-friendly marketing.”  But the FDA’s own research shows that more than 90 percent of teens who use e-cigarettes obtain them from social sources, such as friends or family. Only 10 percent of current teen vapers buy their own — and many of those are of age. Raising the purchasing age from 18 to 21 could potentially disrupt high school “black markets.” Lawmakers also go after fears about nicotine. They reference the Surgeon General’s claim that nicotine is “very and uniquely harmful” to the developing brain, and that vaping can impair learning and memory in those up to age 25.  Scientific evidence to support this is non-existent. In contrast, there is unequivocal evidence linking youth football and other concussion-producing sports activities to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) (here, for example).  If Congress wanted to protect children’s brains, this would be a more productive area for their focus. Nicotine is about as safe to use as caffeine, which is also addictive, but it doesn’t cause any of the many cancers, heart attacks, strokes and emphysema that come from the toxins released from burning tobacco. Congress wants you to believe that the increase in teen vaping will lead to a surge in young adult smoking.  But the reality is just the opposite. Cigarette smoking dropped in half among young adults between 2014 and 2018. And while vaping increased, use of both products fell during the same period. Vaping is contributing to the evaporation of smoking among young Americans. American teenagers are engaged in lots of risky behavior — but vaping, which the prestigious British Royal College of Physicians says is 95 percent less hazardous than smoking — is not one of them. Congress should focus on how to really keep high school students safe. Original author: Brad Rodu
  208 Hits
  0 Comments

CASAA Tobacco 21 policy statement: “Including low-risk alternatives in T21 laws is unwise, misleading”

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
  99 Hits
  0 Comments

Heads Up – News – Updates 7.25.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
  70 Hits
  0 Comments

Heads Up – News – Updates 7.23.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
  72 Hits
  0 Comments

Claim that Vaping Causes Heart Attacks is Completely Debunked

A study published last month in the Journal of the American Heart Association electronic cigarette use concluded that vaping is a cause of heart attacks, raising the risk of having a heart attack about two-fold. One of the co-authors publicized the study on his blog under the title "More evidence that e-cigs cause heart attacks."This was a cross-sectional study using data from the baseline survey of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study collected in 2013-2014. The investigators examined the relationship between respondents reporting that they ever had a heart attack and that they currently vaped. They found that people who vape were more likely to report ever having had a heart attack in the past.The problem with drawing a causal conclusion from this cross-sectional study is that there is no way to know which came first: the vaping or the heart attack. As I have previously argued, it is entirely possible that most of the vapers who reported having had a heart attack were people who experienced a heart attack and then began vaping in an effort to stay off of cigarettes. If this is the case, then it is not the vaping that is causing the heart attacks; instead, it is really the heart attacks "causing" the vaping. In epidemiology, we call this "reverse causation," and it is a common limitation of cross-sectional studies, especially when they do not ask about the time course of exposures and outcomes.Based on what I saw as a likely possibility of reverse causation and on the inability of the study to determine whether the vaping actually preceded the heart attacks, I argued that the investigators went too far in their conclusion and that, in fact, the study does not provide evidence that vaping causes heart attacks.The Rest of the StoryI was wrong. I have to admit it ...... I was wrong.Specifically, I had argued that "there is no way to know which came first: the vaping or the heart attack."However, Dr. Brad Rodu -- a professor at the University of Louisville -- noticed that in fact, we do know which came first.Why?Because the PATH survey actually asked respondents not just whether they had ever experienced a heart attack, but when they had the heart attack.And similarly, the survey asked respondents not just whether they vaped, but when they started vaping.So Dr. Rodu was able to analyze the same PATH data that the study authors used. Lo and behold, he found that the majority of the 38 vapers who reported having ever had a heart attack experienced that heart attack before starting to vape. In fact, he found that on average, "the heart attacks preceded first e-cigarette use by almost a decade."There are two major problems here.The first is that the unsupported, and now debunked, conclusions of the study have influenced many policy makers in their decision to ban the sale of e-cigarettes (while leaving real cigarettes on the shelves, which do cause heart attacks). For example, before voting to ban the sale of e-cigarettes in San Francisco, city council members were told that e-cigarettes are associated with heart attacks.The second problem is the question of why the study investigators failed to look at whether the vaping preceded the heart attacks, even though they had the information in the survey to make that determination. It would have been easy for them to determine that the majority of the vapers who reported having had a heart attack actually experienced the heart attack before they even started vaping.The rest of the story is that this new information calls into question not only the conclusions of the research, but also the objectivity of the researchers.With local, state, and federal policy makers and regulators all considering legislation to regulate vaping, it would be damaging for their decisions to be informed by the now-debunked conclusion that vaping causes heart attacks. The problem is that this conclusion has already been spread widely through the media, and it is very difficult to retract information once it is already out there.Original author: Michael Siegel
  62 Hits
  0 Comments

Heads Up – News – Updates 7.18.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
  62 Hits
  0 Comments

As Young Adult Smoking Evaporates, “Teen Vaping Epidemic” Appears Overblown



Federal officials have portrayed teen vaping as a pending disaster, creating a new generation of nicotine addicts heading for lifetimes of smoking and disease, culminating in early deaths.  The scenario is primarily based on a distorted and exaggerated interpretation of data in the National Youth Tobacco Survey.  One way to judge the validity of these teen vaping claims is to look at what’s happening among young adults 18-24 years old.  If the government claims are accurate, we should see the disaster starting to unfold in this group. The chart at left, based on the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey, shows the prevalence of current smoking and vaping among young adults from 2014 to 2018.  Exclusive smoking is in red, dual use is in pink, and vaping is in green (with former smokers in lighter green).  The chart’s main message is seen in the sharp decline of red-pink.  Exclusive smoking prevalence dropped in half, from 13.3% to 6.1%, as did dual use.  Vaping increased, but only from 1.7% to 5.9%.  In fact, alluse went from 18.3% in 2014, all the way down to 10.1% in 2018 – an impressive decline.  The clear takeaway is that smoking is evaporating among young Americans. Some in Congress are intent on addressing the so-called crisis, as seen by Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Donna Shalala’s (D-FL) June 20 call for co-sponsors for H.R. 2339, the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019.  In reality, the “epidemic” is already in reverse. Original author: Brad Rodu
  82 Hits
  0 Comments

Heads Up – News – Updates 7.17.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
  67 Hits
  0 Comments

Based Solely on Quotes from Anti-Tobacco Groups, Big Tobacco Tells America's 3 Million Nonsmoking Vapers They Would Be Healthier Going Back to Smoking

The tobacco industry is taking advantage of a rare and unprecedented marketing opportunity being offered to it by none other than the anti-tobacco movement. Based solely on statements made by tobacco control organizations, Big Tobacco (@BigTobaccoUS) is urging America's 12 million vapers (3 million of whom do not use cigarettes at all) to return exclusively to smoking in order to protect their health.Cleverly, Big Tobacco is not making any statements of its own. It is simply relying on statements already made by anti-tobacco groups. For example, Big Tobacco stated: "Most public health experts agree that vaping is dangerous and you're better off if you keep smoking. We share their opinions."To support its claims, Big Tobacco cited a Twitter headline from Clear Way Minnesota, which said: "Switching from vaping to smoking does reduce your carcinogens."It would be absurd to think that Big Tobacco, in 2019, would have the gall to make such a preposterous claim -- that switching from vaping to smoking will improve a person's health. But Big Tobacco isn't directly making that claim. They are simply repeating statements made by supposedly anti-smoking organizations.The statements being made by Big Tobacco are also being supported by policy decisions announced in recent months by city councils and boards of health throughout the country. For example, the city of San Francisco recently banned the sale of e-cigarettes, while allowing Marlboros to stay on the shelves. The town of Brookline, Massachusetts recently banned the sale of nearly all e-cigarettes, while allowing the majority of cigarette brands to remain on the shelves. Similar laws have been enacted by at least 26 other cities and towns. The Rest of the Story had an exclusive opportunity to interview a spokesperson for Big Tobacco. Here is a transcript of the interview:Siegel: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. I have to just start by asking: Did you ever dream that one day, groups that you thought were anti-smoking organizations would be promoting smoking over a much safer, fierce competitor to your combustible products?Big Tobacco: Never. We really believed, deep in our hearts, that anti-smoking groups were our enemies. Our opponents. Naturally ... they were calling themselves anti-smoking groups. So we assumed that they would be doing everything in their power to discourage people from smoking and to emphasize the severe health effects of cigarette smoking, effects that even we now acknowledge. It never occurred to us that these "anti-smoking" groups would one day be promoting laws to pull all of our competition off the shelves and allow our most toxic products - our combustible cigarettes - to remain on the market. This is a dream come true. And frankly, some days I wake up and think that I am dreaming.Siegel: For years, the anti-smoking groups complained and attacked you for not doing anything to make your products safer. They condemned you for not doing any research on how to make a safer product. Now that you have actually gotten into the business of selling a much safer product (e-cigarettes), they immediately take that product off the shelves and force you to only sell your most toxic combustible product. Does that make any sense to you?Big Tobacco: Not at all. We had recently announced plans to start converting our U.S. business portfolio from our most toxic products - the combustibles - to a range of vaping products, which are much safer and we assumed over time would become more and more popular. Based on the popularity of vaping products and statistics on the unprecedented number of people who were quitting smoking using these alternative products, market analysts were predicting that within about two to three decades, we would literally cut cigarette consumption in half. So much for that! We can now go back to business as usual: we'll actually be adding more Marlboro rolling machines, something that wasn't in our long-range business plan because we made the apparently errant assumption that the anti-smoking groups would actually want to see a lowering of cigarette consumption.Siegel: The City Attorney of San Francisco and the Board of Supervisors said that they were standing up to Big Tobacco when they enacted a law that bans the sale of all e-cigarettes. I assume that your stock prices must have tumbled since then. How are you coping with those huge financial losses?Big Tobacco: Oh, no, that's not what happened at all. From the day the mayor of San Francisco signed the ordinance, our stock has risen from $47.35 to $49.54. A consensus of the major analysts now rate us as a "Strong Buy." Siegel: Ok. Well we've talked about your competition from vaping products, which have now been taken off the market or severely restricted in many cities. Let's talk now about your competition from other cigarette brands. Although your Marlboro brand has always been #1, Newport has long been your chief competitor at #2. What are your plans to decrease that competition and further improve your market position?Big Tobacco: We have none.Siegel: You have none! How could you possibly have no plans to help fight off competition from Newport cigarettes?Big Tobacco: Well, we don't have to make any plans because the anti-smoking groups are doing all of that work for us. You are not going to believe this, but our so-called enemies are promoting ordinances and state laws throughout the country that essentially ban the sale of Newport cigarettes while allowing Marlboro cigarettes to remain on the shelves, unfettered and untouched. Siegel: Wait a second. You have me here. Why ban one cigarette brand but not another one that is equally dangerous?Big Tobacco: They have somehow got it into their minds that Newport cigarettes - which have menthol - are a much greater threat to the public's health than Marlboro cigarettes ... [laughing] ... [laughing] ... [choking] ... So the Newports are coming off all the shelves and the Marlboros are staying put [laughing] ... And the irony is that for years, the anti-smoking groups attacked us for even insinuating that one cigarette brand was safer than another. Now those same groups are telling policy makers throughout the country that some cigarettes are safer than others. And we got the long end of the stick! [laughing almost out of control]. No pun intended.Siegel: The "anti-smoking" groups are claiming that vaping is as dangerous as smoking. Now, how many people does smoking kill every year?Big Tobacco: We no longer make up our own estimates. We now really on public health authorities. They estimate the number to be around 400,000.Siegel: So I take it that vaping also kills around 400,000 people each year.Big Tobacco: Not quite that many.Siegel: Well then how many exactly?Big Tobacco: So far zero.Siegel: Well that doesn't seem possible. The anti-smoking groups, especially the American Lung Association, say that vaping causes popcorn lung. That is a rapidly progressive and fatal disease. With 12 million vapers in the United States, the product on the market for 13 years, and such a high risk of popcorn lung, there must be thousands of cases by now.Big Tobacco: [laughing] ... Actually... [laughing] ... not a one!Siegel: But a researcher at Harvard Medical School stated, and I'm quoting here, "Vaping can cause something called bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung."Big Tobacco: [snicker] ... Not a one.Siegel: Ok. But a physician and researcher from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine stated, and I'm again quoting here, "Yes, vaping can cause popcorn lung. The first thing to understand is that vape juice flavorings are not designed to be inhaled; they’re designed to be eaten. So these flavorings, when inhaled at higher temperatures, can be toxic to the lungs and cause damage, including the possibility of popcorn lung."Big Tobacco: Not a one.Siegel: And a specialist in substance abuse prevention stated, again I'm quoting, "The one thing we do know for sure in terms of long-term effects is that those who vape long term develop popcorn lung."Big Tobacco: They're lying. Believe me, we know all about lying. We did it for years. And the anti-smoking groups attacked us for it. Even took us to federal court.Siegel: Well that seems quite hypocritical of them.Big Tobacco: If you say so.Siegel: Let's talk for a minute about cancer risk. Tobacco smoke has more than 10,000 chemicals including more than 60 known human carcinogens. One carcinogen - formaldehyde - has been found to be present in some brands of e-cigarettes, although your own Mark Ten brand did not contain any detectable formaldehyde. How in your right mind could you possibly claim that vaping poses a greater carcinogenic risk than smoking?Big Tobacco: Oh, simple. We're not the ones making that claim. That statement was made by researchers at Portland State University. And we are in no position to contest a conclusion made by academicians at a reputable university. If I recall correctly, and it's been a while, their exact statement was that "If we assume that inhaling formaldehyde-releasing agents carries the same risk per unit of formaldehyde as the risk associated with inhaling gaseous formaldehyde, then long-term vaping is associated with an incremental lifetime cancer risk of 4.2×10−3. This risk is 5 times as high ... or even 15 times as high ... as the risk associated with long-term smoking."Siegel: Well if vaping poses a 15 times higher risk of cancer than long-term smoking, why would anyone in their right mind quit smoking by switching to vaping? And wouldn't ex-smokers who did quit smoking successfully by switching to vaping want to immediately go back to smoking?Big Tobacco: That's precisely what the "anti-smoking" groups are telling them.Siegel: Ok, one last question. The tobacco industry has a long history of reaching out to various groups to develop allies, or "friends" as you may call them. You had the Tobacco Institute, the National Smokers' Alliance, I can't recall the others. Who are your current allies?Big Tobacco: There are a large number of groups that are working to promote laws that get rid of vaping products and leave retail stores with cigarettes as the only available nicotine product. The American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association come to mind.Siegel: Whoa. I thought those were anti-smoking groups. In fact, I spent two decades working closely with all 3 of those groups to pass smoke-free bar and restaurant laws throughout the country.Big Tobacco: Yeah we know. You're in our files. Well, we now refer to those groups as our Marketing Department ... [laughs] ... Heck, with enemies like that, we really don't need friends.Siegel: Thank you for taking the time to provide me with this exclusive interview.Original author: Michael Siegel
  65 Hits
  0 Comments

Heads Up – News – Updates 7.16.2019

If you believe the security rule is affecting the normal operation of your website, contact your host support team and provide detailed instructions how to recreate this error.They will be able to assist you with rectifying the problem and adjusting the security configuration if needed.Original author: KNoll-Marsh
  60 Hits
  0 Comments

New Organization Forms to Confront the Epidemic of Popcorn Lung

Prompted by the statements of anti-tobacco groups throughout the country claiming that vaping causes popcorn lung, a new organization was launched this past Thursday to confront this new and alarming epidemic among young people. The organization is called the American Popcorn Lung Association (APLA) and it has a Twitter feed (@LungPopcorn)."Popcorn lung" is a serious, progressive lung disease that is technically known as bronchiolitis obliterans. The disease results in obstruction of the smallest airways in the lung. The disease is irreversible and can be fatal. A lung transplant is the only definitive treatment. The most common cause of popcorn lung is inflammation following a lung transplant. But it has also been associated with exposure to toxic fumes, especially with extremely high exposure to the chemical diacetyl, which occurred in a group of popcorn factory workers (hence the name popcorn lung).Popcorn lung is a very rare disease. Smoking is not recognized as a cause of popcorn lung and the disease is not observed in smokers (in the absence of other risk factors such as lung transplant).The Rest of the StoryDespite the presence of electronic cigarettes on the U.S. market for 13 years and despite the fact that there are literally millions of vapers, there has never been a confirmed case of popcorn lung occurring in a vaper. The annual incidence of popcorn lung among electronic cigarette users between 2007 and 2018 was 0.0 per 100,000. The current prevalence of popcorn lung among current (past month) vapers (as of the end of 2018) was 0.0%.Despite the complete absence of a single case of popcorn lung having been caused by vaping, the American Popcorn Lung Association is hard at work trying to discourage smokers from trying to quit smoking using e-cigarettes because of what it says is the severe risk of developing popcorn lung from vaping.When asked to defend its statement that vaping can cause popcorn lung--even though there has never been such a case and even though smoking itself is not a cause of popcorn lung--a spokesperson for the American Popcorn Lung Association told The Rest of the Story that there is solid evidence that vaping causes popcorn lung because e-cigarette aerosol has been found to contain small amounts of diacetyl, 750 times lower than what is present in cigarette smoke, which is not a cause of popcorn lung.The spokesperson referred me to multiple statements of anti-tobacco organizations and some physicians, including statements by, or quotes from researchers or staff at, the following:the American Lung Association;the United States Surgeon General; the Harvard Medical School; the University of North Carolina School of Medicine;the University of Virginia Health System;the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health; the Beaumont Health System;the Center on Addiction; the Cranston (RI) Substance Abuse Task Force; andthe Philadelphia Science Leadership Academy. Despite the absence of even a single case of popcorn lung in a vaper, APLA insisted that vaping has been demonstrated to cause popcorn lung, citing the current website of the American Lung Association, which contains an article whose headline states: "Popcorn Lung: A Dangerous Risk of Flavored E-Cigarettes."APLA also pointed to a statement of Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a physician and researcher at Harvard Medical School, who was quoted as stating: "Vaping can cause something called bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung."In addition, APLA pointed to a University of North Carolina School of Medicine statement by Dr. Adam Goldstein that leaves no room for doubt: "Yes, vaping can cause popcorn lung. The first thing to understand is that vape juice flavorings are not designed to be inhaled; they’re designed to be eaten. So these flavorings, when inhaled at higher temperatures, can be toxic to the lungs and cause damage, including the possibility of popcorn lung."APLA also cited what is perhaps the most definitive statement about the link between vaping and popcorn lung, made by a Rhode Island substance abuse prevention advocate: "The one thing we do know for sure in terms of long-term effects is that those who vape long term develop popcorn lung. Popcorn lung was first seen in popcorn plant workers who developed it from the chemicals in the butter flavor of popcorn. Popcorn lung is irreversible. Once you get it, there is no treatment to reverse it. Earlier diagnosis is better, but the longer you’re vaping … the worse it is. The only way to prevent popcorn lung is not to do it – no Juuling, no vaping."Although I am still skeptical about the link between vaping and popcorn lung due to the fact that even lifelong, heavy tobacco smoke exposure has not been associated with the development of popcorn lung and not a single case has been confirmed in a vaper, the American Popcorn Lung Association convinced me not to worry, telling me that anti-vaping organizations throughout the country are working hard to produce evidence that vaping does cause popcorn lung. The spokesperson referred me to a recent statement by the American Lung Association, ensuring that: "Scientists have been working hard to debunk the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes." APLA pointed out that "among those harms is the dreaded POPCORN LUNG."Last Friday, APLA reassured potential donors who may be skeptical about giving money to prevent a disease that does not exist: "We are taking time out from our busy schedule (assembling our professional team of popcorn lung experts and developing our strategy), to update you on the latest epidemiological research into the popcorn lung epidemic. Still no cases but we know they're out there."A spokesperson for the newly created, multi-million dollar national organization called the "Campaign for Popcorn Lung-Free Kids" told The Rest of the Story that: "The precautionary principle is the foundation of public health. It is entirely appropriate for the American Popcorn Lung Association to advocate against a disease that does not exist. In fact, we would argue that is the ultimate in precaution."The American Non-Vapers' Rights Association took it a step further. Their spokesperson told me they are concerned that secondhand exposure to vaping aerosol could increase a bystander's risk of developing popcorn lung, especially if the flavor being used is Juul's youth-friendly, highly popular cotton candy-flavored e-liquid. Just as we were about to achieve a nicotine-free generation, do you want to see that undermined by an epidemic of kids developing popcorn lung? If, like me, you want to do something about the popcorn lung epidemic, I urge you to follow my example and join the American Popcorn Lung Association. Original author: Michael Siegel
  67 Hits
  0 Comments

"Big Tobacco Lies. So Does Juul." ... And So Does Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights

A July 11 column by the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation (ANRF) is entitled "Big Tobacco Lies. So Does Juul." A large image shows a graduating college student with the quote: "We were literally going to be the first generation not addicted to nicotine. And then they made it taste like cotton candy and everyone is vaping and ADDICTED to nicotine."The Rest of the StoryThe headline should more appropriately say: "Big Tobacco Lies. So Does Juul. And So Does the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation."ANRF is lying here because they are implying that Juul created cotton candy-flavored e-cigarettes which have attracted youth and gotten large numbers of them addicted to nicotine. However, there's just one problem with that assertion ...... Juul does not make cotton candy-flavored pods.The truth is that it is not cotton candy-flavored products that have gotten youth addicted to vaping. In fact, the cotton candy products are not particularly addictive, and if youth were actually using cotton candy vapes, they would most likely not be addicted to nicotine.Moreover, the cotton candy flavors are not manufactured by either Juul or by any tobacco company.It is also not true that the generation of students graduating from college now was going to be the first generation not addicted to nicotine. The prevalence of current smoking in 12th grade among this year's college graduating class was approximately 11%. While that's obviously much better than in the past, it is hardly a generation that is not addicted to nicotine.So why is ANRF lying? Well, I guess it is more alarming and makes for a more shocking story to try to fool the public into thinking that Juul is targeting kids with cotton candy flavoring, and that deception helps with donations to the organization. Heck, if Juul was enticing kids with cotton candy e-liquids, I would donate because that is so obviously an attempt to appeal to youth.It's a more shocking story, but it's not true. And I don't believe that the ends justifies the means. Lying in an effort to enhance the story to solicit more donations is not justified. Especially in a column that is criticizing the tobacco industry and Juul for ...... lying!Original author: Michael Siegel
  53 Hits
  0 Comments

Five Flavor Review

Featured Review

Video Tour of Lab