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E-Cigarette Makers Are in an Arms Race for Exotic Vapor Flavors

Correction Appended Twista Lime, Kauai Kolada, Caribbean Chill, Mintrigue. Exotic cigarette flavors like those were banned in 2009 out of concern they might tempt young people. But the flavors tobacco companies once sold look like plain vanilla compared with the flavor buffet now on offer — legally — by the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry. News on Tuesday that Reynolds American had agreed to buy Lorillard, uniting two of the nation’s biggest tobacco companies, highlighted how important e-cigarettes have become to the declining tobacco industry. Both Reynolds and Lorillard have pushed hard into e-cigarettes, which offer a new way of delivering a puff of nicotine. For now, those companies’ flavors are relatively modest, though they may feel pressure to expand into the explosion of competition for the consumer palate, with e-cigarette flavors such as banana cream pie and cotton candy. Across the e-cigarette industry, more than 7,000 flavors are now available and, by one estimate, nearly 250 more are being introduced every month. The array of tastes goes far beyond anything cigarette companies ever tried. Flavors have become central to the conversation because e-cigarette makers say that the rainbow of tastes differentiates them from deadly cigarettes. But the claim that e-cigarette flavors won’t attract children has prompted an outcry from some policy makers, who say consumers have been down this road before with tobacco. Federal health authorities have outlawed most cigarette flavorings except menthol, arguing that they lure the young into nicotine addiction. While the Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulations for e-cigarettes, it has not limited marketing or flavors, which the agency is studying. At a Senate committee hearing in late June, lawmakers denounced manufacturers for marketing practices that they said appealed to children, including the embrace of flavors that are forbidden in ordinary cigarettes. “I’m ashamed of you,” Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, told several executives. “You’re what’s wrong with this country.” Jason Healy, the president of Blu eCigs, told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that the average age of people using cherry flavored e-cigarettes, for example, was 40. Such flavors “decrease the ability or possibility of adult users who use e-cigs switching back” to cigarettes, he said. Blu eCigs, a subsidiary of Lorillard, is being sold to the British company Imperial as part of the deal announced on Tuesday. Lorillard and Reynolds said they would focus their e-cigarette efforts on Reynolds’ product Vuse, which in June was introduced in 15,000 stores nationwide. For now, Vuse has only two flavors, original cigarette flavor and menthol, but the market is changing quickly as evidenced by the experience of other leading e-cigarette companies. Most notable is the experience of NJOY, which has turned to flavors to help stanch plummeting market share. Ten months ago, NJOY’s chief executive, Craig Weiss, said in an interview that other manufacturers used flavorings “to attract children.” NJOY, he said then, was avoiding candy- and fruit-like flavorings, in part because “they drive regulators crazy.” NJOY’s investors include Sean Parker, the Napster co-founder and former president of Facebook, and Bruno Mars, the pop star. But NJOY’s share of the convenience store market has gone into free fall, dropping more than half in the last year to less than 10 percent, according to Wells Fargo Securities. Consumer surveys suggest that most people who use e-cigarettes — including those who have smoked — tend to prefer flavors other than tobacco. In the next few weeks, NJOY plans to expand into flavors like “Butter Crumble” and “Black and Blue Berry.” Mr. Weiss said in an interview that the company had little choice after focus groups showed that flavors were “critical.” “Flavor is essential to vapers’ satisfaction,” Mr. Weiss said. He added that research funded by his company showed that flavors “provide no additional appeal to youth.” The e-cigarette market is rapidly shifting, and flavors are central to that. Viking Vapor, one of hundreds of websites selling e-cigarettes, offers 13 pages of alphabetized flavors, from Apple to Watermelon Menthol. But the market for disposable e-cigarettes, commonly found in convenience stores and sold by the likes of NJOY, Vuse and Blu eCigs, appears to be slowing — consumers seemed to be switching to more powerful devices, analysts said. According to Wells Fargo, consumer sales of e-cigarettes at convenience stores fell 17 percent in the month that ended June 7, after falling 10 percent the month earlier — the first time since e-cigarettes came onto the market that consumers spent less at convenience stores. Wells Fargo hypothesized that sales were gravitating to the Internet and “vape” stores, where figures are harder to measure. Some in public health circles see the debate over flavorings as a sideshow. The central question, they say, is whether e-cigarettes are effective tools to get people to stop smoking tobacco. Others say the issue of flavors crystallizes the debate about the risks and benefits of these products, which many consider far safer than conventional cigarettes. At the same time, there is widespread concern that use of e-cigarettes will renormalize the act of smoking and invite in a new generation of participants, particularly through the lure of flavors. ”It defies logic to think that such flavors would not make e-cigarette use more appealing and even normal for children,” said James Pankow, a chemistry professor at Portland State University in Oregon, who has studied cancer risk from cigarettes. Mr. Weiss of NJOY, hoping to address personal concerns about flavors, funded a study this year to see if the company’s new flavors would appeal to young nonsmokers. The study, an online survey conducted by Saul Shiffman, a pharmaceutical industry consultant and psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, found that young people were not particularly attracted to the flavors. Flavors did make e-cigarettes more attractive to adult smokers, Professor Shiffman concluded. Senator Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who has called for e-cigarettes to be regulated like conventional cigarettes, said that those results came as no surprise given that NJOY paid for the research. “Let me be as dismissive as possible: When they start talking about their own research, I say ‘been there, done that,’ “ Mr. Durbin said in an interview. “We listened to those tobacco companies for decades while their so-called experts tried to divert our attention from the obvious.” Mr. Weiss said NJOY did not influence the findings. “I get the appearance of a — ‘quote-un-quote’ — industry funded study,” he said. “But we didn’t have time to get it funded by a third party.” In reality, the study took only a few weeks, Mr. Shiffman said, allowing for the possibility that other studies could be done quickly by independent sources. Asked about that prospect, Mr. Weiss said: “What’s the magic number of studies? Two studies? Four studies?” About a year ago, NJOY, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., named to its board Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the former surgeon general who had been an ardent foe of tobacco companies. Before joining the NJOY board, Dr. Carmona said he asked the company about the use of flavors and was told it “was not on the table at that time.” Dr. Carmona, who also works at a nonprofit health organization, the Canyon Ranch Institute, said that NJOY’s research was a good start but that it was critical that independent researchers validate the findings. Like Mr. Weiss, Dr. Carmona said he was willing to take the chance and go forward, given that e-cigarettes have the potential to get people to stop smoking conventional cigarettes. “Research like that could take months or years,” Dr. Carmona said. “So we go with a theory, we go with a hypothesis. It’s no different than any other market.” Correction: July 16, 2014, Wednesday This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a website selling e-cigarettes. It is Viking Vapor, not Viking Vapors.More From NY TimesTech Stocks Lead Wall Street HigherYour Money Adviser: Not All Community Colleges Offer Federal Student LoansDealBook: Obama Administration Seeks End to Inversion DealsConsumer DiscretionaryAddiction & Substance Abusetobacco companiesOriginal author: Reyes
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Proposed e-cigarette regulation conflicts with personal choice

The sound of clicking lighters is increasingly being replaced by glowing light and silent vapor. This is a part of a trend across the nation toward the adoption of e-cigarettes as a replacement for old-fashioned tobacco smokes.But if a measure before the Los Angeles City Council gains traction, you might soon see this trend snuffed out.The Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee recently submitted a proposal to the L.A. City Council to ban e-cigarette usage at farmers markets, parks, beaches, bars and nightclubs, among other areas. The proposal needs to be approved by the city council before it can become a law.Citizens of Los Angeles can and should be able to use their own discretion when using e-cigarettes in closed buildings and public locations, especially when outdoors. These regulations infringe on personal freedoms. What people choose to put in their own body is a personal choice that should not be regulated by a city council, provided the choice does not harm other residents.The push for regulation on e-cigarettes has already led to ordinances limiting their use in public places in both New York and Chicago. These cities appear to have jumped the gun on federal regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with the regulation of nicotine products.This type of regulation has also hit closer to home. Beverly Hills is working to implement restrictions on where e-cigarettes can be used, where they can be sold and who can purchase them, with the mayor citing opposition to smoking as the reason.But the sweeping trend of regulation is premature. The lack of peer-reviewed studies on e-cigarettes has spooked local officials into instituting regulations that are as strict as those governing cigarette smoke. What little data there is though, supports the idea that e-cigarettes are safer than normal cigarettes.Whereas normal cigarettes are regulated because of the health risks associated with secondhand smoke, e-cigarette users exhale mostly water vapor.In fact, a Drexel University study found that vapors from e-cigarettes “fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity.”E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, tar and some of the other toxic chemicals found in a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes, for example. When an e-cigarette is used, the nicotine solution inside the cartridge is vaporized, the nicotine is absorbed by the person inhaling the product and the vapor is exhaled.Nicotine, which is found in e-cigarettes, is extremely addicting and does hold its own health risks, so regulating who can buy e-cigarettes and at what age makes sense. This means identification should be required with purchase.But dictating where you can ingest legal chemicals is clearly over-regulation.The proposed Los Angeles ordinance must be approved by the entire council before becoming a law. If passed, the regulations would lead to unfortunate consequences for Westwood businesses such as smoke shops and corner stores, which would be impacted by the ban.In particular, heavy regulation of e-cigarettes would make them less convenient and less appealing, resulting in a drop in sales.Another repercussion of regulation is that, paradoxically, it could lead to fewer people quitting smoking.The text of the ordinance states that allowing public use of e-cigarettes may “reverse the progress that has been made over the years to discourage smoking.”But e-cigarettes have actually been used by smokers as a way to temper or satisfy their nicotine habit without the damaging tar and many of the toxins found in normal cigarettes. A small study done by the University of Catania in Italy found that e-cigarettes “substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects in smokers not intending to quit.”Although it may be rude to pull out an e-cigarette in a restaurant to satisfy a nicotine craving, Los Angeles residents should retain the freedom to use e-cigarettes when they choose.Like consuming alcohol, which many people find distasteful and which carries its own health risks, smoking an e-cigarette is a personal choice. Until the federal agency in charge of regulating tobacco products makes rules dictating the use of e-cigarettes, individual cities should not either, especially if their efforts essentially amount to nothing more than a moral crusade.BY ZOEY FREEDMAN  Email Freedman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Proposed e-cigarette regulation conflicts with personal choiceOriginal author: James
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Acquisition of Lorillard Demonstrates that Reynolds American Agrees that Democratic Senators are Full of Hot Air

For several months, a group of Democratic senators - led by Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and John Rockefeller (D-WV) - have been blasting the e-cigarette industry for using flavors in their products. This group of senators has called for a ban on flavorings in e-cigarettes, supposedly because of their sincere interest in curtailing "marketing tactics aimed at luring children and teenagers into ... nicotine addiction."The Rest of the Story has called their bluff, pointing out that what these senators really mean is that they want to stop tactics (flavored e-cigarettes) aimed at luring children into fake cigarette addiction, but not tactics (flavored cigarettes) that are aimed at luring children into actual cigarette addiction. These same senators either supported the menthol exemption to the flavored cigarette ban and/or have failed to introduce or sponsor legislation that would ban menthol flavoring from cigarettes. In other words, these politicians are full of hot air. They are pretending to be truly concerned about the health of children, but in reality, they are simply trying to score an easy political victory. They want to have the appearance of protecting children from nicotine addiction, while not actually having the courage to stand up against Big Tobacco and pull the plug on menthol. The truth is that they are spineless and disingenuous. Children's health is not their true aim; political victory is.The Rest of the StoryThe acquisition of Lorillard by Reynolds American demonstrates that Reynolds shares my view of these politicians as being merely full of hot air. Specifically, the acquisition shows that Reynolds is confident that these politicians will not push the FDA to ban menthol, nor will they introduce Congressional legislation that would ban menthol cigarettes. The chief asset that Reynolds is acquiring, after all, is Newport. If Reynolds truly believed that there was any risk that Senator Durbin would back up his words with action, then it would never had made this deal. If Reynolds had any real fear that the FDA were going to ban menthol, the acquisition would not have occurred.One thing we can learn from this deal, then, is that the future of menthol cigarettes is bright and rosy. Even after ditching Blu, the acquisition of Camel and Newport was viewed to be worth billions. Clearly, Reynolds is counting on a continuing profitable market for menthol cigarettes.I agree with Reynolds' reasoning. The Congress has made its intent clear: menthol cigarettes were exempt from the flavoring ban because there is no real intent among the Congressmembers to actually put a dent in cigarette sales. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was window dressing, disguised as a strong anti-smoking measure, but actually doing almost nothing to tackle youth smoking. And the FDA, in five years of jurisdiction over cigarettes, has done next to nothing to reduce youth smoking or to set standards that would make cigarettes safer.It is safe to say that neither Congress nor the FDA has the guts to actually take on Big Tobacco and ban menthol. At the end of the day, the federal regulation of cigarettes is all about making it look to the public like the federal government has the problem under control. In reality, our government is spending more time trying to keep electronic cigarettes off the market then it is trying to reduce cigarette smoking or to make it safer.At the end of the day, we can thank politicians like Senator Durbin for providing such a high valuation for Newport that the acquisition became profitable. If these senators actually meant what they are telling the public, then no one would want to touch Newport with a ten foot pole.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Feeling blu? E-cig big out of new company

Two electronic cigarette brands might have been company, but three was definitely a crowd for this Big Tobacco merger.The $27 billion mega-merger that will unite Reynolds American with smaller competitor Lorillard raised eyebrows Tuesday because the deal includes the selloff of Lorillard's blu e-cig brand to rival Imperial Tobacco Group.Some analysts had expected Reynolds was attracted to buying Lorillard because it would also be getting blu, the leading e-cig brand in the fast-growing $2 billion nicotine vapor space.Jim Watson | AFP | Getty ImagesA woman smoking a 'Blu' e-cigaretteLorillard, itself, had acquired blu in 2012, making it the first of the Big Three tobacco companies to enter the category. Over the past two years, Lorillard took the brand from relatively small sales to the No. 1 spot, beating both Reynolds and Altria to market at a time when traditional tobacco sales continue to dwindle in the U.S. and e-cig sales are booming.But Reynolds' own e-cig brand Vuse, as well as a British brand owned by yet another tobacco company linked to the deal, may have left no room for blu in the merged behemoth.Blu will be sold to Imperial, along with the Kool, Salem and Winston traditional cigarette brands, for $7.1 billion. Imperial is the fourth-largest tobacco company in the world.Read MoreReynolds to acquire rival Lorillard, ditch Kool"Bottom line, it was a business decision" to retain Vuse as the sole e-cig brand sold by the company when it merges, said Reynolds American spokesman David Howard. "Our approach is to remain focused on Vuse.""We have a whole lot invested in" Vuse, Howard said of the brand, which after its launch last year is now available for sale at select retail outlets in 50 states, with plans to have it widely distributed nationally by next spring."We believe we truly have a game-changing product on our hands...we believe Vuse offers a superior technology."Michael Lavery, a tobacco industry analyst at CLSA Americas, said the fact that British American Tobacco is playing a role in the merger could have also affected the decision to sell off blu.BAT owned about 42 percent of Reynolds, and has agreed to buy around $4.7 billion of extra shares to help finance the purchase of Lorillard, and to retain an equivalent level of ownership in the resulting company. But BAT recently rolled out Vype, a e-cig brand in the United Kingdom.Read MoreThe real winner in the Lorillard takeover: BAT"With blu's business in the U.K., it was competing with BAT, and it feels like BAT wouldn't want to be contributing $4.7 billion to compete with itself," Lavery said.When asked by CNBC whether BAT had asked for blu to be sold as a condition for helping financing the merger, Reynolds' Howard said, "I have no insight to that, at all."And in the end, Lavery said, that fact that blu's sales are very small compared with Reynolds' overall business "makes it quite possible that Imperial was more interested in owning blu than Reynolds was."The news agency Reuters, citing a source familiar with the situation, reported Tuesday that Imperial Tobacco insisted that blu be among the assets it was buying in the deal.Read MoreAn e-cigarette boom could be around the cornerMiguel Martin, president of Logic, the No. 2 e-cig brand after blu, told CNBC.com, "My quick read on it is that I don't know that Reynolds felt that they had to have blu. My sense is they felt they didn't have to have it.""It wasn't important to them, and it was to Commonwealth," he said, using the name of Imperial's U.S. sales division. "I think Reynolds feels comfortable going it alone with Vuse."Martin said he doesn't believe that blu's change of ownership will affect Logic's sales."From my point of view, I don't know it changes anything," Martin said. "I don't know that it's better off fighting blu under the Commonwealth flag than under the Lorillard flag."Blu has lost market share to Logic in recent months, according to both Martin and Lavery.Regardless of who owns blu, the brand will continue facing future declines in market share due to competition from Logic and ongoing "disruption" in the still-young industry, Martin said.He said companies such as Logic, which do not sell traditional combustible tobacco products, may have an edge with getting shelf space while competing with blu because convenience stores keep a larger percentage of the sale price with their products than they do with the e-cig brands sold by traditional tobacco companies.Also, Blu, like other e-cig companies that sell replaceable nicotine liquid cartridges, are now facing competition from the accelerated growth of so-called open system vaping devices, said Cynthia Cabrera, executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association.Unlike "ciga-likes" such as blu, whose shape resembles a traditional cigarette and whose manufacturers sell disposable or refillable cartridges of nicotine liquid of their own brand, open-tank systems allow users to refill the devices with a nicotine liquid of their choosing. "Vaping" shops often sell a wide range of such liquids, with different levels of nicotine and a variety of flavors.Bonnie Herzog, a tobacco analyst at Wells Fargo, noted earlier this year that the open system sector is growing twice as fast as the overall e-vapor category, which includes traditional e-cigs like blu. Herzog said users of open-system vaping devices spend less money on their habit than people who buy traditional branded e-cigs.In terms of innovation, "the ciga-like category is really not where it's at right now, where it is is open vapor," Cabrera said.Still, she doesn't expect Imperial to let blu lose market share to open system products without a tough fight.Big traditional tobacco companies "will use every competitive and regulatory means possible to squeeze out the little guys, the innovative guys, because those aren't their products," Cabrera said. "I do have concerns about that."—By CNBC's Dan ManganOriginal author: Odis
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Cigarette-maker Reynolds to buy Lorillard in $25B deal

Reynolds American Inc. will buy Lorillard Inc. for $25 billion, merging two of the world's biggest cigarette makers in a deal that includes the sale of the top-selling U.S. e-cigarette to Britain's Imperial Tobacco Group.The deal, which gives Reynolds control of Newport menthol cigarettes, strengthens the combined company's hand in competing for a shrinking pool of smokers and sets up a three-way battle with Marlboro-maker Altria Group Inc for the e-cigarette market.Imperial's purchase of the blu e-cigarette brand, as well as Reynolds' Salem, Winston and KOOL and Lorillard's Maverick brands, is meant to ease potential antitrust concerns from the marriage of the No. 2 and No. 3 U.S. tobacco companies.While cigarette sales volumes have been falling about 4 percent a year, e-cigarette sales have been booming.E-cigarettes generate roughly $2 billion a year in sales in the United States, and some industry analysts expect sales to overtake the $85 billion conventional-cigarette industry within a decade.The divestiture of blu surprised many analysts as the brand, which has 40 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market, could have boosted Reynolds' lead in the fast-growing market.Reynolds sells its own e-cigarettes under the Vuse brand, but controls less than 5 percent of the market, according to Euromonitor."It looks like everybody gets what they wanted," said Morningstar analyst Philip Gorham, adding that the deal will likely win approval from antitrust regulators.Reynolds' purchase of Lorillard's Newport brand gives the company a stronger presence in the market for menthol cigarettes, which experts say have disproportionate popularity among young people, lower-income smokers and African-Americans.Newport had 12.6 percent of the overall U.S. market in 2013.Menthol cigarettes have roughly a 28 percent market share in the United States, according to Euromonitor.Reynolds, whose brands include Camel and Pall Mall, offered $68.88 per Lorillard share, representing a premium of 2.5 percent to Lorillard's Monday close.Lorillard's shares, which have risen about 37 percent since reports of the deal first surfaced in February, were down 7.5 percent at $62.19 on Tuesday.Reynolds' shares were down 4 percent at $60.61. Imperial's shares fell 3.4 percent to 2,647 pence in London.Including debt, the deal is valued at $27.4 billion.Reynolds said it expects to have over $11 billion in revenue and about $5 billion in operating income annually after the deal closes. Reynolds had sales of $8.24 billion in 2013.British American Tobacco, Reynolds' largest shareholder, will buy shares to maintain its 42 percent stake in Reynolds through a $4.7 billion investment.BAT's shares were down 1.8 percent at 3,532 pence on the London Stock Exchange.Reynolds' financial advisers are Lazard and J.P. Morgan Securities, while Lorillard is being advised by Centerview Partners and Barclays Plc.Legal advisers to Reynolds are Jones Day, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is advising Lorillard.BAT is being advised by Deutsche Bank and UBS. The legal advisers to BAT are Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Herbert Smith Freehills. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs advised Imperial.Original author: Leanora
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Pennsylvania Legislators Calling on Smokers to Fund Public Education for Philadelphia Children

"Support public education: Buy cigarettes."That might as well be the slogan for T-shirts that come out of the Pennsylvania legislature's solution to the problem of adequately funding Philadelphia's public schools.Faced with a $93 million budget deficit for Philadelphia's school system, state legislators have decided to ask smokers to make up the budget deficit by providing extra tax revenue to support public education.According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "The tax, anticipated to bring in $1.6 million per week, could raise $45 million this year and $83 million in the first full year. The Philadelphia School District has a $93 million budget deficit."The Rest of the StoryI have no problem with a $2 per pack cigarette tax in Philadelphia to reduce smoking rates and to fund an aggressive anti-smoking campaign that would also provide money for research to prevent and treat smoking-related diseases and subsidize the treatment of smoking-related diseases. However, the idea of making public education permanently dependent upon continued high sales of cigarettes is bordering on insane.For one thing, it puts the government in the business of promoting smoking. It removes any incentive for the legislature to support any strong actions to reduce smoking. Were that to happen, the Philadelphia school system would go under. Does it not seem somewhat perverse that in order to support public education for Philadelphia children, we need to hope that people continue to smoke at high rates?The Pennsylvania governor and legislators are grown adults, and they should be able to deliver a budget that finds $93 million to fund the Philadelphia School District without tying that funding permanently to cigarette smoking. They should be forced into a closed chamber and not allowed to come out until they come up with the needed funding in a way that doesn't force smokers to shoulder the burden of supporting public education and tie such funding to continuing high rates of smoking.Hint: The solution isn't too difficult. Pennsylvania corporations are enjoying $2.4 billion in annual tax breaks. Closing a fraction of those loopholes would fully fund the Philadelphia school system.Original author: Michael Siegel
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E-Cigarettes Are Pulling an Uber on the Tobacco Industry

The new disrupters. Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/CorbisBig Tobacco is scared. Not, you know, because they've spent decades selling and marketing a lethal product while spending billions to silence their critics. But because of good old-fashioned disruption.E-cigarettes are poised to do to the tobacco industry what Uber is doing to the taxi industry, writes Steven Davidoff Solomon in DealBook. Which is why Reynolds American and Lorillard, the second- and third-largest tobacco companies in America, are in talks to merge. With their combined power, the two companies would be a "front-runner in e-cigarette technology," thanks to Lorillard's ownership of Blu eCigs, which controls 40 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market. And it would give both companies a fighting chance at winning the future."A giant tobacco merger would not be that much different from Facebook’s $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp or Google’s $3.2 billion deal for Nest Labs," Davidoff Solomon writes. And except for, well, the whole "killing more than 5 million people a year" thing, he's right. E-cigarettes aren't a good example of classic, Christensen-style disruptive innovation (since they're aimed at the top end of the cigarette market), but they are innovative, and they will cannibalize the traditional tobacco market if left unchecked.One of the reasons e-cigarettes have an advantage in the tobacco market is their health claims — which are still a subject of debate among researchers, but clearly existent. But a far bigger advantage, where Big Tobacco executives are concerned, is that while cigarette ads haven't appeared on television or radio since the 1970s, there are still no laws preventing e-cigarette companies from marketing their products in the mainstream media. By investing in e-cigarettes, Reynolds American and Lorillard are making a regulatory arbitrage play — if you're not allowed to market your products, buy something you are allowed to market.To return to the taxi example, it's as if Uber were allowed to put up huge billboards proclaiming its greatness anywhere it wanted to, and yellow cab operators were legally prohibited from doing anything to promote their cars. To keep its profit engines running, Big Tobacco has to seduce another generation of smokers. And given the ease of marketing e-cigarettes (for now), it's no surprise that the largest tobacco companies are piling in. So while the CEOs involved in the merger may talk up the health advantages of vaping over smoking, don't be fooled: This merger is about exploiting a gap in regulatory treatment, not necessarily a vote of confidence for e-cigarettes themselves.Original author: James
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Inside the E-Cig Vaper’s Den: Salvation, and New Dangers

[unable to retrieve full-text content]AA has 12 steps to take. For e-cigarette vapers, there are 7,000 chemicals to kick.Original author: Raquel
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Cigarette makers Reynolds American, Lorillard discussing merger; would create formidable No. 2

RICHMOND, Va. — Big Tobacco may soon get smaller. The makers of Camel and Newport cigarettes said Friday they are in talks to combine two of the nation's oldest and biggest tobacco companies. A deal between Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard Inc. would create a formidable No. 2 to rival Altria Group Inc., owner of Philip Morris USA. It also could spur a wave of consolidation in the tobacco business, shrink factories and workforces, and push prices for cigarettes higher even as smokers buy fewer of them. The news follows months of speculation about the possible combination. In separate statements, the companies said no agreement has been reached and there's no guarantee one will be. The merger would be "very positive for the global tobacco industry and could be just the beginning of future transactions," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Bonnie Herzog wrote in an investor note. That's partly because demand for traditional cigarettes is falling in the face of tax increases, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma. U.S. cigarette sales fell about 2.6 percent last year to 285 billion cigarettes, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. But raising prices and cutting business costs has kept the industry handsomely and reliably profitable. The companies also have cut costs to keep profits up, and the larger scale of a combined company could make future cost-cutting easier. "If you take a look back historically, the way to drive margins in the U.S. tobacco industry has been through consolidation," Cowen analyst Vivien Azer said in an interview with The Associated Press, adding that the improvement in profitability would come from cost-cutting in the near-term and manufacturing consolidations down the road. The next step for tobacco companies is an increased focus on cigarette alternatives — such as electronic cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco — for sales growth. Reynolds markets Camel, Pall Mall and Natural American Spirit cigarettes, as well as the Grizzly and Kodiak smokeless tobacco brands. It has about 27 percent of the U.S. retail cigarette market. Reynolds, which is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, also expanded its Vuse brand electronic cigarette nationally last month. Reynolds' profit rose 35 percent to $1.72 billion last year on revenue of $8.24 billion, excluding excise taxes. Lorillard, which was founded before the Revolutionary War and is the oldest continuously operating U.S. tobacco company, was spun off from Loews Corp. in 2008. The Greensboro, North Carolina-based company has about 15 percent of the retail market, bolstered by its flagship Newport cigarette brand, which commands 37.5 percent of the menthol cigarette market. Lorillard because the first major tobacco company to jump into the e-cigarette market when it acquired the Blu e-cigarette brand in 2012. Blu now accounts for almost half of all e-cigarettes sold. Lorillard's profit rose 8.5 percent to $1.19 billion last year on revenue of $4.97 billion, excluding excise taxes. A deal would likely mean a consolidation of the companies' operations and staff. Reynolds has about 5,200 full-time employees and produces its cigarettes at its 2 million-square-foot Tobaccoville, North Carolina, plant. Lorillard has about 2,900 full-time employees and produces cigarettes in Greensboro, about 40 miles southwest of Reynolds' plant. A merger also could push cigarette prices higher because it could ease competition, although the companies may have to shed some smaller brands to ease regulatory concerns about competition. And even selling smaller brands, such as Kool or Winston, might not be enough. The combined company would be very dominant among younger smokers and fans of menthol cigarettes, which could mean a bigger brand might have to be sold. "The likelihood of a deal closing in the structure that we think these companies are envisioning is highly unlikely," Azer said. "If you look at the implications of selling all the tail brands even, it doesn't really change the math. You have to sell Camel." The combined company would challenge Richmond, Virginia-based Altria, which holds about half of the retail cigarette market, led by its top-selling Marlboro brand. It also sells Black & Mild cigars, Copenhagen and Skoal smokeless tobacco and is expanding MarkTen e-cigarette brand nationally. Any deal would include involvement from British American Tobacco PLC, which makes Kent and Dunhill cigarettes overseas. British American Tobacco owns a 42 percent stake in Reynolds, and a 10-year moratorium on the company increasing that stake expires at the end of July. Reynolds said Friday that British American Tobacco is involved in the merger discussions and expects to support the deal and maintain its existing stake in the company.Original author: Shirlee
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Nelson calls for quick regulation of c-cigs

TAMPA, Fla. - Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has introduced legislation calling for childproof caps on all bottles of nicotine for e-cigarettes.The proposed regulation touches on an issue the I-Team first reported in March.Nelson compares liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes to barrels of poison arriving in the marketplace with no regulation.He told the I-Team on Friday he wants new regulations to protect children and the general public from these products, which are increasing in popularity.“Not fast enough and not enough,” said Nelson of the FDA’s response to regulating liquid nicotine, which is used in e-cigarettes.Nelson said the products are targeting kids.“Here's banana split, cotton candy, Kool Aide, Skittles,” said Nelson, reading a list of products to be regulated under the new law.The vials of potentially poisonous liquids aren't currently required to have childproof caps.So far more than 60 e-liquid poisoning cases have been reported in Florida. About 1,500 have occurred nationwide.“If a child drinks it, that child is either gonna be deathly ill or dead,” Nelson said.Nelson has introduced a bill that would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to mandate childproof caps on e-liquids.He is also working on a proposal to ban television advertising of e-cigarettes, which Nelson said glamorizes the product.“Here we go again. We've seen this movie before with what tobacco was doing to addict young people so that they're hooked for life on cigarettes,” he said.Nelson said the government needs to step in sooner, rather than later, before more young people begin using the products.“E-cigarettes are not regulated. The FDA is going to have to do that, and if they don't do it on their own, then Congress is going to have to make them,” said Nelson.Nelson said he's working with other senators on a proposed TV advertising ban, something he expects will be heavily opposed by the multi-billion dollar e-cigarette industry.Original author: Shirlee
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Cigarette giant Reynolds American in talks to acquire rival Lorillard

Cigarette-maker Reynolds American Inc. said it’s in talks to acquire Lorillard Inc., a deal that would combine the nation’s second- and third-largest tobacco firms.After months of unconfirmed reports, the two cigarette makers acknowledged the talks Friday. If completed, the deal would create a tobacco behemoth, one with a strong foothold in the increasingly popular electronic cigarette market.The companies, two of the nation's oldest, had more than $13 billion in combined sales last year. Reynolds American, the nation’s second-largest tobacco company, produces the Camel and Pall Mall cigarette brands. Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard owns Newport, the popular menthol brand. And it has a strong presence in e-cigarettes with its blu and Skycig brands.Reynolds, of Winston-Salem, N.C., also owns the e-cigarette brand Vuse.The companies said there was no guarantee a deal would be reached. If they combine, Reynolds, founded in 1875, and Lorillard, in 1760, would likely prove a strong challenger to Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco maker and parent of Philip Morris.  Also on Friday, the United Kingdom's Imperial Tobacco Group said discussions are underway with Reynolds and Lorillard to acquire some of its brands and assets.Follow me on Twitter @khouriandrew Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles TimesOriginal author: Leanora
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Disgrace of the Year: Leading Lung Health Groups Call for Ban on Fake Cigarettes, But Want Real Ones to Remain on the Market

Yesterday, a group of international lung health organizations issued a position statement on electronic cigarettes, which called for a ban (or severe restrictions) on these products until more is known about their health effects. In contrast, these organizations did not express any problem with real tobacco cigarettes remaining on the market, even though they kill millions worldwide each year, and electronic cigarettes are not known to have killed a single person ever.According to a press release from the American College of Chest Physicians: "Experts from the world’s leading lung organizations have released a position statement on electronic cigarettes, focusing on their potential adverse effects on human health and calling on governments to ban or restrict their use until their health impacts are better known.""Produced by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), the position statement will be presented July 9 at a meeting hosted by FIRS and the NCD (Noncommunicable Disease) Alliance, “Shared Drivers, Shared Solutions: NCDs, Lung Health and Sustainable Development.” ... FIRS, established in 2001, is an organization composed of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally, including the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), the American Thoracic Society (ATS), the Asociación Latinoamericana del Thorax (ALAT), the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), and the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS)."The Rest of the StoryThis has to be one of the most disgraceful moves of the year by any medical or public health group. Even the multinational tobacco companies do not have the gall to promote a ban on electronic cigarettes so that their deadly tobacco cigarettes will not be threatened by this potentially substantial competition. In fact, the position of these supposed lung health groups is far more extreme than any Big Tobacco position, as the tobacco companies have entered the e-cigarette business and are not using their lobbying power to try to remove these products from the market. Sadly, it is these lung health groups that apparently want electronic cigarettes taken off the market so that deadly tobacco cigarettes can maintain their monopoly on smokers.Despite strong evidence that vaping is much safer than smoking, that e-cigarettes do not contain any tobacco or involve any combustion, that tens of thousands of smokers are successfully using these products to quit smoking or cut down substantially on the amount they smoke, and that smokers with obstructive lung disease who switch to electronic cigarettes experience and immediate improvement in their respiratory symptoms, it appears that the American College of Chest Physicians and its partner organizations in FIRS would rather see tens of thousands of vapers return to cigarette smoking than to maintain a much healthier, smoke-free or greatly smoke-reduced lifestyle.Apparently, the American College of Chest Physicians would rather that smokers die from the known risks of tobacco cigarettes than greatly improve their health by switching to electronic cigarettes, which has unknown long-term risks - although they are certainly orders of magnitude safer than real cigarettes. At least the smokers will know what they're dying from.Some knowledgeable analysts have predicted that if promoted, electronic cigarettes could actually replace nearly half of the combustible tobacco cigarette market. This would be the greatest public health achievement of my lifetime. Sadly, the American College of Chest Physicians and its partners do not want to see this happen. They would rather stick with the status quo, where smokers will continue to die in the millions each  year, but at least they will not be taking any "unknown" risks.What is so scary to these lung groups about the prospect of so many smokers quitting or cutting down substantially on their smoking? A cynic might say that it would cause these physicians to lose a huge number of patients. That these groups are trying to protect their own payment streams is as rational an explanation for their behavior than any science- or public health-based explanation I can ponder.The truth is that these groups are stuck - trapped in a blinding ideology in which science plays absolutely no role and positions are based on pure, raw emotion. And the emotion against anything which looks like a cigarette is apparently so strong that it drowns out even the most solid evidence of the life-saving potential of a product that resembles smoking but delivers nicotine with only a minute fraction of the dangerous chemicals, and which, with proper manufacturing, appears to deliver only one chemical of any significant health concern.The rest of the story is that the FIRS groups have committed a disgraceful act, which, if their advice is adopted, will result in a substantial increase in the number of smokers and with that, an increased amount of disease and death.Original author: Michael Siegel
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Dishonoring Tony Gwynn

The loss of American sports heroes is often accompanied by an outpouring of grief. But the death of San Diego Padre star Tony Gwynn from salivary gland cancer was dishonored by a federal official (here) and other uneducated or unprincipled opportunists (here, here, here and here) who used it to further an irresponsible campaign against smokeless tobacco.The fact is that salivary gland cancer is extremely rare, about 23 cases per million men each year. Epidemiologic studies have not established a definitive cause, but they show that radiation therapy, alcohol and hair dyes are possible risk factors (more information here). Tobacco use is NOT. Stretching the facts to demonize smokeless products, Brian King, scientific advisor in the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s office of smoking and health, told Fox News, “…with smokeless use, it’s primarily in the oral region, [which is] why we’re seeing a lot of cancers associated with smokeless tobacco around the oral cavity.”This is completely false. King surely knows that the vast majority of mouth cancers are associated with smoking, alcohol abuse and/or human papillomavirus infection. Numerous epidemiologic studies have documented that there is no mouth cancer risk associated with American moist snuff, chewing tobacco or Swedish snus.In another attack on smokeless tied to Mr. Gwynn’s untimely death, periodontist Dr. Sanda Moldovan took to The Huffington Post with total disregard for science and fact (here). “Nicotine is a silent killer with any number of different kinds of cancers,” she wailed. Decades of scientific studies have established that nicotine does not cause cancer at all. In fact, nicotine is not the cause of any disease related to smoking.Moldovan claimed that, “As an oral health professional, I see the initial stages of oral, gum, throat and salivary gland cancers all too often,” but this is near impossible unless she defines “all too often” as twice in her entire career. In a published study using data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, I calculated that “If every oral cancer was detected by 1 of the 128,000 general dentists in the United States, then on average each dentist would make 1 diagnosis every 12 years.”Moldovan is grossly wrong in claiming that “There are even studies that show that smokeless tobacco is more carcinogenic than smoked tobacco!” A 2004 National Cancer Institute-funded study concluded: … “[smokeless] products pose a substantially lower risk to the user than do conventional cigarettes. This finding raises ethical questions concerning whether it is inappropriate and misleading for government officials or public health experts to characterize smokeless tobacco products as comparably dangerous with cigarette smoking.” I don’t blame Tony Gwynn for desperately trying to find a cause for the cancer that took his life. In blaming smokeless tobacco, he was wrong, but that doesn’t attenuate the sense of loss all of us feel when a legend’s life comes to a close. However, Gwynn’s life and last struggle are dishonored when extremists torture the truth and disrespect science.Original author: Raquel
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Economic illiteracy about tobacco, from the antepode

by Carl V Phillips The most fundamental lie of the tobacco control industry (TCI) is what I have dubbed the “demonic possession” theory of tobacco use. It is the myth that no one likes to use tobacco products. It is obvious … Continue reading →Original author: Carl V Phillips
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CASAA's Second request for extension of FDA's comment deadline

To:   U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Continue reading
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Jacob Sullum on e-cigarettes: Sowing confusion among anti-smoking activists

You might think people concerned about the health effects of smoking would welcome an alternative that involves neither tobacco nor combustion and is therefore much less hazardous. Think again.“E-cigarettes have taken us back 50 years,” according to the headline over a commentary that National Jewish Health, a medical centre in Denver, recently paid to place on the op-ed page of The New York Times. The essay — co-authored by David Tinkelman and Amy Lukowski, who are in charge of the hospital’s “health initiatives,” including its tobacco-cessation program — never substantiates that claim, which is typical of e-cigarette critics who see a public-health menace where they should see a way of reducing tobacco-related disease and death.You might think people concerned about the health effects of smoking would welcome an alternative that involves neither tobacco nor combustion and is therefore much less hazardous. But with some notable exceptions, anti-smoking activists and public-health officials have been mostly hostile to electronic cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in a propylene glycol vapour. This puzzling resistance seems to be driven by emotion rather than science or logic.Tinkelman and Lukowski concede that “e-cigarette vapor contains far fewer toxic chemicals and carcinogens than does tobacco smoke” and that “if e-cigarettes are used to wean individuals off tobacco or to significantly reduce the amount smoked per day, this is a good result.” But they worry that “if e-cigarettes used by non-smokers produce nicotine addiction and smoking habits that lead to new tobacco use, e-cigarettes are causing harm.” Judging from their headline, Tinkelman and Lukowski think that harm not only threatens to outweigh the health benefits of replacing smoking with vaping but could even reverse half a century of progress against tobacco-related disease, giving us smoking rates similar to those in the early 1960s, when most American men and a third of women smoked — compared to about 22% and 17%, respectively, today.Despite Tinkelman and Lukowski’s over-the-top fears, there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are serving as a gateway to the real thing. They cite survey data indicating that “e-cigarette use among middle and high school students from 2011 to 2012 doubled to 1.8 million users,” adding that “nearly 160,000 of those adolescents do not use tobacco, highlighting the danger e-cigarettes present.” Another way of putting it: Just 7% of teenagers had ever tried e-cigarettes as of 2012, and 91% of them were smokers. Far from alarming, that fact suggests some young smokers may end up switching to vaping, thereby dramatically reducing the health risks they face. That would be “a good result,” as Tinkelman and Lukowski acknowledge. Jacob Sullum on e-cigarettes: Sowing confusion among anti-smoking activistsOriginal author: Leanora
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E-cigarette shops pop up throughout McHenry County

CRYSTAL LAKE – In opening a new electronic cigarette and hookah lounge, a Crystal Lake man said he was joining what he calls “a revolution.”Vapor Place, 119 N. Main St., Crystal Lake, opened its doors July 1.For those 18 and older, the new business offers a bar and lounge for e-cigarette and e-hookah smokers.For Justin Dickson and wife, Sarah, the process to open up shop moved quickly – the lease was signed just two weeks before opening day. However, the act that prompted the endeavor came in February after a personal discovery by Justin Dickson.“I smoked for 20-some years,” he said, “then I picked up an electronic cigarette and never touched a [traditional] cigarette again.”E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices in which a coil heats up a liquid solution – e-liquid – to produce a water vapor. There are e-liquids of many flavors, some that contain nicotine, and some that don’t.“Zero-nicotine [options] account for about half our sales,” Justin Dickson said, standing in front of the various e-liquid flavors.The act of smoking e-cigarettes is referred to by many as “vaping,” he and Sarah Dickson said, adding it’s a fad that has been growing since the early- to mid-2000s.As of 2011, about 6 percent of all adults in the U.S. had tried e-cigarettes, according to a 2013 report by the Center for Disease Control.Justin Dickson said he noticed local interest as other places began opening in recent years – VapeTech Inc. opened about a year ago in the Huntley Outlet Center, and Vapor Hut opened in February, to name a few.Owner of Vapor Hut Frank Angiulo said demand has been high enough for him to start planning more locations.He has stores in Crystal Lake and Algonquin so far, but plans to open several more in Schaumburg, Elmwood Park and Chicago. The electronic smoking business, he said, is booming.“The customer reception has just been amazing,” Angiulo said, adding he’s seen customers reduce their nicotine-intake to zero, in time.For Sarah Dickson, that was the purpose of opening Vapor Place.“I don’t smoke, and I never have,” she said. “I wanted to see people stop smoking, and I saw this as a way to do that.”“It’s like a revolution against tobacco,” Justin Dickson added.Medical experts across the country have debated the effects of e-cigarettes, which, as an industry, is still largely unregulated.The Federal Drug Administration is spending $270 million on research projects to determine the effects and possible risks related to the devices, according to a July Reuters report.Damion Clai, owner of VapeTech Inc., opened his store after smoking the electronic devices for five years.It won’t always stop people from smoking traditional cigarettes, which have long been proven bad for the body, he said, but as far as crossing people over, he considers it a step in the right direction.“I was smoking about a pack a day,” Clai said. “So it definitely doesn’t solve a problem completely, but if you can cut down, that’s still something.”Previous Page|1|2|Next Page| CommentsOriginal author: Irving
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Debate brews over law banning indoor use of e-cigarettes

Melissa Dribben, Inquirer Staff WriterLast updated: Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 1:08 AM From his perch at the crimson-walled tasting bar in Love Vape on South Fifth Street, Jeff Cullaton took a dim view of Philadelphia's new law banning electronic cigarettes from most indoor public spaces."I think it's premature," he said, enveloped in a custard-flavored vapor cloud.The restriction, in effect since last Tuesday, does not apply to shops like this, where the air is as thick and cloying as a taxi loaded with Car Scent air fresheners. Yet the very idea that e-cigarettes may be unhealthy in any setting has raised the hackles of aficionados like Cullaton.The 43-year-old maintenance worker from New Jersey said there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are harmful. Certainly not to the same degree as cigarettes.More coverage"It's not combustible. You're not grappling with the same toxic chemicals," he said, adding he's so confident that vaping is safe, he does it at home, in front of his two young children.While public health officials agree that e-cigarettes appear to be far less pernicious than tobacco, they say that the lack of scientific data is the very reason bans are needed."Research hasn't kept up with the burgeoning of the trend," said Andrew Hyland, a department chairman at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., a major center for e-cigarette research.Hyland, who testified in Philadelphia for the 2007 bill banning cigarette smoking in public spaces, said e-cigarettes warrant the same restrictions.The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes, but it is in the process of attempting to expand its jurisdiction to cover them. In 2009, the agency tested samples from cartridges and found nitrosamines, a known carcinogen, and other poisonous substances including diethylene glycol, found in antifreeze."You don't need thousands of studies to show that there are dangerous chemicals emitted," Hyland said. "Those who think electronic cigarettes are safe are fooling themselves."In April, when Mayor Nutter signed bills banning the sale of e-cigarettes and similar devices to minors and limiting their use, he said that "erring on the side of caution is important for the health, safety, and welfare of all of our citizens."In 2010, New Jersey became the first state to ban the use of e-cigarettes in most public places. With its new law, Philadelphia joins major cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.Pennsylvania doesn't regulate e-cigarettes, and the $2-per-pack cigarette tax that Gov. Corbett is expected to sign to provide revenue for city schools will not apply to the devices.E-cigarette technology has evolved rapidly since the first patents were issued in 1992. The latest generation of mechanisms was developed in China and came to the United States around 2007. As the trend has taken off, marketing has shifted into high gear."Now you can enjoy the full effects of smoking and nicotine without the negative aspects of traditional cigarettes," touts an ad for Regal Cigs. "Most people don't realize that cigarettes contain over 4,000 toxic chemicals and carcinogens. . . . Electronic cigarettes . . . deliver nicotine through water, and allow the user to exhale only vapor. ... Celebrities have realized that Regal Cigs are the leading tobacco alternative to stay looking young, feel great, and reduce serious health risks."Public health officials worry that teenagers will be seduced by the candy and fruit-flavored e-liquids, which may contain unhealthy compounds and lead to vaping nicotine-based liquids.However, without more data, they say, there is no way to know if e-cigarettes will turn out to be like Shirley Temples containing Red Dye No. 3 maraschino cherries, or alcopops like Mike's Hard Lemonade."Research is trying to keep up, but is not able to move at the pace that capitalist business can," Hyland said.This year, Cynthia Cabrera, executive director of Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association, which represents the e-cigarette industry, said some regulation is needed to protect minors. She supports manufacturing standards and childproof packaging with warning labels.At Love Vape, Chy Kan, 18, a Bartram High School senior who works there as a salesman, doesn't object to banning sales to anyone under 18, "because it does go into your lungs." Still, he said, a lot of teens like him start smoking tobacco in middle school and would be better off using e-cigarettes."It feels a lot more safe," he said. "I think of it as the vapor used to help babies feel better."Nearly all the clients in the shop in early July said they used vaping to wean themselves off nicotine.Tom Nyeng, a 29-year-old computer technician, said he quit smoking two packs a day when he took up vaping nicotine e-liquids. "I started strong and worked my way down," he said. "I don't do nicotine anymore."Such anecdotal evidence is common, but not yet supported by scientific studies, said Hyland.One study, published in May in the journal Tobacco Control, found that secondhand exposure to vaping makes cigarette smokers crave a nicotine fix as much as real tobacco smoke does.Even if vaping proves to help smokers quit, Hyland said, the benefits might be outweighed by the dangers of marketing them to young people."Do you like Peaches and Cream?" a saleswoman at Love Vape asked a young Mount Airy man, who said he was 21."I"m trying vaping for the first time," he said. "It looks better than tobacco.""I think it will be better for you," the saleswoman said, showing him a $100 starter kit. "It's a lot smoother. And you won't smell like an ashtray."This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.-2590@dribbenonphillyOriginal author: Warner
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Outstanding Commentary on the Folly of Anti-Smoking Groups' Opposition to Electronic Cigarettes

Tony Newman, the media relations director for the Drug Policy Alliance, has written a cogent piece which is a must-read for anyone who has been following The Rest of the Story and its exposition of the strong opposition to vaping from numerous (supposedly) anti-smoking advocates and groups.I can't add anything to this fine piece, so I'll leave it for readers to examine. I'll just close with the final paragraph of Newman's piece, which summarizes the situation incisively:"Anti-smoking advocates have become so used to demonizing smoking and so afraid of giving an inch that they are waging a war against a practice that is actually accomplishing the goal of reducing or eliminating people's smoking. They should know better than most that a tool that may help millions of people stop smoking cigarettes should be celebrated and embraced -- not restricted and stigmatized."Original author: Michael Siegel
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Maryland Hospital Will Not Hire Ex-Smokers, If They are Still Using Electronic Cigarettes

Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis wants to encourage smokers to quit, but only in the way the hospital says they should quit. Specifically, smokers who successfully quit smoking using electronic cigarettes will not be eligible for employment if they are continuing to use e-cigarettes to stay smoke-free. Moreover, smokers who are currently attempting to quit using e-cigarettes will not be eligible for employment, no matter how successful they might be in quitting or cutting down using these products.Starting next July, Anne Arundel Medical Center will not hire anyone who uses nicotine in any form. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun: "Anyone who wants a job next year at Anne Arundel Medical Center — whether as a surgeon or security guard — will have to prove they don't smoke or use tobacco.The Annapolis hospital's new hiring policy might be controversial, but it is legal in Maryland and more than half of the United States. ... Anne Arundel Medical Center, like a growing number of health systems, universities and other businesses, will require a urine test for nicotine use for all applicants starting next July. The policy ... covers not only cigarettes, but cigars, pipes, snuff and e-cigarettes."The Rest of the StoryThis is not a public health policy. It is a moral crusade. If it were a public health policy based on some sort of health principles, then it certainly would not penalize ex-smokers who quit using electronic cigarettes. In contrast, it would actually reward these individuals for having quit smoking and perhaps saved their lives.It the policy were based on health principles, then it certainly would not exempt current employees. Clearly, the hospital doesn't care that much about the health principle, since it will continue to employ smokers with no questions asked.If the policy were based on health principles, it would encourage smokers to quit, and therefore, it would reward smokers who are trying to quit using nicotine patches, nicotine gum, or electronic cigarettes, rather than exclude these individuals from employment.If the policy were based on health principles, then it would certainly include other behaviors, such as those related to obesity, which have large health care costs and which set a "bad example." It would certainly include alcohol use as well.The rest of the story is that this is not an employment policy based on health principles. Instead, it is part of a moral crusade against a particular health behavior (i.e., a vice) which is being punished in a discriminatory fashion.Original author: Michael Siegel
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