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It’s surprising finding oneself involuntarily part of a research study. Given no chance to contribute, perhaps I can offer privileged insight into the processes the authors seek to describe.
Analysis of tweets around the COP8 meeting show that nicotine consumer advocates were the most active, followed by public health advocates and the tobacco industry. My company – Knowledge Action Change – also tweeted, at the Geneva launch of our tobacco harm reduction report.  Tweeting by tobacco harm reduction advocates out-shadowed “official” FCTC messaging (and if the authors had searched #FCTCCOP8 and #COP8 as well as #COP8FCTC, they would have uncovered more).
The article asserts that tobacco industry money is behind this activity. But it is beyond this study’s narrow methodological reach to illuminate why nicotine consumer advocates tweet. My discussions with nicotine consumer advocates – the majority of whom are volunteers - demonstrate passionate interest in the policymaking that influences their lives. Having found safer alternatives to smoking, they fear that inappropriate regulation including bans will see their options disappear. They are frustrated that they are ignored by tobacco control policymakers, regulators and researchers. Barred from COP8 along with the public and press, consumer organisations are also barred from the NGO coalition Framework Convention Alliance. No other field of health policy excludes the affected. Consu...
The article asserts that tobacco industry money is behind this activity. But it is beyond this study’s narrow methodological reach to illuminate why nicotine consumer advocates tweet. My discussions with nicotine consumer advocates – the majority of whom are volunteers - demonstrate passionate interest in the policymaking that influences their lives. Having found safer alternatives to smoking, they fear that inappropriate regulation including bans will see their options disappear. They are frustrated that they are ignored by tobacco control policymakers, regulators and researchers. Barred from COP8 along with the public and press, consumer organisations are also barred from the NGO coalition Framework Convention Alliance. No other field of health policy excludes the affected. Consumers use social media to speak out, asking others to do likewise. Picking on a tiny unfunded Mexican organisation for encouraging peers to tweet misunderstands how social media works: the FCA itself recently exhorted members to tweet in the week of the postponed COP9.
Prior assumptions about tobacco industry interference dominate this article (as with much of the Bath group’s work). The authors assert that ‘vaping consumer advocacy groups’ receive industry funding, but provide no evidence for this for any national or local group cited. Net result – the article both smears and further disempowers a disenfranchised population.
Do the authors apply their ‘theory of external influence’ to their own work? The Bath group shares over $20m from the anti-nicotine and anti-tobacco harm reduction Bloomberg Philanthropies.  Philanthro-capitalism comes with its own strings attached. 
Perhaps more productive would be social science insights into the views of consumer advocates and the narratives that both drive and divide a field in which all parties ostensibly share a common outcome - an end to smoking.
1. No Fire, No Smoke: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2018. London: Knowledge-Action-Change. https://gsthr.org/resources/item/no-fire-no-smoke-global-state-tobacco-h...
3. Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020. London: Knowledge-Action-Change. https://gsthr.org/resources/item/burning-issues-global-state-tobacco-har...
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We appreciate the authors’ concern about industry “astroturfing.” We believe astroturf activities undermine the genuine consumer movement that INNCO and its members represent. But the conclusions that the authors draw from their research are attenuated and inaccurate. In particular, we object strenuously to the authors’ conclusion that because INNCO has received funding from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (the Foundation), we are a tobacco front group.
INNCO was formed in 2016, a year before the Foundation was established. All of INNCO’s members are autonomous, independent consumer organisations, and with rare exception are run by volunteers on a shoe-string budget. These organisations joined forces to create INNCO, and they nominate and elect INNCO’s Governing Board members, who serve without compensation.
INNCO only accepts funding from sources where our independence as an organisation run by and for consumers is assured. INNCO operated for more than two years with only volunteer efforts and no funding. (Funding from the Foundation was received in December of 2018, which is after the period this paper covers.)
As the authors note, INNCO was formed in large part to ensure the consumer voice is heard on international platforms. However, we question the authors’ intent in casting our desire to engage as legitimate stakeholders as nefarious.
While the authors have cited numerous references on the motivations of t...
While the authors have cited numerous references on the motivations of the tobacco industry, they appear to not understand the tobacco harm reduction consumer space, relying solely on the previous work of their own organisation to draw inferences. Consumer advocates are passionate about alternatives that have helped them wean off smoking, and are committed to ensuring continued access for these potentially life-saving products.
Consumers are aligned with FCTC’s goals of mitigating tobacco-related death and disease, although our approach differs in that we reject prohibitionism and stigmatisation in favour of pragmatic, humane and ultimately more effective policies that recognise human rights and the agency of users to become proactive participants in improving their health. INNCO thus brings a unique, ear-to-the-ground perspective to tobacco control efforts, and should be welcomed as FCTC observers.
By encouraging governments, policymakers and others to view consumers and consumer groups as fronts for the tobacco industry, the authors deplatform and disenfranchise an already unfairly marginalised group. We urge the authors to consider the ethical implications of nudging decisionmakers to dismiss the consumer voice. This disregard of the most profoundly affected stakeholders occurs in no other health or policy arena.
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We object to the framing of Association of Vapers India (AVI), erroneously referred to as ‘Vape India’ in the paper, as a tobacco industry front group, without providing any basis for the claim except our membership of International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO).
AVI was organised in August 2016, when consumers of low-risk alternatives came together to arrest the tide of state bans in India, which were being lobbied for by the Bloomberg Philanthropies network the authors belong to. Though one of our directors is the current president of INNCO’s governing board, elected through a member vote in the 2020 General Assembly, he is serving in unpaid, honorary capacity.
AVI has not received funding from INNCO, nor from the Foundation for Smoke-free World (FSFW), and neither from the tobacco industry. Our work is financed through voluntary contributions, and like INNCO, the affairs are conducted by a governing board comprising unpaid consumer volunteers.
It is scurrilous to cast AVI as a tobacco industry group or anything other than a consumer-led movement that is seeking access to harm reduction avenues for India’s nearly 270 million tobacco users, among whom cancers are rising even as most have meagre means to deal with the health consequences, which makes harm prevention a vital mitigation strategy. We are product agnostic and advocate access to lower-risk alternatives for both smokers and smokeless tobacco...
It is scurrilous to cast AVI as a tobacco industry group or anything other than a consumer-led movement that is seeking access to harm reduction avenues for India’s nearly 270 million tobacco users, among whom cancers are rising even as most have meagre means to deal with the health consequences, which makes harm prevention a vital mitigation strategy. We are product agnostic and advocate access to lower-risk alternatives for both smokers and smokeless tobacco users, adhering to harm reduction and human rights principles laid out in UN drug policies and in Article 1(d) of the FCTC charter.
We find these accusations especially mischievous in light of our Indian government owning a major 28% stake in the country’s cigarette monopoly and gaining directly from the e-cigarette ban, despite which it was invited to chair COP8 proceedings, whereas consumer advocates, including from AVI, who were there to seek deliberations on their right to access lower-risk alternatives, and whom the FCTC policies affect most severely, were ousted after the plenary session on the pretext of preventing industry influence, left to protest outside the venue and use social media to make ourselves heard.
We strongly oppose this unfair application of Article 5.3 of FCTC which covets tobacco-trading governments but forcefully excludes consumers and attempts to delegitimize them under the garb of the same provision.
 "The Union congratulates India for protecting non-smokers and ...." 11 Dec. 2019, https://theunion.org/news/the-union-congratulates-india-for-protecting-n....
 "Report of National Cancer Registry Programme 2020." https://www.ncdirindia.org/All_Reports/Report_2020/default.aspx.
 "E-cigarettes ban: As tobacco stocks surge, this is how the ...." 19 Sep. 2019, https://indianexpress.com/article/business/market/e-cigarettes-ban-tobac....
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Recent work from Ilies et al. (1) is very informative toward understanding the degree to which heated tobacco products might confer less health risk than combusted cigarettes. This publication extends well beyond the existing HTP emissions evidence base, much of which was not conducted by independent groups. The authors should be commended for leveraging strong methodology, and for their comprehensive evaluation of toxicants generated by these products.
While the methodology and results of this publication appear sound, there are a number of inaccurate claims that warrant criticism in the second paragraph of the Introduction section:
• The second paragraph discusses nicotine vaping products (e-cigarettes), however citation #2 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of cigarettes and other tobacco products among students aged 13-15 years--worldwide, 1999-2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2006;55:553) utilize data from 1999 through 2005, which mostly spans a time frame prior to the invention of the first e-cigarette in 2004 (2), and certainly spans a timeframe prior to their widespread marketing in the United States. The citation follows the sentence “However, the death toll provoked by their [e-cigarettes] consumption has increased significantly, reaching 650,000 annually, and it is likely to rise over the coming year…” This citation is clearly inapplicable to the unfounded claim being made about deaths attributable to e-ci...
• The second paragraph discusses nicotine vaping products (e-cigarettes), however citation #2 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of cigarettes and other tobacco products among students aged 13-15 years--worldwide, 1999-2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2006;55:553) utilize data from 1999 through 2005, which mostly spans a time frame prior to the invention of the first e-cigarette in 2004 (2), and certainly spans a timeframe prior to their widespread marketing in the United States. The citation follows the sentence “However, the death toll provoked by their [e-cigarettes] consumption has increased significantly, reaching 650,000 annually, and it is likely to rise over the coming year…” This citation is clearly inapplicable to the unfounded claim being made about deaths attributable to e-cigarette use.
• Citation #3 also supports claims about e-cigarette use, however the cited paper (Sinha DN, Kumar A, Bhartiya D, et al. Smokeless tobacco use among adolescents in global perspective. Nicotine Tob Res 2017;19:1395–6) references non-combusted tobacco products in general, as opposed to the many publications which have looked explicitly at e-cigarette use in a more comprehensive fashion. After reading the Sinha et al. research letter, I am not sure that e-cigarettes were considered at all.
• Citation #4 (US Department of Commerce CB. National cancer Institute and centers for disease control and prevention Co-Sponsored tobacco use supplement to the current population survey 2007) does not provide a direct link to any supporting data/publication. It appears the authors are generally referring to the 2006-2007 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS-TUS), which was conducted in April 2006, August 2006, and January 2007 (3). The first report of an e-cigarette being imported to the United States is from August 2006 (https://rulings.cbp.gov/ruling/M85579), and the 2006-2007 CPS-TUS did not include any survey items related to e-cigarettes. As such, there is no data from the 2006-2007 CPS-TUS that supports the claim “[e-cigarettes] are highly addictive and can cause serious health problems”.
• The claim “More than 30 carcinogenic compounds in high concentrations were identified, leading to severe health hazards such as oral, pharyngeal, oesophageal and pancreatic cancers” is unfounded, as there is no longitudinal data linking e-cigarettes and cancer to date, nor am I aware of evidence that over 30 carcinogenic compounds in “high concentrations” have been identified in any studies of e-cigarette emissions. Additionally, the provided citation (citation #5: Hatsukami D, Zeller M, Gupta P, et al. Smokeless tobacco and public health: a global perspective 2014) does not talk about e-cigarettes even once.
• Citation #6 (Gupta R, Gupta S, Sharma S, et al. Risk of coronary heart disease among smokeless tobacco users: results of systematic review and meta-analysis of global data. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2019;21:25–31) also does not pertain to e-cigarettes at all, and the accompanying claim “Cardiovascular death risks and stillbirths were also shown to increase up to four times, signalling real concerns regarding human health safety” is baseless with respect to the epidemiological literature on e-cigarettes.
While these concerns do not directly impact the study results or conclusions, e-cigarettes have become a polarizing topic in the tobacco control community and beyond. As such, claims about e-cigarettes must be made with the utmost care, based on rigorous scientific evidence and sound, balanced interpretations of relevant findings. This publication will be read and cited many times over as heated tobacco products continue to proliferate in tobacco markets across the globe, making it that much more important to address these misleading, and at times, blatantly false claims.
1. Ilies BD, Moosakutty SP, Kharbatia NM, et al. Identification of volatile constituents released from IQOS heat-not-burn tobacco HeatSticks
using a direct sampling method. Tobacco Control. Published Online First: 26 May 2020. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055521
2. Henningfield JE & Zaatari GS. Electronic nicotine delivery systems: emerging science foundation for policy. Tobacco Control
3. US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau (2006-2007). National Cancer Institute and Food and Drug Administration co-sponsored
Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. 2006-2007. https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/tcrb/tus-cps/
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The meta-analysis by Khouja et al. confirms the strong association in young people between e-cigarette use and subsequent smoking. The critical issue is whether the relationship is causal. If there is a causal relationship, there are several factors which diminish its impact.
Firstly, most of the studies used ‘ever smoking’ as the outcome. Ever smoking is a poor marker for smoking-related harm as most smoking by vapers who later smoke is experimental and infrequent and few progress to established smoking (100+ lifetime cigarettes). Shahab et al. found that only 2.7% of youth who tried e-cigarettes first progressed to established smoking. Only established smoking is linked to significant smoking-related death and disease.
Secondly, the absolute number of non-smokers who progress from vaping to smoking is small as smoking precedes vaping in the vast majority of cases (70-85%). If there is a gateway from vaping to smoking, this only affects a minority of young vapers.
Thirdly, the authors use Bradford Hill’s dose-response and specificity criteria to assess whether the association between vaping and subsequent smoking is likely to be causal.
They acknowledge that the dose-response criterion is mostly based on nicotine dependence, indicating that that nicotine dependent vapers are more likely to progress to smoking. However, nicotine dependence in non-smoking vapers is rare, less than 4% in the 2018 National Youth T...
They acknowledge that the dose-response criterion is mostly based on nicotine dependence, indicating that that nicotine dependent vapers are more likely to progress to smoking. However, nicotine dependence in non-smoking vapers is rare, less than 4% in the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS).
They point out that studies with ‘negative control outcomes’ would reduce specificity but do not cite any studies to demonstrate this. A number of studies have found that vaping also predicts other risky behaviors such as alcohol, marijuana and other substance use.[5,6] There is no biologically plausible mechanism for e-cigarette use being a causal factor for these other behaviours. We think that, like smoking, these associations are best explained by a common liability.
Finally, the recent study by Shahab et al. using NYTS data found that nicotine vaping appears to be protective against future smoking. Teens who vaped first were significantly less likely to subsequently become established smokers than 1) those who smoked first and 2) a matched group of non-vapers.
Their findings suggest that, if there is a gateway from vaping to smoking it is very small and is outweighed by a much larger effect of diverting youth away from cigarette smoking.
1. Khouja JN, Suddell SF, Peters SE, et al. Is e-cigarette use in non-smoking young adults associated with later smoking? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Tobacco control 2020 doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055433 [published Online First: 2020/03/12]
2. Shahab L, Beard E, Brown J. Association of initial e-cigarette and other tobacco product use with subsequent cigarette smoking in adolescents: a cross-sectional, matched control study. Tobacco control 2020 doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055283
3. Berry KM, Reynolds LM, Collins JM, et al. E-cigarette initiation and associated changes in smoking cessation and reduction: the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, 2013-2015. Tobacco control 2018;28(1):42-49. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-054108
4. West R, Brown J, Jarvis M. Epidemic of youth nicotine addiction? What does the National Youth Tobacco Survey reveal about high school ecigarette use in the USA? 2019 [Available from: https://www.qeios.com/read/article/391 accessed 24 February 2020.
5. Park E, Livingston JA, Wang W, et al. Adolescent E-cigarette use trajectories and subsequent alcohol and marijuana use. Addictive behaviors 2020;103:106213. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106213 [published Online First: 2019/12/22]
6. Rigsby DC, Keim SA, Adesman A. Electronic Vapor Product Usage and Substance Use Risk Behaviors Among U.S. High School Students. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol 2019;29(7):545-53. doi: 10.1089/cap.2019.0047 [published Online First: 2019/07/26]
7. Vanyukov MM, Tarter RE, Kirillova GP, et al. Common liability to addiction and "gateway hypothesis": theoretical, empirical and evolutionary perspective. Drug and alcohol dependence 2012;123 Suppl 1:S3-17. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.12.018 [published Online First: 2012/01/21]
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Miech and colleagues demonstrate declines in prevalence of non-medical use of prescription drugs among US high school students and show that these declines can be explained by trends in cigarette smoking.1 These observations are taken as support of the gateway hypothesis in which cigarette smoking increases the likelihood of subsequent other drug use. The authors further argue that these results are inconsistent with a ‘common liability’ model, and that the common liability model predicts that adolescent drug use would have “stayed steady or even increased as adolescents continued to use these drugs regardless of whether they smoked.” In this scenario, adolescents with a predilection toward substance might substitute cigarettes with other drugs as smoking rates decline.
However, this conceptualization of the common liability model is inconsistent with how such models are typically understood. Models that posit a common liability do not assert that the degree of liability is fixed in the population, such that changes in risk for use of one drug increases risk for other drug use. Instead, common liability can be influenced by environmental factors and environmental changes can coherently impact multiple outcomes, resulting in trends similar to those observed by Miech and colleagues.
For over 40 years, Problem Behavior Theory has provided a comprehensive theory and empirical approach to common liability. “Problem behaviors” (later termed...
For over 40 years, Problem Behavior Theory has provided a comprehensive theory and empirical approach to common liability. “Problem behaviors” (later termed “risk behaviors”) can be modeled as a latent factor that predisposes an adolescent to use of multiple substances, delinquency, and other health risk behaviors.2,3 The latent factor is influenced by the environment at multiple levels. We rely on this framework in two recent papers that demonstrate that that US declines in tobacco use, other substance use, substance use disorders, delinquency, and sexual promiscuity among adolescents are consistent with a population-level reduction in a latent factor that predisposes to risk for all of these outcomes.4,5 Similarly, the externalizing spectrum of personality and psychopathology is postulated to arise from a common liability to multiple substance use and other disinhibitory disorders.6 Externalizing liability has been shown to change in response to specific environmental stressors such as minority stress and child maltreatment.7–10
Although common liability models do not invoke causal gateway effects, they are consistent with commonly observed gateway patterns, in which easily available drugs such as alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana are usually used prior to use of other drugs.5 Thus, trends observed by Miech and colleagues do not contradict the common liability model.
1. Miech R, Keyes KM, O’Malley PM, Johnston LD. The great decline in adolescent cigarette smoking since 2000: consequences for drug use among US adolescents. Tob Control. January 2020:tobaccocontrol-2019-055052.
2. Jessor R, Jessor SL. Problem Behavior and Psychosocial Development: A Longitudinal Study of Youth. Academic Press; 1977.
3. Jessor R. Risk behavior in adolescence: A psychosocial framework for understanding and action. Journal of adolescent Health. 1991;12(8):597-605.
4. Grucza RA, Krueger RF, Agrawal A, et al. Declines in prevalence of adolescent substance use disorders and delinquent behaviors in the USA: a unitary trend? Psychological Medicine. 2018;48(9):1494-1503.
5. Borodovsky JT, Krueger RF, Agrawal A, Grucza RA. A Decline in Propensity Toward Risk Behaviors Among U.S. Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2019;65(6):745-751.
6. Krueger RF, Markon KE, Patrick CJ, Benning SD, Kramer MD. Linking antisocial behavior, substance use, and personality: an integrative quantitative model of the adult externalizing spectrum. J Abnorm Psychol. 2007;116(4):645-666.
7. Lehavot K, Simoni JM. The impact of minority stress on mental health and substance use among sexual minority women. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2011;79(2):159-170.
8. Eaton NR. Transdiagnostic psychopathology factors and sexual minority mental health: Evidence of disparities and associations with minority stressors. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. 2014;1(3):244-254.
9. Rodriguez-Seijas C, Stohl M, Hasin DS, Eaton NR. Transdiagnostic Factors and Mediation of the Relationship Between Perceived Racial Discrimination and Mental Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(7):706.
10. Vachon DD, Krueger RF, Rogosch FA, Cicchetti D. Assessment of the Harmful Psychiatric and Behavioral Effects of Different Forms of Child Maltreatment. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(11):1135.
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This is a well written original research about the burning issue of tobacco manufacturer lobbying. These manufacturing industries have developed strategies to undercut minimum price laws. By increasing tobacco taxes an effective policy has been designed to decrease tobacco use. In Pakistan currently, 209 million people smoke and about 83 billion cigarettes are smoked per year. As Pakistan has not ratified any anti-smoking policies, there should be great effort made to raise excise duties and taxes on tobacco companies to reduce the demand for cigarettes. In 2017 the local price of cigarettes was about 75 rupees of which half was excise duties .
With this expansion of taxes, there will be responses of reducing tobacco consumption, but the cigarette manufacturing industries developed specific promotions and lobbies to encourage their consumers to purchase lower taxed or lower priced tobacco products. It is the responsibility of health authorities to regulate the prices and promotion of such hazardous products . According to WHO, “MPOWER” was the slogan in 2015, according to which M= monitor tobacco usage, P= Protect people from tobacco smoke, O= offering help to quit tobacco use, W= warning about its hazards, E= enforce to ban its advertisement, R = Raise tobacco taxes .
For smoke free Pakistan and all over the world four key factors should be instruments: Education, legislation, quitting support and financial policies.
1. Bate R. Large cigarette tax hikes, illicit producers, and organized crime: Lessons from Pakistan. AEI Paper & Studies. 2018 Jun 1:1.
2. Apollonio DE, Glantz SA. Tobacco industry promotions and pricing after tax increases: An analysis of internal industry documents.
3. World Health Organization. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2015: raising taxes on tobacco. World Health Organization; 2015 Jul 31.
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It should be noted that the Aspire Cleito coils used in this study have a manufacturer stated operating power range of between 55 and 75 watts. This is noted both on the box and laser etched into the side of the coil housing proper. it should be noted that the first data points in the graph ( to demonstrate the presence of CO in both liquid samples are in excess of the stated power range of the element.
"Strawnana" at 80 watts
"Black Ice" at 100 watts
This leads me to question the normalizing curve for the black ice sample as there are no data points in the graph (Figure 2) within the manufacturer noted operating range for that coil.
Furthermore, while this statement " ...though the bulk liquid temperature is controlled by boiling limits of the e-liquid component" would be accurate were the coil to be completely submerged in liquid, the mechanics of coil design will confound that principle. The resistance coils in electronic cigarettes are not, by design, submerged in liquid, they are in contact with a liquid saturated wick. Any heat energy applied to the coil whether in magnitude or duration, that exceeds the supply of liquid saturating the wick will result in a temperature spike which could cause the temperature to spike causing thermal degradation of what liquid does remain, and the singeing of the cotton wick.
It can be expected that where combustion occurs, carbon compounds will...
It can be expected that where combustion occurs, carbon compounds will be present.
I would be interested in seeing the data sets to better understand exactly how far out of operating range CO began to manifest in the study.
The atomizer used for testing has a maximum rating of 80 watts.
200 watts was applied. Needless to say, horrible results occurred.
This is not reputable science, it is a failed experiment, it should never have been published.
We thank you for your response to our paper. We honor and acknowledge that there are more than 564 Tribal Nations and that each has their own name and language. In this article, we used the term “American Indian,” which was a decision guided by our long-standing work with cultural advisors in Minnesota. While we chose to use the term “American Indian,” we recognize that each Tribe and individual may prefer to use a different term. For additional context, please see another article titled “Why the World Will Never Be Tobacco-Free: Reframing “Tobacco Control” Into a Traditional Tobacco Movement,” available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4984762/