eLetters

447 e-Letters

  • A disappointing and baseless attack on a valuable initiative

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    I hope that Tobacco Control will offer a right of reply to the target of this one-sided criticism. In the meantime, let me put a few points to the authors:

    1. There is no credible analysis (anywhere) of the actual, rather than the imagined, relationship between PMI and the Foundation for a Smokefree World (FSFW - ‘the Foundation’) that suggests PMI exerts material control over the Foundation. Its basic legal documents suggest otherwise. Nor have the authors explained why the Foundation's goal of ending smoking within a generation is somehow a bad thing or insincere.

    2. Nor is there a credible assessment of the relationship between the Foundation and the new Centre for Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty and Smoking (the Centre) that is the subject of criticism in this paper. There are two degrees of separation between the Centre and PMI, and the philosophy of the Foundation is to support centres of excellence and to leave them to get on with their work. The Centre has an excellent (Māori) leader and is quite capable of asserting its independence. How it would somehow do the bidding of PMI is not explained by the authors.

    3. The authors dismiss the Centre’s focus on ‘harm reduction’ and instead emphasise: “the need to shift attention away from individuals to the true source of the problem: commercial tobacco and the companies that sell and promote it.”. While I share the sentiment about individual smoking cessat...

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  • Up in smoke: The reported association between e-cigarette use and wheezing in this study is probably spurious

    NOT PEER REVIEWED

    We read with interest a recent publication by Li, et. al, entitled Association of smoking and electronic cigarette use with wheezing and related respiratory problems in adults: cross-sectional results from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, wave 2. The primary finding, reported in the abstract, was that risk of wheezing and related respiratory symptoms was significantly increased in current exclusive e-cigarette users compared to never users, with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.67 (1.23, 2.15). We think the report is misleading for several reasons.

    First, the main multivariable analysis (Table 2) did not adequately adjust for important confounders that impact wheeze, most importantly, cigarette smoking history. In most analyses of medical outcomes in adults, pack-years of smoking has a strong relation to smoking-related diseases, over-and-above current smoking status. Since three quarters of vapers in the main model were ex-smokers, cigarette smoking history is almost certainly contributing to the size and significance of the main reported finding. Other combustible tobacco use and current marijuana smoking would also be expected to exacerbate cough and wheeze. Our bet is that large numbers of e-cigarette users also use marijuana.

    The authors partially addressed smoking history with a secondary analysis (Table 3), in which they stratified by former smoking status. In that analysis, vaping was not significantl...

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  • A different interpretation

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    A key finding of this paper does not find its way into the abstract namely, "no significant differences in wheezing and related respiratory symptoms was found when comparing current vapers who never smoked with never smokers. " This tends to suggest, unsurprisingly, that it is the prior smoking history that is the critical factor in current wheeze. The paper supports the harm reduction hypothesis for switching to vaping completely from smoking as per the conclusion. But the conclusion also states in the first line, "Vaping was associated with increased risk of wheezing and related respiratory symptoms, " which is incorrect without adding "in current smokers." Vapers who previously smoked have lower risk than those who continue to smoke, including dual users, and those who never smoked have no increased risk.

  • Response to Dr. Glantz

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    We would like to clear up some misconceptions in Dr. Glantz’s reply to our recent article (1). First, our analytic approach did not assume linearity as the title of Dr. Glantz’s response implies. On the contrary, we applied a log linear form, which not only better fit the data, but also incorporates non-linearities. Additionally, we also conducted and provided results using a linear form in the supplementary material, which yielded similar results.

    In his reply to our paper, Dr. Glantz claims that we should have started the vaping period in 2009 rather than in 2014 or 2013. However, we feel this criticism is wrong since we provided extensive data in the paper showing that vaping among youth was minimal until at least 2013.
    Consequently, we focused on when vaping became more widespread and, by most accounts, became a concern. Further, we conducted analyses that considered changes in trend for other years and obtained qualitatively similar results when the transition was specified as dating back to 2013 or 2012. We also conducted analyses which allowed for changes in trend in both 2009 and 2014 and found no change in trend from 2009 onward, whereas the change in trend from 2014 onward continued to hold. We understand that Dr. Glantz and colleagues in another paper (2) used 2009 as a base year for vaping. However, we feel this choice was a poor one since virtually no students were using e-cigarettes in 2009, and hence vaping would not be...

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  • PMI's response to this paper comes up short

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    PMI finally responded to my paper in Tobacco Control1 showing that the data submitted in their MRTP application to the FDA to market IQOS with reduced risk claims did not actually support claims of reduced risks.

    Specifically, PMI’s MRTP application included their 3-month study of 24 non-cancer biomarkers of potential harm (which PMI calls “clinical risk endpoints,” CRE) in humans using IQOS compared to conventional cigarettes. These biomarkers include measures of inflammation, oxidative stress, lipids, blood pressure, and lung function. (PMI did separate studies of biomarkers of exposure, several of which are carcinogens.) While PMI’s application emphasizes that these biomarkers generally changed in positive directions, my examination of the data revealed no statistically detectable difference between IQOS and conventional cigarettes for 23 of the 24 BOPH in Americans and 10 of 13 in Japanese. Moreover, it is likely that the few significant differences were false positives. Thus, despite delivering lower levels of some toxicants, PMI’s own data failed to show consistently lower risks of harm in humans using IQOS compared to conventional cigarettes.

    Their undated response, “The Difference between IQOS and Continued Smoking,”2 presents two arguments:

    • The original study submitted to FDA was “NOT DESIGNED to serve as the sole pivotal evidence with regards to CRE’s and to show statistically significant changes in the CREs.”...

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  • The reality may not be linear

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    David Levy and colleagues’ paper “Examining the relationship of vaping to smoking initiation among US youth and young adults: a reality check” used data from all the surveys over time that measured youth and young adult e-cigarette use and smoking and concluded there was a substantial increase in youth vaping prevalence beginning in about 2014. Time trend analyses showed that the decline in past 30-day smoking prevalence accelerated by two to four times after 2014. Indicators of more established smoking rates, including the proportion of daily smokers among past 30-day smokers, also decreased more rapidly as vaping became more prevalent.

    The inverse relationship between vaping and smoking was robust across different data sets for both youth and young adults and for current and more established smoking. While trying electronic cigarettes may causally increase smoking among some youth, the aggregate effect at the population level appears to be negligible given the reduction in smoking initiation during the period of vaping's ascendance.

    The good news is that Levy and colleagues are finally accepting the overwhelming evidence that kids who start with e-cigarettes are more likely to end up smoking cigarettes, the so-called “gateway effect.”

    Now they have fallen back to arguing that the gateway effect is not big enough to overcome the benefits of e-cigs as substitutes for cigarettes.

    The approach they used, interrupted ti...

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  • Sell cigarettes only in alcohol-licensed premises

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    In view of the rising prevalence of adolescent smoking worldwide, it makes a lot of sense to strictly limit cigarette sales only to alcohol licensed premises, particularly, in countries where there are minimum age requirements for buying alcohol. In a previous letter (1) to Lancet Global Health we had argued in favor of the same as we believe that restricting sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products will bring about a decrease in consumption by adolescents.

    Smoking addictions are usually acquired during adolescence and this usually happens due to an apparently unregulated sale of tobacco products. Regulation is difficult when the number of tobacco selling establishments far exceeds the managing capacity of local administration. In India, adolescents have unrestricted access to tobacco products as small vendors, whose only source of income is by selling tobacco products, tend not to compromise on any business opportunity.

    Although there is a positive association between alcohol and smoking, as the authors have pointed out “tobacco sales are not financially important for the majority of alcohol-licensed tobacco retailers”, so it is a win-win situation for preventing initiation of cigarette smoking by adolescents as alcohol vendors will have no incentive to bypass regulations by selling tobacco products to those who do not qualify as per legal age restrictions. In India, smoking and consumption of alcohol are also social taboos and th...

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  • Evidence of the absence of hepatotoxicity of IQOS

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    More than 1,000 participants were exposed to IQOS in our clinical studies. The authors of the letter “Possible hepatotoxicity of IQOS" based their analysis on approximatively 10% of the data instead of examining the data as a whole. For example, for the five-day exposure studies in confinement, they stated that the percentage of participants with elevated bilirubin in IQOS arm was more than three times higher than that observed in the smoking abstinence (SA) arm in the European study (8.8% [7 participants] in IQOS arm, 2.6% [1 participant] in SA arm). However, they missed reporting that this percentage was lower in the IQOS arm than in the cigarette smoking (CC) arm in the Japanese study (10% [8 participants] in IQOS arm, 15% [6 participants] in CC arm). They also stated that the mean increase in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was higher with IQOS than with CC or SA in the Japanese study but did not report that in the European study, the mean increase in ALT was lower in the IQOS arm than in the CC or SA arm.
    Similarly, for the 90-day exposure studies in an ambulatory setting, they mentioned that the percentage of participants with increased ALT levels after 60 days of exposure was higher within the IQOS arm (6.3% [5 participants] in IQOS arm, 0% in CC arm, 2.6% [1 participant] in SA arm) in the U.S. study. However they omitted to mention that in the Japanese study, this percentage was lower in IQOS arm compared with CC or SA arms after 3...

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  • Clarification regarding FDA authorities relating to modified risk claims

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    This study has some important findings that could, if replicated, guide FDA decision making on applications from manufacturers to make modified risk tobacco product claims. However, while it does not detract from the study’s findings, the article does not accurately describe the standards FDA must apply when evaluating those applications. The abstract inaccurately suggests that tobacco products in the U.S. may make reduced-risk or reduced-exposure claims so long as they are not misleading, and does not mention that any explicit or implicit reduced-exposure or reduced-risk claims may not be legally made without first submitting an application to FDA and receiving a permissive order, which considers various other factors, as well.

    The introduction of the paper does a bit better, accurately stating that the Tobacco Control Act requires prior review by FDA before making lower-exposure or lower-risk claims. But it then suggests that manufacturers can receive that permission if they either demonstrate that the product lowers harm or risk compared with other tobacco products or if they demonstrate that the product is free of or contains reduced levels of harmful chemicals and the related claims don’t mislead consumers to believe that the reduced-exposure means lower risk. While that description is accurate as far as it goes, it leaves off the enormously important requirement, in both cases, that a manufacturer’s application for permission to...

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  • Biomarkers of harm -- not exposure -- are key to reduced risk claims

    NOT PEER REVIEWED

    The "serious criticism" that Mr. Bates refers to is from him (on another website).

    In order for the FDA to issue an order allowing Philip Morris International to market IQOS in the United States as a reduced risk tobacco product, the law required that, among other things, FDA "determines that the applicant [PMI] has demonstrated that such product [IQOS], as it is actually used by consumers will significantly reduce harm and the risk of tobacco- related disease to individual tobacco users."

    That is why PMI provided the information of biomarkers of potential harm to the FDA. and how they compare to values observed in smokers. My paper shows that, using PMI's own data, IQOS will not significantly reduce risk to consumers compared with cigarettes.

    Bates ignores this reality and instead talks about biomarkers of exposure, which is a different question.

  • This study has already been severely criticised

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The main problem with the claim of equivalence between smoking and switching to iQOS is that some biomarkers of potential harm change over a much longer timeframe than the 90-day duration of the trials. Biomarkers of potential harm can reflect years of accumulated physical changes arising from smoking and only improve slowly after smoking cessation. The trial did, of course, pick up very substantial reductions in biomarkers of exposure, which would, over time, emerge as reductions in biomarkers of potential harm.
    This would have been apparent and obvious to readers if the paper had also shown the results for the third arm of the trial, smoking abstinence. The biomarkers of potential harm for smoking abstinence and for switching to iQOS are quite similar in this trial. This is a curious omission. Furthermore, biomarkers of exposure turned quite similar for both switching to iQOS and smoking abstinence - both are greatly reduced, which is an encouraging finding about the iQOS product.
    It is unlikely that anyone would argue against smoking abstinence on the basis of the biomarkers of potential harm in the original PMI study. However, the author has selectively used the iQOS data from these trials without the context of the smoking abstinence data to oppose the Modified Tobacco Product Application that PMI made to the U.S. FDA - the author's attempt to block this reduced-risk product from entering the US market.
    ...

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  • Experimental demonstration of the absence of formaldehyde cyanohydrin emission from PLA using a reference standard

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The potential presence of formaldehyde cyanohydrin in the polylactic acid (PLA) filter of Marlboro Heatstick when heated was reported by Davis and al. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch. This tentative identification is based on the GC-MS analysis of the headspace of a heated piece of PLA, and the subsequent compound identification by mass spectra matching (acceptance criteria >85%) with the spectra library of the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). However, this was not confirmed by injecting a purchased analytical grade reference standard, in order to unambiguously prove the presence of formaldehyde cyanohydrin. Therefore, we decided to repeat the experiment using headspace injection gas chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry under similar conditions as described in the publication. Our headspace GC-HR-MS analyses showed four peaks, at retention times of 16.38, 16.47, 17.14, and 18.58 min, in good agreement with the reported data reported (figure 4).

    From the analysis of reference standards, we have confirmed the presence of both e-caprolactone (CAS# 502-44-3) and (S,S)-lactide (CAS# 4511-42-6) eluting at 16.47 and 17.14 min, respectively. We identified triacetin (CAS# 102-76-1) at 18.58 min, based on the reference standard, instead of 1,2-diacetin (their EI mass spectra are very similar).
    However, we have demonstrated unambiguously the a...

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  • Transparent and open approach

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    Euromonitor International is a privately held, independent provider of strategic market research with no agenda other than to present the most realistic illicit trade data impartially and within its wider industry context. Subscribers to Euromonitor’s Passport Tobacco database are varied and include tobacco control/ public health groups, academia, retailers, manufacturers of raw materials as well as tobacco brand owners and banks/ consultancies, amongst others.

    These same stakeholders are approached by Euromonitor for comment on industry trends, including those of illicit sales. Euromonitor’s stated sources for illicit cigarettes sales thus include trade press, customs offices, interviews with manufacturers and retailers, government and academic organisations. This is reconciled against local knowledge of the market and illicit trade’s wider context – eg national economic performance, trends in taxation, unit prices and duty paid sales, porosity of borders, law enforcement efforts, and so on. There is no reliance on any one source.

    By its very nature, illicit trade in tobacco products is a contentious area and one that is difficult to quantify – there are often wide discrepancies between various sources on illicit trade, reflecting vested interests in either deflating or inflating figures. In these circumstances, Euromonitor strives to present the most widely accepted and realistic estimate of the illicit market, based on a holistic...

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  • The missing elephant in the room of vaping transition

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    Coleman et al’s important report [1] on transitions in the vaping and smoking status of a nationally representative cohort of American 18+ adults who use electronic cigarettes (EC) from the PATH study provides rich data that can greatly advance our understanding of the natural history of EC use and their potential in harm reduction.

    However, we were struck by the absence of emphasis in the report of what is perhaps its most important finding. If we examine the report’s data and consider the net impact of vaping on the critical goals of having vapers stopping smoking and vaping non-smokers not starting to smoke, the findings are very disturbing and should strong reason for pause among those advocating e-cigarettes as a game-changing way of stopping smoking.

    At Wave 2, 12 months on from Wave 1, of the cohort of 2036 dual users (EC + smoking) only 104 (5.1%) had transitioned to using only EC and another 143 (7%) had quit both EC and smoking for a combined total of 247 or 12.1%. Of the 896 exclusive EC users at Wave 1, 277 (30.9%) had stopped vaping at Wave 2. Together, 524 out of the 2932 EC users (17.9%) followed from Wave 1 might be considered to have had positive outcomes at Wave 2.

    The other side of the coin however, shows that of the 2036 dual users at Wave 1, 886 (43.5%) relapsed to using cigarettes exclusively. In addition, among the 896 exclusive EC users from Wave 1, 109 (12.2%) had stopped vaping and were now smoking, wit...

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  • Experimental demonstration of the absence of formaldehyde cyanohydrin emission from PLA using a reference standard

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The potential presence of formaldehyde cyanohydrin in the polylactic acid (PLA) filter of Marlboro Heatstick when heated was reported by Davis and al. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch. This tentative identification is based on the GC-MS analysis of the headspace of a heated piece of PLA, and the subsequent compound identification by mass spectra matching (acceptance criteria >85%) with the spectra library of the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). However, this was not confirmed by injecting a purchased analytical grade reference standard, in order to unambiguously prove the presence of formaldehyde cyanohydrin. Therefore, we decided to repeat the experiment using headspace injection gas chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry under similar conditions as described in the publication. Our headspace GC-HR-MS analyses showed four peaks, at retention times of 16.38, 16.47, 17.14, and 18.58 min, in good agreement with the reported data reported (figure 4).

    From the analysis of reference standards, we have confirmed the presence of both e-caprolactone (CAS# 502-44-3) and (S,S)-lactide (CAS# 4511-42-6) eluting at 16.47 and 17.14 min, respectively. We identified triacetin (CAS# 102-76-1) at 18.58 min, based on the reference standard, instead of 1,2-diacetin (their EI mass spectra are very similar).
    However, we have demonstrated unambiguously the a...

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  • Please publish full data and provide key specific facts

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The reporting of the results of this study is far from complete, which is concerning given the highly politicised controversy that surrounds this product. I hope the authors should respond to this comment by publishing supplementary material with all the data they collected in a an accessible form such a CSV file and summarised in tables in a supplementary memo.

    In particular, the authors should provide all data on the following:
    + Vaping and JUUL current use (used in past 30-days) prevalence stratified by age, clearly differentiating between 18 and over and under-18s
    + Frequency of use of vaping products and JUUL within the 30 days among current (past-30 days) users, ideally using the same frequency breakdown used in the National Youth Tobacco Survey
    + Breakdown of vaping status by smoking status and frequency of vaping and JUUL use - to help determine the extent to which regular JUUL use is concentrated among smokers
    + Smoking prevalence and frequency

    There is a rare opportunity to gain insights into a live controversy, yet the reporting of the survey is so incomplete it is difficult to draw any serious conclusions from it about the overall effect. For example, JUUL maybe displacing other vaping products used by youth as it is in the market overall. JUUL may be functioning as an alternative to smoking in both adolescents and adults and contributing to achieving smoke-free public health objectives.

    T...

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  • The unanswered question....

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The authors state "These stores have largely stopped carrying e-cigarettes at the same time as starting to stock IQOS HEETS (HEATSTICKS), the cigarette-like component that is smoked in the IQOS device,..." but provide no insight into why that is. Are these retailers being incentivised to stop selling e-cigs by PMI?

    While the risk profile of IQOS is uncertain, the product is highly likely to be much more harmful than vaping e-cigs. Commercial tactics that promote IQOS over vaping devices, excluding the latter from retail chains, would be of major concern for tobacco control.

    Can the authors enlighten us?

  • In response to a recommendation

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    In the article Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes (1), a Status Quo model is performed, which suggests that this change will avoid premature deaths of millions. Although the statement is interesting, it´s necessary to mention that, the quantity of cigarettes consumed wasn´t considered. In addition, it´s important to recognize that a controversy still exists about the use of these devices and their toxicity.

    Believing that e-cigarettes are an alternative against the use of cigarettes is tempting, but we have to be cautious. One of the major risk factors for cancer is an excessive consumption of cigarettes. In Müezzinler A et al (2), a dose response between the number of cigarettes consumed and mortality of any cause was seen. Therefore, it is not only if you smoke, it is also important how much you smoke. Nevertheless, since this outcome was not assessed, we assume that risk was uniform. In addition, they classify as “never smokers” any persons with less of forty years that smoke cigarettes. Is possible that a person of thirty-eight years who smoke twenty cigarettes per day for twenty years could be classified like a “never smoker”? We doubt it.

    Currently, the use of e-cigarettes is controversial. As Chen J et al states in their study (3), we should carefully interpret this idea of a substitution. There is a great quantity of information about the risks of conventional cigarettes in estimation mo...

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  • On the importance of using quit-attempters and focusing on why e-cigarettes were used to assessing e-cigarettes role in smoking cessation

    NOT PEER REVIEWED

    Berry et al (1) report an analysis of two waves of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study focused on the association between the initiation of e-cigarette use by Wave 2 and cigarette abstinence/reduction assessed at Wave 2. They conclude that daily e-cigarette use is associated with both cigarette abstinence and reduced consumption among continuing smokers. While this addresses an important question, we argue that such analyses should be adjusted for the reason e-cigarettes are being used.

    From Wave 1 of PATH (2), we know that ~75% of smokers agreed that e-cigarettes were useful to help people quit. However, ~80% agreed that e-cigarettes allowed someone to replace a cigarette where smoking was prohibited. From the first reason, we can hypothesize that e-cigarette use might be associated with cigarette abstinence/reduction. However, from the second reason, we can also hypothesize that e-cigarettes would be associated with neither cigarette abstinence nor reduction. The recent National Academies report (3) recommended that any assessment of the role of e-cigarettes in cigarette cessation/reduction should focus on smokers who used e-cigarettes to help them quit.
    PATH Wave 2 data does include information on whether smokers tried to quit in the previous year, as well as whether they used e-cigarettes to aid the last quit attempt. Previous research (4) has shown that over half of the smoking population will not ha...

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  • The Tobacco Control Scale: The Emperor’s new clothes?

    NOT PEER REVIEWED

    Feliu et al’s conclusion “in the European Union countries with the higher scores in the Tobacco Control Scale, which indicates higher tobacco control efforts, have lower prevalence of smokers, higher quit ratios and higher relative decreases in their prevalence rates of smokers.” deserved comment.

    First, it seems a tautology. Tobacco control policies are robustly evidence based. Accordingly, more efforts, less smokers.

    Second, a PubMed search with “"tobacco control scale" only retrieved 27 articles since 2006 and no validation published yet. Obviously, the Scale poorly correlated with smoking rate: r2 being .58 in 2002/3, .15 in 2006/7 and .06 in 2010/11.(From table 3 in 2; n= 11 European countries).

    Third, why make simple stuff complex? This surrogate is complex to calculate and its items are subjective because issuing a decree is useless if no implementation were enforced. In contrast, the smoking rate and its evolution are simple and reliable! How France can be ranked 4th among 28 countries with a 57/100 score (1) while smoking prevalence has been plateauing for so long at more than 30%? In France, from 2004 to 2017 no relevant increase in tobacco taxes, no implementation of the legal smoking ban in cafés or of the ban of sale to minors despite sting operations by NGO showing evidence of serious breaches.(3)

    Fourth, claiming “the European Union should continue implementing comprehensive tobacco control pol...

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  • Jawad et al.'s Policy Recommendations Need Refinement

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    This paper’s core findings are quite helpful: (1) Tax/price increases for non-cigarette tobacco products can effectively reduce their use; and (2) Tax/price increases for non-cigarette tobacco products could prompt some users to increase their cigarette smoking if comparable tax/price increases for cigarettes are not done at the same time. But the paper’s related analysis is incomplete, producing misleading conclusions, largely because the paper focuses on cigarettes versus non-cigarette tobacco products without also considering the more important distinction for health-directed tobacco tax strategies between smoked tobacco products and non-combustible tobacco products.

    In its abstract, the paper concludes that the “positive substitutability between cigarettes and non-cigarette tobacco products suggest that tax and price increases need to be simultaneous and comparable across all tobacco products.” But the paper does not appear to consider that the only substitutions that could significantly increase public health harms would be if the tax increases prompted some non-combusted tobacco product users to move to more-harmful smoking or prompted some smokers who would otherwise do so not to move to less-harmful non-combusted tobacco products. As a result, the paper fails to acknowledge that significant tax/price increases for only combusted tobacco products would not prompt any harm-increasing substitution and would directly secure desirable...

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  • Unassisted smoking cessation should be studied, not denigrated

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The paper by Filippidis et al [1] provides data re-confirming the well-known fact that most ex-smokers attempt to quit without using any form of assistance, whether pharmaceutical, professional or via e-cigarettes. Moreover, the proportion of ex-smokers trying to quit unaided increased substantially in Europe between 2012-17 (ex-smokers using no assistance increased from 73.9% to 80.7%), a period where e-cigarette use accelerated in some nations.

    Regrettably however, this study does not permit any comparison of success rates by method, as no data are reported on which method of cessation (assisted v unassisted) was used by ex-smokers on their last, final (and so successful) quit attempt.

    The authors report that those “who successfully quit reported much lower use of cessation assistance compared with smokers who had tried to quit without success” and suggest that this might reflect indication bias, whereby those who find it harder to quit self-select to use assistance, leaving the low hanging fruit of non- or less addicted smokers to fall off the smoking tree using their own determination.

    While this will be true for some, there are many former heavy smokers who quit without assistance. This argument also borrows assumptions from the discredited hardening hypothesis [2], which holds, in the face of evidence to the contrary, that as smoking prevalence falls the concentration of hardened, more deeply addicted smokers increase...

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  • Preventing tobacco Industry interference needs to be included in vaccine

    There is also very clear evidence that tobacco industry interference is either delaying or dumbing down implementation of each of the MPOWER policies particularly in LMICs. The TC vaccine is a good concept but the framework needs to include monitoring, exposing and countering industry tactics.

  • Response to Bashash et al.

    I am grateful to Bashash et al. for raising some important methodological and policy-related issues. Responding to their specific points:

    (1) Very high formaldehyde concentrations may arise in aerosols when atomisers generate excessive heat[1]. Under these circumstances recommended safety limits for formaldehyde may indeed be exceeded and this compound contributes most to the cancer potency summation.

    (2) Goodson et al. [2] provide a framework for assessing whether low dose compounds that are not necessarily individual carcinogens may become involved in carcinogenesis when acting in concert. Although discussed under "Strengths and limitations" synergystic phenomena were not accommodated in the cancer potency model as it is not yet possible to predict the mechanism and magnitude of such interactions in tobacco or e-cigarette aerosols. Under the Goodson et al. model adverse effects reflect adventitious synergystic combinations. These may be statistically more likely in tobacco smoke where the number of different compounds greatly exceeds those of simpler aerosols, however this effect is expected to be minor compared with the exceptionally high carcinogenic potencies of some well-established carcinogens in tobacco smoke.

    (3) Lifetime cancer risk is linearly dependent on the daily volume of vapour inhaled (equation 7) and the effect on risk of increased consumption after switching to heat not burn (HnB) products is directly related to the chang...

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  • A critique of Jawad et al, Price elasticity of demand of non-cigarette tobacco products: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The Jawad et al systematic review and meta-analysis examining price effects for non-cigarette tobacco and nicotine products appears methodologically sound and was a registered analysis. It provides information that could be used productively by advocates and policymakers seeking to reduce harm. The cross-elasticities reported in this paper can be used to the advantage of public health by increasing the impact of policies that seek to drive down smoking.

    However, this work does not take into account the fact that not all tobacco and nicotine products cause the same level of health harms as combustible cigarettes. The paper examines own- and cross-price elasticity across a wide array of products – from combustible tobacco products such as kreteks and little cigars to nicotine-only products such as e-cigarettes and nicotine patches – and then discusses consumption patterns in terms of an undifferentiated aggregate of nicotine use. Jawad and colleagues do not consider the health implications of policies to move nicotine users from more-harmful to less-harmful means of administration (see, for example, Chaloupka, Warner and Sweanor, 2015, recommending differential taxation according to differential risk).

    From a public health perspective, any analysis of nicotine-use patterns should consider differential harm levels. A focus on nicotine use as the sole outcome variable can be seriously misleading and detrimental to the goal of reducing smoking....

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  • Evolution, Resurrection, or Zombie Apocalypse?

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    We thank Dr. Jarvis for his appreciation of our historical scholarship but disagree that our conclusion, “the promotion of tobacco harm reduction may serve the interests of tobacco companies more effectively than the public,” is an attack.

    Our paper is about how policy affects ideas and vice versa. The ideas guiding the product modification program led to bad outcomes. That these ideas have been reanimated merits critical assessment. Voluntary agreements led to industry influence over the ISCSH’s recommendations, which in turn undermined public health. We point out that some of the same premises that led the ISCSH astray are popular again. Jarvis claims that current UK harm reduction policy has nothing to do with the product modification program, and everything to do with the influence of the late Michael Russell. Russell’s impressive scholarship – and oft-quoted statement, “people smoke for the nicotine, but die from the tar” – is indeed hugely influential among proponents of tobacco harm reduction. Jarvis posits that Russell’s work serves as a “paradigm shift” on which the UK’s current embrace of long-term nicotine maintenance and tobacco harm reduction actually rests, and which severs any link between the failures of product modification and widespread fears of a redux today.

    Yet Russell’s work represents more a variation in theme than it does revolution in content. Russell’s policy recommendations operate from the same premises a...

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  • There are still lessons to be learned

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Martin Jarvis is right to describe the Hunter Committee era as “a sorry tale” that by and large is well told by Elias and Ling, but his assertion that “taken as a whole their paper reads more as an attack on current UK policy than as a scholarly contribution to the history of tobacco control” is way over the top, as is his criticism of “the editorial processes and decision-making of Tobacco Control”.

    In a paper that runs to a little over five pages of text, there are very brief references to current policies on the first page, then further brief references towards the end, suggesting that there are lessons to be drawn from the earlier episodes.

    The paper might indeed have expanded further on the industry-friendly record of the Hunter Committee, noting that after his term as Chairman of the Committee ended, Lord Hunter became a consultant for Imperial Tobacco, while a civil servant who worked on smoking and serviced the Hunter Committee went on to work for Gallahers. It might also have included more emphasis on the way tobacco substitutes dominated public discourse on tobacco policy issues during the 1970s (1), although in fairness to the authors they appear to have been misled by the re-writing of history evident in some of the material they cite, particularly from industry actors.

    But this would simply have added more weight to the conclusion that during the 1970s discussion, debate and massive promotion of tobacco substitutes by t...

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  • Did mammals evolve from dinosaurs? Current UK harm reduction policy did not come from the product modification fiasco of the 1970s

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    Elias & Ling throw useful light on the slow-motion disaster that was the series of voluntary agreements begun in the 1970s between government and the tobacco industry in the UK, overseen by the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health (ISCSH). These had as their aim to address the issue of tobacco product modification to reduce the health risks of smoking. Industry produced new smoking materials with the aim of reducing the biological activity of the tar fraction of smoke from cigarettes, and agreed to a programme of gradual tar yield reduction across the years. The novel products failed because consumers rejected them (there were too few users even to recruit for trials to examine their potential benefits), and the reductions in machine-smoked tar yields were achieved largely through increasing filter ventilation. The material cited shows that the low tar programme fiasco was characterized by undue influence from tobacco industry and a complete lack of understanding of the dynamics of smoking behaviour on the part of the scientific experts charged by government with supervision of the programme.
    This is a sorry tale from the early days of tobacco control, and Elias & Ling tell it well. So far so good. But in framing and interpreting their material they go well beyond the data they cite, and draw quite unwarranted conclusions about what they see as the deficiencies of the current UK harm reduction policy. Indeed, tak...

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  • Evidence-based tobacco harm reduction

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Elias and Ling conclude that ‘Regulatory bodies should consider toxin exposure, and new products’ actual use, abuse potential and population health effects before endorsing them as safer’. We agree, and that is exactly what Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have done [1-4].

    1. Britton, J. and Bogdanovica, I. Electronic cigarettes. A report commissioned by Public Health England. Public Health England, 2014. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...
    2. Bauld, L., Angus, K., and de Andrade, M. E-cigarette uptake and marketing. A report commissioned by Public Health England. Public Health England, 2014. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...
    3. McNeill, A., Brose, L., Calder, R., Hitchman, S.C., McRobbie, H., and Hajek, P. E-cigarettes: an evidence update. A report commissioned by Public Health England. Public Health England, 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...
    4. Tobacco Adviso...

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  • Vapourised nicotine products: Lower concentration does not mean safe

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The results provided by Stephens [1] may suggest to readers that since the concentrations of carcinogens are lower in vapourised nicotine products (VNPs), the risks of cancer are smaller compared to conventional cigarettes. The article uses the linear non-threshold model for risk assessment (a uniform cancer risk per unit dose from higher to lower doses), which is also used by most regulatory agencies. This model is considered to have a high degree of uncertainty; nevertheless, it implies that any dose of carcinogens increases the risk of cancer. Accordingly, the primary conclusion of Stephens and other’s[2] findings of the presence of carcinogens, particularly in heat-not-burn cigarettes (HNB) is that HNB poses a significant risk of cancer. In addition:
    1) The article highlights a summation approach of overall cancer risk for each product, yet the individual concentrations of human carcinogens (for example, formaldehyde [3]) are still at risk level.
    2) The assessment of carcinogenesis of low-level exposure to a mixture of chemicals is challenging [4]. Stephens’s summation model assumes that the effect of chemicals is independent. Even if we assume that for an individual chemical a lower concentration lowers carcinogenicity, we cannot rule out the potential effects of interactions among chemicals.
    3) The analysis relies on holding consumption constant. However, manufacturer studies have suggested that consumption increases after a swi...

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  • Founder

    NOT PEER REVIEWED An often overlooked limitation in smoking-related studies based on surveys conducted by health institutions is the pressure on respondents to provide "the right answer." Especially in this area, where this population has been subjected to high intensity tobacco control policies and messages, sample representativeness cannot be established with certainty when those asking the questions are the originators and/or pursuers of these policies and messages and, undeniably, describing the effort as "denormalization" and seeking to form a stigma around smoking and smokers.

    Furthering this theory is the strongly implied factor contained in this study's "Limitations" section that the respondents have been plucked from prior tobacco research, thereby affording them even more knowledge about the opinions of the researchers. Those who volunteer for smoking-related studies -- perhaps even receiving incentive payments? -- cannot be dismissed as the type who will lean toward providing expected answers in order to please, are indicative of the type who already agree with the perceived direction of the study, or, as already stated, fear telling the truth to those they know hold a general disapproving attitude toward the subject at hand.

    Right now the sample representativeness is skewed because of this. By how much remains the question. But one should not discount wondering what the responses would be and how different...

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  • A PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THIS APPROACH

    NOT PEER REVIEWED This paper is part of the ongoing discussion about saving lives from tobacco use. As a practicing oncologist and part-time Hospice physician, I have seen real benefit from "vaping". First, many Hospice patients, who have smoked for decades and are actively dying put themselves at real risk if they smoke real cigarettes while dying. Taking away cigarettes during the terminal illness just causes antagonism and much distress for the patient, their family, and the Hospice staff. Vaping at the end of life does prevent burns, suffering, and psychological distress.
    For my oncology patients, I recommend vaping as an alternative to cigarettes for the many cigarette smokers who cannot "quit", despite real effort attempts with nicotine patches, gum, Wellbutrin, or Chantix. I do see lives improving, pulmonary function improving, and less stress in the exam setting, trying to convince the patient to quit yet another time.
    We do need more research about cigarette alternatives for the existing nicotine addicts. There is, most definitely a role for these products, but also a need for researching the safety, efficacy, and best application of these products as an alternative for active adult smokers with health issues.

  • Response to Peters

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The 2014 Surgeon Generals Report (p. 875) stated ““The burden of death and disease from tobacco use in the U.S. is overwhelmingly caused by cigarettes and more must be done to end the deaths from combustible tobacco.” The aim of our study was to show the potential of policies to encourage cigarette smokers to switch to e-cigarettes as a way to reach or at least get closer to that goal. Indeed, FDA Commissioner Gottlieb and Director, Center for Tobacco Products Zeller in a July commentary in NEJM set out a two-pronged approach to the endgame of 1) policies making cigarettes less desirable and 2) policies making e-cigarettes a better substitute for cigarettes. We feel that Dr. Peters misses the point of the article, that the article is an exploratory exercise, and compounds his misunderstanding with unsubstantiated claims.
    First, while Dr. Peters criticizes the 5% excess total mortality risk estimate for e-cigarettes relative to cigarettes and the pessimistic estimate, he does not make a coherent argument as to why we might expect worse outcomes, even though he is a respiratory physician and might be expected to point out specific scientific evidence vaping might approach smoking in harmfulness for respiratory illness at least. Indeed, we have seen no coherent argument for an alternative to the 5% estimate. We note that the UK Royal College of Physicians argued that it was likely to be less, while accepting the 5% as a likely upper bound (not the mos...

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  • Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

    NOT PEER REVIEWED In his critique, Stan Glantz, PhD interprets and presents our study as doing something we explicitly warned readers it was not intended to do. He argues that “the model is based on a series of assumptions that are inconsistent with empirical evidence.” However, we explicitly state and he reiterates, that the model is not meant to be predictive. In our previous work (Addiction 2017: NTR 2017), we presented a framework to help better understand the effects of e-cigarettes and argued that we need better information before we rush to judgement about the actual impact of e-cigarette use.

    Our goal in writing this paper was simply to show that e-cigarettes could help us reach a real smoking and tobacco control endgame. In the US, we have made great progress applying traditional policies, such as tax increases, smoke-free air laws and media campaigns. However, SimSmoke models for the US and other countries indicate that traditional tobacco control policies can only get us partially to the endgame. We think that we can achieve more. Many countries have complied fully or near fully with the FCTC and still have unacceptably high rates of smoking prevalence. The point of our paper is to show that strategies shifting smokers to e-cigarettes can play a role in achieving the endgame.

    While Glantz recognizes that we provide a “pessimistic” as well as an “optimistic” scenario, he dwells on the optimistic scenario. Many in the public health community see...

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  • This model has major flaws

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The data, interpretations and implications of the data modelling exercise conducted by Levy et al(1) should not go unchallenged. Regardless of the number and confidence of the opinions voiced, and the observation of lower levels of selected toxicants in e-cigarette users that are alluded to, there is great uncertainty about the extent to which harm might be reduced by the exclusive use of electronic cigarette rather than combustible tobacco. On this background, to describe one of two models, a 95% harm reduction as optimistic and the second, still a substantial, hopeful estimate of 60% reduction as pessimistic betrays a bias at the outset. The use of this “pessimistic” descriptor would to a casual reader imply that the truth lay, inevitably, somewhere between the two estimates.

    Then there is the detail of the model. Firstly, the use of Holford projections(2) overestimated 2015 smoking rates in the US by at least 10% compared to CDC data(3) - underestimating the recent rate of decline in smoking prevalence in men and women between 2005 and 2015 by one-third. A higher base rate and slower rate of decline exaggerate tobacco-related harms in the status quo – naturally favouring each of the modelled scenarios. Starting with lower, more accurate estimates of current smoking and rates of decline would also increase the counterbalancing harms from initiation in non-smokers.

    There are other obvious problems. In the status quo, 20% of boys and 14...

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  • Assuming ecigs will cut smoking does not prove that ecigs will save lives; new paper an exercise in tautology

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The paper, “Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes” by David Levy et al. published in Tobacco Control on October 2, 2017, attracted a moderate amount of attention with its conclusion that “Compared with the Status Quo, replacement of cigarette by e-cigarette use over a 10-year period yields 6.6 million fewer premature deaths with 86.7 million fewer life years lost in the Optimistic Scenario. … Our projections show that a strategy of replacing cigarette smoking with vaping would yield substantial life year gains, …”

    This is a pretty impressive result until you consider that the Optimistic Scenario is based on a series of assumptions that are of which are inconsistent with empirical evidence to date:

    Cigarette smoking prevalence drops from 17% to 5% in 10 years (from 19.3% to 4.6% in men and from $14.1% to 4.6% in women between 2016 and 2026).
    The existence of e-cigarettes does not, on average, depress quitting cigarettes.
    There is no relapse from e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking.
    No youth who initiate with e-cigarettes progress to cigarette use.
    No dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
    The evidence free claim that e-cigarettes are 5% as dangerous as cigarettes.

    (These assumptions were not clearly stated in the main paper; we figured them out based on the appendix and by examining the Excel spreadsheet of the model that the authors s...

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  • Smoking is not a game; it needs to be abolished

    NOT PEER REVIEWED It is disappointing that Robert Proctor’s advocacy for tobacco abolition, so clearly expressed in his magisterial ‘Golden Holocaust’ (2011) and, indeed, in Tobacco Control (1), appears to have been diluted to the same degree that he now seems in favour of diluting the concentration of nicotine in cigarettes. And this in spite of the various potential difficulties he points out in implementing the proposal to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to sub-addictive levels, not least that it could well result in decades-long delays before such cigarettes might eventually replace conventional ones.

    I also have argued that the only realistic way to deal with the tobacco problem is through abolition (2). This is easier than it might seem, because, as Robert Proctor himself has said (1):

    ‘[S]moking is not a recreational drug; most smokers do not like the fact they smoke and wish they could quit.’

    Is it not time for tobacco abolition, rather than ‘control’, to become part of the debate?

    symonds@tokyobritishclinic.com

    1. Proctor RN. Why ban the sale of cigarettes? The case for abolition. Tobacco Control 2013;22:i27-i30.

    2. http://nicotinemonkey.com/?p=1702

  • More to e-cigarettes than meets the eye?

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The United Kingdom government is now recommending e-cigarettes as important tools in helping individuals to quit smoking (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41339790). It is widely acknowledged that, for many, smoking tobacco is detrimental to health. However, it is perhaps less widely appreciated that we have only a limited understanding of why smoking tobacco is bad for our health. Why, for example, might you be 40 times more likely of succumbing to lung cancer if you are a persistent heavy smoker? What is it in tobacco or in the act of smoking which is damaging to health? These are the enigmas of smoking tobacco which have remained largely unanswered. We are interested in the myriad ways that humans are exposed to aluminium in everyday life (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2013/em/c3em00374d). Intriguingly one such way is smoking tobacco and the main reason for this is the presence of significant amounts of aluminium in tobacco (http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(05)00710-2/pdf).When tobacco is smoked its components form an aerosol which is taken down into the lung before it is eventually expired. Anyone who has set up a ‘smoking machine’ to investigate this will no doubt have been impressed by the efficiency with which a surrogate lung fluid transforms th...

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  • E-cigarettes & sociodemographic considerations

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The authors point out that rates of adolescent ever use of e-cigarettes are substantial and increasing, but rates of regular use remain low. Yet it is also worth placing these rates of adolescent use in the context of other groups of e-cigarette users. In particular, a recent systematic review colleagues and I published into sociodemographic differences in e-cigarette use gives further salience to Conner et al’s findings. Although the availability of UK evidence for our review was limited, some very clear patterns emerged internationally. For instance, within the 38 studies reporting ever use and the 22 reporting current use, these outcomes were particularly prevalent in older adolescents and younger adults (versus younger children and older adults respectively). This therefore lends further weight to Conner et al’s recommendations around regulating the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to minors in countries which lack sufficient legislation in this area. Both papers also show the importance of future studies stratifying findings by sociodemographic variables such as age to ensure more subgroup analyses are possible.

    1) Hartwell G, Thomas S, Egan M, et al E-cigarettes and equity: a systematic review of differences in awareness and use between sociodemographic groups Tobacco Control Published Online First: 21 December 2016. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053222

  • Misinterpretation of prevalence estimates from Japan

    NOT PEER REVIEWED In the second column of this article, the author describes findings from a survey in Japan (Tabuchi et al, 2016, reference 15). However, there is a misinterpretation of Tabuchi et al’s table 2 which leads to wrong percentages for having tried heat not burn products in Caputi’s article. The figures 8.4% and 7.8% are not the percentages who had ever tried these products in the population but instead percentages out of those respondents who had ever tried an e-cigarette or a heat not burn product.

    The actual figures for the population are therefore about 0.6% for iQOS (8.4% of 6.6%) and 0.5% for Ploom (7.8% of 6.6%).

    Further information on the ever use of different products by age, gender and smoking status (about 1% of 15-19 year olds had tried each of the two heat not burn products), is found in supplementary table 3 of Tabuchi et al.

  • Study on flavours in NYC tobacco products is misleading on preemption

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    Without citing any sources or providing any related analysis or explanation, this paper makes several sloppy and misleading statements about the scope and impact of federal preemption relating to state and local restrictions of flavored tobacco products.

    We know from the preemption provisions in the federal Tobacco Control Act that state and local governments may not regulate the ingredients or characteristics of a tobacco product if the state or local regulation is “different from, or in addition to” an FDA tobacco product standard. [Sec. 916(a)(2)] But we do not yet know how FDA or the courts will interpret or apply that “different from, or in addition to” phrase. For example, it could mean that state and local governments are free to prohibit or limit the use of certain flavorings in certain types of tobacco products unless or until FDA prohibits or limits flavorings for those same types of tobacco products. To assert and publish a more restrictive interpretation of federal preemption with no qualification or clarification is not only misleading but promotes a more restrictive interpretation than necessary or desirable.

    The paper also fails to note that the courts have ruled that the Tobacco Control Act’s preemption provisions leave state and local governments free to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products within their boundaries. [See, e.g., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco v. City of New York, 708 F.3d 428 (2nd Cir., 2013).] The...

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  • E-cigarettes: The Indian Perspective

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    Background
    E-cigarette is a delusive name for what the product actually is; an electronic vaporization device. Basic parts of an e-cigarette include: a tank containing the liquid to be vaporized, some sort of heating element, a battery to power the device, and a mouth piece. The liquid, often referred to as e-liquid, usually contains a base (for production of thick vapor) and flavor. E-liquid may or may not contain nicotine. The heating element converts the e-liquid into aerosol, which is then inhaled by the user. While many models resemble a conventional cigarette, others look nothing alike. Colloquially referred to vaporizers, such models have become more common in the recent years.
    In the western world e cigarettes proposed as a tobacco control strategy for possible nicotine reduction and stressed on policy appraisals of harm and safety on regulation of other ingredients of the products. The related conflicts and controversies of e cigarettes as a contemporary tobacco control are discussed (1).
    E-cigarettes began to appear in the Indian market around 2010. Today, E-cigarettes pose a complex challenge for the tobacco stricken country. According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2010, 34.6% of the Indian adults were current tobacco users with 14% of adults indulging in current tobacco smoking (5.7% current cigarette smokers, 9.2% current bidi smokers) (2). Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2009 estimated current toba...

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  • Blogging is a good practice for accessibility

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The editors of this journal, Tobacco Control, and specifically the authors of the editorial “Blog fog? Using rapid response to advance science and promote debate” [1] highlight the need - or requirement, depending on the viewpoint - of utilising a specified platform to debate the finer points of an article.

    From an academic standpoint, individuals that have an interest in a specific field of study - such as Tobacco Control - will see, and respond to, such articles in the appropriate manner. However, one of the pitfalls prevalent in any rapid response platform, and this isn’t limited to the journal Tobacco Control, is the necessity of the journal’s guidelines to adhere to a specific writing format. This does have some advantages in keeping the debate over an article related exclusively to the article. However, there are some respondents that prefer to write an unabridged version of a critique lest the comment not pass the rapid response system for publication.

    There are several advantages to publishing a critique of an article outside the rapid response system [2] that allows for a broader audience to read and respond to both the article content and the critique.

    Personal blogs often reflect the style of the author, and also allow for greater freedom of expression including the use of imagery to illustrate vital points that many readers find both enjoyable and informative.

    Providing a platform within the journal must allo...

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  • Good case for subsidies

    NOT PEER REVIEWED This seems a good case for encouraging rechargeable cigalikes and 3rd generation refillable systems in the locations that charge a low cigarette tax.

    Time for subsidies?

  • Chairperson New Nicotine Alliance Sweden/Press Officer INNCO.org

    This is a test message to ascertain if BMJ and Tobacco Control have gotten the rapid response feature up and running. If so this message should appear and those scientists globally wanting to file responses will be immediately alerted that this is now possible. The essence of any critique I personally may have with the BlogFog article is summarized in my declarations of intellectual COI. Submitted March 2nd, 2017.

  • Disappointing retreat from the public square

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    The editors of this journal, Tobacco Control, argue in their blog that debate about published articles should be concentrated on their rapid reaction facility. It is possible that they are making a constructive invitation to their critics to join a debating platform they might otherwise be wary of. However, the blog has been widely read as disparagement of other forms of engagement, notably social media and blogs. It is possible that the editors do not fully appreciate why people use blogs and social media to respond to papers they find problematic, and not Tobacco Control's rapid response feature. Here are several reasons:

    1. Trust

    Critics may consider, rightly or wrongly, that Tobacco Control has a track record of publishing papers that have dubious scientific merit, overconfident conclusions and policy recommendations that cannot be supported by the paper - almost always reinforcing a particular (abstinence-only) perspective. Critics may be concerned that their work will be treated unfairly or sidelined, or that they will be judged or ridiculed. They may distrust the editors, believe the journal is not impartial, or hold it in low esteem.

    2. Conflict of interest and incentives

    Not everyone is content to have their reactions edited or approved by the same people whose work they are criticising. Once a journal has published an article that is open to criticism, it develops a conflict of interest between its own r...

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  • Request for a few important clarifications

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The authors of this editorial assert that a journal article’s authors are “entitled to be aware of and respond to critiques”, and imply that this is only possible if critiques appear in a forum attached to the journal. Setting aside the fact that authors can easily become aware of and respond to critiques on other forums, I am curious if the authors could offer some basis for claiming such an entitlement? It seems quite contrary to all existing laws, principles of ethics, cultural norms, and standard practices that relate to commentary about published work. Moreover the behavior of many of these very authors suggests they are willing to go to great lengths to avoid being made aware of critiques.

    It seems safe interpret the statement as saying that at least these particular authors would like responses to their work to appear on this page. And so, I am fulfilling their request. (Assuming this is allowed to appear, that is. I say that not because I believe there is anything in this comment that would warrant censorship, but to emphasize the blindness of this process. That is, the commentator really has no idea what will be allowed to appear.) I call the authors’ attention to two blog posts I have written critiquing this editorial to ensure they have the requested opportunity to be aware: https://antithrlies.com/2017/02/20/editors-of-t...

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  • The value of this largly depends on the willingness to publish comments

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    While I would agree that comments that are directly applied to the article in question are better than blogs scattered across the internet, this policy is entirely dependent on the willingness of editors to publish critical comments that may not be formatted or composed in a style that they are entirely comfortable with. Will editors provide feedback to, for example, citizen activists on why their comments were not published, and how they could change them to make them more acceptable? This seems unlikely, and will only reinforce the perceived inequality of position.

    I would also be moved to wonder how editors will deal with rapid responses that link to lengthier works elsewhere? For example, the format of the rapid response does not lend itself well to appending images, which can often be useful to highlight problems.much more effectively than text.

    A more likely outcome of this policy is, I fear, an increasing separation into two echo chambers with no overlap, and with far too little exchange of thoughts between the proponents and opponents of vaping, to the detriment of the vast majority who are neither,

  • Prevalence of e-cigarette prevalence among Korean adolescent is decreasing
    Hong-Jun Cho

    NOT PEER REVIEWED This ad watch shows an interesting example of illegal marketing activity of an e-cigarette company in Korea. However, the description of the trend of e-cigarette prevalence among Korean adolescents is not correct. According to the national annual surveys that the author quoted (reference 4), prevalence of current (30-day) e-cigarette use among Korean adolescents was 4.7% in 2011 and 5.0% in 2014. It decre...

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  • Cigarette Butt Waste and Resolution
    Dave Conlin

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Back when I used to own property with several hundred feet highway frontage, I was distressed to find and pick up an average of 50 or more butts along my property every time I walked the perimeter.

    I thought about the bottle deposit idea as a solution, but many simply won't care and the unrefunded deposits end up as an added profit for the manufacturer.

    Why not mandate a special plas...

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  • Natural Cigaretts
    Kim C

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Why is the LGBT at greater health risk?? and why was it necessary to even add that?? This makes me very upset that we are "targeted" as such! How is this.. or was this part of the study?

    Conflict of Interest:

    None declared

  • Re:Bauld et al omit evidence on passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosol
    Sarah Jakes

    NOT PEER REVIEWED David Bareham cites 'Rip Tripper' as evidence that e-cigarette users report experiences of allergies being exacerbated in non users by vapour and describes Mr Tripper's subsequent rather mangled argument that the devices should not be used in enclosed public spaces as "eloquent".

    Perhaps Mr Bareham is unaware that Mr Tripper has also claimed that vaping causes limb cramps and dry knuckles which...

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  • Methodological pitfalls in the measurement and decomposition of socioeconomic inequality of smoke exposure
    Guido Erreygers
    NOT PEER REVIEWED I would like to point out a few disturbing inaccuracies in the methodology and interpretation. Since the health variable is binary, the authors apply "Wagstaff's correction" to the Concentration Index. This is a perfectly legitimate decision, but the authors mistakenly suggest that this correction can be applied to both the relative and the absolute version of the index, yielding two normalized indices. In fact,...
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  • Flavor Profiles
    Kenneth H Kawa

    NOT PEER REVIEWED When it comes to vaping my knowledge is somewhat advanced, in the hardware aspect I am in the forefront of technology, I test prototypes and beta models for manufacturers all around the globe, I also have acquired quite a bit of knowledge when it comes to the creation of flavors.

    There's a big difference between something you like and what is referred to an "All Day Vape" or ADV and the impact t...

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  • This is a perspective through a warped lens.

    NOT PEER REVIEWED
    This is not a particularly well constructed argument. In particular, the paragraph that states:
    "If ENDS emissions were really benign, indoor vaping advocates should take courage and call for it to be allowed in classrooms, crèches, hospitals and neonatal wards. That they do not rather suggests that they know well that such a position would be irresponsible."
    is possibly the worst excuse for a genuine point of debate it has ever been my misfortune to encounter. it is not even a particularly well constructed straw man.

    Many things are considered normal and appropriate for the general population that would not be considered appropriate for a crèche, classroom or neonatal ward.

    To use merely the first two examples that sprang to mind (and the list is almost endless):
    Incense sticks are widely used, and despite the clear emission of smoke, they are are not banned, or the subject of proposed bans, in most jurisdictions. Many people use them, but I doubt that any would do so in a crèche or neonatal ward. Yet, if we follow the same logic proposed here, this means that they are dangerous, and should be banned almost universally.
    Similarly, fog machines are widely used in stage shows, nightclubs and even teenage discos. Despite the extremely strong similarity with vaping, both in chemical composition and particle size, there are not widespread calls for fog machines to be banned (I'm certainly not aware of...

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  • Bauld et al omit evidence on passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosol
    David W Bareham

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The American Indoor Hygiene Association (AIHA) i.e. Experts in in this particular field on passive exposure, have, previously, concluded conversely to Bauld et al (1). As they state:

    "If the only individual affected by using e-cigarettes were the vaper, the discussion could end here. That is not, however, the case. Similar to secondhand smoke, the ingredients exhaled by the vaper include nicot...

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  • Indoor vaping and brochodilator use are not analogous
    Simon Chapman

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Bauld et al [1] draw an analogy between indoor vaping and the use of bronchodilators for asthma ("if and when vapour products with a medicinal license become available, it will be important to allow their use indoors, just as asthma inhalers, which dispense a drug and propellants into the atmosphere, can be used indoors.")

    Surely, they cannot be serious here?

    Newman et al showed the a...

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  • Internet cigarette vendors make tax free claims and selling cigarette cheaper:An alarming isssue
    Md Abu Bashar

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The Internet is widely used source for purchasing and selling products. However,purchasing tobacco products online is a new trend. The internet vendors are often exempted from taxes leading to lowering the cost of cigarettes in certain countries.This is a really alarming situation as it would lead to increase in sales of tobacco products due to lower prices. Countries need to check this trend otherwise al...

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  • Intent-to-treat analysis of observational studies assessing electronic cigarettes' efficacy as an aid to smoking cessation.
    Ivan Berlin

    NOT PEER REVIEWED In the last decade, electronic cigarettes (EC) have become increasingly popular in particular among smokers. Most EC users choose to use nicotine containing liquids (electronic nicotine delivery system, ENDS); these ENDS can be considered as similar to nicotine replacement therapies. Among the several questions EC use raises, one is of major importance: Are EC a smoking cessation aid and if yes to...

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  • Impact of e-cigarette adverts on children's perceptions of smoking
    Deborah Arnott

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The study conducted in England by Petrescu and colleagues [1] concludes that there is a "potential for e-cigarette adverts to undermine tobacco control efforts by reducing a potential barrier (i.e. beliefs about harm) to occasional smoking". Clearly it is important to keep monitoring the impact of advertising, particularly on children, and this research paper is a welcome contribution. However, i...

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  • Indoor air laws and hookah smoking
    Sandra S. Retzky
    NOT PEER REVIEWED.
    The authors rightly point out that loopholes exist in some smoke-free air laws, exempting smoking of ???tobacco-free or herbal hookah products??? in public places.
    In New York City, where this study took place, the governing laws are: (1) New York State Clean Indoor Air Act, and (2) New York City Smoke Free Air Act.[1] Between 2002-2003, both laws were amended to "prohibit smoking in virtually all in...
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  • Addiction refuses to allow discussion of industry ties to criticism of our paper
    Margarete C. Kulik

    NOT PEER REVIEWED In June 2015 we published our paper "The smoking population in the USA and EU is softening not hardening" in the journal Tobacco Control. We showed that as smoking prevalence has declined over time, quit attempts increased in the USA and remained stable in Europe, US quit ratios increased (no data for EU), and consumption dropped in the USA and Europe. These results contradict the hardening hypothesis whi...

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  • Response to article
    Elizabeth L Allen

    NOT PEER REVIEWED I am writing in response to sight of an article published by you about my work for the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC). The ITIC guidebook published in 2011 "The Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products and How to Tackle it" makes it clear in the Executive Summary that it is "a compilation of facts and views from a wide range of sources including respected academics, private sector consultants,...

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  • Cigarette butt removal turned into business
    Manfred Neuberger
    Any cooperation of municipalities with the tobacco industry is problematic. In Vienna, the capital of Austria, the department responsible for waste made a deal with the tobacco industry. This resulted in the installation of metal tubes for cigarette butts at every tram station, resembling huge cigarettes. Now there are still butts on the floor (usually extinguished by foot), but in addition, smoke is escaping from many of these as...
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  • Re:Reply to Does smuggling negate the impact of a tobacco tax increase?
    Tat Chee Tsui

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Thanks for Mr. Middleton's information that there are local tobacco manufacturers in Hong Kong. I made a mistake when reading the materials. I have amended this in the updated version.

    It does not affect the analysis as the government taxes based on number of cigarettes sold rather than manufactured, but I sincerely appreciate your valuable advice.

    For the analysis part, it is not easy...

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  • a possible solution?
    steven m. bergey

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Pressure the CDC and FDA to pressure state legislatures to outlaw the sale of filtered cigarettes. As I see it, this is the only viable solution for ending this litter problem. Cigarette smoking should be made as unappealing as possible to all concerned.

    Conflict of Interest:

    None declared

  • Missing the point
    Clive D. Bates

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The author appears to believe that the main problem with the FDA is that it is not doing enough to prevent new niche cigarette products reaching the market. This focus of concern is misplaced, given several thousand cigarette products are readily available and smokers are spoilt for choice with or without these new products. I have no great desire to see new cigarette products coming on the market, but is this...

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  • Corroborating experimental study finds no effect of e-cigarette advertisements on interest in or susceptibility to tobacco smoking or e-cigarette use
    Leonie S Brose

    In a smaller sample of older teenagers, I recently extended and replicated some of Vasiljevic and colleagues' findings [1]. In line with their results, I found that e-cigarette advertisements did not increase interest in tobacco smoking, interest in using e-cigarettes or susceptibility to either behaviour.

    In this experimental study, 65 UK non-smokers aged 16-19 years were randomised to viewing either six e-ci...

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  • Other Possible Supplements to Cigarette Warning Labels?
    Eric N. Lindblom

    It is enormously helpful when researchers consider new, not-yet-tried tobacco control interventions (such as this study's consideration of warning messages on cigarette sticks), especially when researchers figure out effective ways to evaluate the not-yet-tried interventions.

    Some additional possibilities related to new warnings or pack changes that might be considered:

    (1) Put instructions for use in...

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  • Reply to Does smuggling negate the impact of a tobacco tax increase?
    James Middleton
    NOT PEER REVIEWED This article is manifestly wrong in material content. Hong Kong has in fact, two current large domestic manufacturers of tobacco products, Hong Kong Tobacco Co Ltd and Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Co Ltd. Moreover the HK Customs Dept are all over the local dial-up-delivery smuggling syndicates to the extent that the tobacco funded front groups ITIC and Oxford Economics had to produce wildly false and flawed Inform...
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  • Response to McDaniel re: Endgame Review and Wake-up Call to the Tobacco Control Community
    Joel L Nitzkin

    NOT PEER REVIEWED The recent endgame review by McDaniel et al1 demonstrates a major flaw in thinking within the tobacco control community. The industry is seen as dominated by the "big tobacco" cigarette companies. The real life industry is intensely competitive and highly fragmented. There are, within the industry, many who could effectively partner with the public health community, if given the opportunity to do so. Bec...

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  • Re: Raising the Minimum tobacco sales age to 21- worth a try?
    Olatokunbo I Osibogun

    To the Editor,

    Despite the seemingly decline in tobacco use, the habit is picked up by youths on a daily basis. According to the CDC fact sheet, tobacco use is established primarily during adolescence where 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first initiate smoking by age 18. In the United States, more than 3,800 youths aged 18 years or younger try their first cigarette every day [1]. If the trend continues, about 5....

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  • Letter to the Editor: Analytical concern regarding the measurement of weight control beliefs.
    Kristopher O. Myers

    NOT PEER REVIEWED To the Editors, In the article entitled, "Weight control belief and its impact on the effectiveness of tobacco control policies on quit attempts: findings from the ITC 4 Country Project" I noticed a problem regarding the measurement of weight control beliefs. This variable (weight control beliefs associated with tobacco use) is measured using only one question. The researchers indicate, "In order to iden...

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  • Beyond tobacco to divesting from eco-destructive resource and industrial sectors
    Joseph Ting

    NOT PEER REVIEWED To the Editor:

    Beyond the plea to divest from funding tobacco companies, shareholders need to consider the adverse impact of investing in industries and resource extraction that worsen eco-degradation.

    At a group level, the impetus for environmentally accountable investing by colleges and universities can be better maintained by teaching every student the practical ways to minimize th...

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  • Assessing Google Trends Data for Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Interest
    Ashley L. Merianos

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Cavazos-Rehg et al. compared the results of Google Trends relative search volume (RSV) data for non-cigarette tobacco use with data from state- and national-level youth surveys.[1] Given the authors' findings of positive correlations with Google Trends and survey data, we agree with the conclusion that Google Trends may be a potential tool to provide real- time monitoring for non-cigarette tobacco use. T...

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  • RE: Estimates of the economic contributions of the bidi manufacturing industry in India
    Krishna Raghunandan

    NOT PEER REVIEWED I read the research paper (other authors Ashvin, Emmanuel, Frank and Prabhat) with interest.

    Quite a few new points have been brought out. One of the important political reasons for resistance is that hand made ones are done in rural areas where alternate means of employment are hard to come by. This results in the local political representative arguing against tax.

    Alternatives such...

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  • Response to E-Letter from May 6, 2015
    Sumit R. Kumar

    NOT PEER REVIEWED We explicitly did not do a systematic review, which would have included things such as assessing articles for quality and assessing for presence of publication bias. Instead we opted for a narrative review. This decision was made given the limited time available for the authors to complete the supplement prior to the World Conference on Tobacco or Health and the small number of available articles after ou...

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  • These are not real-world conditions.
    Dimitrios Gazis
    NOT PEER REVIEWED "The GC temperature programme for all analyses was: 35C hold for 5???min; 10C/min to 300C; then hold for 3.5???min at 300C." Water is not dangerous. Yet, if I submerge a human test subject in a container of water for 3.5 minutes, then this water becomes quite lethal. No vaping device is intended to run continuously for longer than a few seconds. Furthermore, 300C is far too high a temperature for any vaping de...
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  • Questions asked and answered
    Jonathan D. Heck
    NOT PEER REVIEWED

    This letter responds to misrepresentations in a recent article by Daniel Stevens and Stanton Glantz (1). In the article, Stevens and Glantz question my integrity based on some questions during a 4-day deposition which I gave in 2014 in a legal proceeding against my employer. These writers cite snippets from the 1,000+-page transcript of that deposition, relating the text of a facetious note that I h...

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  • Re:No evidence that the tobacco industry evaded the FDA's ban on 'Light' cigarette descriptors
    Hillel R Alpert

    NOT PEER REVIEWED This comment summarizes, but mischaracterizes the findings and conclusions of our study. Our analyses and interpretation are based strictly on the letter of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) and its requirements, including Section 911(b)(2)(ii), which bans "the use of explicit or implicit descriptors that convey messages of reduced risk including 'light', 'mild' and 'low', o...

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  • Review of air quality, biological indicators and health effects of second-hand waterpipe smoke exposure - Letter
    Luis D Ramirez

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Dear Editor,

    Research on waterpipe smoking, also called hookah, is still emerging, and research on second-hand hookah exposure is still in its nascent stages. However, after reading the review on the various effects of second -hand waterpipe smoke exposure by Kumar et al recently published in Tobacco Control1, we noted several major issues in its execution and have serious reservations about th...

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  • An update on smoking prevalence projections to 2025 and beyond in New Zealand
    Frederieke S. van der Deen
    NOT PEER REVIEWED

    Frederieke S. van der Deen and Nick Wilson (on behalf of the other authors; both from the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand)

    This electronic letter aims to give readers an update on the smoking prevalence projections to 2025 and beyond in New Zealand (NZ) that were provided in the paper by Ikeda et al. NZ is now one of four nations with an official smokefree goal (others are: Fin...

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  • Tobacco industry peddling overestimates of illicit cigarettes to dampen tax increase
    Sophapan Ratanachena

    NOT PEER REVIEWED

    We refer to the article, "Did the tobacco industry inflate estimates of illicit cigarette consumption in Asia? An empirical analysis" Chen J, et al. published in Tobacco Control on November 25, 2014 (Tob Control 2015;0:1-7) and concur with the important points raised in this article. While the article focuses on Hong Kong, other countries in South East Asia also faced a similar experience. The...

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  • Cook Islands data: some information and comment
    Erik Martin

    NOT PEER REVIEWED I commend the authors on a significant effort involved in conducting this rather insightful research.

    Having conducted qualitative research on FCTC implementation in the Pacific, I can provide comment in relation to the Cook Islands which may explain why MPOWER measures mentioned here did not achieve decreases in prevalence (at least in the figures obtained in this study).

    Firstly, th...

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  • Consider health-related outcomes when assessing the equity impacts of smoking ban policies
    Sericea Stallings-Smith

    NOT PEER REVIEWED We welcome the timely review published by Hill et al. [1], and agree that more research is needed to assess the equity impacts of tobacco control interventions. The results of the review indicated that "increases in tobacco price have a pro-equity effect on socioeconomic disparities in smoking", but that "evidence on the equity impact of other interventions was inconclusive [...]". The inconclusiveness o...

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  • Taxation may help, but perhaps new thinking is needed?
    Kristiina Patja

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Tobacco is an interesting consumer product. It is legal, toxic and dangerous. It kills people when used as intended. There is a global initiative to reduce use of this product opposed heavily by those profiting from it, tobacco industry stockowners. Industry has successfully blurred consumers, health professionals and policy makers over the years with false science, modulation of product and misleading m...

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  • Working toward a more sophisticated conceptualization of health and trade
    Jeffrey M Drope

    In this rejoinder, we will address the recent response by Mary Assunta to our article, "Complexities at the intersection of tobacco control and trade liberalisation: evidence from Southeast Asia." To be sure, we believe that trade policy remains a very important issue for public health both in Southeast Asia and globally. Before addressing the specific concerns raised by the reader, it is worthwhile to restate the ove...

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  • A tobacco carve-out is the way for the future
    Mary Assunta

    I would like to respond to this paper by Drope J and Chavez JJ whose analysis focuses on cigarettes, not tobacco leaf production and trade, and seeks to question the "conventional wisdom" that "trade liberalization naturally leads to lower prices for tobacco products, increased consumption and decreased levels of regulation." The authors use theoretically guided empirical research to demonstrate there is little cause for...

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  • Silver linings and improvement of our resources for smoking cessation interventions.
    Pasquale Caponnetto

    The article of Cummins et al. (1) is based on a survey which according to the authors considers electronic cigarette a risk for populations with mental health conditions. First of all, in our opinion it is not correct to agglomerate and treat all mental health conditions in the same way. It would be like considering all physical illness the same way. Fever is like a cancer? A specific phobia is like schizophrenia? It 'is...

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  • An impartial, independent and transparent process
    Zora Milenkovic

    Euromonitor International is a world leader in strategy research for consumer markets, with over 40 years of experience in developed and emerging economies. Through a combination of specialist industry knowledge and in-country research expertise, Euromonitor aims to build a market consensus view of the size, shape and trends in each industry we cover. Tobacco is no different, and both duty paid and illicit sales are rese...

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  • FDA has definitively lost its way.
    Alain Braillon

    Gottlieb rightly provides us evidence to question Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy.(1) Indeed, the 2009 law giving the Agency the authority to regulate tobacco was useless as FDA's Advisory Committee issued a report which failed to recommend a ban on menthol cigarettes despite evidence of its devastating effects, a major setback for public health.(2) Is FDA only overcautious as Gottlieb suggested? Its professio...

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  • An analysis of limitations of tax policy is not a policy fix
    Stephen L Hamann

    It is important for tobacco control policymakers to know the advantages and disadvantages of different tax policies. It is quite another thing to move a tax system to optimize tax policy for tobacco control since there are multiple obstacles to systems change. In addition, health advocates often do not invest enough time and effort to understanding the economics of tax systems and the structural impediments in existing l...

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  • Re:KPMG response to 'Towards a greater understanding of illicit tobacco trade in Europe: a review of the PMI funded 'Project Star' report', published in Tobacco Control (BMJ) on 11th December 2013
    Anna B Gilmore

    Dear Editor

    Cartwright (1) has clearly mis-read our article on PMI's Project Star report(2). The central premise of our article is not that illicit is overestimated but that the Project Star report cannot be relied on as a source of data on illicit until there is significantly greater transparency over the underlying methodology and data inputs and the contractual arrangements under which it is conducted. KPMG i...

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  • KPMG response to 'Towards a greater understanding of illicit tobacco trade in Europe: a review of the PMI funded 'Project Star' report', published in Tobacco Control (BMJ) on 11th December 2013
    Robin M. Cartwright

    Significant factual inaccuracies relating to KPMG's annual report into the European trade in illicit tobacco were made in a recent article published in Tobacco Control by the BMJ. The report, which KPMG's Strategy Group has been producing since 2005, is recognised by the UK National Audit Office, OLAF and the OECD (and by other numerous national customs authorities and government departments) as the most comprehensive...

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  • Cultural considerations for tobacco control strategies in rural China
    Diana M. Sheehan

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Dear Editor,

    The recent article by Cai et al, reported that male gender, young age, low educational attainment, and tobacco cultivation are predictors of tobacco use and second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure in rural China [1]. Neighborhood-level income was the only contextual predictor of tobacco use and SHS exposure identified. Hence, the authors suggested that "future interventions to reduce smo...

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  • CARCINOGEN EXPOSURE WITH WATER PIPE SMOKING
    Mohamed F. Allam

    NOT PEER REVIEWED To the Editor: The habit of water pipe smoking is rapidly extending in all occidental countries. This rise in popularity appears to be correlated with the advent on store shelves of an array of fruit-flavored tobacco mixtures, which list ''molasses'' as a primary ingredient. Also there is a widespread misperception among smokers that the water through which the smoke bubbles acts as a filter, rendering...

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  • Taking Breaks: are smokers examples of model employees?
    Ivan L. Gee
    NOT PEER REVIEWED The article by Berman et al "Estimating the cost of a smoking employee" has attempted to quantify the costs associated with employing smokers. As the article indicates several companies are now actively discriminating against smokers so it is important that any costs are fully justified. One area that concerns me about this is a tendency towards oversimplification of a complex situation. In particular the assu...
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  • Re:Measuring mass media coverage of tobacco: prominence over quantity
    David E. Nelson

    We appreciate Dr. Blum's interest in our study and his comments. Data used for our study were collected and coded based on the public health surveillance model, which is more fully described elsewhere (1). Only a carefully selected set of items from tobacco news stories were coded over an extended period of time, with editorial cartoons and letters to the editor not included in the system. The newspapers were specific...

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  • Measuring mass media coverage of tobacco: prominence over quantity
    Alan Blum

    NOT PEER REVIEWED Because the authors cite just seven major tobacco-related news events in the seven year period they reviewed (Figure 2), I question whether their tabulation of the "volume of news media stories on tobacco" (page 6) provides a meaningful representation of the coverage of tobacco-related issues in the mass media. Is not a front-page article on a tobacco- related subject in The New York Times or The Washingt...

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  • Re:Re:Large-scale unassisted smoking cessation over 50 years: lessons from history for endgame planning in tobacco control
    James A McLennan

    NOT PEER REVIEWED I really welcome this kind of discussion.

    I acknowledge your 'why and how' argument, however you may find that things like telephone counselling and many group programs will however then fall into your unassisted quitting category as well. This is because they are simply being coached to enhance those natural skills they already have.

    I am aware you are conducting an interview style...

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