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NYT: ‘Smoking Is In. Vaping Is Out.’ and More! Tobacco Harm Reduction News

New York Times says vaping is no longer cool and niche cigarettes are going viral. Doctors mostly clueless about nicotine. Menthol ban will amp up war on drugs. CASAA in action at FDA listening session and more!

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a link to the audio/video versions of this post!


CASAA IN ACTION // CEO Alex Clark Speaks at FDA Listening Session

Today was the FDA public listening session, “Developing FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products’ Strategic Plan.” CASAA CEO Alex Clark spoke on behalf of consumers of safer alternatives to smoking.

Alex focused his statement on FDA Goals #3 and #4:

3. Ensure Compliance of Regulated Industry and Tobacco Products Utilizing All Available Tools, Including Robust Enforcement Actions.

Alex pointed out that strict enforcement has increased black market activity.

He also warns a robust and honest education and deprograming campaign must be developed that includes useful information about modified risk products and encouragement for people who smoke to try multiple strategies, including the use of low-risk alternatives to cigarettes.

4. Improve Public Health by Enhancing Knowledge and Understanding of CTP Tobacco Product Regulation and the Risks Associated with Tobacco Product Use.

Alex acknowledged the $2.5 million funding opportunity to research messages about modified risk products and how it was better late than never to figure out how to tell the truth about the risk continuum among nicotine products.

He urged FDA to examine what is needed to undo misperceptions of risk associated with nicotine and be transparent in how youth uptake of nicotine products is weighted when assessing outcomes of these messages.

Finally, he took FDA to task regarding misleading campaigns designed with the singular purpose of scaring kids away from tobacco or frightening adults to quit smoking, calling for FDA to take a leadership role in ensuring that consumers & healthcare providers are accurately informed about all strategies and products that can improve the health of people who smoke. It is simply not enough to rely on third-party groups to disseminate accurate information about safer alternatives to smoking!

READ MORE: Listening Session: Developing FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products’ Strategic Plan

RESEARCH // No Matter How You Look At It, Vaping Is Better

It’s rarely the case that you’re proven correct for almost everything that you predicted. Here, it was one effect after another: No matter how we looked at it, those who got the e-cigarette product demonstrated greater abstinence and reduced harm as compared to those who didn’t get it.”

~  Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D., first author on the paper and co-leader of the Cancer Control Research Program at Hollings

READ MORE: Largest US study of e-cigarettes shows their value as smoking cessation aid

RESEARCH // FDA Failing to Inform US Physicians Leads to Mistaken Opinions About Nicotine

There is a misunderstanding that nicotine is carcinogenic and that vaping products are as dangerous as smoking, which is simply not supported by available scientific data. But to a considerable extent, this is the fault of FDA and CDC, due to their equivocal stance on the value of vaping as a smoking-cessation tool. Most physicians sampled in both nations want their health authority to correct misperceptions and U.S. authorities are not doing so.”

~ Roger Bate, Ph.D., Economist and International Health Policy Researcher

READ MORE:  A Comparison of US and UK Physicians Advice on Nicotine and Vaping

RESEARCH // A Self-Serving Survey?

A survey by a company that sells vape detectors to schools unsurprisingly finds that vaping is “on the rise,” even though that directly contradicts CDC data. Teachers blame vaping for problems, except kids with “problems” often turn to risky behavior.

READ MORE: Vaping negatively affects teens’ academics, mental health: study

TOBACCO CONTROL // Get Drunk But Don’t Vape

Baltimore city council essentially tells sports fans that it’s okay for kids to watch adults getting drunk at their stadiums, but they don’t want them to see adults significantly lowering their health risks by using far safer forms of tobacco and nicotine.

READ MORE:  All tobacco products could be banned at Baltimore stadiums, sports venues. Here’s what’s being proposed

TOBACCO CONTROL // A Simple Lesson in Economics

Stores don’t put things on shelves unless consumers want to buy them. Banning their sale isn’t going to take away demand, it will just create an unregulated market that turns otherwise law-abiding citizens into “criminals.”

READ MORE: Two San Diego smoke shops facing lawsuit for alleged sale of flavored tobacco products

TOBACCO CONTROL // Making Smoking Cool Again

This New York Tomes article glamorizing smoking includes quotes such as these:

“I’d rather smoke one or two of these a day than vape.”

“Smoking cigarettes is extremely important and cool. Vaping is only acceptable on like airplanes or at work….”

“God Hates Vapes.”

Congratulations, anti-vaping folks. It looks like you’re making progress in convincing young people that vaping is not safer than smoking (which is a lie) and that vaping is not cool!

So how’s that working out for your “Tobacco and Nicotine End Game” plan?

The American Vapor Manufacturers Association has a great take-down thread (below) of this article on Twitter (X) that delves even deeper into the insanity:

https://twitter.com/VaporAmerican/status/1695139526220583379

READ MORE: A Viral Cigarette Brand? In 2023?

TOBACCO CONTROL // Amping Up the Failed War On Drugs

The claim the menthol ban will only target “manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and retailers,” won’t harm “individual consumers for possession or use of menthol cigarettes” and will only help black/Hispanic communities ignores the obvious. Because demand for menthol will be highest in those black/Hispanic communities, most of the people arrested for selling illicit menthol cigarettes will be black/Hispanic individuals from those communities.

READ MORE: FDA’s Approaching Menthol Cigarette Ban Would Expand the Drug War

TOBACCO CONTROL // Translating the Rhetoric

Vaping scaremongers want the public to believe that more teens vape than adults, because just 4.5% of adults vape vs. 14% of high school youth.

Except that equates to approximately 11.6 million adults vs. 2.14 million high school youth. That means that 5 times as many adults vape than do high school youth!

(Note: The chart below is from the previous year.)

READ MORE: About 1 in 10 young adults are vaping regularly, CDC report finds

TOBACCO CONTROL // Forgetting Our History

As does every other misguided prohibitionist, Ms. Dorr seems to forget that when 45% of Americans smoked in 1954 the only flavors available were “tobacco” and “menthol.” If flavors really are to blame now, then why did so many more kids “get hooked” then?


IMAGE CREDIT: Forbes

READ MORE: Letter to the editor: Flavored tobacco targets youth. Ban it.

TOBACCO CONTROL // DOJ Misinformation

This article from the National Institute of Justice should be titled “Five Things About Vaping and E-Cigarettes That Are Misleading.”

1. “Personal vaping devices can also be MODIFIED to deliver THC (the most prevalent intoxicating compound in Cannabis), methamphetamine, fentanyl, and synthetic cannabinoids.”

In truth, THC vapes are not “modified” e-cigs, they’re made specifically for THC. Also, meth and fentanyl aren’t in e-cigarettes and it’s extremely rare to find them in illicit vapes.

“A third of youths who use personal vaping devices vape cannabis.”

The source listed for this is a 2020 Canadian survey, not a recent survey in the US. US sources are inexplicably silent on what teens are actually vaping.

2. Vaping “allows people to absorb more of a drug into the body than smoking because less of the drug is lost through sidestream smoke.”

This isn’t a scientifically proven statement. Smoke is still believed to be the best delivery system for nicotine regardless of sidestream loss.

A 2019 study on the subject in 2019 concluded: “Advanced e-cigarettes delivered significantly more nicotine than first-generation devices but less than combustible cigarettes.”

A 2020 UCSF study found that rodents exposed to 5% Juul devices (which contain nicotine salts) showed nicotine concentrations that were five times higher than cigarettes. Juul released a statement in response to the study that said. ““In terms of actual nicotine absorption, our clinical studies have consistently shown that Juul use at five percent strengths results in an average nicotine uptake that is similar to, but lower in concentration than a commercial reference combustible cigarette.”

“Vaping devices can be modified to increase the dosage, increase the volume of “puff,” and vaporize solids such as plant materials and drug-containing waxes.”

Again, there are specific devices for “heat-not-burn” (plant materials) and waxes, so e-cigarettes aren’t “modified” for those substances.

3. “E-liquids may also contain vitamin E, which can lead to severe lung tissue damage when vaped.”

This is categorically untrue. Vitamin E Acetate was used in illicit THC vapes and has never been found in nicotine e-liquids. The authors are conflating THC liquids with nicotine e-liquids as a cause for EVALI.

“Other illicit or uncontrolled substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids, are present in some e-liquids and can be difficult to detect.”

There’s no reason for manufacturers to put cannabinoids into nicotine e-liquids. The authors are again conflating THC vapes with nicotine e-liquids. However, it is important for consumers to be wary of being offered a vapor product without knowing what it contains.

“E-liquids often contain ethanol as an unlisted ingredient.”

Based on a 2017 study, there was concern ethanol could cause impairment and false positives during DUI tests. A 2023 study found no impairment from vaping and ethanol was detected for only 3 minutes after vaping.

4. “Because the market has expanded so rapidly in recent years, it has been difficult for regulatory agencies to keep up.”

It can be argued those agencies created the problem by publicizing vaping in a way that increased youth interest at a time when vaping was generally dismissed by youth as something “old people use to quit smoking”  and it was knee-jerk, confusing and unachievable regulations that created a black market that those agencies cannot control.

5. “Public health and public safety stakeholders must understand the impact of vaping in their communities.

The first step would be to stop misinforming them with articles like this one!

READ MORE: Five Things About Vaping and E-Cigarettes

RESEARCH // Just Ignore Reality

In this survey, teens were asked “how likely they believed they were to be smoking cigarettes in the next year.”

What a teen “believes is likely” isn’t exactly reliable data. How many actually DO start smoking after vaping? These researchers know perfectly well that increased vaping in the U.S. has led to RECORD LOW youth & adult smoking, yet they continue to ignore and dismiss this real-world data.

READ MORE:   Vaping found to be the biggest risk factor for teenage tobacco smoking

RESEARCH // Yes, Peer Pressure Exists. We Knew That Already.

Researchers find that teens are more likely to do things because their friends are.🤷‍♀️ They note “peer use remains one of the most important factors in youth tobacco use,” [very low risk] vaping is increasing and youth, young adult and adult smoking is down to record low rates…but still they don’t make the right connection and urge action against vaping.🤦‍♂️

READ MORE: Mutual pathways between peer and own e-cigarette use among youth in the United States: a cross-lagged model

RESEARCH // Nicotine Benefits for the Brain

According to this article, “Researchers have long known that nicotine stimulates systems in the brain, which are important for thinking and memory.”

“Research has proven nicotine does not cause cancer and has more than a 30-year history of being safely used in memory studies, Natalie Argueta explains, noting that researchers have found nicotine stimulates parts of the brain crucial for thinking and memory, and are looking at its potential benefits at possibly delaying or preventing mild memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Yet anti-vaping groups claim it somehow causes “brain damage” in youth?🤔

READ MORE: UB partners with MIND Study to test how ‘safe’ nicotine can help preserve memory

FDA // Will Young Vapers Flip For Blip?

“Fun” nicotine designed for youth, but with FDA blessing?🤔

Youth actually vape for the nicotine & just prefer non-tobacco flavors, so how is this any less appealing than vapes? (Easier to hide, too.)

Funny how no one touting ways to quit vaping ever mentions that vapes can be used to wean off nicotine.🤷‍♀️

READ MORE: Juul got young people addicted to nicotine—this startup wants to help them quit

FDA // Lazy Enforcement Strategy

“If the FDA seriously believes these novelty vapes are a danger to youth, it would do something more than mark its calendar to issue warning letters every two years.

Today’s action is another example of the FDA’s lazy, Google-search enforcement strategy.”

~ CASAA director Jim McDonald reporting for Vaping360

READ MORE: More FDA Warning Letters for Novelty Vape Sellers

FDA // The “Cigarette Protection Act”

In just the first two paragraphs it’s obvious that the 2009 “Tobacco Control Act” should have been named the “Cigarette Protection Act.” It’s insane that safer alternatives to smoking have to overcome so many obstacles to compete with deadly cigarettes.

This is a must-read article by David Dobbins, a former COO of Truth Initiative.

READ MORE: Suggestions for Improvement of FDA Review of New Tobacco Products

TESTIMONIALS // Real people. Real Stories.

“Anecdote” #13,525:

Successfully switched to vaping, DB can now look forward to the day his young son graduates from college. Kids need their parents and vaping is helping millions of them to live longer.

Share YOUR story: CASAA Testimonial Project


CASAA MEDIA // Spotify

CASAA’s podcast is on Spotify! Please give us a follow here:

CASAA IN ACTION // Twitter Spaces

The week we recap the Reagan-Udall sessions with Amanda Wheeler, Tim Andrews and CASAA CEO Alex Clark, who all presented to the panel about FDA’s issues regulating reduced-harm products. What grade would you give FDA? Also available on CASAA’s Spotify channel (above.)

CASAA IN ACTION // CASAA Live

On this episode of CASAA Live, join CASAA CEO Alex Clark and CASAA Member Coordinator Kristin Noll-Marsh as they reveal why they started vaping and discuss the importance of consumer testimonials!

If you missed the last CASAA Live episode you can catch up NOW before the show comes back on Saturday, September 9th!

TAKE ACTION // CASAA State Facebook Groups

Have you joined your CASAA State Facebook group yet? Check it out now! Click the link below, click on your state on the map, then click the “Join Now” button to go to your state’s group page. It’s as easy as that to stay updated on local happenings, meet local advocates and never miss a Call to Action in your state!

Don’t forget to also follow our official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CASAAmedia

FIND YOUR GROUP: CASAA State Locator

CASAA STORE // Apparel and More

Show your support by shopping our store! Our president (and brilliant website/swag designer) Danielle has added some awesome new designs to CASAA’s apparel shop!

 

VISIT: CASAA Apparel and Swag Store

CASAA MEDIA // Podcast

Catch up on past tobacco harm reduction news with Alex and Logan on the CASAA podcasts on SoundCloud every Monday and now live on YouTube and Facebook every Saturday at 3:30 PM.

SoundCloud: