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January 22nd, 2015:

Hidden High Levels Of Cancer-Causing Formaldehyde Found in E-Cigarettes

Jenna Birch
‎22‎ ‎January‎, ‎2015

E-cigarettes may not be as “safe” an alternative to cigarette smoking as hoped, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers found “hidden” high levels of the known carcinogen formaldehyde in popular tank-system e-cigarettes, by way of formaldehyde-releasing agents given off during the vaping process.

They discovered that when vaping 3 milligrams of liquid at high voltage, e-cigs can generate around 14 milligrams of formaldehyde, which is then inhaled by a smoker.

By contrast, the scientists suggest that a tobacco smoker would take in roughly .15 milligrams of formaldehyde in a standard cigarette, equating to around 3 milligrams in a 20-pack.

“This estimate is conservative because we did not collect all of the aerosolized liquid, nor did we collect any gas-phase formaldehyde,” the researchers write in their paper.

E-cigarettes are very new, largely untested, and not yet regulated, so it’s impossible to say right now whether they are more or less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes — especially since there are thousands of chemicals in standard cigarettes, and formaldehyde is only one.

However, the effects could be huge, the researchers say. They explain that long-term vaping may up lifetime cancer risk by five to 15 times when compared to long-term smoking in a roughly 150-pound person. And there’s the question of whether formaldehyde in cigarettes is as bad a cancer culprit as some believe it to be, and if the formaldehyde-releasing agents behave similarly — or worse — to gaseous formaldehyde in the respiratory tract.

“Formaldehyde-releasing agents may deposit more efficiently in the respiratory tract than gaseous formaldehyde, and so they could carry a higher slope factor for cancer,” the researchers write.
Formaldehyde is a chemical found in cigarette smoke, pressed-wood products, and fuel-burning appliances, and has been linked with leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Again, the scientists stress there’s no way to know conclusively the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes yet, as they are so new to the market. But this new finding just adds to evidence showing their potential health risks.

Complaint of breach of Visa conditions in Hong Kong by persons who were prima facie working here without valid work visas

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Jury finds Philip Morris liable in Engle-Progeny Cigarette case

A Florida federal jury found that Philip Morris USA is liable to Florida resident Donna Brown and awarded her $17.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages in the first federal court Engle-progeny cigarette trial of 2015. Ms. Brown began smoking cigarettes as a minor, became addicted, and now suffers from a painful disease that cost her the loss of her legs.

Motley Rice LLC, the law firm behind the landmark Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, represented the plaintiff, together with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and The Wilner Firm, P.A.

Ms. Brown began smoking Marlboro cigarettes around 16-years-old and subsequently developed an addiction to nicotine. As a result of this addiction, she has experienced life-altering health issues. Following her diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) in 1992—a disease that typically causes a narrowing of the large arteries and blood restriction, most commonly in the lower extremities—Ms. Brown has endured more than two dozen surgeries, including surgeries to remove both of her legs in 2003. She has also suffered multiple strokes.

Ms. Brown hasn’t allowed these obstacles to stand in her way, however. In 1972 she was one of the first women in the southeast to work as an electronics technician for a telephone company and maintained that job until late 2004. Though the loss of both of her limbs was life altering, she continued for some time to find ways to enjoy some of her favorite hobbies, including golfing and fishing.

“The jury’s decision was just and fair, and a recognition that every person has the right not to be hurt by the careless, reckless or intentional acts of another,” said Motley Rice attorney Nathan D. Finch. “The jury recognized that Ms. Brown was hurt very badly by Philip Morris’ decisions over many years to repeatedly put its own profits over people’s health, decisions which unfortunately harmed a whole generation of Americans. Philip Morris and other tobacco companies now have to face the realities of their actions and answer to hundreds of people like Ms. Brown who they intentionally tried to get addicted.”

Ms. Brown’s case is one of the thousands of suits filed against tobacco companies following the 2006 landmark ruling of Engle v. Ligget Group Inc.

Motley Rice tobacco attorneys Nathan D. Finch, James W. Ledlie, Robert T. Haefele and Lisa M. Saltzburg were trial counsel for the plaintiff. The case is Donna Brown v. Philip Morris USA et al, United States District Court Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division, No. 3:09-CV-10687-WGY-HTS.

Updated NICE support to help local authorities tackle tobacco use

An updated briefing to help local authorities and partner organisations tackle tobacco use is published yesterday (Wednesday 21 January).

The NICE local government briefing summarises its new recommendations on effective actions to reduce the harm from smoking, helping people in South Asian communities to stop using smokeless tobacco (tobacco which is chewed or sucked, such as Pan Masala), and smoking cessation help for people attending or working in hospitals.

As well as being the single biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, smoking is also the primary reason for the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor. Workers in routine and manual jobs are twice as likely to smoke as those in managerial and professional roles. South Asian women (some of the main users of smokeless tobacco in the UK) are 3.7 times more likely to develop oral cancer than other women. This briefing can support local authorities in meeting their responsibility to address health inequalities linked to using tobacco.

Professor Gillian Leng, NICE deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “Tobacco use kills over 80,000 people each year, and a report from Action on Smoking and Health calculated that smoking costs local authorities more than £600 million a year in terms of social care services. Local authorities are under pressure to make public health decisions that offer value for money and help people in their area keep healthy. Most of the smoking interventions recommended by NICE are considered highly cost effective and some save money. This briefing highlights new and existing NICE guidance recommendations that can improve the health of local people, and which make the best use of resources and provide good value for money.”

The recommendations for local authorities highlighted in the briefing include:

making your organisation an exemplar in smokefree policies and in the support provided to help employees stop smoking
planning and commissioning smoking prevention and cessation in schools with national, local and regional partners; working together on mass media campaigns for under 18s
ensuring that environmental health and trading standards services prioritise tobacco control
including tobacco harm‑reduction approaches when commissioning tobacco control services to help people who are not ready to give up smoking in one step
involving local communities and target groups in encouraging people to stop smoking. This includes working with South Asian communities to encourage people to stop using smokeless tobacco
promoting access to stop smoking services to pregnant women who smoke at every contact with professionals in children’s centres, teenage pregnancy services and youth services.
The local government briefing on tobacco is available at

For more information call Dr Tonya Gillis at the NICE press office on 0300 323 0142 or out of hours on 07775 583 813.

Notes to Editors

About the new Local Government Public Health Briefing

1. The new briefing ‘Tobacco’ is available at:

2. This new briefing updates the information provided in the June 2012 document which included preventing people from starting to smoke and helping people stop smoking.

3. The report ‘The Costs of Smoking to the Social Care System and Society in England’ from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) estimated that the costs of smoking to local authorities for the (domiciliary) social care system are in the region of £600 million per year.

4. NICE’s local government briefings aim to help councillors and local authority staff find out which public health actions are most effective in improving the health of people in their area, while also providing the best value for money. Based on recommendations from existing NICE public health, clinical guidance and quality standards, the briefings have been developed with input from the independent Local Government Reference Group. The group comprises councillors, local government officers, and others with an interest in community health and wellbeing. The briefings are in addition to NICE’s ongoing programme producing public health guidance. Topics covered include health visiting, physical activity and workplace health, alcohol, health inequalities and behaviour change.

About NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. We develop guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. We also advise on ways to promote healthy living and prevent ill health.

Our aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.

Our products and resources are produced for the NHS, local authorities, care providers, charities, and anyone who has a responsibility for commissioning or providing healthcare, public health or social care services.

To find out more about what we do, visit our and follow us on Twitter: @NICEComms.

Some e-cigarettes may release more of a cancer-causing chemical than regular tobacco, study suggests

Certain electronic cigarettes used at high temperature settings could potentially release more formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical

However the research, done in test tubes, does not prove a health risk

Also does not mean e-cigarettes are better or worse than regular ones

Formaldehyde is found in many things – certain building materials, disinfectants and embalming fluid

Using certain electronic cigarettes at high temperature settings could potentially release more formaldehyde – a cancer-causing chemical – than smoking traditional cigarettes, new lab tests suggest.

The research does not prove a health risk – it involved limited testing on just one brand of e-cigarettes and was done in test tubes, not people.

It also does not mean e-cigarettes are better or worse than regular ones; tobacco smoke contains dozens of things that can cause cancer.

But it does highlight how little is known about the safety of e-cigarettes – battery-powered devices that heat liquid to deliver nicotine in a vapour rather than from burning tobacco.

‘It’s a potential red flag,’ said one independent expert – Stephen Hecht, a chemist and tobacco researcher at the University of Minnesota – commenting on the study.

‘Under some conditions, e-cigarettes might be generating more formaldehyde than you’d want to be exposed to. But I don’t think we know enough yet.

‘There’s a huge variety in the makeup of these cigarettes and how they are used.’

The study was published as a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine. The journal said it had been reviewed by experts in the field.

Formaldehyde is found in many things – certain building materials, disinfectants and embalming fluid.

An earlier study found e-cigarettes generated less formaldehyde than regular cigarettes do, but that study looked at just the gas portion of the vapor.

The new one looked at the liquid particles in the vapor, like the spray from an aerosol can.

Some tank system e-cigarettes let users turn up the voltage to increase the heat and the amount of liquid, which contains the nicotine and flavorings, in the vapor.

David Peyton, a chemist at Portland State University, and his colleagues tested one brand with two voltage settings.

They used a syringe to collect vapour from 10 samples, each one representing several puffs, at both voltage levels.

They measured formaldehyde hemiacetal – a compound created during the vaping process that under certain conditions can release formaldehyde – in the liquid portion of the vapor.

At low voltage the chemical was not detected. But at the high voltage setting, levels of that compound were five to 15 times greater than the amount of formaldehyde users would get from traditional cigarettes.

Virtually all e-cigarettes use similar materials in the heated liquid, so the finding on formaldehyde ‘is not brand-dependent,’ said Peyton, who plans more extensive tests.

However, Gregory Conley, a lawyer with the American Vaping Association, an advocacy group for e-cigarettes, criticised the study methods.

‘They use the device in a manner that no one does,’ he said.

Using the high voltage for as long as the researchers mimicked in the study ‘creates a burning, acrid taste’ called a ‘dry puff’ that would cause users to adjust the e-cigarette, Conley said.

What the researchers did is like leaving a steak on a grill all day – many cancer-causing substances might be formed but no one would eat such charred meat, he said.

Eric Jacobs, a biologist at the American Cancer Society, said a biochemist at the society looked at the work and ‘was reasonably convinced’ that the chemical researchers measured would break down into formaldehyde in the user’s lungs.

‘No one should conclude from this that e-cigarettes used at high voltage are worse than combustible tobacco cigarettes,’ because of all the other toxins in tobacco smoke, Mr Jacobs said.

The society’s advocacy affiliate, the Cancer Action Network, said the research ‘should raise serious concerns’ about the lack of regulation of e-cigarettes, and urged the Food and Drug Administration to quickly finalize the proposal announced last spring to do so.

Cancer Research UK welcomes action on tobacco packaging

Plain, standardised tobacco packaging is a step closer to being introduced to the UK after the Government announced they will proceed with a vote on the issue.

Cancer Research UK has welcomed the move which now allows a vote in the Commons.

The move would make brightly coloured and slickly designed packs illegal, with all packs becoming uniform in size, shape and design with large picture health warnings.

Initial consultation into standard packs began nearly three years ago in April 2012. Since then, there has been the independent Chantler Review which came out in favour of standardised tobacco packaging to reduce the appeal to children and young people. There has also been a second consultation as well as a vote in parliament overwhelmingly in favour of standard packs.

New figures released by Cancer Research UK this evening show that people back these plans.

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of voters across the political spectrum said they support removing the colourful designs and branding from tobacco packaging, replacing them with packs of uniform size and shape with prominent health warnings. Only 15 per cent were opposed to the measure.

The new survey of more than 1,800 adults from across Britain reveals high levels of support from potential Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP voters.

Seventy-five per cent of potential Conservative, 75 per cent of Labour, 80 per cent of Liberal Democrat and 64 per cent of UKIP voters all said they backed making tobacco packs less attractive.

Government action to reduce smoking rates was also popular, with around four fifths (79 per cent) of the public supporting action to try and lower the number of young people under 18 who start smoking.

Again, this was high across the board with 86 per cent of Conservative supporters, 78 per cent of Labour, 90 per cent of Liberal Democrat and 76 per cent of UKIP supporters showing support.

Evidence from Australia – where standard packs were introduced over two years ago – continues to grow, showing that standard packaging of tobacco is hitting sales of this deadly product. Between 2010 and 2013 – the period where standard packs were introduced – Australia saw a 15 per cent relative reduction in the number of daily smokers aged 14 or older. Data also confirmed that a higher proportion of young people have never smoked.

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “We applaud the Government for taking this big step towards getting plain, standardised cigarette packs on the shelves and protecting children from tobacco marketing.

“This is welcome news, and with such wide public and cross-party political support it’s vital this announcement leads to a vote on standardised packaging, as soon as possible, and certainly before the General Election.

“Two-thirds of smokers start before the age 18, beginning an addiction which will kill half of them if they become long-term smokers. By stripping cigarette packs of their marketing features, we can reduce the number of young people lured into an addiction, the products of which are death and disease.”

Cigarette packaging vote welcomed by Welsh government

Brand names would be restricted to simple, generic lettering under the plans

Brand names would be restricted to simple, generic lettering under the plans

A plan to let MPs vote on introducing plain packaging for cigarettes has been welcomed by the Welsh government.

The UK government said it would offer MPs a free vote before May’s general election on the measure, which doctors said could save thousands of lives.

Assembly members voted in January 2014 to accept any UK law on the issue.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have always supported measures to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products.”

“Such a move could play an important part in our efforts to tackle the harm associated with tobacco use,” he added.

Plain tobacco packaging

Response to UK announcement on standardised packs

The Scottish Government today re-emphasised its intention introduce plain cigarette packaging.

The UK Government yesterday (21 January) announced it would lay regulations for standardised packaging of tobacco products before May 2015 allowing law to come into force in May 2016.

Scottish Ministers have long been committed to plain packaging and will now work with the UK Government to support this outcome.

Welcoming the UK Government’s long awaited decision Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health, said:

“Here in Scotland we have called for action on this issue for a long time, with the Health Secretary writing once again to the Secretary of State for Health last week, making our support for plain packaging absolutely clear.

“Our position has always been that this move will be an important step in tackling tobacco related disease. It is a bold step, but to build a generation free from tobacco, it is necessary to restrict the imagery and design that is used to encourage people – in particular young people – to use these addictive and lethal products.

“Tobacco use comes at great cost, not only for our NHS but also our families and communities. Each year more than 13,000 people in Scotland die as a result of tobacco use. Around the same number of young people take up smoking each year. That is why we must continue to take bold steps, such as plain packaging, to achieve our vision of a tobacco-free Scotland by 2034.

“While it has taken the UK Government a considerable period of time to follow our lead on this important issue, we now look forward to receiving the final regulations to agree and will continue to support effective regulation and implementation across Scotland and rest of UK.”

• A Legislative Consent Motion was agreed by the Scottish Parliament in 2014 to allow the UK Government to legislate in Scotland on this matter, with the final details to be agreed in due course.
• A UK wide consultation on draft regulations ran in summer 2014
• Standardised packaging involves regulating the design characteristics of tobacco packaging (e.g. the branding, colouring, typography, size, shape and method of opening), so that tobacco products must be sold in a standardised form of packaging.
• Standardised Packaging has been one of a number of measures introduced in
Australia at a time when smoking rates have fallen.

Since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, it has overseen:
• Legislation to ban tobacco advertising in 2002
• The first UK nation to ban smoking in public places, in 2006
• Increased age for tobacco sales from 16 to 18 in 2007
• Implementation of the most robust tobacco display regulations in the UK. In force in large shops from 2013 and small shops from 2015.
• Banned tobacco vending machines in April 2013.
• Establishment of the only Tobacco retail Register in the UK in 2011
• Comprehensive awareness-raising campaigns
• Third country in the world to announce an ambitious tobacco-free target. Our 2013 Strategy, Creating a Tobacco-Free Generation, set out our vision for a tobacco-free Scotland (less than 5% prevalence) by 2034.
• First country in the UK to commit to implementing Standardised Packaging for tobacco products.
• Set a target to reduce the proportion of children in Scotland exposed to second-hand smoke in the home from 12 per cent to six per cent by 2020 – potentially saving 50,000 children from exposure to harmful smoke.