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September 5th, 2015:

5 Things Altria Group Management Wants You to Know

‘Altria sees the e-cigarette and e-vapor market as a key driver of long-term progress, with its Nu Mark subsidiary having pushed arduous to enter key markets and broaden its penetration in each tobacco-alternative markets. But the collaboration with Philip Morris Worldwide arguably has much more potential to enhance Altria’s place within the area of interest, particularly because it responds to elevated competitors from Altria’s essential rival within the home tobacco market. Altria hopes the partnership will result in new and revolutionary merchandise and an extra environment friendly infrastructure for selling and advertising these merchandise.’

The Poison in Your E-Cigarettes

If you think e-cigs are a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, think again.

An independent study from the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) this week has offered new evidence that e-cigarettes contain cancer-causing agents. If the research holds up, the devices’ days as a “healthy alternative to smoking” may be numbered.

The e-cigarettes used today are based on one a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik created in 2003. Lik made the device with the hopes of kicking his smoking habit—one that he had just watched take his father through lung cancer. While it didn’t help Lik quit, it did pique the interest of those around him.

After first taking off online, the device made its way to Europe and the U.S. between 2006-2007. By 2009 an estimated 100,000 had been sold in America. After a few big name celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio were pictured with one, the device took off.

Today, experts estimate that more than 20 million Americans have tried e-cigarettes, bringing sales of the product above $3 billion dollars annually. Investment analysts say the industry is on the verge of a rapid expansion, with the potential of reaching $10 billion in the next two years.

As successful as they are, the digital or battery-powered devices are the source of much controversy in the scientific world. Not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is little research on their health effects and few regulations surrounding their use. The result is a product that’s left a huge unanswered question: are e-cigarettes safer than real smoking?

It’s a question that CEH researchers set out to explore in their study, titled A Smoking Gun: Cancer-Causing Agents in E-cigarettes. The first large-scale study of its kind, it involved testing 97 products from 24 different e-cigarette manufactures for cancer-causing agents. Studies on potentially dangerous chemicals in the devices have been done, but this one had a major difference: it tested the level of chemicals via machines that mimicked how the devices are used.

The results were staggering. Ninety percent of the companies tested were shown to have at least one product with extreme levels of cancer causing gases.

The results were staggering. Ninety percent of the companies tested were shown to have at least one product with extreme levels of cancer causing gases. In one case, the product contained 254 times the legal amount of acetaldehyde; in another, a product showed 473 times the amount of formaldehyde. Using these results, the CEH plans to take legal action against the companies, claiming they are in violation of California’s consumer protection law, Proposition 65.

CEH’s research comes on the heels of a controversial New England Journal of Medicine study from January 2015, which implied that there are hidden levels of formaldehyde in e-cigarettes. The study was highly criticized by those in the e-cigarette industry and outside of it, who claimed the high temperatures used during testing were unrealistic. One industry expert, in describing how unscientific he viewed the process, likened it to “grilling a steak for 18 hours.”

In order to avoid the same controversy, the California researchers from CEH, a nonprofit launched in 1996 to protect the public against toxic chemicals, teamed up with the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. A2LA is a nonprofit, non-government organization that has been testing cigarettes for years.

With their help, researchers were able to test the levels of cancer-causing agents through smoking machines that simulate how the products are actually used. Their results show the vast majority of leading e-cigarette manufactures producing products with unsafe levels of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, or both. The chemicals were even found to be present in products that were marketed as nicotine-free.

The researchers blame e-cigarette marketing—reportedly an 80 million dollar industry—for “deceptive” advertising, which they say minimizes adverse health affects and promulgates unverified safety claims. A variety of individuals have filed lawsuits against e-cigarette companies, some alleging that their advertising is akin to early advertising for cigarettes.

Outside of the risk of exposure to cancer-causing agents, e-cigarettes have been shown to prove dangerous for kids. The concentrated liquid nicotine, which can be easily accessed, is highly toxic. From 2010-2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that calls to poison control centers for exposure to e-cigarette liquid had skyrocketed; more than half of them involving children under the age of five.

So are e-cigarettes the answer to the deadly effects of cigarettes such as lung cancer, or are they a new alternative that—unbeknownst to the general public—is just as dangerous?

During a recent PBS special on the topic, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products Mitch Zeller expressed a positive view on the product. “It looks like we may have a product that could deliver nicotine to the lungs without combustion,” says Zeller. “So, for some currently addicted adult smokers, if they could completely switch to e-cigarettes, this could conceivably help.”

Dr. Thomas Sussan, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, disagrees. When comparing healthy lung tissue to that of mice who had been exposed to e-cigarettes, he found it hindered their ability to fight off infection, as well as produced dangerous free radicals. “If you think that you’re picking these up because they’re glamorous and that you’re not going to have any downstream or long-term effects as a result of this,” says Sussan, “I think you kidding yourself.”

As for CEH, it plans to use its legal action to “influence the e-cigarette industry to change its practices that mislead users.” This means working to make safer products as well as informing consumers about the risks of exposure to cancer-causing agents. It’s a cause they hope will add transparency to the budding industry and, if successful, save lives.

Another take on electronic cigarettes

By: Rafael R. Castillo, September 5th, 2015 12:10 AM

We’ve written about the pros and cons of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) in this space. A recent report commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) states that e-cigs are about 95 percent less harmful to health than tobacco cigarettes, and should be considered in helping smokers quit.

The authors of the report were led by Ann McNeill, PhD, professor of tobacco addiction at the National Addiction Center, King’s College, and Peter Hajek, PhD, CClinPsych, director of the tobacco dependence research unit at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, United Kingdom.

Refuting arguments that e-cigs could be a gateway for the youth to later smoke tobacco, the authors wrote that there’s no indication that e-cigs are “renormalizing smoking or increasing smoking uptake.”

They reported that e-cigs are attracting very few people who have never smoked, so there’s no risk of potentially increasing the number of people who might become actual smokers later on.

Other smoking-cessation experts are taking this report with a grain of salt.

Other researches by equally credible experts have drawn different conclusions and given opposing recommendations.

Draft recommendation

Also recently, an updated draft recommendation from the United States Preventive Services Task Force on behavioral interventions and medications for tobacco smoking cessation in adults, stated that it cannot yet recommend e-cigs as a smoking cessation tool.

It echoes findings of several other researches pointing out that though e-cigs may show some potential usefulness in smoking cessation, more studies are needed as to its long-term impact; and there must be stricter regulation on its marketing and sale to the public.

A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama), coming out almost at the same time as the PHE report, stressed the “gateway issue” of e-cigs. The study was reinforced by an editorial by Nancy A. Rigotti, MD, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The editorial was published also in the same issue of the journal.

Dr. Risotto emphasized that the study provides “the strongest evidence to date that e-cigarettes might pose a health hazard by encouraging adolescents to start smoking conventional tobacco products.”

Some technical flaws

However, Dr. McNeill, coauthor of the PHE report, argued that the study has some methodological or technical flaws, which make the conclusions questionable. The major issue Dr. McNeill raised was with regard to the measure to determine e-cig use and smoking.

“One of the issues we raise in our report is that of measurement,” she was quoted by Medscape Medical News. “It is not the same to equate ‘ever use’ with use, as ever use can mean that someone had just tried an e-cigarette once.”

She added: “Adolescence is a time of experimentation, so what we are really concerned with is any regular use of e-cigarettes and uptake of smoking.”

Smoking cessation tool

For his part, Dr. Hajek said that the Jama study does not show that vaping with e-cigs leads to smoking. “It just shows that people who are attracted to e-cigarettes are the same people who are attracted to smoking,” he explained. He compared it with people who drink alcohol, such that those who drink white wine are more likely to try red wine compared to people who do not drink alcohol.

I maintain my personal stand that e-cigs should only be allowed as a smoking-cessation tool, which should be under the supervision of a health professional who has training on smoking cessation. It should be treated as a prescription product, and not as a “recreation” or “alternative lifestyle” device which anyone, including children and adolescents, can readily purchase even from vendors in some busy street corners.

Big Tobacco Eyes Easing Restrictions Via TTIP

Written by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” — John F. Kennedy, February 26, 1962

If Kennedy was right, then the United States and its partners in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) must be very afraid indeed of their people.

Despite a promise made only weeks ago by the EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström to “publish detailed and extensive reports of the negotiations,” key documents recording details of negotiations between Big Tobacco and the EU were heavily redacted before being posted on the official EU website.

Virtually every word of the documents recording correspondence with and minutes of meetings with tobacco lobbyists and representatives of the governments of the United States, Japan, and the European Union was blacked out before being made available online.

In one example typical of the amount of pre-publication editing, a 14-page letter from British American Tobacco revealed fewer than five percent of the text. What was visible was little more than the written version of small talk.

Another egregious example of what the EU and U.S. trade representatives consider “access” and “transparency” is a single page memo of a meeting with lobbyists working for Philip Morris. In that offering to openness, even the date was redacted!

Activists in Europe have requested the full record of these meetings, supposing that they would reveal efforts by multinational tobacco conglomerates to include revocations of national (American, Japanese, and European) restrictions on the advertising, buying, and selling of tobacco.

An EU watchdog organization specializing in monitoring corporate lobbying is preparing to file a complaint with an EU government agency to force Big Tobacco and the representatives of the TTIP member nations to expose to the people of all interested countries the full, unredacted record of these critical conversations.

Regardless of the true purpose of these meetings, the fact that the participants want them kept secret is telling.

What is certainly not secret is the fact that U.S. law will be abrogated by whatever agreements the trade negotiators work out in secret with the tobacco industry and other segments of big business that see an opportunity to circumvent the Constitution and promulgate new, more favorable, less restrictive regulations.

Constitutionalists in America and friends of liberty and economic freedom on both sides of the Atlantic are fully aware that the TTIP is not to the liking of any right thinking person.

Speaking of the damage to representative, republican government lurking in the TTIP, The New American’s senior editor, William F. Jasper, writes:

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) proposes to begin “deep and comprehensive” integration between the 28 member states of the European Union and the United States. Over the course of the past several years, we have published many articles detailing the dangers posed by these (still officially secret) agreements. We are bringing together here, in abbreviated form, 10 of those reasons why every American — whether identifying as Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, Tea Party, liberal, conservative, or constitutionalist — should oppose both of these proposals.

Jasper goes on to list 10 reasons to oppose the TTIP.

It is that word “integration,” though, that should evoke the greatest resistance from Americans and Europeans who understand our common legacy of individual liberty and the trouble that is caused by political consolidation.

Again, Jasper’s analysis is noteworthy:

The TPP/TTIP architects are drawing from the “success” of the European Union. In the development of the European Union — from its origin as the European Coal and Steel Community to the Common Market to the European Community to, finally, the EU — this subversive mutational process has been referred to as “broadening and deepening.” Broadening (or “widening”) refers to the constant expansion through addition of new member-states; deepening refers to the constant creation of new supranational institutional structures and continuous expansion and usurpation by regional authorities of powers and jurisdiction that previously were exercised by national, state, and local governments. The “living,” “evolving” treaties and agreements of the EU have eviscerated the national sovereignty of the EU member-states and increasingly subjugated them to unaccountable rulers in Brussels under the rubric of “integration,” “harmonization,” “an ever closer union,” “convergence,” “pooled sovereignty,” “interdependence,” and “comprehensive cooperation.”

Of course, the most relevant and revealing question is why would negotiators — corporate and government — continue trying so hard to conceal the content of their negotiations if the deal were good for Americans?

In his exposé, Jasper points out that that “transparency” deception isn’t confined to the European politicians:

The Obama administration has audaciously claimed that the TPP and TTIP processes are “completely transparent,” and President Obama has publicly claimed to be peeved by charges (false charges, he says) that there is any secrecy involved. But the president is talking utter nonsense, if facts mean anything. It is a fact that after more than three years of (secret) negotiations, the administration still has not made the draft texts of either of the agreements available to the public.

When it comes to keeping Americans in the dark about multinational, unconstitutional trade deals, Obama has proven himself quite capable of cooking up some whoppers:

In a press conference attended by this reporter in December 2013, it was admitted that in the official document outlining the deal, the Obama administration makes clear that an agreement will not be chiefly focused on matters related to international trade, but rather “behind-the-border” (read: domestic) policies such as health, environmental, and monetary policy. As with so many of the other panoply of recent trade deals, multinational corporations operating within the United States and the EU are achieving quasi-governmental power and using that authority to limit the ability of U.S. and EU courts to enforce domestic laws, particularly those that the corporate interests deem detrimental to their bottom line.

If the globalist and corporate interests in the United States and Europe successfully silence the outrage of the opposition on both sides of the Atlantic and achieve adoption of the agreements, then the integration of the United States with regional blocs in the Pacific and Atlantic will rush headlong toward completion and the ultimate surrender of sovereignty will ride up rapidly on its heels.

As it stands today, despite the redactions, it appears that the right of Americans to elect those empowered to make laws is being repealed by corporate lobbyists meeting safely behind a thick veil of secrecy.