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September 28th, 2015:

Philip Morris’ iQOS ‘Smells Like an Ashtray': Imperial Tobacco

According to a recent report, Philip Morris International Inc. ‘s PM newly launched device, iQOS, was criticized by tobacco maker Imperial Tobacco plc, which led to an unusual war of words.

Reportedly, Imperial Tobacco’s head of scientific regulatory affairs commented that “a lot of black crud” is deposited in the iQOS after usage making it smell “like an ashtray”.

Philip Morris launched the heat-not-burn cigarette alternative, iQOS, in Nov 2014 in Nagoya, Japan and Milan, Italy. The iQOS products combine the features of analogs and electronic cigarettes and heat the tobacco instead of burning it. iQOS was also launched in Switzerland in August this year.

Philip Morris conducted eight clinical studies on the device and long-term tests are underway. The company expects to submit the test results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016.

The allegation comes at a time when tobacco makers are firing on all cylinders to find healthier alternatives to conventional cigarettes to battle the dwindling volumes of traditional cigarettes.

Reynolds American Inc.’s  RAI subsidiary R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and British American Tobacco plc (“BAT”), recently joined forces to leverage their technological knowhow to boost their presence in the unconventional cigarette space. The two companies will work on a joint research, development and technology-sharing framework to develop e-cigarettes through 2022 per the multi-year deal.

Further, in Dec 2013, Philip Morris International, carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), and Altria Group Inc. MO collaborated to ramp up the distribution of their unconventional cigarettes. While Altria sells Marlboro exclusively in the U.S., Philip Morris sells them internationally. Per the deal, Philip Morris will market Altria’s MarkTen e-cigarettes internationally and the latter will distribute two of Philip Morris’ heated tobacco products in the country. The two companies further expanded their agreement to include joint research, development and technology-sharing framework for developing their unconventional cigarettes.

7-Eleven at Cineleisure gets permanent tobacco sale ban; four other sellers suspended

SINGAPORE – The 7-Eleven store at Cineleisure Orchard is no longer allowed to sell tobacco products.

Its licence was permanently revoked by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) after an employee was found to have sold tobacco products to minors under 18 years of age – the second time that this has happened at the outlet.

It was first suspended for 6 months in 2011.

“Despite its previous conviction, the outlet continued to commit the offence, resulting in its licence being revoked. It will no longer be allowed to sell tobacco products,” said the HSA in a statement on Monday. The worker, it added, was caught during the authority’s ground surveillance and enforcement activities.

Four other errant retailers – Hwa Soon Heng Mini-Supermarket, Tastebud Foodcourt, J Plus Ten Mini Mart and Nice Minimart – had their licenses suspended, and will not be able to sell tobacco products for six months as this is their first offence.

In its statement, the HSA also reminded tobacco retailers that they are responsible for all transactions taking place at their outlets, as well as for the actions of their employees.

“HSA urges all tobacco retail licencees to educate their employees on the law pertaining to the sale of tobacco products and for sellers to check the age of those who wish to buy tobacco products,” it said.

Under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, anyone caught selling tobacco products to persons below the age of 18 can be fined up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for subsequent offences.

The retailer’s tobacco licence will be suspended for 6 months for the first offence and revoked for the second.

In the last three years, 37 tobacco retail licences were suspended and 22 were revoked.

HSA encourages members of the public who have information on the illegal sales of tobacco products to under-18 minors to call the Tobacco Regulation Branch at 66842036 or 66842037 during office hours.

NZ smoking rates decrease – but not as fast as Australia

Smokers are a dwindling group in New Zealand with tobacco consumption down 23 per cent in the past five years.

But anti-smoking advocates say rates here are still not falling as fast as in Australia, where the introduction of plain packaging has been credited with a 20 per cent drop in consumption in just three years.

The figures, supplied to the Ministry of Health by New Zealand tobacco manufacturers, show average cigarette consumption has declined 6.3 per cent each year since 2010 equating to a 23 per cent decline in consumption overall.

In Australia figures show consumption has plunged 13 per cent in the last year and 19.6 per cent in the three years since plain packaging laws and tobacco tax increases were introduced.

“Standardised packs and annual tax increases have provided a powerful double-whammy that’s saving many lives across the ditch,” said Smokefree Coalition Chair Dr Jan Pearson.

“New Zealand’s falling smoking rates must have big tobacco worried, but if we stopped playing ‘wait and see’ and introduced standardised packs we’d worry them even more and prevent a lot of sickness and suffering.”

The coalition and another group, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), are calling on Government to make plain packaging legislation an immediate priority.

“Standardised packs are inevitable. Britain and Ireland will introduce them from May next year and the entire European Union is expected to do the same. Many other countries are considering the move and in years to come we’ll wonder what the fuss was about – just as we did with smokefree bars and workplaces,” Dr Pearson said.

“The evidence is clear that plain packaging stops tobacco companies’ ability to advertise through their clever and attractive branding. That means fewer people will die of smoking-related diseases, and fewer children will grow up to become the next generation of addicted smokers. Other states aren’t scared of big tobacco and we shouldn’t be either.”

ASH director Stephanie Erick said standardised packs and annual tax increases were just two of 13 measures Smokefree Coalition members advocate for through an evidence-based National Action Plan to achieve the Smokefree 2025 Goal.

She said smoking rates had reduced sharply in a generation – from 33 per cent of adults in 1983 to less than 15 per cent right now – but more could be done to become smokefree.

The Smokefree National Action Plan was developed by the smokefree sector pending the Government’s development of a strategy towards Smokefree 2025.

The pending development of a governmental tobacco control plan was announced by Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne recently, during his launch of the Alcohol and Drug Policy in August.

Plain packaging legislation could decrease number of smokers in NZ even further

According to the Ministry of Health, there are less smoking adults in New Zealand. In 1983, 33% of adults were smokers, compared to 15% right now. But smokefree organisations say the Government need to make plain packaging of cigarettes an immediate priority.

Australia have taken the lead and have seen results since implementing plain cigarette packaging.

Figures show that in the last year, the consumption of cigarettes in Australia has decreased by 13%. In the last three years since the plain packaging and tobacco tax increases came in to effect, consumption of cigarettes has plunged 19.6%.

Smokefree Coalition Chair and National Smokefree Working Group member Dr Jan Pearson says, “Standardised packs and annual tax increases have provided a powerful double-whammy that’s saving many lives across the ditch,”

The evidence is clear that plain packaging stops tobacco companies’ ability to advertise through their clever and attractive branding. That means fewer people will die of smoking-related diseases, and fewer children will grow up to become the next generation of addicted smokers. Other states aren’t scared of big tobacco and we shouldn’t be either.”

Cigarette Exposure In Early Life Increases Risk Of Behavioral Problems

Children who are exposed to tobacco early in life may be at a higher risk of behavioral problems later in life than counterparts who are not exposed, according to a recent study published in the journal.

During the study, researchers analyzed data on pre- and postnatal exposure to tobacco in the homes of 5,200 primary school children, noting how association is stronger when exposure takes place both during pregnancy and after birth.

The researchers assessed both prenatal and postnatal exposure to tobacco smoke in the home with the help of a standardized questionnaire completed by the parents. Behavioural disorders were assessed via the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) used to assess the behavioural and psychosocial functioning of the children, which was also completed by the parents.

“Exposure to ETS in the postnatal period, alone or in association with exposure during pregnancy, increases the risk of behavioural disorders in primary school children,” added Isabella Annesi-Maesano, Inserm Research Director.

Findings revealed that exposure to ETS during prenatal and postnatal periods was a concern for 21 percent of the children in the study, with conduct disorders showing an association to ETS exposure in children, as well.

Researchers noted how the observations seem to confirm previous studies carried out in animals, i.e. that the nicotine contained in tobacco smoke may have a neurotoxic effect on the brain. During pregnancy, nicotine in tobacco smoke stimulates acetylcholine receptors, and causes structural changes in the brain. In the first months of life, exposure to tobacco smoke generates a protein imbalance that leads to altered neuronal growth.

“Our data indicate that passive smoking, in addition to the well-known effects on health, should also be avoided because of the behavioural disorders it may cause in children,” the researchers concluded.

Blackburn-based e-cigarette manufacturer set to fight ‘unfair’ ruling

AN EAST Lancashire electronic cigarette manufacturer will formally challenge an EU directive this week which it says breaches European Union law and would put its industry at an unfair trading disadvantage.

Blackburn-based Totally Wicked is the only e-cigarette firm to win the right to challenge Article 20 of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which will bring e-cigarettes and e-liquid within its regulatory scope as a ‘tobacco-related product’ – despite not containing tobacco.

It means e-cigarettes would be subject to more stringent regulation than some tobacco products.

And the company, which believes the TPD is likely to adversely impact the availability of good quality, electronic cigarettes and e-liquids, will formally challenge its validity at the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg on Thursday.

Totally Wicked managing director Fraser Cropper said: “It is crucial that our industry is allowed to mature within a proportionate regulatory framework, which supports appropriate controls and safety requirements, and necessary social responsibility and continues to provide consumer choice to maximise the enormous potential of these products. Article 20 of this directive patently will not deliver this environment.”

Totally Wicked’s challenge is based on its view that Article 20 of the TPD represents a disproportionate impediment to the free movement of goods and the free provision of services, places electronic cigarettes at an unjustified competitive disadvantage to tobacco products, fails to comply with the general EU principle of equality, and breaches the fundamental rights of electronic cigarette manufacturers.

Left to develop under proportionate consumer regulation, e-cigarettes have the potential to render tobacco obsolete and prevent millions of deaths from smoking, a company spokesman added.

Investigating link between thirdhand smoke and cancer

Thirdhand smoke is a new frontier, and UC’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program has assembled a group of investigators, including at Berkeley Lab and UCSF, to study the health risks caused by the remnants of cigarette smoke.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have been awarded US$1.3 million for two sets of studies to better understand the health impacts of thirdhand smoke, the noxious residue that clings to virtually all indoor surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out.

The two three-year grants are from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), which is managed by the University of California and funded by state cigarette taxes. In one set of studies, life science researchers will seek to confirm the link between thirdhand smoke and cancer, identifying the mechanisms and biomarkers. In the second set of studies, environmental chemists will seek to characterize the components of thirdhand smoke, including investigating the differences between atmospheric particulate matter versus that in tobacco smoke.

“These two grants represent the largest annual total in the history of the TRDRP to Berkeley Lab and affirm that we remain on the cutting edge of research in this area,” said Berkeley Lab chemist Hugo Destaillats. “Working with our collaborators over the years, Berkeley Lab has made many important findings on thirdhand smoke, and now we’re excited to use new approaches to better quantify its harm to human health.”

Warnings date back years

Berkeley Lab scientists first sounded the warning on thirdhand smoke with a pair of studies in 2010 establishing that nicotine in thirdhand smoke can react with common indoor air pollutants to produce dangerous carcinogens.

Since then, TRDRP has funded further studies, including one in 2013 led by Berkeley Lab biochemist Bo Hang that found that thirdhand smoke can cause significant genetic damage in human cells. Genotoxicity is associated with the development of diseases and is a critical mechanism responsible for many types of cancer caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.

This body of work led to a California law banning smoking inside daycare centers due to the lingering effects of thirdhand smoke.

“We have established that components in thirdhand smoke do cause DNA damage,” said Hang. “Now we want to look for more evidence of genomic instability and also confirm the link with cancer by finding the mechanisms and biomarkers.”

Gathering data from two studies

To accomplish this, the researchers from Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division will conduct two studies. First, using next-generation toxicological approaches, such as exome sequencing of the whole genome and bioinformatics for analyzing mutation patterns, Hang hopes to further characterize the cancer risk of cells and tissues exposed to thirdhand smoke.

Second, Berkeley Lab geneticist Jian-Hua Mao will use a genetically diverse population of mice to investigate how components of thirdhand smoke cause genetic damage. “Just like humans, mice can have big variations in how susceptible they are to cancer,” Mao said. “We will investigate the dose-response relationship and threshold of detection in certain cells and tissues, and also see if the results lead us to biomarkers of thirdhand smoke exposure.”

Additionally he will look at four time periods in the mouse lifetime — perinatal, postnatal, puberty and young adult — to determine if there are “windows of susceptibility.” “We always say that thirdhand smoke is especially dangerous for kids and babies, but we don’t have concrete evidence,” Hang said. “This should answer that question.”

The other set of studies, led by Destaillats working with Berkeley Lab scientists Lara Gundel and Jennifer Logue, will look at the particulate matter in thirdhand smoke, or PM2.5, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in size. “We know particles may account for as much as 90 percent of the harm,” Destaillats said. “But given the lack of toxicological and epidemiological data on tobacco particles, the health data we currently use comes from studies on outdoor atmospheric particles. This more targeted study will shed light on how thirdhand smoke particles compare with atmospheric particles.”

Destaillats, Gundel, and Logue will also further characterize the composition and chemistry of thirdhand smoke. “We have a pretty good idea what’s emitted by cigarettes and the evolution of the components­ — some react, some are absorbed, some disappear,” Gundel said. “But there are still unidentified components in thirdhand smoke.”

Berkeley Lab is a member of the California Consortium on Thirdhand Smoke, which was established in 2011. Other members include UC San Francisco, UC Riverside, the University of Southern California, and San Diego State University.

Economic burden from tobacco-induced heart diseases highest in Kerala amongst southern states

Thiruvananthapuram: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) account for a staggering Rs 226 crore economic burden annually, the highest among four major tobacco-induced ailments in Kerala, contributing to 51 per cent of total direct medical costs.

Significantly, the total direct medical costs from tobacco-induced CVDs in Kerala are the highest among south Indian states, says a latest report.

The report is based on study called ‘Economic Burden of Tobacco Related Diseases in India’ developed by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) with support from the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The study report covers both direct medical costs and indirect morbidity costs of four specific diseases – CVDs, cancer, tuberculosis, and respiratory disease.

The direct medical costs from tobacco-related heart diseases in neighbouring Tamil Nadu is 46 per cent, while those in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are at 48 and 40 per cent, respectively.

Smoking tobacco contributes to the highest economic burden among Kerala males with direct costs of Rs 123.5 crores, and indirect costs of Rs 62.7 crores.

The report estimated the economic costs on persons in the 35–69 age group in 2011.

Direct medical costs include direct healthcare expenditure for inpatient hospitalisation or outpatient visits such as medicines, diagnostic tests, bed charges, and surgeon’s fees. Indirect costs accrue from expenses on transportation and lodging for caregivers and loss of household income due to inpatient hospitalisation, besides costs from premature deaths.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-10, the global standard to systematically monitor adult tobacco use, 35.5 per cent of males use tobacco in some form, 27.9 per cent males smoke and 13.1 per cent use smokeless tobacco products.

The economic burden study has suggested a host of measures to deal with the tobacco menace. These include strengthening implementation of Indian tobacco control law, COTPA, 2003 and imposing uniform taxes on all tobacco products like cigarettes and bidis. It has also recommended prohibition of sale and manufacture of all forms of smokeless tobacco products/chewing tobacco and high visibility public awareness campaigns to consistently reach out to different target audiences

One Teaspoon of Liquid Nicotine Could Kill a Small Child

California Poison Control Warns E-Cigarette Smokers to Lock Up Nicotine

( – September 28, 2015 – San Francisco, CA – Poison centers are reporting a recent uptick in calls about exposures to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine, according to the National Poison Data System.

The calls concern accidental poisoning of small children related to e-cigarette smoking or “vaping.” Slightly more than half of these reported exposures have occurred in children under the age of six. Liquid nicotine juice, chocolate and other sweet flavors are tempting to children because the colorful packaging and flavors are hard to resist. Nicotine overdose can cause anxiety, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, loss of consciousness and death. Safe disposal of these products must be done to prevent exposure to children and pets from the residue or liquid left in the containers.

“E-cigarette use has skyrocketed in the past few years, because people believe it’s safer than smoking actual cigarettes,” says Dr. Stuart E. Heard, executive director of California Poison Control System ( (CPCS). “We are seeing studies that link e-cigarettes to asthma, lung inflammation, MRSA infection risk and exposure to inhaled chemicals. We’re just beginning to learn the health risks for e-cigarette smokers, but the risks to children are undeniable.”

He added that vaping also can be a gateway for minors to real cigarettes. A recent study at USC’s Keck School of Medicine tracked 2,530 high school freshmen. Of those, 222 had never smoked real cigarettes but had tried e-cigarettes. Six months later, 30.7 percent of the 222 students had also tried combustible tobacco products.

“Our main concern right now is minimizing risks to children and young adults from vaping and liquid nicotine,” said Dr. Heard. “Nicotine can be poisonous, and people who use it must keep it away from children.” In case of an accidental poisoning, consumers should immediately call 1-800-222-1222.