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November 4th, 2015:

Electronic cigarettes induce DNA strand breaks and cell death independently of nicotine in cell lines



Evaluate the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of short- and long-term e-cigarette vapor exposure on a panel of normal epithelial and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines.


HaCaT, UMSCC10B, and HN30 were treated with nicotine-containing and nicotine-free vapor extract from two popular e-cigarette brands for periods ranging from 48h to 8weeks. Cytotoxicity was assessed using Annexin V flow cytometric analysis, trypan blue exclusion, and clonogenic assays. Genotoxicity in the form of DNA strand breaks was quantified using the neutral comet assay and γ-H2AX immunostaining.


E-cigarette-exposed cells showed significantly reduced cell viability and clonogenic survival, along with increased rates of apoptosis and necrosis, regardless of e-cigarette vapor nicotine content. They also exhibited significantly increased comet tail length and accumulation of γ-H2AX foci, demonstrating increased DNA strand breaks.


E-cigarette vapor, both with and without nicotine, is cytotoxic to epithelial cell lines and is a DNA strand break-inducing agent. Further assessment of the potential carcinogenic effects of e-cigarette vapor is urgently needed.

Codentify Wars: Imperial Tobacco Strikes Back

Big Tobacco has sunk to a new low in their battle to promote Codentify and in doing so proven that my blog is clearly a threat to them.

Today I opened my email to find an interesting comment awaiting approval on my last blog post. The comment accused me of being funded by SICPA, another big corporation involved in the track and trace industry. Let me first make it very clear that I am NOT being funded by any companies what so ever.

Here is the post which I of course approved.


Maybe after I finish exposing the extent of corruption in the Tobacco Industry I will move on to focus on SICPA as well. Many big corporations have “interests”, the tobacco industry just more than most. The little funding I have received has been from individuals. but this is not the point of my post.

If you pay close attention to the screenshot above, you will see an IP address listed. I looked up the IP in google and guess who sent the comment…


Who would have guessed… Imperial Tobacco Group. When you signed the comment BAH, I think you meant to spell BAT.

By going out of their way to defame my credibility by associating me with some big corporation, and doing so in an amateurish manner, that is easily traceable, big tobacco has proven that my hard work is paying off. they perceive my blog as a threat and thus are trying to discredit it. By doing so they embolden me further and clearly demonstrate they are on the defensive.

If I can stand up to big tobacco, we all can. Lets together make sure they do not have the opportunity to regulate themselves in such a shameless manner that Codentify would allow them to.

Hong Kong Customs seizes cigarette smuggling worth 2.7 mln USD

HONG KONG, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — Hong Kong Customs seized 7.7 million illicit cigarettes on Tuesday worth about 21 million HK dollars (about 2.7 million U.S. dollars), with a duty potential of about 15 million HK dollars, it said here on Wednesday.

The cigarettes were found in a container at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound declared to be carrying housewares from Haiphong, Vietnam.

A spokesman said the operation showed the effectiveness of Hong Kong Customs’ enforcement strategy, especially the escalated enforcement actions against smuggling activities at source.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of 2 million HK dollars and imprisonment for seven years.

Hong Kong Customs detects suspected case of cigarette smuggling by ocean-going vessel

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Hong Kong Customs smashed a suspected smuggling case involving illicit cigarettes yesterday (November 3) at Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound. About 7.7 million sticks of suspected illicit cigarettes were seized. The market value of the cigarettes was about $21 million with a duty potential of about $15 million.

Through risk assessment, Customs officers inspected a 40-foot container, declared to contain houseware, arriving in Hong Kong from Haiphong, Vietnam.

During the inspection, Customs officers discovered about 7.7 million sticks of suspected illicit cigarettes, with a market value of about $21 million and duty potential of about $15 million. The unmanifested illicit cigarettes were seized for further investigation.

A Customs spokesman said, “The operation showed the effectiveness of our enforcement strategy, especially the escalated enforcement actions against smuggling activities at source. Customs will continue to carry out stringent enforcement action against all illicit cigarette activities.”

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence.

The maximum penalty is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Members of the public are urged to report suspected illicit cigarette activities by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Source: HKSAR Government

Research shows e-cigarettes target teens, may not help with quitting

Highlighting professor in otorhinolaryngology Robert Jackler’s research, the Stanford School of Medicine’s Health Policy Forum held a discussion about electronic cigarettes on Monday. Jackler’s work focuses on whether or not electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are truly effective in helping smokers quit and why there has been a significant rise in teen use.

Jackler, whose research has charted the behavior of the tobacco industry, believes e-cig companies are manipulating consumers into using their products and taking measures to prevent them from quitting.

The difference between tobacco advertising and e-cigarette advertising is that tobacco is controlled by large companies while the e-cigarette industry is mainly based on startups and smaller businesses, according to Jackler.

Because these small companies are not subject to the strict regulations placed on big tobacco, they have more freedom to do and say what they want. In his work, Jackler examines how e-cig companies advertise their products by claiming they help people to quit, as well as how emerging ad channels, especially online and social media, are targeting young teens.

“These companies have the best copywriters, artists, illustrators that money can buy,” Jackler said. “That’s why [the] tobacco industry pays so well. Their sophisticated advertising is based upon research on consumer perception. It’s all about making money.”

Established in 2007, Jackler’s research group studies the impact of tobacco advertising, marketing and promotion. The team, Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising (SRITA), has created an online database of over 25,000 tobacco advertising images with the hope that its research will ultimately help to inform the future of the U.S. government’s regulatory process. Jackler points to many factors contributing to the wide use of e-cigs, including accessibility and rise in youth consumption. For instance, people can “vape” in places that they usually can’t smoke — like the workplace or other smoke-free environments.

“It is concerning that among middle and high school students, e-cigarette use tripled last year,” Jackler said. “Teens get hooked on the latest trends because they want to experiment. That’s how companies advertise it — as high-tech and modern. They also increase the appeal with all of these flavors of e-cigarettes — for example, chocolate, gummy bears — made available.”

By looking at channels of advertising, Jackler has noticed that many companies’ social media outlets are mainly youth-oriented, despite their claims that they do not target kids. According to Jackler, teen brains, while developing, are extremely vulnerable to nicotine addiction, and in fact, studies have shown that nicotine addiction is just as hard, if not harder, to quit than heroin addiction.

“The U.S. Senate is worried that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to a lifetime of nicotine addiction,” Jackler said. “No one really knows what the long term effects of e-cigarette smoking are. It will take 20 to 30 years for effects to really show.” Jackler explained why the youth market is appealing to the industry. “Why can’t we create e-cigarettes without nicotine — a less addictive one, for teens and a separate product for adults that were tobacco smokers? The answer lies in the industry’s need for replacement smokers,” Jackler said. “Smokers die young, and this industry needs customers.”

In addition, the rise of e-cigarettes with flavors is potentially health-threatening. The chemical compound diacetyl, used for the buttery flavoring in microwavable popcorn, is also used in flavored e-cigarette juices. A report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published in 2003 showed how workers at a popcorn factory developed bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease, as a result of inhaling vapors from diacetyl. After these findings, protective measures have prevented workers from breathing the chemical. However, these same protective measures are not set for those who inhale flavored vapors.

As Jackler points out, the image of e-cigs as a healthier alternative has definitely played a role in hiding the evidence of harmful substances and led many to feel at ease with the use of e-cigarettes.

“[Companies] do health reassurance,” Jackler said. “They tell people ‘don’t go to the “yucky” cigarettes; they’re dangerous — our product’s perfectly safe; it’s much better,’” Jackler said. “But it’s not perfectly safe.”

Jackler explained the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping smokers quit is controversial. While they may help some people stop, they also make quitting more difficult for others.

“The science isn’t there yet to answer this this important question … but this has not stopped e-cigarette companies from aggressively promoting their brand’s cessation efficacy,” Jackler said.

Although the success of the e-cig ad industry is rising, the positive effects of e-cigs are uncertain. Jackler plans to continue to raise awareness and contribute to developing the future of e-cigarette policy.

“E-cigarette marketers need to stop targeting young people,” he said. “An important step towards this goal would be to make federal advertising regulations which apply to regular cigarettes also apply to e-cigarettes. That means no celebrities, no sports endorsers, no cartoons, no radio, no television, no billboards, no games and no free samples.”

“We also need to align the place-of-use regulations of cigarettes to e-cigs,” he added. “Otherwise, smokers will dual-use and perpetuate their nicotine addiction.”