Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

January 15th, 2016:

Tar in one hookah session as much as you get from smoking 25 cigarettes

Hookah smoking also delivers 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide of a single cigarette, study shows, prompting scientist to warn: Hookah smoking poses real health concerns

It may seem like a harmless way to unwind, but people who smoke hookah are actually inhaling a large load of toxicants, a new study shows. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analysed previously published data from 17 studies and found that, compared with a single cigarette, one hookah session delivers approximately 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide. Hookah, also known as shisha, is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavoured tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal. The tobacco smoke passes through a water chamber and is inhaled deeply and slowly. There are several shisha bars in Hong Kong. “Our results show that hookah tobacco smoking poses real health concerns and that it should be monitored more closely than it is currently,” says lead author Dr Brian Primack. He notes that comparing a hookah smoking session to smoking a single cigarette is a complex comparison to make because of the differences in smoking patterns. “So, the estimates we found cannot tell us exactly what is ‘worse’,” says Primack. “But what they do suggest is that hookah smokers are exposed to a lot more toxicants than they probably realise.”

Magic mould: food preservative kills cancer cells, superbugs

A naturally occurring food preservative that grows on dairy products delivers a one-two punch to cancer and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a new University of Michigan study has found. Rats fed a “nisin milkshake” had 70-80 per cent of their head and neck tumour cells killed after nine weeks and survived for longer. Nisin, a colourless, tasteless powder, is typically added to food at the rate of 0.25 to 37.5 milligrams per kilogram. The mice were fed a far higher dosage of 800mg/kg. While promising, the results are small and in mice only, so it’s too early to say if nisin will act the same way in humans, says researcher Dr Yvonne Kapila, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Nisin also fights deadly bacteria such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA. In a recent review paper, Kapila’s group looked at experimental uses of nisin to treat 30 different types of cancer; infections of the skin, respiratory system and abdomen; and oral health. “To date, nobody has found bacteria from humans or living animals that is resistant to nisin,” Kapila says.

Study looks at association of infant gut microbiome, delivery mode and feeding

The composition of the gut microbiome in infants at six weeks of age appears to be associated with how they were delivered from the mother’s womb and how they were fed, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics. The study involved 102 infants with an average gestational age of nearly 40 weeks, of whom 70 were delivered vaginally and 32 by caesarean section. In the first six weeks of life, 70 were exclusively breastfed, 26 had combination feeding (both breast milk and formula) and six were exclusively fed formula. Associations were found between the composition of the gut microbiome and the delivery mode. Differences in microbiome composition between infants delivered vaginally and infants delivered by caesarean section were equivalent or greater than the differences in composition by feeding method. Infants who were fed a diet of both formula and breast milk had a stool microbiome similar to that of infants who were exclusively fed formula. Exclusive breastfeeding was associated with a microbiome distinct from that of infants either exclusively fed formula or fed a combination of formula and breast milk. “Understanding the patterns of microbial colonisation of the intestinal tract of healthy infants is critical for determining the health effects of specific alterable early-life risk factors and exposures,” the study authors write.
Source URL:

E-Cigarette in luggage blamed for smoke, emergency landing

Hawaiian Airlines says an e-cigarette illegally put in a checked bag may have caused smoke and an emergency landing.

The cargo-smoke indicator in the cockpit lit up during a flight from Honolulu to Maui on Tuesday, an airline spokesman said Friday.

Alex Da Silva said the captain turned on the plane’s fire-suppression system, declared an emergency and landed quickly at the Maui Airport.

After the plane landed, fire crews found two pieces of checked luggage that seemed to have fire damage caused by an e-cigarette in one of the bags, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration bans electronic cigarettes from checked luggage, although they are allowed in carry-on bags.

Da Silva said that Maui police were investigating. Police did not immediately answer requests for comment.

Can you get drunk from e-cigs? Researchers suggest it’s possible

According to a recent Yale University study, people who vape e-cigarettes could inhale enough alcohol to impair motor skills, depending on how much alcohol is contained in the liquid of an e-cig.

The study, performed by Yale’s School of Medicine, had people vape two different types of e-cigs; one that had .4 percent of alcohol and another that had 23.5 percent.

The study showed that some people who vaped e-cigs that contained high levels of alcohol performed poorly in tests on their motor skills, as well as had detectable levels of alcohol in their urine. The study also noted that those studied did not feel impaired after smoking the e-cigarettes.

While the study found that the liquid contained in 75 percent of commercially produced e-cigarettes had less than 1 percent of alcohol, some e-cigs have a much higher proportion of alcohol. Because e-cigarettes are not regulated, it is hard for consumers to know exactly how much alcohol content is in the product.

Another cause for concern, according to the study, is the presence of alcohol reinforcing the addictive properties of both the nicotine and alcohol in the e-cig.

“Given the widespread and unregulated use of e-cigarettes, especially by youth and other vulnerable populations, further studies are needed to evaluate both the acute safety and long-term health risks of using alcohol-containing e-cigarettes,” said Mehmet Sofuoglu, of Yale’s Department of Psychiatry and VA Connecticut Healthcare system, who is senior author of the study.

According to Yale, the study was funded by the New England Mental Illness Research Education Clinical, Centers, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institute for Drug Abuse and FDA Center for Tobacco Products.

The study does not suggest whether e-cigarettes are more or less dangerous than traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Court Overturns Tobacco Company Victory Over FDA on Menthols

A federal appeals court has ruled that tobacco companies had no basis to challenge a Food and Drug Administration report on menthol cigarettes, which the industry alleged was written by experts with conflicts of interest.

The decision by a three-judge panel overturns a lower court ruling that barred the FDA from using the report and ordered the agency to reform its committee of tobacco advisers.

The 2011 report from the agency’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee concluded that menthol flavoring leads to increased smoking rates, particularly among teens, African Americans and those with low incomes. The report said removing the flavoring would make it easier for some smokers to quit.

Cigarette makers Lorillard Inc. and Reynolds American Inc. sued the agency, alleging conflicts of interest by several members who had previously testified against tobacco companies in court.

But Judge Stephen Williams, writing for the court, states that the companies had no legal basis to challenge the makeup of the committee. Williams rejected company arguments that they could be damaged by the apparent conflicts as “too remote and uncertain.” The opinion was issued Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Despite the victory for the federal government, the ruling may have limited impact on the FDA or its panel. Last year the FDA announced that four members of its tobacco products advisory panel had either resigned or were removed, following the previous court ruling against the agency.

In 2013, the FDA conducted its own review of menthol cigarettes, concluding they pose a greater public health risk than regular cigarettes. But it did not make a recommendation on whether to limit or ban them.

Reynolds American acquired Lorillard last year in a deal worth $25 billion. Reynolds, which is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, now sells Lorillard’s top-selling menthol brand, Newport cigarettes.

A spokesman for Reynolds declined to comment, noting “this is pending litigation.”

CTA Letter on submission to the Legco Panel on Health Services

Download (PDF, 461KB)

The case for Ofsmoke: the potential for price cap regulation of tobacco to raise £500 million per year in the UK

Download (PDF, 130KB)