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February 1st, 2016:


Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s agency-request bill to raise the sale age of tobacco and vapor products to 21 today passed the House Health Care & Wellness Committee in a bipartisan 9-3 vote.

“This legislation will literally save lives,” said Ferguson. “I thank legislators from both parties for standing with me to protect Washington youth from a life of addiction and tobacco-related health problems. The momentum for this common-sense reform is building.”

Last week, Ferguson held a press conference, where he was joined by Secretary of Health John Weisman, legislative co-sponsors and numerous other supporters to announce a poll showing two-thirds of Washingtonians support raising the sale age for tobacco and vapor products to 21.

The poll was conducted by Stuart Elway and commissioned by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Video of the press conference is available here.

House Bill 2313, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), will now head to the House Finance Committee.

The companion Senate bill, SB 6157, sponsored by Sen. Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way), is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee on Monday, Feb. 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Voting for the bill were Reps. Eileen Cody (D-Seattle), Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), Richard Debolt (RChehalis), Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), Norm Johnson (R-Yakima), June Robinson (D-Everett), Shelly Short (RAddy), Steve Tharinger (D-Sequim) and Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim).

Reps. Michelle Caldier (R-Port Orchard), Jim Moeller (D-Vancouver) and Joe Smick (R-Colfax) voted against the bill.

Reps. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) and Jay Rodne (R-Snoqualmie), were excused.

WHO asks countries for age-wise ratings for films with tobacco imagery

The WHO has asked all countries, including India, to introduce age-classified ratings for films and other entertainment programmes with tobacco imagery to restrict the number of new adolescent smokers.

“Today, we want to emphasise that governments should require age-classification ratings for films with tobacco imagery to reduce the overall exposure of youth,” said Dr Armando Peruga, chief coordinator for WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, releasing the third edition of a report called ‘Smoke-free Movies’.

In 2013-14, adolescents in the US were exposed to 3.1 billion in-cinema tobacco use impressions, 46 per cent of which were from PG-13 films, Peruga said.

Praising the pioneering legislative initiatives made by India and China in protecting nonsmokers from smoking imagery in entertainment products, the WHO expert added that “much more needs to be done”.

“Taking advantage of the progress that they (Indian government) have made, I think, the next step for India is certainly to introduce a rating system for not only movies but also TV programmes and other entertainment products,” he

Studies by the US National Cancer Institute and the US Surgeon General have concluded that smoking in films leads to 37 per cent new adolescent smokers.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014 estimated that exposure to on-screen smoking would lead to six million new young smokers of which an estimated two million would die of tobacco-induced illnesses.

“Smoking in Hollywood films comprises the main exposure of adolescents in western nations. The study in India deserves special consideration because films made in India constitute the primary exposure in the country,” the report said.

Though Bollywood produces many more movies annually, in 2014 it accounted for 30 per cent of all feature-length movies than Hollywood, the small fraction of the films produced in the US nevertheless accounts for half of the global investment in film production and distribution and has consistently earned 60 per cent of the global box office receipts, thus, signalling its wide global reach.

“Another measure that we recommend is certification in movie credits that films produced received nothing of value from anyone in exchange for playing tobacco products,” Dr Peruga said.

There is “big suspicion” when some movies, like the last James Bond film Spectre, display intensive smoking content, sometimes, showing brand names, and “we wonder why,” he said.

Hollywood films containing tobacco imagery continue to earn billions of dollars globally, including in countries like India and China, that have taken strong measures against tobacco advertising and promotion, the report said.

The UN health agency also urged governments to make media productions that promote smoking ineligible for films produced by national governments.

Between 2002 and 2014, almost 59 per cent of top-grossing films featured tobacco imagery.

The recommendations come when the Indian Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) is set to undergo revamping by a new committee headed by veteran film director Shyam Benegal.

Chemical flavored E-cigarettes irridiates lungs

E-cigarettes under heavyfire, users who smoke cherry-flavored vapors are inhaling a chemical called Benzaldehyde, which can irritate their airways. High levels of the respiratory irritant benzaldehyde were detected in the vapour from most of the flavoured nicotine products, with the highest concentrations in vapour from cherry-flavoured products.

Benzaldehyde is most dangerous chemical

However, the exposure limit to this chemical is of about 8 hours. Therefore, it would take you several years of vaping to reach this limit. Scientists believe e-cigarettes are still a lot healthier than traditional tobacco ones, which can expose you to more than 7,000 chemicals, 6 of which are known to be carcinogens.

The concentrations of the chemical Benzaldehyde were 43 times higher in cherry-flavoured products than in other flavours,

Basically, the research team tried to determine the amount of Benzaldehyde contained by flavored e-cigarettes, analyzing and comparing between 140 different flavors. This chemical compound has been proven to not have any adverse effects when applied on one’s skin or ingested, but that changes when inhaling, irritating the subject’s airways.

Benzaldehyde is commonly used in natural food flavorings.

Out of all the samples analyzed in the study, 101 of them were found to contain amounts of Benzaldehyde. What the study and some articles fail to mention is that even if these amounts are large, the required quantity of Benzaldehyde to actually cause serious problems to one’s airways is 1000 larger than the one found in e-cigs.

However, e-cigarette industry group Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association said in a statement that these findings prove e-cigarettes remain a better alternative to regular and traditional tobacco cigarettes. “Let’s not lose sight that vaping presents substantially less risk than combustion cigarettes, which expose smokers to over 7,000 chemicals including more than 60 known or suspected carcinogens,” the group’s statement said.

“This research shows that even with cherry e-cigs, it would take three years of vaping to reach the 8-hour work shift permissible occupational exposure limit,” they added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Norman Edelman, a senior scientific advisor for the American Lung Association, noted that Goniewicz and colleagues’ study puts forth the need for proper regulation of e-cigarettes.

“To me, it’s another piece of evidence that we don’t know what’s in those things,” Edelman explained, as per WebMD. “It’s terribly important that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration use its power to regulate them. The first thing they can do is find out what is in them,” he advised.

E-cigarettes still the safer alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products?

While it appears to be safe when ingested or applied on the skin, it has been shown to cause airway irritation in animals and humans, and may have different effects when heated and inhaled, as when used in vaping. Researchers measured benzaldehyde levels for 145 different flavoured nicotine products using an automatic smoking simulator and calculated daily exposure to users from 163 e-cigarette puffs.

Their analysis detected benzaldehyde in the vapour from 108 (74%) of the flavoured products studied, and found concentrations of the chemical that were 43 times higher in cherry-flavoured products than in other flavours.

It is rather interesting to see how studies and media have switched from blaming tobacco smoking for basically every disease out there, a trend noticeable a couple of months ago, to raising fears in regards to e-cigs. This comes as a surprise if one would take into account the proven fact that e-cigs are much more safe in comparison to tobacco smoking.

But one has to keep in mind that even if e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional methods of smoking, this does not mean that one should not, at least, try to quit completely. Most people who opt to make the switch to e-cigs are doing it because they wish to quit, even if several correlation studies have shown that often times, people usually keep smoking tobacco in-between smoking e-cigarettes.

Like with all studies of this kind, especially if you take into account the rather massive war against e-cigs currently happening in the US, every finding has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s still completely up to you if you want to switch to e-cigs or not.

Keeping in mind that e-cigarettes face criticisms once again, it will be interesting to see what other studies will show in regards to e-cigs’ effects on health. What will be even more intriguing will be what the media and research parties will elect as their new target in the near future, once e-cigarette smoking will suffer the same fate as normal tobacco smoking.

Films showing smoking scenes should be rated to protect children from tobacco addiction

WHO is calling on governments to rate movies that portray tobacco use in a bid to prevent children and adolescents from starting to smoke cigarettes and use other forms of tobacco.

Movies showing use of tobacco products have enticed millions of young people worldwide to start smoking, according to the new WHO “Smoke-free movies: from evidence to action”, the third edition since its launch in 2009.

“With ever tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising, film remains one of the last channels exposing millions of adolescents to smoking imagery without restrictions,” says Dr Douglas Bettcher, WHO’s Director for the Department of Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases.

Taking concrete steps, including rating films with tobacco scenes and displaying tobacco warnings before films with tobacco, can stop children around the world from being introduced to tobacco products and subsequent tobacco-related addiction, disability and death.

“Smoking in films can be a strong form of promotion for tobacco products,” adds Dr Bettcher. “The 180 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are obliged by international law to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.”

Movies hook millions of young people on tobacco

Studies in the United States of America have shown that on-screen smoking accounts for 37% of all new adolescent smokers. In 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in the United States alone, exposure to on-screen smoking would recruit more than 6 million new, young smokers from among American children in 2014, of which 2 million would ultimately die from tobacco-induced diseases.

“With ever tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising, film remains one of the last channels exposing millions of adolescents to smoking imagery without restrictions.”

Dr Douglas Bettcher, WHO’s Director for the Department of Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases

In 2014, smoking was found in 44% of all Hollywood films, and 36% of films rated for young people. Almost two thirds (59%) of top-grossing films featured tobacco imagery between 2002 and 2014. That same year, the US Surgeon General reported that adult ratings of future films with smoking would reduce smoking rates among young people in the USA by nearly one-fifth and avert 1 million tobacco-related deaths among today’s children and adolescents.

Many films produced outside of the United States also contain smoking scenes. Surveys have shown that tobacco imagery was found in top-grossing films produced in six European countries (Germany, Iceland, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom), and two Latin American countries (Argentina and Mexico). Nine in 10 movies from Iceland and Argentina contain smoking, including films rated for young people, the report states.

The WHO Smoke-Free Movie report, in line with the guidelines of article 13 of the WHO FCTC, recommends policy measures including:

• requiring age classification ratings for films with tobacco imagery to reduce overall exposure of youth to tobacco imagery in films;
• certifying in movie credits that film producers receive nothing of value from anyone in exchange for using or displaying tobacco products in a film;
• ending display of tobacco brands in films; and
• requiring strong anti-smoking advertisements to be shown before films containing tobacco imagery in all distribution channels (cinemas, televisions, online, etc).

In addition, the report also recommends making media productions that promote smoking ineligible for public subsidies.

Dr Armando Peruga, programme manager of WHO’s Tobacco-Free Initiative, says countries around the world have taken steps to limit tobacco imagery in films. “China has ordered that ‘excessive’ smoking scenes should not be shown in films. India has implemented new rules on tobacco imagery and brand display in domestic and imported films and TV programmes. But more can and must be done,” Dr Peruga adds.

Tobacco Control Law and Implementation in Hong Kong

Download (PDF, 4.59MB)

Impact of Graphic Pack Warnings on Adult Smokers’ Quitting Activities

Impact of Graphic Pack Warnings on Adult Smokers’ Quitting Activities: Findings from the ITC Southeast Asia Survey (2005–2014)


Malaysia introduced graphic health warning labels (GHWLs) on all tobacco packages in 2009.

We aimed to examine if implementing GHWLs led to stronger warning reactions (e.g., thinking about the health risks of smoking) and an increase in subsequent quitting activities; and to examine how reactions changed over time since the implementation of the GHWLs in Malaysia and Thailand where GHWL size increased from 50–55% in 2010.

Data came from six waves (2005–2014) of the International Tobacco Control Southeast Asia Survey.

Between 3,706 and 4,422 smokers were interviewed across these two countries at each survey wave.

Measures included salience of warnings, cognitive responses (i.e., thinking about the health risks and being more likely to quit smoking), forgoing cigarettes, and avoiding warnings.

The main outcome was subsequent quit attempts.

Following the implementation of GHWLs in Malaysia, reactions increased, in some cases to levels similar to the larger Thai warnings, but declined over time.

In Thailand, reactions increased following implementation, with no decline for several years, and no clear effect of the small increase in warning size. Reactions, mainly cognitive responses, were consistently predictive of quit attempts in Thailand, but this was only consistently so in Malaysia after the change to GHWLs.

In conclusion, GHWLs are responded to more frequently, and generate more quit attempts, but warning wear-out is not consistent in these two countries, perhaps due to differences in other tobacco control efforts.

Watch out for Exploding E-Cigarettes

In an effort to quit smoking and avoid the health dangers of tobacco, many people across the country are turning to electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs. In most basic terms, e-cigs work by heating a fluid placed into a small chamber called and RDA (rebuildable dripping atomizer) or RBA (rebuildable atomizer). This chamber is attached on one end to a mouthpiece with an airflow regulator and on the other end to a casing, holding a battery – the e-cigarette.

When fully assembled, the battery is connected to the RDA or RBA by a metal coil wire that extends out of the RDA/RBA housing. Electricity from the battery heats the coil, which in turn heats fluid-saturated cotton inside the RDA/RBA chamber, which produces vapor. The idea is for an e-cig user to inhale the vapor to achieve the sensation of smoking without the harmful effects of smoking tobacco.

Healthy, right? Safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes, right? Well, increasingly, there is evidence nationwide that while smoking tobacco cigarettes is a long-term threat to one’s health, using some e-cigarettes may subject the user to sudden catastrophic injury resulting from e-cig explosions and fires. All across America, from big city to small town, from highly educated professionals to blue collar workers, sudden and catastrophic e-cigarette explosions are happening with increased frequency.

Across the country, e-cig users have suffered severe and permanent injuries, most involving severe facial burns, facial bone fractures, loss of eyesight, and even a fractured cervical vertebrae (neck), resulting in risk of paralysis. Typical injuries also include serious burn injury, requiring hospitalization, skin grafting, and huge medical bills.

E-cigs are not currently regulated by any federal agency and are sold by small local vape shops as well as national chains. There are many manufacturers of the components which, when fully assembled, form what is colloquially called an e-cigarette. There are also differing designs for the RDA/RBAs, the mode, or battery housing, and the manner through which the cotton and coils operate and are charged and replaced.

When the e-cig explosions have occurred, the user/witnesses report that the explosive power was substantial. Typical explosions have involved violent explosions with metal shrapnel and disengaged metal components flying like bullets in multiple directions – as well as the discharge of fire. Across the country, e-cig users have suffered severe and permanent injuries, most involving severe facial burns, facial bone fractures, loss of eyesight, and even a fractured cervical vertebrae (neck), resulting in risk of paralysis. Typical injuries also include serious burn injury, requiring hospitalization, skin grafting, and huge medical bills.

There may be no warning at all that your e-cig is about to explode. When it occurs, this violent explosion is likely to occur right in front of the user’s face (after all, the point is to “smoke” like it was a cigarette). The mechanism of explosion seems to be from a suddenly overheated battery. The manner and mechanism by which the battery becomes overheated to the point of explosion is subject to differing argument. The purpose of this piece is to WARN of the sudden explosive nature of some e-cigs; to cause AWARENESS that there is a problem inherent in the exploding e-cigs.

These devices are not supposed to explode in the user’s face. Claims for compensation against manufacturers and distributing of e-cigs are being prosecuted across the country.

Varnum personal injury attorneys have decades of focused experience representing burn survivors and those who have suffered serious and catastrophic injury. We are pursuing claims currently for e-cig explosion injuries.


BEACON TRANSCRIPT – While e-cigs still remain a healthier alternative to tobacco, it would seem they also come along with their own warning label. A recent study has revealed that cherry-flavored electronic cigarettes can irritate the airways, due to the presence of a chemical called benzaldehyde.

Since the launch of the electronic cigarettes, more and more smokers are beginning to switch sides, so to say. Enticed by the aggressive marketing campaigns, all customers seem eager to quit smoking traditional tobacco.

And over the years, the e-cigs gained in popularity after top health institutes conducted extensive studies on the effects of e-cigs. While most of them would agree that vaping smoke is a healthier alternative to tobacco, which is believed to contain over 7000 hazardous chemicals, including 7 carcinogens, there are a couple of studies which stress out the fact that even vaping is dangerous.

A new study performed by a team of medical scientists from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute revealed that cherry-flavored electronic cigarettes can irritate the airways. Moreover, it would seem that the cherry nicotine cartridge can also produce irreparable damage to the airway’s tissue.

The main perpetrator, in this case, is a chemical called benzaldehyde. The substance is also used to manufacture body lotions and food. But the scientists discover that while the substance is harmless when it is applied on the bare skin or ingested, once it is vaped it can cause an inflammation of the airway.

However, the study also contains a little plot twister. It seems that in order to harm the airways, a patient must puff for 8 hours straight each day. This is basically an impossible feat to achieve, even for a heavy smoker. Moreover, the concentration of benzaldehyde required to harm the airways must be approximately 1000 higher than the one found in cherry-flavored nicotine cartridges.

In order to determine the amount of benzaldehyde found inside e-cig nicotine cartridges, the researchers had to sample approximately 145 different flavors. They have discovered that cherry-flavored e-cigarettes had a higher level of benzaldehyde than the other flavors. More specifically, the concentration of the chemical found inside the cherry-flavored cartridges was 43 times higher than in the other flavors.

Again, we have to stress out the fact that this does not make e-cigarettes more dangerous than regular tobacco. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. In order to achieve this level of lung intoxication, a smoker must puff from a cherry-flavored e-cig more than 8 hours per day. And even though someone manages this feat, the concentration of benzaldehyde must be at least 1000 times higher in order to affect the lung tissue and the airways.

E-cigarettes and smoking cessation in real-world and clinical settings

A systematic review and meta-analysis



Smokers increasingly use e-cigarettes for many reasons, including attempts to quit combustible cigarettes and to use nicotine where smoking is prohibited. We aimed to assess the association between e-cigarette use and cigarette smoking cessation among adult cigarette smokers, irrespective of their motivation for using e-cigarettes.


PubMed and Web of Science were searched between April 27, 2015, and June 17, 2015. Data extracted included study location, design, population, definition and prevalence of e-cigarette use, comparison group (if applicable), cigarette consumption, level of nicotine dependence, other confounders, definition of quitting smoking, and odds of quitting smoking. The primary endpoint was cigarette smoking cessation. Odds of smoking cessation among smokers using e-cigarettes compared with smokers not using e-cigarettes were assessed using a random effects meta-analysis. A modification of the ACROBAT-NRSI tool and the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool were used to assess bias. This meta-analysis is registered with PROSPERO (number CRD42015020382).


38 studies (of 577 studies identified) were included in the systematic review; all 20 studies with control groups (15 cohort studies, three cross-sectional studies, and two clinical trials) were included in random effects meta-analysis and sensitivity analyses. Odds of quitting cigarettes were 28% lower in those who used e-cigarettes compared with those who did not use e-cigarettes (odds ratio [OR] 0·72, 95% CI 0·57-0·91). Association of e-cigarette use with quitting did not significantly differ among studies of all smokers using e-cigarettes (irrespective of interest in quitting cigarettes) compared with studies of only smokers interested in cigarette cessation (OR 0·63, 95% CI 0·45-0·86 vs 0·86, 0·60-1·23; p=0·94). Other study characteristics (design, population, comparison group, control variables, time of exposure assessment, biochemical verification of abstinence, and definition of e-cigarette use) were also not associated with the overall effect size (p≥0·77 in all cases).


As currently being used, e-cigarettes are associated with significantly less quitting among smokers.


National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, FDA Center for Tobacco Products.