Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

June, 2016:

Chicago Enforces Tobacco Purchase Age Increase

By the end of the week, no one under 21 will be able to purchase tobacco products in Chicago.

Beginning Friday, July 1, 2016, Chicago will require consumers to be 21 years of age, or older, to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products.

According to a report from the Chicagoist, this new law was passed in March 2016, but it is just now taking effect.

In addition to increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco products, the new law requires retailers that sell tobacco products to post signs reflecting the change.

A number of health advocates believe that the new law will discourage youth from purchasing and smoking tobacco products, but the Chicagoist reported that Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, stated that the new law most likely drive younger consumers to purchase cigarettes outside the city, or illegally.

The report from the Chicagoist also revealed that the new law also applies to vaping paraphernalia.

DH raids retail shop for suspected illegal sale of nicotine-containing liquid for electronic cigarettes

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The Department of Health (DH) today (June 29) raided a retail shop in Mong Kok in a joint operation with the Police for suspected illegal sale of a nicotine-containing liquid called Liqua Original Smoke Juice Cuban Cigar Tobacco intended for use with electronic nicotine delivery systems, commonly known as electronic cigarettes.

A sample of the above product was purchased previously from the above shop by the DH for laboratory analysis. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the sample contained nicotine, a Part 1 poison.

A woman aged 34 was arrested by the Police for suspected illegal sale and possession of a Part 1 poison and unregistered pharmaceutical products in the operation.

The DH’s investigation is continuing.

“Under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), nicotine-containing electronic cigarette products are classified as pharmaceutical products requiring registration with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before they can be sold in Hong Kong. Unregistered pharmaceutical products are not evaluated by the Board and their safety, quality and efficacy cannot be guaranteed,” a spokesman for the DH said.

In addition, Part 1 poisons can only be sold at pharmacies under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.

Illegal sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products and Part 1 poisons are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years’ imprisonment.

Members of the public who have purchased the above product should stop using it immediately and consult healthcare professionals for advice if they are in doubt or feeling unwell after use. They may submit it to the DH’s Drug Office in Room 1856, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, during office hours for disposal.

Smokers are advised to quit smoking and may call the DH’s Integrated Smoking Cessation Hotline (1833 183).

Information on smoking cessation can also be obtained from the DH’s Tobacco Control Office website (

E-cigarettes could be toxic to the mouth: Vaping ‘kills cells in the oral cavity – raising the risk of disease’

Vapours contain toxic substances and particles which damage skin cells
Exposure reduced body’s natural defences of the antioxidant glutathione
Scientists say it could lead to increased risk of oral disease like cancer

Smoking e-cigarettes may not be much safer than tobacco when it comes to oral health, a new study suggests.

Researchers found e-cigarettes contain toxic substances and nanoparticles that could kill the top layer of skin cells in the oral cavity – behind teeth and gums.

Scientists from UCLA, who was conducted the investigations on cultured cells, believe the same results could happen in a human study – increasing people’s risk of oral disease including cancer.

The latest findings add to a growing body of evidence linking the stop-smoking aids to health risks.

Just yesterday, researchers in North Carolina reported using the devices increases the risk of infection because it damages hundreds of genes in the immune system.

It follows a rapid rise in the use of e-cigarettes in recent years, especially among smokers trying to cut down or quit.

The gadgets deliver a nicotine hit by heating a nicotine-containing propylene glycol (e-liquid) to create an aerosol (usually called ‘vapour’), which is inhaled.

The Centers for Disease Control found that 2.4 million middle school and high school students were using e-cigarettes in 2014.

Nearly one in six people in the UK have now used the devices – 15.5 per cent, up from 8.9 per cent two years earlier.

Doctors back e-cigarettes as an effective method of quitting smoking, with the NHS cleared this year to prescribe the devices for the first time.

But while the effects of conventional cigarette smoke on human health have been well documented, research into e-cigarettes is still in its infancy.

This is especially true when it comes to their effect on the oral cavity, they say.

The research team, led by Dr Shen Hu took cell cultures from the outermost layer of the oral cavity and exposed the cells to two different brands of e-cigarette vapour for 24 hours.

The vapour, containing varying amounts of nicotine or menthol, was generated by a machine built to ‘smoke’ cigarettes like a human would.

The researchers then measured the particle concentration and size distribution of the simulated vapours.

They found the vapours, which contain nanoparticles of metal, silica and carbon, varied in concentration depending on the e-cigarette brand and flavour.

Laboratory tests on cultured cell lines showed e-cigarette vapours may significantly weaken the oral cavity’s natural defence mechanism by decreasing the levels of an antioxidant called glutathione.

This caused roughly 85 per cent of the tested cells to die.

Dr Hu, an associate professor of oral biology at the school of dentistry, said they were now looking to conduct the test on people.

‘A small but significant portion of dental patients at UCLA Dental Clinics have used e-cigarettes, which will provide sufficient patient resources for our planned studies,’ he said.

‘Our hope is to develop a screening model to help predict toxicity levels of e-cigarette products, so that consumers are better informed.’

Researchers suggest health care providers should do more to raise public awareness of the products’ potential health risks.

The findings were published in the journal PLOS One.

Getting personal over all that poisoning

EDITORIAL: The shills of Big Tobacco are a legitimate target for anger.

MP Marama Fox had scope for withering reproach at a toxic industry in her televised debate with Dr Axel Gietz, who was here to emphasise the trademark entitlements in the face of the Government’s plans to introduce tougher plain packaging requirements.

She was doing fine until she fell into a trap of getting indulgently personal.

She called called him a peddler of death; one who profits from the misery of others.

That wasn’t the trap. It was personal, yes, but not indefensibly so. Anybody up for denying that he does?

No, the trap was upscaling things, perhaps because it felt so righteously pleasing to keep going. She called Gietz a corporate executioner and trotted out a Nazi comparison to cast him as akin to Hitler’s propagandist Joseph Goebbels, — who was also a German doctor, see?

How many people would have heard that and thought, immediately, of Godwin’s Law — that the longer a discussion goes on, the greater the risk some clod will bring out a Hitler/Nazi comparison. The implication is that generally his is where things have deteriorated to the point where sensible people should tune out.

As it happens, Mike Godwin didn’t take the view that there are no valid lessons to be drawn from understanding Nazi methodology. If anything his intent was more protective; that careless comparisons debase legitimate ones.

Was Fox’s comparison legitimate? What matters more is that it was so very unhelpful to her cause, allowing Gietz to adopt an air of aggrieved dignity and turning what should be a debate on law and morality into an inquiry into manners.

His message was essentially that the industry’s right to make a legal buck demands huge compensation if, after so many years of deceit on its part and indolence on ours, society truly commits itself to put the brakes on all that death and disease.

Which is fatuous nonsense. Every country has the sovereign right to protect the health of its people. The industry cannot plausibly present itself as an honest player, surprised and disappointed to discover, only now, that its product is pure poison that does unspeakable harm. And then contend that, even so, its business rights are somehow no less sanctified than human life.

E.U. Survey Finds E-Cigarettes Helped 15 Million Smokers Quit or Cut Back

There was little evidence that vaping leads to smoking.

A large survey of Europeans indicates that more than 6 million have quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, while more than 9 million have cut back, according to a study recently published by the journal Addiction. “These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study,” says the lead researcher, Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens. “The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1) High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2) electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by nonsmokers.”

The study, based on responses from 27,460 participants in the Eurobarometer survey, found that 48.5 million citizens of E.U. countries have tried e-cigarettes, while 7.5 million are current vapers. Within the latter group, 35 percent reported that e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking, while 32 percent said they were smoking less thanks to e-cigarettes. Such self-reports are not conclusive, since the study did not independently verify smoking status, smokers who try to quit by vaping are probably different from those who don’t, and it’s possible these outcomes could have been achieved without e-cigarettes. But policy makers and regulators should not lightly dismiss the experiences of millions who say e-cigarettes helped them make changes that dramatically reduced the health hazards they face.

Critics of vaping say the risk that it will lead to smoking in people who otherwise never would have used tobacco products must be weighed against the success stories of people who believe they’d still be smoking if it weren’t for e-cigarettes. But this study found very little evidence of such a risk. Just 0.8 percent of respondents who had ever tried tobacco products said they had tried e-cigarettes first (which does not necessarily mean that the latter led to the former). Only 1.3 percent of never-smokers reported using e-cigarettes with nicotine-containing liquids, and only 0.09 percent did so every day. “In nonsmokers we observed some experimentation with electronic cigarettes, but regular use is minimal,” says one of Farsalinos’ collaborators, Jacques Le Houezec, a neuroscientist at the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research. “The concern that electronic cigarettes can be a gateway to smoking is largely rejected by our findings.”

Study finds e-cigarettes caused one of the biggest drops in smoking rates

Where the government failed, the private sector succeeded.

A new study suggests that e-cigarettes have helped cause one of the biggest drops in smoking rates ever recorded in Europe.

Published in the journal Addiction, more than six million Europeans have quit smoking and an additional nine million have reduced their cigarette consumption thanks to e-cigarettes.

Researchers say 48.5 million Europeans have tried an e-cigarette and 7.5 million are currently using the product. Of the millions using e-cigarettes, more than one-third (35.1 percent) have quit smoking and nearly one-third (32.2 percent) have slashed their smoking intake.

“These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, in a statement. “The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1. High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2. Electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by non-smokers.”

Despite the positive results, governments everywhere are trying to either regulate it the same as tobacco cigarettes or prohibiting e-cigs from hitting the marketplace.

Pharmalutions Pte Ltd – German-owned, Singapore-based

Download (PDF, 7.24MB)

Big Tobacco suspected of dodging EU antismuggling rules

Tobacco companies have sold their anti-smuggling system to a third party to comply with upcoming EU rules, but critics say the new owner is a front company.

The track-and-trace system, Codentify, helps tobacco firms and customs authorities to find out where a pack of cigarettes was produced and is used to combat smuggling – a multi-billion euro criminal industry in Europe.

It was set up in the wake of cooperation agreements between the EU and the four major tobacco companies, which required the firms to keep track of their products.

Tobacco companies had previously been suspected of smuggling their own goods in an effort to avoid paying taxes.

Codentify was owned by the tobacco industry until last month.

The cooperation agreements, one of which, with Philip Morris International (PMI), is due to expire in less than three weeks, were non-legislative contracts and did not require the track-and-trace system to be separate from the tobacco industry.

However, new EU legislation, as well as upcoming World Health Organisation (WHO) rules, specify that the system should be independently owned.

The WHO has previously expressed criticism of Codentify, which it said lacked transparency “and might have features that only the tobacco industry is aware of”.

Spokespersons for Philip Morris International, and for the joint venture that sold Codentify, told this website via email on Monday that the system now complies with the EU’s new Tobacco Products Directive and the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The FCTC is an international treaty, also signed by the EU, which aims to curb tobacco smuggling.

“Inexto is fully independent from the tobacco industry,” said PMI spokesman Andrew Cave, referring to the Swiss-registered company that bought Codentify.

Inexto is registered in the Swiss city of Lausanne, at an address that is a fiveminute drive from the offices of Philip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco Switzerland.

Inexto was founded this year and owned is owned by a French group called Impala, which has several daughter companies specialising in industries that range from energy to manufacturing.

The receptionist at Inexto’s mother company, Impala, said she did not know Philippe Chatelain, Inexto’s managing director, but told EUobserver he would be called back.

This has yet to happen.

Chatelain, and two other top officials of Inexto, have worked for PMI for over a decade. They left the firm just last month.

EUobserver was made aware of the sale and make-up of the new company by Oscar Larsson, a student at the Open University of London. He runs a blog, called Why It’s Bad in which he is critical of the Codentify tool.

“This is not an innocent purchasing of a legitimate technology,” Larsson told this website in an email.

“These are not just former employees from PMI, they are the dedicated core of the whole Codentify concept. Their names are on the patents and they are the inventors of this intentionally flawed system, designed by the tobacco industry to serve the tobacco industry and not the European Union”, he said.

Other critics of the tobacco industry also questioned the motives behind the sale.

Anna Gilmore, director of the tobacco control research group at the University of Bath, said Inexto could not be considered sufficiently independent from the tobacco industry.

“Given the tobacco industry’s long history of involvement in the illicit tobacco trade, a genuinely independent system would be a threat to the industry,” she told this website via email.

“It is therefore attempting to have governments implement its Codentify system by setting up intermediaries and front organisations to promote Codentify,” she added.

Luk Joossens, advocacy officer of the Association of European Cancer Leagues, said the sale was “a predictable move”, adding that tobacco companies will now “pretend” that Codentify is no longer part of the tobacco industry.

The FCTC’s secretariat, which has taken aim at Codentify before, repeated its opposition in a response to this website.

“Whether or not the new company will truly be independent of the tobacco industry, or if it will continue to defend the interests of the tobacco industry with just one more degree of separation remains to be seen,” said Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the secretariat of the FCTC.

She added that even if the track-and-trace (T&T) system was independent, it would still lack transparency.

“If the new company’s purpose is to continue to promote Codentify as a T&T system allegedly in compliance with the protocol, then this independence is irrelevant, since … analyses of Codentify have found it to not be compliant with protocol recommendations on T&T,” said Da Costa e Silva The Digital Coding & Tracking Association (DCTA), which owned Codentify until 1 June 2016, said Inexto “is fully independent from any tobacco company”.

DCTA is a joint venture by British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Limited, Japan Tobacco International, and Philip Morris International.

“The three individuals you reference are no longer employees of any tobacco manufacturer and their jobs transferred to Inexto as part of the technology sale,” a DCTA spokesperson said by email, without revealing his or her name.

“Their deep knowledge of the technology, combined with their understanding of the complexities involved in the tobacco supply chain, means they offer Inexto unique expertise which will be necessary as the technology continues to evolve as a world-class, open source solution”.

The European Commission did not respond to requests for a comment.

Maori MP walks off set during TV tobacco debate

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox called Imperial Tobacco a peddler of death and destruction.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox called Imperial Tobacco a peddler of death and destruction.

A fiery exchange on TV3’s The Nation this morning.

Imperial Tobacco’s Axel Gietz announced the company wouldn’t rule out a fight with the New Zealand government if plain packaging went ahead, before being attacked by Maori co-leader Marama Fox.

Fox joined Dr Gietz on the show and the MP became angry during the discussion, accusing the tobacco spokesman of “peddling death and destruction and misery on our people”.

She also compared Dr Gietz to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

After 17 minutes, Fox took off her mic and walked off set.

Dr Gietz didn’t react or rise to Fox’s comments.

As Fox made her departing remarks, The Nation host Lisa Owen pleaded for civility, reminding the MP that Dr Gietz was an invited guest.

Earlier on the show. Dr Gietz said a lawsuit against the Kiwi government would be a last resort, but they would defend the right to use their brands.



PLANO, Texas, June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — WorldVentures, ranked 25 Healthiest Employers in North Texas as named by the Dallas Business Journal and Healthiest Employers, is dedicated to promoting the overall health and wellness of their employees and their families through the Living Well program and partnership with Humana Vitality. As part of that commitment, the company has established a tobacco-free workplace effective July 18.

Employees will no longer be able to use any traditional, vapor or chewing tobacco products at any of the three U.S. buildings (two in Plano, Tex., and one in Greenville, S.C.). Those who wish to use tobacco products will be directed offsite to clearly marked designated areas.

The announcement comes on Clean Air Action Day, June 24, a campaign with Air NorthTexas.

“We’re very proud to be recognized for our wellness program among some of the most respected companies in North Texas,” said WorldVentures CEO Dan Stammen. “2015 was only the first year of our Living Well program through HumanaVitality and our smoking cessation program through TrestleTree®, and our entire team has already accomplished so much.”

WorldVentures successfully achieved a 59.9% participation and an overall 25% engagement. WorldVentures also achieved a 35.6% Tobacco Quit Rate for employees and spouSES participating in TrestleTree. And there are many success stories about dramatic weight loss and the health-related benefits as a result. This was done by having corporate wide activities like nutrition talks, runs, walks, rallies, challenges, on-site biometric screenings and health fairs.

WorldVentures and HumanaVitality partner in the creation and execution of short-term and long-term strategic plans to drive employee engagement that are intended to elevate the FOCus on health and wellness, including physical, but also intellectual and financial.

About WorldVentures

WorldVentures Marketing, LLC is the leading international direct seller of vacation club memberships and is on a mISSion to help people achieve more fun, freedom and fulfillment by offering DreamTrips™ Members premium vacations at reduced prices. WorldVentures combines the power of the Internet with the strength of the direct-selling industry to market its DreamTrips Memberships. WorldVentures is a privately held company based in Plano, Texas, with active Representatives and Members in 29 countries.

Media Contact:
Connie Glover
Manager, Public Relations
WorldVentures Holdings, LLC

Logo –

SOURCE WorldVentures Marketing, LLC