Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

April 27th, 2016:

Japan Tobacco International launches first tank e-cigarette across the UK

Big-four cigarette maker Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has launched its first tank e-cigarette nationwide.

JTI’s New Logic PRO tank e-cigarettes have been available at Sainsbury’s stores since January, but were launched nationwide this month and will be boosted with a TV and outdoor media campaign from 1 May.

Tanks are the cartridges that hold the e-cigarette’s vaping liquid and can be replaced when empty.

The launch comes a year after JTI bought one of US’ leading independent e-cigarette makers, Logic, last April.

Founded in 2010, Logic specialised in rechargeable, ready-to-use and disposable e-cigarettes, including the Logic Pro tank system.

Around 85 per cent of vapers use tank e-cigarettes, equating to around two million regular users in the UK.

A study by Public Health England released last year concluded that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco.

Health Commissioner vows to lobby Commission on tobacco transparency

The event discussing tobacco lobbying.

Commission health chief Vytenis Andriukaitis wants the European Commission to be more transparent when it comes to tobacco lobbying and warned that EU institutions faced losing citizen’s trust if no action was taken.

While Andriukaitis’ DG Sante was proactive in releasing details of meetings with the tobacco industry when the EU’s new Tobacco Products Directive was negotiated, other DGs failed to disclose such meetings.

According to some, this lack of transparency breaches Article 5.3 of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The convention says that parties are obliged to protect public health policies from commercial or other vested interests of the tobacco industry.

European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, who investigates complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions and bodies, organised an event in Brussels on Wednesday (27 April) to push for the other Commission DGs as well as other EU institutions to follow Andriukaitis’ lead.

Andriukaitis acknowledged that the Commission could be more transparent, but said that he sees “good attitudes” among his colleagues.

“DG Sante is very active in explaining rules and procedures at different inter-sectoral levels, to raise questions and in encouraging colleagues to follow these procedures,” he said.

“From my point of view, we must show absolutely show our engagement and our fight against tobacco lobbying. Or else citizens won’t believe in the EU institutions,” the Commissioner added.

Roberto Bertollini, the chief scientist and WHO representative to the EU stated that the European Commission had nothing to discuss with the tobacco industry.

“We have an industry which kills half of its users. Their products have no added value. We would like to see this tobacco lobbying finished,” he said.

Tobacco lobbying has played an important part of the transparency discussion related to the Commission over the past years.

In October 2012, the European Union’s top health official, John Dalli, resigned after an anti-fraud investigation connected him to an attempt to influence EU tobacco legislation.

A report from OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud office, claimed that a Maltese lobbyist had approached the tobacco producer Swedish Match and proposed making use of his contacts with Dalli to fix the EU export ban on powder tobacco.

The report claimed that, while Dalli was not involved, he knew what was going on. Dalli rejected OLAF’s findings, denying that he was in any way aware of any of these events.

The new Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker has taken steps to improve transparency, O’Reilly said.

But she was puzzled why meetings with tobacco lobbyists and other DGs were not disclosed, as publishing them online would not have added an extra layer of bureaucracy or burden for the administration.

Tobacco industry objections

The event caused controversy before it was held. Tobacco lobbyists complained they were excluded from being part of the panel.

Instead, the lobbyists showed up in great numbers in the audience, according to the list of participants.

Ronan Barry, of the Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers, argued that by not inviting the industry to be on the panel, the Ombudsman was excluding the industry from the public health debate.

“I’m aware that the tobacco industry is unhappy about not being represented on the panel today,” O’Reilly said.

“I can of course invite whoever I wish to take part in a seminar that I organise. But I did make a decision not to invite tobacco industry representatives.

“That is how I interpret my obligation under the convention. This is, however, a public event and I did not exclude any interest group from taking part,” she said.


The first tobacco control legislation in the EU was introduced in the 1980s. Since then, EU legislation and policy has been further developed in the areas of product regulation, advertising and protecting people from second-hand smoke, as well as prevention.

The new Tobacco Product Directive seeks to regulate products that look and taste like tobacco with the aim of discouraging young people from taking up smoking in the first place.

The compromise stipulates that e-cigarettes will be considered like regular tobacco products if they contain nicotine in a concentration of more than 20 mg/ml.

However, individual member states can regulate e-cigarettes as medicines, if they are presented as having curative or preventive properties.

Refillable e-cigarettes will not be banned, but member states can ban specific types of cartridges for e-cigarettes, if they can justify the ban by safety concerns.

Toxicant exposure from smoking a little cigar

Further support for product regulation



Although numerous studies have documented the prevalence and increasing use of little cigars and other cigar products, the present study is the first direct, head-to-head laboratory comparison of little cigar and cigarette smoking. The study addressed a fundamental objective to compare exposure and use characteristics of little cigar and cigarette smoking.


Smoking patterns, toxicant exposure and subjective measures were collected and analysed in 21 adults after smoking a little cigar (Winchester) and a cigarette (own brand). Participants were dual users of little cigars and cigarettes.


Similar to cigarettes, little cigars delivered substantial nicotine and relatively more carbon monoxide. Puff volume, puff duration and time to smoke were significantly greater after cigarettes, but the temporal pattern of smoking more intensively at the beginning was similar in little cigars and cigarettes. Both little cigars and cigarettes reduced urge to smoke. Participants consistently mentioned that the lower cost of little cigars was a reason for initiation and continuation of their use.


The results support the notion that regulation of little cigars is appropriate in light of public health considerations.

Contribution of smoking to socioeconomic inequalities in mortality

A study of 14 European countries, 1990–2004



Smoking contributes to socioeconomic inequalities in mortality, but the extent to which this contribution has changed over time and driven widening or narrowing inequalities in total mortality remains unknown. We studied socioeconomic inequalities in smoking-attributable mortality and their contribution to inequalities in total mortality in 1990–1994 and 2000–2004 in 14 European countries.


We collected, harmonised and standardised population-wide data on all-cause and lung-cancer mortality by age, gender, educational and occupational level in 14 European populations in 1990–1994 and 2000–2004. Smoking-attributable mortality was indirectly estimated using the Preston-Glei-Wilmoth method.


In 2000–2004, smoking-attributable mortality was higher in lower socioeconomic groups in all countries among men, and in all countries except Spain, Italy and Slovenia, among women, and the contribution of smoking to socioeconomic inequalities in mortality varied between 19% and 55% among men, and between −1% and 56% among women. Since 1990–1994, absolute inequalities in smoking-attributable mortality and the contribution of smoking to inequalities in total mortality have decreased in most countries among men, but increased among women.


In many European countries, smoking has become less important as a determinant of socioeconomic inequalities in mortality among men, but not among women. Inequalities in smoking remain one of the most important entry points for reducing inequalities in mortality.

Celebrating 10 years of smoke-free Uruguay

Uruguay is celebrating 10 years as a smoke-free (SF) country in 2016. When it banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces a decade ago, it became the first county in the Americas, and only the fourth in the world, to do so.

President Dr Tabaré Vázquez, an oncologist, is rightly credited for pushing Uruguay’s tobacco control agenda to the forefront globally, but 10 years ago inspiration was provided by a variety of sources inside and outside the country – with civil society leading – likely boosted by Uruguay’s tiny size, which made it easier to ‘spread the word’, and a surprisingly receptive public.

Today I am proud to have participated in this agenda-setting campaign, which has had a major impact on public health in my country. In the early 2000s, Uruguay had one of the highest rates of smoking in Latin America and the highest rate of male deaths caused by lung cancer. In the region, young Uruguayans faced among the highest rate of exposure to tobacco smoke indoors.

A 1996 decree banned smoking in government offices and all enclosed premises, but it included designated smoking areas, which we now know are ineffective. No matter – the regulation was not enforced nor monitored.

External influences

Encouraged by ongoing negotiations on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and by a SF regional initiative of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in 2001, some Uruguayans began imagining a smoke-free country.

In March 2003, PAHO held a capacity-building workshop in Jamaica. Three Uruguayans attended as observers: Dr Diego Estol (Director General of the Ministry of Health [MoH]), myself (representing the National Medical Association) and Dr Adriana Blanco (from the Municipality of Montevideo). There, the idea of Uruguay becoming Latin America’s first smoke-free country was born.

In December 2003, PAHO held a SF workshop in Uruguay. There, representatives of the MOH and civil society organizations – united in the National Tobacco Control Alliance (ANCT) – agreed on a project aimed to make government, health and educational facilities 100-percent SF in two years.

In January 2004, a MoH decree banned smoking in education and health facilities, but there was only moderate enforcement and compliance. Also in 2004, a national SF network (RULTA) was launched.

Smoke-free dancing

On 24 August 2004, a new non-smokers’ association (FPU) organized the first 100-percent SF dinner-dance, which attracted over 400 people. A few weeks later, the Uruguayan Society of Cardiology (SUC) held its first congress, also with a SF dinner-dance. These events were “pilot projects” to prove that smokers would respect a ban.

In September 2004, Uruguay ratified the FCTC, and later that year the MOH created a tobacco control advisory commission (that included civil society).

On 1 March 2005, Dr Vázquez took office as President. Later that month, the advisory commission advised the Minister of Health on measures for implementing the FCTC.

Shopping malls go SF

Things began to move quickly. On 31 May the President issued various decrees, including one regulating smoking in indoor places. In July, two shopping malls surveyed their customers: only 3.6 percent of them said they would stop visiting if the malls completely banned smoking. They chose to go 100-percent SF. That same month, MOH banned smoking in all government facilities.

On 5 September, President Vázquez issued a new decree, establishing a complete smoking ban from 1 March 2006.

Media campaigns played an important role. In 2004, the National Resource Fund (FNR), a wealthy and well known public institution, got involved in SF, launching a media campaign to increase public awareness of the risks of smoking and second-hand smoke.

Thanks a million

In late 2005, supported by PAHO, the civil society alliance, ANCT, conducted another campaign to increase awareness about the health risks of second-hand smoke. And in February 2006, President Vázquez launched Thanks a million – a campaign aimed at involving smokers themselves in the movement and at preparing the ground for the coming complete ban.

Thanks a million attracted 1.3 million participants, who thanked smokers for not lighting up indoors. In November 2006, an opinion poll showed that 94 percent of Uruguayans supported SF workplaces.

Ten years later, what has been the impact of Uruguay’s SF campaign?

Two international studies compared indoor air contamination levels, and nicotine levels, before and after the smoking ban. They found a roughly 90-percent reduction in both.

A 2010 national study revealed a 22-percent drop in admissions to hospitals for heart attacks after the ban came into force.

Following Uruguay´s lead, in less than 10 years 12 other Latin America countries have become SF.

What’s next for SF Uruguay?

Despite this impressive record, Uruguay should not relax but continue building on these achievements. For example in 2010, 81 percent of smokers who had a family car reported that smoking was “never allowed” when children were in the vehicle; that number grew to 84 percent in 2012. Also in 2012, 88 percent of smokers said they would support a law banning smoking in vehicles carrying children.

Uruguay should also consolidate and deepen its SF policy by:

Conducting periodic awareness media campaigns;
Improving enforcement of SF workplaces;
Banning smoking in areas next to access doors to educational , health facilities and restaurants.
* FCA Director, Americas region and President, Tobacco Epidemic Research Centre of Uruguay (CIET)

– See more at: