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March 9th, 2020:

Smoking or vaping increases risks for those with coronavirus

(Reuters) – Smoking or vaping makes people more vulnerable to suffering severe illness once infected by coronavirus, a spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday.

De Blasio told a press conference earlier on Sunday that people who smoke or vape are at higher risk.

“If you are a smoker or a vaper that does make you more vulnerable,” de Blasio said, urging New Yorkers to seek help in quitting. “If you are a smoker or a vaper this is a very good time to stop that habit and we will help you.”

De Blasio also said people over the age of 50 and with heart disease, lung disease, cancer, immune system vulnerability or diabetes face increased risks.

Simulating the impact of a cigarette minimum floor price law on adult smoking prevalence in California



Minimum floor price laws (MFPLs) are an emerging tobacco control policy that sets a minimum price below which a specific tobacco product cannot be sold. MFPLs target cheaper products and may disproportionately impact consumers choosing low price brands or using discounts to reduce prices. We developed a static microsimulation model for California, USA to project short-term effects of different MFPL options for a 20-stick pack of cigarettes on adult smoking behaviors.


We simulated 300,000 individuals defined by race/ethnicity, sex, age, and poverty status. Smoking behaviors and cigarette prices were assigned based on demographic distributions in the 2014-2016 California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We drew 100 random samples (n=30,000), weighted to state-level California demographic characteristics. We simulated six MFPL options and modeled impacts on smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption, in general, and separately for those in households below or above 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL), assuming a price elasticity of -0.4.


Predicted changes in prices, prevalence, and consumption increased exponentially as the floor price increased from $7.00 to $9.50. Assuming 15% policy avoidance, projected increases in average cigarette prices ranged from $0.19 to $1.61. Decreases in smoking prevalence ranged from 0.05 to 0.43 percentage points, and decreases in average monthly cigarette consumption ranged from 1.4 to 12.3 cigarettes. Projected prices increased, and prevalence and consumption decreased, more among individuals in households below 250% FPL.


MFPLs are a promising tobacco control strategy with the potential to reduce socioeconomic disparities in cigarette smoking prevalence and consumption.

Associations Between Nicotine Metabolite Ratio and Gender With Transitions in Cigarette Smoking Status and E-Cigarette Use

Findings Across Waves 1 and 2 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study



Nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR), the ratio of trans 3′-hydroxycotinine to cotinine, is a biomarker of nicotine metabolism. Discrepant findings among clinical trials and population-based studies warrant replication on whether higher NMR, or faster nicotine metabolism, is associated with quitting cigarette smoking. Associations of NMR and e-cigarette use are largely unknown, as well as the relationship between NMR and gender on quitting cigarette smoking or e-cigarette use.


The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study is a nationally representative, longitudinal cohort study assessing tobacco use in the US population. In the current study, the PATH (waves 1 and 2; adult interviews) was used to evaluate longitudinal predictions in relationships among NMR and gender and their association with transitions (quit vs. current stable) in cigarette smoking status and e-cigarette use status across waves 1 and 2 of the PATH study.


NMR and gender were not significantly associated with quit behavior for combustible cigarettes. Regarding e-cigarettes, a significant two-way interaction demonstrated that women with higher NMR were less likely to quit e-cigarette use compared to women with lower NMR (odds ratio [OR] = 0.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02–0.57; p = .01).


Findings identify that women with faster nicotine metabolism were 10 times less likely to quit e-cigarettes compared to women with slower nicotine metabolism across waves 1 and 2 of the PATH study. Results suggest that NMR may be used as a biomarker for transitions in e-cigarette quit behavior for women.


Findings identify that women with faster nicotine metabolism were 10 times less likely to quit e-cigarettes compared to women with slower nicotine metabolism. Results suggest that NMR may be used as a biomarker for transitions in e-cigarette quit behavior for women. Establishing parameters for NMR collection and for the use of NMR as a biomarker for cigarette smoking behavior and e-cigarette use is an important next step, and may have implications for early intervention and treatment for cessation.

Juul and the upsurge of e-cigarette use among college undergraduates


Objective: Examine trends in e-cigarette use, and Juul use specifically, among U.S. college students.

Participants: In 2016, we established a cohort of 529 incoming first-year students to a large Midwestern University. In 2018, these students (now third-years) were re-contacted, and a new sample of 611 incoming first-year students was enrolled.

Methods: First-year students in 2016 completed a survey assessing their e-cigarette use; in 2018, first- and second-year students reported on e-cigarette use, and use of Juul specifically.

Results: From 2016 to 2018, past 30-day e-cigarette use rose from 5.9% to 27.7%. In 2018, for Juul alone, ever use was above 35% and past 30-day use was above 20% for both cohorts. Juul use did not differ by gender, but was associated with higher socioeconomic status (SES) and being White.

Conclusions: Findings present disturbing possibilities for long-term nicotine addiction among the next generation, and underscore the need for a rapid public health response.