FDA flavor ban will only increase Big Tobacco sales, says Yale Economist

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a call for public input regarding the potential dangers or benefits of flavored e-liquids used in vaping devices and e-cigs. Industry insiders estimate that there are currently over 7,000 different flavors of vape juice available on the market, and the FDA has the authority to ban one or all of them, if the agency so chooses.

The announcement of the 90-day probe was published on March 21 via the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).  The FDA is taking both electronic and written submissions of comments and opinions regarding the pros and cons of flavored e-liquids and tobacco products. Anyone can participate.  Menthol varieties seem to be the most targeted flavors at the moment, but a series of television interviews featuring FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb indicates that all flavors may be subject to a national ban.

The Yale e-liquid study

A world-class economist currently teaching at Yale University, Dr. John Buckell, believes that should the FDA ban all flavored e-liquids, Big Tobacco will experience a massive windfall in increased sales.  Not only will more vapers likely relapse into smoking, but the rise in smoking-related death rates will escalate rather quickly, as well.    

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 500,000 people die from smoking every year with another 40,000 deaths are directly attributed to second-hand smoke.   Furthermore, Big Tobacco spends about $1 million every hour on the marketing of tobacco products worldwide.  That’s about $9 billion annually. 

Related Article:  SWISS E-CIG STUDY SHOWS VAPING BEATS NRTS IN THE RACE TO QUIT SMOKING

The rumor of a possible FDA flavor ban has been circulating since 2016.  Around this time, Buckell decided that he wanted to determine if such a ban would have either positive or negative effects on the U.S. economy.   His findings are published in a report entitled, Should Flavors be Banned in E-cigarettes? Evidence on Adult Smokers and Recent Quitters from a Discrete Choice Experiment (NBER).  This is one of the very few research papers by a scientist of such high caliber that focuses on the economic benefits of vaping.

Buckell began by soliciting the help of over 2,000 smokers and former smokers.  Participants were interviewed and questioned about the theoretical personal lifestyle changes that might occur due to a hypothetical e-liquid flavor ban by the FDA.  Below is a brief overview of his findings.

  • If the FDA were to ban only menthol cigarettes without banning menthol or other flavored e-liquids, Buckell estimates that Big Tobacco sales in the United States alone would plummet by an estimated 4.8 percent. (There are loads of research indicating that menthol flavors are more addictive than conventional tobacco flavors).  Another 1.3 percent would likely give up both smoking and vaping completely.
  • If the FDA were to ban menthol tobacco and menthol-flavored e-liquids while allowing all other flavors of vape juice to remain unregulated, Buckell predicts that Big Tobacco sales overall would rise by about 2.7 percent.
  • However, if the FDA were to ban both menthol tobacco and all flavored e-liquids at the same time, Buckell estimates that more than 8.3 percent of U.S. vapers would eventually relapse into smoking.

“We find that the recently denied FDA ban would result in increased choice of combustible cigarettes, the most harmful alternative. However, a ban on menthol in combustibles would result in the greatest reduction in smoking of combustibles.”

Related Article:  BERKELEY JOINS PURITANICAL FRAY AS VAPING FLAVOR BANS SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/fda-flavor-ban-will-only-increase-big-tobacco-sales-says-yale-economist

Take the Farsalinos-Poulas vaping survey to help fight FDA flavor ban

In a March 20 press release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the launching of a new probe into the possible adverse effects of flavored e-liquids.  The probe will last 90-days, and according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the agency is only seeking “public input” at this time before implementing any new regulations.  But let’s be honest.  THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL!

World-class vaping advocates Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and Dr. Konstantinos Poulas are encouraging all worldwide vapers to take their online vaping survey.  It’s completely anonymous, free, and takes only about 15-20 minutes to complete.  The goal of the survey is to compile positive data showing a link between flavored e-liquids and their effectiveness in helping people reduce or quit smoking.

Click here to take the Farsalinos-Poulas vaping survey

The FDA probe will end on June 19, 2018.  In the coming weeks, vapers will be asked many times through social media and other venues to get involved in the fight to prevent an FDA ban on flavored e-liquids.  We urge everyone to participate before it’s too late!

Iowa AG says FDA flavor ban is ‘overly simplistic’ reasoning

The FDA has been hinting about the possibility of a flavor ban since early 2017.  In July of that year, FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb began ramping up the anti-vaping rhetoric in press conferences and television interviews.  When Iowa Attorney General Thomas J. Miller caught wind of the FDA’s possible plans, he decided to issue a public statement of his own that essentially blasts the notion of a flavor ban as “overly simplistic reasoning.”  In a letter written to Chief Gottlieb, Iowa AG Thomas made the following statement.

“We are concerned that some prominent commentary about flavors in low-risk tobacco and nicotine products, including that provided in the Surgeon General’s 2016 report, is overly simplistic in presuming that the primary purpose and consequence of offering flavors is to recruit current non-users, especially youth, to nicotine use. A proper assessment requires a deeper analysis and must at least consider the possibility that these low-risk products can function as alternatives to combustibles, not only for adults, but also as a diversion from youth smoking uptake and as support for youth smoking cessation.”

Yale Economist sides with vaping against an FDA flavor ban!

Yale Economist John Buckell published a research paper in September of 2017 claiming that an FDA flavor ban will only increase rather than decrease the sales of combustible tobacco products.  After conducting an extensive survey of his own involving some 2,031 participants, Buckell came to the following conclusion.

“If the U.S. government were to ban both menthol cigarettes and menthol-flavored e-liquids, tobacco sales would likely rise by an estimated 2.7 percent overall while the cumulative number of American smokers would likely drop by about 5.2 percent.”

The time for all vapers to act is now!  We urge all vapers to get involved.  Contact your congressperson and senators.  We’ll even show you how by clicking this link.  But a very good place to start is by simply taking the Farsalinos-Poulas vaping survey!  It’s free!  It’s easy!  And it’s completely anonymous!  Please help!

Click here to take the Farsalinos-Poulas vaping survey

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/take-the-farsalinos-poulas-vaping-survey-to-help-fight-fda-flavor-ban

Tennessee DOH recommends e-cigs as ‘cessation aid to quit smoking’

According to the FDA deeming regulations, vape shops and e-cig vendors can only discuss e-cig’s potential benefits regarding tobacco harm reduction.  Marketers cannot advertise their products as smoking cessation tools, at least not currently.   However, The Tennessee Department of Health (DOH) seems to disagree strongly with the FDA approach by explicitly recommending in a recent study that vaping can help thousands of Tennesseans quit smoking. 

DOH officials conducted a cross-sectional study involving 6,167 observational evaluations of smoking adults over the age of 18.  The focus of the research w2as to determine any possible links between vaping and smoking cessation, most specifically regarding dual usage.  This 3.5-year study is considered the very first of its kind due to it extended timeframe and breadth of quantitative research.  An abstract of the study entitled E-cigarette usage and its association with attempted cessation among adult smokers, Tennessee Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016 is readily available on the American Public Health Association (APHA) website.

Overview of the Tennessee DOH study 

The over 6,000 participants were divided into two distinct groups:  smokers-only and dual users.  Using scientific practices involving multivariate logistic regression, the DOH scientists tracked the number of times that each participant attempted to quit smoking over a 12-month period.  They also monitored the related success rates. 

  • Of the original 6,127 observations, 1,178 participants were identified as current smokers.
  • 261 of these current smokers admitted to also being dual users of tobacco cigarettes and vaping products.
  • 681 of the 1,178 admitted to having attempted to quit smoking at least once during the 12-month evaluation period.

What the DOH discovered is that smokers who are also dual users of e-cigs are 3.6 times more likely to successfully quit smoking within the first year of making the switch to vaping.  After taking into consideration various societal and economic factors of each of the participants, the researchers modified their calculations to 3.5 times more likely. 

“Income and frequency of cigarette smoking were found to be confounders and were included in the final model to determine the adjusted odds. While controlling for these covariates, smokers who use e-cigarettes were 3.5 (CI: 2.0, 6.1) times more likely to report trying to quit smoking cigarettes during the past 12 months than non-e-cigarette smokers. Conclusion: This analysis provides evidence that current Tennessee adult smokers may be using e-cigarettes as a cessation aid to quit smoking.”

The findings of the Tennessee DOH study are further supported by similar studies conducted both in the United States and abroad.  For example, a recent study conducted by a collaborative group of scientists from Rutgers and Columbia Universities indicate that vapers are 48.9 percent more likely to attempt to quit smoking at least once in their first 12-months of dual use.  The same study also concluded that dual users who attempt to quit smoking via vaping have an average success rate of 52 percent.

Related Article:  COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: OVER 50% OF DAILY VAPERS QUIT SMOKING LONG-TERM

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/tennessee-doh-recommends-e-cigs-as-cessation-aid-to-quit-smoking

Vaping industry prepares for FDA ingredient listings deadlines

One of the results of the new FDA deeming regulations and the related Tobacco Control Act is that all vaping retailers must submit their ingredient listings for all tobacco products.  There are two deadlines.  Large-scale retailers and manufacturers have until May 8, and small-scale operations and vape shops have until November 8.  Companies with more than $5 million in annual revenues are considered large-scale vendors.  The likelihood that the FDA may push these dates back at the last minute is very possible, but vendors should prepare in advance for the deadlines to stand.

Ingredients listings must be provided for all e-liquids, e-cigs, and vaping devices including hookahs.  Of course, Big Tobacco vendors must also comply, including cigars manufacturers.  According to the regulations, ingredients are defined as anything that is “added by the manufacturer to the tobacco, paper, filter, or other part of each tobacco product….”  All tobacco products sold in the United States must submit ingredient listings regardless of their country of manufacturing.

Ingredients information to be supplied

Vaping vendors should be aware that the submission process can be time-consuming and maybe even a bit confusing, especially for manufacturers of e-liquids.  The FDA has provided very little information about what the submission and approval process entails, besides which most e-liquid vendors have perhaps hundreds of different brands that require separate reports.  In general, the ingredient listings must include the following information.

  • Vendor’s contact information
  • S. agent’s contact information, if applicable.
  • Product list
  • List of “components” for each product
  • List of “ingredients” for each “component.”
  • Specific information about each “ingredient,” such as supplier information, SKU number, and quantities.

Submission process is not instantaneous

Both small- and large-scale manufacturers can submit an ingredient listing report manually by downloading  Form 3742 and sending it to the CTP Document Control Center.  The FDA has specifically stated that the agency prefers electronic submissions via the CTP Portal.  Obtaining CTP Portal access is not instantaneous.  The process takes about two to three weeks.  So, plan ahead accordingly.  And good luck!

Related Article: At the eleventh hour, FDA extends ingredients deadline for vaping by 6 months

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/vaping-industry-prepares-for-fda-ingredient-listings-deadlines

CDC study disproves claims that e-cig vapor is laced with formaldehyde

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published the results of an air sampling study which officially debunks former claims that e-cig vapor is laced with deadly levels of formaldehyde.  The rumor seems to have gotten its start from a controversial 2015 publication in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The 2015 report was not peer-reviewed prior to publication, but many leading scientists immediately refuted both the study’s findings and its scientific methodologies immediately upon release.  Several even contacted the NEJM to demand a retraction.  However, the original document still appears online even today.  This latest CDC analysis only further confirms that the original NEJM report is bogus, but it may be too late to have much of a positive effect on the general public’s current attitudes towards vaping.

Overview of the CDC air quality study

The CDC study involved the air sampling of a local vape shop to measure and evaluate the toxicity levels of several “vaping related chemicals.”  In coordination with representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the vape shops owner voluntarily granted CDC scientists access to the businesses.  As the air sampling tests were being conducted, both employees and customers were actively vaping within the shop, as well.  The related findings are compiled in the report entitled Evaluation of Chemical Exposures at a Vape Shop, which is readily available on the CDC website. 

  • The “vaping related chemicals” evaluated include:
    • Formaldehyde
    • Nicotine
    • Diacetyl
    • Propylene glycol
    • 2,3-Hexanedione
    • 2,3-Pentanedione
    • Acetaldehyde
    • Acetoin
    • Serval types of Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs)
  • In addition to testing the air quality of the customer service area of the shop, CDC officials also evaluated the storage and safety measures being taken by employees and staff.
  • Back-of-the-shop “commonly touched surfaces” were also evaluated for the related toxins.
  • On two separate occasions and at different times of day, individual employees also agreed to allow CDC officials to collect swipe samples of their hands and fingers.
  • As many as ten employees were present at the time of the air sampling tests.

Related Article:  AS FLAVOR BAN LOOMS, HUD TO RESTRICT SMOKING (NOT VAPING) IN PUBLIC HOUSING 

According to the CDC’s published findings, the measurable concentrations of the associated toxins, aldehyde, VOCs, and other vaping related chemicals fell far below national safety stands as defined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Regarding formaldehyde specifically, the CDC essentially states that even in a vape shop with ten vaping employees, the measurable levels are no more than that of everyday air.

“Area sampling results showed that background formaldehyde concentrations were similar to the personal sampling results. Low concentrations of formaldehyde exist in many indoor environments because of off gassing from furnishings, clothing, and other materials.”

To be fair, the CDC team did find some faulty safety practices by the vape shop employees, but nothing too catastrophic.  For example, evidence was discovered that staffers were storing liquid nicotine extract in the same refrigeration unit as staff food items.  Several employees were also witnessed handing vaping related products without the proper safety protocols (gloves, disposable funnels), and there were documented cases of subpar ventilation systems. 

Related Article: CALL TO ACTION: SFATA URGES ALL VAPERS TO FIGHT THE FDA’S FLAVOR BAN ON VAPES!

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/cdc-study-disproves-claims-that-e-cig-vapor-is-laced-with-formaldehyde

Study shows vaping nicotine enhances creativity, boosts alpha brain waves

Have you ever wondered why so many movie stars, musicians, singers, and other creative artists smoke cigarette or vape?  New research shows that the nicotine in tobacco cigarettes and now vaping devices may boost the production of alpha waves in the brain which often leads to enhanced creativity.  Scientists also believe that the increased alpha waves somehow suppress certain irrelevant brain activities like daydreaming or “zoning out,” which in turn helps the user to avoid distractions and focus better on the creative task at hand.

Unfortunately, obtaining the creativity benefits of nicotine through conventional cigarettes involves the burning of tobacco leaves which emits a tar-filled smoke that is extremely carcinogenic.  Vaping, on the other hand, does not.  Furthermore, the e-liquids in electronic cigarettes are free of all those other added chemicals intentionally placed inside tobacco cigarettes to keep the smoker hooked.  Many of these needless chemicals are also highly toxic.

Related Article:  Harvard study: It’s the chemicals in cigarettes that kills, not the nicotine

Two scientists from the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at the Radboud University in Nijmegen conducted a study based on the hypothesis that the natural stimulatory effects of nicotine facilitate one’s ability to anticipate distracting information and then ignore it more quickly.  These capabilities are largely attributed to alpha brain wave production.

Overview of the Donder nicotine study

Researchers Mathilde Bonnefond and Ole Jensen began by soliciting the assistance of eighteen smokers to participate in an experiment.  Each was shown a series of letters flashing on a screen very quickly, and they were asked to memorize them.    Meanwhile, the scientists recorded their alpha brain wave activities through the use of non-invasive magneto-encephalography (MEG) technology. 

Next, Bonnefond and Jensen would flash a “distractor” on-screen.  There were two kinds of distractors.  The first was deemed a “strong distractor” and came in the form of another letter flashing on-screen.  The second was deemed a “weak distractor” and appeared as a symbol of some kind flashing on-screen.  As these images flashed before the participants’ eyes, they were instructed to ignore them.

Related Article: VAPING NICOTINE MAY HELP PATIENTS WITH MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT, SAYS STUDY

As the experiment progressed, the smokers were shown the four letters to memorize immediately followed by one of the two distractors before flashing a fifth letter on-screen.  Each flash of a new letter or distractor occurred about one second apart.  The participants were rated on their speed and accuracy capabilities in determining if the fifth letter was a member of the original four-letter group that they were asked to initially memorize.  Meanwhile, the same series of tests were conducted with a control group of non-smokers.

Results of the Donder nicotine study

Bonnefond and Jensen discovered that the smokers had a greater ability to block out the “distractors” and achieve higher scores in speed and accuracy compared to the non-smoking group.  The researchers then compared these higher test scores to the measurable changes in alpha brain wave production via the MEG technology.  They discovered a decided correlation between higher test scores, increased alpha brain wave production, and nicotine consumption.

Scientists believe that this increased alpha brain wave production enhances one’s ability to “get into the zone” and stay focused, which is very helpful to creative artists. For example, an actor or actress who is trying to transform themselves into an entirely different character than themselves needs the unique ability to block out all outside distraction if they want to stay “in-character.”   

This is not the first nicotine study related to alpha brain wave activity that Bonnefond and Ole Jensen have conducted.  The most recent study entitled Alpha waves close your mind for distraction, but not continuously, research suggests is published on Science News.  A second research project entitled Alpha Oscillations Serve to Protect Working Memory Maintenance against Anticipated Distracters is available in the online journal Current Biology

Related Article:  ‘It’s combustible cigarettes (not e-cigs) that are the problem,’ says FDA’s Gottlieb on CNBC

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/study-shows-vaping-nicotine-enhances-creativity-boosts-alpha-brain-waves

New York politician (and former Big Pharma member) wants to ban vaping and walking

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, news comes out of New York that a certain democratic member of city council wants to make vaping and walking on sidewalks illegal.  The actual bill is currently geared towards making smoking illegal, but one can safely assume that vaping will also be thrown into the mix should the proposed legislation gain traction. 

The elected official’s name is Councilman Peter Koo, and he was elected in 2009.  What many vaping advocates might find rather interesting is that before he was a politician, Koo was the CEO of the Starside Pharmacy chain located in Flushing, Queens.

Big Pharma’s distaste for the vaping industry is well-documented.  As vaping continues to grow in popularity, sales of the more conventional nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like nicotine gums and patches has steadily dwindled. It just so happens that Big Pharma owns the patents on these NRTs.

Related Article: Mitch Zeller and Jack Henningfield: The Big Pharma conspiracy behind the FDA e-cig regulations

Many conspiracy theorists even allege that the major pharmaceutical companies were secretly behind the government’s implementation of the FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the American vaping industry by 2022.  Big Pharma has ties to the FDA’s Mitch Zeller, who created the new deeming rules and previously worked as a paid consultant for the GlaxoSmithKline.  And Jack Henningfield, who is a member of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, is the co-owner of a patent on a new nicotine gum product. 

Is the Peter Koo connection to Starside Pharmacies a mere coincidence?

Now, there is no evidence (that we know of) that Peter Koo is taking advantage of his political power to further benefit the pharmaceutical industry.  According to an interview with Fox5NY news, the reason that Koo wants to pass the no-smoking-and-walking regulation is because he simply hates walking behind smokers. 

“My bill is very simple, no smoking and walking on New York City Sidewalks…This bill is not against smoking just don’t do both together. “

Koo may have an ace up his sleeve that might help him get his controversial bill passed.  Senator Minority Leader and fellow Democrat Chuck Schumer is also from New York and is notoriously anti-vaping.  Last December, Schumer called electronic cigarettes “ticking timebomb” due to claims that their batteries having a propensity for explosions. 

Related Article:  Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calls e-cigs ‘ticking time bombs’

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/new-york-politician-and-former-big-pharma-member-wants-to-ban-vaping-and-walking