Recent Readings in Tobacco Harm Reduction – week of 25 April 2011

By THR.o Staff

Must Reads

FDA concedes it must regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products
US FDA yielded to the federal court order that required it to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products rather than banning them as unapproved medicines.

Some commentators reported this as a huge victory for e-cigarettes, though it really just confirmed the victory already won in court. Our analysis of the situation was not as optimistic as some, noting there was little information about intentions and regulators can still interfere with the e-cigarette market in various ways if they choose. Here is our take on it, which links to commentaries by Rodu, Godshall, and CASAA, which include some marked disagreements:

The press coverage offered almost no insights.

Other THR

New Zealand Ministry of Health report includes pro-THR language about e-cigarettes
Characterizes e-cigarettes as “far safer than smoking”. Commentary by advocacy group with link to PDF of ministry report:

Smokers still find ST a good way to quit
Key result of new Minnesota study agrees with existing knowledge: smokeless tobacco products appeal to some smokers who are interested in quitting, with heterogeneity of preferences about different products. But due to the “give a man a hammer” problem, researchers continue to emphasize the relative popularity of products which is pointless (and probably meaningless given sample size and the artificiality of the situation). Imposing the medical model on consumer goods choice, rather than recognizing that the market will find a way to meet preferences, continues to produce silly research priorities.

But poor-delivery pharma products are still measurably inferior
Brad Rodu argues that a (different) small intervention trial provides further evidence snus is more satisfying than nicotine gum.

Ballin calls for unified policy across nicotine products
This position statement does not contain too much new information (though it has an interesting take on neutrality in the current about who is manufacturing something); its significance is that it is from one of the leading experts in the field, Scott Ballin. No apparent link to the original, but it was posted on a message board here:

Iowa county proposes ban on dissolvables
Weeks after a state-wide ban died for the year, local anti-THR rule is fast-tracked. Perhaps just as harmful to THR, though more subtle, is apparent prohibition against marketing methods for encouraging smokers to switch like offering free smokeless tobacco sample with purchase of cigarettes.

An update on Oregon bill HB 3588, a bill to ban smokeless nicotine products.
Thad Marney of CASAA provides an update on this bill and the testimony he provided to the committee. The results sound fairly positive and it looks as though the bill may be dead for now.

Related Topics

Latest from India
The talk in India about banning the local dip products (which is related to THR, but not really about since these products are not primarilly tobacco and seldom used for THR) continue to create a fascinating case study in tobacco policy.

California students becoming hookah fans
A study found high school students found some interest in hookahs, perhaps reflecting consequences of the anti-industry rather than anti-smoke emphasis of anti-tobacco efforts. Half of student believe hookahs are safer than cigarettes, much more likely to be correct than the WHO, which says hookahs are 100 times as dangerous.

Canadian c-stores suffering from black market
A trade association study blames closure of 350 story in 2010 partially on four factors, including contraband tobacco trade.

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