What are E-cigarettes? Are they harmful? What is ASH doing about them?

quit smokingAn e-cigarette is a device that uses electricity from a small battery to vaporize a tobacco-containing solution, producing a vapor that is inhaled. The vapor includes nicotine, the addictive chemical found in other tobacco products, and the e-cigarette is designed to look like a cigarette. While e-cigarette manufacturers claim that their products are safe, they are not FDA-approved and in many cases they may not be used where cigarette smoking is banned, in particular on commercial flights.

ASH has called for e-cigarettes to be treated like other lit tobacco products until there is firm scientific evidence that they are not harmful. The burden of proving their safety should be placed on the manufacturers. And until the FDA says otherwise, they should not be marketed as cessation products.

For more information please visit the World Health Organizations Q&A on E-cigarettes

This article originally appeared on Republic Report

Should e-cigarettes be considered tobacco products?

Since e-cigarettes hit the market, they have been the subject of intense debate.  Are electronic cigarettes a cessation tool or an alternative smoking device? Should they be subject to the same smoke-free air laws as tobacco products? Should they be taxed at a similar rate as cigarettes?

In Toulouse, France, the courts just took a big step toward answering some of these questions. Recently, a licensed tobacco retailer filed a complaint against an e-cigarette retailer that set up shop nearby. The complaint argued that the e-cigarette retailer was violating French public health laws by selling and advertising the e-cigarettes. Subject to French law, only licensed retailers may sell tobacco products and they cannot advertise them.

The French court ruled that because e-cigarettes are an alternative to a tobacco product, they constitute a “tobacco product” under French law. Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but no tobacco, France’s electronic cigarette stakeholder’s Group (CACE) argues that e-cigarettes are a consumer product, not a tobacco product. Read more here>

In the U.S., the debate continues. The FDA has just begun to deal with the legal issues of electronic cigarettes. Forty attorneys general from across the United States urged the FDA to regulate electronic cigarettes the same way they regulate cigarettes. Read the letter here>.  Several states in the U.S. have begun to regulate electronic cigarettes in the same manner as cigarettes, with smoke-free air laws- Utah,  North DakotaNew Jersey and most recently New York and taxes in Minnesota.

This article originally appeared on Republic Report

French shop banned from selling e-cigarettes after tobacconist complaint

French court rules that e-cigarettes are tobacco products in landmark ruling in which Toulouse store banned from selling or advertising products after complaint by nearby tobacconist

By Henry Samuel, Paris  9:21PM GMT 09 Dec 2013  telegraph.co.uk

quit smokingA French tobacconist won a landmark court case on Monday to stop a nearby shop selling e-cigarettes after a court ruled it was unfair competition as the devices amounted to tobacco products.

The ruling has infuriated e-cigarette vendors after months of heated debate in France and Europe over the legal definition of the devices and how freely they should be sold.

It could see a rash of court cases from among France’s 27,000 tobacconists, many of whom already sell e-cigarettes but want the exclusive right to do so.

In the landmark case, Annie Pontus, the plaintiff who runs a tobacconist in the town of Plaisance-du-Touch near Toulouse, south-west France, had sued a nearby shop, called Esmokeclean, which opened in June.

She accused its owners of breaching the legal monopoly on the sale of tobacco products in accredited outlets by promoting their wares in their shop, on Facebook and on their internet site.

“We don’t have the right to advertise but these people, who sell nicotine-based products, do,” she said, arguing that this was unfair.

Her lawyer said that e-cigarettes and their liquids contain nicotine, and thus should be placed in the same legal bracket as tobacco products.

She also called on the government to limit the sale of the devices exclusively to tobacconists, as in the case of cigarettes.

Esmokeclean argued that e-cigarettes are currently in a “legal vacuum” and therefore should not fall under the tobacconist’s monopoly.

But on Monday, the Toulouse court ruled that despite containing no tobacco, e-cigarettes were substitute tobacco products. As a result, they should be subject to France’s state imposed monopoly on tobacco, which stipulates cigarettes and other products can only be sold in registered outlets.

The store’s lawyer announced an immediate appeal meaning for the moment the court’s judgment is not applicable. But it could eventually see the distribution of e-cigarettes limited to a state-imposed monopoly on tobacco sales.

Pascal Montredon, the president of the French confederation of tobacconists, welcomed the ruling as “excellent news”.

But Benjamin Echalier, lawyer for Reynald Pirat, one of the store owners, denounced it as “absurd and abhorrent” and one that “goes against what is tending to be decided on a European level”.

CACE, a body representing e-cigarette vendors in France, slammed the verdict as “scandalous”.

“The e-cigarette is an everyday consumer product and not a tobacoo product.

“The (court) has thus overstepped its powers by applying the status of tobacco product to the electronic cigarette,” it said, adding that it was confident that the ruling would be quashed on appeal.

This is the latest chapter in an increasingly acrimonious battle between those selling conventional tobacco cigarettes and battery-powered electronic cigarettes, which release vapour.

It comes after the European Parliament recently ruled that e-cigarettes were not in fact medicinal and could therefore remain on open sale, not just in tobacconists.

There are an estimated 1.5 million users of e-cigarettes in France and almost one in five French adults has tried the device, according to a recent poll.

E-Cigarettes & the Fight Against Tobacco

quitting smokingElectronic cigarettes have hit the American market with force, and their use has increased dramatically in just a few years. The tobacco industry has gotten into the game, bringing big money into e-cigarette marketing. At ASH, we welcome products that have been proven to help smokers quit, and a number of FDA approved products are available on the market. But we are not yet convinced that e-cigarettes are indeed that type of product and we remain concerned by the lack of regulation surrounding e-cigarettes. As a science-based advocacy group, we believe there are simply too many unknowns about e-cigarettes.

Here is what we do NOT know

Whether e-cigs help smokers quit. There are some anecdotal stories of ex-smokers who could not quit until they tried e-cigarettes, but there is no substantiating research yet to corroborate this claim.

The impact on children. According to the CDC the number of teenagers using e-cigs has doubled. Are kids now becoming nicotine addicts without ever picking up a cigarette? Will some of them switch to regular cigarettes at a later stage? We don’t know enough about what impact e-cigs have on initiation into nicotine addiction.

The contents of the vapor. The marketing is aimed at making consumers think e-cigarettes just emit water vapor, but they do not. There is some strong evidence that the vapor contains toxins and carcinogens, and because there are dozens of unregulated manufacturers, it is impossible to know what exactly is being inhaled by the people who are exposed to vapor from e-cigarette users.

The health impact on users. Without knowing their ingredients, we cannot know the health effects that result from e-cigarette usage or exposure. While e-cigarette companies claim they are safe, they have no scientific evidence to corroborate this claim either.

Here is what we DO know

E-cigarettes are aggressively marketed to children, with flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy. The marketing is disturbingly similar to past cigarette marketing that is now illegal.

E-cigarettes are nicotine delivery devices. Nicotine is highly addictive, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) – http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-addiction/nicotine-addictive.

The Food and Drug Administration is researching e-cigarettes in order to determine safe and necessary regulations (like all other products we ingest), but no official government regulations can be expected for at least three years.

Here is ASH’s stance

If e-cigarettes are safe, the e-cig companies should prove it. At present, they are in the business of selling an addictive drug, and they are targeting children. For now, while the safety of e-cigs remains in doubt, they should be s treated like cigarettes. This means:

• No “vaping” in places that ban smoking;
• No advertisements on television, radio, or billboards;
• No marketing to children whatsoever;
• No sales to children, with procedures in place to prevent children from buying e-cigs on the Internet;
• No misleading health claims.

Utah, North Dakota, New York City, and other governments in the U.S. and abroad already regulate e-cigarettes, and ASH encourages all jurisdictions to do the same. We, along with many other public health and regulatory organizations, also urge the FDA to move as quickly as possible to regulate e-cigarettes at the national level and to protect the health of everyone.

Additional Information

The FDA on e-cigarettes:

The World Health Organization (WHO) on e-cigarettes: http://www.who.int/tobacco/communications/statements/eletronic_cigarettes/en/

Studies on E-Cigarettes
E-Cig Briefing Paper
–  http://legacyforhealth.org/newsroom/press-releases/new-study-investigates-online-tobacco-and-e-cigarette-advertising

E-Cigarettes in the News
45 State Attorneys General Call for Tobacco Carve Out
Dangers of E-Cigs
Chicago Bans Indoor E-Cigs
New York City Bans Indoor E-Cigs
A Hot Debate Over E-Cigarettes as a Path to Tobacco, or From It
Utah Bans E-Cigs like Cigarettes 

This article originally appeared on http://ash.org

New Jersey’s ‘Top Lobbyist’ On Why He Worked For Big Tobacco: ‘Those Are The People That Pay’

Posted at 11:00 am by  of Republic Report

Bob Byrd is New Jersey’s “top lobbyist,” according to Content Delaware’s John Taylor, which recently interviewed Byrd for its conversational series. Byrd is the CEO of The Byrd Group, a lobbying firm that has worked for the banking industry and the education privatization movement, among other interests.

At one point, Taylor pointed out many of Byrd’s various clients, including the tobacco and alcohol industries. Byrd explained that he decided a long time ago that he would work for the “people who pay” and that he wouldn’t be where he is today if he wasn’t able to pass through the Revolving Door as a former lawmaker (he was a Majority Whip):

TAYLOR: You don’t shy away from controversy. You represented the gaming industry, the tobacco industry, the, some of the alcoholic beverage industry.

BYRD: If it’s a good idea, motherhood, or Apple Pie, I’m probably opposed!

TAYLOR: (laughs) There’s social reformers and religious folks who probably think you’re evil for doing that. How do you respond to that?

BYRD:  When I first decided to do this years ago, one of the things I did is I realized that, you know, you’ve gotta go, if you’re going to do this, you have to go where the people are who are going to pay you. […] There’s a lot of other ways to say it, but that’s being real upfront about it.

TAYLOR: How do you stay so active in Democratic politics and still get along, you know, successfully with Republicans in Dover?

BYRD: You know, I’ve always said  everything I am in this business and all of my success is a result of me getting elected to the legislature as a Democrat in 1974.

This article originally appeared on Republic Report

Big Tobacco Sponsored Conference U.S. Governors Attended Becomes Scandel In Australia and New Zealand

Posted at 4:00 pm by  of Report Public
Why is appearing at Big Tobacco-sponsored conference a greater offense in Australia and New Zealand than in the United States?

quit smokingLast week, Republic Report noted that six governors from both political parties attended a secretive trade talks conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by a number of multi-national corporations, including Philip Morris International. These governors apparently were comfortable with allowing themselves to be wined and dined by some of the world’s most powerful corporate entities while pushing for a new NAFTA-style trade agreement for the Pacific region.

While U.S. politicians have grown accustom to this sort of stealth corporate lobbying, it appears that some of our overseas neighbors have not. The Australian embassy actually withdrew the Australian ambassador from the conference after it became apparent that Philip Morris would be sponsoring it.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, several political parties have called for Mike Moore, the country’s ambassador to the United States, to be fired because he attended an event sponsored by the tobacco industry. Other political parties have called for full disclosure of the details of how Moore ended up at the conference, including a disclosure of whether or not he was authorized by the government. Meanwhile, the Public Health Association there roundly condemned Moore.

Cabinet ministers in New Zealand’s federal government have pushed back against calls to censure or withdraw Moore, but it is interesting that his appearance at the conference has become a scandal at all. The reactions by the body politic in New Zealand and Australia to a conference sponsored by Big Tobacco as compared to the nonexistent response in the United States is instructive in how deeply corporate influence in our politics has become a normal affair.

This article originally appeared on Republic Report

For-Profit College Execs To Get Lobbying Tips From Former Tobacco Official

Posted at 2:49 pm by  of Public Report

quitting smokingIt’s become increasingly clear from law enforcement, congressional, and media investigations that many for-profit colleges are selling a product that can be toxic to students — high-priced, low-quality programs that often leave graduates and dropouts alike without improved career prospects and paralyzed by student loan debt, often $100,000 or more.  So when the for-profit college companies’ trade association, APSCU, meets in Washington next week for its annual lobby day, whom has the group selected to speak to its members on the subject of “Crafting the Positive Impact Proposition of Private Sector Colleges and Universities”?

None other than John Dunham, president of John Dunham & Associates, which, according to the firm’s website, guerrillaeconomics.com, is “an economic research firm uniquely focused on government relations.”  Dunham ”specializes in the economics of how public policy issues affect products and services.”

Where did John Dunham learn these skills? “Prior to starting his own firm, John was the senior U.S. economist with Philip Morris, producing research and information on key issues facing all of the company’s divisions.” Philip Morris, of course, has long been one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of cigarettes. For decades, the company concealed important truths about the toxic effects of cigarette smoking.

Dunham worked at Philip Morris from 1995-2000, where, among other things, according to his CV, he “performed financial analysis of corporate legal settlements, including the largest in U.S. history.” It was during this period that public perceptions swung decisively against the image of the tobacco companies, and in 1999 the U.S. Justice Department sued Philip Morris and other big tobacco companies for fraud, charging the industry had engaged in a long conspiracy to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking. There are thousands of documents referencing Dunham in the publicly-available archive of tobacco industry materials. (After Dunham left Philip Morris, the government prevailed in the case, and the tobacco companies were ordered to start telling the truth about their harmful products.)

Now, it’s the for-profit colleges that are on the ropes, with mounting federal and state investigations about alleged deceptions and abuses of students and taxpayers, including, this week’s announcement by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray that his agency has sued for-profit giant ITT Educational Services and is carefully probing other companies. APSCU is worried, as it should be. According to a report by Wells Fargo market analyst Trace Urdan, APSCU lobbyists met with some state attorneys general and governors’ staff at this week’s National Governors Association meeting in Washington, and “APSCU requested that prior to taking action, the attorneys general provide some notice to the schools’ stakeholders. APSCU reported that some, though not all of the AGs seemed receptive to this notion.”

The industry also faces the challenge of a revised “gainful employment” rule from the Obama Administration, a measure that would eventually cut off federal aid to programs that consistently leave students with overwhelming debt. The CEOs of many of the biggest for-profit colleges have been meeting at the White House to argue against issuance of the rule. The Wells Fargo report says, not surprisingly, that the “theme” of next week’s APSCU meetings with Members of Congress and their staffs “will be stopping the new Gainful Employment regulation.”

APSCU includes ITT, EDMC, Kaplan, Corinthian, Bridgepoint, DeVry, Globe and other companies now accused of fraud and deception, and it has harbored egregious abusers like FastTrain College and ATI up until they’ve been shut down by authorities for systematic fraud.

APSCU and other for-profit college companies have managed to “persuade” many Republicans, and some Democrats, on the Hill through ongoing campaign contributions. But in their lobby meetings, they at least have to appear to argue in terms of the merits.  In seeking to sell APSCU’s toxic product on Capitol Hill, and persuading Washington that the industry should continue receiving more than $30 billion a year in taxpayer money, it seems that a veteran of crafting policy arguments for the tobacco industry is the man for the job.

It’s one more sign of the deep cynicism of the big for-profit college companies — and the deep trouble the industry is now in.

Instead of trying again to put lipstick on their diseased pig, wise players in the sector should start figuring out how to change their business model and make money by actually helping students to train, at affordable prices, for genuine careers.

By the way, APSCU has prepared these tips for its members coming to take Washington by storm:

Bring plenty of business cards
Wear comfortable shoes
Carry a bottle of water and small snacks with you (banana, granola bar, trail mix)
Tour Washington, D.C.’s many historical sites (schedule permitting)

This article originally appeared on Republic Report