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Health watchdog suing e-cigarette manufacturers

| September 3, 2015

The US non-profit health watchdog, Center for Environmental Health (CEH), said yesterday that the majority of the 97 electronic cigarettes and other vaping products tested had produced high levels of the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, in violation of California safety standards.

The independent laboratory testing of products from two dozen electronic cigarette manufacturers were said to have found that 90 percent of the companies had at least one product that produced levels of one or both chemicals that were above the state’s safety limit.

One electronic cigarette had been found to produce a level of formaldehyde more than 470 times higher than the California safety standard.

The CEH report, ‘A Smoking Gun: Cancer Causing Chemicals in E-cigarettes,’ is said to outline the first-ever large sampling of ‘actual e-cigarettes and vaping products tested simulating real-world use of the products’.

It said that the tests had demonstrated ‘that the majority of e-cigarettes tested pose a serious cancer risk’

CEH said it was initiating legal action against the companies producing ‘the cancer-causing products’ for failing to warn consumers, as was required under California’s consumer protection law known as Proposition 65.

This follows CEH’s legal action earlier this year against e-cigarette makers for failing to warn consumers about the ‘risks from nicotine in e-cigarettes’.

“For decades, the tobacco industry mounted a campaign of lies about cigarettes, and now these same companies claim that their e-cigarettes are harmless,” said Michael Green, executive director of CEH.

“Anyone who thinks that vaping is harmless needs to know that our testing unequivocally shows that it’s not safe to vape.

“This is especially troubling given the reckless marketing practices of the e-cigarette industry, which targets teens and young people, and deceives the public with unfounded health and safety claims.

“Our legal action aims to force the industry to comply with the law and create pressure to end their most abusive practices.”

The full story is at: http://www.ceh.org/news-events/press-releases/content/health-watchdog-finds-high-levels-of-cancer-causing-chemicals-in-the-majority-of-nearly-100-e-cigarettes-tested/

Advertising watchdog warns over e-cigarette claims

| September 3, 2015

Consumers looking to try out electronic cigarettes need to be wary of the ‘flood of questionable ad claims on the Internet,’ according to the advertising watchdog, truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org).

In a pres note issued through PRNewswire, TINA.org said that it had examined more than 150 electronic cigarette sites, including those operated by wholesalers, retailers of major and minor brands, and independents.

Its review found that nearly two-thirds of the sites made one or more of the following ‘problematic claims’: the use of vaping products is safer than is smoking tobacco products; vaping products can be smoked anywhere; vaping products can help smokers quit their habit; and vaping products are cheaper than are traditional cigarettes.

“Consumers need to do their own independent research and not simply rely on the marketing claims made by these companies on their websites,” said TINA.org executive director Bonnie Patten.

TINA.org said its review came as the US Food and Drug Administration was finalizing regulations for the industry. ‘Last year, the agency indicated it would be extending its oversight of tobacco products to e-cigarettes,’ the watchdog said in its press note. ‘Many online e-cigarette companies, however, are taking advantage of the regulatory gap to market their wares with a variety of suspect claims.

‘Half of the sites analyzed mention a health benefit even though the FDA maintains that the risks associated with e-cigarettes have not been fully studied. In addition, key reports have found the presence of harmful chemicals.’

TINA.org’s review found that 41 percent of the sites marketed e-liquids in ‘kid-friendly’ flavors such as ‘gummy bear,’ ‘fruit hoops,’ and ‘Bubble Yum’.

Closing in on the genetics of tobacco addiction

| September 3, 2015

Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy (VCUSP) have identified specific sets of genetic variants that are significantly associated with cigarette addiction, according to a story by Cynthia Mcmullen for Medical Xpress.

Pinpointing these genetic variants could eventually assist in identifying the biological mechanism behind nicotine addiction and in generating novel drug therapy targets to help people break their addiction to nicotine.

The study, “Deep Sequencing of Three Loci Implicated in Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Study Smoking Meta-Analyses,” was published in August as an advanced online publication in the Oxford University Press journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

“We dug deeper into genes known to be associated with smoking,” said Shaunna L. Clark, Ph.D., research assistant professor, Center for Biomarker Research and Precision Medicine (CBRPM), VCUSP.

Previous large-scale, genome-wide association studies have identified three genes that are related to cigarette addiction, but the VCUSP-led study is the first to identify specific sets of genetic variants that might be responsible.

Researchers at the CBRPM sequenced the three genes and their adjacent regions to obtain a complete catalog of all the genetic variation that could be contributing to addiction.

Sequencing the entire gene allowed Clark and her colleagues to examine variants that other studies had not addressed, such as rare variants not commonly found in the population and regulatory variants that can increase or decrease gene expression.

“We found that the tendency toward nicotine addition is likely caused by many variants, each with a small effect,” Clark said. “Thus, multiple variants within the same gene are related to smoking.”

Imperial calls for fact-based communication

| September 2, 2015

Imperial Tobacco Canada has called on the government of Quebec to define a specific regulatory framework for electronic cigarettes that would allow for fact-based communication with consumers.

Imperial, which described itself as Canada’s largest legal tobacco company, on Monday presented before the parliamentary commission on Bill 44, which is intended to bolster controls on tobacco use in Quebec, arguments and recommendations to support ‘effective, reasonable regulation aimed at meaningfully improving public health’.

“Imperial Tobacco Canada recognizes the health risks associated with smoking, and that is why we support responsible, fact-based regulation, especially when it comes to protecting young people,” said Eric Gagnon, head of external and corporate affairs. “We encourage lawmakers not to yield to the temptation of implementing regulations based on emotions, as is the case with some of the proposed measures in Bill 44, but to advocate in favour of a fact-based approach instead.”

As part of the public consultations on Bill 44, Imperial presented the following recommendations:

  • ‘To help prevent smoking among youth, we suggest that the government emphasize prevention and education efforts with young people and their peers.’
  • ‘To help prevent smoking among youth, the government should include a ban on providing or offering tobacco products to minors.’
  • ‘Bill 44 should ban candy-flavoured tobacco products, but it should exclude traditional flavours in cigarettes, such as menthol, which are consumed primarily by adults over age 30.’
  • ‘While we support the ban on selling e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18, we encourage the government not to subject e-cigarettes to the Tobacco Act but to define a specific regulatory framework that will allow for fact-based communication with consumers and make these products available in the various distribution networks where smokers usually purchase cigarettes.’
  • ‘The Quebec government should include strong measures to tackle and curtail the illegal production and smuggling of tobacco products in the province once and for all.’

“Rather than considering extreme regulatory measures that could prove counter-productive, the government should evaluate the real efficacy of the measures it adopts to reach its objectives.” said Gagnon.

Counterfeit goods a challenge to Indian government

| September 2, 2015

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and KPMG has reported that India’s all-products counterfeit market is estimated to be growing at 44 percent a year, according to a Press Trust of India report relayed by the TMA.

The market was said to have reached Rs1.05 trillion (US$15.8 billion) last year, with tobacco products, alcohol and fast-moving consumer goods accounting for 65 percent of that market.

The report said that the rise in the production of counterfeit goods could significantly undermine the central government’s ‘Make in India’’ program, which sought to establish the country as a global manufacturing hub.

And it said that counterfeiting presented a challenge to the government because it brought down its annual tax revenue.

Counterfeit goods comprised a huge issue that needed to be addressed, said KPMG Partner Rajat Wahi.

Counterfeiting was more prevalent in rural and semi- urban areas compared to urban areas, he added.

CORESTA documents available for download

| September 2, 2015

The CORESTA Secretariat said yesterday that the following documents had been published in August and could be downloaded from: www.coresta.org.

  • RAC SG CTR “2014-2015 Collaborative Study of CORESTA Monitor Test Pieces CM7 and CM8″ (2015-08-26).
  • PTM SG CTR “Collaborative Study to Evaluate a Paperboard Substitute for a Diffusion Capacity Standard” (2015-08-31).