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Following up on a 2009 law which gave it the power to regulate tobacco products, the FDA announced yesterday that manufacturers must report to the agency by March 22 on whether their products are in any way more dangerous or more addictive than items which were on the market by February 15, 2007.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross notes that the FDA action permits it to prevent the sale of any new tobacco products, including harm reduction tools like e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. ACSH hopes that the FDA will use its new powers judiciously.

In a surprise ruling, the FDA determined last week that tobacco product maker Star Scientific Inc. is free to market and sell its Ariva-BDL and Stonewall-BDL dissolvable tobacco lozenges independent of FDA regulation since the products do not fall under the jurisdiction of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Explaining the FDA’s decision, Dr. Lawrence Deyton, the director of the FDA’s new Center for Tobacco Products, stated, “At this time, only cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco are subject” to the law, and these particular Star Scientific products are not currently subject to regulation.

ACSH was pleased the FDA...

We re always eager to hear the results of smoking cessation trials, hoping for some rare good news on this subject. But the latest trial of nicotine therapy has us baffled. In this nationwide randomized clinical trial just reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers studied the effect of nicotine lozenges on smokers who were in a practice quit attempt trial. The smokers were not committed to quitting and were not advised to do so. While smokers aided by the lozenges more successfully abstained over a 24-hour period than those given no lozenges, the six-month abstinence rates were essentially identical, about 15 percent.
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ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross is off to Vancouver, where he'll speak at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Saturday, February 18. He'll discuss the importance of using tobacco harm reduction methods to save smokers’ lives. By encouraging smokers to switch from cigarettes to much less harmful sources of nicotine, such as certain forms of smokeless tobacco or electronic cigarettes, we can help greatly reduce the over 400,000 tobacco-related deaths that occur each year in the U.S.

This Thursday, November 19th, marks the 33rd "Great American Smokeout," in which smokers are encouraged to quit, even if only for one day. The goal is to make that Day One in the life of a smoker as a successful ex-smoker.

So how are we doing so far? Not so great. The latest statistics compiled by the CDC show that in 2008 there were still over 45 million addicted smokers in our nation--and worse, the fraction of the adult population who smoked rose slightly to 20.6% from 2007's 19.8%. This slightly reverses the declining trend in smoking rates we have gotten used to, since it was 24.1% in 1998.

The accepted mythology to counter this trend is to praise the "success" of...

A November 1, 2006 piece by Anita Srikameswaran notes ACSH's position on the potential use of smokeless tobacco as a harm reduction method:

According to the American Council on Science and Health, encouraging cigarette smokers to switch to chew, particularly products that contain low levels of cancer-causing nitrosamines, could substantially reduce health costs and the incidence of both lung and heart disease.

No Cigs for You!The vast 21st century conspiracy I ve somewhat ironically labeled The Tobacco Control Industry includes the CDC, the FDA, and just about all the major public health nonprofits as well as many academic centers. These groups have been reluctant, to say the least, to acknowledge the likely benefits and low risk of harm to smokers trying to quit using non-combustible tobacco and nicotine products, including Swedish-style snus and e-cigarettes (among other innovative products). These authorities have denied and distorted facts and that demonstrate the low risk of chemicals in e-cig...

Indiana’s Republican governor (and potential presidential candidate) Mitch Daniels is expected to sign an omnibus bill that includes tobacco harm reduction language specifically stipulating that tobacco taxes reflect the potential for adverse health effects posed by the product. Notably, the bill establishes that moist snuff (known as snus), a smokeless tobacco product, should be taxed at a lower rate than other tobacco products because it poses fewer health risks. ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan applauds the new bill, noting that the concept of tobacco taxes reflecting variable risk is not widely understood by politicians and activists. This, however, is “the type of public health policy...

We’d like to note that ACSH’s newest publication on tobacco harm reduction will be published in the current issue of Harm Reduction Journal. Authored by Dr. Brad Rodu, an ACSH advisor and Endowed Chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center, the paper provides a review of the most recent scientific literature on tobacco harm reduction (THR) methods, such as smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. Dr. Rodu concludes that THR has "the potential to lead to one of the greatest public health breakthroughs in human history by fundamentally changing the forecast of a billion cigarette-caused deaths this century." You can find the abstract to the publication...

Today is World No Tobacco Day, and the media have commemorated the occasion from a variety of perspectives. The New York Times today features an article focusing on new state laws that seek to ban or limit hookah use, which many teens and young adults wrongly believe is a safer alternative to cigarette smoking. Paul G. Billings, a vice president of the American Lung Association, tells The Times that such anti-hookah policies are “a top priority” for the group.

Meanwhile, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has...