Harm Reduction Newsletter

Harm Reduction Newsletter, June 1

Federal News Round-Up

E-cigarette company NJOY, joined with industry colleagues including the Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association and Vapor Technology Association in filing a Citizen Petition with the FDA requesting that it (1) Extend the deadline for submitting premarket applications for vapor products until two years after the FDA issues final guidance or regulation of describing the recommended or required contents of such submissions; (2) Issue revised guidance that would enable the continued marketing of any product subject to a premarket submission until such time as the FDA completes its review of the product. The docket is open for public comments.

Senate Democrats penned a letter May 19 to the new Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb discouraging any liberalization of rules applying to vapor products. Sally Satel of American Enterprise Institute and the former head of Action on Smoking and Health in the UK Clive Bates wrote a critical response to the letter published in Forbes.

State News Round-Up

18 state legislatures (plus District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands) are meeting actively this week.

California: (local) flavor bans are being pursued in San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, Los Gatos, Palo Alto and Contra Costa County. Not Blowing Smoke an organization created to fight a multi-million dollar misinformation campaign from the California Department of Health is organizing vapers to fight the flavor bans.

California’s Senate Committee on Appropriations approved a vaping ban bill for state beaches and state parks.

Maine’s Joint Committee on Health and Human Services approved legislation that would increase the age of purchase for tobacco products and vapor products to 21. The bill is eligible for action before the full Senate.

The Rhode Island House approved legislation that prohibits the sale of vapor products not in child-resistant packaging and prohibits the use of vapor products in schools. The bill was referred to the Rhode Island Senate.

Rhode Island’s Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved legislation that changes the definition of “smoking” and “retail tobacco store” to include vaping and businesses that sell vaping products. The legislation is eligible for consideration before the full Senate.

Science and Harm Reduction

Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine on May 22 examined Philip Morris International’s IQOS heat-not-burn device. IQOS vapor was compared with smoke from Lucky Strike Blue cigarettes. Lead author of the research Dr. Reto Auer of the University of Bern told the Daily Mail “harmful chemicals were present in IQOS smoke, though in lower concentrations, on average.” The researchers concluded that more studies are needed to assess the relative risk of IQOS but that in the meantime their indoor use should be restricted. PMI criticized the study for its poor methodology and highlighted inconsistencies with previous research published in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Michael Siegel critiqued an article by researchers from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease on the perception of harm to children exposed to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol. “Here, the CDC is clearly suggesting that we mislead the public by trying to convince them that secondhand vaping is a significant public health hazard when in fact the evidence suggests the opposite,” writes Siegel.

Regulation

The Independent Women’s Forum released a Policy Focus examining the dangers to public health, small business and consumer choice from unreasonable and disproportionate regulation of vapor products.

During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on May 25, Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) demanded FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb commit to “fully implementing the deeming rule, including through the courts, if need be.” Gottlieb responded that any decisions he makes will be “science-based” and composed with the intention of “maximally achieving the public health goals set out by Congress.” Competitive Enterprise Institute Fellow Michelle Minton commented on the exchanges.

Taxation

The Tax Foundation released a new tool using data from Orzechowski & Walker’s Tax Burden on Tobacco that allows taxpayers to track how cigarette tax revenues have changed between 1955 and 2015.

What’s Coming Up?

Bay Area (California) Vapers are organizing a cruise to raise awareness and encourage activism against flavor bans being considered by various local governments for Saturday, June 3, 2017.

ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) Inaugural Conference in London June 14-15, 2017 at St. James Hotel.

Global Forum on Nicotine will be hosting its annual meeting “Reducing Harm, Saving Lives” in Warsaw, Poland on June 15-17, 2017.

The Independent Women’s Forum is hosting an event in Washington DC June 29 on how public health guidance often harms the American Public.

Quotable Quotes

“Our paradigm should evolve from ‘do no harm’ to ‘reduce harm,'” – Amy Faith Ho, MD.

Additional Resources

The Proposed Tobacco Product Standard for NNN Level in Smokeless Tobacco Should Be Withdrawn
The World Health Organization’s Opposition to Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Threat to Public Health? 
The Vapor Revolution: How Bottom-Up Innovation Is Saving Lives 
Reason’s Research and Analysis of Nicotine and Vapor Issues

Guy Bentley is the director of consumer freedom research at Reason Foundation. Bentley's research focuses on the taxation and regulation of nicotine, tobacco, alcohol, and food.