Harm Reduction Newsletter, September 19

Harm Reduction Newsletter

Harm Reduction Newsletter, September 19

Federal Updates

The Food and Drug Administration currently has an open docket on the modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) application from Philip Morris related to its IQOS heat-not-burn tobacco product.

Brian Fojtik and Guy Bentley jointly submitted a public comment to the FDA on behalf of the Reason Foundation and wrote on the process at Reason.org.

Additional commentaries on FDA regulation and the MRTP by Fojtik and Bentley respectively appeared in Huffington Post and Washington Examiner.

At the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum, it was announced that PMI will be funding a $1 billion foundation for a smoke-free world. Led by healthcare policy analyst and former senior official at the World Health Organization Derek Yach, the foundation will spend more than $80 million annually over the course of 12 years.

“From the start, the intent has been to create an independent foundation that meets the very highest standards of legal and ethical norms and that addresses scientific verification in innovative and needed ways,” said Yach.


State Updates

Five state legislatures are meeting actively this week in addition to the District of Columbia and Guam.

As of Friday afternoon, majority Democrats in Connecticut had been unable to secure the votes to pass a budget deal that includes a proposed 75 percent wholesale tax on vapor products and included a tax hike on smokeless tobacco (from $1 to $3 per ounce) and cigarettes (increase of 45 cents per pack from $3.90 to $4.35 tying New York for highest state tax in the nation).

Over the weekend, minority Republicans and a handful of Democrats approved a budget that removes the vapor, smokeless and cigarette tax proposals and will reach the Governor’s desk this week. Early indications are that Democrat Governor Dannel Malloy is likely to veto the package and resume negotiations on a new deal. Reason Magazine’s Eric Boehm covered the issue at Reason.com.

When Pennsylvania passed a new 40 percent wholesale vapor tax last year, over 100 Pennsylvania businesses closed their doors. While the new tax reportedly brought almost $14 million of revenue into state coffers, that calculation does not take into consideration any revenues lost to the state in business, income and sales taxes as a result of the closures or sales lost to out-of-state and online vendors and is a negligible amount in terms of the state’s overall fiscal position.


Science and Harm Reduction

Endowed chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research at the University of Louisville Brad Rodu demonstrated there is no connection between cinematic smoking and teen smoking. A July report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that reducing the number of tobacco incidents that appear in youth-related movies would prevent smoking initiation.

A study conducted by Public Health England finds that fears over teens experimenting with e-cigarettes and transitioning to combustible cigarettes are unfounded. “Our analysis of the latest surveys from all parts of the United Kingdom, involving thousands of teenagers shows clearly that for those teens who don’t smoke, e-cig experimentation is simply not translating into regular use,” said Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling.



A portion of the public health movement has dedicated itself to “empire-building and progressive activism” instead of public health or rigorous science, according to New York Times columnist John Tierney. Writing in City Journal, Tierney argues some public health officials and researchers are engaged in an ideological battle against reduced risk nicotine products smokeless tobacco and vapor products and are inadvertently helping Big Tobacco in the process.


Quotable Quotes

“The federal government has been doling out vast sums to bureaucrats and researchers more committed to empire-building and progressive activism than to public health or rigorous science” – John Tierney, contributing editor of City Journal and a contributing science columnist for the New York Times.


What’s Coming Up

The Democratic Attorneys General Association will hold its Fall Policy Conference September 13-15 in Nashville, Tennessee.


Additional Resources

Comment to FDA on Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application

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