Nicotine and Harm Reduction Newsletter – December 15, 2017

Harm Reduction Newsletter

Nicotine and Harm Reduction Newsletter – December 15, 2017

Federal Updates

While vapor trade organizations and consumer groups often find themselves at odds with one another regarding legislative outcomes and strategy, this week the American Vaping Association (AVA), Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives (CASAA), Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association (SFATA) and Vapor Technology Association (VTA) came together to issue a joint statement in support of a change to the predicate date for vapor products. Reason Foundation Senior Fellow Brian Fojtik published a commentary on the proposed predicate date change at Huffington Post.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated that the public comment period on the modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) application from Philip Morris for its I-Quite-Ordinary-Smoking (IQOS) heat-not-burn tobacco product will remain open until further notice. Reason Foundation filed a public comment with FDA in support of the application. Reason Foundation’s Brian Fojtik and Guy Bentley commented on the MRTP application here.

A noteworthy group of seventeen scientists and public health officials submitted a joint public comment on the IQOS MRTP application. The FDA has yet to publish the comment but signatories (listed in the document) include academics, public health leaders and scientists from around the globe.

The Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) will be meeting on January 24, 2018 to discuss the IQOS MRTP application. Space is limited. Requests to present an oral comment must be received by December 27, 2017 and written comment submissions to TPSAC (different than comments on the FDA docket) should be received by FDA by 4 p.m. eastern on January 4, 2018. For additional information, use the meeting link above.

State Updates

Most activity (flavor bans/restrictions and bills to raise the age of purchase for tobacco and vapor products to 21) are occurring at the local level as most states are out of session. 2018 legislative session deadlines and calendars for all 50 states can be found here.

Science and Harm Reduction

Less than 10 percent of American teenagers reported smoking in the past 30 days, according to the latest data from the Monitoring the Future Survey. Covering the survey’s release, The New York Times reports that “teenagers’ consumption of most substances — including alcohol, tobacco, prescription opioids and stimulants — has either fallen or held steady at last year’s levels, the lowest rates in 20 years.”

The UK’s Committee on Toxicity conducted a toxicological evaluation of two heat-not-burn tobacco products. The committee concluded “there would likely be a reduction in risk for conventional smokers deciding to use heat-not-burn tobacco products instead of smoking cigarettes,” adding that “a reduction in risk would also be experienced by bystanders where smokers switch to heat-not-burn tobacco products.”


Reason’s Guy Bentley and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute’s Sally Satel argued in Real Clear Health that the FDA should grant MRTP status to reduced risk products such as Snus and IQOS. Bentley and Satel wrote that the FDA should communicate clearly the public the benefits of switching from cigarettes to reduced risk nicotine products.

Quotable Quotes

“Big Tobacco’s well-documented sins do not excuse public authorities from their duty to tell the public the truth,” – Guy Bentley, research associate at Reason Foundation and Sally Satel MD, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

What’s Coming Up

The Council of State Governments (CSG) will hold its National Conference December 14-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

FDA’s Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) will meet to discuss the Philip Morris MRTP application on January 24, 2018 in Silver Spring, MD.

Keller and Heckman LLP, a Washington, DC-based firm that specializes in regulatory and FDA issues for vapor product manufacturers, distributors and retailers will be hosting an E-Vapor and Tobacco Law Symposium in Irvine, California on February 6-7, 2018. Agenda and registration information for the symposium can be found here.

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