Nicotine and Harm Reduction Newsletter- February 23, 2018

Harm Reduction Newsletter

Nicotine and Harm Reduction Newsletter- February 23, 2018

Federal Updates

Nicopure Labs, LLC, and the Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition filed their opening brief appealing the decision of Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, who ruled in favor of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the first lawsuit challenging aspects of the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) and the FDA’s Deeming Rule.

The appellants argue that both the Modified Risk Tobacco Product application process and the ban on free samples of vapor products violate the First Amendment. They also argue the FDA was obligated to consider a less burdensome Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) process for vapor products while still protecting the public health.

“We believe in helping millions of adult smokers battle tobacco addiction through vaping products,” said Jeff Stamler, CEO and co-founder of Nicopure Labs. “We believe the FDA is doing a massive disservice to public health and we will keep fighting for the vaping industry to ensure these products will continue to help a growing number of people quit tobacco and start a new, smoke-free life.”

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and others, including public health advocate Clive Bates, filed amicus briefs in support of the appeal.

State Updates

South Dakota’s House of Representatives voted 45-21 against raising the smoking age from 18 to 21.

Georgia’s House Committee on Ways and Means voted 5-2 to allow a “modified risk’’ tobacco product to have a tax that is half that of cigarettes. R Street Institute’s Director of Harm Reduction Policy Carrie Wade and Southeast Region Director Marc Hyden testified in support of the bill.

The city of Duluth, MN, became the fifth city in the state to ban the sale of menthol and other flavored tobacco products.

Science and Harm Reduction

The American Cancer Society (ACS) softened its position on e-cigarettes and other reduced risk nicotine products in a new position paper released Feb. 19. The ACS recommends, albeit with extreme caution, that clinicians suggest smokers switch to reduced risk nicotine products such as e-cigarettes if they cannot quit through any other method.

“Some smokers, despite firm clinician advice, will not attempt to quit smoking cigarettes and will not use FDA approved cessation medications. These individuals should be encouraged to switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible; switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products,” said the ACS.

Commenting on the shift in stance from the ACS, Consumer Choice Center Senior Fellow Jeff Stier said: “the ACS took a step in the right direction by recognizing this important harm-reduction method.” He added, “I continue to call on the American Heart Association and other major health organizations to reverse course and support smokers who wish to quit smoking with the use of e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco, or smokeless tobacco, all of which are significantly less harmful than smoking.”


A working paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research claims to provide the first causal evidence on whether e-cigarette advertising in magazines or television helps smokers quit. The authors conclude that restrictions on TV advertising would have a negative effect on smokers quitting.

“Our results indicate that a policy to ban TV advertising of e-cigarettes would have reduced the number of smokers who quit in the recent past by approximately 3 percent, resulting in roughly 105,000 fewer quitters in that period,” said the authors. According to the study, the FDA’s consideration of severe restrictions on e-cigarettes is already having a chilling effect.

The authors also note that: “On the other hand, if the FDA were not considering regulations and mandates that would likely eliminate many e-cigarette producers during our sample period, e-cigarette ads might have reached the number of nicotine replacement therapy TV ads during that period. That would have increased the number of smokers who quit by around 10 percent, resulting in an additional 350,000 quitters.”


South Dakota voters will decide whether to raise the tobacco tax by $1 per pack on November 6th. South Dakota currently taxes cigarettes and other tobacco products at 35 percent of the wholesale price.

Quotable Quotes

“The goal should be saving lives, not moral preening, and to that end, there is no better approach than simply telling kids the truth.” — David Marcus, New York correspondent for The Federalist.

What’s Coming Up

The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health will be in held in Cape Town, South Africa, March 7-9.

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

Guy Bentley is a consumer freedom research associate at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.