TIME Culture

Up in Smoke: The Rise and Fall of Big Tobacco

"According to this survey, more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette," is just one of the phrases we no longer hear in commercials

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Earlier this week, a $27.4 billion deal was announced that will merge two of the largest American tobacco companies, Reynolds American and Lorillard.

The deal comes at a time when cigarette smokers are at a steady decline. Even so, Marlboro still makes some lists of most valuable brands in the world.

And while it’s hard to remember the days when Camels were advertised as the most preferred cigarettes by doctors, a small segment of the industry is quickly growing: e-cigarettes.

Above, take a quick look at the history of America’s complicated relationship with the addictive habit.

TIME Smoking

This Is The New Best Way to Quit Smoking, Study Finds

Combining varenicline and the nicotine patch was more effective in helping smokers quit after six months than the drug alone

Quitting smoking can be a frustrating challenge, and no single therapy works dramatically well. Nicotine replacement strategies – the patch, gum or lozenges—can help wean smokers off nicotine gradually, but don’t often work in keeping smokers abstinent over the long term. The prescription drug varenicline, or Chantix, which curbs smoking by occupying and blocking the same nicotine receptors in the brain used by the nicotine in cigarettes, makes nicotine less pleasurable. But studies show that it’s only about 33% effective in keeping smokers off cigarettes after 12 weeks.

Researchers in South Africa, however, report in JAMA that combining varenicline with the nicotine patch boosted that quit rate to 49% among a group of 435 smokers who were randomly assigned to take either the pills and the patch or the pills and a placebo patch. Smokers on the pills and patch were nearly twice as likely to be abstinent after six months than those who took the pills alone with a dummy patch.

MORE: Nicotine Gum and Patch Don’t Help Smokers Quit Long Term

“The efficacy of combining the two drugs cannot be readily explained,” Dr. Coenraad Koegelenberg, lead author of the study from Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, wrote in an email response to questions about the findings.

It’s possible that the timing of the pills and the patch worked in the smokers’ favor. While both varenicline and the nicotine patch target the same nicotine receptors in the brain, they have different effects; the nicotine from the patch activates the nicotine receptors and provides the same pleasurable sensations that cigarettes would, while varenincline is designed to bind and block the effects of nicotine on the brain. Varenincline is more effective at binding to these receptors, while nicotine from the patch is slower to activate, so starting on the patch may wean smokers from nicotine, and the varenicline may have helped them to drop cigarettes completely.

MORE: Hope for Quitters? Scientists Devise a New Nicotine Vaccine

Interestingly, the one-two punch didn’t work by lowering craving for nicotine. They also did not find a significantly increased risk of side effects, including depression or nausea, in the varenicline group. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2009 added a black box warning alerting users to the potential for suicidal thoughts, although a 2013 study found no greater risk of depression among smokers with depression or who had had depression in the past.

The results raise important questions about how current smoking cessation treatments might be more effective if used in combination. Currently, varenicline is not recommended with other nicotine-replacement strategies; for that to change, other studies showing similar results to this one would be needed.

TIME

More Countries Adding Graphic Warnings to Smokes

Cigarette Graphic Warnings
FILE - In this June 24, 2014 file photo, new packs of cigarettes displaying pictorial health warnings are arranged on the counter by a shop attendant for photographers at a convenience store in Jakarta, Indonesia. Tobacco companies on Tuesday largely snubbed an Indonesian law requiring them to put graphic photo warnings on all cigarette packs being sold, marking another setback in a country that's home to the world's highest rate of men smokers and a wild, wild west of advertising. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File) Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia became the newest country to mandate graphic photo warnings on cigarette packs on Tuesday, joining more than 40 other nations or territories that have adopted similar regulations in recent years. The warnings, which showcase gruesome close-up images ranging from rotting teeth and cancerous lungs to open tracheotomy holes and corpses, are an effort to highlight the risks of health problems related to smoking. Research suggests these images have prompted people to quit, but the World Health Organization estimates nearly 6 million people continue to die globally each year from smoking-related causes. The tobacco industry has fought government efforts to introduce or increase the size of graphic warnings in some countries. Here are a few places where pictorial health warnings have made headlines:

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INDONESIA:

THE LAW: 40 percent of pack covered by graphic photos.

TIMING: Deadline to be on shelves was June 24.

BACKGROUND: Many tobacco companies missed Tuesday’s deadline to comply with the new law requiring all cigarette packs in stores to carry graphic warning photos. Indonesia, a country of around 240 million, has the world’s highest rate of male smokers at 67 percent and the second-highest rate overall. Its government is among the few that has yet to sign a World Health Organization treaty on tobacco control.

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THAILAND:

THE LAW: Portion of cigarette packs that must be covered with graphic health warnings rising from 55 percent to 85 percent.

TIMING: Change will take effect in September.

BACKGROUND: Last year, the Public Health Ministry issued a regulation increasing the level of coverage to 85 percent. Tobacco giant Philip Morris and more than 1,400 Thai retailers sued, and a court temporarily suspended the order. On Thursday, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the regulation can take effect before a lower court reaches a final verdict in the lawsuit.

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AUSTRALIA:

THE LAW: No cigarette brand logos permitted; graphic health warnings required on 75 percent of front and 90 percent of back.

TIMING: Plain packaging law went into effect in 2012.

BACKGROUND: Australia became the first country in the world to mandate plain cigarette packs with no brand logo or colors permitted. Instead, the packs are solid brown and covered in large graphic warnings. Tobacco companies fought the law, saying it violated intellectual property rights and devalued their trademarks, but the country’s highest court upheld it. Figures released this month by the country’s Bureau of Statistics found that cigarette consumption fell about 5 percent from March 2013 to the same period this year. The World Trade Organization has agreed to hear complaints filed by several tobacco-growing countries, but other governments have expressed interest in passing similar laws. Smokers make up 17 percent of Australia’s population.

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UNITED STATES:

THE LAW: No graphic pictures on packs.

TIMING: The government stepped away from a legal battle with tobacco companies in March 2013.

BACKGROUND: There are currently no pictorial warnings on cigarette packs in the U.S. After the tobacco industry sued, a Food and Drug Administration order to include the graphic labels was blocked last year by an appeals court, which ruled that the photos violated First Amendment free speech protections. The government opted not to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but will instead develop new warnings. About 18 percent of adult Americans smoke.

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PHILIPPINES:

THE LAW: Graphic warning legislation approved this month requires 50 percent of bottom of the pack to be covered by graphic warnings.

TIMING: Legislation awaits president’s signature.

BACKGROUND: The Philippines is expected to join a handful of other countries that put graphic warnings at the bottom of their packs, meaning they are not visible when displayed on store shelves. Anti-smoking advocates say labels on the bottom of the packs are less effective, and have denounced tobacco industry involvement in the implementation process. Health officials said around 17 million people in the country of 96 million, or 18 percent, smoked in 2012.

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URUGUAY:

THE LAW: Graphic warnings cover 80 percent of packs.

TIMING: Regulations implemented in 2010.

BACKGROUND: Uruguay, a leader in strict tobacco controls, mandated what were the largest graphic warnings ever in 2010. Eighty percent of packs must be covered by the labels, including one depicting a person smoking a battery to show that cigarettes contain the toxic metal cadmium. Uruguay has backed Australia at the WTO, telling the trade body that smoking is “the most serious pandemic confronting humanity.” Philip Morris International sued Uruguay over the law; the case is still pending.

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AP writer Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Reported by By Margie Mason

TIME Companies

Philip Morris to Sell Real Tobacco ‘HeatSticks’ As Cigarette Alternative

Marlboro-Cigarette Alternatives
This product image provided by Philip Morris International shows the iQOS device. Marlboro HeatSticks are heated to more than 660 degrees Fahrenheit (350 degrees Celsius) in the device to create a tobacco-flavored nicotine vapor. AP

Philip Morris International is joining the trend of alternatives to cigarettes by releasing a new Marlboro product called HeatSticks that vaporizes tobacco instead of burning it

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Philip Morris International Inc. is hoping to capitalize on the growing appetite for alternatives to traditional smokes like e-cigarettes with a new Marlboro-branded product that heats tobacco rather than burning it.

The world’s second-biggest tobacco company on Thursday detailed its plans to release the Marlboro HeatSticks in cities in Japan and Italy later this year, with further expansion plans in 2015.

The products represent another run at improving heating technologies that failed when originally introduced in the 1990s.

The short, cigarette-like sticks are heated to maximum of 660 degrees Fahrenheit (350 degrees Celsius) in a hollow pen-like device called iQOS (pronounced EYE-cohs) to create a tobacco-flavored nicotine vapor. Unlike popular e-cigarettes that use liquid nicotine, HeatSticks contain real tobacco, a point the company believes will make them more attractive to cigarette smokers.

It’s one of several so-called “reduced-risk” products Philip Morris International plans to test as the industry diversifies beyond traditional cigarettes amid declining demand.

Products like the HeatSticks “represent a potential paradigm shift for the industry, public health and adult smokers,” CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said during an investor day presentation Thursday.

The company, based in New York and Switzerland, has spent about $2 billion over more than a decade on development of the products and expects that iQOS would boost its profit by $700 million when sales reach 30 billion units.

The overseas Marlboro maker announced plans in January to invest up to 500 million euros (about $680 million) for two plants in Italy to make the products.

On Tuesday, the company said in addition to its own cigarette alternatives, it purchased U.K.-based e-cigarette maker Nicocigs Ltd. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In the 1990s, the contraptions that heat tobacco rather than burning it didn’t pass muster with smokers. Even though the products left no lingering odor and didn’t produce ashes, they tasted different than cigarettes and were more difficult to use.

Now, a surging e-cigarette industry has tobacco companies hoping for a resurgence of the technologies that some argue are less harmful than lighting up.

With the health risks associated with traditional cigarettes and changes in societal expectations, it’s no wonder many of the world’s 1 billion smokers want to quit or try other tobacco alternatives. In the U.S., nearly half of the nation’s 42 million adult smokers try to quit each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In more recent years, much of the attention to quitting has steered away from nicotine gum and patches to electronic cigarettes, which many smokers credit with helping them kick the habit.

HeatSticks build on Accord — a product with a clunky pager-like heater in which smaller cigarettes were inserted — that was test-marketed in the late 1990s by Philip Morris USA, which spun off its international business in 2008 and is owned by Richmond, Virginia-based Altria Group Inc.

One of its other products in development resembles Eclipse, a cigarette introduced by competitor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in the mid-1990s that used a carbon tip that heated tobacco after being lit by a lighter.

“Smokers then considered Eclipse to be a very foreign, very different, very novel concept in smoking, where today, compared to electronic cigarettes, tobacco heating cigarettes are much more familiar,” said J. Brice O’Brien, head of consumer marketing for Reynolds.

Reynolds hasn’t announced plans to reinvigorate Eclipse, but it is still in limited distribution and one of the top-selling brands in the cafeteria at the company’s Winston-Salem, North Carolina, headquarters.

Philip Morris International and former parent company Altria have agreed to share their technology for electronic cigarettes and other new alternatives to traditional cigarettes, so HeatSticks could potentially be marketed in the U.S. eventually.

Both companies have noted the potential for the products to be less risky than traditional cigarettes and could apply to the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. to market them as such.

TIME Cancer

The Government’s Super Scary New Anti-Smoking Campaign

CDC

The CDC releases its next set of graphic ads to encourage smokers to kick the habit for good—or else

The newest phase of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) graphic campaign to persuade America’s 42 million smokers to quit—”Tips from Former Smokers”—launches today, and it’s heart wrenching.

Since 2012, the campaign has featured real former smokers dealing with serious health problems spawned by their addiction, and this round is bound to make smokers and non-smokers alike squirm. It’s an especially graphic campaign from the CDC’s tobacco office, which has not shied away from bold, conversation-starting efforts to curb smoking.

Here’s an example: Shawn provides tips on how to live with a hole in your neck. Amanda, meanwhile, smoked during pregnancy and gave birth to her baby two months early.

Here are the newest ads, which the CDC provided early to TIME:

Amanda, a 30-year-old who smoked while pregnant. Her 3 lb daughter spent weeks in an incubator.

Brett, 49, who lost most of his teeth to gum disease by age 42. He takes out most of his teeth on camera.

Rose, 59, whose lung cancer resulted in surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Shawn, 50, who breathes through the opening in his throat due to smoking-related throat cancer.

Brian, 45, whose smoking and HIV led to clogged blood vessels and resulted in a stroke.

Felicita, 54, who lost all of her teeth to gum disease by age 50.

Terrie, who died of cancer last September at age 53

Previously released ads ran earlier this year in February, and a CDC spokesperson told TIME that the “effort had immediate and strong impact.” During the last set of the ads’ nine-week run, they generated over 100,000 additional calls to the CDC’s quit line, 800-QUIT-NOW. On average, the CDC says weekly quitline calls were up 80% while the ads were on the air compared to the week before they began running. Preliminary estimates show there were nearly 650,000 unique visitors to the the agency’s website during those nine weeks.

The ads will be placed on cable TV, on radio, in print, on billboards, and in movie theater and online starting July 7. The CDC is also launching a social media campaign to support its tradition-media plays.

Of course, considering tobacco is a $100 billion market, and the industry continues to spend billions every year, the campaign is a drop in the pond. But it certainly stands out.

If you want to quit smoking, you can call l 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.cdc.gov/tips.

MONEY Health Care

Obamacare Will Help You Quit Smoking—Or Charge You for Your Habit

140603_FF_QA_Obamacare_illo_1
Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

Q: I heard Obamacare requires health plans to help people quit smoking. Is that true?

A: You’re right. Under the health reform law, the vast majority of people now have access to tobacco cessation programs at no cost, says Katie McMahon, a policy expert at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, an advocacy group.

Implementation of this benefit initially was inconsistent, though, she says. A 2012 report from Georgetown University Health Policy Institute found that coverage varied widely, and that in many cases, it was impossible for consumers to determine what, if any, benefit their plan had. The Obama administration recently clarified the requirements.

Now, anyone insured through an employer-sponsored health plan or an individual policy purchased via the exchange gets the following paid for 100%: two attempts per year to quit, each including four counseling sessions and a 90-day supply of a medication approved by the FDA for this purpose, according to McMahon. Two of the medications require a prescription from the doctor; the others come over-the-counter.

A counseling session can be an individual, group or phone based-program offered through your employer, or a one-on-one session with a behavioral health specialist. (To find a specialist, call your state’s quit line—find it through 1-800-QUIT-NOW—or ask your primary care physician.)

One caveat: Not all Medicaid plans offer the benefit. Only Medicaid plans in states that decided to expand their Medicaid program under the health reform law—about half did—are required to pay for these services, says McMahon.

The good news for those looking to kick the habit is that research suggests having insurance coverage for treatment improves the chances that a person will stop, according to the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. And combining counseling with medication is more effective than using either therapy alone, according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, which is charged with evaluating the latest scientific evidence on preventive services.

The bad news is that the health reform law takes a carrot-and-stick approach when it comes to smoking. While it includes this coverage to help people quit, it also allows insurers to charge smokers up to 50% higher premiums. So if the health consequences aren’t enough to convince you to conquer your addiction, maybe money will motivate you.

TIME E-Cigarettes

10 New E-Cig Brands Hit the Market Every Month

A series of studies shows just how prevalent e-cigarettes are, and what that means for smokers, non-smokers and would-be smokers alike

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In the most comprehensive look at e-cigarettes to date, from how they are used to how they are marketed and where they are sold, researchers are surprised by how quickly the devices have taken hold worldwide.

In nine studies published in the journal Tobacco Control by the State and Community Tobacco Control Research Initiative (SCTC), scientists looked at where e-cigarettes are sold, the status of state laws regulating e-cig sales and use, and how taxes and pricing may affect the popularity of the devices, among other topics.

MORE: 5 Sketchy Things We Still Don’t Know About E-Cigarettes

When it comes to e-cig marketing, researchers found that about 10.5 new brands appear online every month, touting 242 novel flavors. “The most surprising thing was how quickly they became available across the country,” says Frank Chaloupka, a professor economics at University of Illinois and a co-author of the study. “A few years ago, they were hardly available anywhere, and by 2012, they were available in about a third of the stores we were going into.”

He and his colleagues found that at least initially, e-cigs were targeted in areas with weaker tobacco regulations, including areas with lower taxes and more lenient smoking policies in public places. E-cig makers, says Chaloupka, likely focused their early marketing strategies in areas with the greatest density of smokers.

MORE: Industry Is Winning the E-Cig Regulation Battle

That may be shifting, however, as the latest data suggests that e-cigarettes are now marketed more heavily in higher income communities, and less so in lower income neighborhoods, which traditionally have higher proportions of smokers. That may be because e-cig manufacturers are promoting claims that their products are safer than traditional cigarettes and are also hoping to capture those who may turn to their devices to help them quit smoking. “Groups that are more likely to switch to e-cigarettes in the long run are more interested in the health benefits, and tend to be more highly educated and have higher incomes” says Chaloupka.

That’s supported by evidence from some of the other studies in the series; scientists led by researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health conducted the largest study of e-cig use in Europe and found that the bulk of users were young smokers who had tried to kick the habit in the past year. These smokers were twice as likely to try e-cigs as smokers who hadn’t tried to quit.

MORE: Here’s Why Bacteria Like E-Cigs

On the one hand, the quick penetration of e-cigs into nearly every retail outlet, from pharmacies to convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations may help more smokers to try the devices and try to quit. On the other hand, the ubiquity of the devices, and the unsubstantiated claims about their safety over regular cigarettes, may lead younger smokers to try them and potentially serve as a gateway to tobacco-based cigarettes. “Just the fact that their availability increased so rapidly means that people, especially kids, may see them a lot more in the stores they go into, and perceive them as normative, and that could by contributing to the big increases in use that we are now seeing,” says Chaloupka. The percentage of teens who have ever tried e-cigarettes doubled from 3.3% in 2011 to nearly 7% in just one year, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced its intention to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products; although they don’t contain tobacco, the agency says the devices meet the “statutory definition of a tobacco product.” As such, the FDA wants to ban sales to minors, require health warnings and keep e-cigs out of vending machines. The proposal is up for public comment until July, and may take another year before they become enforceable. In the meantime, 34 states have laws addressing e-cigs, but primarily to prevent minors from buying them and to ensure they don’t violate existing smoke-free air laws.

MORE: The Future of Smoking

The safety of e-cigarettes isn’t clear yet, despite claims by some manufacturers that they are less dangerous than traditional cigarettes. While they don’t envelop smokers in the carcinogenic smoke emitted by burning tobacco, they do contain other compounds such as propylene glycol, which the FDA is still studying for its health effects.

TIME E-Cigarettes

Teen Smoking Is Way Down. But What About E-cigs?

Cigarette smoking among high school students has dropped to lowest level in two decades

Rates of cigarette smoking among high school students has dropped to lowest level in 22 years, the CDC reports.

In 2013, the smoking rate among high school students hit 15.7%, which means the U.S. government has already reached its goal of lowing the teen smoking rate to 16% of less by 2020. That’s according to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which began in 1991. Another important data set on teen smoking and drug use—Monitoring the Future (MTF)—reports the rate is at 16.3%. Regardless, both surveys show fewer kids are smoking.

That’s good news, and it’s likely thanks to a combination of several factors, the most important being the rising costs of cigarettes. Others include the growing stigmatization of smoking, with half of states prohibiting smoking in places like bars and restaurants. The adult smoking rate is dropping too, which means teens have fewer smoking role models.

If teens are passing around fewer packs of cigarettes, does that mean they’re not smoking other things? Past data has shown a 123% increase in the consumption of other smokable tobacco products like cigars and pipes, though the recent numbers from the larger data sets show no change in smokeless tobacco use since 1999, and a drop in cigar use.

CDC

One question you’re likely going to see is whether teens are switching to e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes is a subject the public health community is uncharacteristically split on. On one side of the spectrum, you have critics arguing that it’s possible e-cigarettes serve as a gateway to regular cigarettes. One vocal critic being the head of the CDC himself. “The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden in a statement about teen tobacco use going down. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”

Emerging data points to certain trends, but e-cigs are still so new. Earlier this fall, a CDC report showed that e-cig use among teens, while still low, had doubled in a year, from 3.3% in 2011 to 6.8% in 2012.

Dr. Kenneth Warner, a professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, looked back through the data and found that among kids who have never smoked a conventional cigarette, only 0.7% have ever tried an e-cigarette within the last 30 days. What this shows is that the same kids who are smoking regular cigarettes are smoking e-cigs.

“Everyone thinks they are right and the logical thing is that nobody knows,” says Warner. “This is a huge-stakes issue, because the proliferation of e-cigs has the potential to either reduce the cigarette problem or increase it over time among kids.”

The reality is we have a long way to go. It took 40 years to get the adult smoking rate down to around 20%, and it won’t be easy to cut it in half again. Warner and his colleague David Mendez have created a smoking-prevalence model that’s been used since the 1990s. Their predictions show that at the rate we are going, we might not be able to hit a 10% adult smoking rate until the middle of the century. But that’s if we don’t try anything radically different.

“I believe we will do better because I don’t think we’ll stick with just status quo tobacco control,” says Warner. “In my judgment, the future lies in how effectively FDA can regulate cigarettes and other [nicotine] products.”

The FDA announced it is expanding its regulatory powers to cover more tobacco products including e-cigs, but anti-smoking advocates are arguing it’s still not enough.

“The data on kids is great, but we have a long way to go before we can pack up and go home and say we solved the problem,” says Warner.

You can read more on the latest CDC numbers here.

 

 

 

TIME Advertising

What to Say to Your Kids About E-Cig Ads

A woman smokes an e-cigarette.
A woman smokes an e-cigarette. PAUL J. RICHARDS—AFP/Getty Images

What parents can do to offset the impact of a steep rise in TV ads for electronic cigarettes aimed at teens and young adults.

If your kids watch “The Bachelor,” “Big Brother” or “Survivor”—and there is a good chance that they do—odds are growing fast that they are seeing ads for one of the most controversial products to hit the market in years: e-cigarettes.

It’s time for parents to strike back.

A study published today in Pediatrics suggests that e-cigarette makers are aiming their products at young people, ages 12 to 24, by increasing advertising during the shows (such as those above) and on the channels (including AMC, Country Music Television, Comedy Central and TV Land) they watch most.

“If current trends in e-cigarette television advertising continue, awareness and use of e-cigarettes are likely to increase among youth and young adults,” says the study, which was conducted by a team from the nonprofit research institute RTI International and the Florida Department of Health.

The impact of e-cigs, devices that vaporize an addictive nicotine-laced liquid solution into an aerosol mist that simulates the act of tobacco smoking, is hotly debated. On one side are those who argue that e-cigs are much safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes and help people addicted to them to quit. On the other side are those who say e-cigs still pose serious risks, including from liquid nicotine.

What can be said, with great certainty, is that we don’t know nearly enough about the long-term health effects of e-cigs to let young people get hooked on them. And as a parent, this is precisely why the study in Pediatrics and other analyses that have shown e-cigarette companies are spending tens of millions of advertising dollars targeting our kids are so alarming.

So, in the absence of any government regulation of e-cig advertising, here are a few things parents can do:

For starters, as always, the best thing we can do is talk to our kids. Let them know that e-cigarette companies have them in their sights and, as I’ve written, are trying to reel them in with fun flavors and sexy ads that are designed to make them feel all grown up. Tell them that these companies have a vested interest in promoting the idea that e-cigs aren’t bad for them—but the fact is, we aren’t really sure. And share that some experts are concerned that because they contain nicotine, e-cigs may be a gateway to real cigarettes.

Second, set clear expectations. We need to make sure that our kids understand that we don’t want them to vape and will be disappointed if they do. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has found that “parental attitudes, opinions, and feelings about their kids’ smoking status greatly influence whether or not kids will smoke, even when the parents smoke.” Vince Willmore, the organization’s vice president of communications, says the same principle is sure to hold true for vaping.

Third, set a good example. You should certainly express to your kids your own struggles to quit cigarette smoking, if that’s the case, but don’t vape around them. If you do, they may think it’s something to emulate—especially given the onslaught of ads reinforcing that vaping-is-cool message.

The Pediatrics study found that 50% of youth, ages 12 to 17, were exposed to an average of 21 e-cigarette ads from October 2012 to September 2013, and half of young adults, ages 18 to 24, were exposed to an average of 35 e-cigarette ads during the same period.

That’s a sharp rise from just a couple of years earlier, according to the study. In all, youth exposure to e-cigarette ads on TV increased 256% from 2011 to 2013, and exposure for young adults jumped 321%. More than 80% of the advertisements were for the brand blu eCigs.

The tactic seems to be working. The Centers for Disease Control reported last year that 1.8 million middle- and high-school students said they had tried e-cigarettes in 2012—double the number from the previous year.

“When I give talks about e-cigs I call them ‘Back to the Future’ because I feel like I’ve gotten into a DeLorean and gone back in time,” says Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. “E-cig marking today looks a lot like what conventional advertising for tobacco looked like in its heyday.”

That shouldn’t be surprising. Many of the same companies that have long sold tobacco products—including R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris parent Altria and Lorillard—have now gotten into the e-cigarette business.

Which leads me to the last thing that parents should do: Advocate. You can begin by writing in and supporting the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed new rules that include banning the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18. But we need to go even further. Urge lawmakers and the White House to ban e-cigarette advertising from television—as has been the case with cigarette ads since 1971.

With e-cigs, tobacco companies are clearly taking a page out of their old playbook. It’s time for regulators to do the same.

 

 

 

TIME Addiction

Scientists to WHO: Don’t Classify E-Cigs As Tobacco Products

A woman smokes a "Blu" e-cigarette in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 25, 2013.
A woman smokes a "Blu" e-cigarette in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 25, 2013. Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images

The move by the WHO would push 178 countries to impose tough restrictions on the products, which some scientists say provide a less harmful alternative for smokers.

A group of 53 top scientists warned the World Health Organization Thrusday not to classify e-cigarettes in the same category as other tobacco products, a move that would lead to significant restrictions on the devices in most countries around the world.

The scientists say that electronic cigarettes are in fact “part of the solution” in the fight against smoking because they can provide a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, Reuters reports.

“Even though most of us would prefer people to quit smoking and using nicotine altogether, experience suggests that many smokers cannot or choose not to give up nicotine and will continue to smoke if there is no safer alternative available that is acceptable to them,” the scientists wrote.

The devices have exploded in use and spawned a $3 billion industry worldwide, but the scientific research on their safety and their potential to be a “gateway” to other tobacco products is still developing.

If the WHO were to classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products—a move they are rumored to be considering, according to Reuters—178 signatories to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control would be expected to impose strict measures on them to restrict demand, like raising taxes and banning some forms of advertising. The U.S. is one of the few non-signatories to the FCTC, though the Food and Drug Administration has moved to regulate e-cigs.

The FCTC is scheduled to meet in October in Moscow, where it will consider any proposed regulations.

[Reuters]

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