The latest medical research on Addiction Medicine

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Evaluating tobacco retailer experience and compliance with a flavoured tobacco product restriction in Boston, Massachusetts: impact on product availability, advertisement and consumer demand.

Tobacco Control

Flavoured tobacco products are widely available in youth-accessible retailers and are associated with increased youth initiation and use. The city of Boston, Massachusetts restricted the sale of flavoured tobacco products, including cigars, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, to adult-only retailers. This paper describes the impact of the restriction on product availability, advertisement and consumer demand.

Between January and December 2016, data were collected in 488 retailers in Boston at baseline and 469 retailers at 8-month follow-up, measuring the type, brand and flavour of tobacco products being sold. Process measures detailing the educational enforcement process, and retailer experience were also captured. McNemar tests and t-tests were used to assess the impact of the restriction on product availability.

After policy implementation, only 14.4% of youth-accessible retailers sold flavoured products compared with 100% of retailers at baseline (p<0.001). Flavoured tobacco product advertisements decreased from being present at 58.9% of retailers to 28.0% at follow-up (p<0.001). Postimplementation, retailers sold fewer total flavoured products, with remaining products often considered as concept flavours (eg, jazz, blue). At follow-up, 64.0% of retailers reported that customers only asked for flavoured products a few times a week or did not ask at all. Retailers reported that educational visits and the flavoured product guidance list aided with compliance.

Tobacco retailers across Boston were largely in compliance with the regulation. Availability of flavoured tobacco products in youth-accessible retailers declined city-wide after policy implementation. Strong educational and enforcement infrastructure may greatly enhance retailer compliance.

Air pollution is not 'the new smoking': comparing the disease burden of air pollution and smoking across the globe, 1990-2017.

Tobacco Control

Air pollution has been labelled the 'new smoking', with news articles bearing titles such as 'If You Live in a Big City You Already Smoke Every Day...

Development of a tobacco 21 policy assessment tool and state-level analysis in the USA, 2015-2019.

Tobacco Control

Policies raising the minimum legal sales age (MLSA) of tobacco products to 21 are commonly referred to as tobacco 21. This study sought to identify components of tobacco 21 policies and develop an instrument to examine policy language within 16 state laws adopted by July 2019.

The multistage tool development process began with a review of established literature and existing tobacco 21 policies. In a series of meetings, tobacco control experts identified key policy components used to develop an initial tool. After testing and revisions, the instrument was used to code the existing tobacco 21 state-level policies. Inter-rater reliability (κ=0.70) was measured and discrepancies were discussed until consensus was met. Policy component frequencies were reported by state.

While all 16 states raised the MLSA to 21, the laws varied widely. Two laws omitted purchaser identification requirements. Fifteen laws mentioned enforcement would include inspections, but only three provided justification for conducting inspections. All 16 states provided a penalty structure for retailer/clerk violations, but penalties ranged considerably. Fourteen states required a tobacco retail licence, nine renewed annually. Six laws contained a military exemption, five were phased-in and 10 contained purchase, use or possession laws, which penalised youth. Four states introduced or expanded pre-emption of local tobacco control.

The instrument developed is the first to examine policy components within state-level tobacco 21 laws. Policies that include negative components or omit positive components may not effectively prevent retailers from selling to youth, which could result in less effective laws.

Tracking and tracing the tobacco industry: potential tobacco industry influence over the EU's system for tobacco traceability and security features.

Tobacco Control

Subsequent to the transnational tobacco companies' (TTC) history of involvement in tobacco smuggling, the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP) requires that tobacco tracking and tracing (T&T) systems be established independent of the industry. In response, TTCs developed a T&T system, originally called Codentify, promoting it via an elaborate set of front groups to create a false impression of independence. The European Union (EU) is one of the first and largest jurisdictions to operationalise T&T. We explore how industry efforts to influence T&T have evolved.

Analysis of tobacco industry documents, policy documents, submissions to a relevant consultation and relationships between the tobacco industry and organisations proposed by it and approved by the European Commission to provide a data repository function within the EU's T&T system.

17 months after TTCs sold Codentify to Inexto and Philip Morris International claimed Inexto was independent, leaked documents suggest TTCs and Inexto continued to have a financial and operational relationship. Inexto's meetings with TTCs, engagement with EU Member States and promotion of industry-favoured technical standards suggest TTCs influenced Inexto's activities, using the company to undermine EU T&T. The EU's T&T system appears to be inconsistent with the ITP due to its 'mixed' governance and seven of eight organisations approved as data repository providers having pre-existing industry business links.

TTC's efforts to maximise their control and minimise external scrutiny of T&T systems seriously limit attempts to address tobacco smuggling. Countries implementing T&T should be alert to such efforts and should not replicate the EU system.

Differences in price of flavoured and non-flavoured tobacco products sold in the USA, 2011-2016.

Tobacco Control

Limited data exist on whether there is differential pricing of flavoured and non-flavoured varieties of the same product type. We assessed price of tobacco products by flavour type.

Retail scanner data from Nielsen were obtained for October 2011 to January 2016. Universal product codes were used to classify tobacco product (cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes (RYO), little cigars and moist snuff) flavours as: menthol, flavoured or non-flavoured. Prices were standardised to a cigarette pack (20 cigarette sticks) or cigarette pack equivalent (CPE). Average prices during 2015 were calculated overall and by flavour designation. Joinpoint regression and average monthly percentage change were used to assess trends.

During October 2011 to January 2016, price trends increased for menthol (the only flavour allowed in cigarettes) and non-flavoured cigarettes; decreased for menthol, flavoured and non-flavoured RYO; increased for flavoured little cigars, but decreased for non-flavoured and menthol little cigars; and increased for menthol and non-flavoured moist snuff, but decreased for flavoured moist snuff. In 2015, average national prices were US$5.52 and US$5.47 for menthol and non-flavoured cigarettes; US$1.89, US$2.51 and US$4.77 for menthol, non-flavoured and flavoured little cigars; US$1.49, US$1.64 and US$1.78 per CPE for menthol, non-flavoured and flavoured moist snuff; and US$0.93, US$1.03 and $1.64 per CPE flavoured, menthol and non-flavoured RYO, respectively.

Trends in the price of tobacco products varied across products and flavour types. Menthol little cigars, moist snuff and RYO were less expensive than non-flavoured varieties. Efforts to make flavoured tobacco products less accessible and less affordable could help reduce tobacco product use.

Population prevalence and predictors of self-reported exposure to court-ordered, tobacco-related corrective statements.

Tobacco Control

To describe the population prevalence and predictors of self-reported exposure to court-ordered tobacco-related corrective statements in 2017-2018, when they were first implemented in newspapers and on television.

Nationally representative data from the 2018 Health Information National Trends Survey were used (n=3504). Frequencies and weighted proportions were calculated for seeing any corrective statement and for each of the five court-ordered corrective statements. Weighted, multivariable logistic regression was used to examine sociodemographic and smoking status predictors of reported exposure to any corrective statement.

In 2018, an estimated 40.6% of US adults had seen messages in newspapers or on television in the past 6 months stating that a federal court has ordered tobacco companies to make statements about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Reported exposure to topic-specific statements ranged from 11.4% (manipulation of cigarette design) to 34.7% (health effects). Those with a high school education were significantly less likely than those with a college degree to report seeing the statements (OR=0.69, CI 0.50 to 0.95) and current smokers were significantly more likely than never smokers to report seeing them (OR=1.68, CI 1.12 to 2.53).

In the first 6 months of corrective statement implementation, an estimated 40.6% of US adults reported at least one exposure to any corrective statement, and current smokers were more likely than never smokers to report exposure. Traditional media channels can be effective for tobacco-related message dissemination; however, they may fail to reach more than half of the adult population without additional targeted communication efforts.

Effect of electric heating and ice added to the bowl on mainstream waterpipe semivolatile furan and other toxicant yields.

Tobacco Control

We examined mainstream total particulate matter, nicotine, cotinine, menthol, pyrene, carbon monoxide (CO) and semivolatile furan yields from a commercial waterpipe with two methods for heating the tobacco, quick-light charcoal (charcoal) and electric head (electric) and two water bowl preparations: with (ice) and without ice (water).

Emissions from a single brand of popular waterpipe tobacco (10 g) were generated using machine smoking according to a two-stage puffing regimen developed from human puffing topography. Tobacco and charcoal consumption were calculated for each machine smoking session as mass lost, expressed as a fraction of presmoking mass.

The heating method had the greatest effect on toxicant yields. Electric heating resulted in increases in the fraction of tobacco consumed (2.4 times more, p<0.0001), mainstream nicotine (1.4 times higher, p=0.002) and semivolatile furan yields (1.4 times higher, p<0.03), and a decrease in mainstream CO and pyrene yields (8.2 and 2.1 times lower, respectively, p<0.001) as compared with charcoal. Adding ice to the bowl resulted in higher furan yields for electric heating. Menthol yields were not different across the four conditions and averaged 0.16±0.03 mg/session. 3-Furaldehyde and 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furaldehyde yields were more than 85 and 2500 times higher, respectively, than those reported for cigarettes.

Waterpipe components used to heat the tobacco and water bowl preparation can significantly affect mainstream toxicant yields. Mainstream waterpipe tobacco smoke is a significant source of inhalation exposure to semivolatile furans with human carcinogenic and mutagenic potential. These data highlight the need for acute and chronic inhalation toxicity data for semivolatile furans and provide support for the establishment of limits governing sugar additives in waterpipe tobacco and educational campaigns linking waterpipe tobacco smoking behaviours with their associated harm.

An argument for phasing out sales of cigarettes.

Tobacco Control

The successes of tobacco control in some countries and locales have led to discussions of ending the tobacco epidemic, often called the 'endgame'. ...

Flavour types used by youth and adult tobacco users in wave 2 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study 2014-2015.

Tobacco Control

Most youth and young adult (YA) tobacco users use flavoured products; however, little is known about specific flavours used.

We report flavour types among US tobacco users from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, wave 2, 2014-2015. At wave 2, we examined (1) flavour use and type at past 30-day use; (2) new flavoured tobacco product use and type; (3) product-specific flavour patterns across youth (ages 12-17) (n=920), YA (18-24) (n=3726) and adult (25+) (n=10 346) past 30-day and new tobacco users and (4) concordance between self-coded and expert-coded brand flavour type among all adults (18+).

Prevalence of flavoured tobacco product use was highest among youth, followed by YA and adult 25+ any tobacco users. Within each age group, flavoured use was greatest among hookah, e-cigarette and snus users. Overall, menthol/mint, fruit and candy/sweet were the most prevalent flavour types at first and past 30-day use across age groups. For past 30-day use, all flavour types except menthol/mint exhibited an inverse age gradient, with more prevalent use among youth and YAs, followed by adults 25+. Prevalence of menthol/mint use was high (over 50% youth, YAs; 76% adults 25+) and exhibited a positive age gradient overall, though the reverse for cigarettes. Brand-categorised and self-reported flavour use measures among adults 18+ were moderately to substantially concordant across most products.

Common flavours like menthol/mint, fruit and candy/sweet enhance appeal to young tobacco users. Information on flavour types used by product and age can inform tobacco flavour regulations to addess flavour appeal especially among youth.

Establishing a tobacco control fund in Vietnam: some learnings for other countries.

Tobacco Control

In response to the need for stable and adequate funding for tobacco control and the shortage of personnel working in the field, the Vietnam Tobacco...

Compliance of e-cigarette refill liquids with regulations on labelling, packaging and technical design characteristics in nine European member states.

Tobacco Control

To evaluate electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) product compliance with European regulations (Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), Implementing Decisions), with a focus on labelling/packaging practices and technical design/safety features.

Before the implementation of the TPD, in early 2016, we randomly selected e-cigarette refill liquids from the five top-selling companies in France, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Romania, Hungary and Greece. Identical products were purchased after the implementation of the TPD (early 2018) and assessment of compliance was performed on self-matched samples (n=107) using a prospective cohort design. Compliance with the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulations was also evaluated.

Following the implementation of the TPD, improvements were noted with regards to the existence of text-only warnings (32.7% pre vs 86.0% post, p<0.001), child-resistant fastenings (93.3% pre vs 100.0% post, p=0.016), tamper-proof vials (58.9% pre vs 86.9%, post p<0.001) and maximum refill volume ≤10 mL in vials (86.9% pre vs 94.4% post, p=0.008). Lower compliance was noted with regards to the inclusion of a leaflet (26.2% pre vs 53.3% post, p<0.001), refilling instructions (28.0% pre vs 51.4% post, p<0.001) and health warnings on the box, vial or leaflet (32.7% pre vs 86.0%, p<0.001). Overall, 86.0% of products had a warning label in the post-TPD phase in comparison to 32.7% of products before the implementation of the TPD (p<0.001). Compliance with the CLP regulations, also increased in the post TPD follow-up phase.

This is the first study to evaluate the level of implementation of the e-cigarette regulations in nine EU member states. Our results indicate that refill liquids had substantial but not full compliance in most of the characteristics evaluated. Further effort is needed to ensure complete compliance.

Big tobacco focuses on the facts to hide the truth: an algorithmic exploration of courtroom tropes and taboos.

Tobacco Control

To use methods from computational linguistics to identify differences in the rhetorical strategies deployed by defence versus plaintiffs' lawyers in cigarette litigation.

From 318 closing arguments in 159 Engle progeny trials (2008-2016) archived in the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, we calculated frequency scores and Mann-Whitney Rho scores of plaintiffs versus defence corpora to discover 'tropes' (terms used disproportionately by one side) and 'taboos' (terms scrupulously avoided by one side or the other).

Defence attorneys seek to place the smoker on trial, using his or her friends and family members to demonstrate that he or she must have been fully aware of the harms caused by smoking. We show that 'free choice,' 'common knowledge' and 'personal responsibility' remain key strategies in cigarette litigation, but algorithmic analysis allows us to understand how such strategies can be deployed without actually using these expressions. Industry attorneys rarely mention personal responsibility, for example, but invoke that concept indirectly, by talking about 'decisions' made by the individual smoker and 'risks' they assumed.

Quantitative analysis can reveal heretofore hidden patterns in courtroom rhetoric, including the weaponisation of pronouns and the systematic avoidance of certain terms, such as 'profits' or 'customer.' While cigarette makers use words that focus on the individual smoker, attorneys for the plaintiffs refocus agency onto the industry. We show how even seemingly trivial parts of speech-like pronouns-along with references to family members or words like 'truth' and 'facts' have been weaponised for use in litigation.