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Why Tobacco Should Be Childproof

A number of colleagues recently mentioned to me that they’ve heard that new smokeless tobacco products are very dangerous because they cause a lot of poisonings to children.

When I checked the Internet, sure enough — there were plenty of news headlines along the lines of “Tobacco mints tied to poisoning in kids” and “Tobacco candy poisoning kids, study shows.” I thought this looked interesting, particularly as I was unaware of any “tobacco candy.” Read more »

This post, Why Tobacco Should Be Childproof, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Smokeless Tobacco And The U.S. Launch Of Snus

This week the respected CBS documentary news show “60 Minutes” included a feature on smokeless tobacco, focusing on the recent launch of snus in the United States. The show was relatively balanced in focusing on the main potential risks and benefits of snus.

It started by featuring a young man who enjoys using snus in places where he cannot smoke, while continuing with a pack-a-day smoking addiction. The interviewer gave him the bad news: “You are a dual user.”

It then had a segment with the widely respected Swedish nicotine addiction expert, Dr Karl Fagerstrom, who stated that snus is 90-99% less harmful than smoking (while admitting some risks, including of pancreatic cancer). Read more »

This post, Smokeless Tobacco And The U.S. Launch Of Snus, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Funding Tobacco Control Programs: A Dollar Well Spent

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identified tobacco use as the single biggest cause of premature death in every state in the U.S. They recommended in 2007 that New Jersey state government should spend $120 million per year on tobacco control ($13.75 per person per year, and 12% of total tobacco-related revenue to the state).

Here in New Jersey, our Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) started in 2000, with annual funding of just over $30 million via the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). The program was set up to follow CDC guidelines to have components for media, evaluation, community activities, youth prevention, and smoking cessation. With the post 9/11 recession causing severe budget problems for the state, funding was drastically cut by 66% to $11 million in 2004 and then in 2009 it was cut again to around $8m. The state brings in approximately $1 billion per year from tobacco sources (MSA plus tobacco taxes) and so New Jersey has recently been spending around 1% of tobacco revenues on tobacco control. Despite being drastically underfunded, the New Jersey CTCP has had many noteable achievements. Here’s just a few. Read more »

This post, Funding Tobacco Control Programs: A Dollar Well Spent, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

How To Get The Tobacco Industry To Stop Selling Cigarettes

The tobacco industry and its products (primarily cigarettes) has caused the premature deaths of over 13 million people in the United States since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report which concluded that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. Those health professionals, who are familiar with these statistics, and with the great lengths the industry has gone to to try to cover them up, have little sympathy for the industry’s current decline in the U.S. Many want nothing more than the annihilation of the tobacco industry. This is all the more understandable for those people who have seen patients and loved ones suffer and die from a smoking-caused illness. Some may feel that the tobacco industry and those in it do not deserve to continue to make money from such a deadly business. Read more »

This post, How To Get The Tobacco Industry To Stop Selling Cigarettes, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Will Nicotine-Free Cigarettes Be Mandated By The FDA?

In the previous posting I discussed the possibility of FDA requiring that no tobacco products be allowed to emit Carbon Monoxide. While appealing in its simplicity, such a strategy may have problems in that it could be interpreted as a ban on a whole class (or classes) of tobacco products, which the legislation does not allow.

Another strategy might be to reduce the harm from tobacco by lowering the nicotine content/delivery of cigarettes down to the level at which they are no longer addictive. A form of this strategy was proposed in the 1990’s by leading tobacco researchers Professor Neal Benowitz, and Professor Jack Henningfield. The FDA legislation singles out nicotine as the only chemical that cannot be reduced to zero, but this allows FDA the right to reduce the nicotine delivery of tobacco products down to a level just above zero at which they would no longer be addictive. Read more »

This post, Will Nicotine-Free Cigarettes Be Mandated By The FDA?, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

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I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

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