Read articles from North America

April 23, 2024 by

Industry Plot? | FDA Commissioner Denigrates Tobacco Harm Reduction | RegWatch

Does the regulator responsible for overseeing tobacco products in the U.S. believe in the practice of tobacco harm reduction? According to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, the answer is a resounding no. Appearing before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Califf repeatedly dismissed THR as an “industry term” and refused to answer questions on the topic. Joining us today to discuss the ramifications of the commissioner’s testimony is Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association. We review informed questioning by U.S. House Reps and take a deep dive into problematic responses by the commissioner.

April 22, 2024 by

Who pays the price for New Zealand's tobacco backflip?

Repealing the Smokefree Act in Aotearoa New Zealand benefits the government by preserving tobacco excise revenue but also favors the tobacco industry. Despite strong opposition, the government repealed the Act, jeopardizing efforts to reduce smoking rates and health inequalities. The legislation aimed to create a tobacco-free generation through denicotinisation, limiting tobacco retailers, and banning cigarette sales to those born after 2008. Repealing the Act is criticized for prioritizing short-term economic gains over long-term public health benefits, disproportionately affecting Māori. The decision has been condemned as harmful to public health progress and economic well-being. Leaders emphasize the significance of ambitious tobacco policies for health, economic gains, and equity.

April 18, 2024 by

Democrats Should Join the Call for FDA to Accelerate Approval of Smokefree Products

Nearly 70 House Representatives urge the Biden Administration to speed up approval processes for smokefree products, highlighting their potential to reduce harm. Republicans emphasize the FDA's slow authorization for safer products compared to traditional tobacco. Delays benefit deadly cigarettes over innovation. Democrats' resistance contradicts public health interests, hindering harm reduction efforts. Misinformation fuels their push for restrictions on products proven to drive down smoking rates. Calls for informed decisions and equal access to alternatives aim to empower smokers.

April 16, 2024 by

Sen. Durbin Questions FDA Over Youth Access to Unauthorized E-Cigarettes

The FDA, under court order, has not completed all PMTA reviews for vape products, leading to concerns about harmful e-cigarettes being sold to children. Senator Durbin criticized the FDA and DOJ for not enforcing laws against manufacturers selling unauthorized vaping products. Despite warning letters and marketing denial orders, some companies continue to sell unauthorized vaping items in violation of the law, prompting calls for stricter enforcement actions.

April 15, 2024 by

Pass bill to protect kids from the dangers of illegal e-cigarettes

Youth vaping and illegal vape products are prevalent in stores and schools, with peers adept at hiding them. Packaging entices kids with flavors and appealing designs. Illinois considers House Bill 5069 to regulate vapes, ensuring compliance with state and federal law. The bill aims to list legal products, deterring the sale of illegal ones. A reader opposes President Biden's free education proposal, highlighting the need for upfront payment at graduation. President Trump's judicial bias is criticized, questioning fairness in court cases involving judges with ties to him. Despite O.J. Simpson's controversies, a reader hopes his death raises awareness for prostate cancer screening.

April 15, 2024 by

To Save Veterans’ Lives, the VA Must Innovate on Smoking Cessation

The United States has invested heavily in military hardware, but has overlooked tech innovations that could save lives and costs. High smoking rates among active-duty military and veterans pose health risks and financial burdens. Harm-reduction strategies like vaping offer effective smoking cessation but are underutilized by the government. Technology reducing smoke exposure from nicotine products can greatly decrease health risks. Other countries are ahead in adopting such strategies, while the US lags. Embracing innovation in tobacco harm reduction is crucial for improving veterans' health and well-being. The Veterans Administration must prioritize these advancements to better support those who served.

April 12, 2024 by

Video: FDA Urged to Prioritize Access to Safer Alternatives

Consumer advocates criticized the FDA for failing to provide safer nicotine alternatives in a House Oversight hearing. The agency's slow approval process leaves adult consumers with limited options to transition from cigarettes. Only a few products have been authorized out of over 26 million applications, causing concerns about pushing consumers towards the illicit market. Urgent action is needed to prioritize access to scientifically validated alternatives like e-cigarettes. Philip Morris International also called for a transparent regulatory pathway that supports harm reduction principles.

April 11, 2024 by

VOICES: Menthol and flavored nicotine products has devastating effects on vulnerable communities

Our elected state legislators did the unthinkable. On December 14, 2023, Ohio GOP lawmakers decided to add a provision to a bill to prevent any community in Ohio from regulating vaping, smoking, and other nicotine product use and sales. The City of Columbus had just passed a menthol and flavor ban. There were community meetings to hear testimony from both sides. I was asked to testify at several of those meetings. One was so contentious, that when leaving, several Columbus policemen asked to escort me to my car.

April 11, 2024 by

9 facts about Americans and marijuana

Marijuana legalization is gaining support in the U.S., with around 90% favoring legalization for medical or recreational use. Views vary by age, political party, and race. Support for legalization has increased over the years, with economic and criminal justice benefits being considered. Most Americans also support easing penalties for marijuana-related offenses. Currently, 24 states and D.C. allow recreational and medical use, while another 14 permit medical use only. About 54% of Americans live where recreational and/or medical marijuana is legal. In total, there are almost 15,000 marijuana dispensaries nationwide, with states like California and Colorado having the largest number.

April 11, 2024 by

Menthol cigarettes are killing Black Americans. Advocates are suing the government to change that

Aggressive tobacco marketing of menthol cigarettes to Black communities led to high addiction rates and premature deaths. Despite FDA attempts to ban menthol and potential life-saving benefits, tobacco lobbies delayed the process for years. The ban could prevent hundreds of thousands of smoking-related deaths. Advocates stress the urgency to implement the ban as nearly all smokers start in adolescence, with menthol cigarettes being more addictive. The exemption of menthol flavor from a 2009 law has contributed to increased menthol smoking, particularly among young adults and minorities. Delaying the ban continues to have deadly consequences.