Down to the Last Cigarette?
By Joe Nocera
Nov. 10, 2019
This is certainly turning out to be quite the year for 50th anniversaries. Fifty years ago next month, the Beatles made their U.S. debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson started the War on Poverty. And 50 years ago Saturday, the surgeon general of the United States issued the single most important report that would ever come out of that office. It linked cigarette smoking to illness and death. It’s hard to remember now just how prevalent smoking used to be. In the mid-1960s, around half the men in the country smoked; for women, the number was 35 percent. People smoked in their offices, smoked in restaurants, smoked on airplanes. Indeed, Paul Billings of the American Lung Association recalls that the airlines often gave passengers small packets of cigarettes when they boarded the plane. But by the 1950s, scientists were beginning to equate cigarettes with lung cancer and other fatal diseases, a linkage the tobacco industry vehemently denied. In 1962, the prestigious Royal College of Physicians in Britain issued a report connecting smoking and lung cancer. After seeing that report, Dr. Luther Terry, who was then the surgeon general, put together an advisory board and asked it to report back to him on the potential dangers of cigarettes. Did it ever: the advisory board’s subsequent report not only linked smoking to lung cancer but also to emphysema and cardiovascular disease. It labeled cigarettes a health hazard. “In general,” it concluded, “the greater the number of cigarettes smoked daily, the higher the death rate.”
A Forced ‘Corrective’ on Cigarettes
By Robert N. Proctor
Jun. 24, 2019
Eleven years ago, a Federal District Court judge in Washington concluded after a nine-month trial that cigarette makers had committed fraud and violated racketeering statutes in a decades-long conspiracy to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking. Judge Gladys Kessler didn’t mince words, ruling that Philip Morris and other tobacco companies had “marketed and sold their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted.” She subsequently ordered the nation’s four largest cigarette makers to make certain “corrective statements,” basically admissions that they had lied and defrauded the public about the harms of their products and the mythic benefits of light and low-tar cigarettes, which the companies knew were just as dangerous as regular cigarettes. On Sunday and Monday, newspapers and television networks will begin carrying five “corrective statements” ordered by the court. Altria, R. J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Philip Morris will be required to run statements between 7 and 10 p.m. five times a week on weekdays for one year on CBS, NBC and ABC; the statements will also appear in full-page ads on five Sundays between now and March in more than 50 leading newspapers.
San Francisco may become first US city to ban sales of e-cigarettes
San Francisco is inching closer to becoming the first city in America to ban the sales of electronic cigarettes. The city’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider prohibiting the sale and distribution of products from companies like Juul until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews their effects on public health, as well as ban manufacturing e-cigarettes on city property. “Young people have almost indiscriminate access to a product that shouldn’t even be on the market,” city attorney Dennis Herrera told the Associated Press, adding that “it’s, unfortunately, falling to states and localities to step into the breach” and regulate e-cigarettes. If supervisors approve the measures, it will require a subsequent vote before becoming law. San Francisco’s proposed ordinance is the latest in many attempts nationwide to cut back on youth e-cigarette use. STUDY SUGGESTS E-CIGARETTE FLAVORINGS MAY POSE HEART RISK. Last year the city voted to ban the sales of fruit and candy-flavored tobacco products, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law raising the legal age to buy e-cigarettes and tobacco in his state to 21 on June 7, joining 13 other states including California. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., also recently introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum age to buy tobacco. From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use increased 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle schoolers, according to the FDA. Juul, which says its products are a way for adults to switch from cigarettes to a less harmful alternative and has taken some steps to prevent underage use of its products, opposes the ban. “But the prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use,” Juul spokesman Ted Kwong told the AP, “and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians a year.” Groups representing small businesses also oppose the measures, which they say could force stores to close. But Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control and Research and a supporter of the measures, said e-cigarettes are associated with heart attacks, strokes and lung disease. The presence of e-cigarettes has “completely reversed the progress we’ve made in youth smoking in the last few years,” he said. Fox News’ Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
FDA to crack down on menthol cigarettes, flavored vapes
A top U.S. health official on Thursday pledged to try to ban menthol from regular cigarettes, outlaw flavors in all cigars, and tighten rules regarding the sale of most flavored versions of electronic cigarettes. The move represents a major step to further push down U.S. smoking rates, which have been falling for decades. The restrictions are mainly aimed at reducing smoking in kids: About half of teens who smoke cigarettes choose menthols and flavored e-cigarettes have been blamed for a recent increase in teen vaping rates. “I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes,” Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said in a statement. Health advocates say a menthol ban would have greater impact on the health of Americans, but it would likely take years to put in place. The changes for e-cigarettes could kick in within a few months. ‘BATKID,’ NOW 10, CANCER FREE 5 YEARS AFTER ‘SAVING’ SAN FRANCISCO.
Battery-powered e-cigarettes are more popular among teens than regular smokes and are considered safer. But many versions contain potentially addictive nicotine, and health officials believe they set kids who try them on a path toward regular cigarettes. Gottlieb called for measures to prevent the marketing of e-cigarettes directly to kids and ensure there are added safeguards preventing online sales of e-cigarettes to minors. He also proposed beefing up measures so that convenience stores and some other retailers don’t sell e-cigarettes in kid-friendly flavors like cherry and vanilla. They could still be sold in vape shops or other businesses who don’t admit minors. Smoking is the nation’s leading cause of preventable illness, causing more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. The FDA currently bans sales of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to those under 18. In 2009, the government banned a number of kid-friendly flavorings in cigarettes. But after an aggressive lobbying effort by tobacco companies, menthol was exempted. Gottlieb’s proposal for e-cigarette flavorings also exempts menthol. He said menthol e-cigarettes may be an option for adults who turn to vaping products to quit regular cigarettes and he decided not to push for an end to menthol flavoring in vaping products. DOC: 2 BOYS KILLED IN NJ OUTBREAK WERE IN ‘IRREVERSIBLE SHOCK’ WHEN THEY ARRIVED AT HOSPITAL. Smoking has been declining for more than five decades. Some 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked in the early 1960s. Last year, it was down to 14 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts credit anti-smoking campaigns, cigarette taxes and smoking bans for most of the decline in the adult rate. But some say adult smokers switching to e-cigarettes have also helped drive down the rate in recent years. The cigarette smoking rate is even lower among high school students — about 9 percent, according to the latest figures. But e-cigarette use jumped 78 percent this year in high school kids and 48 percent among middle school kids, Gottlieb said, citing new survey data. The FDA has been taken earlier steps to investigate the marketing of e-cigarettes by a number of companies, including the market leader, Juul Labs Inc. of a San Francisco. Getting out ahead of today’s FDA announcement, Juul on Tuesday stopped filling store orders for mango, fruit, creme and cucumber pods and will resume sales only to retailers that scan IDs and take other steps to verify a buyer is at least 21. The company said Juul will continue to sell menthol and mint at stores, and sell all flavors through its website.
Are Cells the New Cigarettes?
By Maureen Dowd
JULE 26, 2018
The great cosmic joke would be to find out definitively that the advances we thought were blessings — from the hormones women pump into their bodies all their lives to the fancy phones people wait in line for all night — are really time bombs. Just as parents now tell their kids that, believe it or not, there was a time when nobody knew that cigarettes and tanning were bad for you, those kids may grow up to tell their kids that, believe it or not, there was a time when nobody knew how dangerous it was to hold your phone right next to your head and chat away for hours. We don’t yet really know the physical and psychological impact of being slaves to technology. We just know that technology is a narcotic. We’re living in the cloud, in a force field, so afraid of being disconnected and plunged into a world of silence and stillness that even if scientists told us our computers would make our arms fall off, we’d probably keep typing. San Francisco just became the first city in the country to pass legislation making cellphone retailers display radiation levels. The city’s Board of Supervisors voted 10 to 1 in favor. The one against, the Democrat Sean Elsbernd, said afterward: “It’s a slippery slope. I can go on Google right now and find you a study that says there’s a problem with the Starbucks you’re drinking.” Different phone models emit anywhere from 0.2 watts per kilogram of body tissue to 1.6 watts, the legal limit. The amount of radio frequency energy seeping into the body and brain is measured by a unit called the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).
“You see all these kids literally glued to their phones,” Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, told me. “And candidly, my wife was pregnant and on her cellphone nonstop. So I dusted off some studies and started doing research.
“That’s when I discovered that companies who make cellphones are already required to disclose that information to the federal government, and that it exists but somewhere on someone’s Web page on the 88th page.” Why not underscore it, he thought, by alerting consumers at the cigarettes shop, putting the SAR level in the same font as the phone price?
His alarmed advisers, accustomed to seeing the sleek Newsom diving into bold stands without calculating the potential blowback — as with gay marriage — told him to focus on jobs and the economy.
Use of Electronic Cigarettes Grows
By Sabrina Tavernise
Feb. 28, 2018
About one in five adult cigarette smokers had used electronic cigarettes by 2011, up from about one in 10 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The devices contain liquid nicotine that is vaporized to form an aerosol mist. About 6 percent of all adults, not just smokers, have tried e-cigarettes, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2010. Proponents of the cigarettes say they help address nicotine cravings without other harmful aspects of cigarettes, while critics say that the long-term effects are unclear.
By Jim Horne
November 9, 2017 6:00 pm
Early-week puzzles must be challenging to construct with the conflicting goals of easy and fresh. Today’s Monday crossword has a culinary theme, in fact a complete recipe of sorts. Gail Grabowski is an early-week specialist. This thumbnail view of all her New York Times puzzles shows they’re all either Monday or Tuesday. You can click on any thumbnail to see the full puzzle. Are you feeling optimistic? This is a very positive crossword with both YES SIR and SI SI. I wonder how long it will take to see YES WE CAN. ASH is a common answer word, appearing over 200 times now, so finding great clues gets tough. Today’s “Cigarette’s end” is a good one. My favorite, introduced by Richard Silvestri in 2014, is “Camel’s end.” Not a visual you needed, I know. I’M HIP is indeed a “Beatnik’s Got It.” It’s also an amusing song by Dave Frishberg if you like that sort of thing. I do. Word is starting to leak out about a very special puzzle next weekend. More on that later.