David Kirkpatrick

December 4, 2010

Electronic cigarettes are bad for you?

Don’t smoke ’em myself and have no plans to ever start, but these alternatives to actually burning tobacco have the anti-tobacco forces up in arms. Just check out the “results” of this University of California, Riverside, study that declares them possibly dangerous. Of course this non-study will get lots of ink about how bad electronic cigarettes are, even though the actual results say nothing of the sort.

Typical move from anti-tobacco forces. Long on overwrought hype and short on non-statistically skewed clinical results. It really is amazing how many citizens in the “land of the free” want to have control over what their fellow citizens consume, who they marry and where they worship (for those with that inclination.)

From the link:

Talbot, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience, was joined in the study by Anna Trtchounian, the first author of the research paper. Together, they examined the design, accuracy and clarity of labeling, nicotine content, leakiness, defective parts, disposal, errors in filling orders, instruction manual quality and advertizing for the following brands of e-cigarettes: NJOY, Liberty Stix, Crown Seven (Hydro), Smoking Everywhere (Gold and Platinum) and VapCigs.

Their main observations are that:

  • Batteries, atomizers, cartridges, cartridge wrappers, packs and instruction manuals lack important information regarding e-cigarette content, use and essential warnings;
  • E-cigarette cartridges leak, which could expose nicotine, an addictive and dangerous chemical, to children, adults, pets and the environment;
  • Currently, there are no methods for proper disposal of e-cigarettes products and accessories, including cartridges, which could result in contamination from discarded cartridges entering water sources and soil, and adversely impacting the environment; and
  • The manufacture, quality control, sales, and advertisement of e-cigarettes are unregulated.

“More research on e-cigarettes is crucially needed to protect the health of e-cigarette users and even those who do not use e-cigarettes,” said Kamlesh Asotra, a research administrator at UC TRDRP. “Contrary to the claims of the manufacturers and marketers of e-cigarettes being ‘safe,’ in fact, virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapors generated by these e-cigarettes. Until we know any thing about the potential health risks of the toxins generated upon heating the nicotine-containing content of the e-cigarette cartridges, the ‘safety’ claims of the manufactureres are dubious at best.

Okay, doesn’t sound too convincing there. And I encourage more research because if electronic cigarettes pose specific health risks, consumers of the product should know about them to make informed decisions on what they are putting into their bodies.

Now here’s the title from the linked PhysOrg piece, “Electronic cigarettes are unsafe and pose health risks, new study finds.” Does that match the studies results to your mind. Certainly not mine. Note the first observation — the products lack package labeling. Stop the presses!

Who funded this bit of research, “The study was funded by a grant to Talbot from the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP).”

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April 19, 2010

Anti-tobacco forces remain overwrought

Those opposing tobacco use would be very happy to see the plant somehow disappear from the planet. Failing that a global ban on smoking would suffice, I’m sure. And then there’s that pesky nicotine that addicted smokers and ex smokers crave. Hmm, what to do about that? Let’s attack the efforts that offer nicotine to people in a form other than tobacco products to save the children.

I don’t smoke cigarettes and never have, but I do smoke the occasional cigar and I have a pretty healthy collection of pipe tobacco aging gracefully so I do have something of a dog in the fight, but my libertarian side really gets worked up at all the nanny-statism and “we know what’s good for you” going on out there. With this November’s vote coming up wouldn’t it be an odd turn of events that it might be easier to smoke marijuana than smoke a bowl of G.L. Pease’s “Haddo’s Delight” in California?

Not to discount the possibility of kids being hurt by these products — that’s why the adults around those kids should act like adults and keep them out of reach — take a look at the amount of consumption required to start causing problems. If a kid can get into a product like this to that extent I’m going to bet nicotine poisoning is the least of that kid’s unconscious worries.

From the first link:

Tobacco company’s new, dissolvable nicotine products could lead to accidental poisoning

Candy-like appearance and flavorings may increase appeal to infants and youth

Boston, MA – A tobacco company’s new, dissolvable nicotine pellet–which is being sold as a tobacco product, but which in some cases resembles popular candies–could lead to accidental nicotine poisoning in children, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the Northern Ohio Poison Control Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The researchers also say the candy-like products could appeal to young people and lead to nicotine addiction as well.

The study appears in an advance online edition of the journal Pediatrics on April 19, 2010 and will appear in a later print issue.

In 2009, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company launched a dissolvable nicotine product called Camel Orbs, which according to the company’s promotional literature contains 1 mg nicotine per pellet and is flavored with cinnamon or mint. The company also introduced Camel Strips (to contain 0.6 mg nicotine per strip) and Sticks (to contain 3.1 mg nicotine per strip).

It appears that the product is intended as a temporary form of nicotine for smokers in settings where smoking is banned. However, the potential public health effect could be disastrous, particularly for infants and adolescents, said Professor Gregory Connolly, lead author of the study and director of the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH.

Ingestion of tobacco products by infants and children is a major reason for calls to poison control centers nationwide. In 2007, 6,724 tobacco-related poisoning cases were reported among children five years of age and under. Small children can experience nausea and vomiting from as little as 1 mg of nicotine.

“This product is called a ‘tobacco’ product, but in the eyes of a 4-year-old, the pellets look more like candy than a regular cigarette. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children,” said Connolly.

The researchers computed, based on median body weight, how much nicotine ingestion would lead to symptoms of poisoning in children: A one-year-old infant could suffer mild to moderate symptoms of nicotine poisoning by ingesting 8 to 14 Orbs, 14 Strips or 3 Sticks; ingesting 10 to 17 Orbs, 17 Strips or 3 to 4 Sticks could result in severe toxicity or death. A four-year-old child could have moderate symptoms by ingesting 13 to 21 Orbs, 14 Strips or 4 Sticks and could suffer severe toxicity or death by consuming 16 to 27 Orbs, 27 Strips or 5 Sticks. The researchers report that a poison control center in Portland, Oregon, a test market for Orbs, reported a case in which a three-year old ingested an Orbs pellet.

R.J. Reynolds claims that Orbs packaging is “child resistant,” but the researchers say adults could unknowingly leave the pellets out in the open where children could easily access them. The researchers also say that the candy-like appearance and flavoring and ease-of-use of the product could appeal to children.

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“Unintentional Childhood Poisonings Through Ingestion of Conventional and Novel Tobacco Products,” Gregory N. Connolly, Patricia Richter, Alfred Aleguas Jr., Terry F. Pechacek, Stephen B. Stanfill, Hillel R. Alpert, Pediatrics, online April 19, 2010.

Harvard School of Public Health (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu ) is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit:http://www.hsph.harvard.edu

November 25, 2009

Nanny company alert — Apple

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:17 pm

Apple is actually voiding warranties for secondhand smoke “contamination.” Second hand smoke residue on computer parts make them too toxic to handle? Really?

I hope this is some sort of hoax, but it seems to have some factual basis. Apple already has a very sorry track record in digital rights management, and it now looks like they want to either start defrauding customers of legitimate warranty claims or become some sort of anti-smoking police, because they can’t be seriously arguing the remnants of tobacco smoke on electronic parts is least bit dangerous.

From the first link:

Apple is apparently telling at least some customers that the amount of cigarette smoke residue inside their computers makes it unsafe for the company to perform warranty service on them, despite the lack of such a clause in the company’s warranty agreement.

The Consumerist says the complaint as been raised as far as Steve Jobs’ office, with no relief for the customers involved.

The story was reported on Friday, though the Consumerist said it had sought, but failed to receive, any explanation from Apple HQ over a period of months. (The site is part of the Consumers Union/Consumer Reports organization, so I deem the report credible).

October 1, 2009

Nanny lawsuit — Dallas-style

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:50 am

This is about the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long, long while. Read the comments to see exactly how reviled these two attention-seeking ladies are among readers of this article. Talk about a frivolous lawsuit.

From the link:

A Dallas woman has filed a lawsuit seeking six figures from a former neighbor and landlord for damage she says was caused by cigarette smoke wafting through adjoining walls of her high-end townhome.

“Smoking is not a right, it’s a privilege,” said Chris Daniel, a retired nurse. “I’m sorry that people smoke. I think it’s foolish, but when it comes into my house and hurts my health and my daughter’s health and our belongings, it’s a different issue.”

More from the link:

A manager and attorney for Estancia Townhomes, a 52-building community near Prestonwood Country Club in North Dallas, said it’s unlikely the Daniels sustained any smoke damage. There is a solid, two-hour fire wall from the foundation to the roof between each of the homes.

And even if some smell did seep through, the Daniels renewed their lease at Estancia – where smoking is permitted – six months after they say the problem began.

“Why do people file lawsuits?” asked Ginger Tye, an attorney representing the property managers and owners. “They’re asking for money damages.”

June 26, 2009

FDA oversight to kill big tobacco?

I seriously doubt it since big tobacco is not all that displeased about the new heavy taxation and oversight since it figures all the legislative moves will serve to kill off competition in a marketplace artificially altered by government overreach.

Don’t take a drink before reading this release because you might do a spit take and trash a perfectly fine keyboard:

Experts: Big Tobacco dead by 2047, possibly sooner

MADISON – President Barack Obama’s signature on a bill this week to grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco was historic, and represents a step in the march to eliminate tobacco use in this country by 2047, two national tobacco experts said today (June 25).

The pair published “Stealing a March in the 21st Century: Accelerating Progress in the 100-Year War Against Tobacco Addiction in the United States” in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Michael Fiore and Timothy Baker, director and associate director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI), respectively, chart milestones in beating tobacco addiction and map a battle plan to eradicate tobacco use in the next few decades. The researchers analyzed data from the 1960s, when the first systemic tracking of smoking rates began, until the present.

“Numerous observers have claimed over time that tobacco use has plateaued and progress against its use has stalled,” the authors write. “However, the remarkable decline in rates of tobacco use since the 1960s belies this claim and underscores the remarkable success of tobacco control efforts to date.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show adults smoking between 1965 and 2007 dropped by an average of one half of one percentage point per year, from 42 percent to the current rate of about 20 percent rate. While this rate of decline hasn’t occurred each year, the overall decrease has been quite steady.

The two researchers urge a nationwide effort designed to accelerate the rate of decline over the next 50 years through:

  • Substantial increases in federal and state tobacco excise taxes.
  • A national clean-indoor air law.
  • Elimination of nicotine from tobacco products.
  • Funds for an aggressive mass media campaign to counter the tide of tobacco industry ads and sponsorships.
  • A ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • Evidence-based counseling and medication for every smoker who wants to quit.

Protecting young people, particularly those 17 and younger, from starting to smoke. Research shows that a major genetic risk for lifelong nicotine dependence can be suppressed if young people avoid daily smoking prior to age 17.

“The progress made in reducing tobacco use over the last 50 years should in no way temper our commitment to further reductions. Nor should that progress be interpreted to mean tobacco use is less toxic or that tobacco companies are now on the ropes. But, if appropriate steps are taken, a tobacco-free nation can be achieved within a few decades,” Fiore says.

Past success has been born of:

  • Tobacco tax increases.
  • Enactment of clean-indoor air laws.
  • Tobacco industry advertising restrictions.
  • Tobacco product-labeling requirements.
  • Policies that restrict youth access to tobacco products.
  • Mass media campaigns.
  • Increased availability and effectiveness of treatments to help current smokers quit.

In their article, Baker and Fiore called for FDA regulation of tobacco products to spur progress. That bill was signed into law on June 22, along with provisions that would further restrict tobacco industry targeting of kids, strengthen health warnings on tobacco packaging, require disclosure about what’s in tobacco products and ban terms like “light” and “mild” to describe cigarettes.

 

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UW-CTRI is a nationally prominent research center established at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 1992. The center’s director, Fiore, chaired a panel on behalf of the U.S. Public Health Service to write three successive editions of treatment standards on treating tobacco use and dependence, and chaired the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Subcommittee on Tobacco Cessation of the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health that produced a comprehensive plan for promoting tobacco cessation in the United States. Visit http://www.ctri.wisc.edu for more information.

February 7, 2009

SCHIP and tobacco taxes

Filed under: Politics, Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:44 am

Master blender of pipe tobacco, G.L. Pease, makes a great point on the increase in tobacco taxes and the recently passed SCHIP. One, it’s absurd on so many levels; and two, major cigarette companies were allowed to basically tax their competition (roll-your-own tobacco) out of existance.

Bad politics, bad policy and it’s based on faulty research. If you’re curious about the last bit there, do some background — the research, I think from the 60s, that all tobacco stats are based on is terminally flawed. When the government didn’t get the desired result, the stats were altered mid-stream to ensure the research was sufficiantly negative. Bad, bad science and bullshit politics. Don’t get me wrong. Tobacco is not a healthy item in large quantities, but it is not the evil it’s somehow been made out to be.

From the link:

This following mercilessly swiped table indicates the new Federal excise tax on tobacco products, along with the current taxes we all know and despise, and the proposed taxes vetoed twice by ex-prez G.W. The new rates go into effect 1st April, 2009. Fortunately, for most of us, pipe tobacco isn’t hit as badly as it could have been, resulting in a price increase of only about 20¢ per ounce. Nor have cigars, taken a serious beating, but it may herald the death of many RYO tobaccos currently on the market. Is it any wonder that Big Tobacco supported this? Nothing like taxing your competition into oblivion in the spirit of free trade.

Tobacco Product Current Tax SCHIP 2007
(Vetoed)
SCHIP 2009
(New Tax)
Tax Increase
(April 2009)
% Increase
(April 2009)
Cigarettes $0.39/pack $1.00/pack $1.01/pack $0.62/pack 158%
RYO Tobacco 1 $1.10/lb $8.89/lb $24.78/lb $23.68/lb 2,159%
Pipe Tobacco $1.10/lb $2.81/lb $2.83/lb $1.73/lb 158%
Large Cigars $0.05 ea (Max) $3.00 ea (Max) $0.40 ea (Max) $0.35 ea (Max) 722%
Small Cigars $0.04/pack $1.00/pack $1.01/pack $0.97 2,653%
Chewing Tobacco $0.195/lb $0.50/lb $0.50/lb $0.31/lb 158%
Snuff $0.59/lb $1.50/lb $1.51/lb %0.93/lb 158%

What truly amazes me about this is that the fools who author this sort of nonsense don’t seem to be able to comprehend that building social programs based on revenues derived from taxing something they’re hoping to extinguish is the worst sort of fiscal folly imaginable.

July 23, 2008

Maybe tobacco isn’t all that evil after all …

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:03 pm

… since there seems to be a therapeutic use in treating certain types of cancer. I’m all for tobacco use in moderation, particularly in the form of long-cut filler cigar or high end pipe tobacco. I’ve even blogged on the joys of pipe smoking here, here, here and here.

From KurzweilAI.net:

Tobacco ‘could help treat cancer’
BBC News, July 21, 2008Stanford University researchers are using tobacco plants to grow key components of a cancer vaccine, turning the plants into factories for an antibody chemical specific to the cancerous cells that cause follicular B-cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Once a patient’s cancer cells are isolated in the laboratory, the gene responsible for producing the antibody is extracted and added to a tobacco virus. When the virus infects the tobacco, the gene is added to the plants’ cells, which start producing large quantities of the antibody. These antibodies are put back into a patient to “prime” the body’s immune system to attack any cell carrying them.

 
Read Original Article>>

March 19, 2008

Haddo’s Delight — early Thursday smoking

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:14 pm

I recently posted my short story titled “Haddo’s Delight” and realized I haven’t smoked any of the blend in quite a long time. Tonight I popped a tin from 2/22/06, so it’s been aged for a bit over two years. Had a bowl in a Savinelli “natural” poker (a standard tobacco pipe shape) variant.

This Virginia/perique/plus (there’s a light rum topping among other ingredients) is always good. And it’s been so long since I’ve enjoyed a bowl there’s not much to compare to, but I’ve always heard this is an awesome tobacco aged. I can say this two-year-old bowl was wonderful.

Haddo’s is part of G.L. Pease’s “original mixture” blends.

From the link:

photo

This is a stout blend consisting of several grades of Virginia tobaccos with a generous measure of long-cut perique. Unflavored Green River black Cavendish and a little air-cured white burley ribbon provide fullness, body, and a bit of extra strength. Finally, an exclusive process darkens and marries the mixture, and gives the blend a subtle tin aroma of cocoa and dried fruit. The flavor is full on the palate, earthy, slightly sweet and intriguingly piquant, with overtones of figs and raisins. A wonderful and unprecedented blend for the true perique lover!

Haddo’s, more than any other blend in the range, has developed an almost cult-like following. It has inspired music, written and recorded by Apalachian dulcimer performer Chris Carlisle, and even poetry!

Softer, fuller and more voluptuous than a Boticelli.
Flavor and finesse surpassing a ’29 Lafite
Complexity that would shame a Mozart sonata.
Haddo’s, before thy diaphanous cloud, I fall prostrate!!
-Bear Graves

If you haven’t, yet, and love perique, give it a try. But, be careful, as you, too, might fall victim to its charms and begin composing sonnetts.

Haddo’s Delght was introduced in August, 2000