Tag Archives: national cancer institute

FTC Rescinds Guidance On Cigarette Testing

For over four decades the tobacco industry has used machine testing approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to measure tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes.

But in a 4-0 vote, the FTC has now shunned the tests, known as the Cambridge Filter Method, rescinding guidance it established 42 years ago.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that cigarette design changes had reduced the amount of tar and nicotine measured by smoking machines using the Cambridge Filter Method. However, there was no evidence the changes reduced disease in smokers. Furthermore, the machine does not account for ways in which smokers adjust their behavior, such as inhaling deeper or more often to maintain nicotine levels.

The FTC said the test method is flawed, and results in erroneous marketing of tar and nicotine levels that could deceive consumers into believing that lighter cigarettes were more safe.  The move means that future advertising that includes the tar levels for cigarettes will not be permitted to include terms such as “by FTC method.”  “Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship,” said FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz.  “Simply put, the FTC will not be a smokescreen for tobacco companies’ shameful marketing practices.”

Using current methods, cigarettes with a tar levels in excess of 15 milligrams per cigarette are typically called “full flavored”, while those with less than 15 milligrams are considered “low” or “light”. Cigarettes with tar levels below 6 milligrams are regarded as “ultra low” or “ultra light.”  “The most important aspect of this decision is that it says to consumers that tobacco industry claims relating to tar and nicotine are at best flawed and most likely misleading,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Reuters.

The commission said that during the 1960s it believed that providing consumers with uniform, standardized information about tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes would help them make better decisions. At that time, most public health officials believed that reducing the amount of tar in a cigarette would also reduce a smoker’s risk of lung cancer. However, that belief no longer exists.Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced legislation earlier this year that would prohibit companies from making claims based on data derived from the Cambridge testing method.  But the bill did not progress to the Senate for a full vote.  “Tobacco companies can no longer rely on the government to back up a flawed testing method that tricks smokers into thinking these cigarettes deliver less tar and nicotine,” said Lautenberg.

Pamela Jones Harbor, an FTC commissioner, called on Congress to approve the regulation of the tobacco industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a move that would authorize government scientists to monitor, analyze and regulate cigarette components.  Tobacco companies have been clear over the years in saying that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette.

In a statement by Philip Morris USA, the United States’ largest tobacco company, the company said it is committed to working with the federal government to identify and adopt testing strategies that improve on the Cambridge method.

FTC BuildingThe FTC said that all four major domestic cigarette makers told commissioners the 1966 recommendations should be retained until a suitable replacement test was approved.  Philip Morris told commissioners that eliminating the current guidance could lead to a “tar derby”, in which cigarette makers would employ different methods to measure yields in their cigarettes, leading to greater consumer confusion.

Source:  Red Orbit

Let’s Not Waste Another 12 Years

The federal government regulates everything from breakfast cereal and hair dye to horse feed and breast implants. The list of items regulated by our government includes just about every consumable product in America from prescription drugs to vegetables.

But there’s one item strangely absent from the list, the one that causes more preventable deaths than any other product. A powerful and well-funded lobby has managed to keep tobacco off the list of federally regulated products for more than 40 years after the first surgeon general’s report linked smoking to cancer. Even today, a simple list of ingredients is not required for tobacco products.

Tobacco companies have taken advantage of this lack of oversight and have shamelessly marketed to underaged recruits through cartoon advertising, nicotine and ingredient manipulation, fruity flavors, free giveaways at rock concerts, and ads in publications with high teen readership.

In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration assumed the authority to regulate tobacco as a consumable product and published rules regarding this regulation. Some basic common-sense approaches were proposed in those rules, including ways to prohibit the sale and marketing of tobacco to children. However, the Supreme Court ruled that only Congress could give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco.

Twelve years later, we continue to wait for Congress to take action regarding this lone unregulated product. We submit to you that this is twelve years too long.

Government RegulatorsCurrently being considered by Congress, the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, S. 625 and H.R. 1108, would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products the way drugs, devices, and foods are currently regulated. The American Cancer Society encourages all members of Congress to stand up and be counted on this issue. We cannot afford another 12 years of inaction.

Clanton is chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, High Plains Division, which includes Oklahoma. He is former deputy director for the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Mark Clanton, M.D., The Oklahoman

Red Meat, May Encourage Cancer

We have shared in previous articles that red meat can make cigarettes taste better to some people.

However, joggers–put down the hog head cheese.

A new study of half a million people from the National Cancer Institute finds that red and processed meat not only promotes colon cancer–which everyone knew–but esophagus, liver, lung and pancreas cancer!

Grilled meat, the study found, is especially bad.

This is because red meat which is grilled or char-grilled produces *heterocyclic amines –linked to breast, colon, stomach and prostate cancers–and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, another class of carcinogens formed from dripping fat.

Much to the chagrin of cattlemen, in the last two decades red meat has gone from good-for-you to do-it-if-you-feel lucky. Not as kamikaze as smoking or eating a Lake Michigan fish but getting there.

In fact, the all American meal of roast beef swimming in a moat of gravy and mashed potatoes, rolls, butter and pie for dessert is now regarded as a coronary waiting to happen.

And that’s before we get to the all American breakfast of sausage and bacon.

No, for anyone who wants to live past 40 today the four food groups are no longer cholesterol, salt, calories and unhealthy fats. There’s a new sheriff in town and he’s called fiber.

It’s got to be rough on the Department of Agriculture these days–promoting beef and the beef industry while safeguarding the population whose health it destroys.

USDA can’t come right out and say red meat causes heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity and most of the other neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases that are known to man.

So it says a low fat diet prevents them–the same way low tar cigarettes prevent lung cancer and low ultraviolet exposure prevents melanoma. (how can they say these things?)

Red Meat Steak PictureInstead of saying get your affairs in order before eating this product, it does a little diplomatic dance and says red meat can be a valuable contribution to a well balanced diet when used in moderation. So can saw dust. And the problems don’t end there.

Thanks to the “honor” system enacted in slaughterhouses, HACCP– Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point or Have A Cup of Coffee and Pray–in which packers inspect their own operations with no onsite federal inspectors to stop the line and lose the company money, e Coli is another red meat “perk.”

How do you convince people the meat is perfectly safe when they have to disinfect their hands, cutting board and utensils after handling it?

And speaking of bio-hazards, does anyone really think mad cow disease has gone away?

Red meat has other public relations problems too.

Like production on corporate or “factory” farms which produces more waste than the top American cities put together writes Eric Schlosser in Chew On This, polluting streams, killing fish and cannibalizing valuable arable land for nothing more than animal grain.

And the slaughter floor itself where animals do not die voluntarily or nicely and which has “cured” many a meat eater of the habit.

No, thanks to cancer, coronaries, contamination and cruelty, red meat is a tradition on the way out.

Like smoking or chewing tobacco or even putting kids in the car without a car seat, we did it once– and now we know better.

Source: Martha Rosenberg is staff cartoonist for the Evanston Roundtable. – *Grilled Meats and Cancer:

It is true that eating grilled or pan-fried meats can increase a person’s risk of cancer. When meat is grilled, chemicals called heterocyclicamines, which can be harmful, are created.

These chemicals are found in higher quantities when meat is well-done or burned.

Experts recommend limiting the amount of grilled meat in your diet, and avoiding the burnt parts altogether. They also recommend marinating and precooking meats in a microwave before cooking by other methods.

Keep in mind that many grilled foods are safe and good for you including grilled vegetables and fruits.

Free Nicotine Patches Plus Phone Counseling Prompts More Smokers to Quit

Portland, Oregon, Nov. 30

Smoking cessation rates doubled when quit-line callers were given free nicotine patches in addition to counseling, researchers found.

Calls to a smoking cessation hotline increased 112% when, in addition to a 30-minute telephone counseling session, callers were given a two-week supply of transdermal nicotine patches, said Jeffrey Fellows, Ph.D., of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research here, and colleagues.

Quit rates also improved from 8.2% with counseling alone to 15.7% with the patches plus counseling, they reported in a December supplement to the journal Tobacco Control.

In a separate randomized trial, more than 21% of smokers quit when they received intensive counseling plus nicotine patches, versus 11.7% among smokers who received a single brief counseling session and no patches.

Portland, OregonDr. Fellows noted that offering free nicotine replacement ultimately reduces the “average cost per quit.” In the first program, he said, the total one-year cost for counseling alone was $1.97 million versus $2.25 million when the patch giveaway was added. However, the addition of patches quadrupled the number of smokers who quit, so the cost per quit was $1,050 with the patch giveaway compared with $3,778 without it.

More than 2,100 smokers in the first program quit with the patches during the yearlong analysis; only 527 had quit with counseling alone the previous year. Quitting was defined as at least 30 days of tobacco abstinence at a six-month follow-up interview.

Another factor that may have contributed to the difference was free publicity surrounding the patch giveaway, raising awareness of the smoking quit-line service, the authors said.

“Given persistent resource limitations, state tobacco control program managers should consider reallocating portions of their media promotion budget to cover medications,” they said.

The second program, a prospective parallel-group trial in which some 4,600 quit-line callers were assigned randomly to six levels of service, showed similar effectiveness for patch giveaways.

The services included: brief counseling (one 15-minute call) with or without nicotine patches, moderate counseling (one 30-minute call and one follow-up call) with or without patches, or intensive counseling (one 30-minute call and four follow-up calls) with or without patches.

Subjects were contacted after one year to determine the results. As in the first study, if they had not used tobacco in the last 30 days, they were determined to have quit successfully.

They were also asked at follow-up to rate the quit-line service. Among those who received intensive counseling plus patches, 92.5% said they were satisfied, compared with 53.9% of those assigned to brief counseling alone.

As in the first study, the more intensive services were more cost-effective despite the greater expense per caller. Brief counseling alone cost $67 per caller versus $268 for intensive counseling plus nicotine patches. Relative to brief counseling alone, the costs for each additional quit in the other levels of service were similar, with a cost of $1,912 for moderate counseling and no patches and $2,112 per incremental quit for intensive counseling plus patches.

Although GlaxoSmithKline supplied patches without charge, the researchers included the usual price of patches in their cost calculations.

“Policymakers for state quit-lines might choose to offer only brief counseling with no [nicotine replacement therapy] because the cost per caller is lower,” said Jack Hollis, Ph.D., of Kaiser and lead author of the second study.

“However,” he said, “our results suggest that higher quit rates, greater client satisfaction, and the potential to attract more smokers to quit-lines more than offset the modest additional costs. Heavily addicted smokers, who have the highest health care costs over time, may benefit even more from intensive counseling and medication.”

All U.S. states have quit-line services, ranging from a single telephone session to counseling with multiple follow-up calls and nicotine replacement therapy.
The first study was supported by the Oregon Tobacco Prevention and Evaluation Program and the CDC.The second study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. GlaxoSmithKline provided the nicotine patches. Drs. Fellows and Hollis reported no conflicts of interest. Their co-authors included employees of Free & Clear Inc., the company providing the quit-line service in Oregon.

Click to learn more about > Kaiser Permanente Center

Primary source: Tobacco Control