IL – Elk Grove Village – Stop Tobacco 21!

The Elk Grove Village Board of Trustees will be considering an ordinance (Ordinance No. 3527) that would raise the age to purchase, possess, and sell all tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21-years-old.

The public will have an opportunity to comment during a Committee of the Whole meeting on

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

4:00 PM

901 Wellington Avenue, Room E

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Please make plans to attend this hearing. Even if you do not plan to speak, your presence is important as it demonstrates the large numbers of people affected by this issue.

In advance of the hearing, take a moment to send a message to the village board urging them to reject this harmful ordinance.

Take Action – Send a Message

You can also send your comments via regular mail to:

  • Elk Grove Village Board of Trustees
  • 901 Wellington Ave., Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Or call:

  • 847-439-4010


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11.10.17 – What we’re reading and watching this morning


Elk Grove Village – Ordinance No. 3527, An ordinance amending section 3-6B-1 and Section 3-6B-4 of the village code by amending …

“WHEREAS, the Mayor and Village Board has determined that it will serve and advance the public’s health, safety and welfare and be in the best interest of the Village and its residents, to amend the Village Code of Elk Grove Village to increase the minimum age for the purchase and sale of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices to twenty-one (21) years of age.”



“First, it is important to draw a distinction between a “smoke-free campus” movement and a “smoke-free student body” movement. While the former would constitute a blanket ban of tobacco and nicotine products on campus, the latter would be a concentrated effort to help the student body wean off the addictive substance. While this seems like a meaningless distinction, it creates two vastly different futures for the Loyola community.”


Middleboro, MA – The Enterprise, Eileen Reece – Middleboro board keeps tobacco-buying age at 18

“‘I am opposed to changing the age to make it up to 21. If the state thinks it’s a good idea, let the state issue the mandate. Cause I don’t believe I should create business for my surrounding towns by taking it away from my own town,’ said Selectmen Vice-Chairman Stephen McKinnon on Oct. 30.”

(Michigan), Michelle Minton – When Lansing writes laws based on emotion, rather than facts

“Laws that banned e-cigarette sales to minors, for example, seemed only to push teens into smoking traditional cigarettes at higher rates. Taxes on soda, meant to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages, only caused people to drink more beer. And keg registration laws only prompted underage drinkers to buy different forms of alcohol.”

(Oregon) news sources – Crook County tobacco sales ordinance takes effect on ‘Smokeout’ Day

“…November 16 also marks the day that Crook County Ordinance #300 goes into effect.  This ordinance requires all Crook County retailers who sell tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to post Oregon Tobacco Quitline contact information at the point of sale.”


The Washington Times, Laura Kelly – E-Cigarette users save more money than smokers, poll shows

“Users who switched to e-cigarettes reported saving an average of $1,416.60, according to the online poll conducted by LendEDU, an online marketplace that helps students refinance their loans.”


National Post – Big Tobacco urges Canada to ensure legal nicotine competitive with black market

“Imperial isn’t lobbying for lower taxes for traditional cigarettes but is against future increases as well as the federal government’s plan to require plain and standardized packaging…”

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11.09.17 – What we’re reading and watching this morning


Mankato/N.Mankato – Mankato-N. Kato resolve to decide tobacco issue after Jan. 1

Mankato Free Press, Mark Fischenich

“A divided Mankato-North Mankato Intergovernmental Committee couldn’t agree on a recommendation on the Tobacco 21 initiative Wednesday night.”

Robbinsdale, MN – City Council Meeting 11.07.17

Section 9, Old Business, Item A: First Reading: Amendment to Robbinsdale’s Tobacco License Regulations (click on the item under the video)

(Rhode Island)

Middletown, RI – New tobacco rules coming under scrutiny

The Newport Daily News, Matt Sheley

“Late last month, a complaint in Newport Superior Court from two local convenience stores said the town overreached by passing rules banning the sale of flavored tobacco and the aggressive marketing of those products and also didn’t properly advertise the changes before they were approved.”


Juneau County, WI – Addiction expert warns about smoking at Mauston presentation

Juneau County Star-Times, Jake Ekdahl

“Macmaster emphasized that tobacco addiction should be approached and treated like other harmful substance addictions, such as alcohol or drugs.”


Aldehyde levels in e-cigarette aerosol: Findings from a replication study and from use of a new-generation device

Science Direct, Konstantinos E. Farsalinos, Kurt A. Kistler, Alexander Pennington, Alketa Spyrou, Dimitris Kouretas, Gene Gillman

“A recent study identified high aldehyde emissions from e-cigarettes (ECs), that when converted to reasonable daily human EC liquid consumption, 5 g/day, gave formaldehyde exposure equivalent to 604–3257 tobacco cigarettes. We replicated this study and also tested a new-generation atomizer under verified realistic (no dry puff) conditions.”

Smokers Turn to e-Cigarettes in Attempt to Quit

Medscape, Maureen Salamon

“In the Tennessee-based study, current cigarette smokers were seven times more likely than nonsmokers to be e-cigarette users. Additionally, tobacco smokers who also smoked e-cigarettes were at least 3.5 times more likely than non-e-cigarette users to have quit smoking for a day or longer during the past 12 months for the sake of quitting.”


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NIAAA Promotes Alcohol Industry Public Relations Program; Violates Ethical Standards by Appearing in Anheuser-Busch Promotional Video

In what I believe is a clear ethics code violation, senior employees of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have appeared in an Anheuser-Busch InBev promotional video that is designed primarily to serve the company’s public relations interests.

The video was brought to light in an article by Miriam Shuchman at Wired which was published last Thursday.

In the video, Anheuser-Busch InBev boasts to the public about its “Smart Drinking Goals” program, which is purportedly designed to reduce “hazardous” drinking. Several Anheuser-Busch executives– including its CEO, Chief “Health” Officer, and Chief Legal and Financial Officer–appear in the video, boasting about how wonderful this program is and implying how great a company Anheuser-Busch is for funding this program and how much it cares about the public’s health.

But the Anheuser-Busch executives aren’t the only ones who appear in this promotional, public relations video.

Shockingly, this Anheuser-Busch PR effort (i.e., public relations effort) is also endorsed and promoted by senior officials of the Executive Branch of the United States government. And even worse, those senior officials are the Director and the Director of Global Alcohol Research of the NIAAA!

The Director of Global Alcohol Research at NIAAA provides a glowing endorsement of the program, describing it as “wonderful” (see 0:27-0:34 in the video). The Director of NIAAA also endorses the program, asserting that it will “go far in moving the field forward” (see 3:17-3:26).

Brilliantly, Anheuser-Busch intersperses promotional statements from its own executives with promotional statements from the NIAAA officials, thus creating a clear endorsement of the program by the NIAAA itself, which is a public relations coup for the company.

The true purpose of the video is revealed at 3:42, when an Anheuser-Busch Global Advisory Council reveals the company’s aspiration: “We’re no longer a neighborhood’s beer or a country’s beer. We’re in fact a corporation representing the world.”

The video is clearly marketing Budweiser and other beers produced by Anheuser-Busch. As the company acknowledges, they are running this international program because they don’t just want to be a neighborhood’s beer or a country’s beer; they want to be the world’s beer.

There’s nothing wrong with that aspiration. In fact, were I a shareholder, I would be very pleased with this amazing public relations ploy. I would be more than thrilled that the company was able to get the leadership of NIAAA to endorse this effort to make Anheuser-Busch the world’s beer. However, there is something very wrong with NIAAA officials appearing in this promotional video and endorsing this marketing ploy.

The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story is that the Director of NIAAA and the Director of Global Research at NIAAA are essentially endorsing a public relations effort of the world’s largest beer company by appearing in a promotional video whose true purpose is to expand Budweiser sales so that it becomes the world’s beer.

This is entirely inappropriate, as the NIAAA has no business aiding Anheuser-Busch in its marketing efforts. Nor does the NIAAA have any business endorsing a public relations effort, or any other program, of this alcohol company.

Not only does the appearance of the Director of the NIAAA in this video undermine the public health mission of the National Institutes of Health, but in my view, it is a clear ethics violation.

According to Title 5, Chapter 45, Part 5501 of the Code of Federal Regulations–a section known as the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Department of Health and Human Services–no employee of the NIH may:

“Engage in any employment or self-employed business activity that involves the sale or promotion of products or services of a substantially affected organization or a health care provider or insurer, except for the purpose of commercializing invention rights obtained by the employee pursuant to Executive Order 10096, 15 U.S.C. 3710d, or implementing regulations.” 

[Section 5501.109 – Prohibited outside activities applicable to employees of the National Institutes of Health – at (c)(1)(iii)].

The appearance of the NIH Director and the NIH Director of Global Research in this Anheuser-Busch InBev promotional video violates this standard because it involves the promotion of a product or service of Anheuser-Busch, which is a substantially affected organization because its profits may be directly impacted by an activity of the NIAAA (namely, the agency’s research on the health benefits or risks of alcohol use).

In his defense, the NIAAA director told Wired: “It always surprises me when people are critical of us even talking to industry.”

If NIAAA was merely talking to industry, it wouldn’t be a problem. But appearing in an Anheuser-Busch promotional video is not merely talking to industry. It is actually promoting and endorsing a company product or service. By doing so, the NIAAA has participated in a marketing ploy of the company. Essentially, NIAAA is helping Anheuser-Busch to market beer and achieve its goal of becoming the world’s beer.

In my view, NIAAA has been corrupted by the alcohol industry because it is acting as essentially a marketing branch for Anheuser-Busch. With the promotion of Anheuser-Busch’s interests that NIAAA is providing, the company hardly needs its own marketing division. It can simply call the director of NIAAA it’s de facto Director of Marketing and Public Relations. The alcohol industry couldn’t have a better friend in a higher place.

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Alexandria, MN – Take action to stop a vaping ban!

An ordinance that would ban vaping in the same places where smoking is prohibited is being considered by Alexandria’s city council. The city council will hold a public hearing and possibly take action on this ordinance on

Monday, October 23, 2017

7:00 PM

704 Broadway – Council Chambers

Alexandria, MN 56308

Please make plans to attend this hearing. Even if you do not plan to speak, your presence is important as it demonstrates the large numbers of people who are affected by this issue.

In advance of the hearing, please take a moment to contact city council members and urge them to oppose this regulation.

Take action – Send a Message

Health organizations in the UK have demonstrated bold leadership by recommending that governments NOT enact sweeping bans on where vapor products can be used. Instead, given the low risk these products pose to users and practically no risk to bystanders, private businesses should be in control of setting their own vaping policies.

(Letter to Alexandria tobacco retailers)

(Link to proposed ordinance)

(Link to October 23rd agenda)

Not a resident of Alexandria? Text CASAA MINN to 52886 to see Minnesota alerts in your area. Be sure to sign up to monitor activities in your town through the “Adopt a City/County” form here.

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My Response to an Invitation to Consult for the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

Below is my response to an invitation to consult for the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, funded by Philip Morris International:

Unfortunately, I will not be able to consult or play any advisory role on this project. Since Philip Morris International (PMI) continues to aggressively market cigarettes internationally and to aggressively fight public health efforts to reduce tobacco use, this is just not a project that I can participate in as a public health practitioner. PMI cannot be sincere in its intention to establish a smoke-free world when it continues to aggressively lobby against public health efforts to reduce tobacco use.

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Lindenhurst, NY – Local Alert – Take action to stop a vape shop ban!

The Lindenhurst Village Board is considering a zoning ordinance that would ban vapor shops and hookah lounges. A public hearing will be held on

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

2:30 PM

Village Hall

430 S. Wellwood Ave.

Lindenhurst NY 11757

Please make plans to attend this hearing. Even if you do not plan to speak, your presence is important as it demonstrates the large numbers of people affected by this issue.

In advance of the hearing, please take a moment to send a message to Village Board members urging them to reject this proposal.

Take Action – Send a Message

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CASAA Submits Comment in Support of MRTP Application for IQOS

On September 14th, CASAA submitted a comment in support of PMI’s Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) application for their “heat not burn” product, IQOS.

“…there is no doubt that this technology will benefit the health of the population as a whole. IQOS clearly appeals to a significant segment of the smoking population, as illustrated by the fact that more than 3 million smokers worldwide thus far have switched to IQOS.”

The docket for this application will be open for comments from the public until December 12, 2017.

CASAA’s full comment is available here.

If approved, PMI would be allowed to market their IQOS products with the following, truthful claims:

  • IQOS system heats tobacco but does not burn it.
  • This significantly reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals.
  • Scientific studies have shown that switching completely from cigarettes to the IQOS system can reduce the risks of tobacco-related diseases.
  • Switching completely to IQOS presents less risk of harm than continuing to smoke cigarettes.
  • Switching completely from cigarettes to the IQOS system significantly reduces your body’s exposure to harmful and potentially harmful chemicals.

Since being granted regulatory authority over tobacco products in 2009, the FDA has not approved a single MRTP application. In 2014, snus maker Swedish Match submitted a lengthy MRTP application asking to remove specific warning statements from ten of its snus products. In 2016, FDA responded by deferring its decision and is reportedly working with Swedish Match on a path forward. You can read CASAA’s comment here and our review of FDA’s decision here.

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