ASH Daily News 1 February 2018



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UK

  • Tobacco industry funded study finds no negative health impact from vaping

International

  • USA: Director of CDC bought tobacco stocks whilst leading national anti-smoking efforts
  • USA: Two Democratic senators voice concerns over PMI’s clinical trials for IQOS
  • $46 billion in productivity lost to cancer in major emerging economies
  • Australia: Tobacco industry gives donations to two political parties

 

UK

Tobacco industry funded study finds no negative health impact from vaping

A 24-month clinical study conducted by Fontem Ventures has shown no negative health impact on smokers who used vaping products.

The study examined 209 smokers who used a Puritane e-cigarette for two years while researchers monitored them for any signs of harm. They assessed lung function, heart rhythm and electrical activity, as well as exposure to nicotine and tobacco constituents.

During the trial, no serious safety concerns were recorded among the participants and no clinically-relevant signs of medical harm were recorded. It did, however, report that many people suffered mild-to-severe side effects such as headaches, nausea and other withdrawal symptoms.

The study excluded people using NRTs, women who could become pregnant during the period and people with a significant clinical disorder.

See also:
Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology: Evaluation of the safety profile of an electronic vapour product used for two years by smokers in a real-life setting

Source: The Scottish Grocer, 1 February 2018
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International

USA: Director of CDC bought tobacco stocks whilst leading national anti-smoking efforts

Brenda Fitzgerald, the director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has resigned after revelations of her financial conflicts of interest.

In a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services, it was made clear that Dr Fitzgerald’s complex financial arrangements, such as her financial manager having bought stocks in tobacco and drug companies after she took the job in July, had compromised her integrity.

Dr Fitzgerald had owned a range of stocks in alcohol and drinks companies, Philip Morris International and a number of healthcare companies. She claimed that she sold the stocks, but in December Senator Patty Murray wrote to Fitzgerald saying she was concerned about unresolved financial holdings.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a month after becoming CDC director, Dr Fitzgerald’s financial manager bought shares in Japan Tobacco and the drug companies Bayer and Merck & Co, which were later sold.

Source: The Guardian, 31 January 2018
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USA: Two Democratic senators voice concerns over PMI’s clinical trials for IQOS

Two Democratic US senators have said that they have fresh concerns over clinical trials conducted by Philip Morris International (PMI) as the company seeks clearance to market IQOS as less risky than cigarettes.

Recent investigations by Reuters had identified shortcomings in the training and professionalism of some of the lead investigators in the clinical trials. Former Philip Morris employees and contractors also described irregularities in those experiments.

One of the senators, Dick Durbin of Illinois, stated: “Reuters’ reporting, and the serious concerns raised by FDA’s advisory committee, make clear that this product fails to meet the requirements set out under the Tobacco Control Act for modified risk claims”.

The other, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who had previously warned about the tobacco industry’s long history of false claims and deception, said: “I have serious concerns over reports that clinical trials for this product have been severely lacking in quality and sophistication. FDA must learn from past mistakes and thoroughly scrutinize all supporting materials”.

Source: Reuters, February 1 2018
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$46 billion in productivity lost to cancer in major emerging economies

A new study has for the first time evaluated the cost of lost productivity due to premature cancer deaths in several major emerging economies.

Led by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the study shows that the productivity loss in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, known collectively as the BRICS countries, reached $46.3 billion in 2012.

The BRICS countries account for more than 40% of the world’s population, 25% of the global GDP, and 42% of the world’s cancer deaths.

The study also observed the impact of tobacco on lung cancer mortality in South Africa and Brazil. Despite successful tobacco control policies tobacco remains a significant risk factor in these countries and tobacco-related productivity losses are expected to rise.

IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild said: “Focusing on tobacco control, vaccination programmes, and cancer screening, combined with access to adequate cancer treatment, would yield significant health and economic gains for the BRICS countries”.

See also:
Cancer Epidemiology: Productivity losses due to premature mortality from cancer in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS): A population-based comparison

Source: ecancer News, 31 January 2018
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Australia: Tobacco industry gives donations to two political parties

Australian Electoral Commission disclosure returns for 2016-17 have shown that Philip Morris International donated $20,000 to the Liberal Democratic Party and $15,000 to the National Party, two smaller parties in the Australian political system.

Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in Australia with a tobacco-related death almost every 28 minutes and both Labor and the Liberals had previously banned industry donations. Labor banned such donations in 2004 and the Liberals followed in 2013.

Source: Daily Mail, 31 January 2018
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