Last week the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (TFK) attacked RJ Reynolds (RJR) for test marketing flavored smokeless tobacco. TFK did so while advocating that kids use candy flavored nicotine gum, and while fighting hard for legislation that forbids health officials from requiring removal of menthol flavorings from cigarettes.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (TFK), a Washington D.C. based youth tobacco prevention organization, has attacked RJR for "plans to test-market three new smokeless tobacco products that dissolve in the mouth, come in 'fresh' and 'mellow' flavors and have slick, colorful packaging similar to gum and candy. TFK asserts that it's just another product to start kids "on the road to nicotine addiction." Ironically, TFK itself appears engaged in recommending use of candy and fruit flavored nicotine by children and teens.
TFK's website links youth to GlaxoSmithKline's Nicorette website to learn more about "Nicorette Mint" and "Nicorette Orange." Youth exploring the Nicorette website are also taught about "Cinnamon Surge" Nicorette that's "coated for an intense rush of bold cinnamon flavor" and "Fruit Chill" Nicorette that's "coated twice for an intense fruit flavor with a hint of mint."
Although at first blush it would appear that TFK's recommendation of candy and fruit flavored nicotine gum is an attempt to help youth addicted to smoking nicotine quit, long-term clinical studies published in 2000, 2006 and 2007 concluded that nicotine replacement products (NRT) are ineffective and of no value in helping youth quit.
TFK's 2006 Annual Report indicates that GlaxoSmithKline contributed more than $1 million to TFK. TFK's 2007 Annual Report evidences another GlaxoSmithKline donation of up to $999,000.
Kids referred by TFK to GlaxoSmithKline are not warned at either site that nicotine replacement products have proven ineffective in helping children and teens stop smoking. Nor does either site reveal that even among adult NRT users, that GlaxoSmithKline consultants found that within six months that 93% had relapsed to smoking.
While NRT has proven ineffective in helping youth quit, evidence is mounting that it may be effective in addicting them to nicotine. One study found that NRT youth abuse rates climbed from 2.7% to 4.6% between the 1996 and 1998 school years. A 1998 Memphis study found that 5% of high school students had used NRT, with many being regular users and 18% of users having never smoked a cigarette in their entire life.
The face of the nicotine addiction industry is changing. Traditional lines between the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries are beginning to blur. A 2003 study by GlaxoSmithKline consultants found that nearly 40% of nicotine gum users were chronic long-term users of at least 6 months. The NRT industry has failed to implement programs to prevent retail sales to youth.
A 2004 study found that youth attempting to purchase NRT products such as Nicorette were successful 81% of the time. Last week it was reported that two pieces of candy flavored Nicorette gum are being sold for one penny by way of self-service check-out-counter displays in Canadian beer stores. How much penny nicotine is finding its way into Canadian schools?
Here in the U.S., there is a petition drive underway to have the FDA approve the sale of NRT in daily dose packs of 20 each, and to allow the pharmaceutical industry to sell replacement nicotine along-side cigarettes in convenience and grocery stores.
Kids being referred by TFK to the Nicorette website are greeted by a new "White-Ice" marketing campaign. It proclaims that Nicorette provides "a burst of cool mint flavor" that "helps whiten teeth while you use it." What they will not see is any warning that Nicorette gum is addictive.
TFK appears to be ignoring warnings from nicotine toxicology researchers that animal studies have proven that "nicotine is a neurobehavioral teratogen that disrupts brain development by preempting the natural, neurotrophic roles of acetylcholine." According to Professor Theodore Slotkin of Duke Medical University, "brain maturation "continues into adolescence, the period when smoking typically commences." It creates "a vulnerable period in which nicotine can change the trajectory of neurodevelopment."
TFK has been repeatedly and soundly criticized for partnering with Philip Morris USA, America's largest cigarette company, in co-authoring toothless legislation that grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate cigarettes while all but tying its hands. The legislation passed the House of Representatives on July 30, 2008. The Senate version (S.625) sits in the Senate Health Committee.
The proposed legislation would deny the FDA authority to protect minority youth by requiring removal of menthol flavorings from cigarettes, flavorings heavily marketed to minorities. The Bill contains language denying the FDA authority to remove nicotine from cigarettes, to ban their sale, to establish a minimum national smoking age of 19 so as to stop thousands of 18 year-old high school seniors from purchasing cigarettes for underclassmen, and from requiring that cigarettes only be sold in stores to which youth are denied access.
On June 3, 2008, Boston University School of Public Health professor and physician Michael Siegel issued a stinging rebuke, attacking TFK for joining forces with Philip Morris in protecting the continued use of menthol flavorings in cigarettes.
"The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids struck a deal with Philip Morris after negotiating the FDA legislation with the nation's largest cigarette company and in forging that deal, the Campaign compromised the protection of the public's health for the special protection of tobacco company financial interests," wrote Dr. Siegel. "The truth is ugly, but perhaps not as ugly as the appearance that the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is actually working on the side of the tobacco companies."
TFK has issued 18 press releases since Dr. Siegel's June accusation of siding with Philip Morris in compromising public health, including fighting to prevent removal of menthol flavorings from cigarettes. What's needed is a press release explaining why TFK is fighting for toothless legislation which all but guarantees robust rates of youth nicotine addiciton and healthy industry profits for decades to come, enslavement that will guarantee job security for TFK executives for many years to come.XXX
No Copyright - This Article is Public DomainJohn R. Polito is solely responsible for the content of this article.
Any factual error will be immediately corrected upon receipt of credible authority
in support of the writer's contention. E-mail comments to email@example.com
Related Links and Articles
- 06/12/08 - Pfizer Chantix safety assurances contrary to evidence
- 05/13/08 - U.S. quit smoking policy integrity drowns in pharmaceutical influence
- 05/05/08 - Does updated tobacco treatment "Guideline" reflect sham science?
- 04/03/08 - FDA pulls video clip admitting Chantix suicide link
- 03/29/08- Do Kennedy and Waxman know about electronic or e-cigarettes?
- 03/13/08 - World Tobacco Conference Accused of Prostitution
- 02/06/08 - Nicotine Damages First Trimester Embryo
- 10/03/07 - Admitting physical addiction key to quitting smoking
- 09/25/07 - Prison Smoking Cessation, Tobacco Cessation and Nicotine Cessation
- 09/13/07 - "I'm Deborah, 38, and smoking has smoked this body"
- 08/16/07 - Over one million copies not sold
- 07/17/07 - Confessions of a teenage nicotine addict
- 03/12/07 - Ineffective aids equate placebo to cold turkey
- 02/27/07 - Senate tobacco bill would alter FDA's mission
- 02/06/07 - Critical Review: Nicotine for the Fetus, the Infant and the Adolescent?
- 11/28/06 - School smoking & nicotine dependency: students helping students
- 10/29/06 - Is the U.S. government's quitting policy killing smokers?
- 07/24/06 The Law of Addiction
- 07/10/06 13th World Conference on Tobacco or Health Drenched in Nicotine
- 04/18/06 - Nicotine Not Medicine, Its Use Not Therapy
- 03/18/06 - Convenience Stores - Nicotine Addiction Central
- 12/18/05 - Survey finds dramatic decline in College of Charleston student smoking
- 12/05/05 - Philip Morris revises "Raising kids who don't smoke"
- 11/22/05 - College smokers teach teens tobacco truths
- 10/19/05 - TIME Magazine's Health Hypocrisy
- 10/05/05 - Kids just don't get it!
- 09/19/05 - Study takes preschoolers cigarette shopping
- 09/03/05 - Latina Magazine - Enslaving & Killing Hispanic Females
- 08/30/05 - Philip Morris USA's "Could your kid be smoking?"
- 06/15/05 - The New Jazz Philosophy Tour 2005
- 06/03/05 - What Tobacco Issue is Important to Philip Morris?
- 05/17/04 - Nicotine Gum Maker's Concern Raises Concerns
- 06/11/03 - Are teens getting hooked on NRT?
WhyQuit's basic "how to quit smoking" video
Have you read our free quitting e-books?
Read both and experience the "POWER" of knowledge!
(Click each book's image to learn more about it before downloading)
Learn More About Smart Turkey Quitting
- WhyQuit.com - WhyQuit is the Internet's oldest forum devoted to the art, science and psychology of cold turkey quitting, the stop smoking method used by the vast majority of all successful long-term ex-smokers. Left to right, WhyQuit is organized under three headings: (1) Motivation, (2) Education and (3) Support.
- "Never Take Another Puff" - Imagine a free 149 page stop smoking ebook that's registered more than 4 million downloads and was written by a man who has devoted 40 years, full-time to helping smokers quit. Never Take Another Puff (NTAP) was authored by Joel Spitzer, the Internet's leading authority on how to stop smoking cold turkey. It is an insightful collection of almost 100 articles on every cessation topic imaginable.
- "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" - Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit's 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine (FFN) is a free 240 page nicotine dependency recovery book that documents the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful cessation. Whether hooked on cigarettes, e-cigarettes (e-cigs), bidis, kreteks, a pipe, hookah or cigars, on dip, chew, snuff or snus, or on the nicotine gum, lozenge, spray, inhaler or patch, FFN provides a comprehensive yet easy to follow road-map to freedom from nicotine.
- Joel's Library - Joel's Library is home to Joel Spitzer's "Daily Quitting Lesson Guide." The Guide walks new quitters through the first two weeks of smoking cessation, recommending daily videos to watch and articles to read. Joel's Library is also home to more than 100 original short stop smoking articles, to his free ebook Never Take Another Puff, and to his collection of more than 160 video stop smoking lessons.
- Nicotine Addiction 101 - WhyQuit's guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
- Freedom - Looking for a deadly serious and highly focused education oriented support group? Home to Joel Spitzer, Freedom is the Internet's only 100% nicotine-free peer messageboard support forum. Explore Freedom's hundreds of thousands of archived member posts on how to quit smoking.
- Turkeyville - Visit WhyQuit's Facebook cold turkey support group, where the primary focus is the first few days and helping new quitters get started. Yes you can!
- Nicotine Cessation Topic Index - An alphabetical subject matter index to hundreds of nicotine cessation support group discussions, article and videos.
- 40 Quitting Tips - Key cold turkey nicotine cessation tips on how to stop smoking, vaping, chewing or sucking nicotine into your body and bloodstream.
Knowledge is a Quitting Method!