Monday, August 22, 2011

News & Events (Tobacco) > FDA to Host a Public Workshop on Modified Risk Tobacco Product Applications

FDA is inviting scientific and medical experts, as well as interested participants from academia, public health organizations, federal, state and local government agencies, consumer groups, and the tobacco industry, to attend the workshop in person or by live webcast. FDA also invites public comments on MRTPs, which can be submitted via the web2 or via mail3 until September 23, 2011.

News & Events (Tobacco) > FDA to Host a Public Workshop on Modified Risk Tobacco Product Applications

I would like to believe that this is set to be an event that will prove to be a productive, honest, and progressive workshop that will emphatically embrace the objective of studying the actual science of harm reduction (free of bias and special interest motives) for the more than 50 million smokers here in the U.S., but I somehow doubt that will take place at all. Why am I so cynical?

Could FDA Panel Conflict of Interest Endanger Menthol Cigarettes?

The issue hit this week when the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, filed a complaint against the FDA's tobacco advisory panel for conflicts of interest since they have voting members who consult for pharmaceutical companies that work on nicotine delivery products to quit smoking.

Would you trust these guys with studying the tobacco that you smoke, chew, or vape? Do you believe that they will be truthful in disseminating to smokers the vital information that they/we need so that we may be able to differentiate between the varying relative risks of the tobacco products that we choose to use? Knowledge of these differences will have an immediate and direct impact on the choices that we make, and undoubtedly save millions of lives among those of us who choose to smoke. Do you really believe that they have your best interest at heart? I don't, and here's yet another reason why:

Propylene glycol used as smokescreen

Dr. Gilbert Ross was commenting on a statement by the US Food and Drug Administration that it had found two brands of e-cigarettes containing a chemical used in antifreeze.

Dr. Josh Bloom, also of ACSH, described the FDA claim as a scare tactic aimed at convincing people that the chemical in question, propylene glycol, was antifreeze, and therefore toxic.

But propylene glycol was essentially non-toxic: it was a chemical that was converted into normal products of carbohydrate metabolism.

If the folks at the FDA are unable to tell the difference (er..or don't want to tell us the difference) between propylene glycol and ETHYLENE glycol, is it even remotely possible to believe that they will be willing to publicly admit that indeed a non-filter cigarette is different (ie., more risky) from say that of a charcoal filter cigarette with bright Virginia tobacco that is virtually nitrosamine free?

Somehow I don't think that we're going to get the truth anytime in the near future, not unless we begin to demand it. Millions of tobacco users will be left in the dark as a result. The only option that we will be given is the option to remain in ignorance about the relative risks of varying tobacco products coupled with a sales pitch to buy pharmaceutical drugs that don't work. Millions will die needlessly as a result. There will always be smokers. This is a reality that the current appointees to the FDA tobacco panel simply refuse to grasp. The quit or die approach has proven to be an abysmal failure. True harm reduction is going to require truth and honesty, not prohibition.

Speaking of realism and harm reduction, it sure would be nice to see someone like Dr. Gori sitting on the FDA panel. Now there's someone who would be truly looking out for America's 50 million smokers.

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