Gov’t and MSA payments

Gov’t and MSA payments

State governments & the MSA

On November 23, 1998, all but 4 states entered into the Master Settlement Agreement with the 4 big tobacco companies.

 

The tobacco companies committed to pay out around $200 billion over twenty years to the state governments…based on annual cigarette sales.

Money.

Vaping has been proven successful at getting smokers off of cigarettes and keeping them off.

If smoking rates drop because of vaping then the states get less money.

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In the first section of the MSA, this agreement was made “to avoid the further expense, delay , incovenience, burden and uncertainty of continued litigation” by the state against the tobacco industry for expenses occured to Medicaid as a result of smoking.

Unfortunately, the MSA did not make provisions for how the MSA money is to be spent.

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Since the 4 tobacco giants entered an agreement to pay the state though the MSA, other tobacco companies are to be penalized by the state for doing business. So, since vaping helps smokers get off of cigarettes (which would lower MSA payments) the states catigorized vaping as tobacco.

Vaping is no more tobacco than vitamin C is an orange.

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Some of the state governments issued bonds based on the projections for future MSA payments. Unfortunately, they underestimated the rate at which smokers would stop smoking which means the payments were lower than they banked on. Those payments were short to pay the bonds when due.

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MSA backed bonds at risk for default

The S & P securities ratings assessed the immerging vaping industry as reducing the amount of smokers. Therefore they anticipated a drop in cigarette sales and the amount of MSA payouts. This means the governments that issued the bonds would have to find money elsewhere to pay them out when due.

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What went wrong in the USA

What went wrong in the USA

What went wrong in the USA

Suddenly, there were hundreds of cases of severe lung injuries in areas around the USA. All the patients had vaped recently.

Yet, millions of smokers had been vaping nicotine for more than 10 years without any cases of these lung injuries.

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For over 20 years, RealClearPolicy has been reviewing US domestic policy and analyzes “the most pivotal information on the day’s need-to-know issues”. They reviewed how the CDC handled EVALI in their article titled, Heads Should Roll at CDC after Botched Vaping Investigation.

Filter is a nonprofit, their mission is to …”advocate through journalism for rational and compassionate approaches to drug use, drug policy and human rights”. Their critique of how CDC handled EVALI is titled, Vapes and Lung Disease: The CDC’s Lesson in How Not to Handle an Illness Outbreak.

Expert warnings

Expert warnings

Expert warnings from the UK

Since the publication of Nicotine Without Smoke, UK health authorities have been promoting vaping as a smoking cessation aid for their citizens.

 

Scientists, health authorities and doctors in the UK issued statements and reports to help people see the deception about the lung injuries.

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Repeated fear provoking narrative

The pervasive message in North America is that we have to ban vaping because their is a ‘youth vaping epidemic’.

In Great Britain, vaping is recognized as a significant harm reduction strategy and is promoted by their public health. Yet, less than 2% of 11-18 year olds vape more than once a week.

WHERE is the youth vaping epidemic in Great Britain?

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Youth experiment with adult activities, this is why 52% vaped “to give it a try”. Cigarette smoke is far more addictive than nicotine vapour and far more harmful. Since smoking tastes gross, perhaps the flavours in eliquid are preventing them from becoming smokers.

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CALL TO ACTION

Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs wrote a referenced paper about EVALI. It is the perfect document to enlighten health professionals about how they have been deceived about tobacco harm reduction.

Government and THC cartridges

Government and THC cartridges

Canada gov't & THC cartridges

The Canadian federal government controls the sale of cannabis products.

 

On October 19, 2020, during the EVALI outbreak, THC cartridges were approved for sale. The fact that EVALI was caused by illegal THC cartridges could have an adverse effect on legal THC cartridges sales revenue.

Nicotine eliquid was blamed.

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Due to the deception that nicotine vaping was the cause of EVALI, sales of the new cannabis products were not interupted but how many vapers switched back to the most lethal form of nicotine: tobacco cigarettes?

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What went wrong in Canada

What went wrong in Canada

What went wrong in Canada

During the investigation into the cause of EVALI, governments, health-related nonprofits, health authorities, medical professionals, anti-smoking groups and media repeatedly claimed that vaping was injuring people without specifying that the injuries were caused from illegal THC cartridges.

Over and over again, they included nicotine eliquid in their conversations, statements and announcements. A false narrative that blamed tobacco harm reduction (vaping nicotine eliquid) for the lung injuries spread throughout the public and the health community.

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what happened

what happened

What happened

Suddenly, there were hundreds of cases of severe lung injuries in areas around the USA. All the patients had vaped.

Yet, millions of smokers had been vaping nicotine for more than 10 years without any cases of these lung injuries.

In August of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they were investigating an outbreak of lung injuries.

Over 2800 cases were identified, causing 68 deaths in the USA; in Canada there were 19 cases and no deaths.

76% of the patients were under 35 and 66% were male.

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Vaping nicotine eliquid is a harm reduction strategy used by millions of smokers all over the world. Since the injuries only occurred in North America, it was clear the injuries were being caused by something other than standard nicotine eliquid.

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Almost 100% of the injured patients reported using illegal THC cartridges. Despite the evidence, the injury was named EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping product use-Associated Lung Injury) implying the cause was nicotine eliquid.

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To identify the substance causing the injuries, lung samples from the patients were analyzed. The fat based substances identified as causing the injuries can not be disolved in nicotine eliquid because they would separate in the container.

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Vaping products used were analyzed

The patients submitted the products they were vaping to help identify the cause of the injuries. Nicotine eliquids contained no unexpected or harmful chemicals but 9 out of 10 illegal THC carts contained vitamin E acetate which is used as a cutting agent.

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More on what happened

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current context

current context

The current context

The current resistance about tobacco harm reduction is a familiar reaction.

A similar response occurred during the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s.

The rhetoric at that time was that distributing condoms would encourage youth to become promiscuous28.

Canadian Nurses Association harm reduction resources

Stay current in the credible evidence

Tobacco harm reduction hx

The neo-prohibitionist approach to smoking is “Quit smoking or suffer and die from smoking-related diseases.” All innovative products under this precautionary principle are oppressed which supports the tobacco industry by denying the population safer alternatives and supports the pharmaceutical industry by promoting the incidence of smoking-related diseases. About 95% of unaided smoking cessations attempts end in failure and attempts with nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) have <10% success rate at six months29.

Snus is an oral tobacco product processed via fermentation which removes the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (the carcinogens found in tobacco). Due to pressure from public health groups, in 1992, the sale of snus was prohibited in the European Union (EU) despite the EU’s acknowledgement that snus is not a carcinogen. Sweden obtained an exemption to allow their smoking citizens a harm reduction option29.  As a result, Sweden has the lowest smoking rates and the lowest rates of lung cancer in the EU. It’s notable that 13% of Swedish men are smokers compared to an average 29% of men in the EU. Further, Sweden has the lowest rate of tobacco-related mortality even though Sweden consumes the same amount of tobacco by weight as other countries29.

This is an example of the efficacy and sensibility of tobacco harm reduction (THR). History also illustrates the oppression of tobacco harm reduction by authority29.

nicotine eliquid didn’t cause lung injuries

The recent outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries were a result of  illegal THC (cannabis) cartridges used in vaping devices30,31,32. Vitamin E acetate has been identified as the primary causative agent33,34.

During the outbreak, misisnformation was spread by media and health authorities. Click the link below and learn more from a letter released by the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs35.

Outbreak named EVALI

E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury

People have been vaping in the USA for over 10 years without lung injury outbreaks36. In the summer of 2019, a sudden  outbreak of severe lung injuries occurred in North America, mainly the USA. Over 2800 cases were identified, causing 68 deaths30.

Absence of infection37

Hx of recent vaping

Age of patients (median 23):
15% under 18 years old
37% 18-24 years old
24% 25-34 years old
24% 35+ years old30

Patients presented with a nonproductive cough, shortness of breath, tachycardia, and fever38.

Investigations

Labs and interviews

58 American EVALI patients were interviewed; 91% reported using illegal THC cartridges39. 51 lung fluid samples of lung injured patients tested positive for fat based substances used in THC cartridges: 48 vitamin E acetate, 1 coconut oil, 1 limonene (a “terpene” found in cannabis)40.

EVALI quickly declined

Law enforcement responded

44 websites were seized that were advertising the sale of illegal THC cartridges41. Millions of dollars worth of THC concentrates and cartridges were seized from illegal operations in Wisconsin and Minnesota42, 43.

Commercial nicotine eliquid

Federal regulations

Ingredients in nicotine eliquids have been restricted by Canadian government regulations since May 201844. Lipophilic ingredients are not allowed in commercial nicotine eliquids44. Nicotine eliquid is an aqueous solution and lipids won’t dissolve in it45.

THC cartridges in Canada

Government controlled

THC cartridges were approved for sale in Canada October 19, 2019 during the lung injury outbreak46. Of the 19 Canadian patients with EVALI, 11 reported they only vaped nicotine (many during a time when THC cartridges were illegal)47. Neither toxicology screens nor lung fluid biopsies were performed to confirm patients’ self-reporting47.

Experiment with mice

Vitamin E Acetate aerosols

In this experiment, two controls were used: air and standard eliquid base of propylene glycol/vegetable glycerine blend. Mice exposed to the vitamin E acetate aerosols presented with signs consistent with EVALI48.

Wide-spread misinformation

Discouraged harm reduction

Public Health England, March 2020:

“The mistaken belief that e-cigarettes are more harmful than smoking increased rapidly among UK smokers following the US lung injury outbreak in autumn 2019.”49

Listen to the experts

Quotes from those that have done the research

“The burden of proof

is on the regulatory agency to
demonstrate that the product is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use…electronic cigarette prohibition will do harm to hundreds of thousands
of vapers already using electronic cigarettes in place of tobacco ones – a clear violation of nonmaleficence.”

Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control: A step forward or past mistakes? (2010) Cahn, & Seigel

 

“Current state of knowledge

about chemistry of liquids and
aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable
exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.”

Peering through the mist: Systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks. (2014) Burstyn.

“Even if there are longterm

vapers, this is not a problem, as long as they quit smoking. The problem is combusted tobacco, not nicotine. At the dosage  used by vapers or users of nicotine gums or patches,  nicotine is not toxic. Long term vaping is not a public health problem; not any more than long term use of nicotine  gums.”

Dr Jean-François Etter

“None of the toxicological

testing conducted in E-cigs has shown that users or bystanders are exposed to harmful levels of toxins or carcinogens. E-cigs eliminate exposure to the smoke toxicants responsible for nearly all smoking-related diseases.”

A fresh look at tobacco harm reduction: The case for the electronic cigarette. (2013) Polosa, Rodu, Caponnetto, Maglia, & Racitti

“The burden of proof

is on the regulatory agency to demonstrate that the product is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use…electronic cigarette prohibition will do harm to hundreds of thousands of vapers already using electronic cigarettes in place of tobacco ones – a clear violation of nonmaleficence.”

Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control: A step forward or past mistakes? (2010) Cahn, & Seigel 

“Even if there are longterm

vapers, this is not a problem, as long as they quit smoking. The problem is combusted tobacco, not nicotine. At the dosage  used by vapers or users of nicotine gums or patches,  nicotine is not toxic. Long term vaping is not a public health problem; not any more than long term use of nicotine  gums.”

Dr Jean-François Etter

“Current state of knowledge

about chemistry of liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.”

Peering through the mist: Systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks. (2014) Burstyn.

“None of the toxicological

testing conducted in E-cigs has shown that users or bystanders are exposed to harmful levels of toxins or carcinogens. E-cigs eliminate exposure to the smoke toxicants responsible for nearly all smoking-related diseases.”

A fresh look at tobacco harm reduction: The case for the electronic cigarette. (2013) Polosa, Rodu, Caponnetto, Maglia, & Racitti

Facilitate informed decision making

Your patients’ lives depend on it

In the next section we look at the current false narratives about nicotine vaping and offer evidence to help you make informed decisions.

 

28. Sellers, D., McGraw, S., & McKinlay, J. (1994). Does the promotion and distribution of condoms increase teen sexual activity? Evidence from an HIV prevention program for Latino youth.

29. Institute of Economic Affairs. (2013). Free market solutions in health: The case of nicotine.

30. Centers for Disease Control and prevention. (2020). Outbreak of lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Updated February 25, 2020.

31. FDA. (2019). Vaping Illness Update: FDA warns public to stop using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing vaping products and any vaping products obtained off the street.

32. Utah Department of Health. (2019). Vaping-related lung injury, Utah, 2019: Investigation to date updated September 30, 2019.

33. Duffy, B.; Li, L.; Lu, S.; Durocher, L.; Dittmar, M.; Delaney-Baldwin, E.; Panawennage, D.; LeMaster, D.; Navarette, K.; Spink, D. (2019). Analysis of cannabinoid-containing fluids in illicit vaping cartridges recovered from pulmonary injury patients: Identification of vitamin E acetate as a major diluent.

34. Blount, B., Karwowski, M., Shields, P., Morel-Espinosa, M., Valentin-Blasini, L., Gardner, M., Braselton, M., Brosius, C., Caron, K., Chambers, D., Corstvet, J., Cowan, E., et al., (2019). Vitamin E Acetate in Bronchoalveolar-Lavage Fluid Associated with EVALI.

35. Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs. (2020). Miscommunication about the causes of the US outbreak of lung diseases in vapers by public health authorities and the media.

36. Public Health England. (2019). Vaping and lung disease in the US: PHE’s advice.

37. M. Perrine CG, Pickens CM, Boehmer TK, et al. Characteristics of a Multistate Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-cigarette Use, or Vaping — United States, 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:860–864.

38. J. Schier JG, Meiman JG, Layden J, et al. Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Electronic-Cigarette–Product Use — Interim Guidance. September 6, 2019 MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:787–790

39. A. Taylor J, Wiens T, Peterson J, et al. Characteristics of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Products Used by Patients with Associated Lung Injury and Products Seized by Law Enforcement — Minnesota, 2018 and 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:1096-1100.

40. B. Blount, B.C., Karwowski, M.P., Shields, P.G. et al. (2020). Vitamin E acetate in bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid associated with EVALI.

41. C. US Food and Drug Administration. (2019). FDA, DEA seize 44 websites advertising sale of elicit THC cartridges to US consumers as part of Operation Vapor Lock.

42. D. ABC News. (2019). Sheriff details charges against brothers accused of running THC vape ring.

43. E. ABC News. (2019). Minnesota police seize over 75,000 THC vaping cartridges in record bust.

44. Government of Canada. (2018). Tobacco and Vaping Products Act.

45. F. Campagna, D., Amaradio, M.D., Sands, M., & Polosa, R. (2016). Respiratory infections and pneumonia: potential benefits of switching from smoking to vaping.

46. Government of Canada. (2019). Backgrounder: Final regulations on new cannabis products.

47. H. Government of Canada. (2019). Vaping-associated lung illness.

48. K. Bhat, T.A., Kalathil, S.G., Bogner, P.N., Blount, B.C., Goniewicz, M. L., & Thanavala, Y.M. (2020). An animal model of inhaled vitamin E acetate and EVALI-like lung injury.

49. L. Public Health England. (2020.) False fears preventing smokers from using e-cigarettes to quit.