CONNECTICUT

 

TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION 101: CONNECTICUT

January 23, 2020

Key Points: 

  • Connecticut’s vaping industry provided more than $341 million in economic activity in 2018 while generating 478 direct vaping-related jobs. Sales of disposables and prefilled cartridges in Connecticut exceeded $3.5 million in 2016.

  • As of January 17, 2020, CDPH has reported 46 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses, including one death. CDPH does not offer current cases counts with information on age, gender, or substances vaped. CDPH deserves a D for its transparency on vaping-related lung illnesses.  

  • In 2017, only 23.9 percent of Connecticut high school students cited flavors as a reason for e-cigarette use. More data is needed.  

  • Only 4 percent of FDA retail compliance checks in Connecticut resulted in sales of e-cigarettes to minors from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

  • Connecticut spends very little on tobacco prevention. In 2019, Connecticut dedicated $0 to tobacco control programs including education and prevention, despite receiving $459.6 million in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in the same year.

CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH LACKS TRANSPARENCY WHEN REPORTING VAPING-RELATED HOSPITALIZATIONS

October 16, 2019
  • Lindsey Stroud examines reports by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CDPH), finding the department is now omitting specific details about recent vaping-related hospitalizations.  

  • On August 21, 2019, CDPH reported two cases of vaping-related hospitalizations involving patients who admitted to vaping “both nicotine and marijuana products.

  • On September 19, CDPH confirmed 11 more cases, for a grand total of 13. Of these, CDPH interviewed nine patients, who all admitted “using vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive component of the marijuana plant.”

  • CDPH press releases on October 3 and October 11 did not mention anything about which substances individuals vaped prior to hospitalizations.

  • Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a majority of vaping-related hospitalizations were due to vaping THC products. On October 3, CDC announced 78 percent of patients with vaping-related illnesses “reported using THC-containing products.” Similar results have been reported by health departments in Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.

  • It is imperative lawmakers understand these illegal, unregulated THC-laden “vaping cartridges,” which are mostly homemade or available on the black market, are not e-cigarette products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    • E-cigarettes and vaping devices first entered the U.S. market in 2007.

    • In 2012, FDA was granted authority to regulate vaping devices as tobacco products.

    • In 2016, FDA extended its regulatory authority over e-cigarettes, issuing deeming regulations. Under these rules, no new vaping product could come to market after August 8, 2016, without first completing a premarket tobacco application.

  • An estimated three million American adults have used vaping devices to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. Further, e-cigarettes are twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy in helping smokers quit.

  • In June June 2019, the American Cancer Society found “e-cigarette use [is] significantly less harmful for adults than smoking regular cigarettes […] because e-cigarettes do not contain or burn tobacco.”  

  • Making matters worse, far too many policymakers seek to reduce youth e-cigarette use, yet spend little tobacco revenue on such programs. 1998, Connecticut joined other sates in settling with tobacco companies in what became known as the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).

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©2020 by Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.