Rassegna Stampa Scientifica Settembre 2023





“E-cigarette use is the single strongest risk factor for adolescents taking up tobacco smoking, outranking social norms, poor mental health and misperceptions about smoking harms, research published on Wednesday [August 23rd] has found… Published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, it found the strongest factor for susceptibility to future smoking was having ever smoked e-cigarettes. Four other factors – perceiving smokers to be more popular than non-smokers, having at least one close friend that smokes, perceiving smoking one or two cigarettes occasionally as not dangerous, and having symptoms of depression – were also independently associated with vulnerability to smoking.” [Natasha May. Vaping found to be the biggest risk factor for teenage tobacco smoking, The Guardian. Ed. Note: See below for study excerpt and full reference.]


“The UK's second-largest vape company took down social media accounts after sending vapes to reporters in an online giveaway without age verification. Chinese government-owned SKE has seen rapid growth in sales of its Crystal Bar disposable vapes, which have been criticised for appealing to children… SKE also apologised for not signing up to government recycling schemes. In supermarkets, newsagents and vape shops, Crystal Bar disposable vapes are everywhere in the UK. Designed to deliver a few hundred puffs of nicotine-containing vapour and then be thrown away, disposable vapes have seen astonishing growth in recent years.” [Ben King. Crystal Bar vape giant deletes TikTok after giveaway with no age verification, BBC News]


“Inside Big Ash, [a vintage clothing store in New York City], the cigarettes had been set out in a metal dish. The designer Mati Hays was displaying clothing with cigarette-inspired flair: an ashtray had been fashioned into a petite pillbox hat, with a vintage case affixed to a leather strap as a headband, each accompanied by a few Hestia [cigarette] loosies… “Cigfluencing,” a term the blogger Meg Superstar Princess used when she mentioned Hestia in a popular newsletter, isn’t new: Cigarette makers have always relied on creating an aura of coolness around smoking to sell their products. But the old standbys like Marlboro no longer need to buy out full-page magazine spreads or put up billboards just to boost their brand recognition. Nor could they: Today’s tobacco laws restrict outdoor advertising in most of the country, and a majority of social media companies similarly prohibit tobacco-related advertisements.” [Magdalene J. Taylor. A Viral Cigarette Brand? In 2023?, New York Times]


“Boys who smoke in their early teens risk passing on harmful epigenetic changes in the genes of their future children without altering the DNA… [Scientists at the University of Southampton and the University of Bergen] have just published their study in the journal Clinical Epigenetics under the title “Fathers’ Preconception Smoking and Offspring DNA Methylation.” It is the first human study to reveal the biological mechanism behind the impact of fathers’ early teenage smoking on their children.” [Judy Siegel-Itzkovich. Teenage boys who smoke risk respiratory damage to future kids, Jerusalem Post. Ed. Note: See below for study excerpt and full reference.]


“Public health officials in Germany are raising the alarm over an unexpected uptick in cigarette smoking—including among the young—that started in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdowns. The overall smoking rate in Germany was just over 34% in July, according to the most recent findings from Debra, a bimonthly survey funded by the German Health Ministry. In March 2020, the rate was 26.5%. The percentage of Germans between 14 and 17 years old who said they smoked cigarettes jumped to 15.9% in 2022, from 8.7% in 2021, according to Debra... Other European countries, including Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands, have seen steady decreases in smoking rates, said Rüdiger Krech, director of health promotion for the World Health Organization. “We’re so baffled around this," he said. “In so many areas of public health and health systems, Germany is performing very well. Here, it is an outlier."” [Jimmy Vielkind. Smoking Is a Dying Habit. Not in Germany, Wall Street Journal]


“Ukraine's National Corruption Prevention Agency added the world's leading tobacco companies Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Philip Morris International to the list of international sponsors of war. According to the agency's website, the companies continue to do business in Russia and support its economy. In particular, Japan Tobacco International is the undisputed leader of the tobacco market in Russia with a market share of almost 35%. The company is represented on the Russian market, in particular, by the Winston, LD, Mevius, Camel, and Sobranie brands… As previously reported on Aug. 17, Ukraine also added China's Alibaba Group Holding Limited, the owner of the AliExpress online store, to the list of international sponsors of the war.” [Uliana Horoshko. Ukraine adds 2 tobacco companies to list of war sponsors, Kyiv Independent]


“Eleven percent of adolescents who had never smoked were susceptible to smoking. Smoking susceptibility was independently associated with ever use of e-cigarettes (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=3.26, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.83-5.81), perceiving those who smoke to be more popular (AOR=2.87, 95% CI: 1.62-5.10), having a close friend/s who smokes (AOR=2.66, 95% CI: 1.61-4.40), not perceiving smoking one or two cigarettes occasionally as personally dangerous (AOR=2.56, 95% CI: 1.61-4.09), and having symptoms of depression (AOR=1.59, 95% CI: 1.06-2.38). Conclusions: The strongest smoking-initiation risk factor identified was ever use of e-cigarettes, with social norms, harm misperceptions around low-rate tobacco use and mental health also linked to smoking susceptibility.”


E-cigarette use and other risk factors associated with tobacco smoking susceptibility among Australian adolescents

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Available online 22 August 2023, 100076

In Press, Corrected Proof

Maree Scully, Elizabeth Greenhalgh, Emily Bain, Melanie Wakefield, Sarah Durkin, Victoria White



Note: Open Access.


Related coverage:


Vaping found to be the biggest risk factor for teenage tobacco smoking



“Broadly, the prevalence of smoking was found to be decreasing over time while the prevalence of vaping was increasing. Despite these general trends, no differences were observed in the likelihood of transitioning from smoking to vaping or from vaping to smoking, indicating that either pathway was equally as likely. Discussion and Conclusions: The current findings demonstrate that vaping appeared to be just as likely to have a gateway effect to smoking as it was to have a cessation effect. This highlights the need for greater consideration regarding vaping-related policies and restrictions.”


Effects of vaping on uptake and cessation of smoking: Longitudinal analysis in Aotearoa New Zealand adults

Drug and Alcohol Review

First published: 27 June 2023

Andre Mason, Benjamin C. Riordan, Taylor Winter, Tamlin S. Conner, Chris G. Sibley, Damian Scarf




Note: Open Access.


“E-cigarette advertisements often use psychographic targeting strategies, using lifestyles, attitudes, and values. Low-risk young adults (eg, those who currently do not use tobacco and nicotine products) are susceptible to psychographically targeted e-cigarette advertisements. This may result in the initiation of e-cigarette use among young adults who would otherwise be less likely to use tobacco and nicotine products. Stricter marketing regulations for emerging tobacco and nicotine products are required to reduce marketing exposure.”


Young Adult Responses to Peer Crowd-Based Targeting in E-cigarette Advertisements: An Experimental Study

Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Volume 25, Issue 6, June 2023, Pages 1125–1134.

Published: 27 April 2023

Minji Kim, Torsten B Neilands, Steven E Gregorich, Jeffrey W Jordan, Pamela M Ling



Related coverage:

Study finds e-cigarette manufacturers use targeted marketing to lure in young adults



“Father’s preconception smoking, particularly in puberty, is associated with offspring DNA methylation, providing evidence that epigenetic mechanisms may underly epidemiological observations that pubertal paternal smoking increases risk of offspring asthma, low lung function and obesity.”


Fathers’ preconception smoking and offspring DNA methylation: A two generation study 

Clinical Epigenetics

Preprint posted January 15, 2023.

Negusse T Kitaba et al.



Note: Open Access.


Related coverage:


Teenage boys who smoke risk respiratory damage to future kids



"I have often been asked by media and others which is more important – tobacco, or alcohol, or obesity, or any number of other issues. I have always sought to explain that we aren’t in competition, any more than oncologists, cardiologists or psychiatrists compete with each other. In this complex world we seek to address a wide range of health and social problems. Calling for action on one issue absolutely does not and should not mean playing down the need for action on others."


Mike Daube Early Career Advocacy Series


Public policy and impact – suggestions for researchers who want to make a difference

Health Promotion International, Volume 38, Issue 5, October 2023.

Mike Daube



Note: Open Access.


“Of all analyzed episodes [in popular streaming series in Germany], 25.1% contained smoking (range = 1 to 36 smoking scenes; median = 4). There was a statistically significant association between episode age rating and the presence of smoking… None of the streaming services meet the recommendations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to reliably restrict young people's access to media content that depicts smoking.”


Smoking in Popular Streaming Shows and Youth Protection in Germany

J Community Health. 2023 Aug 21. Online ahead of print.

Matthis Morgenstern, Stanton A Glantz, Clemens Neumann, Reiner Hanewinkel      



“The secondhand smoke cotinine dose for typical flight attendants in aircraft cabins is estimated to have been 6-fold that of the average US worker and 14-fold that of the average person. Thus, ventilation systems massively failed to control secondhand smoke air pollution in aircraft cabins, and led to extreme exposures… Conclusions: In-flight exposure to toxic and carcinogenic tobacco smoke in smoky passenger cabins was the major risk factor leading to the decedent’s multiple smoking-related diseases, and her premature death. This has implications for the extant and future health of the cohort of surviving flight attendants exposed to secondhand smoke on aircraft during the 20th Century Era.”


Quantifying Risk to Flight Attendants from Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Airline Cabins Using Pharmacokinetic Modeling: A Case Report

European Society of Medicine

Vol 11 No 7.2 (2023): July Issue, Vol.11, Issue 7.2

James Repace




Note: Open Access.



Vaping: France: Disposable Ban; Scotland: Proposed Ban; UK: Worrying Rise


“Scotland could ban disposable vapes under plans unveiled by the country's first minister. Campaigners have highlighted the environmental impact of the plastic tubes, which are often thrown on the ground after being used. Concerns have been raised around their growing popularity among young people. Humza Yousaf said his government would hold a consultation on a single-use vape ban as he set out his priorities for the coming year… A recent Scottish government report found that 22% of all under-18s - around 78,000 - are believed to have used a vape last year with more young people using them than smoking cigarettes.” [Katy Scott. Scotland to consider ban on disposable vapes, BBC News. See also: Five million vapes thrown away every week - research BBC News; Call for UK ban on single-use vapes as more than 5m discarded each week, The Guardian]


"More people aged 16 to 24 in Britain are using e-cigarettes – with a sharp rise among young women – which experts have called “worrying”. It comes as the number of people smoking cigarettes in the UK has dropped to a record low. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) used data from its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), a poll of 16,300 people over the age of 16 in Britain. It found 5.2% of people used e-cigarettes daily in 2022, up from 4.9% in 2021, with a further 3.5% reporting occasional vape use, up from 2.8%... [T]here was a significant rise in younger women vaping, with 6.7% of those aged 16 to 24 using e-cigarettes daily – up from 1.9% in 2021 – and 12.2% using them occasionally, up from 7.1%. The number of people in that age group overall who vaped jumped to 15.5% from 11.1%." [Storm Newton. ‘Worrying’ rise in vaping among teenagers and young adults, data suggests, The Independent. See also: Rise in young women vaping daily in the UK, BBC News; Teenage vaping: ‘I’ll have puffs as I’m falling asleep’, BBC News; Video: Panorama: Teenage Vaping: What’s the Harm?, BBC]


“Disposable vapes will be banned in France as part of a national plan to combat smoking, the prime minister said on Sunday [September 3rd]. Élisabeth Borne told the broadcaster RTL that the government would “soon present a new national plan to fight against smoking with, in particular, the prohibition of disposable electronic cigarettes, the famous ‘puffs’ which give bad habits to young people”. The French government is putting the final touches to its 2024 budget with a wider plan to reduce smoking, which Borne said was the cause of 75,000 deaths a year in the country.” [Lisa O'Carroll. France planning to ban disposable vapes in effort to combat smoking, The Guardian]


“France is to ban disposable vapes, on the basis that they lead to smoking… According to the last Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England survey from the NHS [National Health Service], the proportion of kids between 11 and 15 who have even tried smoking is about 12 per cent. Whereas back in 1996, they estimate, that figure would have been 49 per cent. When it comes to regular smoking, the figure is now 1 per cent… By contrast, regular vaping among this cohort is obviously going up… Nicotine is fearsomely addictive… Teachers speak of kids unable to concentrate in lessons, and break-time toilets that smell like a bag of Skittles. Vapes can also be headachey and anxiety-inducing. Heart-rates spike, lungs and tongues can burn… Smoking is a rare, miserable evil, and nobody should want to hinder its decline. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. On the other hand, don’t let the baby vape.” [Hugo Rifkind. Don’t ban vapes, just make them really boring, The Times]


"The London-based maker of Lucky Strike and Camel cigarettes came under fire in March last year after initially continuing to operate in Russia, breaking ranks with global brands such as Nestlé, Unilever, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. The decision was reversed just two days later, with the company citing its “ethos and values”." [Rob Davies. British American Tobacco to end sales in Russia within a month, The Guardian. Ed. Note: It amounts to stating the obvious, but a tobacco company with an "ethos and values" is an oxymoron, unless you value the ethos of doing grave harm, in which case they should have stayed in Russia and found themselves right at home.]


“Cigarette and EC [E-cigarettes] liquid can increase oxidative stress as well as cause morphological changes in the testicle. To be a safe option in smoking cessation studies, its effect on people needs to be enlightened.”


The effect of smoking and electronic cigarettes on rat testicles

El efecto del tabaquismo y los cigarrillos electrónicos en los testículos de ratas

Revista Internacional de Andrología

Volume 21, Issue 3, July–September 2023, 100365

Hüseyin Saygın, Esat Korgalı, Tülay Koç, Kübra Doğan



Related coverage:


Vaping can shrink testicles, cause sperm counts to plummet: new research


Vaping may lower men's sperm counts and shrink their testicles, study suggests


Study: Vaping Can Shrink Testicles And Lower Sperm Counts In Rats



Related study:


“This is the first human study to indicate that not only cigarette smoking but also use of e-cigarettes is associated with lower sperm counts. This could be important knowledge for men trying to achieve a pregnancy, as e-cigarettes are often considered to be less harmful than conventional cigarette smoking.”


Use of e-cigarettes associated with lower sperm counts in a cross-sectional study of young men from the general population

Hum Reprod. 2020 Jul 1;35(7):1693-1701.

Stine Agergaard Holmboe, Lærke Priskorn, Tina Kold Jensen, Niels Erik Skakkebaek, Anna-Maria Andersson, Niels Jørgensen



Note: Open Access.