Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Night Links

  • Agency is the capacity to act. More subtly: An individual’s life can continue, with a certain inertia, that will lead them on to the next year or decade. Most people today more-or-less know what they are going to be doing for the first twenty-or-more years of their life—being in some kind of school (the “doing” is almost more “being told what to do”). Beyond that age there is of course the proverbial worker, in modern stories usually an office worker, who is often so inert that he becomes blindsided by a sudden yank of reality (that forces him out of his inertia, and in doing so the story begins). Gaining agency is gaining the capacity to do something differently from, or in addition to, the events that simply happen to you. Most famous people go off-script early, usually in more than one way. [Simon Sarris]
  • In the nineteenth century, American writers began to distance themselves from the influence of England to create a truly American literary identity. One attempt was literary realism, a philosophy that tried to represent contemporary society as it truly was. In the journalistic sphere, this experiment grew largely through the efforts of newspapermen Ambrose Bierce and Mark Twain in the 1870s and 1880s. It reached full bloom under the cynical editorial reign of H. L. Mencken in the early 1900s. Undergirding the writings of these three men was a fervent desire to puncture the myth of culture and to expose stupidity, vanity, and corruption through scorn and ridicule. All three, in their way, belonged to what one critic has termed “the cantankerous school” of American writing, an institution that offers master classes in sardonic satire, acidic invective, and merciless truth. [link]
  • The late Michael Russell said decades ago that people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar. This powerful insight remains extremely relevant today and should drive much of our ‘endgame’ thinking. But whereas tobacco product regulation was virtually nonexistent when Dr Russell offered up his observation in the 1970s, today, science-based regulation of all tobacco products is possible in the USA and globally either through enacted legislation or under the relevant provisions of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. [BMJ]
  • Measurements of blood nicotine levels in smokers opened new windows on tobacco dependence. It rapidly became apparent that smokers regulate the way they inhale so as to maintain nicotine levels. Reductions in nicotine from changing to "low-tar" cigarettes resulted in increased inhalation in order to maintain nicotine intake. Russell realised the devastating implications of this for the then officially approved policy of tar (and nicotine) reduction, but it took another 20 years before it was widely accepted that low-tar cigarettes were not safer. Comparisons of nicotine concentrations in dependent users of dry nasal snuff, moist oral snuff and cigarette smokers showed remarkably similar levels, pointing to the controlling influence of nicotine. This led Russell to become an early advocate of harm reduction, since it was apparent that it was the tar, not the nicotine, that killed smokers, and it was possible to satisfy users' desire to take nicotine with non-combustible tar-free products. [link]
  • Both PM and MO are trying to shape the future regulatory environment around ENDS. This battle will be fought first and foremost in the U.S., which will influence the regulatory environment worldwide. The strategy is already taking shape: 1) Raise cigarette buying age to 21--this is window dressing to placate Congress and buy other concessions, like those below. This is exactly what both companies are lobbying on now. 2) Build a regulatory moat around ENDS: (a) Push legislation which will require FDA submission and ingredient disclosure for e-liquid based ENDS (consumer safety regulations, labeling, etc.). (b) Regulate nicotine levels. (c) Keep chasing MRTP for IQOS. The U.S. regulatory environment would then be the model for the rest of the world. This would effectively cede the ENTIRE electronic cigarette space to the big players. Only the big players can afford to comply with a complex approvals/disclosure process--it would put all the small importers of various Chinese-made products out of business in the U.S. because they will not be able to afford this kind of testing/QC. The more burdensome/labyrinthine the regulatory process becomes, the better it is for PM/MO with their armies of lawyers and quality engineers. This will be the same play in the cannabis space if and when the big players are ready: bury the small competition in regulatory bureaucracy. This is what worked in the cigarette space for decades. This is why there are now only a handful of giant companies selling a commodity product with in developed markets. No one else can afford to. PM and MO, or future NewCo, are selling razor blades, not razor handles. The strategy is to have good enough technology, best-in-class distribution, but most importantly: giant regulatory barriers to prevent new entrants. [CBS
  • Modified nicotine - initially in the form of nic salts, the first step on the road - is the route by which cigarette corporations who buy vape businesses will gradually introduce their addiction model into the vaping market. The last point is the most important. They need you to become dependent, as ‘brand loyalty’ is everything in the cigarette business. Modified nicotine looks like a great way to do it. [Chris Price]
  • In 1942, when flour enrichment with nicotinic acid began, a headline in the popular press said "Tobacco in Your Bread." In response, the Council on Foods and Nutrition of the American Medical Association approved of the Food and Nutrition Board's new names niacin and niacin amide for use primarily by non-scientists. It was thought appropriate to choose a name to dissociate nicotinic acid from nicotine, to avoid the perception that vitamins or niacin-rich food contains nicotine, or that cigarettes contain vitamins. The resulting name niacin was derived from nicotinic acid + vitamin. [Niacin]
  • If you want some insurance against future Europe-US travel restrictions, want your children to have the flexibility to study/work/live in the EU, or just want to be like Eric Schmidt (support Biden and the Democrats’ plan to re-make U.S. society and the U.S. economy, but have the Gulfstream fueled and that second passport handy just in case!), the Portuguese Golden Visa program is an inexpensive path to an EU passport (less than $100,000 in fees and travel expenses). One requirement of the program is investing in real estate, which the Portuguese love and which I personally hate, or stocks, which the Portuguese hate and I love. [Phil G
  • A bulk carrier operation is an office with an assistant and a Greek owner at boozy lunches making charter deals. A large crude oil tanker fleet is a Norwegian doing snus and a tiny back office. Running a liner fleet is much more management intensive than owning bulk carriers. The liner companies have at least an order of magnitude more employees per ship on shore than the bulk carrier owners. Bulk carriers are autocratic, perfect for a Greek (the real profit is made buying or selling ships) and the liner companies are bureaucratic. [CBS]
  • It has been unexpectedly discovered herein that certain nicotine salt formulations provide satisfaction in an individual superior to that of free base nicotine, and more comparable to the satisfaction in an individual smoking a traditional cigarette. The satisfaction effect is consistent with an efficient transfer of nicotine to the lungs of an individual and a rapid rise of nicotine absorption in the plasma as shown, for non-limiting example, in Example 8, at least. It has also been unexpectedly discovered herein that certain nicotine salt formulations provide greater satisfaction than other nicotine salt formulations, and such effect has been shown in blood plasma levels of example nicotine salt formulations herein, for non-limiting example, in Example 8, at least. These results show a difference in rate of nicotine uptake in the blood that is higher for some nicotine salt formulations aerosolized by an electronic cigarette than for other nicotine salt formulations, and likewise higher than nicotine freebase formulations, while the peak concentration of the nicotine in the blood and total amount of nicotine delivered appears comparable to a traditional cigarette, and do not appear to vary significantly between the various nicotine formulations. Therefore, described herein are nicotine salt formulations for use in an electronic cigarette, or the like, that provide a general satisfaction effect consistent with an efficient transfer of nicotine to the lungs of an individual and a rapid rise of nicotine absorption in the plasma. [Nicotine salt formulations for aerosol devices and methods thereof]

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