A DEADLY ADDICTING LIE - 1010 Park Place
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A DEADLY ADDICTING LIE

FAVORⓇ SMOKELESS CIGARETTES, Photograph by Brenda Coffee, ©1010ParkPlace, 2018
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This week Good Morning America (GMA) reported the Surgeon General declared “vaping” to be an epidemic among teenagers, and there are few treatment options. What GMA and the Surgeon General failed to say is cigarettes, vaping and the current e-cigarettes are more addicting than heroin. How do I know this? For 20 years nicotine and smokeless cigarettes were my business. I coined the terms “vape” and “vaping.”

This is the story of the sinister plot between the Federal government and the “Big Six” tobacco companies to put the first smokeless cigarette out of business because it wasn’t in their best interest.

Before the current e-cigarettes (users inhale high doses of nicotine and exhale copious clouds of vapor) there was FAVOR Smokeless Cigarettes, a revolutionary cigarette. In the early 1980’s FAVOR was invented, patented and developed by my first husband, the late Jon Philip Ray, founder of Datapoint Corporation which invented the first desktop computer and the microprocessor. Because users didn’t have to light FAVOR– it contained small amounts of nicotine vapor users inhaled, and there was no exhaled particulate matter–I named it “the vape” and users were “vaping” not smoking. I also named our product, FAVOR Smokeless Cigarettes as in “Do yourself a Favor,” and “Do your friends a Favor” by not smoking combustible cigarettes. 

Our commercial for Favor Smokeless Cigarettes that ran on television.

Although nicotine is more addicting than heroin, it’s the 2,000 by-products of burning—not the nicotine—that are carcinogenic. FAVOR Smokeless Cigarettes were designed to be a better alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes. In a perfect world and with the consumer’s best interest at heart, the health and social implications of a “smokeless cigarette” that doesn’t cause cancer or pollute the atmosphere would be a good thing.

But in this instance it wasn’t a perfect world, but one ruled by sheer greed.

Before we conducted countless focus group studies, raised venture capital and took our company, Advanced Tobacco Products, Inc., public on the NY Stock Exchange, we first conducted medical studies with “the vape” and human users. Our study became the cover story for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The cover photograph was an arm wrapped with a tourniquet and a lit cigarette held close to a bulging vein. 

The unprecedented message from the respected JAMA was clear: Nicotine is a drug.

Because combustible cigarettes were deadly and smoking was being banned from public places and FAVOR solved both problems, Wall Street predicted we’d all be billionaires. Even though everyone concerned knew there were huge risks about whether the Feds and the Big Six would let us market FAVOR, it was a risk we were all willing to take. While our product looked like a cigarette, you inhaled it like a cigarette—but you didn’t light it—it slipped through the cracks of the legal definition of a cigarette. And therein was the risk. Why?

Follow the money trail.

Because FAVOR didn’t meet the legal definitions of a cigarette, the government couldn’t collect any tax from the sales to consumers. On the other hand consumers are taxed on the sale of combustible cigarettes. The taxes on Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) are the government’s second largest revenue source. (The income tax you and I pay is the largest.) If FAVOR were successful it could pose a major loss to the government’s income stream. And if that wasn’t a big enough risk factor for the Feds to find a way to shut us down, FAVOR stood to publicly underscore that the Big Six were knowingly selling an addicting drug, over-the-counter. And because we didn’t meet the legal definition of a cigarette, legally, we could advertise FAVOR on TV while combustible cigarettes weren’t allowed to advertise on television. That was a conversation starter among consumers!

It wasn’t long before we felt the wrath of the Big Six, the Feds and their goons. They’re akin to the mob, and they don’t play nice with others.

FAVOR Smokeless Cigarettes were selling well, and consumers liked them, but as soon as our distributors put them on retail shelves, the Big Six’s powerful cigarette distributors removed them. At the same time men in suits, driving four-door Chevy’s, started loading our personal garbage into the trunk of their car. A burly guy hurdled over our tall locked gate and knocked on our front door. He said he had it “on good authority the people in this house better watch their step… They need a bodyguard.” He then left the same way he came. In the middle of the night three men in suits broke into our house and my husband’s lab. My husband was asleep… more like passed out. I was not. I confronted them with a loaded gun, and they fled. The next day our attorneys and major investors saw to it we had bodyguards. Here are my diary entries from that time.

Because our VP of Marketing was the former President of RJ Reynolds International, we had a reliable backchannel of information. The Big Six and the ATF put their greedy, symbiotic heads together about how to get rid of FAVOR Smokeless Cigarettes. We knew we were going to upset an entire industry and what is nothing short of legal, over-the-counter drug dealing and its staggering profit stream.

So it didn’t come as a surprise when the ATF sent us a letter, demanding we withdraw our product from the marketplace—because we were selling a “new drug”—or they would slap us with an injunction and shut us down. Devastating words for a public company and its shareholders. The letter also said FAVOR “is a nicotine delivery system intended to satisfy nicotine dependence… and because of its intended uses, FAVOR is a drug as defined within section 201(g) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.” Seriously? The Feds were talking out of both sides of their mouth! All tobacco products contain nicotine, and nicotine is a drug… So why weren’t/aren’t Marboros considered a drug and restricted from selling them over-the-counter?

I’ll say it again… Follow the money trail.

Good Morning America also reported that JUUL–the most popular e-cig with teenagers–has taken steps to eliminate enticing flavors like mango, mint and cream. Publicly they’re sounding concerned about teenage users, saying “underage usage is completely unacceptable to us… ”

I’m calling bullshit on this.

Not only are their refills cleverly flavored to appeal to teenagers; they look exactly like a USB flash drive and deliver higher, more concentrated doses of nicotine than any combustible cigarette, other e-cig, or amounts of nicotine FAVOR Smokeless Cigarettes ever dreamed of delivering.

The same day this week GMA featured their story, December 20, 2018, Altria, formerly Phillip Morris Companies—one of the Big Six—acquired a 35% stake in JUUL Labs for $13 Billon. $2 Billion of this will be split between the company’s 1,500 company workers.

The fox is in the henhouse, and there’s big money in selling drugs.

I know—for a medical fact—nicotine is more addicting to people under 18 with undeveloped brains. I also know—for a business fact—the Big Six’s motto is “Hook ‘em when they’re young, and you’ll have a customer for life.”

If you doubt the intentions and morals of the Big Six and the twisted response of the Feds, remember Dr. Jeffrey Weigan, former VP of R&D for Brown & Williamson tobacco company? In 1999, Dr. Weigan courageously testified before Congress—they labeled him a “whistleblower”—about how the Big Six intentionally manipulated their tobacco blends with chemicals to increase the “effect” of nicotine. Translated that means to get you addicted quicker… like the concentrated doses in JUUL. Wigand later gave an interview to Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes. Marie Brenner subsequently wrote a Vanity Fair article, “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” which was made into an Academy Award-nominated film, The Insider, with Russel Crowe and Al Pacino. While the Feds and the Big Six tried to discredit Dr. Weigand and suppress his 60 Minute interview, he and his family received death threats and a bullet in their mailbox.

I know that kind of terror!

So Good Morning America… Cecilia Vega and Juju Chang… This story is more than an epidemic among our teenagers and a lack of treatment. How are you going to followup on this sham of public concern from JUUL, the tobacco companies and the Feds? Our health and that of our children depend on it.

Love, Brenda

27 Comments

  • Reply Pennie Ann Nichols December 22, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Just wow. Thanks for sharing this story.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 22, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Pennie, thank you for reading! I appreciate it AND you. Brenda

  • Reply melmi December 22, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Very, very scary story. Every time I see a full page ad for Juul and hear the commercial on the radio, I want to “throw up.” Sometimes I think people are just plain stupid. I work in a high school… it’s a huge problem….we are going to have a nation of addicts and this includes the stupid legalization of marijuana.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 22, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Melmi, You know better than most the sad and deadly affect drugs–legal and illegal–crass and crude rap music and addiction to technology are having on generations of our population. I’m beyond sad and devastated. What happens when we’re too old to govern, or dead, and the me, me, me generation is in charge? Thank you for leaving this poignant comment. Thank you! Brenda

  • Reply Beckye December 22, 2018 at 10:18 am

    WOW, Brenda. So many mind-blowers here. You are more amazing the more we know of you! Incredible scary times for someone so young. (Not to mention the links to previous posts I had missed, like being imprisoned on Christmas Eve!) I’m proud of you for speaking the truth for the good of our youth and the health of our people. I pray those who can take up your story and bring action will do so. In these times, especially millineals, but more people seem willing to speak out against wrong. May the Lord bring good fruit from your offering. Datapoint? Favor? Amazing, girlfriend!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 22, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Beckye, I’ve lived in interesting times, that’s for sure. So much so that except for dropping tidbits here and there in my blog, I don’t talk about my life. I realize how out of the norm it’s been and how hard it is for people to digest. For a number of years I belonged to a writer’s group. We wrote memoir. I later discovered one of the women, “Freda,” didn’t like me because she thought I made things up… Thank you, sweet lady for your continuing support and encouragement. I appreciate you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Beckye December 22, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Tweeted this to Juju and GMA. Godspeed!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 22, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you, Beckye!! And to you as well, Brenda

  • Reply Sandra Sallin December 22, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    You leave me speechless. I’ll read one of your posts and thing I’ll comment later. I’m too moved right now. I’ve got to let it sit. Then a week goes by and you do it again. I must say. Of all the people I read you’re the one who strikes home in my heart. I am so moved by your life and times. I’m so proud to call you my firmed. At least that’s how I feel about you. I know we haven’t met but I feel we have been buddies for ages. I will read this again, and read your diary entries this evening. We need you!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 22, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you, dear Sandy! We are friends, and one day we’ll meet and pickup our conversation like we’ve known one another forever. I appreciate you read my posts and comment and they touch you in some way. That’s just about the best thing a writer can hope for… other than in this case… and more attention is called to the e-cig story, particularly JUUL. If the Feds shut us down for selling a “new drug,”nicotine only,” (it would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening and alarming) then the Feds should shut JUUL down, but they won’t because 35% of JUUL is owned by the fox. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Donna O'Klock December 22, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Wow, Brenda! What an engaging read about a despicable bunch of profiteers… and you’re the perfect woman to write it!
    I hope everyone who reads this will pass it along to their kids and grandkids.
    XO

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 22, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you, Donna! Please Tweet and Facebook it to everyone you know. Not that it will do any good. The Feds, the Big Six and their goons have “a way with words.” xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Glenda Cowan December 22, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Interesting but not sure how accurate it is to the whole failure of Flavor that was being made here in my home state. You see I was a teen smoker when these were introduced in the late 70’s. At that time and for years after there were no bans on smoking in the USA. It was allowed throughout any business or public building. We even had designated smoke areas in high schools. The greatest set back for the company going forward was that the plastic cigarette had a paper material plug inside that was soaked with nicotine. Turned out that it was not a good way to deliver due to it causing a short shelf life that ultimately required refrigeration of the cigs to keep them effective. NO smoker felt that it made any since and saw no reason to buy them.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 23, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Dear Glenda, While I appreciate your comment you might want to get your facts straight before you come on so strong, citing your 17-year-old girl assumptions, starting with: The product was called FAVOR, not Flavor, and it was introduced on the market in 1983, not in the ’70s. Smoking bans were increasing all across the country on airplanes, businesses and public places. The greatest set back for the company was because the Federal government ordered us (Advanced Tobacco Products, Inc.) to remove our product from the marketplace, which meant we could no longer sell FAVOR anywhere. (This was the main point of my blog post.)There WAS NOT a paper material plug inside SOAKED WITH NICOTINE. Nicotine is one of the most dangerous and fatally toxic substances on Earth. Even a small amount in a small town’s water supply could sicken or even kill the entire town. Even if a user dunked a FAVOR Smokeless Cigarette in a liquid and drank it, there wasn’t enough nicotine in one FAVOR to harm them. FAVOR worked on “the Venturi principle.” When users inhaled a FAVOR Smokeless Cigarette, air passed over a “Venturi-shaped” filter, which necks down in the middle, thereby increasing pressure and making it more effective for the air to draw a small amount of nicotine and deliver it to the user. FAVOR was never meant to be a one-to-one replacement for combustible cigarettes. Smokers knew that but it was helpful when they were in airplanes, theaters, restaurants, etc. where they couldn’t smoke. Combustible cigarettes are an efficient, but deadly, way to deliver nicotine because the heat and large amounts of carcinogenic particulate matter goes directly into the lungs. It takes only 7 seconds for it to then reach the brain. It is the “brain” that is looking to be “satisfied,” to satisfy the smoker’s addiction. Because FAVOR had no heat source of any kind much of the nicotine vapor was absorbed buccaly… into the lining of the mouth which was then absorbed by the bloodstream and then reached the brain. Buccal absorption is slower than the 7 seconds from the lungs to the brain absorption of combustible cigarettes so smokers weren’t getting the same “bang” or rush they were used to receiving. You claim NO smoker thought it made any SINCE (sense) and no reason to buy them. Sales of FAVOR and continued studies showed smokers knew how they worked and when they needed/wanted to use them to help them cut back or quit smoking combustible cigarettes. In addition to naming the product and the terms vape and vaping, from the first minute of its inception, FAVOR was developed with my assistance: I was the second user of the first smokeless cigarette prototype. I was part of the team that conducted medical and focus group studies, I co-wrote the business plan that raised a private placement round of capital and subsequently venture capital which took the company public on the NY Stock Exchange. At one point in the Company’s history, in four days I single-handedly did a hostile takeover of Advanced Tobacco Products, Inc., replaced management, gained a seat on the Board of Directors and was appointed Managing Consultant which meant I made fiscal and management decisions; co-signed every check that went out the door; wrote the Annual & Quarterly Reports, and was part of the team that sold FAVOR’s patents to Swedish Pharmaceutical firm, Pharmacia/Leo. They subsequently reconfigured FAVOR and made it a prescription only device, an Inhaler, that joined their existing, successful family of Nicorette/Nicotrol Gum and Patch smoking cessation products and successfully rolled it out across Europe and the United States and paid us/Advanced Tobacco Products, Inc., royalties on all sales. I was also part of the team that sold Advanced Tobacco Products, Inc’s valuable public company “shell” to Ivax Pharmaceuticals, the sale of which produced a return on investment to our shareholders. Sincerely, Brenda Ray Coffee

  • Reply Glenda Cowan December 22, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Regarding the future of JUUL technology and the tobacco companies jumping on board has more to do with reaching a technology that truly makes an e-cig only usable with a cartridge that can not be as simple as the current liquid fills on today’s market. Those are now a leading drug paraphernalia here in the USA and are certain to become illegal in the near future. https://www.cnn.com/2015/09/04/us/vaping-abuse/index.html

  • Reply Sally Leonard December 23, 2018 at 12:14 am

    I admire you tremendously for sharing your life stories. Thank you!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 23, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you, Sally! I appreciate you returning, again and again, to read and comment on my posts. Thank you so very much, Brenda

  • Reply Kathleen December 23, 2018 at 9:20 am

    This is why I love coming to your blog. Information I can sink my teeth into as well as a dose of fashion and beauty. Thank you for all you do. I’ll definitely pass on this information.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace December 23, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Kathleen, I’m happy you enjoy my posts and find them informative. As a loyal reader you know I may choose to write about things of substance and consequences that make us think or something that makes you laugh or shows you the latest fashion trends. For several years I had the Top Breast Cancer Blog but eventually I couldn’t write about cancer anymore. I wanted to write about everything women over 50 might be interested in, so it does my heart good to know you enjoy it. Thank you so much! I’m grateful. Brenda

  • Reply Karen Austin December 27, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    I’m always very suspicious of new products. I don’t want to be the first generation to use something with potential side effects. The lungs are so fragile and so crucial to sustaining life. It just doesn’t seem worth it to risk the health of my lungs for something recreational. I don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, don’t drink coffee, and eat more plants than I eat meat or carbs. I switched from teaching English to working with older adults and teaching college classes about healthy aging. Everyone has to die of something, but I am trying not to hasten that event. God bless people who are working to break free of addictions. My dad quit smoking after 40 years, and his health immediately improved. It’s possible to quit! Thanks for raising awareness.

    • Reply Brenda Coffee December 27, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Karen, You’re a smart consumer! Brava to you and bravo to your dad for quitting smoking. Nicotine is the only alkaloid that opens a “receptor in the brain” that doesn’t go dormant after you quit using the drug, which explains why it’s so difficult to quit. For the rest of the user’s life, that receptor screams “Feed me. Feed me.” and temps a former smoker to begin, again. Heroin opens a receptor in the brain as well, but it closes back up at some point after the addict has quit using heroin, which makes it easier to kick heroin than it is to quit nicotine. Commercials for JUUL don’t tell you that nicotine is an addicting DRUG. They call it “a chemical.” I love your comment… a lot. My best to you and I hope you live to a healthy and rewarding old age. We should all take a lesson from you. Brenda

  • Reply shelley December 27, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Wow! This is fascinating. Scary, but fascinating. I seldom share posts with my hubby but he’ll be as enthralled with this story as I was. I wish I could sit here and think “surely our government and/or big business wouldn’t do this” but unfortunately I can’t. I have very little confidence that they give two cents about our health and safety.

    • Reply Brenda Coffee December 27, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Shelley, It’s sad, but true. Our government and many big businesses–certainly those selling addicting drugs like nicotine–care more about the insane amounts of money they make than they care about the consumer. It’s even more alarming when you understand… really understand and think about… that they’re only too ready and willing to kill anyone (like me, my late husband and Dr. Jeffrey Weigan and his family) if they get in their way. Thank you for reading and leaving me a comment and for sharing. Brenda

  • Reply Alana December 27, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Smoking killed my mother at the age of 47. When my son (in his 20’s) started to use e-cigarettes my heart was broken. In my heart I knew it was not harmless, and now, after reading your post, I realize how much I did not know about the pure evil of this situation. He tells me that he no longer “vapes”. I hope that is true. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life and warning us.

    • Reply 1010Parkplace December 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you, Alana for reading. I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Smoking kills millions of people. They may develop heart and lung problems, vascular issues, and it complicates existing diseases like diabetes. I haven’t seen any studies on the E-cigarettes, so I can’t speak knowledgeably about what else, other than larger doses of nicotine than combustible cigarettes contain… That is what makes them so scary. MRIs show they’re changing the pathways in the brains of young people at an age when their brains aren’t fully developed. E-cigs and their nicotine salts are almost like free-basing cocaine, which is ultimately more dangerous than simply snorting cocaine, which we all know can ruin your life and/or kill you. The manufacturers of JUUL are the worst kind of drug pushers because they’ve dressed up their product to look like high tech USB flash drives. They’re colorful and sexy and are financed, distributed and marketed by a modern system that’s been around since the early 1950’s. Make no mistake: They are thugs and drug dealers. I pray your son doesn’t vape anymore. My best to you, Alana, Brenda

  • Reply LA CONTESSA January 4, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    GOOD GRIEF!
    YOU MENTIONED A BIT OF THIS AT MY HOUSE!!!!!!!!
    ALL THEY WANT TO DO IS MAKE MONEY!
    HOW SAD IS ALL OF THIS………………
    GREAT POST!

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