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On April 19, the United States Postal Service (USPS) offered new guidance for vape businesses ahead of a rule that would make it difficult for their products to be shipped by mail to consumers.

The notice, published in the Federal Register, gave some clarity on the forthcoming policy and outlined potential exceptions, which could include legal hemp and its derivatives. As the restriction is set to take effect immediately after its finalized and USPS will not review any exemptions ahead of time, the agency released what it hopes is a streamlined application process.

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Way before there were mass-produced cigarettes, there were pipes. Indeed, since the early days of tobacco harvesting and curing, people packed pipes with tobacco, as captured in iconic images of farmers with corncob pipes, sea captains clenching pipes, and aristocrats enjoying a pipe with an after-dinner drink.

Over the years, the mystique of pipe smoking faded in comparison with wider acceptance of cigarettes, but there’s always remained a segment of people who prefers the unique experience and taste of pipe tobacco, much like there’s a specific demographic that opts to roll their own cigarettes. [...]

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Something very curious is happening as anti-tobacco groups led by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids seek city-by-city, state-by-state bans on flavored tobacco products.

They have succeeded in just one state — Massachusetts, which ended the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, e-cigarettes and cigars, last June. In a full-page ad in The Boston Globe, the anti-tobacco groups thanked lawmakers “for protecting our kids and communities.”

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Across the country, local and state lawmakers are proposing to enact new taxes and/or increasing existing excise taxes on e-cigarettes. Some are introducing these measures ostensibly to address youth vaping. Others want to impose taxes that match existing cigarette and other tobacco taxes. A few—like West Virginia Governor Jim Justice—have introduced outrage vapor taxes in order to generate the revenue to eliminate other taxes.

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A new analysis of data from a randomised controlled trial of the stop-smoking drug varenicline (brand name Chantix in the US and Champix elsewhere), has provided clear evidence that varenicline does not increase the risk of psychiatric problems. The study also assessed the risk of psychiatric problems associated with bupropion and the nicotine patch. It similarly found moderate to strong evidence for no increased risk of neuropsychiatric adverse events relative to use of a placebo. 

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Today, around two hundred people will die from smoking in Britain alone. This is often compared to a plane of smokers crashing down everyday. This makes for a powerful metaphor, but it needs updating. Because where these planes fall, and who the passengers are, is not evenly distributed. As the Marmot review update reveals, our poorest and most socially disadvantaged communities have suffered the most from austerity, and tobacco-related disease contributes to extensive morbidity and mortality within these areas. [...]

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A war on nicotine could transform society's fight against cancer, heart disease and ill-health.

Medical experts said plans in the US and New Zealand to slash the amount of nicotine in cigarettes could save millions of lives.

US President Joe Biden's administration is reported to be planning an assault on the tobacco industry, just days after Jacinda Ardern's government in New Zealand set out plans to make cigarettes so weak they are no longer addictive.

Reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes would push more UAE smokers towards less harmful alternatives and improve public health, doctors said.

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Despite effort by Africa in achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reducing tobacco use has proved the hardest to deliver. Reducing tobacco use plays a major role in global efforts to achieve the SDG target to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third by 2030. Significant disparities in health outcomes around the world are driven by unequal access to essential health products. Scientific advances have led to the creation of new nicotine delivery products that have saved millions of lives. [...] 

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It may be that all smoking isn’t bad for you in the same way. According to an analysis published in EClinical Medicine, smoking cigarettes is far more likely to lead to heart disease than smoking marijuana.

The analysis conducted by David Lorenz, PhD, a research scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues adds to the already overwhelming data showing that smoking tobacco—a practice more prevalent among people with HIV—is associated with shorter life spans and worse HIV outcomes. This analysis [...] included 245 people at least 40 years old who were followed between 2016 and 2018.

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A biomedical research expert who has attended to numerous patients suffering from smoking-related heart and lung conditions is now a leading advocate of tobacco harm reduction in Australia. “As a doctor I have led a somewhat privileged life. But my work has brought me into close contact with people who were homeless, others who were billionaires, and many who were in between. The overwhelming majority of people want to lead healthier lives but many lack the means to improve. To help people lead healthier lives, it’s critical to make healthy choices attractive, easy, affordable and enjoyable,” he says.

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Somewhere deep in our subconscious we’re all drawn to death, or so said the neurologist Sigmund Freud.

He thought our death-drive lived in constant conflict with the stronger life-drive, but in cases of mental distress he said these drives became unbalanced. In everyone, he said this death-drive would sometimes come to the surface through aggression and self-destructive behaviour.

Freud had some really weird ideas. Some were pretty preposterous.

But seeing the pushback to the Government's plans to forge towards to its Smokefree 2025 goal, I thought he might have a point here.

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On 15 May 2021, an amendment to the Narcotics Act permitting pilot trials involving the controlled dispensing of cannabis for recreational purposes will come into force. The trials will provide a scientific basis for the future regulation of cannabis.

On 25 September 2020, Parliament passed an amendment to the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (NarcA). With its new article 8a NarcA the revised act provides a legal basis for conducting scientific pilot trials with cannabis that are limited in terms of both time and place.

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In May, we will celebrate World No Tobacco Day, which was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. The WHO aims to help people around the world live a healthy smoke-free lifestyle by providing information and resources that will give smokers the tools they need to quit. To help achieve this goal, not just on World No Tobacco Day but every day, it is also critical that products are readily available that make it easier for smokers to transition away from combustible cigarettes to less harmful alternatives, [...]

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The impact on lung cells of Heat not Burn products--a hybrid between traditional cigarettes and electronic vaping devices--may be no less harmful than that of conventional cigarettes, suggest the findings of a small comparative study, published online in the journal Thorax.

Heat not burn products contain nicotine and tobacco, but have been marketed by the tobacco industry as a less harmful alternative to conventional cigarettes on the grounds that they don't produce specific harmful chemicals that are released when tobacco burns.

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The number of underage smokers and drinkers in Korea dropped significantly last year compared to the previous year, recent data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) showed. The KDCA suggests this was a result of the decreased number of days where children attend school and reduced activities with peers amid the COVID-19 outbreak. [...] The figures represent the percentage of students who smoked at least one cigarette in the 30 days prior to the survey. The KDCA surveyed 54,948 students from 800 middle and high schools nationwide.

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It will get more expensive for Canadians who smoke cigarettes and vape, under proposals outlined in the 2021 federal budget to further tax tobacco and vaping products, such as e-cigarettes.

Budget 2021 announces the federal government’s intention to introduce a “new taxation framework” to impose excise duties on vaping products that would start in 2022 if the budget is passed. An excise duty, also knows as a sin tax, is a tax charged on goods such as tobacco products, wine, and beer.

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Just as e-cigarette ingredients can vary from one region to another, the health effects of vaping can have regional characteristics as well. A new study out of West Virginia University suggests that rural e-cigarette users are older--and often get sicker--than their urban counterparts. Researchers with the WVU School of Medicine are investigating severe lung injuries occurring among e-cigarette users in rural Appalachia. In a recent study, Sunil Sharma [...] and his colleagues present a case study of patients with EVALI (electronic cigarettes and vaping-associated lung injury) admitted to WVU hospitals from August 2019 to March 2020.

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Nicotine extracted from tobacco and purified from other constituents can be delivered in the form of nicotine replacement products for helping people move away from tobacco dependence. Nicotine pouches to be put under the upper lip are one such new category of products that are being rapidly developed and marketed as consumer goods with little research or regulatory oversight. We review the available data on these products and their harm reduction potential for reducing the disease and death burden from tobacco globally. [...]

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Wider adoption of harm reduction strategies could help solve the Asia tobacco crisis, bringing important public health gains to a region with 60 percent of the world’s smokers and 4 million smoking related deaths per year.

However, not enough governments in the region have fully embraced policies that allow smokers easier access to safer nicotine products (SNP) such as snus or e-cigarettes.

“By making it difficult, if not impossible, for current adult smokers to access SNP, governments are illegitimately interfering with an individual’s right to health,” reads the latest report on the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR).

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Colorado State University’s Magzamen Lab has begun a study regarding the effects of electronic cigarettes on viral infections. Research associate Sherry WeMott explained that the study plans to focus on the “nasal virome,” or the “nasal ecosystem,” as it relates to different viruses. She said previous studies have found that cigarette users often have lower “diversity” in the viruses within their respiratory tract, but are more susceptible to harmful pathogens.

“Our main objective here is to determine if e-cigarette use leads to this decreased diversity in the nasal virome,” WeMott said.