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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.

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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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Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall has certainly turned heads with her radical platform of proposals, geared at obliterating our smoking rates. It’s another impressively bold display from the fresh broom, hot on the heels of her decisive leadership on standardising the fluoridation of New Zealand’s drinking water.

The proposed Smokefree 2025 Action Plan includes significantly reducing the number of retailers able to sell tobacco, limiting the nicotine content of cigarettes, and raising the age of purchase every year, so that anyone born after 2004 could never lawfully be sold tobacco.

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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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Consumer advocates and tobacco harm reduction (THR) experts called on the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments in Asia and the Far East (A&FE) to allow smokers to choose safer alternatives, following the latest report that more than half of global smoking-related deaths occur in the region. They made the statement during the launch of the latest Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) report held by public health agency Knowledge Action Change (KAC) and the Association of Vapers India (AVI).

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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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Harm perceptions of tobacco and nicotine products can influence their use and could be targeted by policies to change behaviour. IQOS was introduced to the UK in 2016, and there is little independent qualitative research on IQOS harm perceptions. This study explored the perceived health harms of IQOS to users and those exposed to the emissions, what shapes these perceptions, and what participants wanted to know about the harms of IQOS.

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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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Australia and Norway both ban smoking in public places. Marketing of tobacco products is also all but prohibited, and both countries have introduced neutral packaging requirements for tobacco products. Australia first introduced limits in 2012 with Norway following suit in 2018.

Both countries have also seen substantial reductions in daily smoking rates over the last two decades. Between 2001 and 2018, the percentage of daily smokers in Australia has decreased from 22 percent to 14 percent, while in Norway the prevalence of smoking has dropped from 30 percent to 12 percent over the same period.

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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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For the first time, e-cigarettes have been placed under specialized legal supervision as Chinese regulators set to enhance regulations of the growing industry.

In a draft amendment to China's Detailed Rules for the Implementation of the Tobacco Patent Sales Law, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration proposed bringing e-cigarettes in line with current regulations for tobacco products.

It said vaping products, like e-cigarettes, share core similarities as traditional tobacco products in its nature and way of consumption.

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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 Plymouth in recent years we have been developing ways of working that are person centred, asset based and that recognise both the complexity of people’s lives and the failed utility of linear, top down approaches.  This experiment came about because we wanted to try something different with a group of people traditionally characterised by public services as “entrenched” and “hard to reach”. We saw the emergence of vaping as an ideal opportunity to challenge these characterisations and learn more about how people respond to bespoke approaches to prevention and harm reduction.