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The Government’s recently released raft of proposals may well be the kick we need to make the Smokefree 2025 goal.

The Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan includes limiting the sale of tobacco to specific R18 shops or pharmacies, the reduction of nicotine in products, and a ban on cigarette filters. If that’s not drastic enough, a potential “smokefree generation policy” could outlaw cigarette sales to 18-year-olds from 2022, meaning anyone born after 2004 would be unable to buy tobacco.

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The NZ Government is to be congratulated with its recent proposals for achieving the Smokefree 2025 Goal, especially with those for markedly reducing retail outlets and removing nicotine to make cigarettes non-addictive. If effectively implemented, these proposals could lead to major health gains, health system cost savings and reducing the unequal health burdens that Māori, Pasifika and low-income New Zealanders suffer. But a major missing part is national law-based smokefree outdoor areas.

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Aurora officials are considering a six-month moratorium on any new stores that sell alternative tobacco products, including vaping materials.

The moratorium ordinance would “hit the pause button” on any new such facilities until the city can find how to best regulate the products, said Ald. Edward Bugg, 9th Ward.

Bugg asked the city’s law department to look at the situation after three new stores featuring alternative tobacco products, including vaping materials, opened in the 9th Ward, within one-third of a mile of each other.

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As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in the world, killing hundreds of thousands in India while triggering fears about another lockdown in Perth, it’s becoming evident that a coordinated global response to future health crises will be paramount. And we should expect that the global bodies that take up the task are capable of handling the challenge. The South-East Asia Director of the World Health Organization recently wrote about the need to build a healthier world as the global economy recovers from Covid-19.

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Altria Group Inc. continues to invest in innovative tobacco products. 

CEO Billy Gifford announced that the tobacco company acquired the remaining 20 percent of the on! oral nicotine pouches global business it did not own for approximately $250 million.

"When we made the initial 80-percent acquisition in 2019, the oral nicotine pouch category in the U.S. was rapidly growing off of a small base," Gifford said during Altria's first-quarter 2021 earnings call, held April 29. "Subsequently, on! nicotine pouch growth has exceeded our original estimates." 

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For years, anti-tobacco lobbyists have summarily and very aggressively tarred electronic vapour products (EVPs) with the same brush they use to condemn combustible cigarettes, turning an intentional blind eye to the important role that EVPs play in tobacco harm reduction.

Chief executive of the Vapour Products Association of South Africa (VPASA) Asanda Gcoyi said: “This unscientific one-size-fits-all rhetoric by anti-smoking lobbyists has influenced certain governments around the world to pass legislation restricting the marketing and distribution of EVPs under the exact same legislation that applies to normal cigarettes.

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[...] the UK now has an unrelated and probably unintended opportunity: to evolve into the model for tobacco control. No longer under the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive, the country can potentially improve its already-empathetic stance on smoking cessation and transform into the world leader in tobacco harm reduction (THR). The government aspires to be “smoke-free” by 2030—an objective typically understood as getting adult smoking rates below 5 percent—and THR advocates have seized on the chance to push for fresh regulations to arrive at that target. [...]

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It’s not long until the 8th Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN21), taking place in Liverpool on 17th and 18th June and streaming online at the new GFN•TV platform. The conference organisers are inviting you to share news and views about using nicotine in 2021 by contributing to their GFN Fives slot. The Global Forum on Nicotine organisers have always understood the importance of the consumer voice both at their event and in wider discussions around the future of nicotine use. The GFN Fives are a new way to play an active part in the conference and they’re open to everyone.

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Parents, school principals, youth centres and researchers have sounded the alarm bell about the rise in young people taking up e-cigarettes across the country.

The devices, also known as vapes, are a relatively new phenomenon compared with traditional smoking, leaving some schools and communities unsure about how to properly address the issue. The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is commonly known as vaping and refers to battery-powered devices that heat a liquid to deliver vapour for users to inhale, similar to smoking traditional cigarettes.

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Faced with a potential loss of nearly $200 million over the next two years if the state banned all flavored tobacco products, the General Assembly’s tax-writing committee on Monday drastically amended legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored vaping materials and electronic cigarettes.

The committee declined to advance a version of the bill that would have banned all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.

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Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are devices that deliver nicotine-containing aerosol and were used by 2.8% of American adults in 2017. Many people who smoke cigarettes have used e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, and the general consensus among health providers is that while vaping is not harmless, it is less harmful than smoking. To try to reduce youth e-cigarette use, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts imposed a 75% excise tax on nicotine-containing vaping products and banned the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including combustible tobacco, effective June 1, 2020. [...]

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The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) issued its latest report ‘A Burning Issue for Asia and the Far East’ recently, which found that health agencies like the WHO together with anti-lobby groups such as Bloomberg Philanthropies exert tremendous pressure on governments to make it difficult to promote Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) as a public health strategy. This results in policies that are more restrictive than regulation for traditional cigarettes, and discourage smokers from switching from combustible cigarettes to less harmful alternatives, it adds.

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Secondhand electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) aerosol (SHA) might impair indoor air quality and expose bystanders. This study aims to investigate exposure to SHA in controlled conditions of enclosed settings simulating real-world scenario. An experiment was performed in a car and in a room, in which SHA was generated during a 30-minute ad libitum use of an e-cigarette. The experiment was replicated on five consecutive days in each setting. [...]

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The current tobacco tax structure is extremely complex and a major obstacle for discouraging tobacco usage, and this needs to be simplified, said experts at a virtual meeting on Monday.

The meeting was titled " Way Forward to Tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040: Tobacco Tax", organized by Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) and the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF.)

Speakers also said that in Bangladesh, the price of cigarettes is very low, while bidi is even cheaper.

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An article on the World Bank Group pointed out that while the tobacco taxation policy practiced in Kazakhstan in 2003-2013 resulted in increased tobacco excise revenues, it was evidently not effective in terms of public health, as it did not lead to a decrease in cigarette consumption. In 2014, tobacco excise taxes were drastically increased and tobacco affordability substantially reduced, and this resulted in a decline in tobacco sales and smoking prevalence in the country. However, in 2015-2019 the nation returned to a policy of moderate tax increases.

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Tobacco use is a poor person’s problem. People with low incomes consume and grow it the most and suffer the gravest consequences from its trade and use. Yet tobacco control policies do not adequately address their needs, merely using them as statistics to highlight the enormity of problems rather than implementing measures to benefit them. Globally, 84 percent of smokers now live in low- and middle-income countries, which are also where around 90 percent of tobacco farming takes place. Even in the West, smoking is more prevalent in economically disadvantaged communities.

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The global disease and death burden from risky forms of oral tobacco such as gutkha, zarda, naswar, and American chew products – as well as from  smoked tobacco such as cigarettes, bidis, cigars, cigarillos, and shisha – is huge. There are over a billion current users of such tobacco products, and over 7 million annual deaths from their long-term use. The success rate of quitting such risky forms of tobacco is unacceptably low and the rate of relapse among quitters is too high. Thus, it’s crucial to innovate and develop better cessation products and services. And we believe nicotine pouches could be one such cessation option.

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MPs called on ministers to take advantage of Brexit by slashing tight controls on safer alternatives to ciggies and show what Global Britain is all about. Wonks from the Adam Smith Institute warned ministers they must rip up red tape and restrictions on e-cigarettes or they would sail past goals of a 5% smoking rate by 2030.

And they say Britain's hard-won progress will be put at risk as current low rates may be "reversed by an increase in social smoking after lockdowns".

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Many users over 50 are still puffing away, but new research shows that many of them don't disclose this to their doctors.

Folks who use marijuana for medical reasons are more likely to tell their doctors about it than recreational users. Still, just a fraction of medical marijuana users opened up about their use, the study found.

"Older adults may worry about how doctors would respond, as stigma about cannabis use as a psychoactive substance is still prevalent," said study author Namkee Choi. [...]

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If a nation’s public health policy succeeded in making its citizens healthier, wouldn’t you expect intergovernmental health organizations to examine that policy, embrace it, perhaps see if it could be applied to other countries?

Common sense, right?

Unfortunately, the taxpayer-funded World Health Organization (WHO) is doing the opposite when it comes to tobacco harm reduction products.

The United Kingdom is a world leader in e-cigarette use among current and former adult smokers. In 2015, Public Health England (PHE) released a landmark report that found e-cigarettes 95 percent safer than smoking. [...]