We often hear that drug prohibition is destined to fail. Specifically, that means that allowing no legal access to a substance people want to use—as opposed to tailoring regulations to limit youth access or certain forms of potentially harmful use—will fail.
In the US drug policy space, we are currently witnessing the decriminalization of drugs like heroin and cocaine and the ongoing legalization of marijuana. Despite many obstacles left to overcome, there is a gathering consensus that the criminalization of drug use is inherently wrong, that it produces negative public health outcomes like the overdose crisis, [...]
In Reply: I thank my colleagues for their comments on my recent Research Letter.1 Given space constraints, I will focus on their 3 main critiques.
The critique that findings were premature as they relied on a single data point was noted by Maa and Gardiner as well as Leas but has a false premise. Regressions used data on 95 843 high school students (2097 from San Francisco, California, in 2019) to estimate a difference-in-differences research design assessing whether smoking trends among San Francisco minors enrolled in high school diverged from students in comparison districts after the flavor ban. [...]
Public health practitioners are used to frustration and disappointment. Until recently, calls to introduce evidence-based interventions to improve health, such as sugary drink taxes and controls on alcohol marketing, have been mostly ignored or have foundered due to political timidity in the face of lobbying by powerful vested interests. Public health gains have mostly been modest and infrequent.
However, it seems the times may be changing. [...] Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has proposed a plan to achieve the Smokefree Aotearoa goal of having minimal numbers of New Zealanders smoking by 2025. [...]
The new major tax bill proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives would dramatically increase the federal taxes on tobacco products, including more than doubling the federal taxes for large cigars.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee is in the process of markup for the Build Back Better Act, or specifically, how to pay for the proposal, which is part of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. It could cost as much as $3.5 trillion and as such, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have unveiled a proposed bill that would increase a variety of taxes.
We all know the risks of tobacco abuse: Science has been quite clear that it’s not great. But science has also shown that innovative, safer alternatives to cigarettes can limit negative externalities on health and the environment. Even so, regardless of evidence, local and international institutions are fighting against vaping — and it has terribly negative consequences on public health, the environment, and the economy. The number of adult smokers in the world has decreased—from 23.5 percent in 2007 to 19 percent today—and that number is expected to be as low as 17 percent in 2030. [...]
A new study published in the journal Eating Behaviors found that vaping or e-cigarette use is associated with a heighted risk of developing an eating disorder among US college students. This finding is particularly important given the common use of vape pens and e-cigarettes and an increase in the prevalence of eating disorders amidst the COVID-19 pandemic among young people.
The study, which analyzed a sample of over 51,000 U.S. college students who participated in the 2018-2019 Healthy Minds Study, highlights the need for more research and clinical assessment and intervention for those who exhibit both substance use and eating disorders.
In this SPOTLIGHT series, Aaron Biebert (Director - A Billion Lives, You Don’t Know Nicotine) has detailed the potential consequences, both intended and not, of the restrictive, prohibition-like regulations proposed by Health Canada regarding alternative nicotine products. While all of the consequences described present varying levels of inherent harm, none may be more deadly than an unregulated black market.
When a court-set deadline for "premarket" review of nicotine vaping products came and went on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had received millions of applications but had not approved any. As a result, the agency says, every vaping product sold in the United States—including myriad e-liquids, devices, and parts—is now "subject to enforcement action at the FDA's discretion."
Seven years after the FDA officially declared its intention to regulate e-cigarettes as "tobacco products," in other words, the entire industry remains in legal limbo, existing solely thanks to the agency's enforcement discretion and limited resources. [...]
British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd (BAT Malaysia) unveiled its new four-pillar sustainability strategy today, where the mission of harm reduction will be a priority for the group.
BAT Malaysia legal and external affairs director Nicholas Booth said the key focus on harm reduction is being able to provide a range of harm-reducing products that are less risky than traditional tobacco products.
"At the moment, with the way the regulations are, the most popular is nicotine vaping which is illegal to sell.
Last month, 15 past presidents of the venerable Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT), the top tobacco research society in the world, co-authored a courageous, groundbreaking article that argues that the media, legislators, and the general public have developed a negative view of e-cigarettes (vaping products) because of the heavy emphasis public health organizations have placed on protecting youth from vaping while ignoring the potentially substantial benefits of e-cigarettes in helping tens of millions of addicted adults quit smoking. [...]
Efforts to discourage people from smoking by banning tobacco retail displays in shops and supermarkets could be weakened by prominent displays of electronic (e) cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia, suggests new research published in the journal Tobacco Control. [...] Researchers visited 166 stores in Bristol and Cambridge, of which 133 sold the relevant products and agreed to take part. These included small and large format stores of four supermarket chains and a randomly selected sample of convenience stores.
Despite having numerous negative health consequences, the epidemiological relationship between cigarette smoking and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is controversial.
Now, a new study published on the bioRxiv* preprint server investigates this relationship further and suggests that current smoking is not associated with a higher incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
On September 12, influential House Democrats circulated a new tax proposal around Washington meant to target the country’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. [...] This could lead to the country’s richest citizens and most profitable corporations finally paying a fair share—so the government can, say, address the climate crisis and expand public education. But there’s at least one section in the draft that does not fit into this context: a tax raise on all nicotine products.
Smokers are more likely to become severely ill as a result of Covid-19 infection, but experts say that quitting can provide instant benefits. In just 20 minutes, blood pressure drops and within eight hours, oxygen absorption increases. A group of medical experts from the UAE and India explained the harmful effects of smoking during a webinar on Saturday. They also noted that many people turned to cigarettes in response to stress during the pandemic.
According to the World Health Organisation, smoking impairs lung function, making it harder for the body to fight off coronavirus and other respiratory diseases. [...]
As Canada considers restricting flavours in vape products, the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) is astounded by the hypocrisy and inequity in the regulation of adult products. Alcohol, a substance known to cause significant harm to health, and through addiction has destroyed lives and families, has had no restrictions placed on the use of flavourings, nor are warning labels required. On the other hand, nicotine vape products, a harm reduction product used primarily by smokers seeking to quit, have undergone rigorous regulation culminating in a proposal to restrict all pleasant “sensory attributes.”
Seven years ago LegCo started to discuss the regulation of electronic cigarettes. Finally, public health advocates believe, it will next month pass a bill that outlaws the import, production, distribution, sale and promotion of new smoking products.
It will be a major step to reducing the city’s smoking rate, already one of the lowest in the world at 10.2 per cent. Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health, last week put the target at 7.8 per cent in 2025, with a long-term goal of creating a “smoke-free” Hong Kong.
As the Covid-19 pandemic forced restaurant and pub goers outside, a new problem began to arise for the first time since 2007 UK-wide.
Now, non-smokers were in direct contact with smokers, lighting up in public places such as outside restaurant seating.
Smoking inside public areas has been banned across the UK since 2007 (2006 in Scotland), but no such ban has been introduced for outdoor gatherings.
The outdoor eating and drinking culture that Covid-19 has given rise to, has also increased calls to make these areas smoke-free.
The tobacco giant behind the Marlboro man has sparked outrage in medical circles over a bid to invest in a company that develops inhaler technology, which could see it profit from the smoking-related lung diseases it helped create. Philip Morris International is in the middle of a takeover bid over for Vectura, a UK company that specialises in inhaler technology for lung illnesses.
In Australia, experts say it could threaten research and force doctors to change the way they treat some patients with lung disease. There are also concerns the deal could put Australia in breach of a global treaty.
On September 9, its longstanding deadline, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) effectively announced that it would need more time to process the remaining premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) that vape companies were required to file last year to stay legally on the market. [...] “America’s tobacco and nicotine regulatory system is broken beyond repair,” Greg Conley, the president of the American Vaping Association, told Filter. “It is absolutely absurd that the same agency that found time to ban over 6 million vaping products manufactured by small businesses is now indicating they need more time to review products with massive market shares. [...]