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A cannabis legalization bill passed its first committee Tuesday.

The Senate Public Affairs voted 4-3 along party lines to pass SB 115 after hours of public comment and debate between lawmakers.

Even though a number of people spoke against legalization, they were largely outnumbered by those in favor of it.

For the most part, those who spoke out in opposition said they were concerned about safety and health issues like driving while impaired and addiction.

[...] Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, took the lead on selling the bill to the committee

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We’re lucky to be joined this week by Shane MacGuill – Senior Head of Tobacco Research at Euromonitor International. Shane conducts in-depth research and provides strategic analysis on all aspects of the global tobacco and nicotine market and has recently broadened his scope to look at the emerging cannabis industry.

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With Vermont lawmakers poised to pass legislation this year banning flavored nicotine and vaping products, the tobacco industry is putting its energy and money into opposing just one aspect of the bill: a ban on menthol.

Bracing for the legislation, tobacco companies have spent tens of thousands of dollars on lobbyists to prevent the forced removal of menthol cigarettes and e-cigarette products from the market. [...] in recent weeks, taking menthol cigarettes off the market has become a new priority for Democrats in Vermont, who say the products also get young people addicted to nicotine, [...]

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IN A MAJOR POLICY SHIFT, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has endorsed vaping nicotine for Australian smokers in the latest national smoking cessation guidelines published today.

The peak GP organisation has carefully reviewed all the evidence on the effectiveness and safety of vaping and has determined that it is a legitimate quitting aid for adult smokers.

The guidelines advise GPs and other health professionals to recommend vaping for smokers who want to quit but have tried unsuccessfully with currently available medications.

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In a rare move in the competitive tobacco industry, South Korea’s KT&G established a strategic alliance with Philip Morris International on Wednesday, to expand the market worldwide for its heat-not-burn cigarette brand lil. The unusual partnership secures a global distribution network for KT&G, which has been domestic-centric until recently, while it would help PMI enhance its campaign of “smoke-free” cigarette products with the added portfolio. [...] “Our agreement will benefit adult smokers in the world by providing a wide array of better choices,” Calantzopoulos said.

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The impact of the tobacco display ban on young people's attitudes to smoking has been analysed by University of Stirling experts. Professor Sally Haw, of Stirling's Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, and colleagues found the ban on point-of-sale tobacco displays "had been a great success", with retailer compliance high at 98%. This has led to reduction in exposure to tobacco products, however the message that tobacco is still available and still for sale remains very prominent.

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A grandmother’s Facebook post highlighting the cost of cigarettes compared to a food shop has gone viral.

On Saturday, Judy Lawson shared a photograph of a packet of cigarettes alongside a full food shop comprising meat, fruit, vegetables and cereal among other staples.

At $56.85 AUD (£29.48), the food shop costs almost exactly the same as a packet of 40 cigarettes, which costs $56.95 AUD (£29.53).

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New Mexico legislators are considering a full ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine vaping products along with more robust oversight of retail sales to discourage use by minors and young adults.

Backed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, one initiative would raise the age limit for tobacco sales including vaping products to 21 [...]

The bill, from Democratic Sens. Linda Lopez and Gabriel Ramos, also would establish mandatory licenses for tobacco manufacturers and vendors. The license could be revoked with repeated violations for sales to those under age 21.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is concealing and suppressing information on the number one cause of severe, vaping-related health harm to youths in order to deceive the public into thinking that e-cigarettes are at the top of the list. [...] The chief cause of substantial health harms to youth from vaping is actually not e-cigarettes. It is marijuana or THC vaping.

The hundreds of youth who have become severely ill with respiratory failure from the EVALI outbreak have been harmed not by e-cigarettes, but by vaping marijuana carts.

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The U.S. Surgeon General released Thursday a 30-year update on smoking-cessation efforts that provided a mixed message on the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a quit-smoking aid, and are not considered as safe products for any user.

“E-cigarettes, a continually changing and diverse group of products, are used in a variety of ways,” Dr. Jerome Adams said in the 20-page consumer guide.

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To lead us off this week, we turn our attention to San Francisco. Catherine Ho of The San Francisco Chronicle reports that vape shops in the city are “scrambling” to prepare for a sweeping ban on e-cigarettes and vaping products within city limits. According to the report and Vaping Post’s previous reporting, the ban takes effect on Jan. 29. The ban only covers vaping products that contain nicotine and not products that contain CBD and THC. Combustible cigarettes are also still left on the shelves of convenience stores and bodegas across the city.

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Despite efforts from health officials to raise awareness of the potential harms of vaping among young people, social media users are being exposed to a growing amount of pro e-cigarette content. That's according to researchers.

Following a rise in school children saying they have used e-cigarettes—despite the harms nicotine can pose to the developing brain—researchers wanted to gain a better understanding of the part played by social media sites like Instagram. According to the authors [...] e-cigarettes are portrayed as healthier alternatives to regular cigarettes on such platforms.

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A legislation coming into effect on March 1 is set to lower the excise tax on e-cigarette liquids that contain nicotine, meaning that prices are expected to drop at national tobacco shops. The tax will be lowered from the current HUF 55 per ml to HUF 20 per ml. 

BAT Pécsi Dohány Gyár Kft., a subsidiary of BAT, says that it welcomes the decision, as it does not only make higher-quality products more accessible but help fighting black market liquid sales. Currently, black market sales account for an outstandingly high 80-85% of all e-cigarette liquid sales in Hungary, according to estimates by BAT.

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Media reports of a vaping epidemic among youth have raised concerns about the creation of a new generation of nicotine-dependent individuals who could graduate to cigarette smoking. We investigated the use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes in the youth of New Zealand from 2014 to 2019, with focus on daily use of these products as an indicator of potential dependence. We analysed data from the Action for Smokefree 2025 Year-10 survey, an annual cross-sectional survey of tobacco use undertaken by almost half of all school students aged 14–15 years (21 504–31 021 students). [...]

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The World Health Organization (WHO) published an astonishingly bad Q&A on electronic cigarettes on January 20, full of lies of omission, outright falsehoods and hyperbole.

While the WHO has plenty of past form on this issue, it remains shocking that a prestigious organization employing some of the world’s foremost experts on health whose work has improved or saved the lives of billions of people, have jumped on the regressive anti-tobacco harm reduction bandwagon.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) have run a Q&A via their website on electronic cigarettes.

 

Dr Nick Hopkinson, Reader in Respiratory Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute Imperial College London, said:

“We know that e-cigarettes are substantially safer than smoking, because the toxic substances present in cigarette smoke are either completely absent, or present at much lower levels.

“Evidence from randomised controlled trials shows clearly that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit. [...]

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While youth vaping rates have increased in recent years, most middle and high school students don't vape or smoke and very few vape or smoke daily, finds a study led by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health. The study, published this month in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, finds that over 80 percent of youth do not use any tobacco and over 86 percent don't vape—and among the minority who do vape, most are not regular users. In addition, the study reveals that most youth who are vaping are also current or former smokers.

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A recent New York Times editorial about the Food and Drug Administration reflects a systematic weakness at the once-venerable Gray Lady: The members of the editorial board often rely on sloganeering and popular wisdom instead of substantive evidence.

The editorial was headlined, “The FDA Is in Trouble. Here’s How to Fix It.” The agency is in trouble. But it’s due to the very kinds of “fixes” the Times recommends. The FDA is highly bureaucratic and risk averse, leading to a slow and expensive drug approval process—at last count, more than $2.5 billion to bring a new drug to market. [...]

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Muhammadiyah has declared electronic cigarettes and vaping as haram in a fatwa issued recently by the second biggest Muslim organisation in the country.

The organisation’s central executive board's tarjih (lawmaking) and tadjid (reform) council outlined the fatwa in a decree on e-cigarettes issued on Jan. 14 in Yogyakarta.

 

Wawan Gunawan Abdul Wahid, a member of the council's fatwa and guidance development division, said the fatwa was issued to underline Muhammadiyah’s stance against all kinds of cigarettes.

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Many opponents of vaping think the practice is a big tobacco conspiracy to keep people smoking and hook more kids. The reality is that vaping is a huge and disruptive threat to the tobacco industry. Campaigns against vaping support the cigarette market and are a huge gift to Big Tobacco.

For over a century, tobacco companies have run an incredibly lucrative cartel, selling an addictive product. Tobacco stocks have been the best performing segment of the stock market for over a century in spite of all-out tobacco control activities.