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Candy flavors. Feels cool. Seems harmless. Kills it on Instagram. Easily concealed from parents and teachers. For these reasons and more, electronic cigarettes have exploded in popularity among children and teens in the last few years.

“They honestly don’t think they’re using a nicotine delivery device,” Erika Westling says. Westling leads a study at Oregon Research Institute in Eugene that examines tobacco use among eighth graders in Woodburn and Creswell. E-cigarettes are ubiquitous, but kids told her they call them vape pens or mods.

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In January, we reported on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) report that essentially punted on the question of whether electronic cigarettes are, on balance, harmful, or helpful. In this follow-up, we review what has happened with this explosive topic since then.

Fast forward close to a year, and the dramatic increase in teen e-cigarette use has come into much sharper focus, thanks to the recent publication of two nationwide surveys tracking youth tobacco prevalence.

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China National Tobacco Corp., a state monopoly that’s by far the biggest cigarette maker in the world, plans to list its international unit on the Hong Kong stock exchange even as pressure increases on the government to curb smoking.

The unit, China Tobacco International Inc., is primarily responsible for procuring overseas tobacco leaf from countries like Brazil and Canada for the cigarette giant, which churns out four of every 10 sticks made in the world. [...]

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New research has found that heavy drinkers who are trying to stop smoking may find that reducing their alcohol use can also help them quit their daily smoking habit. Heavy drinkers' nicotine metabolite ratio - a biomarker that indicates how quickly a person's body metabolizes nicotine - reduced as they cut back on their drinking. Past research has suggested that people with higher nicotine metabolism ratios are likely to smoke more and that people with higher rates have a harder time quitting. [...]

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Public Health England’s use of smoking as a benchmark for the relative safety of vaping (Public Health England maintains vaping is 95% safer than smoking, 28 December) will puzzle many given that smoking is not, by any reckoning, “safe”. The key research finding, described in their own report in terms of estimated relative harms, is that the harm to vapers is around 5% of the harm to smokers. The “95% safer” figure arises because 100-5 = 95. However, this formulation is not intuitive; [...]

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Attempting to beat back the rise of vaping among teens, the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, voted this month to limit e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes to the shelves of tobacco stores open only to customers 21 and older.

This comes on the heels of Massachusetts raising the legal age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, which goes into effect on December 31. Somerville's move, the first of its kind in the state and possibly the nation, goes further by taking menthol and e-cigarettes out of shops, like convenience stores, that teens can enter. [...]

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Smoking has been scientifically proven to raise the risk of having a stroke, developing heart disease and certain cancers.

According to the NHS, around 85 per cent of lung cancer cases are related to smoking cigarettes.

Each new year, many people vow to quit smoking in a bid to lead a healthier lifestyle, but giving up can be a struggle. Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, GP and part of the medical team at The Online Clinic, provides five tips to help you kick the habit in 2019.

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[...] Dr. Glantz believes that it's better for vapers to smoke cigarettes instead? If smokers actually follow his advice, they will die. Period. So, it's completely fair to ask, "What is he smoking?"

Even more bizarre than his statement -- which is objectively untrue, given that the UK's NHS has declared vaping to be 95% safer than smoking cigarettes -- is the fact that the paper he cites to justify his belief concludes the exact opposite of what he said. [...]

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Allowing smokers to determine their nicotine intake while they are trying to quit is likely to help them kick the habit, according to an early study in 50 people led by Queen Mary University of London. Study author Dunja Przulj from Queen Mary University of London said: "Smokers determine their nicotine intake while they smoke, but when they try to quit, their nicotine levels are dictated by the recommended dosing of the treatment. These levels may be far too low for some people, increasing the likelihood that they go back to smoking.

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More than £100,000 has been spent buying vaping kits for inmates in Scottish jails, it has emerged.

It follows a nationwide ban on smoking in prisons which came into force at the end of November.

The Scottish Prisoner Service has given out about 7,500 of the vaping kits.

It said it would make long-term savings through improvements to the health of staff and prisoners. However, campaigners have questioned whether this is good value for money.

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The debate over taxing e-cigarette products could pick up in the new year as public health officials look for innovative ways to curb the teen vaping epidemic.

An estimated 3.6 million youth reported vaping or using e-cigarettes in the past year, representing the fastest increase of an illegal substance among teenagers, according to the most recent federal data.

States with high taxes on cigarettes have seen a decrease in smoking in general and among youth in particular. [...]

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Metals that can cause cancer are present in higher levels in medwakh and shisha products than in cigarettes, a new UAE study found. Scientists in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi found that in comparisons to cigarettes, both medwakh and shisha tobacco contain more nickel, chromium, copper and zinc. The research follows a study earlier this year reporting much higher levels of nicotine and tar in medwakh than in cigarettes.

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E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular alternatives to smoking tobacco cigarettes. Currently, the health effects of “vaping”, or inhaling the aerosol generated by e-cigarettes, are largely unknown. Originally intended for use as a stop-smoking aid, their recreational use is growing. The vaping phenomenon has elicited some controversy by spawning nicotine addiction among nonsmokers, including youth and minors, [...]