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Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco (BAT) have announced deals for new credit but say the pandemic has had little material effect on business.

Imperial Brands announced a €3.5bn (£3.13bn) multi-currency revolving credit facility (RCF). The credit line has an initial three-year term that could be extended bi-annually. BAT separately said it had priced an offering of $2.4bn (£1.95bn) notes and intends to use the proceeds for general business purposes, including paying off upcoming maturities.

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The study presents an analysis of the current smoking prevalence among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in China, compared to the population smoking prevalence in China (52.1% in males and 2.7% in females). Through a systematic research of the literature (PubMed) we identified 7 studies examining the clinical characteristics of a total of 2352 hospitalized COVID-19 patients that presented data on the smoking status. The expected number of smokers was calculated using the formula Expected smokers = (males x 0.521) + (females x 0.027). [...]

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New research shows that more than a third of New Zealand high school students have tried vaping even though nearly two-thirds of those doing so have never smoked cigarettes.

Vapes, or electronic cigarettes, are not recommended for non-smokers, as the long-term effects are not known, and vapes containing nicotine are likely to be addictive.

"Vaping is not as harmful as smoking, but it is not harmless. Taking up vaping is not a good idea for people who are not otherwise smokers, particularly young people," says study co-author Dr Terry Fleming from Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Health.

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Our expert moderator and panelists will answer questions and have a discussion about the following topics:
• Current research findings from the Division of Respiratory, Critical Care & Pulmonary, University of Utah on vaping-associated lung injury as well as an update on future studies.
• Vaping prevention risk/protective factors, existing evidence-based or promising vaping prevention programs for youth and young adults (18-25) and other vaping research and resources. [...]

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To state the obvious, smoking kills. Tobacco smoking is the world’s leading preventable cause of premature death. Here in Nigeria, there are at least 11 million smokers, and despite declining prevalence, a fast-growing population means that the actual number of smokers is on the rise. This is especially true of young adults, connected in part to our growing nightlife culture. E-cigarettes were found by the UK’s Royal College of Physicians to be at least 95 percent less harmful than combustible tobacco, [...] But very few smokers in Nigeria are benefiting from this alternative.

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Altria Group Inc. sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday asking that a crucial regulatory deadline for some tobacco products be pushed back by eight weeks due to complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, companies must apply to the FDA by May 12 for authorization to keep selling certain tobacco products. Regulators, public-health groups and companies fought over the timing for years before settling on that date last year in federal court. The deadline applies to products such as e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches.

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Smokers who received smoking cessation counseling and used electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) containing nicotine were more than twice as likely to successfully quit smoking compared to those who received counseling but did not use e-cigarettes, [...] Researchers cautioned, however, that the health effects of e-cigarettes are unknown, and they should not be used for any purpose other than smoking cessation. "These findings show that nicotine e-cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation in the short term," said Mark J. Eisenberg, MD, MPH, [...]

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“We warn our patients who are smokers that smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer and strongly advise them to quit smoking. For those who cannot or do not want to quit smoking by themselves or with currently approved methods, we convince them to switch to non-combustible alternatives,” said Fernando Fernandez, president of the Philippine College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (PCOMS) during the Scientific Conversations on Tobacco Harm Reduction, recently held in Taguig City.

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In January 2019, the chairman of Altria, Howard A. Willard III, flew to Silicon Valley to speak to senior executives of Juul Labs, fresh off signing a deal for the tobacco giant to pay nearly $13 billion for a 35 percent stake in the popular e-cigarette company. With public fury growing over Juul’s contribution to the epidemic of teenage vaping, he laid out his vision for the company to continue to thrive.

“I believe that in five years, 50 percent of Juul’s revenue will be international,” Mr. Willard told the 200 executives gathered at the Four Seasons in East Palo Alto.

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Although scientists still don’t have good data to explain exactly why some young people are getting very sick from the novel coronavirus, some experts are now saying that the popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping could be making a bad situation even worse.

Approximately one in four teens in the United States vapes or smokes e-cigarettes, with the FDA declaring the teenage use of these products a nationwide epidemic and the CDC warning about a life-threatening vaping illness called EVALI, or “E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury.”

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People will no longer be allowed to smoke in most restaurants and bars in Japan starting Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

The ban, which includes heated tobacco like cigarettes and cigars but not e-cigarettes, protects people “who want to avoid getting exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke,” according to a health ministry document explaining the law.

It’s part of a revised Health Promotion Law passed in 2018. [...]

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The new crackdown on tobacco — from flavor bans on virtually all tobacco and nicotine products to a new era of 21-years-only sales — has created a new problem for law enforcement: Where to put all those cigarettes?

In Massachusetts, for example, state police have run out of space to store untaxed cigarettes that were seized by smugglers. As a result, tobacco tax enforcement in the Bay State has been stymied.

After years in which the state has interdicted millions of dollars in illicit cigarettes,  law enforcement officials have only seized over $30,000 in untaxed tobacco products since July of 2019.

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Life Education Activity Programme (LEAP) is disappointed to learn that the Financial Secretary has decided not to raise tobacco tax in the 2020-21 Budget.

Research from around the world has shown that tobacco taxation is highly effective in reducing and preventing tobacco use among young people. Raising cigarette prices through higher taxes prevents young people from taking up tobacco use and motivates young smokers to quit, since they have less income and are therefore more price sensitive than adults.

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E-cigarette makers in South Korea suffered a further setback after the Constitutional Court swiftly dismissed a petition by an industry body challenging the government's warnings against the devices.

The court's decision, issued just two weeks after the original filing by the Korea Electronic Cigarette Association, comes amid increasing government pressure on the once-thriving industry, both in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia. Late last year, India banned e-cigarettes entirely.

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Medical experts claim that now [...] it is more important than ever to kick vaping or smoking habits. [...] Dr. Dean Drosnes, the medical director of the Caron Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania, who also specializes in addiction medication, explained why kicking this dangerous habit is so vital right now. “I think there’s no question that this is a perfect opportunity for people who are vaping or using tobacco or nicotine products to try to quit, if they’re so inclined. I can’t say enough about this being a perfect time to quit vaping and smoking and put yourself at minimum risk, now and in the future.”

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Titled, “The Effects of E-Cigarette Taxes on E-Cigarette Prices and Tobacco Product Sales: Evidence from Retail Panel Data,” the study aimed to examine the effect of e-cigarette taxes enacted in eight US states. Using data from 35,000 national retailers between 2011 and 2017, the researchers found that for every 10% increase in e-cigarette prices, e-cigarette sales dropped by 26%. However, the same 10% increase in e-cigarette prices caused an 11% increase in traditional cigarette sales.

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British American Tobacco, the world’s second-largest tobacco maker, unveiled on March 30 a new corporate strategy and 1 billion pounds ($1.24 billion) cost-saving and investment plan.

The announcement came with a new corporate goal to build “A better Tomorrow” by reducing the health impact of its business by offering less risky products amid a decline in sales of traditional cigarettes.

The company said its “new category” products, including e-cigarettes and tobacco heating items, will drive revenue growth. It expects to create 5 billion pounds in new category revenue in 2023/24. 

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IGTC convened a popup practice symposium "Flavored E-Cigarettes: What the FDA, States and Cities are Doing and Why" [...] The panel included Cathy Backinger, Senior Science Advisor in the Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Mark Hymovitz, Massachusetts Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Action Network, Inc.; and Kristen Ackert, Policy and Research Manager for the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota.

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Hit by a trifecta of crises: teen vaping epidemic, vaping-related lung illness and COVID19; the FDA’s Pre-market Tobacco Application deadline quietly lurks in the background, preparing to pounce, and destroy vaping as we know it.

Is this hyperbole? That’s what we are going to find out in this episode of RegWatch with Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association.

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A link between smoking and coronavirus infection was first suggested because more men were infected than women. One (unproven) hypothesis was that this was due to the much higher prevalence of smoking among Chinese men (48.4%) than among women (1.9%). Source: Statista. A small study of just 78 patients with COVID-19-induced pneumonia was published in the Chinese Medical Journal. Of those, 67 (85.9%) showed improvement/stabilization after 2 weeks, while 11 (14.4%) showed disease progression. [...]