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Smoking rates peaked in the United States in the mid 1960s and have since declined to historically low levels. In contrast, use of e-cigarettes has recently soared, particularly among young people. In 2019, more than 27% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes during the past month, as compared with about 6% who reported using combustible cigarettes.1 Use of Juul products accounts for much of the doubling of vaping rates between 2017 and 2019, and these products represent 75% of the multibillion-dollar e-cigarette market. The growth in vaping among young people has alarmed policymakers and many others.

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The Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) has written to the Associate Health Minister, Minister for Small Business, and the Chair of the Health Select Committee asking for the legislation to regulate vaping to be delayed and for clarity going forward. “We’ve been asking for the 1 April submission deadline be extended for some time. However, with the country now shutting down, Parliament won’t be operating as per usual. Hence, we’re urgently seeking information as to how the legislation will be dealt with,” says VTANZ spokesperson Jonathan Devery.

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The City of Melbourne has is proposing to ban e-cigarettes and vaping after an attempt to synchronise the city’s local laws with Victorian tobacco laws.  

“E-cigarettes are relatively new, but we know that there is a possible link to serious lung disease and growing evidence that e-cigarettes can lead young people to start smoking regular cigarettes,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said last month.

Cr Capp said it was “concerning” to see that 20 per cent of students between the ages of 16 and 17 had experimented with vaping.

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I was standing outside Sidney Smith Hall when one of my friends lit a cigarette. He closed his eyes and took a nonchalant long drag, as if he were a character in a James Bond movie.

I, on the other hand, glanced around nervously to check if anyone saw or was bothered by it. Didn’t he know smoking on university grounds had been banned for a year now? I shot him a dirty look.

“What? No one cares,” he said laughingly. [...] He was right — no one cared. But the real question was, why?

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Unless regulations published on Wednesday change before then, it will be illegal to sell cigarettes in South Africa for three weeks starting on Friday.

And grocery store managers afraid of jail may even need convincing that nappies and toothpaste fall under the definition of "basic goods" that you can't go without. The regulations can be changed at any time, by simple publication in the Government Gazette. But at briefings on Wednesday ministers made it clear that they sought the maximum level of restriction during South Africa's Covid-19 shutdown, and wanted to create a list of things allowed, [...]

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Invented for smokers who cannot or will not quit, e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, and therefore emit a mere fraction of the carcinogens and hazardous gases than do conventional cigarettes. This means vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, which causes roughly 480,000 American deaths each year. Today, roughly 11 million adults use electronic cigarettes. With the exception of quitting cold-turkey, vaping is not only the most popular strategy but the most effective.

 

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The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) has repeatedly voiced it’s concerns about limiting access to harm reduction products. “The Government of Ontario has taken many positive steps towards protecting Ontarian’s physical and mental health.  We ask them to continue by including vape shops as an essential service, qualifying under section 55 of the Ontario List of Essential Workplaces prepared in response to COVID-19”, said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of The Canadian Vaping Association. “Many vapers who require nicotine vapour products do not have access to online channels.

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DR. JOHN OYSTON MB, FRCA
Anesthesiologist, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

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Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has taken on a new role in the era of the Wuhan coronavirus as an expert in the realm of infectious diseases, appearing on multiple media platforms to expound on the response to the virus. [...] Gottlieb expounded at length on infectious disease, predicting that “the scenes out of New York are going to be shocking.”

One problem: Gottlieb is not an expert on the spread of infectious disease, and has never focused on that area of health policy work. In fact, he is best known for his role at the FDA in fomenting a deceptive moral panic over vaping.

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The study titled, “#Vape: Measuring E-Cigarette Influence on Instagram With Deep Learning and Text Analysis,” has shown that the FDA’s “The Real Cost” awareness campaign has had little success in deterring teens from vaping.

Launched in 2018, the unusual campaign, which FDA officials had described as “irreverent,” was meant to spread the message that while e-cigarettes deliver addictive nicotine, the toxins in the devices could have unexpected health effects.

“We are acting on very clear science that there’s an epidemic on the way,” said former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb [...]

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The virus is too new to know very much with any confidence. There are several types of question that can be asked, and answers could be different for smoking and vaping – it is possible that different effects will push in opposite directions: [...]

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Data indicate that over five trillion butts are generated by smokers each year worldwide. Sadly, many of these tend to pile up in parks, beaches, streets and bus stops, as they are small enough to appear more harmless than the more visible type of rubbish, and are therefore more likely to be disposed of inappropriately. Dustin Poppendieck, [...] together with his team, found that a used butt (one that is already cold to the touch) can in one day give off the equivalent of up to 14% of the nicotine that an actively burning cigarette emits.

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An anti-tobacco advocacy group on Monday urged vapers to stop using e-cigarettes, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) attacks the lungs, and behaviors that weaken the lungs put individuals at greater risk. The harmful impact of smoking on the lungs is well documented, and there is a growing body of evidence that e-cigarette use (vaping) can also harm lung health,” the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a statement. COVID-19 could be an “especially serious threat” to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of National Institute on Drug Abuse, [...]

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Insomnia usually affects the elderly more than young people, but over the last decade, increasing numbers of young people are being afflicted. Studies also suggest that women are more likely to experience insomnia.

There are several different types of insomnia. Sleep-onset insomnia is manifested by being unable to fall asleep at the beginning of the night’s rest and is closely associated with anxiety-related disorders.

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Led by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow, this study highlighted once again that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation tools and that they have the potential to either widen or narrow socioeconomic health inequalities. Lead study author Dr. Michael Green, said that it is important to differentiate between vapers who used to smoke and those who did not. “Whether someone smokes is important because, while vaping among those who have never smoked might be a concern, vaping among smokers and ex-smokers is more desirable because it can involve people switching away from smoking.”

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Vapers recently called on governments to adopt a reasonable, risk-proportionate and realistic regulatory framework for electronic-cigarettes (e-cigarettes or vapes) to help reduce serious sickness and premature death among millions of cigarette smokers. The group said there was reason to take note about the study of Prof. Michael Russell, who, in 1976, wrote that “smokers smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.” ‘’When we urge people to stop smoking, we explicitly mean to quit smoking tobacco.

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A good reference reviewing the available evidence on the relation between smoking, vaping and COVID-
19 is the article written by Farsalinos, Barbouni and Nyaura [10] (see also the professional blog entry of

Farsalinos [11]). The authors conclude after reviewing the data from five studies on patients infected by
SARS-CoV-2 that the relation between smoking cigarettes and the severity of COVID-19 in infected
Chinese patients is uncertain and even protective (bearing in mind that 52.1% of Chinese men smoke
whereas only 2.7% of women do).

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The chief executive of British American Tobacco Plc told investors Wednesday that the manufacturer has experienced limited impact from COVID-19. “We are fortunate that our business is resilient and is supported by a geographically diversified supply chain from both a manufacturing and distribution standpoint,” Jack Bowles said. There has been analyst speculation that BAT, in particularly Reynolds American Inc.’s 2-million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Tobaccoville, might face a production slowdown in response to the coronavirus.

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A leading expert has warned that smokers are likely at increased risk of more severe COVID-19, compared to non-smokers, suggesting that now would be a particularly good time to try and quit or cut down.

“There’s not very much data at this point on COVID-19 in smokers, but we do know from reports from China, smokers seem to be over-represented in groups of people who have severe or critical COVID-19,” said J. Taylor Hays, M.D. Director of the Nicotine Dependence center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

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Fiona Patten MP Leader of Reason Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Parliament of Victoria