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Stoptober is back: The UK’s annual challenge to quit smoking in the month of October. According to the NHS if a smoker can stay quit for 28-days then it is 5 times more likely the person quits for good. In this episode of RegWatch we are joined by tobacco harm reduction advocate and clinical consultant Louise Ross to discuss realities on the ground in the UK effort to stamp out smoking. Are e-cigarettes being promoted at NHS Stop Smoking Services centers? What is the current UK public perception of vaping? And, how might the demise of Public Health England affect the outcome of the war on vaping?

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I’m visiting Natalia (not her real name) in Buenos Aires. She’s in her 40s, a middle-class university graduate who, like many women in Argentina, started her own business after losing her job. But unlike most, Natalia is considered a criminal by the Argentine government.

That’s because her business is selling vaping products. The government banned in-person and online sales, distribution and importation back in 2011, when ANMAT [...] issued administrative provision number 3226-11. Possible penalties, depending on circumstances, include seizures, fines and even imprisonment.

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The NRA said that the proposal put forward by the government to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to consider allowing only pharmacies to sell smoke-free nicotine products is the ‘worst of both worlds’ for convenience shops. NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that this would create a monopoly, to the detriment of small convenience retailers, as they are heavily reliant on tobacco sales. “This makes no sense, that cigarettes would be freely available over the counter in corner stores and service stations, but the product that can help people transition away from smoking would be restricted. [...]

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On 23 September 2020, the European Commissions’ Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) provided its Preliminary Opinion on Electronic Cigarettes [...]. This opinion is important because it is one input to the report on the implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EC, under Article 28 of the Directive. This review should complete by 20 May 2021, and it may form the basis for a further revision of the Tobacco Products Directive. In this post, I discuss why the SCHEER preliminary opinion offers no useful analysis or relevant insights to policymakers.