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Since July, a cluster of 15 cases of severe lung problems requiring hospitalization has emerged in the Midwest. All patients were teens or young adults, and all reported recent vaping. As of today, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS), in Madison, said it was studying 12 confirmed respiratory cases, and 13 more are under investigation. So far, the affected counties are Dodge, Door, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha, and Winnebago. Patients experienced a plethora of symptoms, the agency reports, including shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, anorexia, nausea, diarrhea, and weight loss, with symptoms worsening over days or weeks before requiring admission to hospital. Physicians aren't sure what's causing the severe symptoms but point to a combination of patient age and contents in the e-cigarette vapor as potential factors.

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As the popularity of e-cigarettes has surged in recent years, so has the public’s confusion over the health risks these products pose. Last year, more than 10 million American adults used e-cigarettes, or “vaped,” and e-cigarette use has rapidly grown among teens. Meanwhile, some surveys indicate that the majority of Americans believe e-cigarettes are as harmful as combustible cigarettes, with an additional 10 percent believing e-cigarettes are more dangerous than combustible cigarettes. In addition, the share of Americans with these beliefs has grown sharply in recent years.

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Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. The vast majority of cases are head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), a type of cancer that arises in the outer layer of the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for developing the disease and reduces treatment effectiveness. Now Thomas Jefferson University researchers studying the effects of cigarette smoke on tumor progression show that cigarette smoke reprograms the cells surrounding the cancer cells, and helps drive HNSCC aggressiveness. The results were published online in the journal Molecular Cancer Research.

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South Australian smokers are being encouraged to not let the smoke in and quit smoking for good, with the launch of a new anti-smoking campaign today. Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said for the first time, the State Government has developed, created and produced the campaign advertisements here in South Australia. “Tobacco smoking remains the largest single risk-factor of preventable illness and disease in Australia and is the leading cause of all forms of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” Minister Wade said. “The first of two new ads will be airing from tomorrow, in a bid to encourage smokers to reflect on their smoking behaviours and take the first steps towards living a healthy, smoke-free life. “We know that anti-smoking campaigns have been effective in reducing daily smoking rates, so we are hopeful that by tailoring these campaigns for a South Australian audience, we see a significant decrease in the number of South Australian smokers.”

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for the regulation of tobacco and nicotine products. As a part of its purview of enforcement, the FDA has a statutory responsibility to prevent youth initiation of tobacco products like cigarettes and vapes. While the mission is noble and has some success, the hard truth that remains centers on the uncanny ability of minors to access age-restricted products. Older teenagers (late high school, early college), for instance, are more likely to engage in what some would consider age-inappropriate activities that carry certain associated personal health risks with them. These activities include, naturally, the use of tobacco or nicotine, using marijuana, underage drinking and sexual activity.

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The government of India continues to go strong against e-cigarette companies. It has not only made their entry and sale in India challenging, but is now also clamping down on any possibility of research on e-cigarettes. The National Board of Examinations (NBE) has issued a circular asking medical institutions to exercise restraint on any research on electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDS). This is the second such communication from the Central government advising restraint on the issue. As The Wire reported in May, the Union health ministry issued another circular to at least 35 government institutions, which also asked them to conduct a “prior consultation” before organising research or workshops on ENDS. The NBE’s circular has been addressed to all accredited hospitals, institutions and colleges. There are over 600 accredited hospitals around the country.

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"Electronic cigarettes may soon become much more widely available in the world's largest tobacco market: The People's Republic of China. With over 300 million smokers, China has the world's largest smoking population - which directly results in approximately 1 million deaths annually." While the global e-cigarette market has experienced rapid growth over the last decade, reduced-harm products have only recently started becoming popular domestically, despite the fact that the modern e-cigarette was invented in China, and the vast majority of e-cigarette devices exported around the world are manufactured in Shenzhen.

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A new study from the Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Tobacco Research and Treatment Center provides critical population-level evidence demonstrating that using e-cigarettes daily helps U.S. smokers quit smoking combustible (i.e. regular) cigarettes. The report, published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research online, provides the first longitudinal data about the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for cessation from a survey that reflects the U.S. population. The MGH team analyzed data from the first three years of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, a survey representative of the U.S. adult population that interviews the same individuals each year. The survey allowed the researchers to measure an individual’s change in tobacco use over time. Using data from more than 8,000 adult smokers, the investigators measured how likely a smoker was to quit smoking and stay quit, comparing daily and non-daily e-cigarette users with those who smoked only regular cigarettes. They found that smokers who used e-cigarettes every day (..)

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The 75 million British pounds that imperial will invest is convertible into a 19.9 percent stake in Auxly over a three-year term. This will grant Auxly global licences to Imperial’s vaping technology and access to its brand, Nerudia. The transaction between the two business is expected to be concluded by the third quarter of 2019, and will build on Imperial’s initial entry into the cannabis market in June 2018, when it bought a stake in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT). “Diversifying our NGP portfolio with this investment provides Imperial with further options for future growth and builds on last year’s investment in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies,” said Imperial’s Chief Development Officer, Matthew Phillips. RTT News reported that Imperial Brands aims to accelerate the delivery of Auxly’s business plan ahead of regulatory change to the Canadian cannabis market, in October 2019.

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A comprehensive review of the effects of vaping on the lungs has confirmed that vaping is much less harmful than smoking. The findings are in line with the advice from the British Lung Foundation and reflect the real-world experience of millions of users. The review by an international team led by Professor Riccardo Polosa was published this week in the journal Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine. The findings are important because the respiratory tract (throat, airways and lungs) is the primary target of any potential harm from vaping. The findings are not surprising as the analysis of aerosol shows it has far fewer chemicals than cigarette smoke and those present are at much lower levels. The review found that many studies are poorly designed and results can be misleading. Importantly, many cell and animal studies do not compare the effects of vaping to those of smoking and present findings which are hard to interpret. This has resulted in many sensational and deceptive media headlines.

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JUUL Labs has racked up billions of dollars in sales in recent years with a product that is supposedly a healthier alternative to cigarettes, one that could help people addicted to nicotine kick the habit. But the San Francisco vape brand, which sold a 35 percent stake to Altria Group (parent company to Philip Morris USA) last December, has also been accused of intentionally targeting kids and others with candy-like flavors and a sleek, smokeless device you can charge on your laptop. Enter Jeffrey Wigand, the former top tobacco company scientist-turned-whistleblower whose crusade against Philip Morris and other firms was dramatized in the chilling 1999 movie The Insider. In an interview with VICE, Wigand revealed for the first time that he has been working actively behind the scenes to support the nation's first e-cig sales ban in San Francisco—and to take on Juul in fights across the country, including in Washington, where it has assembled a star-studded lobbying operation (..)

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Juul Labs injected $3 million in July into a campaign to undo its hometown’s looming e-cigarette ban, tripling the size of the campaign’s warchest. The money goes to the Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation, a Juul-backed organization established in May to combat San Francisco’s first-of-its-kind legislation that would halt the sale of e-cigarettes. The coalition reported the latest infusion in a filing to the San Francisco Ethics Commission on Monday, bringing Juul’s total contributions for the year up to $4.5 million. Nate Allbee, the coalition’s communications director, told Forbes that the money will fund a traditional campaign comprising advertisements and canvassing.

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A recovering cigarette smoker finds herself in a place that triggers strong associations with smoking and is sorely tempted to light up. But what if artificial intelligence could become an effective partner with would-be quitters, identifying environments predictive of smoking and intervening in the nick of time to nip that craving in the bud? A study has found a deep learning approach may be able to do that, recognizing locations predictive of smoking and triggering "just-in-time adaptive cessation interventions." It could also help optimize smokers' environments during cessation attempts and, more broadly, analyze the environmental stimuli of other behaviors that need modification. The deep-learning approach successfully differentiated environments that participants designated as smoking or nonsmoking with a mean area under the curve (AUC) of 0.840 (standard deviation, 0.024) (accuracy 76.5%; standard deviation 1.6%), a performance comparable to that of human smoking-cessation experts.

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While tobacco and alcohol sales were already prohibited on Facebook Marketplace, as of this week, the new policy will also prohibit all private sales, trades, transfers and gifting of alcohol, tobacco products and e-cigarettes on Facebook and Instagram. According to CNN, any businesses that post content related to alcohol and tobacco will have to restrict content to people aged 18 and above. “We are updating our regulated goods policy to prohibit the sale of alcohol and tobacco products between private individuals on Facebook and Instagram,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement. “Our commerce policies already prohibit the sale of tobacco or alcohol in places like Marketplace but we’re now extending this to organic content.”

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"Concerns that aim to protect non-users are often more influential in driving policy changes than evidence that points to a benefit for smokers. And, this will only result in policies that aim to restrict the availability of e-cigarettes, even as it places many current smokers at the considerable risk of continued smoking. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the most recent and robust research and evidence is considered when proposing actions that may have potential to act as a harm reduction tool for both current and future smokers."

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Smaller manufacturers of vaping products face a major obstacle to survival after the release a few weeks ago of long-overdue application guidelines for market approval. The guidelines could eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of alternative nicotine products from shelves—including some of the most popular options used by adults trying to quit smoking. Electronic nicotine delivery devices and liquids, which provide a less harmful way for smokers to consume nicotine, have been in regulatory limbo since 2016, when they came under Food and Drug Administration authority. At that time, the FDA required manufacturers of all nicotine products introduced to the market or modified after 2007 to submit applications to evaluate their suitability for sale. Failure to do so would put them at risk of removal from the market.

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The Food and Drug Administration is investigating 127 cases of people suffering from seizures after vaping, the agency announced Wednesday. The agency received about 92 new reports of people, especially kids and young adults, experiencing seizures after using e-cigarettes since it first announced its investigation into the issue in April. The FDA said it’s unclear whether e-cigarettes caused the seizures and cautioned these cases occurred over a 10-year period. When the FDA announced its investigation in the spring, it asked for people to let the agency know if they had ever experienced this. The FDA on Wednesday again encouraged people to report if they had seizures after vaping.

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In India, no independent studies have been conducted or regulatory mechanisms put in place on the use of e-cigarettes. It is, however, a signatory to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which calls upon countries to regulate the use of e-cigarettes or ban them altogether. Many activists trace the resistance faced by e-cigarettes in India to the FCTC guidelines.
In July, some media reports, citing anonymous sources from the Health Ministry, said the Union government intended to put a complete ban on e-cigarettes and vaping products. The move came after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in May, backed a total ban on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), saying such devices become a gateway to smoking and had the potential to get a nonsmoker addicted to nicotine. Vaping, it said, had an impact across the life course, “from womb to the tomb”. On the face of it, the government’s crackdown on e-cigarettes seems counter-intuitive, especially when (..)

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The study titled, “Tobacco‐21 laws and young adult smoking: quasi‐experimental evidence,” was published in Addiction. The researchers compared the smoking rates of people aged 18, 20, 21 and 22, across U.S. communities where the legal age to smoke is 18, to areas where it has been raised to 21. The compiled data indicated that in areas where the age limit is 21, the 18 to 20 group was less likely to smoke (..)

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s2smodern

Last week, the government quietly published its Prevention Green Paper, which sets out aims to eradicate smoking by 2030. How this would be achieved was left vague, with details of the plan to be sketched out at a later date. It was also reportedly almost canned by Health Secretary Matt Hancock to avoid riling incoming Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has made clear his opposition to so-called “sin taxes”. But is it even possible to eradicate smoking entirely? Britain has the second-lowest rate of smoking in Europe (behind only Sweden), but despite all the measures taken to discourage the habit, just under 15 per cent of the population still smoke. This percentage rises among certain groups, such as blue collar workers, those who live in social housing and those with mental illnesses. Those in the LGBTQ community are also more likely to smoke (..)

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