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Last week the federal government’s Office of Drug Control announced changes to the importation of nicotine-containing electronic cigarette fluids that will seriously affect the estimated 227,000 regular e-cigarette users in Australia. From January 1, 2021, users will no longer be allowed to import nicotine-containing fluids for use in e-cigarettes, even if they have a prescription. The measures, which were initially set to come into force on July 1, 2020, are in addition to the existing domestic ban on sales of these products.

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Nova Scotia is strengthening regulations on the sale of vaping products to decrease youth vaping.

The province will be the first in Atlantic Canada to introduce a tax on vaping products and among the first in the country to require sales permits.

"We need to do everything we can to make sure vaping products do not appeal to younger Nova Scotians, particularly in light of concerning health consequences," Finance and Treasury Board Minister Karen Casey said in a news release. "We have been concerned about growing vaping rates among our youth and we are responding to keep our youth safe. We continue to be a leader in this area."

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The Spanish Government is toughening up tobacco regulations which will see more taxes, fines and restrictions. THE Ministries of Finance and Health are working on two different tracks with the ultimate aim of reducing consumption in Spain. According to La Información, the Executive plans to create a new Law for the Regulation of the Tobacco Market and Taxation Regulations to replace outdated legislation which has not been amended since 1998. The Health Department wants to raise the tax in order to reduce consumption. Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, wants to increase taxation and bring taxes for different types of tobacco on an equal footing. For example, cigarettes are currently more heavily taxed than roll-your-own tobacco.

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Smoking and vaping, whether by means of tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes or waterpipes, stiffens the arteries, causes inflammation and damages DNA, leading to a variety of health problems, according to a study published today (Friday) in the European Heart Journal.

The study is the world’s first comparison of the effects of the three forms of smoking and vaping on human health and the function of cells that line blood vessels (the endothelium). It provides an overview of the available evidence about the harmful chemicals produced and the mechanisms by which smoking and vaping affect the body. [...]

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Nicotine addiction is the second leading cause of death worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 44 million adults got addicted to cigarette smoking in 2011, with majority being from the low-income class in the U.S. Similar conditions prevail in other countries and pose an equal threat to human lives. Cigarette smoking is a primary cause of lung cancer and other respiratory and cardiac diseases. Awareness about these health hazards has encouraged smokers to adopt smoking cessation therapy.

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Next week, with a new financial year underway, the Morrison government will request the Governor-General to prohibit the importation of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine and nicotine-containing refills for e-cigarettes unless on prescription from a doctor. [...] Evan Mullholland, the Director of Communications [...] tweeted yesterday, “I don’t smoke, but I know so many people who have kicked the habit of cigarettes by vaping. It is clearly a safer alternative. Greg Hunt is a decent Minister but as a Liberal Party member of over 10 years I have to say this is the most abhorrent decision I have seen in politics.”

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The Dutch government is banning fruit and candy e-cig flavours, allowing only tobacco flavours on the market, in a bid to make vaping products less appealing to teens. In a letter to Parliament, last week State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health said that tobacco flavours are being exempted so that smokers may continue to use e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools. “All kinds of organizations are working very hard to make it harder to start smoking and easier to quit. This is also urgently needed because it remains unacceptable that 20 thousand people die in our country every year from the effects of smoking and about 75 children start smoking every day,” said Blokhuis (...)

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In order to compare periodic changes in STC prevalence, the researchers grouped studies into five-year periods: 2000-2004, 2005-2009, 2010-2014, 2015-2019. The pooled estimates of prevalence were 25% (95% CI: 22-28%), 22% (95% CI: 15-28%) and 21% (95% CI: 14-28%) for Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, respectively. Within the pooled estimates across these countries, the researchers found a higher STC prevalence for men at 30% than women at 16% and 24% in rural dwellings, as opposed to 17% in urban dwellings. Additionally, the researchers found a significant decrease of STC in Bangladesh and India [...]

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Following the Global Forum on Nicotine held on June 11th, 2020, Philip Morris International (PMI) organized an event on Tobacco Harm Reduction on June 23rd, 2020. Nowadays, more than one billion people smoke in the world and the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that this number will not decrease until 2025. Recently, the United Kingdom governmental agency, Public Health England, published a report stating that e-cigarette use is around 95% safer than smoking traditional tobacco. For Prof. Reuven Zimlichman, the situation is complex and should be seen through human condition and behavior: "Unhealthy behaviors are inevitable. People make poor lifestyle choices despite suffering negative health effects. Heart disease patients continue to lead sedentary lives and eat unhealthy diet, diabetic patients continue to overeat and eat unhealthy food, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients continue to smoke."

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Top scientist Professor Shabir Madhi says that, from a scientific perspective, there isn't much merit in preventing the sale of cigarettes but allowing people to buy alcohol. "Unfortunately, there really isn't much merit from a scientific perspective in terms of banning smoking but allowing people to buy alcohol – in fact, what we are seeing right now is that the sale of alcohol is resulting in an increased pressure on our healthcare facilities," Madhi said in citing issues directly related to alcohol abuse.

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All tobacco products sold in Singapore will be subject to standardised packaging from Wednesday (July 1). The packaging will include enlarged graphic health warnings, and will apply to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, beedies, ang hoon and other roll-your-own tobacco products, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday (June 29). As part of the new regulations taking effect from Wednesday, all logos, colours, images and promotional information on the packaging of tobacco products should be removed. Mandatory graphic health warnings on such products must also cover at least 75 per cent of surfaces, up from the current 50 per cent.

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E-cigarettes are a popular alternative to smoking, but we still know very little about the effects of them on our health. [...] A recent study investigating the effect of e-cigarettes on our oral microbiome found that e-cigarettes have a negative impact on the diversity of the bacteria present. They also cause an immune response from cells, which can lead to long-term damage to the surrounding cells. For this particular study, 123 participants were recruited and split into five groups: smokers, non-smokers, e-cigarette users, former smokers currently using e-cigarettes, and those that use both. [...]

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Tobacco harm reduction advocates across Asia-Pacific called on the Parliament of Australia to abort, not delay, the planned ban on imports of liquid nicotine for vaping to provide smokers with alternatives to combustible cigarettes. Factasia, a non-profit regional tobacco harm reduction consumer advocacy, said e-cigarettes or vapes, along with other smoke-free nicotine products such as heat-not-burn tobacco products and snus, have the ability to significantly reduce the health risks of millions of Australian smokers.

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Coalition MPs including George Christensen have revolted against Greg Hunt’s unilateral decision to ban the personal importation of liquid nicotine for vaping from 1 July.

The decision, made by the health minister on Friday after parliament rose for a six-week adjournment, delighted doctors groups but has outraged Liberal and National backbenchers who favour legalisation of vaping.

On Wednesday, Christensen said the ban could mean fines of up to $200,000 for those who break the law and import liquid nicotine without a prescription.

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South Africa and Zimbabwe have stepped up border patrols in a bid to stop cigarette smuggling, which has boomed since Pretoria banned the sale of tobacco in March.

The country claimed smokers were more prone to Covid-19 – something that has been challenged by tobacco companies – but the illegal trade has increased, despite South Africa erecting a R37m (£1.7m) 25-mile fence across the border in April as part of its measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

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For the millions of smokers in South Africa, it is looking less likely that cigarettes could be in line for a swift return. Several court cases raised against the tobacco ban are struggling to break the legal deadlock, and according to one prominent activist, a final decision on the matter may only be heard in August.

The British American Tobacco (Batsa) case has already been pushed back after it was scheduled to start on Monday. Bev Maclean, who has been fighting the prohibition of cigarettes alongside several civil society organisations, says she received an email from the company’s lawyers explaining the delay.

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The introduction of two Newport styles in recent months boosted overall sales volume for traditional cigarettes by 1.8% for the four-week period that ended June 13, according to the latest Nielsen survey of convenience stores.

That’s a reversal from the period that ended May 16, which saw a 0.3% decline.

Cowen & Co. analyst Vivian Azer said Thursday that without the new Newport styles, the category would have declined 1.5% during the period.

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The Dutch government is banning e-cigarettes with interesting flavors in an effort to make them less attractive to young people, State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday. Tobacco flavors are exempted from the ban, so that smokers can continue to use e-cigarettes to quit, he said.

This measure is in response to the latest insights from the Trimbos Institute about e-cigarettes. The institute concluded that e-cigarettes are more harmful than expected and that Dutch public health would benefit from discouraging its use. [...]

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Martin King is CEO of Philip Morris International America and leads the company’s charge to get people around the world to quit smoking cigarettes. He has worked abroad on this issue but has recently returned to the United States.

 
The company’s motive in getting smokers to quit cigarettes is not wholly altruistic. Cigarette sales have recently declined, but “smokeless” products have seen a surge in demand, according to CNN. And while PMI strongly advocates for people to stop smoking altogether, it also provides a “smokeless” alternative for people who are looking for a change in their smoking behavior.

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Smoking rates in the Middle East kingdom of Jordan have become the highest in the world amid what public health advocates say is widespread interference in policy-making by multinational tobacco companies.

More than eight out of 10 Jordanian men smoke or regularly use nicotine products including e-cigarettes, according to a government study carried out in 2019 in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Jordanian men who smoke daily consume an average of 23 cigarettes a day, the survey found.

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