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Islamabad : Even though a belated development, medical professionals and representatives of tobacco control entities in Pakistan have finally broken the silence around whether e-cigarettes (ECs) should be promoted as effective anti-smoking aids for smokers attempting to quit. The impetus to discuss the use of ECs for smoking cessation—a subject mired in controversy—came from the recently released Cochrane Review which provides “moderate-certainty evidence” that nicotine containing ECs are 70% more effective in supporting smokers to quit as compared to nicotine-free ECs, and even Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). [...]

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Despite an increase in awareness campaigns that has made smoking cigarettes less popular than its heyday, the percentage of regular smokers among future doctors attending Malta’s medical school appears not to have changed significantly since 2008, with the percentage decreasing slightly from 12% to 11%.

A study published in Malta Medical Gazette shows that despite the greater health awareness expected from students aiming to become doctors, more than a quarter of medical students are either regular smokers or social smokers, with the number increasing from 24% among first-years to 28% among fifth-years.

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One of the undisputed truths in the world is that smoking is detrimental to health—and that it kills. According to HealthHub, Tobacco use kills 5.4 million people a year worldwide and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths worldwide. Every six seconds, an average of one person dies from it. 

In Singapore, about six Singaporeans die prematurely from smoking-related diseases each day. With this in mind, one would think that people would lay off cigarettes, especially pregnant women. 

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Anyone with a passing knowledge of American history is aware of the failures of prohibition. Both the now-repealed ban on alcohol and the ongoing “war on drugs” did little to reduce demand for substances, instead pushing people toward more dangerous behaviors, fueling illicit markets and drug cartels, and putting otherwise law-abiding citizens in conflict (sometimes fatal) with law enforcement.

Yet, we never seem to learn. Though they avoid the word “prohibition,” those in power continue to present bans as the solution to all manner of social issues. [...]

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Health campaigners have expressed alarm after it emerged that a loophole in the law means it is legal for marketing companies to hand out vapes to children for free.

British American Tobacco (BAT) is investigating after a 17-year-old was offered a free sample of the company’s Vype brand. The minor was not told that the product contained nicotine and was not asked for proof of age. Vape companies regularly distribute free samples to adults using paid, third-party promotional companies operating in city centres and at festivals and transport hubs. [...]

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The 2020 U.S. Surgeon General’s report on smoking cessation is the first such report to focus on this topic since 1990. Its release came as the Department of Health and Human Services was investigating an outbreak of deadly lung injuries linked to the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Although these products pose a new public health challenge, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the burden of death and disease associated with tobacco use in the United States is still overwhelmingly caused by combusted tobacco products, especially conventional cigarettes. [...]

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In the United States, federal agencies and private organizations have pushed the narrative that the use of e-cigarettes threatens to get more people “hooked” on combustible products, leading to laws that have reduced the availability of non-smoke alternatives.

A new study from the United Kingdom, a country that recognizes and promotes vaping as a harm reduction intervention to smoking, found that most adult vapers buck the behavioral trajectory alleged across the Atlantic.

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Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have identified new clues into ways tobacco use impacts patients with kidney cancer.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, provides the first steps in developing personalized treatments for patients with this type of cancer.

Expanding on previous work that identified the mutations of kidney cancer cells, this study reveals metabolic fingerprints that distinguish cancers from nonsmokers compared to smokers.

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A large study exploring possible genetic influences on cannabis use disorder has identified two regions in our DNA — one newly identified and a second that replicates a past finding — that appear to contribute to one’s risk of becoming dependent on marijuana. The researchers analyzed DNA and other data from almost 21,000 people diagnosed with cannabis use disorder and another 360,000 who did not have that diagnosis. They found an association with cannabis use disorder in a region of DNA near the FOXP2 gene on chromosome 7, a gene previously linked to language development and to risk-taking behavior. [...]

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To mark the annual US Food Drug and Law Institute Tobacco and Nicotine Products Regulation and Policy Conference (21-23 Oct), where FDA traditionally gives an update on its plans for nicotine regulation, I thought it worth noting that the centrepiece of its comprehensive strategy for nicotine seems to have disappeared.   This would be a proposed rule lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes with a view to making them sub-addictive – persuading adults to quit and adolescents to never start.  The trouble is that consumers, markets, producers, and criminal networks have a way of thwarting such bold measures.

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We announced to the government [of Kenya] about two years ago now that we had the intention to invest $25 million in a new manufacturing site. This is part of the group’s strategy to move the business into potentially harm-reduced products.

Basically, we are providing more choices and allowing people to move away from smoking. That strategy has been in place at the group level for over 10 years in terms of research and development. But, as a business, now we are at a position to start expanding the footprint of these new categories around the world.

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Marijuana legalization advocates, afraid that efforts to win ballot initiatives would go up in smoke given the challenges of a pandemic, are fired up about chances in five states this fall.

The difficulty of safely getting signatures in person helped doom marijuana legalization efforts in some states, like Idaho and Missouri. But voters will decide next month whether to legalize recreational marijuana in four states, only one of which is reliably Democratic: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota. Mississippi will also consider a pair of ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana.

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In 2009, Congress knew it needed to stop companies that manufactured tobacco and nicotine products from deceptively marketing new products such as “light cigarettes” and e-cigarettes as “healthier alternatives,” particularly to the nation’s youth. In an effort to stop those tactics, lawmakers passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) and charged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with putting new tobacco products through premarket reviews, including labeling and marketing plans. [...]

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Supporters of a coming ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in California asked the state attorney general on Tuesday to investigate complaints that people gathering signatures for a referendum to overturn the law have misrepresented the effort. [...] “In several instances, petition circulators for this referendum have approached voters and asked them to sign this petition under the pretense that signing the petition would support banning flavored tobacco,” attorney Lance Olson wrote. “This is categorically false, as this referendum seeks to overturn the law prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products.”

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In September 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister, announced a ban on vaping products—an ordinance, passed months later by parliament, that would “prohibit the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage, and advertisement of e-cigarettes.” It was unfortunate that “e-cigarettes got promoted initially as a way in which people can get out of the habit of smoking cigarettes,” Sitharaman stated after a cabinet meeting that fall. “It was to be a weaning process from using cigarettes.”

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Cabinet is prepared to table its new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, which is likely to dramatically change things for smokers in South Africa. As well as extending its reach to the vaping industry, the threat of a ‘public cigarette ban’ also looms large. Back in May – and during the middle of controversial nationwide cigarette ban – Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla confirmed that several alterations would be made so the government could better regulate the tobacco industry. It’s since been reported that the Bill will be sent forward for processing ‘before the end of the year’, [...]

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The discussion over how and whether so-called “novel products” such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products can help people stop smoking has been prominent in Europe in recent years. Different EU countries have adopted various approaches but there is still no overall picture of their effectiveness and their long-term health effects.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation has once again put the spotlight on smoking. A WHO official told EURACTIV during the first wave of the pandemic in March that because any kind of tobacco smoking is harmful to the bodily systems, [...]

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Baltimore City leaders want to impose a 30% tax on the distribution of electronic smoking devices.

City Council President and Democratic nominee Brandon Scott is spearheading the proposal, which was introduced during a routine city council meeting Monday. “Taxing vapor products like combustible cigarettes for example is a move in the wrong direction, said Alex Clark, CEO of consumer organization The Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association. “Increasing the cost of these products is likely to discourage people from switching to a smoke free alternative.”

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Ask a smoker what they get out of cigarettes and they are likely to talk about pleasure, contentment, and an overall good feeling. Nicotine, the active ingredient in cigarettes, is a stimulant. Used in low doses like those delivered by combustible cigarettes, stimulants activate the nervous system, resulting in enhanced arousal and alertness. Nicotine binding in the limbic system — the part of the brain that houses the pleasure and reward center — releases dopamine, resulting in feelings of euphoria. These effects combine to give smokers a boost in their mood.

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More than 480,000 U.S. deaths per year, as well as diseases affecting 16 million living Americans, can be attributed to cigarette smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In particular, this behavior continues to be overrepresented among those with mental illness, substance use disorders, and socioeconomic disadvantage. Led by Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., [...] the study sought to determine if reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes decreases smoking rates and nicotine dependence severity among adults with psychiatric disorders or socioeconomic disadvantage.