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Nova Scotia became the only Canadian province to ban the sale of flavored nicotine products this past April. The ban is having some unintended, but expected consequences.

A new study commissioned by the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association showed that more people are buying combustible cigarettes.

Since the ban took effect this past spring, the data gathered by the Association shows a 29% increase in the sale of cigarettes.

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As the percentage of Americans smoking has fallen to below 14 percent, and tobacco giant Philip Morris has even declared it is trying to “achieve a smoke-free world,” it’s tempting to think the public health debate over smoking, tobacco and nicotine is over.

It’s not.

Instead, the battle has largely shifted to a new debate over prohibition vs. mitigation: Should smoking, vaping etc. simply be banned? Or should governments treat products that lower risks of bad health outcomes differently than they treat traditional cigarettes?

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Taking place at the latest Vaping Conversations diginar of 2020, the discussion around the repercussions of a vape tax followed an announcement by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, that e-cigarettes and vaping products will be taxed from 2021. Now that the impending Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (COTPENDS) Bill is fast approaching, concerns around it are on the rise. VPASA, has naturally together with tobacco harm-reduction experts, been long explaining to local authorities that a tax on this product category would be counterproductive to local smoking rates and therefore public health.

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The potential for vaping to save lives is manifest to those in the harm reduction community who have battled so hard against the ill-fated war on drugs.

Joining us today on RegWatch is one such warrior, Harry Shapiro. For over 40 years he’s fought to eradicate the harm caused by ineffective and intolerant drug policy and for the past half-decade, he’s been a leading voice for tobacco harm reduction.

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A smoker could pay anywhere from €6,000 to €60,000 than their non-smoking counterpart for life assurance according to figures released today by Royal London.

Experts at the leading protection specialist say that many policyholders are unaware of the significant cost savings that can be made on their life insurance premiums if they have given up smoking – with non-smokers benefiting from a reduction in premiums of up to around 50%.

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Imperial Brands on Wednesday laid out a five-year plan, led by its new chief executive, to focus on the company’s top five cigarette markets, to fine-tune next-generation products to consumer preferences and to bolster its sales force. On Wednesday, the maker of Kool and Winston cigarettes said it would concentrate investment on Australia, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, which generate about 72% of group profits. It will also exit some smaller markets, where it sees no future growth, but did not provide details.

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The decadeslong decline in U.S. cigarette sales halted last year as people in lockdown lit up more frequently and health concerns around e-cigarettes caused some vapers to switch back to cigarettes.

Before the pandemic, U.S. cigarette unit sales had been falling at an accelerating rate, hitting 5.5% in 2019, as smokers quit or switched to alternatives like e-cigarettes. The pandemic put the brakes on that slide. In 2020, the U.S. cigarette industry’s unit sales were flat compared to the previous year, according to data released Thursday by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc.

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In the first study to assess national use of e-cigarettes among adults with disabilities, George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services researchers found that adults with disabilities were twice as likely to use e-cigarettes (8.4%) than adults without disabilities (4.8%), but the prevalence of e-cigarette use varied by type of disability.

Dr. Gilbert Gimm led the study [...]

"Previous studies have found that e-cigarette use is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, and adverse health outcomes. [...]

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The American Lung Association released its 19th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which reveals that Alabama received all failing grades for its efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. The American Lung Association graded federal and state efforts to reduce tobacco in this year’s report and is calling for meaningful policies that will prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. “’State of Tobacco Control’ 2021 provides an important roadmap on how states like Alabama and the federal government can put in place the policies proven to have the greatest impact on reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Ashley Lyerly [...]

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Health authorities should develop targeted health messages for vaping product and e-liquid packaging to encourage smokers to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes and to prevent non-smokers from taking up vaping, a researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington says. Professor Janet Hoek, a Co-Director of the University’s ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre has led new Health Research Council-funded research analysing the impact of on-package messaging on e-liquids.

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Indiana’s report card from American Lung Association is out, with a brand new segment for a grade called “ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.” The end result for the state? An F.

The highest grade Indiana received was a C, in strength of smoke-free workplace laws. Funding for state tobacco prevention programs and level of state tobacco taxes both received an F, while coverage and access to services to quit tobacco received a D.

“That might be something new for folks to consider,” Nick Torres, advocacy director at the American Lung Association said about the new grade for flavored tobacco products.

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Daniel Tranter, supervisor of the Indoor Air Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health, said he often hears from renters who are concerned about neighbors who smoke.

The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA) prohibits smoking and vaping in public areas, which include common areas like hallways, lobbies, garages and party rooms. “If there’s smoke drifting from one private residence to another, that’s not something we can regulate,” Tranter said. Some rental properties have lease addendums in place that prohibit smoking indoors. If that’s the case, a concerned resident need only hope their landlord will enforce the policy when prompted, he said.

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Super-skunk cannabis has contributed to a record 100,000 people admitted for NHS treatment for drug-related mental health problems.

The number admitted with drug-related mental or behavioural disorders rose by three per cent to 99,782 in the past year, while hospital admissions for drug-related mental crises were up by 21 per cent in the decade that has seen super-strength cannabis emerge.

The new strains have seen the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, increase up to five-fold – from five per cent 10 to 15 years ago to as much as 20 to 25 per cent.

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It can be hard to predict trends in vaping. [...] Still, by monitoring current trends, talking to manufacturers and referencing our 2021 expert predictions post, we can come up with some educated guesses… When pods first launched there were clear distinctions between them and mods. Nowadays, however, the two are increasingly starting to merge into one, and we’ve even had a couple of debates at work about whether we should classify a kit as a pod or a mod system.

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Pressure continues to mount on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as more international public health experts have warned Bloomberg-funded groups against trying to influence the decision of Filipino regulators on tobacco control policy thru foreign grants.

Prof. David Sweanor, advisory committee chair of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law and Policy in Canada, said the donation made by Bloomberg groups to the Philippines FDA could influence the regulatory agency’s future decisions and take away its independent judgment when it comes to tobacco control.

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The much-awaited ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’ is being shaped with a strong push on prevention, targeting in particular alcohol and tobacco products, including novel tobacco products like e-cigarettes, EURACTIV has learnt.

An EU-wide plan to combat cancer has remained one of the priorities of Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission when it comes to public health, although the COVID crisis has understandably diverted attention over the past few months.

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It starts with nicotine. C10H14N2. Ten carbon atoms, 14 hydrogens, and two nitrogens in each molecule.

When consumed by humans through smoking, nicotine is taken up by receptors in the brain, stimulating the release of dopamine, a chemical messenger that elicits feelings of happiness. When working properly, it stimulates and rewards actions that are beneficial to the body. Addiction is a behavioural response to that rush.

Every story of addiction is personal and unique, held together by the threads of dependence. That’s no different for Nova Scotia’s Shelley Caffatos and PEI’s Kim Asling-Ings, who struggled to quit smoking.

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Millions of vaping products imported into New Zealand will be required to display warning labels in te reo Maori if new Government proposals are implemented.

Under the new proposals, e-cigarettes containing nicotine would be required to carry a warning label advising of the potential for addiction to the product in both English and te reo Maori - similar to that found on cigarettes containing tobacco. According to latest Census data, 13% of Kiwis are regular smokers, however, this figure is significantly higher for Maori (31%).

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The government of the Netherlands,  led by Paul Blokhuis, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport, is in imminent danger of fooling itself into becoming an unwitting ally of the cigarette trade.  By taking measures to make vaping less attractive (notably by proposing a ban on all non-tobacco flavours for e-cigarettes), it threatens to degrade the appeal of a low-risk rival to cigarettes, provide regulatory protection to the cigarette trade, prolong smoking, obstruct quitting, and add to the burden of disease and death. [...]

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A public consultation on the recently announced flavour ban was meant to close on the 19th of January, but has been extended to the 2nd of February. The Independant European Vape Alliance (IEVA) the only pan-European association aimed at uniting national associations and businesses in the European vaping industry, is pointing out that the proposed measure, which would leave only tobacco flavours available for sale, risks pushing ex-smoking vapers back to using combustible tobacco.