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My friend and former work colleague Kevin Molloy, who has died from lung cancer aged 63, was a true champion of the harm reduction approach to public health, latterly as head of the Global Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme, which aims to build research capacity into tobacco harm reduction and to raise awareness of the implications of that research for public health policy. Born in Great Barr in Birmingham to Jean (nee Barrett), a housewife, and her husband, Valentine Molloy, a foundryman, he gained a scholarship to the local King Edward’s school and then attended the University of East Anglia, where he studied English and drama.

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There are many dangers associated with vaping. Vapes contain harmful chemicals like nicotine that can harm brain development. And young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.

The good news is that the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that youth e-cigarette use decreased during the pandemic. However, 3.6 million youth still vape. And as young people return to classrooms, the pressure to vape with friends also returns.

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More than half of youth current electronic cigarette users report intention to quit vaping, while more than two-thirds report past-year vaping quit attempts, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in Pediatrics. Hongying Dai, Ph.D., from University of Nebraska in Omaha, used data from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey (1,660 adolescents, typically aged 11 to 18 years) to assess the prevalence of youth intention to quit vaping, past-year quit attempts, and the frequency of quit attempts.

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I recently came across a tweet from high-profile psychedelics researcher Matthew Johnson that took my by surprise: “Nicotine,” Johnson wrote, “is an under-recognized battle front in the War on Drugs.”

Nicotine, for whatever reason, has long been relegated to the outskirts of harm reduction. Why is that still the case?

Johnson is a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins, and he studies nicotine and the technology around it in the context of the drug war. [...]

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A new article in the American Journal of Public Health signed by fifteen past presidents of the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco calls for a recalibration of U.S. policy on e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing vaping products. [...] The topic of e-cigarettes is controversial. Opponents focus on e-cigarettes' risks for young people, while supporters emphasize the potential for e-cigarettes to assist smokers in quitting smoking. Most US health organizations, media coverage, and policymakers have focused primarily on risks to youths. [...]

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Where we have seen severe restrictions and flavor bans on nicotine vaping products, “the smoking rate is going back up,” says Dr. Raymond Niaura, NYU epidemiologist and long-time tobacco researcher.

The return of smoking is a disturbing trend that seems to be an accepted consequence of tobacco control’s war on vaping.

What’s driving public health decision-making? Find out.

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A shakeout of e-cigarettes is at hand.

The Food and Drug Administration is nearing a deadline to decide which e-cigarettes may remain on the market in a series of rulings that have already begun to reshape the industry.

The agency’s mandate is to authorize vaping products only if their manufacturers can demonstrate that they are in the interest of public health. The FDA must weigh, among other things, the potential good of adult cigarette smokers switching to a less harmful option against the potential harm of young people getting hooked on nicotine.

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There has been a recent flurry of movement – both in the courts and in state legislatures – on the marijuana law front across several states.  As we previously reported, on February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed three separate cannabis reform bills into law (NJ A21, NJ A 1897, and NJ A5342/NJ S3454), formally legalizing the use and possession of recreational marijuana in the Garden State.  The new laws contain express workplace-related provisions that impact New Jersey employers by establishing non-discrimination rules for recreational cannabis users or marijuana users, [...]

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In 2017, the Scottish government had announced that it was setting in place a tobacco plan in order to become “smoke-free” by 2034. At the time, the University of Edinburgh and NHS Health Scotland had carried out an inquiry to determine whether efforts to reduce smoking were being effective. This had indicated that while the local tobacco control strategy was working, smoking continued to be a problem amongst low income communities.

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The TGA has today published a revised TGA advertising permission allowing pharmacies and pharmacy marketing to groups to promote, through certain media, that they are able to dispense nicotine vaping products (such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine) on prescription.

The revised advertising permission replaces the permission published in July 2021 to provide greater clarity for pharmacies and pharmacy groups on what is allowed whilst not acting as a ‘push’ for ever users, particularly youth.[...]

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Considerable evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are an effective smoking-cessation tool for adults in the United States, where hundreds of thousands of people die of smoking-related illness each year.

Kenneth Warner, dean emeritus and the Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, says, however, that the potential of vaping to increase smoking cessation has been largely overshadowed by media coverage and policies that focus on the potential risk vaping represents for teens.

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A recent report, Peers Speak Out: Priority Outcomes for Substance Use Treatment and Services (https://www.communitycatalyst.org/resources/tools/peers-speak-out/pdf/Peers-Speak-Out.pdf), sets out an ambitious goal. The report “aims to identify what outcomes matter most to people with substance use disorders to ensure their voices guide future research and action to improve the system. The ultimate goal of the project is to improve treatment outcomes by focusing research, policymaking and service delivery on what people with substance use disorders want and need.”

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Chemical Insights Research Institute, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), and Georgia State University's School of Public Health (GSU) announced the launch of a research initiative on understanding human exposure and the potential health effects of vaping and e-cigarettes. Researchers will characterize airborne particulate aerosols and volatile organic chemicals released during e-cigarette and vape use and determine human exposure levels and potential toxicity for users and bystanders.

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A report on vaping by the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health concluded that the health effects on teens are so harmful and far-reaching that the city needs to restrict its use within the adolescent age group.

The report was submitted by the Board of Health to the City Council on Monday night and includes three recommendations: ban flavored vaping products, prevent retail vape shops from operating near high schools and middle schools and consider a higher tax on e-cigarettes.

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The vape e-liquids manufacturing industry in Malaysia is one of the largest in the world and can contribute significantly to the country's income, a local industry leader said.

In a statement today, Rustam Affendi Ismadi bin Rahimi, director of COF Industry Sdn Bhd, said the government should focus on developing the industry.

COF is one of the largest local vape e-liquids manufacturers and Rustam said many local manufacturers are recognised internationally as industry leaders.

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Over the past few years, the Department of Health and Social Care has become a fizzing hub of nanny statism.


Matt Hancock was recently caught with his knickers up the flagpole and forced to resign as health secretary. But his successor, Sajid Javid, wants to keep Hancock’s legacy alive, making our lifestyle choices for us through patronising public-health interventions. Javid has hit the ground running. He is happily pursuing his predecessor’s plan to make England ‘smoke free’ by 2030. As part of that strategy, he is reportedly considering restricting the sale of e-cigarettes to adults over the age of 21.

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THERE is a growing belief that the traditional “Quit or Die” public health approach to getting smokers to kick the habit is ineffective, and should be abandoned in favour of less harmful cigarette alternatives like vaping.

This view is echoed by Dr Lorenzo Mata Jr, the president of the Phillippines-based advocacy group Quit for Good. In a speech at the Asia Harm Reduction Forum 2021, Mata said the reality is that there are smokers who just do not want to quit.

He said the best approach is to enable them to switch to safer alternatives like vaping to substantially reduce the risk of death and diseases caused by smoking.

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The shock and horror that has greeted Philip Morris International’s £1bn bid for
UK respiratory drug developer Vectura is something to behold. Public health and
anti-smoking charities are calling the deal “an unresolvable ethical conflict” that
will kill the FTSE 250 company because medical groups bar scientists from tobacco
companies from participating in their programmes.
The maker of Marlboro cigarettes this week tried to address those concerns as part
of its formal 165p per share all-cash offer. It promised to operate the group as an
autonomous unit focused on therapeutic uses [...]

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Titled, The Tobacco landscape in India: An argument for harm reduction, the study has triggered some interesting thoughts for India’s big tobacco market and what it called its persistent and multifaceted problem.

So what did it say? It said a third of the Indian population uses both combustible and smokeless forms of tobacco, products available in an array of varieties. To cut such use, the government has pushed different tobacco control laws since the 70s but implementation is a big crisis.

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Imagine you’re a smoker who wants to switch to vaping for the sake of your health.

[...]

Here in the UK, vaping will not only help your health but also save you money compared to smoking. You can get set up with a vape for as little as £10. Assuming you go through 1-2 bottles of e-liquid and 1 coil a week, you’ll probably only pay around £30 a month (or £1 per day) for your vaping habit. This amounts to the cost of just 2 packs of cigarettes – making vaping a much cheaper option!

However, in other countries vaping can be VERY costly.