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The tobacco industry is attempting to market heated tobacco products (HTPs) and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) as less toxic and safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes. In reality, these products are not harmless. HTPs are tobacco products and can actually expose users to higher levels of some toxicants than conventional smoking. ENDS contain nicotine – a highly addictive substance – and other toxic chemicals.

The boundaries between these products are being rigorously blurred by the tobacco industry to confuse users and normalize the use of HTPs and ENDS, especially among young people. [...]

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This is my response to the operational review of the performance of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products by the Reagan-Udall foundation. The heart of the problem is the lack of a coherent regulatory strategy, grounded in real-world understanding

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In this blog, we take a look at modelling used to justify ‘endgame’ legislation under discussion in New Zealand. Among other things, this would reduce nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco available through legal channels to minimal levels. We find the modelling and data assumptions bear no relation whatsoever to the underlying processes and the effects that such legislation would trigger. Deep cuts in smoking are assumed as inputs to the model. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the model results show deep cuts in smoking, and this determines the resulting health benefits. But the assumptions have no grounding in reality and misinterpret and misuse trial findings.

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There are now high levels of sweet and fruit-flavoured chemicals likely to appeal to young people in e-cigarette liquids ostensibly marketed as ‘tobacco-flavoured’, compared with a decade ago, finds research published today in a special supplement* of the journal Tobacco Control.

This recent trend coincides with the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban on the sale of cartridge based flavoured e-cigarettes–with the exception of menthol and tobacco flavours–in a bid to limit their appeal to young people. And it suggests that manufacturers are managing to get round the regulations, say the researchers.

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Health policy experts have stressed that nicotine does not cause sickness and cancer contrary to common public misperception.

“There is no loss of control. It does not impair cognitive function. In fact, it may even enhance it. And nicotine does not produce disease. It is not carcinogenic,” Michael Ogden, a regulatory and industry expert at consulting group Chemular, [...] Unfortunately, a lot of information on the Internet about nicotine does not help smokers make informed decisions. “It is not really helping people who smoke understand how to use the products that are available including lower-risk tobacco nicotine products [...]

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On November 8, California residents will vote on a ballot measure to prohibit the sale of flavored nicotine products.

A “yes” vote for Proposition 31 would ban almost all flavored nicotine products—both vapes and cigarettes, including menthol—with the exception of hookah, loose leaf tobacco (for pipes) and premium cigars. Lawmakers in California already technically passed the ban in 2020, but legal challenges brought it to a two-year halt—and are now leaving it up to voters to decide.

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A domestic tobacco control network has voiced concern about young children smoking e-cigarettes.

A member of the national tobacco product control board said there has been a spike in the number of teenagers who vape.

According to a survey on Thai people's health conducted in 2019 and 2020, 5.3% of children aged 10 to 19 years have tried vaping, and 2.9% do so regularly. Around 30% of people in this age bracket who smoke e-cigarettes are women, the study showed.

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Titled ‘The Subversion of Public Health: Consumer Perspectives’, a white paper presented at the recent Fifth Asia Harm Reduction Forum (AHRF 2022) has now been publicly released. [...] Ms Loucas says, “public health is ‘the science and art of promoting health, preventing disease and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society.’ But asks, ‘what happens when citizens and policymakers are not given the full information to make informed choices about their health?’”

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The recently launched “Effective Anti-smoking Policies Global Index,” published by the We Are Innovation network, analyzes the public policies to eradicate smoking in 59 countries, evaluating them in 10 objective categories such as the regulatory framework of Non-Combusted Nicotine Products (NCNPs), their prohibition, display, packaging, and taxation, among others.

The evidence from studies, articles, reports and meta-analyses all agree that NCNPs are 95 to 98 percent safer than tobacco consumed in the traditional way by combustion. [...]

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For many years, the science communication landscape looked something like this: reputable universities and public health institutions did sound research and educated consumers about the risks they faced; devious activist groups fabricated health scares that gullible and dishonest reporters uncritically amplified; ACSH and other science-minded organizations refuted the nonsense emanating from the headlines.

Things are different today. Often times its reputable healthcare providers and other trusted institutions that mislead consumers. There is no better example than this recent piece published by the Cleveland Clinic: How Vaping or Smoking Impacts Your Physical Activity:

 

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Building on recent progress towards the New Zealand Smokefree 2025 goal, the Government plans to introduce tobacco control legislation giving ministers powers to implement three significant new policies:

a steep reduction in the number of retail outlets that can sell tobacco;
a ‘smokefree generation’ proposal that would make it illegal to sell tobacco to anyone born after a certain date, and;
[...]
In preparation for this legislation, the Ministry of Health funded academics from Australia and New Zealand to model estimates of the likely impact of these measures, especially their contribution to achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal.

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The three-year study at the University of Wisconsin evaluated the physiological response in 395 people, 164 of who vaped for an average of 4.1 years compared with 117 people who smoked for around 23 years and 114 who had not used any nicotine products. “Immediately after vaping or smoking, there were worrisome changes in blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability and blood vessel tone (constriction),” said lead study author Matthew Tattersall, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

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Malboro maker Philip Morris International finally wins support for its $15.7bn takeover of Swedish Match, despite securing slightly less than 90 per cent of backing.

 

[...] the US company said it had received Swedish Match’s 10 largest shareholders had accepted its bid, meaning that activist investor Elliott Management had likely tendered its shares.

“Our intention is still to take the company entirely private, so it is better for the (Swedish Match) shareholders if they tender their shares,” PMI Chief Executive Jacek Olczak told Reuters.

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The 4.3 million people who are now vaping in the UK would be forgiven for being confused after reading alarming headlines about how e-cigarettes can lead to “worrisome changes” in blood pressure and heart function.

Senior academics in the UK expressed dismay after suggestions by a US team of researchers that measurements of heart rate and blood pressure cast doubt on findings that smoking is much more dangerous than vaping. Scientists at King’s College London, who recently carried out the largest review of its kind into vaping, were “in despair” at the coverage the US analyses has generated, has been told.

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Hong Kong residents who were born in 2009 or after should be banned from buying cigarettes by 2027, the Council on Smoking and Health proposed on Nov. 3, reports the South China Morning Post

The city’s smoking population dropped to 9.5 percent last year—hitting single digits for the first time since tracking began—but Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has pledged to lower the rate to 7.8 percent in three years.

Other measures proposed include doubling the current tobacco tax by 2023-2024, which means a pack of cigarettes currently priced at HKD60 ($7.64) would rise to around HKD100. [...]

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Ahead of the Nov. 3 parliamentary debate on the independent review of smokefree 2030 policies, the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) has published an alternative strategy to reduce the smoking rate in England, titled The Alternative Smoke-Free 2030 Plan.

This approach stands in contrast with the recent Khan Review, which recommended banning the sale of cigarettes over time. Report author Christopher Snowdon argues that as long as demand exists—only 53 percent of British smokers say they want to quit—prohibitionist policies will result in endemic black market activity, crime and secondary poverty without eradicating smoking.

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For decades, public health advocates chipped away at the influence of Big Tobacco with measures aimed at discouraging cigarette use. But the bitter legal and political battles were just a prelude to the unfolding climactic clash that could determine the fate of smoking and whether these companies adapt or falter.

U.S. health officials have launched the most aggressive attack by far on cigarettes: Twin government proposals would ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and would limit nicotine levels to make traditional smoking less addictive. At the same time, the government is slowly embracing vaping as an alternative by authorizing the sale of some e-cigarettes, [...]

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Smoking has been stigmatized for some time. Once it was normal for idolized film actors, philosophers and writers to be photographed in a cloud of smoke, with a cigarette in hand or hanging off their mouth. Today, people who smoke are often pitied or shamed. Just as tobacco advertising is widely banned, people who smoke have been quietly disappearing from public spaces. Where once just about every pub and many restaurants allowed smoking, the designated smoking area now, for most, is the great outdoors or their own home—if they don’t live in public housing, that is.

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This post uses the term “oral nicotine products” to refer both to traditional tobacco-based nicotine pouches like Swedish snus and to “modern oral” nicotine pouches that are tobacco-free. It excludes nicotine gum and lozenges. [...] Oral tobacco products have a bad reputation, based on chewing tobacco and traditional oral products (such as paan and gutkha) used in countries such as India and Iran that contain many toxic compounds and can cause oral cancer. Modern snus and nicotine pouches are much cleaner and have health risks similar to medical nicotine replacement therapy

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A heat-not-burn tobacco-free device has launched a major nationwide marketing campaign in a bid to secure more physical and online retailer listings.

Teó is an electronic device “comparable to Iqos”, into which users place refillable vaping sticks. The sticks are available in both nicotine-free and different strength nicotine varieties.

However, unlike Phillip Morris’ Iqos and JTI’s rival product Ploom, which take tobacco-filled sticks, the Teó’s refillable sticks instead contain “high-quality tea leaves” plus propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.