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Discussing news and information on public health policy, law and consumer advocacy for safer nicotine products in Asia Pacific and the world.

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New Taipei, April 29 (CNA) Legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes in New Taipei City cleared the city council Thursday, making it the first of Taiwan's six special municipalities to ban the sale of vaping products.

The New Taipei ordinance on the management of novel tobacco products prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale, display or advertising of vaping devices and heated tobacco products and components unless one has a government drug or medical device permit to do so.

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A new report from Britain’s top public health organization adds to the growing mountain of evidence that vaping, e-cigarettes, and “heat-not-burn” alternatives are effective tools for getting cigarette smokers to quit, significantly lowering their health risks. The new evidence update recently released by Public Health England (PHE) also reconfirms that health risks from vaping are 95 percent lower than traditional combustible cigarettes. It’s a message many anti-tobacco activists in the U.S. continue to resist.

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After keeping its distance from cannabis, Marlboro-maker Philip Morris International Inc. is beginning to take a closer look at the suddenly hot market.

The company is assessing factors like the toxicity of cannabis, efficacy and differences between pharmaceutical and consumer options, Chief Executive Officer Andre Calantzopoulos told Bloomberg News [...] The company is still analyzing the industry because the market is so young and there isn’t robust regulation yet, he said. “We are doing all this work and will determine one day what avenues to pursue,” he said in an interview. [...]

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For around $70 for an electronic vaporiser, some sellers will throw in free delivery and even a box of three juice pods worth about $25.

Distributors and re-sellers compete aggressively on social media and private message groups to offer a wide array of vaping products.

One popular online message group had about 8,000 advertisements in March last year. By December, the figure had spiked to more than 115,000 advertisements.

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A provision tucked into the Covid Relief bill passed by Congress in December 2020 now has vaping businesses and states regulatory departments scrambling to meet new federal requirements. And in many cases, it will increase the cost of doing business.

“For the vape industry, this was the worst Christmas present ever,” said Avalara excise tax expert John Beaty.

The provision added vaping products sold online and in vape shops to the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (“PACT”) Act, which regulates the sale of tobacco products. [...]

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It’s an insult to blow smoke in someone’s face. That’s what Big Tobacco and its enablers in the Legislature are doing to Montanans right now, and we should all be offended.

House Bill 137, sponsored by vape shop owner Rep. Ron Marshall, would allow people to use electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes in nearly all public spaces in our state. Not only would this bill overturn policies in 11 Montana localities where e-cigarettes use is prohibited inside public places, it would also prevent Montana communities from implementing any future protections from tobacco.

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[...] the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is committing to advancing two tobacco product standards to significantly reduce disease and death from using combusted tobacco products, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The FDA is working toward issuing proposed product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors (including menthol) in cigars; the authority to adopt product standards is one of the most powerful tobacco regulatory tools Congress gave the agency. [...]

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The health of our children and our responsibility to protect it is a priority not just among pediatricians like ourselves, but also for our communities. Parents and neighbors deeply value the health of the next generation . Children and teens depend on adults to protect their health, and towns across South Carolina should have the authority to react to these needs with appropriate action. It's been a reliable cycle for decades. In fact, many of our nation's successful public health laws began at the local level. [...]

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The Biden administration is planning to propose a ban on menthol cigarettes, according to several reports, after years of lobbying from public health groups and civil rights activists who say that the products frequently have been aggressively marketed towards, and disproportionately harmed Black communities. The proposed ban will likely be announced Thursday, according to CBS News, in part because the Food and Drug Administration is under a court deadline to respond to a citizens' proposal to ban menthol products by that day. Any ban will likely take years to take effect, but would be a step forward according to anti-smoking groups.

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How did vaping emerge, and why do so many in public health oppose it? It is a perplexing question, but the explanation starts with innovation.

The essential development was progress with a critical technology—the lithium-ion battery—that made new categories of consumer nicotine product possible in a compact form acceptable to consumers. Driven by the insatiable demand for miniaturization from mobile phones and other portable devices, these batteries have improved to deliver ever greater energy density (essential for good battery life) and power density (essential for rapid heating and responsiveness to human interaction). [...]

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Smokeless sales, driven by the spitless segment, are trending up at convenience stores with help from ongoing innovation in the segment.

Dollar sales in the convenience channel rose 8.9% for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 27, 2021, totaling $7.37 billion, up from $6.77 billion for the previous year, according to data from NielsenIQ. Unit sales for the same period rolled in flat (0.8%), a dip of 0.1% over the previous year.

“Moist tobacco cans are still king in our stores,” said Lisa Dell’Alba, president of Square One Markets, operating seven stores in Pennsylvania. “We are seeing steady consumption and slight growth in the category.”

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MILLIONS of Brits are facing a ban on vaping, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.

They will be hit if World Health Organisation recommendations on outlawing e-cigarettes are adopted. And experts condemned the idea, with one saying it would drive up deaths from tobacco.

Clive Bates, a tobacco harm expert and the former director of anti-smoking group ASH, said: “The advice is completely irresponsible and bizarre.

“If governments take it seriously, they will be protecting the cigarette trade, encouraging smoking and adding to a huge toll of cancer, heart and lung disease. Something has gone badly wrong here.”

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On April 22, high-ranking Democratic legislators introduced a bicameral bill that would create the country’s first federal vaping tax.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin—perhaps the most prominent longtime anti-smoking advocate in Congress—joined forces with Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, who over the past few years has become one of the vaping industry’s fiercest opponents. [...] If the bill manages to survive the congressional chambers and make it onto President Joe Biden’s desk for signing, it would increase the tobacco tax rate—and place the same tax rate on reduced-risk alternatives like vapes.

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Mexican lawmakers missed the Supreme Court’s deadline to legalize marijuana by April 30, and they didn’t ask for another extension. Now there is talk about a special session after June’s elections—but the court could issue a new ruling striking down criminalization in the meantime.

The Louisiana House of Representatives voted to legalize medical cannabis flower under the state’s existing limited program. The body also advanced a bill to prepare for broader recreational marijuana legalization as well as separate hemp regulation legislation.

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The World Health Organisation can sound pretty negative on vaping at times.

So it might surprise you that harm reduction (such as switching from smoking to vaping) is embedded in its tobacco control charter.

It might surprise you even more to find that one of the biggest influences on WHO policy is from an individual in a country that has not ratified the WHO tobacco framework.

You’ll also see, at times, a disconnect between the WHO’s statements and its policies. That’s because WHO officials might guide (or at least try to guide) policy, but they don’t actually make it.

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If it doesn't look like avocado toast, you can't have it. That's the message I get loud and clear from Uncle Sam when I read story after story about the Food and Drug Administration's latest foray into stopping ordinary Americans from doing what ordinary Americans like to do.

Take the latest news that the FDA is thinking about requiring tobacco companies to lower the nicotine in all cigarettes sold in the United States. Its goal is to fight nicotine addiction. The paternalists at the FDA are also considering whether this proposal should be paired with a ban on menthol products.

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We often default to thinking of misinformation and disinformation as phenomena that thrive mainly in the online world, with fake news and conspiracy theories occasionally spilling over into real life. By viewing these primarily as “digital” threats, however, I fear that we sometimes overlook their broader real-world consequences.

Misleading or false information, whether online or offline, has a very real impact on people’s perceptions and behaviors. At best, it leaves the public confused. At worst, it erodes their trust in facts, science, and expert guidance and can lead them to make unwise choices.

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The new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, was first announced last May by Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla, and is currently being reviewed. The Bill is expected to propose stricter e-cigarettes and vaping regulations, and restrictions on the use, marketing, and sales of certain tobacco products in South Africa. Moreover, it would set in place a provision allowing the government to implement a “100% public cigarette ban”. [...]

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Smokers attending emergency departments will be given free e-cigarettes and taught how to use them, in a trial designed to help people quit.

Patients will be offered a device, enough e-liquid supplies for a week, and referral to local smoking-cessation services, alongside medical advice.

Hospitals in Norfolk, London, Leicester and Edinburgh will participate.

E-cigarettes are not available on the NHS, other than in trials, but health experts say they can help people quit.