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THE Department of Health (DoH) has joined other health and civil society groups in condemning the passage of Senate Bill 2239 that allows expanded access to vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products or e-cigarettes.

The Senate passed the bill on third and final reading on December 16, and it is now being merged with House Bill 9007 at the Bicameral Conference Committee.

In a statement, the DoH said the approval of the SB 2239 will put the Filipino youth at risk, noting that the prevalence of the use of e-cigarettes have increased among the youth.

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It’s a short trip from adventure to addiction. For many, it begins with the thrill of trying at a young age something that is prohibited. When did you light your first cigarette? The memory of the first drag stays for long: mine is somehow linked to the iconic 1976 Bollywood film Kabhi Kabhie. Every time I listen to its memorable songs or watch clips, they remind me of the first furtive attempt to smoke. [...] Fortunately, that first failed attempt at smoking did not lead to addiction over the years and whatever little I indulged in stopped completely long ago. [...]. 

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There are roughly 2.5 million smokers in Hungary. The EU country has been incrementally increasing tobacco taxes for the last few years, and recent findings of joint research by Pulzus Inc. and economic news portal napi.hu, found that reactions to the tax increments vary. “23% of smokers claimed that this increased price was already too high, and would quit smoking. [...] Meanwhile, the EU and the Hungarian state keep pushing to further tobacco restrictions and a regulation requiring that cigarette packs are only sold in plain packaging is to go in effect this January. [...]

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It is easy to forget now, given the speed with which we grew accustomed to the sight of our fellow citizens noisily dragging on devices that wouldn’t have been out of place on the set of Dune, but it was only in 2015 that Juul cracked the code on the unembarrassing electronic cigarette. Juul’s sleek, USB-like design swiped away memories of earlier vapes, which were often clumsy metal representations of the real thing. The Juul was charged via computer port, giving it the feel of a well-polished Apple product appearing in your life to alleviate your anxiety (anxiety being the issue many smokers know is at the heart of their addiction). [...]

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AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has written to the TGA to express his deep concern that it has published a list of authorised prescribers of nicotine vaping products, some of which “masquerade” as smoking cessation services when in fact they do nothing more than provide easy access to nicotine vaping products.

He said that the sites appeared to have the sole purpose of generating a prescription for a nicotine vaping product and promote vaping as a first-line smoking cessation therapy despite it being officially recommended to be used only as a last resort.

 

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For the past 9 years we have run a predictions post, with experts from different fields and different regions sharing their perspective on the future of vaping. [...] So for this post I’ve pulled out 7 key themes from the predictions, which provide an overview of the big ideas for vaping in 2022. Jim McDonald of Vaping 360 has written a thorough overview of US regulations. These include a ban on posting vape products and an approval process which changed the bar at the last minute – so far, just one archaic product has been approved. [...]

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Professor Gerry Stimson of Knowledge-Action-Change shares his thoughts for the future of vaping. [...] The end of combustion is in sight for tobacco, just as it is for fossil fuels. Many groups are trying to stop tobacco harm reduction (THR), but THR will be driven forward by the dynamic of new nicotine technologies, consumer interest, and good regulation.

THR is here for good: it’s an easy fix that will have a massive impact on world health.

THR is a free gift: companies meet the R&D and manufacturing costs, and consumers meet the purchase costs. It is one of the classic, but often unremarked, health interventions that doesn’t require government expenditure.

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An overwhelming majority of the Senate approved on second reading the so-called vape bill with very strict restrictions to ensure minors will not have access to these products and adult smokers are offered a less harmful alternative to cigarettes. [...] As this developed, various vaping and consumer groups hailed the Senate approval as a victory for public health and the beginning of the end of smoking in the country. The Department of Health estimates that there are one million Filipino users of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products who quit smoking already.

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6.1 million people in England still smoke.

64,000 people died from smoking in England in 2019.

25% increase in 18-34-year-old smokers in the first lockdown.

652,000 more young adults now smoke than before the pandemic.

Whilst smoking rates have been steadily declining over recent years, from 20% of UK adults in 2011 to 14% in 2019, recent evidence suggests that there was a 25% increase in young adults 18-34 who smoked during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. Unfortunately, smoking is not a temporary vice, and this increase remains today.

 

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I can not, however, pinpoint the moment that I decided to start smoking cigarettes because I don’t believe I ever did. It just happened. I was 18-ish and had smoked socially at parties. I don’t remember buying my first packet but at some point, I morphed into the person who would always let you bum a smoke. I liked that about myself at the time but an affectation soon became a habit and a full blown addiction. The accidental nature of how I became a smoker is one of the strongest reasons I support the latest announcement from the government to gradually increase the legal age at which someone can buy cigarettes and to regulate where you can buy them from. [...]

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New laws often build upon and strengthen existing laws, but in the midst of a pandemic when health-protective measures should be prioritised, retrogressive bills seeking to loosen existing restrictions on heated tobacco products (HTPs) and electronic nicotine/non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS) have advanced in Philippine Congress, despite firm objections from the country’s health and medical communities led by the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine College of Physicians, and Philippine Pediatric Society, as well as public interest lawyers and youth groups.

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For the first time in 20 years, smoking rates are on the rise. That mournful finding ought to be reinvigorating the effort to stamp out cigarettes. Astoundingly, the opposite is happening.

A new tax on nicotine vaping, which Democrats have tried to inject into the Build Back Better bill, would drag more than 2.5 million Americans back to cigarettes, according to National Institutes of Health-funded academic research. And just weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration effectively outlawed nearly all vaping products, though they’ve proven to be the single most effective method to quit smoking ever devised.

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Kim “Skip” Murray smoked for 46 years. “I tried to quit so many times that I quit trying to quit,” she says. Only after her son, Tom, a former smoker who had suffered a heart attack, gave her an e-cigarette did she break her two-pack-a-day habit. Murray now owns a vape shop in Brainerd, MN, where she helps smokers give up combustible cigarettes for vapes, which are safer than smoking. “My mom died from smoking. My uncle died from smoking. My grandparents died from smoking. I hate smoking,” she tells me. “Being involved with this technology has been a privilege.”

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If you’re the type of person who usually doesn’t smoke but then can’t resist lighting up once you’ve had a drink, then you’ve got your brain to thank for that. 

It’s a tale as old as time, you quit smoking years ago, you hardly even think about it anymore and then - boom - four pints you’re hit with a craving so strong it stops you in your tracks. 

But why does it happen? Well, there’s a couple of things going on. Firstly, your previous nicotine intake has affected your memory. And secondly, your dopamine levels have dropped.

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Many people turn to marijuana or cannabidiol to ease their achy joints and help them, but a new study suggests that could wreak havoc with any other medications they're taking.

Why? Because the body uses the same set of enzymes to process them all, scientists report. The chemicals in marijuana -- THC, cannabidiol, or CBD, and cannabinol, or CBN -- are metabolized in the body by at least two families of enzymes that also help process and eliminate more than 70% of the most commonly used prescription drugs from the body, the researchers said.

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The New Brunswick Medical Association (NBMA) recently published “Physicians pleased with new restrictions on vaping products“.

As a physician, I would l like to make it clear that I am NOT pleased with New Brunswick’s ban on flavoured vaping products. This is an open letter I have written to the NMBA, the Canadian Cancer Society; the New Brunswick Lung Association; and Dr. Kerrie Luck, Ph.D. and Dr. Jeff Steeves, Past President, New Brunswick Medical Society: [...]

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The University of Waterloo will take part in a five-year study on e-cigarettes to determine the impact of regulations in different parts of the world. "It's extraordinarily important for us to understand the factors that are driving people to smoke, and what we can do through policies and regulations to reduce that amount globally," said Geoffrey Fong, a professor of psychology and public health at the Ontario university. The news comes after New Zealand announced it will outlaw smoking for its next generation. People 14 and under will never be able to legally buy tobacco.

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Malta has become the first EU country to legalise the cultivation and personal use of cannabis.

Adults will be allowed to carry up to seven grams of cannabis, and grow no more than four plants at home.

But smoking it in public or in front of children will be illegal.

Several other nations have similar plans, such as Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Countries like the Netherlands tolerate cannabis use in certain circumstances.

Malta's parliament voted in favour of the reform on Tuesday afternoon, with the bill winning 36 votes in favour and 27 against.

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Nearly two years ago, the Food and Drug Administration banned flavored e-cigarettes, like Juul, citing their popularity among teens.  But some vaping products have managed to avoid regulation by the FDA even as they grow increasingly popular among kids. Nick Minas and Patrick Beltran are the two of the businessmen and CEOs behind Puff Bar, the biggest company in America still selling fruit-flavored nicotine products. The company makes a range of vaping products with sweet flavors. 

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Graphic warning labels, designed to cover the top half of the fronts and backs of cigarette packages, have been threatened about since at least 2009.

[...]

The government fired the first shot way back in 1964 with the landmark surgeon general’s report that broke the news that cigarettes were bad, very bad in fact for those who’d care to breathe unaided or avoid gruesome, premature deaths. [...] Now, though, news about warning labels barely rates a raised eyebrow.

The government, through an act of Congress called the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, began requiring full color, graphic labels showing such things as smoke billowing through a tracheal hole or a cadaver on packaging.