In recent years, vaping has gone from a phenomenon to a crisis among Canadian teens and young adults, say researchers.
Fifteen years after they were introduced in Canada, e-cigarettes made headlines in 2019 with a spike in vaping-related illnesses and soaring rates of youth vaping.
If 2019 was the year of the vaping scare, observers and critics are hoping that 2020 will be the year in which Canada gains some control over the issue.
Before the year was over the federal government began taking steps in that direction by announcing a ban on promotion of vaping products in spaces where young people could see them, including on social media. It also announced that e-cigarettes must carry mandatory health warnings and must be child resistant.
Critics want to see the government go much further when it comes to reducing teen vaping.
The mandate letter to newly appointed federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu suggests the government could go further. The letter, released in mid-December, tells the health minister to “tackle the rapid increase in vaping among young people,” in collaboration with other levels of government by taking regulatory action to “reduce the promotion and appeal of vaping products to young people and by educating the public to raise awareness of health risks.”
The federal government and others have their work cut out.
In recent years, vaping has gone from a phenomenon to a crisis among Canadian teens and young adults, researchers say.
In groundbreaking research, Professor David Hammond of the University of Waterloo found that between 2017 and 2018 vaping increased by a stunning 74 per cent among Canadian teens between the ages of 16 and 19. His ongoing research suggests there has been a similar increase in youth vaping in 2019 and Hammond believes numbers of youth vaping could go higher yet.
The Canadian Student tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs survey for 2018-2019 found e-cigarette use by students doubled between 2016-17 and 2018-19. Twenty per cent of students surveyed (approximately 418,000) had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, an increase from 10 per cent the last time the survey was done in 2016-17.
The figures are shocking, but likely no surprising to those who have been seeing the first-hand evidence in schools and other places teenagers frequent.
In Ottawa and elsewhere, schools have taken the doors off bathrooms to try to control vaping, without much luck. Teachers report students vaping in class — exhaling into the sleeves to try to hide it and vaping wherever they can.
The huge spike in teen vaping is likely related to high rates of nicotine in Juul e-cigarettes and other popular products.
Before Juul came along, there were almost no e-cigarette brands with more than 20 mg of nicotine for each millilitre of e-liquid. That is the limit in Europe. But in North America, Juul contains 57 mg of nicotine. The federal government only limits nicotine to 66 mg or below.
The biggest change in the market, said Hammond, is that Juul designed a product that could deliver higher amounts of nicotine while remaining smooth tasting. The result has been high rates of nicotine addiction, mainly among youth.
Along with spiking teen vaping rates, dramatic and deadly cases of vaping-related illnesses have been in the news, especially in the U.S. where 52 people have died and more than 2,400 have been hospitalized. In Canada, 14 cases of vaping related illness have been reported.
The acute illnesses and deaths in the U.S. have been linked to the additive Vitamin E acetate in THC in most cases.
A study published in December, found e-cigarette users were significantly more likely to develop long-term chronic lung disease than non-smokers.
The issues have occurred against a backdrop of weak or non-existent federal regulations in Canada, which has been consulting on tougher regulations. Some provinces have toughened their laws, including a ban on the sale of flavoured vaping liquid in New Brunswick and a reduction in nicotine levels in British Columbia.
Hammond said Health Canada has failed to properly regulate the product and as a result has failed both the adult smokers who could use them to quit cigarettes and the teenagers who have become addicted to nicotine.
E-cigarettes, he noted, are less harmful than cigarettes, but they are also highly addictive: “It might not make sense to sell them beside the chips and chocolate bars.”
Meanwhile, many of the adult smokers who could reduce their harm by switching to e-cigarettes are no longer interested. “Adults don’t want to go near them. Everyone sees this as something 15-year-olds grab on the way to a party.”
Ottawa’s Dr. Andrew Pipe said the federal government needs to step up with tougher regulations. The existing regulations are tepid, he said, and have left a regulatory vacuum. Even the changes announced at the end of the year do not come close to what he and others want to see — notably banning flavoured e-cigarettes.
Pipe, who is considered the country’s foremost expert on smoking cessation, was instrumental in developing the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He wants to see flavoured e-cigarettes banned and limits on nicotine, in addition to the restrictions on where they can be sold and mandatory health warnings, which have been announced.
One of the sad ironies of the lack of regulation, Pipe said, is that the potential of e-cigarettes to be used as harm reduction “has now essentially been squandered. No responsible clinician is now going to entertain the use of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction aid. Their potential for harm reduction has gone out the window.”
Pipe urged the new federal minister of health to act strongly to turn around soaring youth vaping rates buy using emergency powers to expedite changes while longer-term regulations are being developed.
“We are dealing with an urgent, emergent public health issue which many have labelled a crisis.”
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Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine won't be ready by US election: Report – Times of India
WASHINGTON: US biotech firm Moderna won’t seek an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine before November 25, its CEO told the Financial Times on Wednesday.
The news deals a blow to President Donald Trump‘s hopes of having an injection ready before the election to give his campaign a much-needed boost.
Stephane Bancel told the newspaper: “November 25 is the time we will have enough safety data to be able to put into an EUA file that we would send to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) – assuming that the safety data is good, i.e. a vaccine is deemed to be safe.”
Trump, whose approval has taken a hit over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis, has frequently hinted a vaccine could be ready before the November 3 vote.
This has raised concern among experts that his administration may attempt to interfere with the regulatory process for political reasons.
The Republican repeated his claim on Tuesday night, during a debate with his Democratic rival, former vice president Joe Biden.
“It’s a possibility that we’ll have the answer before November 1,” he said.
Moderna’s vaccine is one of 11 experimental vaccines in final stage trials.
Another is being developed by Pfizer, whose CEO Albert Bourla has taken the position that his company may have a clear answer about whether their shot works by October.
Most experts are skeptical of the claim, believing that the ongoing trials will not have sufficient statistical data to prove the drug’s safety and effectiveness by that time.
Speaking to the Washington Post on Tuesday, Bourla denied he was attempting to curry favor with the president by making his October claim.
“For me, the election day is an artificial day. The end of October is an artificial day. This is how we operate. If we can bring it earlier, we will,” he said.
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, shows signs of working in older adults: study – Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine’s safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19.
The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study’s lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, said in a phone interview.
The study was an extension of Moderna’s Phase I safety trial, first conducted in individuals aged 18-55. It tested two doses of Moderna’s vaccine – 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms – in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.
Overall, the team found that in older adults who received two injections of the 100 microgram dose 28 days apart, the vaccine produced immune responses roughly in line with those seen in younger adults.
Moderna is already testing the higher dose in a large Phase III trial, the final stage before seeking emergency authorization or approval.
Side effects, which included headache, fatigue, body aches, chills and injection site pain, were deemed mainly mild to moderate.
In at least two cases, however, volunteers had severe reactions.
One developed a grade three fever, which is classified as 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39°C) or above, after receiving the lower vaccine dose. Another developed fatigue so severe it temporarily prevented daily activities, Anderson said.
Typically, side effects occurred soon after receiving the vaccine and resolved quickly, he said.
“This is similar to what a lot of older adults are going to experience with the high dose influenza vaccine,” Anderson said. “They might feel off or have a fever.”
Norman Hulme, a 65-year-old senior multimedia developer at Emory who took the lower dose of the vaccine, said he felt compelled to take part in the trial after watching first responders in New York and Washington State fight the virus.
“I really had no side effects at all,” said Hulme, who grew up in the New York area.
Hulme said he was aware Moderna’s vaccine employed a new technology, and that there might be a risk in taking it, but said, “somebody had to do it.”
Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Bill Berkrot
The financial impact of COVID-19 on Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation’s net income was $24 million below the budget, according to the province’s fiscal update.
The numbers, released Tuesday, states the lower than anticipated revenue is due to impacts from COVID-19, including declining attendance and the closure of casinos and VLT networks in March.
The Casinos of Winnipeg began experiencing declining attendance in the last month of 2019/20, and on March 18, 2020, the provincial government required all Manitoba casinos to close.
For March 2020, revenues were nearly 70 per cent lower than the same period of 2018/19.
The annual report said revenue from casinos dropped $8.6 million this year, a 3.4 per cent decline.
During the month of March, bars and restaurants across Manitoba began to close voluntarily due to reduced business, as patrons heeded physical distancing and stay-at-home recommendations. VLT revenues were 40 per cent lower compared to March 2019, and liquor sales to licensees were also down 24 per cent in March 2020 compared to the prior year.
All other liquor channels experienced strong sales in March 2020, led by Liquor Marts at 29 per cent above March 2019.
Liquor revenue jumped by $13 million, mostly from sales at Liquor Marts.
Cannabis sales nearly doubled, bringing in nearly $51 million in 2020, compared to just under $27 million.
Casinos in Manitoba began reopening on July 25.
Source: – CTV News Winnipeg
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