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New Report Urges A Stop To Anti-Vape Hysteria – – VENTS Magazine

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Evidence, alarm, and the debate over e-cigarettes. That is the title of a new analysis published in the journal Science. The analysis was a collaboration of five prominent scientists from a range of disciplines and universities. Experts focused on the potential harm of the anti-vaping hysteria that has gripped the discussion in the latter half of 2019. As a result of the hysteria, several states have enacted vaping and flavor bans. The fear is that sweeping bans could prove detrimental to public health.

The Science vaping analysis concluded that if a significant number of Americans switched from smoking cigarettes to vaping nicotine, 1.6 million lives could be saved. Smoking still kills 480,000 Americans every year. This century, smoking will claim one billion lives around the world. The horrific death toll caused by smoking needs to be factored into any proposed vaping legislation.

  • “Restricting access and appeal among less harmful vaping products out of an abundance of caution while leaving deadly combustible products on the market does not protect public health. It threatens to derail a trend that could hasten the demise of cigarettes, poised to take a billion lives this century.” – From Evidence, Alarm, and the Debate Over E-cigarettes.

The analysis was published in response to the alarm raised over an outbreak of a mysterious lung illness that was attributed to vaping and to a dramatic increase in underage experimentation with vaping. The lung illness outbreak has since been traced to black-market THC products. The CDC has positively identified vitamin E acetate as the additive to THC oil that caused the outbreak of illnesses. Vitamin E acetate is not used in e-cigarettes or nicotine vape liquids.

However, the increase in underage vaping remains a serious concern. Underage past-30 day e-cigarette use rates among teens increased from 11% in 2017 to 28% in 2019. The analysis suggests that “threading the needle” between prevention and access is the key. The UK model is cited because while e-cigs are available to adult smokers, underage experimentation rates are stable. But, thus far in the United States the proposed solutions may do more harm than good.

On September 11, the President and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced a ban on all flavored electronic cigarettes except for tobacco flavors. While the White House has since pulled back on a flavor ban, the ultimate outcome of national e-cigarette regulation is unknown. Despite a lack of final FDA guidance, many states enacted their own flavor bans. New York, Michigan Wisconsin, and others announced a ban on all vape flavors. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker enacted a complete ban on all vapor products. However, Governor Baker’s ban left cigarettes untouched. In New York, Governor Cuomo’s ban outlawed menthol-flavored e-cigs but left menthol cigarettes on the shelves. These are exactly the type of bans that are cause for concern according to the Science analysis.

  • “We share strong concern about the large surge in youth vaping (some call it an epidemic and point to studies of a possible but unproven causal gateway into smoking) and we promote harm minimization and management. Yet we suggest that careful analysis of all the data in context indicates that the net benefits of vaped nicotine products outweigh the feared harms to youth” From Science Evidence, Alarm, and the Debate Over E-cigarettes

The analysis revealed that while flavors may play a role in attracting underage experimentation, flavors are also vital to assist smokers to switch to vaping. While tobacco flavors are the usual starting point for a smoker switching to e-cigs, it is pointed out in the research that adult smokers generally transition to menthol and then to other flavors to help refrain from smoking cigarettes.

The Path Forward For Vaping

The researchers involved in the analysis derived a number of policy prescriptions designed to ensure access for adults while preventing underage use. The implementation and enforcement of a national 21 age limit for both nicotine and THC products. In addition, the analysis recommends the use of taxation on e-cigarettes but at a lower rate than tobacco cigarettes. In other words, e-cigarettes should not be cheap, but they should cost less than cigarettes.

Here is the list of recommendations proposed by researchers in Science:

  • No youth under 21 should use any form of nicotine

  • No youth under 21 should use any current form of THC

  • Taxation on vapor products but a lower rate than cigarettes

  • Communicate that vaping reduces risk compared to smoking

  • No predatory marketing to youth

  • Implement product quality standards

It is interesting to note that the FDA does not currently allow any e-cigarette company to claim that vaping is less harmful than smoking. However, researchers cite the UK example where Public Health England has determined that vaping is 95% safer than smoking.

Ensuring all purchasers are at least 21 years of age is crucial to the plan. The age limit must be enforced. Online sales, despite often the target of politicians, are actually the most secure. Age verification technology may hold the key to properly enforcing the 21 age limit. Of course, the technology must be current. For example, Mig Vapor, an independent American vape company, uses a multi-layered, AI powered age verification technology.

The overall summary of the analysis is that the threat from smoking is far from over. American families lose 480,000 loved ones every year from smoking. The progress we have made combatting tobacco harm could be derailed by policy decisions made in a state of alarm as opposed to reason. Finally, the researchers point out that it is worth the effort to thread the needle and to find a balance. Because there is a way to ensure access to vapor products for adult smokers and curb youth experimentation with e-cigarettes at the same time.

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How Quebec went from COVID-19 success story to hot spot in 30 days – CBC.ca

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A little over a month ago, Health Minister Christian Dubé congratulated Quebecers for their hard work at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

It was a Tuesday, Aug. 25, and the province had registered just 94 new cases of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. 

“We have really succeeded at controlling the transmission of COVID,” Dubé said at a news conference in Montreal. 

It was a statement of fact, but the ground had already started to shift. In the intervening weeks, transmission increased. At first it grew slowly, then exponentially. 

On Monday, the government implicitly acknowledged it has again lost control of the virus. The province is reimposing lockdown measures on Quebec’s two biggest cities, starting Oct. 1. 

Until Oct. 28, Quebecers won’t be able to entertain friends or families at home. Bars, restaurant dining rooms, theatres and cinemas will also be closed.   

“The situation has become critical” Premier François Legault said Monday evening. “If we don’t want our hospitals to be submerged, if we want to limit the number of deaths, we must take strong action.”

The new measures will bring abrupt changes to the lives of millions of Quebecers. They will also prompt questions about how the public health situation could have deteriorated so quickly.

This story tries to trace how Quebec again lost control of the spread of COVID-19.

At first, a stern warning

As Dubé addressed reporters on that Tuesday in late August, public health officials in Quebec City were busy trying to track down patrons of Bar Kirouac, a watering hole in the working-class Saint-Sauveur neighbourhood.

A karaoke night at the bar ultimately led to 72 cases and the activity being banned in the province.

There were also numerous reports by then of young people holding massive house parties and flouting physical distancing recommendations. One of them, in Laval, led to a small outbreak.

WATCH | Legault explains why harsh measures are necessary:

Quebec Premier François Legault says the second wave came because Quebecers did not follow public health guidelines. 0:39

On Aug. 31, as Quebec’s daily average of new cases neared 152 cases, Legault delivered a stern warning. 

“There has been a general slackening in Quebec,” Legault said. “It’s important to exercise more discipline.”

Legault and his health minister threatened stiffer punishments for those who disobeyed public-health rules, but stopped short of imposing new restrictions.

Private gatherings identified as the culprit

In late August, public health officials were attributing the rise in infections to Quebecers returning home from vacations around the province, as opposed to the start of school. 

Though Quebec’s back-to-school plan wasn’t met with widespread criticism, some experts expressed concern about the large class sizes and the lack of physical distancing guidelines for students. 

The government also ignored advice that it should make masks mandatory inside the classroom.

A teacher wearing protective equipment greets her students in the school yard at the Philippe-Labarre Elementary School in Montreal on Aug. 27. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

But the first weeks of the school year went relatively smoothly. By the start of Labour Day weekend, only 46 out of the province’s 3,100 schools had reported a case of COVID-19. Importantly, there were no major outbreaks.

The problem was elsewhere. Outside schools, in the community at large, cases continued to rise. On Sept. 8, the province was averaging 228 cases per day.

By now public health officials had identified private gatherings as the main culprit behind the increase.

Montreal’s regional director of public health, Dr. Mylène Drouin, was among those who urged more caution when hanging out with friends and family. 

“Yes, we can have social activities, but we have to reduce contacts to be able to reduce secondary transmission,” Drouin said on Sept. 9.

Warning signs

In an effort to spell out the consequences of the increase in cases, the Quebec government unveiled a series of colour-coded alert levels. 

Areas coded green would see few restrictions; yellow zones would see more enforcement of existing rules; orange zones would be the target of added restrictions; and red zones would see more widespread closures of non-essential activities.

When the scheme was announced on Sept. 8, Quebec City was classified yellow. Montreal was classified green.

At this point, though, health experts were already concerned that more needed to curb the spread of the virus.

“It is important to intensify these measures,” Dr. Cécile Tremblay, an infectious disease specialist with the Université de Montréal hospital network, said after the alert levels were announced.

The warning signs were starting to multiply.

Officials in Montreal were investigating 20 outbreaks at workplaces on Sept. 9; a week later that number had risen to 30. Long lines were also forming outside testing centres, filled with anxious parents and their children.

And more stories were circulating of private gatherings where the 10-person limit was ignored, angering the health minister.

He told reporters about a dinner with 17 people at a restaurant in Montérégie, which led to 31 cases. A corn roast in the Lower St. Lawrence, he said, resulted in 30 cases.

“To me, that’s unacceptable,” Dubé said on Sept. 15  “If people won’t understand from these examples then, I’m sorry, but they’ll never understand.”

He moved Montreal, and four other regions, into the yellow zones and banned bars from serving food after midnight. The province was averaging 338 new cases per day.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said the province is at a fragile state in its fight against COVID-19. He encouraged Quebecers to act responsibly. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/Radio-Canada)

Second wave arrives

The warnings from the government did not curb the spread of the virus. By mid-September, authorities were reporting more cases in closed settings.

On Sept. 17, Herzliah High School in Montreal became the first school in the province to say it was shutting down for two weeks to deal with an outbreak. At least 400 other schools were also dealing with active cases of COVID-19. 

Cases accumulated too in private seniors homes (known as RPAs), a major source of concern for public officials given the vulnerability of the residents to COVID-19. 

There were only 39 cases in RPAs at the start of the month, and 157 by Sept. 20.

On that day the government announced it was moving Montreal, Quebec City and the Chaudière-Appalaches region into the orange zone, the second-highest alert level. Private gatherings were capped at six people.

The province was by then averaging 501 new cases per day. The second wave had begun, according Quebec’s public health director, Horacio Arruda. 

Red zone

Over the last week, Quebec’s health system has shown signs of strain as authorities race to contain the spread of the virus. 

Drouin, the Montreal public health director, admitted on Sept. 21 that her contact-tracing teams were swamped by the demand.

Until now, the increase in cases had not been accompanied by a corresponding surge in hospitalizations. Most of the new cases were concentrated in younger people.

But the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Quebec has increased by 45 per cent in the last seven days. Hospital staff are starting to get stretched. Several thousand health-care workers are in preventive isolation. 

“We’re feeling the second wave,” Dr François Marquis, the head of intensive care at Montreal’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital. “We were apprehensive about it, but now it’s a reality.”

On Monday, Quebec reported 750 new cases of COVID-19. Montreal and Quebec City were classified as red zones later that evening.

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Nova Scotia awards contract for wood heat projects to N.S., P.E.I. companies – Cape Breton Post

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Fossil fuel heating systems at six sites in Nova Scotia are to be converted to locally sourced wood chip boilers over the next several months.

An announcement from the province on Monday said the contracts to design, build and operate boilers include agreements to source wood chips from private woodlots and sawmills.

The contracts were awarded to Mira Forestry Development of Albert Bridge to convert Memorial High School in Sydney Mines and Riverview High School in Sydney. Wood4heating Canada of Charlottetown will convert Perennia Park Atlantic Centre for Agri-Innovation in Bible Hill and Hants East Rural High School in Milford.  Spec Resources in Church Point was awarded the contract for NSCC Centre of Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown, and ACFOR Energy of Cocagne, N.B. will convert Bridgewater Provincial Court.

Additional sites for expansion of the program are being assessed. 

At Perennia Park, a district heating network will be formed and three buildings will be heated by the new boiler. Bridgewater provincial court will be converted to a two-building district heating network that will also include the NSCC Lunenburg campus.

“These projects help us progress towards a greener economy and reduce the carbon footprint of government buildings by replacing fossil fuels with a renewable resource,” Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin said in a release. “Using lower grade wood for heat will create new and stable markets for Nova Scotia’s wood chips and opportunities for private woodlot owners and sawmills to sell lower grade wood locally.”

Each wood heat system will be in an exterior structure built so that it can be expanded.  The six sites are forecast to use between 2,000-2,500 tonnes of wood chips.

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Contracts awarded for wood heat projects – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Fossil fuel heating systems at six sites in Nova Scotia are to be converted to locally sourced wood chip boilers over the next several months.

An announcement from the province on Monday said the contracts to design, build and operate boilers include agreements to source wood chips from private woodlots and sawmills.

The contracts were awarded to Mira Forestry Development of Albert Bridge to convert Memorial High School in Sydney Mines and Riverview High School in Sydney. Wood4heating Canada of Charlottetown will convert Perennia Park Atlantic Centre for Agri-Innovation in Bible Hill and Hants East Rural High School in Milford.  Spec Resources in Church Point was awarded the contract for NSCC Centre of Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown, and ACFOR Energy of Cocagne, N.B. will convert Bridgewater Provincial Court.

Additional sites for expansion of the program are being assessed. 

At Perennia Park, a district heating network will be formed and three buildings will be heated by the new boiler. Bridgewater provincial court will be converted to a two-building district heating network that will also include the NSCC Lunenburg campus.

“These projects help us progress towards a greener economy and reduce the carbon footprint of government buildings by replacing fossil fuels with a renewable resource,” Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin said in a release. “Using lower grade wood for heat will create new and stable markets for Nova Scotia’s wood chips and opportunities for private woodlot owners and sawmills to sell lower grade wood locally.”

Each wood heat system will be in an exterior structure built so that it can be expanded.  The six sites are forecast to use between 2,000-2,500 tonnes of wood chips.

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