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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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Austrian government proposes law to legalise assisted suicide

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Austria’s federal government has submitted a draft law to make assisted suicide for seriously ill adults legal, the federal chancellery said in a statement on Saturday.

The new law lays out the conditions under which assisted suicide will be possible in the future, following a ruling by Austria’s Constitutional Court last December according to which banning assisted suicide was unconstitutional because it violated a person’s right to self-determination.

“Seriously ill people should have access to assisted suicide,” the federal chancellery said in the statement.

The new law allows chronically or terminally ill adults to make provisions for an assisted suicide.

They have to consult two doctors who have to attest the person is capable of making his or her own decisions. A delay of 12 weeks also has to be respected that can be reduced to two weeks for patients in the final phase of an illness.

 

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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Namibia suspends use of Russian COVID vaccine after S.Africa flags HIV concerns

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Namibia will suspend the rollout of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, its health ministry said on Saturday, days after the drugs regulator in neighbouring South Africa flagged concerns about its safety for people at risk of HIV.

Regulator SAHPRA decided not to approve an emergency use application for Sputnik V for now because some studies suggested that administration of vaccines using the Adenovirus Type 5 vector – which Sputnik V does – can lead to higher susceptibility to HIV in men.

South Africa and Namibia have high HIV prevalence rates.

Namibia’s health ministry said in a statement that the decision to discontinue use of the Russian vaccine was “out of (an) abundance of caution that men (who) received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting HIV,” adding it had taken SAHPRA’s decision into account.

The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Sputnik V, said Namibia’s decision was not based on any scientific evidence or research.

“Sputnik V remains one of the safest and most efficient vaccines against COVID-19 in use globally,” the institute told Reuters, adding over 250 clinical trials and 75 international publications confirmed the safety of vaccines and medicines based on human adenovirus vectors.

Namibia said the suspension would take effect immediately and last until Sputnik V receives a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing. But it will offer people who received a first dose of Sputnik V a second to complete their immunisation course.

Namibia received 30,000 doses of Sputnik V as a donation from the Serbian government, but only 115 had been administered as of Oct. 20.

Namibia has also been using COVID-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinopharm, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, acquired through a mix of procurement deals and donations.

So far it has only fully vaccinated around 240,000 of its 2.5 million people, reflecting African nations’ difficulties securing enough vaccines amid a global scramble for shots.

 

(Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa in Windhoek and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by Alexander Winning and Ros Russell)

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Britain reports highest weekly COVID-19 cases since July

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Britain recorded the highest number of new cases of COVID-19 since July over the past week, government figures showed on Saturday, a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down the prospect of a return to lockdown.

Some 333,465 people in Britain tested positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days, up 15% on the previous week and the highest total since the seven days to July 21.

Daily figures https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk showed there were 44,985 new cases on Saturday, down from 49,298 on Friday. Daily death figures were only available for England, and showed 135 fatalities within 28 days of a positive test.

Deaths have risen by 12% over the past week, and the total since the start of the pandemic now stands at 139,461, the second highest in Europe after Russia.

While vaccination and better medical treatment have sharply reduced deaths compared with previous waves of the disease, hospitals are already stretched and Britain’s current death rate is far higher than many of its European neighbours.

Government health advisors said on Friday that preparations should be made for the possible reintroduction of measures to slow the spread of the disease, such as working from home, as acting early would reduce the need for tougher measures later.

Johnson, however, said he did not expect a return to lockdown.

“We see absolutely nothing to indicate that is on the cards at all,” he said on Friday.

 

(Reporting by David Milliken, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Christina Fincer)

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