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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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Ontario reports 958 new coronavirus infections, 17 more deaths – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario’s cumulative COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 7,000 on Wednesday, as the province reported less than 1,000 new infections on Wednesday.

Provincial health officials logged 958 new infections and 17 additional deaths today.

Wednesday marks the sixth day of a downward trend in daily case counts.

The province reported 966 cases on Tuesday, 1,023 on Monday, 1,062 on Sunday and 1,185 on Saturday.

The seven-day rolling average is 1,084, unchanged from a week ago.

To date, there have been 7,014 virus-related deaths across the province.

Of the latest fatalities, two are among long-term care home residents.

According to the province’s latest epidemiological summary, 1,090 more people have recovered from the disease, resulting in 10,397 active cases of the virus across the province.

Provincial health officials also reported 10 more lab-confirmed cases of the highly-contagious B.1.1.7 variant of concern, first identified in the United Kingdom.

To date, there have been 552 lab-confirmed cases of B.1.1.7 across the province, 27 cases of the B.1.351 variant, initially discovered in South Africa, and three cases of the P.1 variant, first discovered in Brazil.

Hot spots within the Greater Toronto Area continue to account for the majority of new cases in Ontario.

“Locally, there are 249 new cases in Toronto, 164 in Peel and 92 in York Region,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted.

Elsewhere in the GTA, Halton Region logged 20 cases and Durham Region reported 41 new cases.

Of Ontario’s 34 public health units, eight reported 30 or more new infections on Wednesday.

Ontario labs processed 52,600 tests yesterday, up from nearly 30,800 tests conducted the previous day.

More than 43,100 test specimens are still under investigation.

The increase in testing has contributed to a drop in the province’s positivity rate to 2.4 per cent, compared to 2.9 per cent on Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health.

The number of people hospitalized across the province dropped slightly compared to a day ago.

There are currently 668 people hospitalized due to the virus in Ontario, down from 677 on Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health.

However, according to numbers released by local public health units and hospitals there are 867 patients in Ontario hospitals due to COVID-19 infection.

Of those hospitalized, the Ministry of Health said there are 274 in intensive care units and 188 breathing with the help of a ventilator.

There have been more than 303,700 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the province since the virus first emerged last January and 286,352 recoveries.

More than 266,700 people fully vaccinated

To date, 266,710 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

As of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the province has administered more than 754,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with nearly 27,400 shots yesterday alone.

Two doses of a vaccine is required for full immunization.

On Friday, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine joined Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna on the list of approved vaccines across the country. Ontario is expected to receive more than 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca on Wednesday.

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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COVID-19 vaccine doses will be administered 16 weeks apart in B.C. – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions from the media in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada December 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer in British Columbia, announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccine doses for the Pfzier-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered 16 weeks (four months) apart.

“The important thing that we have learned is that these vaccines work, they give a very high level of protection and that protection lasts for many months,” Dr. Henry said.

According to the provincial health officer, evidence shows that about three weeks after a single dose of the vaccines, efficacy is at about 90 per cent.

“We have a great deal of confidence in these vaccine that they are safe and effective,” Dr. Henry said.

This announcement comes as the province outlines its plan for the second phase of vaccine distribution, which will see 400,000 people vaccinated in March and early April.

Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead of the B.C. immunization rollout team, indicated the expectation is that the entire provincial population will be able to receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid- to late July.

Between March 1 and March 15, the following groups can receive a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.:

  • High-risk individuals living in various congregate settings

  • Health care workers – hospital and community

  • High-risk seniors living in independent living (staff included)

  • High-risk seniors supportive housing client

  • Long-term home support clients and staff

Between March 15 and April 11, the general population 80 and older and Indigenous peoples 65 and older will be vaccinated, with the call-in system launching March 8 to book appointments March 15 and later.

Individuals 80 and older will be separated into three subgroups to help manage call volumes:

  • March 8: Call centre open to British Columbians born in or before 1931 and Indigenous peoples born in or before 1956, with vaccinations staring on March 15

  • March 15: Call centre open to British Columbians born in or before 1936, with vaccinations starting on March 22

  • March 22: Call centre open to British Columbians born in or before 1941, with vaccinations starting on March 29

A family members, friend or support person can call to make an appointment for anyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine.

As the province moves into the the third and fourth phases of vaccine distribution, Dr. Ballem stressed that this timeline will likely change, particularly after B.C. finds out how many doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine they will receive. She indicated that about 70,000 extra first doses will be made available following the extension in the approved time between the first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The third phase of the vaccine rollout plan will begin in mid-April and at that point, an online platform will be available for vaccine appointment bookings.

Mass immunization clinics and mobile clinics will also be available for individuals, including people in remote communities.

Dr. Henry revealed that there will be a “limited” amount of choice in terms of what vaccine people in B.C. will receive. She explained that first responders and essential workers will have a choice to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in the “near term” or they can wait for their age group to receive the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Although the province continues to vaccinate its population, B.C.’s provincial health officer stressed that everyone needs to continue to follow the public health rules in place for “a little bit longer.”

“We are now in those final miles of this marathon,” Dr. Henry said.

“We know there’s an end point in sight and it is weeks and months, not some nebulous grey, next year, maybe. This is where we need to all just focus and support each other a little bit longer.”

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B.C. reporting 438 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths; 16 new cases in Interior Health – radionl.com

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B.C. health officials are reporting 438 new cases of COVID-19 today, including 16 more cases in Interior Health.

There were another 249 cases in Fraser Health, 137 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 19 on Vancouver Island, and 17 in Northern Health. There were two more deaths announced by Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, taking the provincial death toll to 1,365.

Henry also announced a data correction with another 254 cases from the past week that were previously not reported.

“This system issue has been resolved and those will be reconciled on the BC CDC dashboard by later today. So if you notice a discrepancy, that is what it is due to,” she said.

Henry also noted there are 22 new cases of so-called variants of concern taking the total to 182 cases – eight of which are active.

“That includes 159 people with the B.1.1.7 – the one that we are most concerned about and 23 of the B.1.3.5.1 or the one that is associated with South Africa,” she said. “The majority remain in the Fraser Health Region with 124 and 50 people in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. There are no increases in the numbers in other health areas.”

She says about 13 per cent of those cases are directly related to travel with about 60 per cent being close contacts.

“There are still 20 to 25 per cent, about a quarter, of these cases where we are not clear where they acquired the source,” Henry said. “And that reflects that we have transmission going on in communities, particularly in the Lower Mainland.”

All told, there are now 4,679 active cases of COVID-19 in the province up by 215 from yesterday. There are 243 people in hospital, 63 of whom are in intensive care. There are also 8,445 people who are being actively monitored by public health teams due to direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

In Interior Health, there are 423 active cases with 19 people in hospital, seven in critical care. There was also no change to any of the outbreaks in Kamloops. There are 13 cases at the Highridge Home Singh House group home, 30 cases at WEstsyde Care Residences, and 32 case at the Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre.

Meanwhile, the Florentine in Merritt has two resident cases.

Henry also said there were 283,182 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine administered so far, an increase of about 8,000 from yesterday, with 86,537 being second doses. Earlier today, the City of Kamloops said mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be set up at the McArthur Island curling rink and a portion of the Tournament Capital Centre Fieldhouse.

A total of 75,255 people are considered to have recovered from COVID-19, about 92 per cent of the total.

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