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Ottawa to ban e-cigarette ads in bid to curb youth vaping use – The Globe and Mail

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The federal government is planning to ban e-cigarette promotions from convenience stores, public transit and all social-media platforms in response to a major rise in teen vaping and fears of health risks.

But the proposed new rules it announced on Thursday do not restrict the sale of flavoured e-cigarette products.

The move comes in response to months of increasing pressure to crack down on the vaping industry, which heavily promotes its products in stores, other public places and online. Social media are rife with ads and promotions from vaping companies.

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A recent Globe and Mail investigation found that many e-cigarette companies use Instagram, Facebook and other platforms to post about their products and sponsor product giveaways, and hire paid influencers. Many of those activities, such as the use of influencers, are already illegal under current federal vaping rules, and health organizations said a blanket advertising ban would be necessary.

The plan announced on Thursday is the first new measure to address the rise in youth vaping. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed Health Minister Patty Hajdu in her mandate letter to restrict vaping promotions and look at “additional measures.”

Ottawa now faces pressure to regulate e-cigarette flavours. Members of Canada’s vaping industry oppose a ban or restrictions on flavours, saying they are an essential component in attracting existing adult smokers. But health organizations cite flavours as the key driver of youth vaping, and say rules designed to stop the promotion of candy, dessert and other varieties that could appeal to teens aren’t working.

New figures released by Health Canada on Thursday show the number of students in Grades 7 to 12 who say they vaped in the past month doubled in 2018-19 compared with 2016-17. One in five students reported vaping in the previous 30 days, the new survey said.

Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said the new measures are strong and that the ban on social-media ads would help curb ads aimed at young people.

“They will have a significant impact to reduce youth exposure to vaping promotions and, as a result, reduce youth vaping,” Mr. Cunningham said.

Under the proposed changes, vaping promotions would be permitted only in specialty vape shops for adults. Online promotions would also be limited to websites that restrict access to minors, although it’s unclear how this would be enforced. The new rules are subject to a 30-day comment period, after which the government can finalize them.

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Flory Doucas, co-director of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control, said she was encouraged by the crackdown on promotions. But she questioned why the government didn’t also regulate flavoured e-cigarettes.

“How much more time is required for this?” she said.

Ms. Hajdu’s office said new rules are expected in the coming months on flavoured e-cigarette products and nicotine concentrations.

Eric Gagnon, head of corporate and regulatory affairs with Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., said the government “needs to find a way to at least allow a dialogue with adult smokers.” Mr. Gagnon said the company wants to be able to indicate on e-cigarette products that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Health Canada is considering whether to allow e-cigarette companies to use such claims.

He added that banning e-cigarette flavours would be “ridiculous” because adults want them, too.

In an e-mailed statement, Juul Labs Canada said it “supports Health Canada’s efforts to strike the right regulatory balance” for keeping products away from youth.

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Darryl Tempest, executive director of the Canadian Vaping Association, which represents specialty vape shops, said the organization supports the advertising restrictions. But he added that he doesn’t think flavoured products should be banned, saying they are not responsible for youth uptake and that many adult smokers like them.

A recent survey conducted by Smoke-Free Nova Scotia found 96 per cent of 16- to 18-year-olds who vaped said they preferred flavoured products. Nearly half of the 16- to 24-year-olds surveyed said they would likely stop vaping if flavours were eliminated.

Enforcement of the new rules could pose a challenge. In a letter sent on Thursday to the vaping industry and posted on its website, Health Canada said a recent enforcement blitz found more than 80 per cent of specialty vape shops sell and promote products in ways that violate federal rules.

The most common infractions include promoting flavours that could appeal to young people, including candy or desserts, and the use of testimonials or endorsements. Federal law defines testimonials as the use of people, animals or characters.

Inspectors seized more than 80,000 units of non-complaint products, the letter said.

“This level of non-compliance is unacceptable,” wrote Krista Locke, director-general of the consumer products and controlled substances directorate at Health Canada.

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Vaping-related illnesses have been in the spotlight recently amid accusations the makers of the products are targeting them at youth. Dr. James MacKillop outlines some strategies to use at home in conversations with your children about vaping. MacKillop is the director of the Peter Boris Centre For Addictions Research and co-director of the Michael G. Degroote Centre For Medicinal Cannabis Research. The Globe and Mail (staff)

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GameStop, BlackBerry, AMC stocks see trading halts as social media hype drives volatility – Global News

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Stocks of GameStop, BlackBerry and AMC Entertainment Holdings all saw trading halts on Wednesday morning amid continued volatility widely attributed to social media chatter.

The New York Stock Exchange briefly paused trading on GameStop and AMC stocks shortly before 10:15 a.m. ET, while the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) announced at 9:54 a.m. ET a temporary suspension of BlackBerry shares.

READ MORE: Does Bitcoin have a place in every investment portfolio?

The moves come as all three stocks have been soaring for a fourth day running, sparking calls for scrutiny of a social media-driven trading frenzy.


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You’ve Got Mail: A history of the BlackBerry


You’ve Got Mail: A history of the BlackBerry – May 31, 2017

The rally has also forced some hedge funds to retreat with heavy losses. Short-seller Citron, a target for some of the individual traders who have helped drive huge gains for a number of niche Wall Street stocks in the past week, said in a video post it had abandoned its bet on GameStop shares falling.

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With commentators and lawyers calling for scrutiny of the moves, Nasdaq chief Adena Friedman said exchanges and regulators needed to pay attention to the potential for “pump and dump” schemes driven by chatter on social media.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declined to comment.

READ MORE: Will the 2nd coronavirus wave wipe away Canada’s movie theatres?

Mainstream commentators have questioned the justification of moves in a number of heavily-hyped stocks in recent days, at a time when some on Wall Street are wondering if months of stellar overall gains have driven shares into bubble territory.

GameStop’s stock has surged nearly 700 per cent in the past two weeks, upping the struggling video retailer’s market value from $1.24 billion to more than $10 billion. BlackBerry is up 185 per cent and on course for its best month ever.

Along with AMC and Nokia Oyj, the two were again among the most heavily traded in pre-market deals, with Reddit discussion threads again humming with chatter about the stocks.

“These are not normal times and while the (Reddit) … thing is fascinating to watch, I can’t help but think that this is unlikely to end well for someone,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.


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‘Tenet’ movie release seen as litmus test for industry


‘Tenet’ movie release seen as litmus test for industry – Aug 26, 2020

The advent of easily access apps like Robinhood that allow ordinary Americans to make stock market trades at almost no initial cost has spurred a boom in direct investment over the past year as trillions of dollars in official stimulus drove markets higher.

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On GameStop, the retail army have pitched themselves against some of the institutional short-sellers — a traditional area for hedge funds — who promote and bet on falls in companies they judge as weak.

Overall, short-sellers in GameStop were down $5 billion on a mark-to-market, net-of-financing basis in 2021, which included $876 million of losses early Tuesday, according to analytics firm S3 Partners.

Barron’s reported late on Tuesday that the top securities regulator in Massachusetts believes trading in GameStop stock suggests there is something “systemically wrong” with the options trading around the stock.

Others say that the trades are at the end of the day up to the investors who make them.

“The SEC has investigated Robinhood before, but when you have a structure in place that allows the zero-cost trading platforms to operate – how do you stop that flow?” said Neil Campling, head of tech media and telecom research at Mirabaud Securities.

Trading in GameStop stock was halted for volatility nine times on Monday and five times on Tuesday.

— With files from Global News money reporter Erica Alini

© 2021 Reuters

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2 short sellers admit defeat, bail out at huge loss as GameStop share surge hits 1000% – CBC.ca

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In the David and Goliath saga surrounding the struggling retail chain GameStop, Goliath has fallen.

Two Goliaths, actually.

A pair of professional investment firms that placed big bets that money-losing video game retailer GameStop’s stock will crash have largely abandoned their positions. The victors: an army of smaller investors who have been rallying on Reddit and elsewhere online to support GameStop’s stock and beat back the professionals.

One of the two major investors that surrendered, Citron Research, acknowledged Wednesday in a YouTube video that it unwound the majority of its bet that GameStop stock would fall. Andrew Left, who runs Citron, said it took “a loss, 100 per cent” to do so, but that does not change his view that GameStop is a loser.

“We move on. Nothing has changed with GameStop except the stock price,” Left said. He did acknowledge that Citron is taking a fresh look at how it bets against companies, in light of the GameStop campaign.

Melvin Capital is also exiting GameStop, with manager Gabe Plotkin telling CNBC that the hedge fund was taking a significant loss. He denied rumours that the hedge fund will fail.

The size of the losses taken by Citron and Melvin are unknown.

GameStop’s stock surged as high as $380 Wednesday morning, after sitting below $18 just a few weeks ago.

GameStop’s stock has long been the target of investors betting that its stock will fall as it struggles in an industry increasingly going online. The retailer lost $1.6 billion over the last 12 quarters, and its stock fell for six straight years before rebounding in 2020.

That pushed investors to sell GameStop’s stock short.

WATCH | How short selling works:

An animated explanation of how people make money from stocks losing value 0:46

Essentially, these short sellers borrowed shares of GameStop and sold them in hopes of buying them back later at a lower price and pocketing the difference. GameStop is one of the most shorted stocks on Wall Street.

But its stock began rising sharply earlier this month after a co-founder of Chewy, the online retailer of pet supplies, joined the company’s board. The thought was that he could help in the company’s digital transformation.

Smaller investors pushing stock higher

At the same time, smaller investors gathering on social media have been exhorting each other to keep pushing the stock higher.

There is no overriding reason why GameStop has attracted those smaller investors, but there is a distinct component of revenge against Wall Street in communications online.

Over the past three months, shares of GameStop Corp., which has been buffeted by a shift in gaming technology, have spiked well over 1,000 per cent. Shares were up another 100 per cent at the opening bell Wednesday.

That has created titanic losses for major Wall Street players who have “shorted” the stock, which means they borrowed shares and sold them, hoping to buy them back at a cheaper price and pocket the difference.

As of Tuesday, the losses had already topped $5 billion in 2021, according to S3 Partners.

The phenomenon does not appear to be fading.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the theatre chain that has been ravaged by the pandemic, posted a quarterly loss this month exceeding $900 million.

It appears, however, that AMC has become the next battleground in the fight between smaller, retail investors and Wall Street.

Shares of AMC spiked 260 per cent when trading began Wednesday and #SaveAMC is trending on Twitter.

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In GameStop saga unfolding on Wall Street, 2 Goliaths fall – CTV News

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A David and Goliath saga is unfolding in financial markets over the stock price of struggling retail chain GameStop. On Wednesday, Goliath walked away from the battle.

Two Goliaths, actually.

A pair of professional investment firms that placed big bets that money-losing video game retailer GameStop’s stock will crash have essentially admitted defeat. The victor, for now at least, is a volunteer army of smaller investors who have been rallying on Reddit and elsewhere online to support GameStop’s stock and beat back the professionals.

GameStop’s stock surged as high as US$380 Wednesday morning, after sitting below $18 just a few weeks ago.

One of the two major investors that surrendered, Citron Research, acknowledged Wednesday in a YouTube video that it unwound the majority of its bet that GameStop stock would fall. Andrew Left, who runs Citron, said it took “a loss, 100%” to do so, but that does not change his view that GameStop’s stock will eventually fall sharply.

“We move on. Nothing has changed with GameStop except the stock price,” Left said. He also said he “has respect for the market,” which can temporarily run stock prices up higher than critics think they should go.

Melvin Capital is also exiting GameStop, with manager Gabe Plotkin telling CNBC that the hedge fund was taking a significant loss. He denied rumours that the hedge fund will fail.

The size of the losses taken by Citron and Melvin are unknown.

GameStop’s stock has long been the target of investors betting that its stock will fall as it struggles in an industry increasingly going online. The retailer lost $1.6 billion over the last 12 quarters, and its stock fell for six straight years before rebounding in 2020.

That pushed investors to sell GameStop’s stock short. Essentially, these short sellers borrowed shares of GameStop and sold them in hopes of buying them back later at a lower price and pocketing the difference. GameStop is one of the most shorted stocks on Wall Street.

But its stock began rising sharply earlier this month after a co-founder of Chewy, the online retailer of pet supplies, joined the company’s board. The thought is that he could help in the company’s digital transformation.

At the same time, smaller investors gathering on social media have been exhorting each other to keep pushing the stock higher. There is no overriding reason why GameStop has attracted those smaller investors, but there is a distinct component of revenge against Wall Street in communications online.

“The hedge fund owners are crying as a result of us,” one user wrote on a Reddit discussion about GameStop stock. “We have the power in this situation, not anyone else as long as we stay strong!”

Almost immediately after, another user shouted in all capital letters, “BUY AND HOLD WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS.”

The battle has created big losses for major Wall Street players who shorted the stock. As GameStop’s stock soared and some of the critics got out of their bets, they had to buy GameStop shares to do so. That can accelerate gains even more, creating a feedback loop. As of Tuesday, the losses had already topped $5 billion in 2021, according to S3 Partners.

Much of professional Wall Street remains pessimistic that GameStop’s stock can hold onto its moonshot gains.

Analysts at BofA Global Research raised their price target for GameStop on Wednesday from $1.60, all the way up to $10. It was at $362 in midday trading.

Nevertheless, the phenomenon does not appear to be fading.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the theatre chain that has been ravaged by the pandemic, posted a quarterly loss this month exceeding $900 million.

It appears, however, that AMC has become the next battleground in the fight between smaller, retail investors, and Wall Street.

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