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The U.S. wants to ban Juul. Where is Canada on regulating e-cigarettes? – CBC News

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Earlier this week, regulators in the United States ordered Juul to pull its vaping products from the market, dealing a major blow to one of the most powerful players in the industry.

The company is appealing the decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking a federal court to block a government order to stop selling its electronic cigarettes.

While the attempted ban in the U.S. doesn’t directly affect Canada, some health advocates say it raises questions about the slow pace of regulation in this country.

Here’s a closer look at the FDA’s decision and what’s happening in Canada. 

Why was Juul banned?

As part of the FDA’s review process, companies had to demonstrate that their e-cigarettes benefit public health. In practice, that means proving that adult smokers who use them are likely to quit or reduce their smoking, while teens are unlikely to get hooked on them.

In its decision, the FDA said that some of the biggest e-cigarette sellers like Juul may have played a “disproportionate” role in the rise in teen vaping. The agency said that Juul’s application didn’t have enough evidence to show that marketing its products “would be appropriate for the protection of the public health.”

On Friday, the e-cigarette maker asked the court to pause what it called an “extraordinary and unlawful action” by the FDA that would require it to immediately halt its business. The company filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington as it prepares to appeal the FDA’s decision.

That dispute is far from over. 

Juul products are shown at a vaping store in New York in 2020. The FDA has ordered the company to halt the sale of its products. (Marshall Ritzel/Associated Press)

What about in Canada?

Juul’s vaping products, as well as those sold by other companies, remain available in Canada. 

Health Canada proposed a ban on flavoured vaping products last June. At the time, it cited research indicating that flavoured vaping products are “highly appealing to youth, and that youth are especially susceptible to the negative effects of nicotine – including altered brain development, which can cause challenges with memory and concentration.” 

But after a round of consultations last year, that proposed ban still hasn’t been put into effect. 

WATCH | P.E.I. now has toughest vaping, smoking laws in Canada: 

P.E.I. now has toughest vaping, smoking laws in Canada

2 years ago

Duration 2:06

As of March 1, people have to be 21 to buy vaping or tobacco products in P.E.I., giving the province the highest age limit in the country.

Several provinces and territories have put in place their own limits on flavoured vaping products, citing their appeal to teenagers.

(Juul voluntarily stopped selling many of its flavoured cartridges in 2020 following criticism they were designed to entice youth.)

David Hammond, a public health professor at the University of Waterloo who researches vaping in youth, said banning Juul products in the U.S. won’t necessarily have a significant impact on the industry as a whole, given its declining market share and the variety of products available.

“You know, it’s like a tube of toothpaste. If you press at one point, you just kind of squeeze it to a different spot,” he said.

What does Health Canada say?

“Health Canada has no plans to remove any vaping products from the Canadian market that comply with the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act,” the agency told CBC News in an email.

The government has recently put in place new restrictions on the sector, including limits on advertising for e-cigarettes and the amount of nicotine in the products. It’s also undergoing a review of the legislation for vaping products that went into effect in 2018.

On its website, Health Canada warns of the risks of e-cigarettes, saying “the potential long-term health effects of vaping remain unknown” and the government continues to investigate “severe pulmonary illness associated with vaping.”

Last week, Health Canada announced another set of proposed regulations that would require vaping companies to disclose information about “sales and ingredients used in vaping products,” to help the government “keep pace with the rapidly evolving vaping market.”

How popular is vaping?

Vaping is popular among young people, with 14 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 19 having vaped in the last month of 2020, up from six per cent from the same month in 2017, according to the results of the Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey.

Vaping is less popular for adults over the age of 25, with just three per cent reporting that they vaped within the last month in 2020.

Robert Schwartz, a senior scientist at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said the regulatory challenge is to strike a balance between making these products available to adults as an alternative to cigarettes, while at the same time limiting their appeal to younger non-smokers.

“We definitely are finding that young people who would not otherwise become cigarette smokers have started to use e-cigarettes and they fairly quickly develop a dependence on them,” said Schwartz.

“Our research is also demonstrating that some adults are able to quit by … using these cigarettes.”

What’s the holdup?

Like Schwartz, Hammond said vaping products could be a useful tool in helping wean smokers off cigarettes. He said it doesn’t make sense to put strict limits on vaping products if cigarettes, which are thought to be more harmful, are still available in corner stores. 

Dr. David Hammond is a public health professor at the University of Waterloo who researches vaping among younger people. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“I don’t think the answer lies just with how they are regulated,” he said. “I think it lies with the industry and reframing these products as something that a 50-year-old uses to quit smoking and not a 15-year-old grabs on the way to a party.”

Hammond, who sits on Health Canada’s advisory board for vaping products, said the agency could stand to move more quickly given the stakes.

“There’s no doubt these are difficult questions and the market shifts rapidly. But it’s not an area where slow, plodding regulation is a good fit,” he said.

Cynthia Callard, executive director of the advocacy group Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, said that, while the context is different in Canada, the FDA decision “is a reminder that governments can and should bar market access to products which cannot be shown to benefit public health.”

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U.S. inflation runs cooler than forecast, easing pressure on Fed – BNN Bloomberg

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US inflation decelerated in July by more than expected, reflecting lower energy prices, which may take some pressure off the Federal Reserve to continue aggressively hiking interest rates.

The consumer price index increased 8.5 per cent from a year earlier, cooling from the 9.1 per cent June advance that was the largest in four decades, Labor Department data showed Wednesday. Prices were unchanged from the prior month. A decline in gasoline offset increases in food and shelter costs. 

So-called core CPI, which strips out the more volatile food and energy components, rose 0.3 per cent from June and 5.9 per cent from a year ago. The core and overall measures came in below forecast.

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The data may give the Fed some breathing room, and the cooling in gas prices, as well as used cars, offers respite to consumers. But annual inflation remains high at more than 8 per cent and food costs continue to rise, providing little relief for President Joe Biden and the Democrats ahead of midterm elections.

 
COST OF LIVING

While a drop in gasoline prices is good news for Americans, their cost of living is still painfully high, forcing many to load up on credit cards and drain savings. After data last week showed still-robust labor demand and firmer wage growth, a further deceleration in inflation could take some of the urgency off the Fed to extend outsize interest-rate hikes.

Treasury yields slid across the curve while the S&P 500 was higher and the dollar plunged. Traders now see a 50-basis-point rate increase next month as more likely, rather than 75.

“This is a necessary print for the Fed, but it’s not sufficient,” Michael Pond, head of inflation market strategy at Barclays Plc said on Bloomberg TV. “We need to see a lot more.”

Fed officials have said they want to see months of evidence that prices are cooling, especially in the core gauge. They’ll have another round of monthly CPI and jobs reports before their next policy meeting on Sept. 20-21.

Gasoline prices fell 7.7 per cent in July, the most since April 2020, after rising 11.2 per cent a month earlier. Utility prices fell 3.6 per cent from June, the most since May 2009.

Food costs, however, climbed 10.9 per cent from a year ago, the most since 1979. Used car prices decreased.

What Bloomberg Economics Says…

“With rents still pushing higher and elevated wages beginning to seep into services inflation, we expect this pause to be short-lived. Core CPI could approach 7 per cent in the coming months — despite our assumption of moderation in goods prices.”

–Anna Wong and Andrew Husby, economists

Shelter costs — which are the biggest services’ component and make up about a third of the overall CPI index — rose 0.5 per cent from June and 5.7 per cent from last year, the most since 1991. That reflected a 0.7 per cent jump in rent of primary of residence. Hotels, meanwhile, fell 3.2 per cent.

Elsewhere in leisure, airfares dropped 7.8 per cent from the prior month, the most in nearly a year.

While prices are showing signs of moderating, there are several factors that risk keeping inflation high. Housing costs are a big one, as well as unexpected supply shocks. And wages are still climbing at a historically fast pace, concerning some economists of a so-called wage-price spiral.

However, those gains aren’t keeping up with inflation. A separate report showed real average hourly earnings fell 3 per cent in July from a year earlier, dropping every month since April 2021.

“We’re seeing a stronger labor market, where jobs are booming and Americans are working, and we’re seeing some signs that inflation may be beginning to moderate,” Biden said after the report. He cautioned, “we could face additional headwinds in the months ahead,” citing the war in Europe, supply-chain delays and pandemic-related disruptions in Asia.

The impact of inflation on wages has started to dent spending, with the pace of personal consumption growth decelerating between the first and second quarters. 

That said, consumer expectations for US inflation declined sharply in the latest survey by the New York Fed, suggesting Americans have some confidence that prices will come off the boil in the next one to five years.

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These are the Canadian companies laying off staff amid the post-pandemic tech wreck – Yahoo Canada Finance

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no0810Hootsuite

no0810Hootsuite

Social media management platform Hootsuite Inc. became the latest Canadian tech company to issue major layoffs when it announced it was cutting 30 per cent of its staff on Tuesday.

The move comes as a cooling economy has dimmed the prospects for high-growth companies, especially those that benefitted from the shift to e-commerce during the pandemic.

Giants such as Amazon.com Inc. have not been immune from the changing economic picture, either. Earlier this month, Amazon said it had reduced its staffing levels by 100,000 positions by slowing hiring.

Here’s a rundown of the major tech layoffs that have hit Canada recently.

Hootsuite

Vancouver-based Hootsuite said Tuesday’s 30 per cent cut to global staffing would bring its head count to just over 1,000 and was part of an effort to restructure the company.

In an email statement, chief executive Tom Keiser said the move was made as the company refocuses its strategies “to drive efficiency, growth and financial sustainability.”

“We want to be very clear this decision is not a reflection on them, or their work. It is indicative of a change to our business that realigns our strategies with the positions we need to be successful,” Keiser said.

Last month, the company announced a rebranding, saying it was time to rethink its “integrated branding strategy to better reflect our position and our direction as the social experts, trusted partners, and joyful mentors.”

Shopify

Canadian tech giant Shopify Inc. was the most prominent company to cut staff when it laid off 10 per cent of its staff on July 26 after a bet on continuous e-commerce growth failed to pay off.

The cuts of approximately 1,000 employees primarily affected those in recruiting, support and sales.

Chief executive Tobi Lütke said the company expected the surge it saw at the height of the pandemic to be permanent and thought they had to expand to keep pace. Instead, growth has since fallen back to pre-COVID trendlines as consumers now return to shopping at physical retail stores.

“Ultimately, placing this bet was my call to make and I got this wrong. Now, we have to adjust,” Lütke said.

Article

Vancouver-based online furniture retailer Article laid off 216 employees, or 17 per cent of its team, last week.

In a post on Article’s website, co-founder and chief executive Aamir Baig said the company was operating “at a size larger than current demand would sustain” and needed to resize the business.

“Like many eCommerce companies, we benefited tremendously from the demand increase from COVID. We anticipated the trend to online purchasing would be sustained — that did not happen, and it has since returned to pre-COVID trends,” he said.

Clearco

Michele Romanow’s startup Clearco laid off 25 per cent of its workforce on July 29, saying the company increased its headcount too quickly in anticipation of continued growth.

Clearco said 125 people of their 500-person team were affected by the cuts.

In a memo to staff, the Dragons’ Den star said they were building to match the growth of the economy and are now facing “significant headwinds” that didn’t exist six months ago.

Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple laid off 13 per cent of its workforce on June 16, citing “immense volatility” in markets. The financial services company said it let go of 159 of its 1,262 employees.

In a letter to staff, chief executive Michael Katchen positioned the cuts as part of the fallout from months of seeing the market soar and Wealthsimple grow at an “unprecedented” rate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With reporting from the Canadian Press

• Email: dpaglinawan@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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Disney+ counts 221M streaming subscribers, surpasses Netflix for first time – CBC News

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Disney said Wednesday it added 14.4 million subscribers to its Disney+ streaming service in the April-June fiscal quarter, putting it just ahead of Netflix in the streaming wars with about 221 million total streaming subscriptions.

Netflix ended June with 220.7 million subscribers after losing nearly one million subscribers in the past quarter.

Walt Disney Co. also said Wednesday it is raising prices for streaming subscribers in the U.S. who want to watch Disney+ without ads, as more viewers switch to what CEO Bob Chapek described as the “best value in streaming.”

The price increases are tied to a new tiered service Disney will launch in December for U.S. subscribers. The basic Disney+ service today costs $7.99 ($10.21 Cdn) per month. Starting in December, that basic service will run ads, so a subscriber who wants no ads will have to upgrade to a premium service that starts at $10.99 ($14.04 Cdn) per month, a 37.5 per cent rise over current prices. An annual plan will cost $109.99 ($140.52 Cdn).

It’s not clear if the cost of a subscription will change in Canada, where Disney+ costs $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year. 

“We expect the ad tier to be popular and we expect some people to want to stay with ad-free,” Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said on a conference call with analysts.

Netflix’s most popular streaming plan in the U.S. is now $15.50 ($19.80 Cdn) per month, and its top-of-the-line plan is $20 ($25.55 Cdn) per month. That follows several rate hikes to help pay for its original programming, which has become even more important since Disney pulled its programming and classic movies from Netflix after licensing agreements between the companies expired.

Disney said paid subscriptions for Disney+ grew by 31 per cent, much of that internationally, over the same time last year. But revenue growth was not as strong due to operating losses from “higher programming and production, technology and marketing costs.”

Disney beats earnings expectations

Disney’s growing sales for its streaming services, which include Hulu and ESPN+, combined with a recovering theme park business after pandemic-era shutdowns led the Burbank, California-based entertainment giant to beat Wall Street expectations with quarterly earnings Wednesday.

Disney reported revenue of $21.5 billion US in the three months through July 2, up 26 per cent from the same time last year.

Disney said sales at its parks, experiences and products segment grew to $7.39 billion ($9.4 billion Cdn), up 70 per cent from $4.34 billion ($5.5 billion Cdn) a year earlier. The numbers represented an ongoing comeback from COVID-19 restrictions that temporarily shuttered all of Disney’s parks in 2020, reduced capacity through much of 2021 and have continued to affect some locations such as Shanghai Disneyland, which was open for just three days in the April-June quarter.

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