This weekly analysis provides an overview of the major tobacco harm reduction (THR) issues that grabbed space in the mainstream international and national print and electronic media during the period between May 10-16, 2021.
During the week under review, 121 news items were monitored on the Internet-their majority (27) focusing on industry news, followed by policy issues (21), research studies and surveys (11), and other miscellaneous topics (62). Pakistan was featured in 7 news items, mostly on matters related to taxation in the context of the upcoming budget. There was no news from EMRO.
The rising trend of youth vaping received significant attention during the week under review, with legislative measures being contemplated or implemented to curb the trend. Canada, for instance, has proposed a new Federal Vape Tax from 2022 on all e-liquids, regardless of the level of nicotine they contain. The measure comes because several provinces have, in the past year, set their own taxes to discourage teen vaping (vapingpost.com). The New Brunswick government (Canada) has also introduced amendments that aim to crack down on youth vaping. Amendments introduced to the Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act mean vape shops would have to be licensed (919thebend.ca).
In Florida, a bill has been signed to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes with a view to arrest youth vaping. The bill, which will take effect on October 1, 2021, will also raise the state's legal age to vape and smoke tobacco to the federal law threshold of 21 years. However, prominent health groups have opposed the bill on the grounds that another generation will be addicted to deadly tobacco products (khn.org).
In the US, a bipartisan legislation has been reintroduced to help doctors and researchers better understand the impact of the alarming rate of e-cigarette use among America's young people (utahpolicy.com). The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Indiana Department of Health have formed a new partnership to combat the vaping epidemic among teens (eaglecountryonline.com). In Ohio, groups working to prevent substance misuse said immediate action is needed to stem the surge of young people vaping marijuana (mahoningmatters.com). Even though the Connecticut State Medical Society is against legalization of marijuana, some lawmakers and the governor are pushing a bill to legalize it (wtnh.com). Meanwhile, a study claims nicotine vaping could help avoid 1.8 million premature deaths in the US (thesundaily.my).
An opinion article propounds the view that if the target is to have fewer teen smokers, vaping should not be banned as tobacco harm reduction products have helped reduce young adult smoking (insidesources.com). The lack of proven nicotine-use cessation options for youth makes prevention, with a focus on detection, critically important. The development of vaping detection technology may hold the key to reducing youth e-cigarette use rates in schools and thus helping teens to quit before they become addicted to nicotine (campuslifesecurity.com). Canadian research suggests vaping could raise the risk of developing asthma or having asthma attacks for teens and adults (usnews.com).
A new study shows youth vape and e-cigarette use has dropped precipitously during the Covid-19 pandemic (the74million.org). Seventy-two percent of India's combustible tobacco users between the ages of 18-24 years old attempted to quit smoking during the lockdown, followed by 69 percent of combustible tobacco users between the ages of 25-39, informs a survey conducted by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (nationalheraldindia.com).
The Washington City Council has approved a tobacco-free policy for its parks and public recreational facilities; the policy was previously introduced by a coalition of area youth (stgeorgeutah.com). The Kiwi government has invested $1.6 million on 'Vape to QuitStrong Campaign,' a behavioural change initiative that will support young Maori women to successfully switch to vaping (vapingpost.com).
Even though China is the world's largest e-cigarette manufacturer, local vaping rates in the country are astoundingly low. A new study determine why this is so (vapingpost.com). There has been a 43 percent decline in cigarette consumption in Japan, largely because its government has embraced heated tobacco products (filtermag.org). Another interesting article offers seven most effective strategies to quit smoking for good (livestrong.com).