Juul loses home turf as San Francisco bans e-cigarette sales

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019   •   1182

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, in this August 7, 2015, file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

San Francisco will become the first major city in the United States to ban the sale of e-cigarettes as officials look to control the rapid uptick in teenage use of nicotine devices made by companies such as Juul Labs Inc.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance on Tuesday (June 25), banning the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes until they have approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

States and cities across the United States have already moved to ban flavored e-cigarettes and raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, but San Francisco’s new approach is the most far-reaching yet.

No other major cities have proposed a similar hardline ban, though San Francisco’s move could lead others to consider it.

The city council in Beverly Hills, California, this month approved a ban on the sale of tobacco products beginning 2021, though it carved out exceptions for some cigar lounges and hotels.

Juul, which is based in San Francisco and has grown to be the dominant e-cigarette maker in the United States, has been at the center of the debate. As its sales soared over the last two years, so did its popularity among teenagers.

Federal data last year showed a 78% increase in e-cigarette use among U.S. high schoolers, and state and local lawmakers have been grappling with how to regulate Juul and other similar products.

E-cigarettes have existed in a regulatory gray area for years. Its makers originally faced a 2018 deadline to submit applications to the FDA to sell products, but the deadline was pushed back to 2022.

Amid the surge in teenage use, the FDA in March moved up that deadline to 2021. A separate court case from anti-tobacco groups may force the FDA to set an earlier deadline.

San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, who sponsored the ordinance, said he has been constantly hearing from young people about e-cigarettes and “how readily available they are in schools, the fact that they’re easily hidden from educators.”

After Tuesday’s vote, Juul spokesman Ted Kwong said the ban “will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use.”

He said the company has already taken steps to prevent underage use and has proposals of its own to prevent sales to minors in the city.

Juul, in which Marlboro maker Altria Group has a 35% stake, has pulled popular flavors such as mango and cucumber from retail store shelves and shut down its social media channels on Instagram and Facebook.

E-cigarettes are generally thought to be safer than traditional cigarettes, which kill up to half of all lifetime users, according to the World Health Organization, but the long-term health effects of the nicotine devices remain largely unknown. (REUTERS)

DOH pushes for total ban on e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday called for a total ban on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), stressing that it has no proven positive effect on the user’s health.

According to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, the use of e-cigarettes or vaping is not a proven replacement therapy for nicotine addiction.

“If the DOH had its way, we would go for an outright ban,” Domingo told reporters in a press briefing in Malacañang.

He also noted that a proposal is now being crafted in an aim to ban e-cigarettes and other similar devices.

“And I think there is possible legal legislation that will be proposed sa Senate and the House, and we will support it,” he said.

Domingo said there are more than one million Filipinos, mostly youth, using e-cigarettes in the country.

The health official said they are now monitoring case reports of injuries and illnesses documented arising from the use of these devices amid a rising number of such cases in other countries.

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration earlier advised hospitals under the DOH to report any vaping-related cases in line with the emerging report of such cases from Europe and North America as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (USCDC).

The USCDC in August issued an advisory, cautioning the public against the purchase and use of vaping ingredients from the street and to stop modifying either nicotine or cannabis e-cigarette in an effort to curb the reportedly rising cases of vaping-related sicknesses in 25 U.S. states.

“Based on reports from several states, patients have experienced respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain), and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) or non-specific constitutional symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss). Symptoms typically develop over a period of days but sometimes can manifest over several weeks,” the advisory read.

The USCDC has recommended some steps for clinicians, including the reporting of cases of severe pulmonary disease of unclear etiology and history of e-cigarette use within the past 90 days, to help determine the cause of these sicknesses.

READ: WHO: Tobacco kills 8 million each year, e-cigarettes not a proven alternative

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier said the use of e-cigarettes should be regulated as there is no evidence proving they were a safer alternative to cigarettes, warning that it normalizes smoking and hooks young people. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte signs law on higher excise tax on tobacco

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 26, 2019

FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows cigarettes in their pack, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Illustration

President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Thursday (July 25) the law imposing higher excise taxes on tobacco products, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has confirmed.

“To address the urgent need to protect the right to health of the Filipino people and to maintain a broader fiscal space to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, the President has signed into law HB no. 8677/ SB no. 2233 Increasing the Excise Tax on Tabacco Products,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, health advocates including the Sin Tax Coalition lauded the signing of the law on increasing tobacco taxes.

“This latest tax increase represents another positive step in protecting more Filipinos from the harmful effects of cigarette smoking,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, health advocate and former independent director of PhilHealth.

READ: Country in a ‘win-win-win’ situation with increased cigarette tax—WHO

Under the new law, Republic Act 11346, tax rates for cigarettes will increase to P45 this 2020, from P35 per pack. There will be additional P5 for each succeeding year.

Don’t let tobacco take your breath away—WHO

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2019

FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows cigarettes in their pack, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Illustration

Tobacco kills one person every four seconds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This World No Tobacco Day, the WHO reiterates the deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoking.

According to the WHO’s statement, “the campaign also serves as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.”

Once you decide to quit smoking, here are the benefits of smoking cessation.

1. There are immediate and long-term health benefits of quitting for all smokers.

Beneficial health changes that take place:

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • 1 year, your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s.
  • 5 years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
  • 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
2. People of all ages who have already developed smoking-related health problems can still benefit from quitting.

Benefits in comparison with those who continued:

  • At about 30: gain almost 10 years of life expectancy.
  • At about 40: gain 9 years of life expectancy.
  • At about 50: gain 6 years of life expectancy.
  • At about 60: gain 3 years of life expectancy.
  • After the onset of life-threatening disease: rapid benefit, people who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of having another heart attack by 50%.
3. Quitting smoking decreases the excess risk of many diseases related to second-hand smoke in children.

Quitting smoking decreases the excess risk of many diseases related to second-hand smoke in children, such as respiratory diseases (e.g., asthma) and ear infections.

4. Others benefits.

Quitting smoking reduces the chances of impotence, having difficulty getting pregnant, having premature births, babies with low birth weights and miscarriage.

So choose health, not tobacco.

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