Massachusetts 1st US state to ban flavored tobacco, vaping products

Robie de Guzman   •   November 28, 2019   •   174

New York, USA – Massachusetts  on Wednesday become the first state in the United States to ban flavored tobacco and nicotine vaping products, including menthol cigarettes, after Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill to that effect.

This law seeks to make these flavored tobacco products less attractive to the youth amid a wave of vaping-related illnesses and deaths.

Anti-smoking groups hailed the initiative, which restricts the sale and consumption of flavored vaping products immediately and that of menthol cigarettes from June 1, 2020.

In recent months, Massachusetts and other states, including Michigan, Montana, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington, have temporarily banned or restricted the sale of vaping products.

But Massachusetts is now the first state to impose a permanent ban on all flavored tobacco or nicotine vaping products.

The new law specifically restricts the sale of these products to licensed smoking bars, exclusively for on-site consumption.

The ban extends to menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco.

It also imposes a 75 percent excise tax on nicotine vaping products and gives public health officials new authority to regulate the products. EFE-EPA


PH Customs bans entry of vaping products through ports

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has ordered all ports across the country to prevent the entry of vaping products following President Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal directive to ban its importation.

In a Facebook post, the BOC said it is closely coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies for the enforcement of the ban.

“The Bureau of Customs has issued a directive to its Intelligence and Enforcement Groups as well as all our ports of entry to be vigilant and prevent the entry of Vape products and its related items in compliance with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte,” it said.

“Hence all importation of Vape products and its related items shall immediately be subject to seizure by the Bureau of Customs,” it added.

Duterte on Tuesday announced a ban on the use, sale and importation of electronic cigarettes and other similar vaping devices, and directed law enforcers to arrest vape smokers in public.

The Chief Executive’s announcement came after a recent report of the first e-cigarette vaping-associated lung injury (e-VALI) in the country.

The President said an executive order will be issued to formalize his directive.

New York governor proposes ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed legislation on Monday (September 9) to ban flavored e-cigarettes statewide in an effort to protect young people from the unknown consequences of vaping.

“Common sense says if you don’t know what you’re smoking, don’t smoke it,” Cuomo told reporters at a news conference. “And right now, we don’t know what you’re smoking in a lot of these vaping substances,” he said.

The governor’s announcement comes after a nationwide surge in mysterious, serious lung illnesses possibly related to vaping, which has also been linked to five deaths in the United States.

The decision is of a piece with how vaping is currently being viewed by many on the street in New York.

“You don’t know what the hell you’re smoking,” Brian, a construction worker, told Reuters. “You don’t know what they’re putting in that oil.”

U.S. public health officials on Friday announced that they are investigating about 450 cases of the illness across 33 states and one U.S. territory, including 41 cases in the state of New York. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they have not linked the illnesses to any specific e-cigarette product or ingredient.

If the proposed legislation were to become law, New York would become the second state to ban flavored e-cigarettes, following Michigan, which passed a ban on Wednesday.

While e-cigarettes are promoted as a product to help smokers cut down or quit, health officials have expressed concerns that many e-cigarette flavors are designed to get a new generation hooked on nicotine.

Many of the reported illnesses involved vaping products, including cannabis products, containing vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E that is potentially dangerous if inhaled,

Cuomo, sitting beside New York Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, also announced that the state’s Department of Health was issuing subpoenas to three e-cigarette companies, Honey Cut Labs LLC, Floraplex Terpenes and Mass Terpenes LLC. The Department of Health obtained samples from the three companies and found high levels of vitamin E acetate in their products.

Cuomo said stores that sell e-cigarettes will be required to disclose potential health consequences.

“It’s quite simple: Don’t do it,” Cuomo said. “Don’t do it because we don’t know if it’s safe.” (Reuters)

(Production by: Dan Fastenberg and Hussein al Waaile)

Boston marks somber second anniversary of deadly marathon bombing

admin   •   April 15, 2015


Flowers lie on the sidewalk at the site of the first explosion as people walk along Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts April 24, 2013.

(Reuters) – The city of Boston faces a somber day on Wednesday as it marks the second anniversary of the bombing attack on its marathon that killed three people and injured 264.

Mayor Martin Walsh plans to mark the day with a low-key ceremony at the site where twin pressure-cooker bombs went off on April 15, 2013, ripping through a crowd of some of the thousands of spectators, volunteers and athletes at the Boston Marathon.

“April 15 is a day that has come to stand for our deepest values,” Walsh said. “I hope everyone can mark this day in a way that is appropriate and inclusive.”

At 2:49 p.m. ET organizations around New England’s largest city will observe a moment of silence to mark the time the first bomb went off.

The anniversary comes amid a break in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted last week of carrying out the bombing attack, before the same jury that found him guilty decides whether to sentence him to death or life in prison without possibility of parole.

Tsarnaev, 21, was the younger of two brothers who carried out the attack and three days later shot dead a police officer as they prepared to flee the city. His older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, died following a gunfight with police after that shooting.

Three people died in the bombing attack: 8-year-old Martin Richard; Chinese exchange student Lingzi Lu, 23; and restaurant manager Krystle Campbell, 29. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier, 26, was shot dead three days later.

Collier’s sister earlier this week said on social media that she did not believe Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who left a note suggesting the attack was an act of retribution for U.S. military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries, deserved to die.

“Whenever someone speaks out against the death penalty, they are challenged to imagine how they would feel if someone they love were killed. I’ve been given that horrible perspective,” Collier’s sister, Jennifer Lemmerman, wrote on Facebook.

Other voices have been less forgiving, among them local CBS commentator Jon Keller, who had first argued against pursuing the death penalty, reasoning that allowing a guilty plea and life sentence would spare the cost of a trial.

“I changed my mind, and in the wake of the verdict I’m not hearing anything to change it again,” Keller wrote earlier this month.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)


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