Uzbekistan’s “Commit to Quit” Campaign for World No Tobacco Day 2021

As part of the World No Tobacco Day WHO campaign, “Commit to Quit”, the WHO Country Office in Uzbekistan, together with WHO/Europe, WHO headquarters, United Nations partners, the Ministry of Health and other governmental and nongovernmental entities, will be carrying out several activities aimed at decreasing local smoking rates, over the next 12 months.

Moreover, Deputy Minister of Health of Uzbekistan Dr Elmira Basitkhanova also reminded the public about the country’s existing “100-day campaign.” The latter promotes “100 reasons to quit tobacco” through different actions all designed to offer access to tools and resources that facilitate smoking cessation.

The WHO’s attacks on tobacco harm reduction

Meanwhile, contradicting all the scientific evidence indicating the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping, the WHO keeps using World No Tobacco Day to push its anti-vaping agenda. In total contrast with other health entities such as Public Health England (PHE), in 2020 the WHO inaccurately claimed that ENDS and smokeless alternatives do not help smokers quit smoking; are more harmful than combustible tobacco; and that nicotine is equivalent to heroin in terms of addictiveness.

A year later, in a press release titled “Quit tobacco to be a winner,” the WHO was at it again. The release claimed that the tobacco industry has “promoted e-cigarettes as cessation aids under the guises of contributing to global tobacco control.” Insisting on referring to the vaping industry as the tobacco industry, the WHO added that the industry employed “strategic marketing tactics to hook children on this same portfolio of products, making them available in over 15,000 attractive flavors.”

The agency went to on to claim that the scientific evidence on e-cigarettes as cessation aids was “inconclusive,” and that “switching from conventional tobacco products to e-cigarettes is not quitting.” Sadly these statements couldn’t be further from the truth as there are countless peer-reviewed studies conducted by independent public health experts which indicate otherwise.

“The WHO has taken this anti-vaping position—repeatedly—in the past and seemingly continues to ignore a burgeoning body of evidence to the contrary. Despite including “harm reduction strategies” in its definition of “tobacco control,” the agency remains steadfast in denying the expert opinions of an expanding number of academics and scientific bodies—like the UK’s Royal College of Physicians and the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine—that vaping is much less harmful than smoking,” pointed out a recent article on Filter.

Harm Reduction Group Denounces “Concerning” WHO Report

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United Nations report: 200 million people worldwide use cannabis, and the use of cannabis in 32 countries is increasing year by year

On June 24, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the “2021 World Drug Report”. The report is divided into 5 volumes. The drug market trend of “marijuana” clearly shows that medical cannabis is more effective, and more and more young people believe that hemp is a non-hazardous substance; at the same time, it is pointed out that during the epidemic of the COVID 19, there are about 32 countries in the world whose cannabis use has increased. However, UNODC still calls for a complete ban on the broadcasting of cannabis advertisements, and requires scientific publicity and management.

Fewer people think hemp is harmful

The World Drug Report 2021 found that between 1995 and 2019, the proportion of δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis in the United States rose from about 4% to 16%. Between 2002 and 2019, in Europe, the proportion rose from about 6% to 11%. The Executive Director of UNODC Office said that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the cause of mental health disorders in people who have used large amounts of cannabis for a long time. However, from 1995 to 2019, the proportion of teenagers who think that cannabis is harmful has declined. 40%.

Researchers wrote an article in the famous British medical journal The Lancet on July 28, 2007, stating that the use of marijuana will increase the risk of mental illness in the future by 40% or more, but a senior policy analyst at NORML, a national marijuana law reform organization Paul Armentano of Paul Armentano said that the use of marijuana and induced mental illness does not necessarily reflect a causal relationship. Among people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, the number of people who tend to use alcohol is higher than the general population.

More and more people use cannabis globally

In 2019, approximately 200 million people use marijuana, accounting for 4% of the global population. Among them, North America has the highest number, accounting for 14.5%, followed by Australia and New Zealand, accounting for 12.1%, West Africa and Central Africa accounting for 9.4%, and Asia has the lowest number, accounting for 2%. Between 2009 and 2019, the number of cannabis users increased by nearly 18%, and the number of cannabis seized fell by 35%. He also emphasized that during the COVID-19 pandemic, marijuana use has increased in approximately 32 countries around the world.

The report pointed out that in some high-income countries, the spread of the COIVID 19 epidemic has accelerated the legalization of cannabis and the trend of increased supply, especially for some cannabis users to relieve stress. In some European countries, the number of cannabis use is relatively stable, but Some signs also indicate that the number of frequent marijuana users is gradually increasing. In Canada, more than one-third of Canadians said their cannabis consumption has increased during the pandemic, while 12% said their consumption has declined.

Establish a comprehensive ban on cannabis advertising

The findings and conclusions of the report also pointed out that the active marketing of cannabis products containing high THC by private cannabis companies and the promotion of cannabis products through social media channels will worsen the perception and reality of cannabis among young people. Therefore, Angele Me, head of research and trend analysis at the Office of Drugs and Crime, called for a total ban on cannabis advertising, promotion and sponsorship to ensure that public health interests prevail over commercial interests. It also stated that this ban needs to be applied to all jurisdictions, and the implementation of this measure may be similar to the provisions of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

United Nations report: 200 million people worldwide use cannabis, and the use of cannabis in 32 countries is increasing year by year

In 2003, the WHO treaty collected 168 signatures, including the United States, but the United States is one of the six signatories that have not yet ratified the treaty. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, the largest cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies in the United States spent $8.2 billion on advertising and promotional expenditures. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that the U.S. does have certain restrictions and regulations on tobacco advertising and promotion.

On the same day, the founder and CEO of Mattio Communications, a New York public relations company, said on Twitter that banning advertising in the cannabis industry would run counter to public health interests. It was a very wrong suggestion. Regulatory education is one of the most effective ways of educating consumers and medical cannabis patients. Once banned, it will likely hinder the cannabis industry from providing safe and accessible products for cannabis users around the world.

United Nations report: 200 million people worldwide use cannabis, and the use of cannabis in 32 countries is increasing year by year

Recently, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said that the validity period of the U.S. marijuana ban has long passed and called for the repeal of the marijuana ban. Clarence cited the 2005 Supreme Court’s Gonzales v. Raich case, which consolidated the federal government’s ban on cannabis. He said that given the growing number of states and cities that support cannabis Legalization, whether for medical or recreational purposes, this law may have lost its effect.

In April this year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Democrats are eager to promote the legalization of marijuana. We will continue to advance this matter. President Biden said that he is studying this issue, so obviously we need to give him some time to study it. Eric Altiri, executive director of the national marijuana law reform organization NORML, said at a press conference that Clarence Thomas’s views reflect the views of the American public and once again show that it is time for Congress to end the marijuana ban.

At the same time, nearly 40 states in the United States have legalized medical marijuana, and 18 states have legalized adult recreational marijuana. As opinion polls show that the vast majority of people support the legalization of marijuana, more and more signs indicate that Congress has also is getting prepared to take this issue of marijuana legalization seriously.

Biden’s FDA Head To Testify Before Congress On Youth Vaping Rates

Democrats in Congress have summoned President Biden’s head of the Food and Drug Administration to testify on the issues of youth vaping rates and health.

WASHINGTON — Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was asked by Congressional Democrats to testify on the current status of the ongoing youth vaping epidemic and other solutions moving forward.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, scheduled the hearing for June 23, 2021. It will be a hybrid hearing entitled “An Epidemic Continues: Youth Vaping in America.” “This hearing will examine the scope of the youth vaping epidemic and the role of the federal government in addressing youth e-cigarette use and addiction going forward,” notes a statement from the subcommittee.

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of determining which, if any, e-cigarettes will be allowed [to] stay on the market. All e-cigarette manufacturers were required to submit Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTAs) to FDA by September 9, 2020, in order to legally stay on the market. FDA is now evaluating those applications and is required to complete review by September 9, 2021. FDA’s decisions on the PMTA applications will determine the course of the youth vaping epidemic, and this hearing will examine FDA’s approach,” the subcommittee announced.

This is also a crucial appearance for acting commissioner Woodcock, given the fact that this hearing will be one of the most important updates on the youth vaping epidemic after COVID-19 and the global pandemic.

This is the subcommittee’s fourth hearing examing the youth vaping epidemic in the United States. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, is also scheduled to testify on these efforts, too. Durbin is a strong advocate for the policy of banning electronic cigarettes and other flavored tobacco and nicotine products.

A live stream of the hearing will be available on YouTube and on the website for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Democrats: FDA Should Clear Entire Vaping Market During PMTA Process

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What Do Australia’s E-Cigarette Restrictions Mean For Local Pharmacies?

In 2020, Australia’s Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt had announced a new measure banning the importation of vape liquid containing nicotine. A number of public health experts, tobacco harm reduction advocates and MPs, had spoken up against thIs measure, resulting in it being put on hold.

However the following December, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced the final decision, “..the importation of nicotine e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine for vaping will require a doctor’s prescription. This aligns with current domestic restrictions under State and Territory law, that prohibit the supply of nicotine containing e-cigarettes in Australia without a valid medical prescription.”

Will pharmacies require tobacco licences?

“We don’t believe they’ll require a tobacco licence; I think you’re talking about a retail tobacco licence. We don’t believe that that will be required.”

Meanwhile, many of the regulations and requirements related to the measure are still being determined. At a recent hearing held on June 1st, Therapeutic Goods Administration director, Adjunct Professor John Skerritt, was grilled at length by members of the Senate Community Affairs Committee. Among the questions directed as Skerritt were ones related to state and territory tobacco licensing regimes.

Senator Eric Abetz (Lib, Tas) asked Skerritt whether pharmacists will be requiring tobacco licenses. “We have been working with their legal people, and our lawyers have been working with them too. We don’t believe they’ll require a tobacco licence; I think you’re talking about a retail tobacco licence. We don’t believe that that will be required,” replied Skerritt.

Senator Abetz asked for further clarification. “When you say ‘don’t believe’, can you take it to the level of saying ‘they won’t require’?” However Skerritt reiterated that these details are still being worked out. “We’re still working with the states and territories on either inadvertent or other conflicts of laws. I would not be categorical. It’s an issue we’re working through with the states and territories very carefully in the period to come.”

How about non-nicotine-containing vapes?

Abetz rightly proceeded to ask about regulations related to pharmacy sales of non-nicotine containing e-cigarettes. “We’re regulating the nicotine part of the product. In general the regulations do not extend to the actual devices themselves,” responded Skerritt.

“If it was a refillable device but could also be used for a non-nicotine-containing product, it is beyond the scope of our regulation. There are some sort of pod type devices, where the nicotine is built into the device, and they are in the scope of our regulation. If you can use it to vape strawberry flavouring and it doesn’t have nicotine in it, it’s not regulated by the TGA,” he concluded.

Read Further: AJP

Australia: New Committee Formed to Represent Vape Retailers

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Philip Morris International Will Move Its Corporate HQ

The tobacco giant will move its corporate headquarters away from New York City.

NEW YORK CITY — Philip Morris International (PMI) announced that it would be moving its international corporate headquarters from New York City to a facility in Connecticut. Jacek Olczak, the chief executive officer of PMI, confirmed the news in a press statement.

“Connecticut offers a valuable mix of technological know-how, future-forward thinking, and an open-minded approach to problem-solving,” said Olczak. “We consider it an ideal location for our new U.S. head office, where we will be working to more quickly achieve our vision of a smoke-free future.”

“We are excited about what the state has to offer our company, our employees, and their families—and we very much look forward to integrating into the community in a meaningful way,” he added.

According to the company, Gov. Ned Lamont’s office also confirms its support for moving the PMI HQ to the state, with at least 200 jobs expected to come and boost the economy.

“We are excited to welcome PMI to the State of Connecticut, showing once again that our state is a growing and thriving ecosystem for businesses,” Lamont said.

“I am also impressed by their culture and desire to integrate closely into the communities in which they operate, and we look forward to seeing their active and charitable contributions to our state.”

The corporate headquarters facility is expected to open by the summer of 2022 and will play “a critical role in our mission to create a smoke-free future.”

“We are amid a profound transformation at PMI, and our new base in Connecticut will serve to accelerate our progress,” the chief executive added. “Beyond replacing cigarettes with better alternatives, we intend to draw on our expertise in life and medical sciences to develop solutions in areas that include respiratory drug delivery and botanicals. Through our product innovations, sustainability leadership, people-centered employment practices, and community involvement, we intend to be a source of pride for the state.”

PMI has an operations center based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is also the largest tobacco firm in the United States and the world. PMI is also estimated to generate well over $79.82 billion in revenue, per year, per 2018 numbers.

IQOS 3 Approved By The FDA

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No link between e-cigarettes and COVID-19

Did you hear about the big new study on vaping and COVID-19? If you didn’t, that’s not surprising. The study didn’t find any association between the two—that is, it found no evidence suggesting that people who vape are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Research that leads to null results rarely gets much coverage in the media. In this instance, however, it upends the flood of stories throughout the pandemic that reported that vapers are at greater risk. The New York Times, for example, reported in September that “Vaping Links to COVID Risks Are Becoming Clear.” CNNWiredScientific AmericanUSA Today, and just about every other major news source you can name ran similar stories.

The new study is from a reputable source (the Mayo Clinic) and boasts a large sample of patients (nearly 70,000). Unlike much previous research on tobacco use and COVID, it also sorted patients by their current or former use of tobacco products, as well as the specific products they used (smoking, vaping, or both). In other words, the study had a near-ideal design for detecting whether and what kinds of nicotine consumption may lead to elevated risk of a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Did you hear about the big new study on vaping and COVID-19? If you didn’t, that’s not surprising. The study didn’t find any association between the two—that is, it found no evidence suggesting that people who vape are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Research that leads to null results rarely gets much coverage in the media. In this instance, however, it upends the flood of stories throughout the pandemic that reported that vapers are at greater risk. The New York Times, for example, reported in September that “Vaping Links to COVID Risks Are Becoming Clear.” CNNWiredScientific AmericanUSA Today, and just about every other major news source you can name ran similar stories.

The new study is from a reputable source (the Mayo Clinic) and boasts a large sample of patients (nearly 70,000). Unlike much previous research on tobacco use and COVID, it also sorted patients by their current or former use of tobacco products, as well as the specific products they used (smoking, vaping, or both). In other words, the study had a near-ideal design for detecting whether and what kinds of nicotine consumption may lead to elevated risk of a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In addition to finding no association between use of e-cigarettes and COVID diagnosis, the study reports that current smokers were found to be at lower risk of infection of COVID than nonsmokers. (Smoking still has plenty of downsides, including elevated risk of death from numerous causes.). Users of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes fell in between the two groups.

Those results are a complete departure from both the typical tone of reporting on the topic and, well, what anyone might have reasonably expected from a respiratory virus. And although the methodology is sound, it’s worth the caveat that one shouldn’t read too much into just one study. But it’s just the latest piece of evidence that vapers have been subjected to excessive fearmongering about COVID. Anomalous findings related to tobacco use and COVID have been apparent since early 2020—and the popular indictment of vaping in particular has been mostly speculative from the beginning.

Much of the anti-vaping coverage was itself driven by a single study from Stanford, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, that found elevated likelihood of COVID diagnosis among adolescents and young adults who vape. The authors surveyed 4,351 people ages 13–24 and concluded that a “COVID-19 diagnosis was five times more likely among ever-users of e-cigarettes.” In a response published in the same journal, scientists criticized its relatively small, potentially unrepresentative sample and confusing results. (Having ever used an e-cigarette, for example, was significantly associated with higher risk—but having used e-cigarettes recently was not. That’s weird!) The Stanford study was fair game for reporting, especially during a pandemic when everyone was trying to learn as much about how to protect themselves as possible. But the accompanying alarm and calls for prohibition—such as by Democratic congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who claimed that “the youth vaping epidemic has combined forces with the Coronavirus pandemic, creating a much deadlier foe”—failed to reflect the tenuousness of its conclusion.

Importantly, urgent health advice based on a single study merits follow-up when more data comes in. A major new study finding no association between vaping and COVID infection certainly qualifies. If the Stanford study earned widespread headlines about the dangers of vaping, why has the Mayo Clinic study with its larger sample and better methodology received virtually no mention whatsoever?

Such one-sided reporting on vaping research is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is the possibility of getting important stories wrong. It can also do harm by contributing to popular misperceptions that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, as occurred with the misnamed “e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injuries” (“EVALI” or “vape lung”) outbreaks in 2019, undermining the goal of convincing smokers to switch to safer sources of nicotine. (The long decline in cigarette sales appeared to pause last year, likely due in part to bans on flavored e-cigarettes and negative press coverage of vaping.)

Raising alarm without appropriately solid justification also contributes to attitudes of mistrust toward media and health authorities. The internet has democratized access to scientific papers, so when news stories go beyond the evidence or ignore contradictory research, online communities will figure it out. In recent years, vaping enthusiasts have watched as anti-tobacco activists have warned of danger after danger, from “popcorn lung” to EVALI, demonizing e-cigarettes for causing massive harms that turned out to be highly exaggerated or actually attributable to other products. As a result, many now suspect that activists and legislators are using the pandemic as an opportunity to advocate for restrictive policies and lifestyle commandments that they favored as part of a preexisting agenda.

Accurate reporting on tobacco, nicotine, and COVID would tell a story that’s both more complicated and more interesting than the scary one that has dominated headlines. An ongoing evidence review of smoking and COVID now in its 11th iteration, and including more than 400 studies, is frustratingly ambiguous. Like the Mayo Clinic study, the review finds that for reasons that are still unclear (although there are theories), current smokers appear less likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. It’s unknown whether this is due to an actual causal effect or some other factor. At the very least it’s an intriguing result that curious science journalists might want to investigate—but it’s rarely mentioned in stories about tobacco use and the pandemic.

The review also examines whether smokers who do contract COVID suffer worse outcomes than nonsmokers. Interestingly, it’s true that former smokers consistently appear at higher risk of disease severity, hospitalization, and death, affirming fears that the accumulated damage smoking does to one’s body can affect its ability to fight a respiratory virus. Confusingly, however, outcomes for current smokers are “inconclusive,” with “no important associations with hospitalisation and mortality” but “a small but important association with disease severity.” It’s difficult to pull a coherent story about smoking from these results, and one should be more wary still of extrapolating from them to make declarations about vaping.

This is all fascinating, in the sense that it reveals that even seemingly obvious questions can prove difficult to answer in the midst of a pandemic wrought by a novel virus. Here goes a constant refrain of science: More research is needed. For all the ink spilled linking vaping to COVID, the topic just hasn’t been studied much, and even given the Mayo Clinic study, new research could change our understanding at any time. This tangle of evidence is a reminder that science is provisional and that in lieu of simple narratives, sometimes all we can confidently say is that “it’s complicated.”

As with many issues during the pandemic, coverage of its alleged link to vaping would have benefited from greater acknowledgment of uncertainty. Experts and journalists could have simply outlined the reasons to worry about heightened risks and emphasized sensible precautions, such as not sharing vaping devices, and then continued to follow the research. They should have also considered the possibility that anti-vaping alarmism may subvert the effort to transition smokers to safer sources of nicotine. We shouldn’t lose sight of that goal’s importance: While the threat of COVID in the United States is hopefully receding, smoking still causes more than 480,000 premature deaths each year, more than current CDC estimates of American pandemic deaths in 2020.

Report Confirming E-Cigs Are Better Than NRTs, Commended By THR Experts

“E-cigarettes and other smoke-free products have the best chance to end the smoking epidemic.”

Carried out by researchers at the renowned King’s College London, the PHE’s seventh independent report on vaping in England confirms that the use of electronic cigarettes is more effective than nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) for successful smoking cessation.

“Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease—killing almost 75,000 people in England in 2019. The best thing that a smoker can do is to stop smoking completely and the evidence shows that vaping is one of the most effective quit aids available, helping around 50,000 smokers quit a year,” said Prof. John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at the PHE.

The World Vapers’s Alliance (WVA) listed the main points highlighted in the report:

  • “Vaping is the most popular aid (27.2%) used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020
  • More than 50,000 smokers stopped smoking in 2017 with the aid of vaping
  • 38% of smokers believed that vaping is as harmful as smoking while 15% believed that vaping is more harmful”

THR strategies especially needed in Asia-Pacific

The CAPHRA also issued a press release commending the report. “Public Health England’s (PHE) seventh independent report on vaping, led by researchers at King’s College London, provides further evidence that e-cigarettes and other smoke-free products have the best chance to end the smoking epidemic, particularly in Asia-Pacific where more than half of smokers live,” said CAPHRA Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas.

Over 50% of the world’s smokers live in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This is particularly relevant in Asia Pacific where about 5 million adults vape, most of whom are former smokers who have either quit smoking completely or have cut down significantly using their preferred devices and liquids,” she added.

Similarly, Jagannath Sarangapani, director of Association of Vapers India (AVI), said these safer nicotine alternatives would have a major impact in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as India, where millions are exposed to the toxic chemicals and carcinogens from tobacco smoke. “About 80 percent of the world’s more than 1 billion smokers live in low and middle-income countries.  With the latest findings of Public Health England, LMICs should take a second look at e-cigarettes as a more effective smoking cessation aid than NRT,” he said.

Prohibition does not work

President of Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity Samsul Kamal Ariffin, which is a part of the umbrella group Harm Awareness Association, said that instead of prohibiting e-cigarettes, governments should encourage the switch from combustible products to these products.

“This is why we oppose the increase in excise duty on all types of electronic devices and liquids used in electronic cigarettes in Malaysia.  Making these smoke-free alternatives more expensive than traditional cigarettes will defeat our tobacco harm reduction campaign,” said Ariffin.

Asa Saligupta of End Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) said Thailand should follow the UK’s example in following science. “A study by international think tank R Street Institute shows that the rate of smoking in the UK has been steadily decreasing since it embraced tobacco harm reduction principles, while the opposite has been happening in Thailand because of its prohibitive stance on smoking alternatives,” Saligupta said.

The PHE report should be consulted by lawmakers

While Peter Paul Dator of Vapers Philippines, said the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should have consulted the PHE report before implementing vape regulations locally.

“Unfortunately, the FDA apparently listened to foreign advocacy groups such as Bloomberg Philanthropies which are dangling grants in exchange of policies, instead of studying the scientific facts presented by reputable health authorities such as Public Health England,” said Dator.

UK: PHE to Investigate ‘New Dual’ Range Replacing Menthol Tobacco

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Marijuana Is Now Legal In Connecticut

Recreational marijuana for adult use is now legal in the U.S. state of Connecticut.

HARTFORD — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, recently signed into law legislation that legalizes recreational marijuana for adult use and implements regulatory protocols moving forward. The legislation contains comprehensive reforms that address many policy areas, including equity, criminal justice, public health, and public safety.

“For decades, the war on cannabis caused injustices and created disparities while doing little to protect public health and safety,” Gov. Lamont said in a press statement. “The law that I signed today begins to right some of those wrongs by creating a comprehensive framework for a regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, criminal justice, and equity. It will help eliminate the dangerous, unregulated market and support a new and equitable sector of our economy that will create jobs.”

According to Lamont’s office, some of the key reforms focus on the basic possession of cannabis among adults aged 21 years and above. Starting July 1, 2021, legal adults cannot have more than 1.5 ounces of cannabis on their person, and no more than 5 ounces in their homes or locked in their car or truck’s glove box.

By the end of 2022, retail sales of cannabis aim to begin in the state. The sale, manufacture, and cultivation of cannabis would require a license from state regulators.

“This legislation allows employers to continue to enforce drug-free workplaces and respects the need for employers to maintain workplace safety and to remain in compliance with federal laws and contracts,” notes the press statement from Lamont.

“This measure is comprehensive, protects our children and the most vulnerable in our communities, and will be viewed as a national model for regulating adult-use cannabis,” Gov. Lamont added in his press announcement. “By signing this into law today, we are helping our state move beyond this terrible period of incarceration and injustice.”

Connecticut Bills Aim to Restrict Vape Sales and Ban Flavours

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Juul Settles NC Lawsuit for $40M, but Faces Bigger Legal Hurdles

Vape manufacturer Juul Labs has settled a lawsuit brought by the state of North Carolina, agreeing to pay $40 million, and to change some business practices. The money will be spent funding “programs to help people quit e-cigarettes, prevent e-cigarette addiction, and research e-cigarettes,” according to a press release.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filed the lawsuit against Juul in May 2019, charging that the company marketed to minors and downplayed the dangers of nicotine use. The lawsuit—the first brought against Juul by a U.S. state—claimed that Juul Labs’ marketing practices violated North Carolina law.

“For years, Juul targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette,” Stein said today. “It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children—one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina.”

Stein’s press release claims the settlement will force Juul Labs to “make drastic changes to the way it conducts business.” But most of the changes Juul agreed to as part of the settlement had already been in place for months or years.

Juul no longer uses social media influencers for advertising or sells online without third-party age verification, and the company withdrew its flavored products from the market before removal of flavors was mandated by the FDA. Comparing “the health effects of using JUUL with the health effects of using combustible cigarettes in its marketing materials” is already prohibited by the FDA, as is marketing intended to appeal to those under age 21.

The settlement will also create a public collection of documents from the lawsuit at a North Carolina public university (they didn’t specify which). The documents will become public next year. The attorney general’s office says they will “prevent this kind of epidemic from happening again.”

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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Tennessee School Districts Sue Juul Labs

School systems in Tennessee have joined in a massive tort against Juul Labs for alleged marketing to youth.

NASHVILLE — A total of 18 school systems in the U.S. state of Tennessee have joined in a massive lawsuit against e-cigarette maker Juul Labs for marketing their products to kids.

This is one of the largest developments on the litigation front since the major tort actions against the country’s largest e-cigarette manufacturer started popping up over five years ago. According to Nashville Public Radio’s coverage on the matter, these school districts expect settlement money from Juul Labs to help fund anti-vaping programs and counter the use of e-cigarettes on school property by students. The latest district to join the litigation from Tennessee includes Knox County Schools. In the middle of the state, school systems in Putnam and Warren counties have also signed on to the lawsuit.

“We really look at this as school systems having a lot of — the non-legal term I would use is — a lot to gripe about,” said attorney Chis McCarty of the Lewis Thomason Law Firm in Memphis and Knoxville. McCarty is the lead attorney on the Tennessee case against Juul.

“We didn’t hire principals to be the vaping police,” McCarty says in a statement to Nashville Public Radio, via the report. “We’d rather them concentrate on other things.”

Other school districts in Middle Tennessee are passing on the lawsuit. However, it doesn’t cost a district anything to join in the complaining class for the litigation. It’s just that lawsuits take time and energy to put down on paper all the ways electronic cigarettes have been a resource drain on schools. School districts across the country have been filing lawsuits for several years. This sort of litigation is further being consolidated in a federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Nothern District of California. This is a similar strategy how an Ohio court managed to contain opioid litigation.

N.J. School District Joins Nationwide Lawsuit Against Juul

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