U.S. Trade Agency Orders IQOS Off the U.S. Market


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has found that Philip Morris International’s IQOS heated tobacco product violates British American Tobacco patents, and therefore imports of the device to the United States are illegal. The ban will take effect in 60 days.

The ruling, which affirmed a preliminary decision from earlier this year, applies to imported devices sold within the U.S. The Biden administration’s U.S. Trade Representative could overrule the trade agency’s decision, but that happens rarely, according to Bloomberg News. The ITC supported BAT’s patent claims during the trial.

Altria is expected to file an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals, but the ban would remain in place until the appeals court decides the case, which could take up to a year. Another possible route for Altria/PMI, according to the Tobacco Reporter, would be to shift IQOS production to the U.S., since the decision only applies to imports. IQOS is manufactured in Europe and Asia.

IQOS has been authorized by the FDA for sale in the U.S. under both the Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) and Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) pathways. It has been sold here since 2019 in limited markets by Altria, which has licensed the product from PMI for U.S. sales. It is currently available only in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The ITC found that IQOS violates two patents held by Reynolds American Inc. (RAI—the former RJ Reynolds), which is now a subsidiary of international tobacco giant BAT. Since the IQOS dispute began, Reynolds and PMI/Altria have filed multiple lawsuits against each other in federal courts, both claiming infringement of various patents. BAT has also unsuccessfully challenged IQOS patents in European courts.

BAT sells its own HTP device, called glo, in Europe and Asia. The company announced in 2017 that it planned to submit marketing applications to the FDA for U.S. glo sales, but apparently never did.

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) heat tobacco to a temperature too low to combust but high enough to create a nicotine-containing vapor inhaled by the user. HTPs are sometimes called heat-not-burn (HNB) products.

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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Consumer Groups Urge WHO to Save Lives By Endorsing THR


The letter asks the WHO to end its war on vaping and other alternatives to smoking, which have been identified by science as effective smoking cessation tools. Discussing the letter, Michael Landl, the director of the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA), one of the organisations behind the letter, explained that millions of lives could be saved if the WHO would change its stance.

“The WHO has an opportunity to beat smoking for good but instead they choose to turn their guns on vaping and other tools that can reduce the harm of tobacco. The WHO routinely ignores the wealth of scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of these products and the first-hand experience of millions of citizens who have quit smoking for good. Restricting or banning access to vaping, nicotine pouches, snus, and other products will do nothing but cost lives. Millions of lives could be saved if the WHO was really serious about beating smoking.”

The COP9’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control protocol

The WHO’s global ‘COP 9’ conference, taking place this November, is known to be blindly against vaping and is tragically known to have a great influence on anti-smoking and vaping policies worldwide. Sadly, the COP9’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) protocol is know to have lost sight of its core objective of reducing smoking, and has become increasingly focused on fighting access to less harmful alternatives that are actually helping millions of smokers worldwide quit smoking.

“200 million lives worldwide could be saved, but as it stands it looks  like COP9 will be another anti-science and anti-consumer WHO charade. It is time to actually deliver on  the FCTC commitment to tobacco harm reduction by endorsing harm reduction products,” said Landl.

Anti-THR events in Asia

Meanwhile in Asia, in the lead up to the 13th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health (APACT) which took place virtually from Bangkok earlier this month, the 11 members of organizations of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), signed a declaration promoting THR.

“September marks the start of the secret season which sadly sees supposed ‘tobacco control experts’ playing up to their puppet masters and denying Asia Pacific’s 600 million smokers’ access to safer nicotine products,” said CAPHRA Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas.

APACT

APACT presented a line up of speakers renowned for their irrational stance on THR. “APACT has wheeled out a totally predictable programme and line up of speakers who share an irrational and untenable position against safer nicotine products such as vaping. Also, in common is that many, if not most, are longtime Bloomberg grant recipients or indirect beneficiaries. Preaching to themselves in their echo chamber, they continue to ignore all the science and the harm they are causing consumers,” explained Loucas.

SEARO and WPRO

While a few days later, the WHO’s South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) also held its online regional conference, from 6 to 10 September, with the Western Pacific for their Regional Office (WPRO) following from 25 to 29 October.

Discussing these major events, the Asia Pacific Declaration expressed its concern with regards to the influence they will exert on the region’s policy makers. “We are extremely concerned that decisions are being made in various conferences and regional meetings that are not considering the body of scientific evidence that proves the benefits of safer nicotine products.”

WVA Urges Policymakers to Differentiate Between Vaping and Smoking





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Chicago Votes in Favour of Recreational Marijuana Stores Expansion


Chicago has allowed 18 adult-use cannabis retailers so far, among the 110 statewide.

The move will allow recreational marijuana stores to expand further than the current seven marijuana zones in the municipality. The largest in the state of Illinois, Chicago has allowed 18 adult-use cannabis retailers so far, among the 110 statewide.

While marijuana retailers are now able to open without special approval from Chicago regulators, the approved proposal is also set to banish retailers in the downtown zone where they aren’t meant to be operating.

Concerns about use by minors in NYC

Meanwhile in the city of New York, State Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to legalize and decriminalize recreational marijuana for adults who are 21 and older, last April. Less than two months after the measure was passed, the state of New York followed suit. However, the New York Post reported that DOH Chief Medical Officer Michelle Morse emailed NYC health officials warning them about a concerning increase in students smoking weed.

Dr. Cathy Ward, a pediatrician with Big Apple Pediatrics said that many teens have shifted from vaping to smoking pot, in line with the availability of flavours. “A lot of them have shifted over to weed, just smoking pot,” she said. “And a lot of them were smoking e-cigarettes and hookah and Juul. I think its availability is been appealing to them. It’s got the different flavors and it’s being marketed to them. So I think that’s why it’s kind of all shifted.”

Ward said that doctors should take a proactive approach and have conversations about smoking during routine check-ups with kids. She added that one way to find out whether they smoke, would asking them about their friends’ habits.

Read Further: MJBizDaily

Chicago Files New Lawsuit Against Vapes.com and Marketing Contractor





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The Firefly 2 offers a smooth, cool draw for your vaping pleasure – TechCrunch


It’s getting nigh on Holiday Season and how better to celebrate the old Yule log than with a nice herbal vaporizer. The Firefly 2 is a very clever and very well-built convection vape that creates a smooth, flavorful draw and can extract the maximum in herbal pleasure out of a little bit of material.

Like Pax the Firefly 2 is foremost about function. The system heats herbs to 400 degrees Fahrenheit inside a small chamber that is visible through a window on the top panel. The whole thing is four inches long and about an inch thick and the glass top panel sticks to the body with magnets. To activate the vape you simple hold your fingers over two little pads on either side of the Firefly. Finer control is achieve via the app that connects seamlessly to the Firefly and allows you to set the temperature and manage the activation method.

Users of older vapes definitely won’t miss the arcane button press combinations and timing requirements of earlier systems. The Firefly activates and begins heating when you touch the side buttons and is ready when the light turns green. Once green you simply inhale for 10 seconds. I estimate you can get about 15-20 hits off of one charge and you can swap out batteries as needed. You can also add concentrates after sticking in a little aluminum disk into the heating chamber.

The thing you’ll notice is that the Firefly 2 does not get hot – it’s nicely insulated and the glass top remains cool to the touch – and it’s very well built. My only concern would be that the magnetic top could slide off in transit but even energetic pushing couldn’t dislodge it so, while care is must be taken, it should survive a ride in a back pocket.

The vapor is cool and flavorful and very effective. I’m not a regular smoker by any stretch but I had no trouble inhaling and enjoying the experience. The smell is also reduced with the Firefly 2 as the material is carefully and fully heated.

It’s interesting to note that the Firefly is so cool because its creators, Sasha Robinson and Mark Williams, came from Flip, the once ascendant camcorder company, and Apple. This dream team of product design and software creation led to what can only be described as a perfect storm for heshers.

Now for the potentially bad news. The Firefly 2 costs $329 but includes an extra battery, USB charger, and a cleaning kit. You also get three concentrate discs in the package. Still, a little over $300 is a small price to pay for what amounts to one of the most perfect vaping machines. It’s compact, easy to use, and simple – just the treat for folks who want a puff or two now and again without the fuss of rolling papers or pipes. I, for one, welcome our streamlined convection vaping overlords.

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San Jose Prohibits Flavored Vape and Tobacco Products


San Jose, California has become the largest U.S. city to ban all flavored tobacco and vaping products after a unanimous city council vote Tuesday night. The ban covers vaping products in all flavors except tobacco, menthol cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, but exempts hookah products.

The ban will take effect June 30, 2022. San Jose, considered the “capital of Silicon Valley,” is home to just over a million residents. The city has more than 650 tobacco and vaping retailers, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

While San Jose is the largest and most recent U.S. city to ban all flavored tobacco and vaping products, more than 100 California cities have similar laws, including San Jose’s Bay Area neighbors San Francisco and Oakland. Many others have banned flavored vaping products only, as have cities in other states, and four states.



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Pax launches desktop app, bypassing Apple’s vaping ban – TechCrunch


Pax today is announcing a new app for its cannabis vaporizers. The service offers access to device controls, cannabis strain information and safety features. The company previously launched an Android and iPhone app with similar features, but Apple later removed the version on the App Store, stripping iPhone users of features and information.

Pax is not coy about the motivations behind this desktop app. “Built in response to Apple’s removal of vaporization-related apps from the App Store,” the press release reads. This desktop app has been in the works for some time. Apple removed vaping apps in late 2019, and Pax representatives told me in January 2020 they had been working toward a new solution.

“We’re thrilled to be able to restore functionality to Apple users,” said Jesse Silver, SVP of Product at PAX Labs. “While we build our devices to work beautifully even without the app, the magic truly happens when you have precision control over things like temperature and dose, not to mention the confidence that comes with this level of information and transparency around what’s in the pod. Because so many of our features are developed through the lens of delivering a predictable, high-quality experience, it was really important to us that all of our customers could access them—regardless of whether they use iPhones or Androids.”

This web app features the same functionality of the smartphone app, but it’s unfortunately tied to a desktop computer. The web app does not work on smartphones. Because of this, some of the magic is lost as users are still unable to fine-tune control of the vapes while away from their desks.

Other companies have made similar moves, most notably, Canopy Growth Corp.’s Storz & Bickel. In March 2020, the vaping device maker launched its web app to bypass Apple’s ban. In its solution, users have to use a specific mobile browser due to Bluetooth. If willing to jump through a few hoops, the web app restores features of Storz & Bickel’s vaporizers for Apple users.

I use the company’s Android app with a Pax Era Pro and enjoy the wealth of information available through the portal. Not sure what’s in a Pax pod? Snap it into the Era Pro to see where the strain was developed and cultivated, as well as the results from testing reports. But as an iPhone user, it would be great to have this information on my primary device.

Pax’s new desktop app requires Chrome for macOS users. For those on Windows, functionality is only available with the Pax Era Pro. After several setup steps, the desktop web app works as advertised and features a slick interface and rich functionality.



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Health Canada Consults on Banning Vape Flavours


In December 2020, Health Canada proposed a nicotine limit of 20 milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml) for all vaping products. This proposal came in response to a flawed paper published on BMJ, concluding that in Canada there was an increase in youth vaping and subsequent smoking. And while almost a year later, the inaccuracies in the study were acknowledged and the journal issued a correction, Canadian authorities have not changed direction accordingly.

The new limit, came into effect on July 8th, and also includes a regulation that prohibits Canadian manufacturers from exporting products that exceed a nicotine concentration of 66 mg/ml. On top of that, a recent press release by the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) revealed that the Canadian Government has proposed a ban on vape flavours with the exception of tobacco, mint, and menthol.

Proposals by Health Canada

Another release by public health expert Clive Bates, shared the pending proposals:

  • “Health Canada, Consultation: Proposed vaping products’ flavour regulations and order, June 2021 [link]
  • Health Canada,  Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, June 19, 2021. [link]
  • Health Canada, Tobacco Control Directorate / Cannabis Cost-Benefit Analysis Team,  Cost-Benefit Analysis,  June 2021 [access]
  • Industrial Economic Incorporated, Elicitation of Expert Judgements on the Behavioural Impacts of a Nicotine Standard. A report for Tobacco Products Regulatory Office, Health Canada, March 2017. [access].”

In line with actual data from places where such measures have already been implemented, Bates highlights that this is the nearest authorities can get to a prohibition without fully banning the safer alternatives to cigarettes. “The likely effects are obvious: more smoking. But in a bizarre twisting of reality and evidence, Health Canada finds that making vaping less attractive relative to smoking will… um … reduce smoking. And that’s how it justifies the measure.”

Young adults are quitting smoking thanks to vaping

Bates and three other renowned fellow experts in the field of tobacco harm reduction, responded to Health Canada’s submission. Meanwhile, recent figures released by Statistics Canada, have indicated that Canadians in their twenties are actually quitting smoking at an unprecedented rate thanks to vaping.

The Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey has indicated that between 2019 and 2020, there was a 40% drop in smoking rates in this specific age group, from 13.3% to 8%. This figure makes Health Canada’s no smoking target (5% by 2035) seem achievable. Moreover this 5% target rate has already been reached among those aged 15-19.

The media remains selective in what it reports

In a letter addressed to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, professor of Economics at Concordia University, and a research fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute, Ian Irvine, said that it shameful that the media is selective in what it reports. “It is unfortunate that these achievements have been largely ignored by a media that has been, for the most part, fixated on the concept of a vaping epidemic among these age groups.”

Irvine highlighted that while smoking rates had been declining due to Government policy towards tobacco, the real change happened when vaping products arrived on the scene. “By 2013 smoking had declined to 11 percent for those aged 15-19, 18 percent for 20-24 year olds, and about 16 percent for those aged 25 and above…Then a disruptive technology intruded on the scene –vaping.”

CVA: Canada’s Youth Vaping Rates Are on the Decline 





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