Study: Adolescent Brains May React Differently to Vapour Than Adult Brains 

Led by Prof. Jibran Khokhar, University of Guelph researchers conducted the behavioral test (conditioned place preference, CPP) using adolescent and adult animals, to assess developmental differences in the rewarding effects of nicotine vapour.

“This is the first study to show that rodents find e-cigarette vapour rewarding in a conditioned place preference experiment,” said Khokhar, referring to animals’ preference for a chamber in which experimenters previously exposed them to a drug. “It also shows that adolescents find the nicotine vapour more rewarding compared to adults, and do so even at shorter exposures, which are not rewarding for the adults.”

Khokhar added that the fact that it takes a limited exposure for teens’ brains to react, may explain why continued use is more likely to occour in people who are exposed to nicotine at a younger age. “The adolescent brain may be especially vulnerable to the rewarding effects of nicotine vapour,” Khokhar said. “The shorter exposures may also suggest that it might take very limited exposure to the vapour for adolescents to experience the rewarding effects, and this may contribute to their continued use.”

Teen exposure to nicotine may increase the chances of adult smoking

The findings of the current study go in line with a growing body of literature indicating that adolescent exposure to nicotine increases the risk of cigarette smoking in future.

“The findings from our study will help uncover the mechanisms underlying the vulnerability of the adolescent brain to the rewarding effects of e-cigarette vapour as well as the long-term consequences of adolescent vapour exposure,” said Khokhar.

Read Further: News-Medical

UK Teens as Young as 11 Given Nicotine Patches to Quit Smoking

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A Nova Scotia Supreme Court Upholds The Province’s Vape Rules

Last May, Nova Scotia approved a 20mg/ml nicotine cap on vaping products, making it the first Canadian province to adopt such a restriction. The move followed an amendment banning all kinds of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices, gone into effect on April 1st.

Nova Scotia will be among the first provinces in Canada, to require sales permits, a regulatory process that has been delayed due to COVID-19.

The province has also approved a tax on vaping products, which has gone into effect on September 15th. Moreover, it will be among the first provinces in Canada, to require sales permits, a regulatory process that has been delayed due to COVID-19.

William MacEachern, co-owner of the Cloud Factory Vape Shop in Dartmouth, had filed a complaint with the local court on grounds that the increased taxes on vaping products and devices and the ban on flavoured products and on sampling, are reducing his access to a smoking cessation tool.

An article on Global News disclosed that MacEachern described himself as a “long-term smoker” who was able to quit thanks to vaping products, and felt better within weeks of switching. To this effect, he challenged the constitutionality of the province’s restrictions, on the basis that they violate his right to security of the person (as outlined in Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms), and sought a suspension of the measures.

However, the assigned judge ruled that MacEachern failed to prove he would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were not granted, adding that he also failed to prove that lifting the measures would benefit public health.

The report by the Canadian Constitution Foundation

Meanwhile, a recent report by the Canadian Constitution Foundation: Canadian Vaping Law: Overview and Constitutional Issues, pointed out that while local regulations were meant to differentiate between vaping and smoking, this did not materialize. “While current and proposed legislation (especially at the federal level) sometimes distinguishes between vaping and smoking, it often fails to do so. Vaping is, according to the best available scientific data, much less dangerous than smoking, because it does not involve combustion or the generation of smoke.”

The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) commended this report. “The CVA supports all efforts to ensure reasonable access to vapour products. Smoking is Canada’s leading cause of death, with 45,000 Canadian deaths each year from tobacco related diseases. The data has conclusively shown that restricting vapour products leads to higher smoking rates. By banning flavours Nova Scotia has impeded the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, and the security of the person,” said Darryl Tempest, Executive Director of the CVA.

The CVA has previously cautioned the Government of Nova Scotia that banning flavoured vaping products would be counterproductive as it would push vapers to the black market, and possibly drive former smokers back to smoking regular cigarettes.

The Canadian Vaping Association Condemns Policy Proposal To Further Restrict Vaping

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Vaping Most Popular and Most Successful Quit Aid, PHE Report Finds

E-cigarettes are both the most popular and the most successful stop-smoking aid in England, according to a new report from Public Health England (PHE).

The Vaping in England 2021 report is PHE’s seventh such report and explores the evidence supporting vaping for smoking cessation as well as youth use statistics and data on people’s perception of risk.

The report, carried out by researchers at King’s College London (KCL), found that:

– In 2020, nicotine e-cigarettes were the most popular stop smoking aid (27.2 percent), compared to 18 percent for nicotine replacement therapy and 4.4 percent presciption medication

– It is estimated that in 2017, more than 50,000 smokers successfully stopped smoking with the aid of an e-cigarette who would have not otherwise done so

– Using an e-cigarette in conjunction with local stop smoking services support demonstrated success rates of between 59.7 percent and 74 percent in 2019 and 2020.

PHE believes that ‘unfounded safety fears’ about vaping are continuing to put smokers off switching.

Data from the Smoking Toolkit Study found that 38 percent of adults believed that vaping was as harmful as smoking.

Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE, said:

“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.

“Thousands more could have quit except for unfounded safety fears about e-cigarettes. The evidence has been clear for some time that, while not risk-free vaping is far less harmful than smoking.”

On the question of youth use, the report cited data from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) which found that around 4.8 percent of 11-18-year-olds vaped at least once a month in 2020.

Less that 1 percent of young people who had never smoked were current vapers.

ASH chief executive, Deborah Arnott, said that more should be done to encourage smokers to switch if we are to achieve a smoke-free nation by 2030. However, authorities should also ‘elimitat[e] loopholes in the laws which could be used to promote products to teenagers.’

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“E-cigarettes are a still relatively new product – they aren’t risk-free as we don’t yet know their long-term impact. We strongly discourage people who haven’t smoked from using them, particularly young people.

“But research so far shows that vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco and, as this report emphasises, can help people to stop smoking. The long-term effects of e-cigarettes are unknown but the long-term harms of tobacco are indisputable.

“Support from stop smoking services remain the most effective way to help people quit for good. Services can help people find the tool that works for them, e-cigarette or otherwise, and give them the best chance of reducing their risk from tobacco.”

Source: Public Health England

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Canadian hemp, marijuana producer Tilray reports $271 million loss for year

Canadian hemp and marijuana producer Tilray cut its annual loss to $271 million for 2020 — an improvement from the Nanaimo, British Columbia company’s $321 million loss in 2019, according to the full-year and fourth-quarter results released Wednesday.

Tilray, which is on the verge of being merged with Canadian peer Aphria, lost only $3 million in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2020.

Adjusted EBITDA was $2.2 million.

Tilray reports its financials in U.S. dollars.

Overall revenue rose to $56.6 million in the quarter, up from $51.4 million for the July-September period.

Revenue attributed to cannabis was $41.2 million, up from the previous quarter’s $31.4 million.

Hemp revenue, on the other hand, fell 23% quarter-over-quarter to $15.3 million.

Tilray shares trade as TLRY on the Nasdaq exchange, and Aphria shares trade as APHA on the Nasdaq and Toronto Stock Exchange.

Read more about Tilray’s financials and the merger at Marijuana Business Daily International.

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California hemp producer sues Santa Cruz County for incorrect hemp sampling, leading to crop loss

Sungrown Organic Hemp, a hemp producer in California, says the county owes it $9.6 million for incorrectly sampling its 2019 hemp crop, which led to a false determination that the crop was marijuana.

The Watsonville farm filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in county court, claiming that the Santa Cruz County Department of Agriculture used faulty sampling that delayed the producer in harvesting the 15-acre crop until the issue was cleared up. By then 90% of the flower was spoiled due to moisture, according to the lawsuit.

After harvesting, Sungrown Organic Hemp recouped $300,000 of its $620,000 in costs, resulting in a net loss of $9.6 million.

Damages were calculated using the January 2020 Hemp Benchmarks Index, determining that the farm’s organic certification and biodynamic cultivation protocols would have yielded $675 per pound of hemp.

Sungrown Organic Hemp tested regularly throughout the season, with all tests showing a THC percentage below the 0.3% legal limit, according to the lawsuit, which included the producer’s certificate of analysis.

Tests from the county’s initial sampling resulted in a 0.44% THC concentration.

According to Jordan Levy, principal of Sungrown Organic Hemp, the county agriculture commissioner and another agent did the sampling incorrectly according to the state’s then-current regulations, defining sublateral branches as lateral branches, and taking less of the total plant and more of the concentrated tops of the plants than the protocol specified.

When the county tested 10 days later, county agents did the sampling correctly, according to Levy, and a county agent admitted that she took sublateral branches in the first test. The second test yielded a 0.3% THC concentration.

Levy claims that it is possible that other farmers in Santa Cruz County had false positives that season and destroyed their crops.

A trial date was not indicated.

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CO Lawmaker Wants To Regulate E-Cigarette Marketing Further After Vape Advert Found on Student App

A digital advertisement for an IQOS system appeared on an app used by students of all ages to study and conduct e-learning.

After a student in the Colorado city of Littleton was exposed to a tobacco product digital advertisement on the e-learning website Quizlet, a Republican state lawmaker is vying for a legislative fix to this issue. The ad, reports local media outlets, depicted promotional material for the IQOS heat-not-burn system sold in the United States by Altria Group and Philip Morris International.

The Denver Post reports that the lawmaker, Rep. Colin Larson of Littleton, is now in talks with Attorney General Phil Weiser to assess if there is a need for a legislative fix to address this issue. According to the Post, Larson sponsored legislation that increased the minimum legal sales age from 18 to 21 years in the state. He also supported a bill that banned vaping indoors in 2019.

“Two decades ago, we never would have been in this situation,” Larson said via the Post.

“If a cigarette ad appeared in a magazine oriented to kids, it would be because the cigarette manufacturer went directly to that magazine,” he said. The Post additionally reached out to the software platform, Quizlet, where the advertisement occurred.

“We work closely with ad providers and networks to ensure that the ads we display are appropriate for a student audience,” Quizlet said in their statement. “This means blocking entire categories of ads — including, but not limited to, tobacco-related advertisements.”

Keep in mind: Quizlet is used predominately by high school and college students. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has sent students of all ages to e-learning solutions.

A local Republican activist posted to Twitter a screenshot of the advertisement calling out Altria and Quizlet. PAVE, an extreme anti-vaping group based in New York state replied to the local activist: “Thanks for calling out @Quizlet for IQOS outrage! They also claimed ignorance when we reported them for running flavored e-cig ads in 2019…Pls, contact us at [email protected]! @FDATobacco @FTCPhillips @MassAGO @SenatorDurbin @CongressmanRaja…”

This is a developing story.

Read the full Denver Post story here.

Consumer Groups Urge Google to Not Ban Vape Apps

Michigan Intends To Ban Vapes Again — Without Lawmaker Approval

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NFL requesting research on CBD for pain management

The National Football League and its players’ union have requested industry research on CBD and other cannabinoids for pain management.

The NFL says it is looking for information about “alternatives to opioids in routine pain management.” The request mentions CBD but is open to research on other cannabinoids.

The request issued Wednesday also mentions research on the “impact of cannabis or cannabinoids on athletic performance.”

The memo comes five months after the NFL Players Association updated its policy to discourage athletes from endorsing products that contain CBD or other cannabinoids.

The research is requested by March 31. The NFL asks submitters to label proprietary information and that no compensation is offered for the information.

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NYC: Comparing Air Quality Between Smoking And Non-Smoking Public Housing

In August 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had enforced a nationwide ban on smoking inside or close to public housing facilities. The ban was originally passed by the Obama administration in 2016, and forbids the use of cigarettes, cigars and pipes in public housing units.

The ban also prohibits the use of these products within 25 feet of  administrative office buildings. “Eliminating smoking indoors and close to buildings is the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke. In addition to protecting residents and employees from secondhand smoke, smoke-free policies create healthy environments that encourage people who smoke to quit or attempt to reduce smoking,” said the HUD on passing the ban.

Is the ban working?

A study titled, “Evaluation of Secondhand Smoke Exposure in New York City Public Housing After Implementation of the 2018 Federal Smoke-Free Housing Policy,” aimed to determine the effectiveness of this legislation.

The cohort study analysed the indoor air quality inside the homes of 263 non-smoking families and common areas across 10 New York City public housing buildings, and compared them to the air quality inside low-income buildings which do not fall under the smoke-free housing regulaions.

“Comparison of nicotine concentration levels from passive, bisulfate-coated filters before vs 12 months after implementation of the federal SFH policy. Secondary outcomes included changes in particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter, measured with low-cost particle monitors, and counts of cigarette butts in common areas,” explained the study Abstract.

Further enforcement may be required

Surprisingly, the researchers found no difference in air nicotine or levels of particulate matter between the two housing types. These findings suggested that additional support and enforcement policies may be needed in order to ensure that residents are adhering to the ban.

Study Looks Into the Cleaning of Thirdhand Smoke Pollutants in Smokers’ Homes

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Montana lawmakers mull plan to separate hemp, marijuana production

Montana is considering a new requirement that medical marijuana growers keep their operations confined to indoor environments, leaving the outdoors for hemp production only.

A state Senate committee Thursday heard from hemp and marijuana growers on the bill that aims to prevent cross-pollination between hemp and marijuana, the (Helena) Independent Record reported.

The bill would require marijuana to be grown indoors in greenhouses or hoop houses.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Tom Jacobson, said that that most marijuana growers already grow indoors to maximize year-round production, while outdoor Montana farmers could use hemp to diversify their operations.

Montana’s agriculture department is also in favor of the bill.

But medical marijuana growers objected, saying the bill would impact the investments they have already made in outdoor facilities, and arguing that the industry is more lucrative and has been in place longer than the state’s hemp program, and shouldn’t have to move in favor of hemp.

The proposal would not grandfather marijuana cultivators already licensed to grow outside.

Montana voters legalized adult-use marijuana in 2020, which will make the industry more economically robust than hemp, medical marijuana producers contended. Rules for adult-use marijuana production in Montana are still in development.

The Montana debate comes as outdoor marijuana and hemp farmers are increasingly coming to loggerheads over pollen drift, setting the stage for growing disputes in areas with thriving outdoor cannabis production.

According to researchers at Michigan State University, a single male cannabis flower can produce 350,000 pollen grains capable of traveling great distances in the wind.

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Vaping Post meets the President of the Independent European Vape Alliance

> The Independent European Vape Alliance (IEVA) was founded in 2019. Our aim is to bring together national associations, companies, manufacturers and wholesalers in the European vaping industry and provide them with responsible representation. So far, eight national associations and 13 international large companies are among our members. IEVA promotes the debate on the differentiation between vaping and smoking, and advocates tough yet proportionate regulation of the sector which promotes harm reduction and is well suited to the category.

What actions has IEVA taken so far?

> We are lucky to have such experienced members from across Europe. Many have been in the industry for years and form national associations that are experienced in local politics and respected by decision makers. Thanks to them, IEVA has made great progress in the short time we have been in existence. We have met a number of MEPs to discuss excise taxes, product regulation via the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), harm reduction, the importance of non-traditional flavors, and how to maximise the public health potential of this unique category.

In the past year, in addition to talking to legislators from across the political spectrum, we have arranged information seminars and webinars covering the Excise and Tobacco Directives, which are currently under review by the EU institutions. We co-hosted the Harm Reduction Summit in Bucharest and published IEVA policy papers on product regulation, taxation, the debate on electronic cigarettes and youth, non-smokers protection and guidelines for responsible marketing.

What is the association’s goal?

> Our central goal is to communicate the science of vaping and harm reduction to political decision-makers. The major challenge we and our colleagues around the world face is the prevailing (and incorrect) view that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking. In European legislation, a distinction must be made between smoking and vaping taking account of the clear scientific evidence on the relative risks between the two product categories.

A good example of this is in the policy of taxation. Vaping should always be cheaper than smoking, so smokers are encouraged to try the less dangerous option. Likewise, vaping must maintain a sensory advantage over smoking. In practice, this means making sure a wide range of flavors are available subject to rigorous testing and manufacturing controls. In short, we want to make sure that retailers in Europe can sell vaping products that really help smokers and vapers make better choices and improve the state of their health.

What is your opinion about the tobacco industry’s efforts to infiltrate the vaping industry?

The vaping sector in Europe was built from the ground up small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) dynamically responding to demand among smokers for radical change in the options available to them. While opponents of the category claim that it is somehow an invention of the tobacco industry, this is plainly not the case. The vaping industry is still driven by those SMEs today, and most vapers in Europe don’t use the closed-system products that the tobacco industry produces. This was confirmed by the most recent Eurobarometer survey, an official EU survey instrument, to look at smoking and vaping. More than two thirds of vapers use open systems favoured by the independent sector.

Do you think that tobacco companies could help fight tobacco consumption, with their vaping products?

> Our association is clear about the need to be distinct from the major tobacco companies, we speak only for the public health opportunity represented by vaping. This is critical to the work we do in Brussels and the credibility of our voice. It is for decision makers to judge how this affects our motives and principles.

That said, we of course welcome any moves by the tobacco industry to decouple their business model from smoking and fully embrace harm reduction. But we must be realistic; these companies still make a lot of money selling tobacco and are unlikely to significantly reduce their dependence on these revenues any time soon.

What do you think about the fact that some tobacco shops sell vaping products, where e-cigs can be found right next to regular cigarettes? Do you find this acceptable? Or are you of the opinion that vaping products should only be sold in vape shops?

> It’s a great thing that smokers can learn about reduced risk products from the most obvious source of information: the place where they buy cigarettes. In public health terms, that’s a big win as it expands the category’s reach to smokers who cannot quit or do not want to.

Often, though, specialized vape shops offer a broader range of products and significantly more guidance to smokers looking to make a switch. That’s a lot of added public health value for the smoker. Experience shows us that smokers who have become curious about vaping are more likely to go to specialty stores, get advice, test products and make purchasing decisions there.

What are your predictions for the future of vaping in Europe? And in the USA?

> We are optimistic that the e-cigarette can develop very well worldwide in the next few years. No other product offers the multitude of arguments in favor of the switch. A harm reduction of 95 percent and a lower cancer risk of 99.5 percent are huge advantages over smoking. There is also an enormous variety of flavors. The flavors are an important reason for many smokers to switch to the e-cigarette and then stick to vaping. This also applies to the lower total costs compared to smoking. These advantages must be preserved in the regulation of the product. Then the e-cigarette can offer an alternative to millions of smokers who are still unsettled. A prerequisite for this, however, is the education of the population about the advantages of vaping over smoking. Too many people still assume that the e-cigarette is just as harmful as the tobacco cigarette. Politicians have the responsibility and the ability to educate the population about the actual scientific facts, and thereby achieve a huge improvement in public health.

What are your hopes for 2021?

> 2021 will be a pivotal year for the future of the vaping sector in Europe. At an EU level, we will learn a lot about the direction of excise taxes in Europe and future revisions of the Tobacco Products Directive.

And on top of all of that, the World Health Organization will convene the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This will take place in the Netherlands in November. The resolutions on vaping agreed at this conference will provide an important impetus for improving public health by reducing smoking and tobacco consumption.

However, this will not succeed without widespread recognition of the topic of harm reduction, as the Convention itself says should happen.

We call on the WHO to recognize this potential and not to hinder information on e-cigarettes. The evaluation of vaping must be based on scientific facts. These are clearly on the side of the e-cigarette and it is the responsibility of health policy and thus also of the WHO to make these facts known to the population.

By the end of 2021, a lot more people should be able to separate myths from facts when it comes to tobacco harm reduction; our most important task is to explain this clearly.

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