Safety Commission Warns Consumers Against Using Individual 18650 Batteries


Reports of e-cig battery explosions have become far and fewer in between, however the researchers of the current paper believe in the need for a thorough review of these cases, in order to educate the public about battery safety. The review titled, “Burn injuries caused by e-cigarette explosions: A systematic review of published cases,” looked through CINAHL and PubMed, for such documented cases using keywords such as electronic cigarette, e-cigarette, vape, etc. together with the term ‘explosion’.

A total of thirty-one articles, reporting a combined total of 164 cases were selected. The compiled data found that most patients (90%) were males aged between 20 to 29 years. The majority of cases (65%) reported e-cigarettes explosions in users’ pockets, in comparison to explosions in the face or hand.

18650 lithium-ion batteries can short-circuit when in contact with metal objects

Meanwhile the CPSC is warning about the dangers of loose 18650 lithium-ion battery cells without protection circuits due to possible fire risk. “[T]hese battery cells may have exposed metal positive and negative terminals that can short-circuit when they come into contact with metal objects, such as keys or loose change in a pocket,” wrote the agency. “Once shorted, loose cells can overheat and experience thermal runaway, igniting the cell’s internal materials and forcibly expelling burning contents, resulting in fires, explosions, serious injuries and even death.”

An article on The Verve explained that there are other batteries that pose similar dangers. “The 18650 isn’t the only Li-ion battery that has the potential for misuse, of course— you can buy standalone 14500 cells as well, which are roughly the same size as a standard AA but more than twice the voltage (don’t put them into your remote). You can also purchase the 16340, a rechargeable cell similar to the single-use CR123A you might put into a smoke detector. The CPSC isn’t commenting on why those aren’t included in the warning, but we suspect it’s because they’re less common and less dangerous.”

Only batteries recommended by the manufacturer should be used

Last year, the OPSS together with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), launched a campaign in the UK with the aim of promoting battery safety. Similarly, they warned against the same batteries, saying that most vapes and e-cigarettes are powered by 18650-style batteries, which are slightly larger than the common AA batteries. Since these can vary in chemistries and voltages, insists the campaign, vapers should only use batteries recommended by the manufacturer.

“There have been numerous reports of hazardous failure modes of the devices containing these batteries, resulting in serious injury and also death,” said product safety lead officer at CTSI Mark Gardiner. “Where products are supplied with the battery already installed, the manufacturer of this device has generally added a battery management system to ensure safe charging and discharging.”

A Study Looking Into E-Cigarette Batteries’ Explosions



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US: The FDA is Considering Setting a Nicotine Cap For Cigarettes


In December 2020, Health Canada proposed setting in place a nicotine limit of 20 milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml) for all vaping products. Referring to a BMJ paper (which was later retracted) that concluded that in Canada there was an increase in youth vaping and subsequent smoking, Health Canada “identified the availability of high-nicotine concentration vaping products in the Canadian market since 2018 as one of the key factors that has contributed to the rise in youth vaping.”

On the other hand, data from Europe has indicated that after a nicotine cap was set in place by the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), some seasoned smokers who had switched to vaping, were struggling with the low dose. To this effect, many former smokers have been reverting back to smoking, or resorted to purchasing their preferred products on the black market.

The nicotine cap in Europe has not yielded a positive result

The FDA is going against its own reasoning of reducing harm by waging a war on e-cigarettes,

Despite the data and arguments about the non-effectivity of setting in place such a cap, the FDA has just announced that it is considering the measure. An article on Reason quoted The Wall Street Journal, as pointing out that the idea behind reducing nicotine is that it “would lower the chemical in cigarettes to nonaddictive or minimally addictive levels, aiming to push millions of smokers to either quit or switch to less harmful alternatives such as nicotine gums, lozenges, or e-cigarettes.”

However rightly added the piece on Reason, this same FDA is going against its own reasoning by waging a war on e-cigarettes, despite their proven harm reduction properties. “Note that this same FDA has waged a war on these same e-cigarettes by banning the most popular flavors to ensure that these new and less harmful products were as unappealing as a plate of raw broccoli for breakfast.”

Consuming higher levels nicotine is more effective for smoking cessation

Meanwhile, countless studies have indicated that consuming higher levels of nicotine and using NRTs containing higher doses, is more effective for smoking cessation than consuming lower levels. A 2019 review of research related to NRTs, had found that not only are smokers who use higher doses of nicotine more likely to quit than those using lower doses, but also that some do better by using two forms of NRT rather than one.

Additionally, the review found that in smokers who intend to switch to using an NRT, it helped to start using it before quitting cigarettes. This may be because having nicotine already present in their system, smokers were getting less of a hit when they light up, and therefore can make cigarettes less enjoyable.

New Zealand: Smokefree 2025 Plan Considers Nicotine And Age Restrictions



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FDA Readies Menthol Ban Despite ACLU Opposition


The Biden administration is preparing to announce a ban on menthol cigarettes across the United States.

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is about to issue a proposed regulatory rule prohibiting the sale and production of menthol cigarettes across the United States. The administration of President Joe Biden said that a potential menthol ban would be one of the FDA’s most aggressive tobacco control measures in recent years,

FDA was granted the regulatory power in 2009, with the passage of the Tobacco Control Act. Public health groups have been awaiting a menthol ban for years, and as the policy could soon be a reality, civil liberties groups are concerned that there could be an increase in unconstitutional policing that will directly impact communities of color.

“We’re seeing time and time again in police encounters for really minor offenses that these encounters will escalate into violence and killings of people of color,” said Aamra Ahmad, the senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), via POLITICO and CBS News online. The ACLU and about two-dozen groups, including criminal justice reform groups like the Drug Policy Alliance, even sent a letter to the FDA and the White House outlining potential unconstitutional policing concerns.

“There is a better approach that avoids criminalization,” the groups argue in the letter. “We strongly support the FDA and other policymakers continuing with harm reduction policies emphasizing education for adults and minors, cessation, well-funded health care for communities of color, and other measures that push tobacco use down without putting criminal justice reform at risk.”

The groups also cite the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and George Floyd to argue that “such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction. A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

Sources told national media outlets that Biden is likely to announce a ban on Thursday. This is the day that the Food and Drug Administration was ordered by a court to respond to a citizen petition advocating for a menthol ban that was filed in 2013.

Public health organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have all advocated for menthol cigarette bans. These tobacco control groups have also attempted to connect the epidemic of youth vaping to the epidemic of menthol cigarette smoking in certain communities, including some that are considered at-risk and intersectional.

This is a developing story.

US: Over 60 Organizations Urge The FDA to Ban Menthol Cigarettes

The U.S. FDA is Sued For Failing to Ban Menthol Cigarettes





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RELX Reveals Regulation Roadmap


International vape brand RELX has called on policymakers to recognise the harm reduction benefits of e-cigarettes and seek a global approach to vaping policy.

The company unveiled its recommendations at the third Vape Live event, which took place last week.

The six-part plan – which comes after the UKVIA’s celebrated ‘Blueprint for Better Regulation’ – detailed measures that could help encourage adult smokers to quit.

Key points of the roadmap include:

  • Allowing ‘substantiated’ switching messages to be placed on the packaging and inserts of vaping products
  •  Supporting a targeted campaign that informs smokers of the benefits of moving from cigarettes to vaping
  • Differentiating between vaping and smoking in public places
  • Acknowledging the role of flavoured e-liquids in successful quitting attempts

Robert Naouss, External Affairs Director for RELX International MENA & Europe, said that we should ‘look seriously at the huge potential harm reduction benefits’ of a more unified regulatory approach.

He said:

“Across the world in 2019, more than 8 million smokers passed away prematurely from smoking cigarettes, and not from nicotine itself.

“Regulators around the world are scrambling to keep up with the pace of change, balancing the need for innovation and other societal benefits with concerns around safety is a difficult task.

“This is where novel nicotine products such as e-vapor have a role to play in public health.”

Robert Naouss, RELX International

John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, stressed that ‘society needs the right regulation’ if we are to support smokers on their journey to a healthier lifestyle.

He said:

“It is important to challenge misconceptions and misinformation while opening minds to the science, technology and design which have been made available to adult smokers looking for better alternatives.

“Such new products have enormous potential should they receive the support needed from governments and regulatory bodies.”

John Dunne, UKVIA

Source: UKVIA



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Study Review Analyzes How E-Cigarettes Are Affecting Smoking Behaviour


The study titled, “The effect of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation and cigarette smoking initiation: An evidence-based rapid review and meta-analysis,” conducted systematic searches of eleven databases from January 2015 to June 2020. Systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort studies comparing e-cigarettes with placebo e-cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or no e-cigarette use, were included in the review.

No serious adverse events from vaping were reported in the included studies.

The two primary outcomes that the researchers analysed were smoking cessation among smokers and smoking initiation among non-smoking teenagers, whilst looking out for any adverse events as a secondary outcome. With regards to smoking cessation, findings from 4 systematic reviews indicated that e-cigarettes contributed to quitting, while one suggested the opposite.

Data from 5 random controlled trials suggested that e-cigarettes were superior to other NRTs (such as patches or gum) or placebo for smoking cessation, while other data suggested that adolescents who ever used e-cigarettes had a greater risk for smoking initiation than non-users. No serious adverse events  were reported in the included studies.

Vaping linked to personality factors

Meanwhile, in line with previous findings and countless arguments by public health experts, another recent study of high school seniors in the U.S., found that teens who crave excitement are more likely to use multiple illicit substances, including tobacco and vaping products.

Researchers Kevin Tan and Douglas C. Smith, found that those teens who are less satisfied with their lives and seek out risky and exciting experiences are the ones more likely to use multiple illicit substances regularly, including nicotine via e-cigarettes. Additionally, found the study, the participants’ attitude towards vaping also reflected how they viewed other substances.

US Study: Casual Smokers May be Equally Addicted to Nicotine 



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Northwest Territories Split On Vape Flavors


Northwest Territories (NWT) people are reportedly split on the local regulation of flavored vapor products.

YELLOWKNIFE — People in the Northwest Territories of Canada are reportedly split on the local regulation of flavored vapor products within the local community. A discussion paper from the Government of Northwest Territories stated that the tobacco control and public health authorities in the region are “likely appealing, and contributing to the increased use by children and youth.” Data from the territorial government’s Bureau of Statistics survey found that one-third of NWT residents aged 15 to 24 said they tried vaping at least once. The statistics show:

33% of NWT residents aged 15-24 years of age have tried vaping at least once.
50% of NWT residents that tried vaping did so because they were curious.
22% of NWT residents that tried vaping did so because they perceived vaping as
less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.
20% of NWT residents that tried vaping did so because they like the flavors.

CBC.ca reports that the divide of a resident who is opposed to the development of new regulations is about 51 percent of more than 500 respondents representative of the population group in the territory. Currently, only people over the age of 19 can buy vapor products, while advertising and the promotion of such products are strictly regulated by the national federal government. 256 total respondents opposed a ban. Some of the concerns raised were that vapes would not be available as an alternative to cigarettes or a tool to quit smoking and whether new regulations would not prevent youth vaping. The report also notes that a significant number of those respondents held that “vaping is…not harmful” or is a “healthy alternative to smoking. Additionally, the written submissions were more inclined to support a partial ban, with 36 to 56 respondents support the continued sale of tobacco-flavored vapes “to assist in smoking cessation.”

Town in Colorado is Poised to Vote on Flavored Vaping Ban



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WVA Urges Policymakers to Differentiate Between Vaping and Smoking


Towards the end of 2020, the European Commission had launched a consultation with regards their plans to tax vaping products in the same way as combustible cigarettes. The consultation process ended on the 5th of January, and 113 (84%) out of 134 responses from associations, members of the public, and the industry, voiced the positive impacts of vaping for smoking cessation, and the significantly negative impact that imposing the same tax as is set on cigarettes, would have.

84% of the responses spoke against the tax.

“I am delighted by the overwhelming number of responses in favour of vaping to this consultation. It shows that many people know the potential for harm reduction of vaping. . What policymakers need now to understand is that tax hikes on vaping will lead to people switching back to smoking, an outcome absolutely nobody wishes for,” said WVA Director Michael Landl.

He pointed out that making vaping less appealing to smokers would be counterproductive. “Making vaping less appealing to smokers by higher prices will discourage current smokers from switching to less harmful alternatives. This is certainly not going to be of any public health benefit. Additionally, high taxes on vaping products are particularly harmful to the lower income brackets of the population, which make up the largest proportion of current smokers.”

Regulations should be based on science

In a recent press release Landl said that lawmakers need to follow the scientific evidence and regulate accordingly, highlighting that tighter regulations and higher taxes will not achieve the desired results. “If we want to reduce smoking induced burdens on public health, access and affordability to vaping products need to be guaranteed,” he concluded.

ECigIntelligence Survey Indicates EU How Politicians Feel About E-Cigarettes 



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Finland to Set in Place Tighter Tobacco Regulations


Finland was expected to be the first EU member state to become smoke-free, but Sweden got there first by endorsing the use of snus.

A recent report by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) looked into the use of cigarettes (which are still the predominant type of tobacco consumed in Finland), snus and e-cigarettes, from 2000 to 2019. The findings indicated a reduction in the use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and an increase in snus consumption.

Despite the promising figures, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has just announced a proposal that will further tighten restrictions on outdoor smoking, effective January 1st, 2022. These would include places such as bus stops, public beaches, children’s playgrounds and some outdoor terraces becoming completely smoking-free.

Plain packaging

Moreover, in line with regulations set in place by several other countries and European nations, the proposal is also calling for plain packaging regulations. To this effect, brand names and logos would be removed from tobacco packaging, as of the beginning of 2023.

Back in 2010, Finland had announced it aimed to eliminate the use of tobacco products by the end of the year 2040. Following measures enacted under the 2016 Tobacco Control Act, the country was expected to be the first EU member state to achieve this goal and become smoke-free by 2030.

Smokefree Sweden

However, neighbouring Sweden got there first and is known for having reached this status by adopting a harm reduction strategy in favour of a forbidding stance. The country has done this by endorsing the use of snus for smoking cessation.

Throughout the EU, this product is only legal in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and given that its consumption does not require combustion, it is considered an effective harm reduction tool. In fact, snus has not only led to Sweden boasting the lowest smoking rates in Europe, but more importantly also to reporting the lowest rates of lung cancer across the continent.

Read Further: MedicalXpress

Norwegian Study: The Negative Impact of Flavoured Snus’ Bans



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Canadians React Angrily to Anti-Vaping Stunt


Monday was Anti-Vaping Awareness Day (AVD) in Canada.

The CN Tower was lit up in yellow and black to mark the occasion. The tower has lit up with different colours to mark occasions such as Firefighters Day or Huntington’s Disease Awareness Day.

However, the Canadian anti-vaping stunt has attracted backlash from vapers, brands and advocates on Twitter.

A tweet from the CN Tower Twitter account announcing their intention to light up yellow and black for anti-vaping awareness day

Twitter Backlash

The majority of Twitter user comments highlighted that vaping is a valuable tool in tobacco harm reduction.

The Canadian Vaping Association wrote under the tweet that campaigns like these confuse the public.

“45,000 Canadians die each year from smoking. Vaping is widely recognized as less harmful than smoking. Campaigns like these confuse smokers and discourage harm reduction. “

Canadian Vaping Association

The International Network of Nicotine (INNCO) responded by calling the tweet, ‘grossly irresponsible’.

The tweet also referenced Public Health England’s stance on e-cigarettes.

A tweet from INNCO responding to world anti vaping day.

The CT Tower Twitter account has since posted links to more information under some of the tweets.

The links take viewers to the Health Canada pages on vaping for adults and teenagers.

Read more: Germany threatens to triple e-liquid tax

How did this start?

The Canadian AVD appears to have been started by a high school student with the backing of Health Canada.

As part of the campaign, students were asked to wear yellow and black – the anti-vaping colours chosen by Health Canada.

There were also anti-vaping packs distributed to 20 schools across the country.

The campaign has reached estimated 30,000 students – and many adult smokers too, no doubt.

Canada has a complex relationship with vaping. The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) was introduced in 2018 to encourage smokers to switch to vaping while preventing youth access.

However, America’s so-called ‘youth vaping epidemic’ spilled across the border in the years since, leading provinces to ban flavours and restrict nicotine content in e-liquids.

Learn More: What’s Happening on World Vape Day 2021?





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Kazakhstan Announces Changes in Tobacco Excise Taxes


An article on the World Bank Group pointed out that while the tobacco taxation policy practiced in Kazakhstan in 2003-2013 resulted in increased tobacco excise revenues, it was evidently not effective in terms of public health, as it did not lead to a decrease in cigarette consumption.

Increased tobacco excise revenues were not effective in terms of public health, as they did not lead to a decrease in cigarette consumption.

In 2014, tobacco excise taxes were drastically increased and tobacco affordability substantially reduced, and this resulted in a decline in tobacco sales and smoking prevalence in the country. However, in 2015-2019 the nation returned to a policy of moderate tax increases. The reduction in tobacco affordability in 2015 was caused not only by the excise increase but also by the tobacco industry pricing policy and a decline in incomes.

As for 2020–2021, the planned annual cigarette excise increase is of 12–14%, with an increase to 12,300 Kazakh tenge (US$29) from 11,000 tenge (US$26) per 1,000 cigarettes.

With regards to alternative products, similar to trends found across the globe in recent years, electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) appeared in the local market, with the main consumers being young adults. As of 2020, HTPs and e-liquids will be taxed as follows: an increase to 11,750 tenge (US$28) from 7,345 tenge (US$17) for per kilogram of tobacco mixture for products with heated tobacco; and an increase to 8 tenge (US$0.019) from 5 tenge (US$0.001) per milliliter for nicotine-containing liquids.

E-cig taxes lead to increased smoking rates

Meanwhile, in line with findings from previous studies, a recent US study funded by the National Institutes of Health has indicated that raising taxes on e-cigarettes in an attempt to curb vaping may be counterproductive, as it just leads people to sticking or reverting back to traditional (and more harmful) cigarettes.

Titled, “The Effects of E-Cigarette Taxes on E-Cigarette Prices and Tobacco Product Sales: Evidence from Retail Panel Data,” the study aimed to examine the effect of e-cigarette taxes enacted in eight US states. Using data from 35,000 national retailers between 2011 and 2017, the researchers found that for every 10% increase in e-cigarette prices, e-cigarette sales dropped by 26%. However, the same 10% increase in e-cigarette prices caused an 11% increase in traditional cigarette sales.

“We estimate that for every e-cigarette pod no longer purchased as a result of an e-cigarette tax, 6.2 extra packs of cigarettes are purchased instead,” said concerned study co-author and economist from Georgia State University Michael Pesko.

Read Further: Bloomberg Tax

Indonesia to Increase Tobacco Tax by 12.5%



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