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Young experimenting with vaping in Canada

| March 6, 2015

The number of young people in Canada who have tried vaping is higher than the number of young smokers, according to a story by Amy Thatcher for CMAJ citing recently released government statistics.

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey figures show that among those 15-19 years of age, 20 percent have tried vaping while 11 percent smoke.

Only nine percent of Canadians aged 15 and older have tried an electronic cigarette, which seems to imply what everybody knows – young people are more adventurous than older people are.

“We’ve never had a snapshot like this,” said Margaret Bernhardt-Lowdon, executive director of the Manitoba Lung Association.

She called the rates of youth experimentation with electronic cigarettes “concerning”, and would like to see a ban on sales of these products to minors.

Electronic cigarettes are not regulated as are tobacco products, and therefore don’t have restrictions related to age, use in public spaces or advertising.

On the other hand, it is not legal to sell electronic cigarettes containing nicotine in Canada, though these types of product are available.

Dutch firm has high hopes for new vaping product

| March 6, 2015

The Dutch company E-njoint has launched a vaping product that, its says, is infused with an authentic cannabis taste and smell, provides a mild high, but may be smoked in countries where it is illegal to smoke cannabis.

‘Because the E-njoint contains no THC, CBD, nicotine, tar or toxins it’s completely legal, but still gives smokers a high-like feeling,’ according to a company press note.

‘The terpenes used to create the E-njoint Cannabis Flavor have been custom-tailored to provide a variety of effects on the user, such as muscle relaxation, mood enhancement, alertness promoting and more.

‘All ingredients are natural and are used extensively in the food and beverage industry. The ingredients are non-toxic and perfectly legal worldwide.

‘Also the cannabis flavoured E-njoint can enhance the effects of real cannabis and reduce the dose used at the same time. Studies have shown that when terpenes are consumed in conjunction with real cannabis, the effects of the cannabis are dramatically enhanced, thus reducing the dose of cannabis the smoker needs to use to achieve his desired relief.

‘For customers who do not consume cannabis, the E-njoint Cannabis Flavor provides a safe, legal alternative that still promotes good times.’

E-njoint said that it expected to cause a small revolution in the smoking world with its new formulation.

Vaping Advocate of the Year Awards announced

| March 6, 2015

The Global Forum on Nicotine’s inaugural Vaping Advocate of the Year Awards have gone to Jens Mellin, a consumer advocate and blogger from Germany, and Professor Bern Mayer, of the University of Graz, Austria.

Mayer is said to have used his background in science, health and academia to promote the cause of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction strategy.

The Forum is due to be held on June 5 and 6 at the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, and the awards are scheduled to be presented at the Forum’s Pre-conference Vape Meet and Party, which will be held in the Marriott Complex’s Wook Restaurant, starting at 19.30 on June 4.

JTI seen as top employer

| March 6, 2015

Japan Tobacco International was one of five companies to receive the Top Employer Global 2015 certification during an awards ceremony in Amsterdam yesterday.

According to a note posted on the company’s website, ‘JTI offices in an unprecedented thirty-three countries across Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East were recognized by the Top Employers Institute for their exceptional employee environment’.

“This award recognizes the high standards we set ourselves worldwide and our constant dedication to foster a diverse work environment where employees excel,” said Ilona Alonso, Global HQ human resources vice president.

“Recruiting the best candidates and developing employees’ skills and competencies across the organization is in JTI’s DNA. We work hard to invest in tomorrow’s leaders with a solid performance management and succession planning platform.”

Meanwhile, David Plink, CEO at the Top Employers Institute, was quoted as saying that JTI was a perfect example of a company that had harmonized its operations in a way that had not only benefited its employees but also its operational efficiency on a global scale.

“Experience has shown us that employees with diverse backgrounds make strong leaders”, said Alonso.

“We recognize that career paths are changing and are not always linear, which is why we encourage employees to build their competencies and skills beyond their core functional areas of expertise. We take a truly global and flexible approach to help them grow within the company.”

About 80 percent of JTI leaders are appointed internally, and currently more than 800 employees are on long-term, short-term or rotational international assignments.

Irish minister says other states looking at plain packs

| March 5, 2015
Not exactly eye candy

Not exactly eye candy

The Irish government has said that it is prepared for a legal challenge from tobacco companies following the enactment of its standardized tobacco packaging bill, which has now passed all stages of the Oireachtas [national parliament], according to a story in the Irish Times. Ireland has become the second country, after Australia, to pass such legislation.

In welcoming the passage of the bill, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly, said it would protect people from the harmful effects of tobacco and provide a lead for other EU countries; as the smoking ban did a decade ago. Reports in the Irish press last month had it that John Player and JT Ireland had threatened to take legal action against standardized tobacco packaging legislation and, asked about such threats, Reilly said the government was prepared.

“The Attorney General has her team together and we fully expect, once the legislation is enacted and commenced, that they will probably file a lawsuit,” he said. “They will do it more in the hope than certainty. They do it more to intimidate us and to intimidate other countries who are prepared to follow suit.” Reilly said the impact of the legislation could not be underestimated, either in Ireland or abroad.

“We know the UK will have a free vote on this, hopefully before they rise for the next general election,” he said. “We know that France wants to follow suit and a number of other EU countries are looking at implementing the same measures as us. “This is about protecting people from the harmful effect of tobacco – 700,000 Europeans die from tobacco-related disease each year.”

Meanwhile, an RTE News story quoted a Japan Tobacco International spokesperson as saying that standardized packaging was a disproportionate, unjustified and unlawful measure. There was no credible evidence to suggest it would result in public health benefits, the spokesperson added.

Smokers, restaurateurs challenge Korea smoke ban

| March 5, 2015

A group of smokers and restaurant owners have filed a petition with South Korea’s Constitutional Court seeking a review of the constitutionality of a law banning smoking in all restaurants, according to a story in The Korea Times.

Since the start of this year, anyone who smokes inside a restaurant is liable to fines of up to WON100,000 ($90), and its owner is liable to a fine of up to WON1.7 million ($1,500).

The group, comprising members of I Love Smoking, which represents the interests of smokers and some restaurant owners, held a press conference in front of the Constitutional Court on Tuesday where they claimed that the ban infringed their rights.

The group’s leader, Lee Yeon-ik, said many restaurant owners were considering closing down their business altogether because most of their customers had been smokers and customer numbers had plummeted after the ban.

Lee complained that the ban was discriminatory against small- and medium-sized restaurants because smoking was allowed at ‘room salons’. “Rich people can smoke all they want in such places because they can afford to pay that much money,” he said. “Instead, smokers with not a lot of money are being squeezed.”

But perhaps the smoking ban doesn’t matter. According to a separate story in the Times, a survey involving 1,026 people who were smokers last year indicated that 32.3 percent had quit their habit.

The survey by the Korea Press Foundation indicated too that 35.7 percent of smokers had cut down.

And these figures seem to be broadly in line with Ministry of Strategy and Finance figures showing that 170 million packs of cigarettes were sold last month, down by 56 percent from the number sold in December, 390 million.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare raised cigarette prices from WON2,500 ($2.27) to WON4,500 per pack from the start of 2015, and 28.4 percent of those who had quit this year put their quitting down to the price hike. For 50.2 percent the reason comprised health concerns.

For those who reduced their smoking levels, 58.5 percent did so because of the price hike while 25.4 percent cited health reasons.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health expects the number of smokers to decease further once lawmakers pass a bill that will require tobacco manufacturers to print graphic warnings on packs.

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