Entries Tagged as 'Law and Politics'

E-cigarettes soon to be regulated by FDA

Public health advocates are stepping up pressure on the U.S. government to quickly regulate and restrict access to e-cigarettes after new data showed use of the products tripled among high school and middle school children last year.

The figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday raised concern among health officials who fear e-cigarettes will create a new generation of nicotine addicts who may eventually smoke conventional cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking fell more than 25 percent over the same period. E-cigarette proponents said the data could indicate e-cigarettes are diverting young people away from conventional cigarettes, a view rejected by tobacco control advocates. [ID: nL2N0XD1UH]

The Food and Drug Administration regulates cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco. It proposed extending its authority to e-cigarettes and hookah, among other products, nearly a year ago.

FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said on Friday the agency is “moving forward expeditiously to finalize the rule.” Its goal is to release it in June.

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    Smoking Age to be raised to 21

    After considering the impact of increased usage of tobacco products among teenagers on public health, state senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) has introduced a legislation that would increase the minimum smoking age in California to 21 from 18.

    Hernandez, who is an optometrist, has the support from many health groups, including the California Medical Assn., the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Assn. It is considered that despite having such strong support, the bill would face strong opposition from tobacco industry.

    Bill would Raise Legal Minimum Smoking Age in California to 21 years

    Every year, smoking kills more than 40,000 Californians, revealed Kimberly Amazeen, vice president for the American Lung Assn. in California. As per Amazeen, 21,300 California kids start smoking every year.

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      How taxpayers can save $497 million per year by banning smoking from public housing

      Smoking isn’t just expensive for smokers: The costs associated with the habit in subsidized housing approach nearly half a billion dollars annually.

      Nearly $497 million could be saved every year if smoking were universally banned in subsidized and public housing, according to a new study by a team of National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers. That policy — already in effect in some subsidized housing — would yield huge annual savings to taxpayers, employers, the federal government, state governments and others.

      The savings would be largest in New York, where an annual $125 million would be saved, as the interactive below shows. (The state happens to be home to about 15 percent of all subsidized housing residents.) Wyoming, with its small general population, would see the smallest amount saved: $580,000 annually.

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        E-cigarette indoor ban proposed

        Who proposes banning e-cigarettes indoors

        In a report the health body recommends banning their indoor use and says sales to children should stop. The WHO urges manufacturers not to make claims the devices can help people quit smoking – until there is firm evidence to support this. The report says flavours attractive to children should be prohibited. According to the WHO legal steps should be taken to end the use of e-cigarettes indoors – both in public spaces and in work places. The health experts suggest fruit, candy or alcoholic-drink style flavours should be banned too, while the sales of electronic cigarettes from vending machines should be heavily restricted.

        Smoking an e-cigarette

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          E-cigarettes challenged by both law and science

          E-cigarettes are devices that are made up of a tube, a battery and a liquid-filled cartridge. When the user presses a button, the solution in the cartridge is heated and turns into vapour, which is inhaled. Most resemble the shape and feel of cigarettes but some look like lipsticks, fountain pens and even USB sticks.

          While most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, some don’t. They can come in a range of flavours—including mint, strawberry and chocolate.  Supporters say they are safe and are saving the lives of countless smokers who no longer inhale carcinogenic smoke. Detractors say the health benefits and risks are still unclear.

          ‘They are a huge business and they are growing all the time,’ says Marilyn Krawitz, a lecturer at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle and  a solicitor with Perth firm CMS Legal.

          ‘The first e-cigarette was created in 2003 by a Chinese pharmacist, and since then they are being used all over the world. There are at the moment thousands of Australians who use e-cigarettes. In the UK there are about 700,000 people who use e-cigarettes, and the industry is expected to be about a $23 billion industry by 2023.’

          Krawitz has been researching the hazy legal status of e-cigarettes here in Australia. Under federal law, nicotine is listed in Schedule 7 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons. This means nicotine products cannot be sold unless they are approved for therapeutic use or are a device similar to traditional cigarettes. To date, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved an e-cigarette product on the therapeutic goods register. However, there is a loophole that allows Australians to access e-cigarettes containing nicotine.

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            San Francisco Restricts E-cigarettes

            Electronic cigarettes are set to be as restricted in San Francisco as all other tobacco products after the city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved regulations aimed at protecting children from picking up a nicotine habit.

            Introduced by Supervisor Eric Mar, the legislation places e-cigarettes under the city’s rigid anti-smoking laws already in place.

            The ordinance would allow smoking e-cigarettes in the same places that cigarettes are allowed; prohibit them where cigarettes are prohibited; prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes on City and County property and other places cigarettes can’t be sold; and require a tobacco permit for the sale or furnishing of e-cigarettes,” Mar wrote in his district’s newspaper, The Richmond Review.

            Unusually late to the bandwagon, San Francisco’s e-cigarette regulations will trail restrictions already passed in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston and five states.

             

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              New graphic cigarette warning labels

              Cigarette packages will soon be splashed with horror-movie-style warning labels showing corpses, diseased lungs, and rotted teeth, which were unveiled by the US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday morning. By September 2012, cigarette manufacturers will be required to place an equal assortment of the nine new images across the top half of their packages with large-type warnings stating that “smoking can kill you” or “cigarettes are addictive”.

              The new images will replace the small white warning boxes that have adorned cigarette packages unchanged for more than two decades; they’re required under a federal law passed in 2009 that gave the FDA regulatory authority over cigarettes. The same new warnings will appear on print ads and must comprise at least 20 percent of the ad space.

              “The new graphic warnings will make a powerful difference,” FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in an interview. “Research demonstrates that they encourage smokers to quit and nonsmokers to not start.”

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                Taxation strategy to attempt to cut smoking

                Tripling tobacco taxes around the world could cut smoking by a third and prevent 200 million premature deaths by the end of this century, researchers claim.

                The tax boost would encourage people to quit smoking rather than switch from more expensive to cheaper brands, and help to stop young people taking up the habit, say the scientists.

                They came to the conclusion after conducting a systematic review of 63 studies on the causes and consequences of tobacco use in different countries.

                Research has shown that a 50% higher inflation-adjusted price for cigarettes reduces tobacco consumption by about a fifth, with the biggest impact on the young and poor.

                In most high-income countries, about 50% to 60% of the price of a pack of cigarettes is tax. But in most low and middle-income countries, tax makes up only 30% to 40% of the cost.

                Study co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto, from the charity Cancer Research UK, said: “The two certainties in life are death and taxes. We want higher tobacco taxes and fewer tobacco deaths. It would help children not to start, and it would help many adults to stop while there’s still time.

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                  Death by ObamaCare for Cancer Victims

                  ObamaCare is supposed to be a huge boon for anyone with a pre-existing condition. Count that another promise broken: It’s actually denying care because of pre-existing conditions.

                  Millions of Americans with cancer and other chronic illnesses will wind up paying more for lifesaving care, if they can get it all.

                  To keep costs down, the White House designed ObamaCare plans as cut-rate HMOs. The low profit margins have forced insurers to downsize the number of doctors and hospitals in their networks — and to slash what they cover for out-of-network treatment.

                  So most ObamaCare plans don’t include the vast majority of the best cancer doctors and cancer centers. That’s a huge problem for these patients. As Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former Medicare official, writes: “Cancer patients often need the help of specialized doctors and cancer institutions that won’t make it into many of these cheapened networks.”

                  All across the country, leading cancer centers — including New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering — are excluded by the largest plans. In Washington state, the largest exchange plans exclude world-class cancer care for kids such as the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. California’s state-of-the-art Cedars-Sinai cancer center isn’t in any ObamaCare plan. Only a few plans include the Mayo Clinic.

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                    Mitch Zeller Appointed to head FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products

                    When Mitch Zeller takes over Monday as the nation’s top tobacco regulator, it will mark a homecoming of sorts.

                    Zeller spent much of the 1990s at the Food and Drug Administration spearheading its burgeoning tobacco-control efforts — including pressing Congress to give the agency broader regulatory powers and designing the first nationwide program to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors.

                    David Kessler, who as FDA commissioner first tackled the tobacco issue in the early 1990s, recalled the day he asked Zeller to become the point man for that undertaking.

                    “I said, ‘I need you for two weeks to work on tobacco, then you can go back to doing what you were doing,’ ” Kessler said. “Those two weeks turned into two years, turned into two decades. . . . Mitch cares deeply about this issue.”

                    So deeply, in fact, that he once proclaimed, “After my family, tobacco control is my first love.”

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