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Fifteen per cent of people aged 15 to 19 reported having vaped in the preceding 30 days; 36 per cent of them said they’d tried vaping at some point in their lives, according to a Statistics Canada report. Among Canadians between 20 and 24, 15 per cent had also vaped in the last 30 days, and 48 per cent had ever tried it. The percentage of recent vapers dropped to less than three per cent among adults 25 and older; 12 per cent in that age group had ever vaped. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The study, conducted in 2019, reaffirms an increase in youth vaping in the past few years. A 2017 study from the University of Waterloo found that 8.4 per cent of Canadians aged 16 to 19 had tried vaping that year; by 2018, 14.6 per cent of people in that demographic had vaped. Though U.K. medical authorities are more bullish on vaping’s potential as a smoking deterrent for adults, North American lawmakers have started cracking down on e-cigarette companies, especially on marketing to young people. That’s included bans on flavoured vaping products, which tend to appeal more to teens. As more evidence emerges on the prevalence of vaping among young people, e-cigarette companies are under pressure to retool their business models. The Logic reported last month that industry leader Juul has applied for a patent on technology it claims can help wean users off nicotine, and the firm has said it plans to add a feature to its devices that would lock out U.S. users under the age of 21.

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Fruit- and dessert-flavoured vaping products will be prohibited as the U.S. government tries to curb youth vaping and lung injuries linked to e-cigarettes. Menthol- and tobacco-flavoured products will still be permitted; so will open-tank vaping systems, which let users mix their own vaping liquids. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers will have to comply with the new rules within 30 days or face fines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (Reuters, The New York Times)

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Talking point: The president said in September 2019 that he planned to ban sweet-flavoured products, which tend to appeal most to kids and non-smokers, but walked back the proposed restrictions after advisers and lobbyists said it would hurt his popularity among voters. Evidence has been mounting since that e-cigarettes are harmful and attractive to young people who might otherwise refrain from smoking. Several jurisdictions—including Canada’s Nova Scotia, B.C. and Ontario—have introduced their own laws to address the problems linked to vaping. The new U.S.-wide FDA rules are the most sweeping regulations yet in the country. Health professionals in Canada have pressured the federal government to take similarly broad steps; Health Canada proposed banning vaping ads in December, but hasn’t gone so far as to restrict products.

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The company has stopped selling dessert- and fruit-flavoured vaping pods, pending a review from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company will keep selling mint, menthol and tobacco flavours. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: The move partially preempts the FDA’s plan to ban all flavoured vaping liquids—regulations on which Juul promised not to lobby the Trump administration in September. Juul has previously made changes to its practices in advance of new rules. In November 2018, it pulled most flavoured pods from brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. amid reports that the FDA was set to announce a similar requirement. In Canada, Nova Scotia and British Columbia are considering provincial bans on flavoured products. The federal Vaping Products Act, the country’s first vaping law, already prohibits the promotion of pods flavoured like desserts, candy, soft drinks or energy drinks. Lisa Hutniak, director of communications for Juul in Canada, said the company follows local regulations wherever it operates, and “believes flavoured products can play an important role in helping adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes.”

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After a rash of vaping-related illnesses and deaths in the U.S. and beyond, scientists at King’s College London have found that vaping adoption has stopped growing—with an increasing number of smokers believing the practice is more harmful than smoking. This contention is out of line with research showing the use of regulated nicotine vaping products is far less harmful than smoking cigarettes. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The vaping industry hasn’t fared well as of late. The valuation of Juul Labs, the industry leader, is collapsing under a mountain of lawsuits and regulation over health risks associated with vaping. It has pulled flavoured vaping products from some markets in an attempt to get ahead of changing public opinion. Yet this report, commissioned by Public Health England, suggests the worries about vaping are overblown when compared to smoking, from which about 78,000 British people die every year. It further delineates the difference in opinion between U.K. and North American medical experts on the subject.

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Thirty-nine states are investigating whether the e-cigarette company targeted teens in its marketing and made misleading claims about the safety of its products, including the concentrations of nicotine in its devices and their ability to help people quit smoking. (The Associated Press)

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Talking point: The San Francisco-based company has taken a hit to its business, losing about US$26 billion in value in recent months as regulators and public health officials call for e-cigarette restrictions or all-out bans to help curb the uptick in youth nicotine addiction and lung injuries linked to e-cigarettes. It’s responded by suspending sales of most of its flavoured products in Canada and the U.S., scaling back its global expansion plans and pulling out of Indonesia, where vendors continued selling to minors. On Monday, Juul said it will add a feature to its vapes in the U.S. that lock out users under the age of 21, and The Logic reported that the firm has applied for a patent for technology it says would use machine learning to help wean users off nicotine.

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The Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health (CCMOH) recommended that federal, provincial and territorial governments enforce a wide prohibition, but allow exemptions for “a minimum set of flavours” for smokers trying to quit. It also suggested a minimum age of 21, and called for Ottawa to require vaping products to be sold in plain packaging marked with health warnings. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The CCMOH said it is “significantly concerned” about youth vaping in Canada; the measures are designed to address that problem. The group’s statement also notes that federal regulation on many of its recommendations “would be preferred to create national consistency.” But some provinces have already enacted their own measures—Nova Scotia and B.C. will shortly enact a flavour ban and plain-packaging rules, respectively. Health Canada consulted on both flavours and packaging last year, and is considering the results. As The Logic reported earlier this month, market leader Juul Canada pre-empted any changes by halting production on four flavoured pods pending Ottawa’s decision. The company has previously backed increasing the legal age for vaping purchases to 21 in Quebec.

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Researchers followed 32,000 lung-disease-free subjects between 2013 and 2016; those that used e-cigarettes were 30 per cent more likely to develop chronic diseases like asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared to people who never smoked or vaped. People who smoked cigarettes and vaped were 3.3 times more likely to develop lung illnesses compared to non-smokers, according to the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine(The Logic)

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Talking point: This is one of the first studies to show the impacts of vaping over time. The products have been billed as less harmful alternative to cigarette smoking, and while the study substantiates that claim, it nonetheless sheds new light on the significant health risks associated with vaping. It raises two main concerns: people who both smoke tobacco and e-cigarettes—the most common “use pattern,” according to the study—are at a far higher risk than those who do one or the other. The study also confirms fears that non-smokers are developing illnesses they would likely have avoided had they not picked up vaping. The study lands as regulators in Canada and the U.S. consider ways to stymie the growing youth vaping craze. Earlier this month, Nova Scotia became the first province to ban flavoured vape products, which tend to appeal most to young people and non-smokers; those rules will be effective starting April 1, 2020.