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May 11th, 2015:

E-cigarette companies unite to tackle proposed ban in Hong Kong

Five major electronic cigarette companies in the city have formed a new association to block the government’s plan to ban the sale of their products in the city, the Post has learned.

Nav Lalji, one founder of the Asian Vape Association formed last week, said the group contained major players in the e-cigarette industry – including sellers, distributors and manufacturers – who make up about 70 per cent of the local market.

“It is irresponsible for the government to prohibit personal vaporisers with no scientific basis,” he said. “If they are worried about harmful substances, they should regulate them instead of banning them.”

Health officials believed the manufacturers were targeting young people and marketing the e-cigarettes as trendy products. But Lalji, who is the founder and manufacturer of the e-cigarette brand Mist, rejected such claims.

He said the members of the association sold their products to adults at hotels, restaurants and bars as an alternative to tobacco.

None of their products contain nicotine and all were up to the international safety standards set by the US Food and Drug Administration, he said.

E-cigarettes can be sold legally in Hong Kong with no age limit if the product does not contain nicotine. Any product with more than 0.1 per cent nicotine must be registered as a pharmacy product with the Department of Health.

Lalji said many low-quality e-cigarettes were being marketed as candies and sold in small shopping malls, a popular haunt of young people, and that these products should be regulated.

He said these were non-mainstream products, usually ordered by individuals through the internet, and that the seller might not have full knowledge of the vapours’ content.

“The government should regulate the content of e-cigarettes and ban them for those under the age of 18,” he said. “But it is a free market and adults should be able to choose whether or not to use e-cigarettes.

“If the government is worried about the safety of the public, how come they do not ban the consumption of tobacco first? It is a known fact tobacco poses many health risks to smokers and the public.”

He hoped the association could negotiate with the government over a proposed citywide ban, expected to be presented in the Legislative Council later this year, according to Undersecretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee.

Chan said many battery-powered vaporisers contained substances that were addictive and hazardous to health, and that there was little evidence to show they reduced the consumption of tobacco.

E-cigarettes can only be used in designated smoking zones.


Nowhere in the country has the fight to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco been more active than Massachusetts and now there’s a bill that is trying to raise the age on a statewide level, again.

Sen. Cynthia S. Cream, D-Newton, has introduced S.747, a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. More than 50 municipalities across the state have raised the minimum purchasing age on a local level in large part thanks to the efforts of Dr. Lester Hartman and Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, two pediatricians in the commonwealth who have lobbied for the legislation on a city-by-city basis for the last few years.

The bill is currently in the Joint Judiciary Committee.

While Massachusetts is the hotbed of the new purchasing age changes, largely because of the localized approach, Hawaii is likely to become the first state where purchasing tobacco will be illegal for those under the age of 21. A bill passed the state senate earlier this year and is expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.


A new bill introduced earlier this year in the Oregon Senate could result in a variety of new rules for selling tobacco in the state.

The most notable of these changes would be that purchasing tobacco products would become illegal for those under the age of 21, effective Jan. 1, 2016. Currently, customers must be 18 to purchase tobacco products in Oregon, but S.B. 663 doesn’t stop there.

Retailers selling tobacco products or “inhalant delivery systems”—i.e. any e-cigarette or non-medical marijuana vaping device—would become subject to licensing by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Retailers would be required to be 1,000 feet from a school—although some grandfathering provisions exist—and prevented from letting anyone under 18 into the premises. They would also be prevented from selling both tobacco and alcohol and allow for “sampling”—i.e. smoking—in their stores.

In addition, language in the bill would limit the amount of discounts that could be offered. Specifically, offering tobacco products “for free or at a nominal price for the purpose of promoting the tobacco product” would be illegal. In addition, offering discounts on “multiple packets” of the same tobacco product would also be banned.

Fines for selling product to those under the age of 21 would be capped at $2,000 per offense, while violations for the rest of the new rules are limited to no more than $5,000 per violation. The new licensing requirements wouldn’t go into effect until July 1, 2017.

S.B. 663 enjoys bipartisan support, as does the accompanying bill in the state’s lower chamber. It most recently passed a roll call vote and was sent to the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue.

At least one state appears headed to a Jan. 1, 2016 increase in the minimum age to purchase tobacco, as a bill in Hawaii already passed its Senate vote and is awaiting a signature from Gov. David Ige in order for it to become law.

Association of smoking and alcohol use with the increase in social inequality in mortality in Denmark

What is the association of smoking and alcohol use with the increase in social inequality in mortality in Denmark? A nationwide register-based study



The aim of this paper is to estimate the impact of smoking and alcohol use on the increase in social inequality in mortality in Denmark in the period 1985–2009.


A nationwide register-based study.




The whole Danish population aged 30 years or more in the period 1985–2009.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

The primary outcome is mortality rates in relation to educational attainments calculated with and without deaths related to smoking and alcohol use. An absolute measure of inequality in mortality is applied along with a result on the direct contribution from smoking and alcohol use on the absolute difference in mortality rates. The secondary outcome is life expectancy in relation to educational attainments.


Since 1985, Danish overall mortality rates have decreased. Alongside the improvement in mortality, the absolute difference in the mortality rate (per 100 000 persons) between the lowest and the highest educated quartile grew from 465 to 611 among men and from 250 to 386 among women. Smoking and alcohol use have caused 75% of the increase among men and 97% of the increase among women. Among men the increase was mainly caused by alcohol. In women the increase was mainly caused by smoking.


The main explanation for the increase in social inequality in mortality since the mid-1980s is smoking and alcohol use. A significant reduction in the social inequality in mortality can only happen if the prevention of smoking and alcohol use are targeted to the lower educated part of the Danish population.