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Smoking E-Cigarettes is 10 Times More Cancerous than Tobacco

So you probably thought you were fine now that you quit smoking. No cancer for you, no sir! No filthy chemically stuffed cigarettes for you! You’ve opted for that funky and cool alternative they call e-cig. Why shouldn’t you be that confident? After all, the CDC and FDA are fine with it, so it must be safe. Oh, but it isn’t; in fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! According to a recent study – that has nothing to do with the CDC/FDA – electronic cigarettes were found to be contain 10 times as much cancerous ingredients than a regular tobacco cigarette.

I bet you didn’t see that one coming!

You may wonder how in the heavens this has passed the FDA’s notice. Well, with $ 4.5 billion that is supposed to be funding for studies exactly like this one, the FDA didn’t seem to think it necessary to do any research on this product’s safety. If you go over to the FDA website and check out when they have to say about electronic cigarettes, you’ll find a bunch of quality control and standardization stuff. However, they do mention quite clearly that “FDA has not evaluated any e-cigarettes for safety or effectiveness.” There you have it. They admit it. So how the hell are you using this? How are you allowing your kids to play around with it, too?

Well, it’s not your fault; you’re unaware. And Japanese scientists have taken it upon themselves to make the world aware of this threat. The Japanese Ministry of Health commissioned a research about the safety of electronic cigarettes, and the scientists found around 10 cancer-causing carcinogens more than those found in a regular old school Tobacco smoke. They found formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in the liquid that you smoke through the electronic cigarette. They also found that these carcinogens fuel drug resistant pathogens that humans may contract.

Even before the Japanese found these shocking results, in 2015 the WHO asked governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under age people. Furthermore, the UN health agency said that despite there not being any evidence about their unsafety, they wanted “to caution children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age”. They also tried to outlaw their use indoors.

Well, once again, thanks to the Japs for being smarter and more aware than the rest of the world.

Tobacco price increase and smoking behaviour changes in various subgroups

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Philip Morris rolls out iQOS smokeless smokes

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Japan and Korea stake out tough anti-counterfeiting positions in proposed trade deal

Trade representatives from 16 Asian countries are convening in Kyoto this week for an eighth round of negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. In the run-up to the meeting a series of leaks revealed the IP positions of four key parties to the deal (Japan, Korea, India and ASEAN), which indicate that the East Asian nations are hoping to codify tough measures against counterfeiting.

Back in April, this blog covered the leaked provisions of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which some observers feared could affect plain packaging laws in Australia and elsewhere by giving tobacco companies more leeway to sue governments over alleged appropriation of their brand assets. The RCEP is an alternative trade deal being negotiated exclusively by Asian countries. But while it is relatively unknown compared to the TPP, if passed the RCEP could have a greater impact on regional trademark enforcement efforts. That is because, unlike the TPP, it involves China, India and the whole of ASEAN (though four ASEAN states are also negotiating TPP). Taken together, these markets probably account for the lion’s share of the enforcement activities undertaken by global brands focused on the region. Therefore, any change in policy could have a notable impact.

The question on everyone’s mind is how similar or dissimilar the RCEP will be to the TPP. Four proposed IP chapters leaked by Knowledge Economy International (KEI) give insight into the negotiating positions of Japan, Korea, India and ASEAN (which is negotiating as a bloc), while a leak of the proposed IP chapter of the latter agreement revealed what is shaping up to be a strongly rights-holder friendly system. Given the Obama administration’s repeated refrain of “If we don’t write the trade rules, China will”, there has been some speculation about whether RCEP could emerge as a homegrown alternative to the TPP – potentially without all of the IP protections sought by Western corporations. But the leaks make clear that Japan and Korea are pushing for a TPP-style regime.

While many of the most contentious flashpoints are in the patent space, surrounding issues like compulsory licensing for pharmaceuticals, anti-counterfeiting is one area where there are marked differences in the proposals that have now been made public.

One area in which both Japan and Korea are seeking to enshrine strong anti-counterfeiting measures is in the realm of customs enforcement. Both propose that customs authorities be empowered to act ex officio to suspend the release of trademark infringing goods for import, export or transhipment. India’s proposal makes no specific mention of customs enforcement, while ASEAN’s includes a general call for cooperation on border measures. The leaked TPP draft makes clear that there are splits within ASEAN on the issue: Vietnam opposes the inclusion of ex officio powers for customs officials, while Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia support granting such authority only over goods imported into a country, not goods which are exported or in transit.

Another strict measure sought by both Korea and Japan relates to criminal prosecution in cases of wilful trademark infringement or counterfeiting on a commercial scale. Both countries’ proposals also detail standards to ensure that wronged parties are granted adequate damages and other remedies in civil and criminal litigation. Again, neither the ASEAN nor the Indian chapters cover this issue in detail. The TPP draft includes similar language but there is ample disagreement over the details; Vietnam, for example, supports criminal sanctions for commercial-scale import of counterfeit goods, but not export.

Beyond counterfeiting, there is discord over whether the agreement should require signatories to extend protection to non-traditional trademarks. India’s submission proposes that parties may require a mark be visually perceptible to be reigistrable. Korea, which allows sound and scent marks, wants such marks to be accepted throughout the region. It may be joined in this by Japan, which has introduced its own system of non-traditional marks in the time since its proposal was authored. The TPP draft in circulation looks set to extend protection of sound marks, while parties including Vietnam, Brunei and Japan oppose adding similar language about scents.

Another issue this blog has covered which is likely to be a hot topic in Kyoto is India’s strict FDI rules. Countries including Japan and Australia are likely to ask for the addition of an e-commerce chapter to the agreement pressuring India to open up that part of its economy, allowing foreign brands to sell goods online directly to Indian consumers.

Of course the usual caveats apply here: these positions are all at least nine months old and could be far from what ends up in the final agreement (especially because we haven’t yet heard from China). But it’s clear that Japan and Korea have an incentive (due to the former’s role in the TPP and the latter’s FTA with the US) to lobby for robust trademark protection policies. Rather than rival alternatives, it looks likely that the two agreements could be mutually reinforcing. With the TPP near completion and the RCEP aiming to wrap up negotiations by the end of this year, we should soon have more than just speculation to go on. And then we’ll know who gets the first crack at “writing the rules” for intellectual property in Asia.

E-cigarettes contain 10 times the carcinogens of regular tobacco – study

Electronic cigarettes contain up to 10 times more cancer-causing substances than regular tobacco, according to the latest study by Japanese scientists. A team of researchers from the Japanese Health Ministry examined the vapor, finding carcinogens like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. The former was found in quantities exceeding traditional cigarettes by 10 times.

“Especially when the… wire (which vaporizes the liquid) gets overheated, higher amounts of those harmful substances seemed to be produced,” researcher Naoki Kunugita said. Kunugita wanted to raise awareness about the fact that “some makers are selling such products for dual use (with tobacco) or as a gateway for young people” to start a smoking habit. E-cigarettes are largely represented as a safe way of smoking, not harmful to one’s health. The report was submitted on Thursday by Kunugita and his team at the National Institute of Public Health, AFP reported. Japan’s Health Ministry stated that it is examining the results to develop ways to regulate e-cigarettes. The researchers analyzed several kinds of e-cigarette fluid, using a special ‘puffing’ machine that inhaled 10 of 15 puffs of vapor.

E-cigarettes work by heating flavored liquid, which often contains nicotine, and creating a vapor.

Since they appeared in 2003, invented by a Chinese pharmacist in Beijing, their use has skyrocketed into a market worth about $3 billion. Bloomberg Industries say sales of e-cigarettes will exceed those of traditional cigarettes by 2047. Japan, like many other countries, doesn’t regulate electronic cigarettes, so they can easily be bought online, but are not available in shops sometimes. In August, the World Health Organization urged the governments to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, saying the devices represent a “serious threat” to unborn babies and young people. The WHO also called to ban e-cigarettes in indoor spaces. A month later, France introduced a ban on smoking electronic cigarettes in schools, on public transport, and in enclosed workplaces. E-cigarettes have just been banned in Punjab, India, in an attempt to curb smoking, especially in educational institutions. Earlier this year, US health authorities said that the number of young people who have tried e-cigarettes tripled from 2011 to 2013.