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February, 2016:

Mum left with horrific leg burns after e-cig battery EXPLODES in handbag

Jana Barker had been in a car with her husband Paul and young daughter Janka, seven, when there was a loud bang and her bag burst into flames.

These images show the horrendous burns caused to a woman’s legs after she says she was hit by an exploding e-cig battery.

Jana Barker had been in a car with her husband Paul and young daughter Janka, seven, when there was a loud bang and her bag burst into flames.

Paul who was driving towards the M60, quickly pulled over at the Denton roundabout and Jana, 34, jumped out of the smoke-filled car.

Her clothes were burnt and the back seat of the Peugeot 306 was on fire.

The damaged e-cig battery

The damaged e-cig battery

She was taken immediately to Stepping Hill hospital where she was treated before being sent to the burns unit at Wythenshawe Hospital because of the severity of her injuries.

The warehouse operative, who lives in Woodley, was given gels and pain relief and is now recovering at home, but was told she would have to go back to the unit as she may have nerve damage.

Paul, 43, described the experience on Saturday afternoon as “petrifying”.

He told the M.E.N: “It went off like a firework.

“All I could hear was screaming and there were smoke and flames everywhere in the back.

“Our little girl was terrified and didn’t know what to do. It was petrifying.”

Jana Barker was left with horrendous burns to her legs

Jana Barker was left with horrendous burns to her legs

The battery that exploded was an EFEST battery which hadn’t been attached to an e-cig and had just been kept in Janna’s handbag as a spare.

Paul added: “How it could just combust I have no idea but people need to be warned about these batteries as they’re a popular brand.

“We’d been about to get on the M60 heading to Bury – what would’ve happened if it exploded when we were doing 70mph in the fast lane?

“Or if it had gone off in our flat at 3am? It wouldn’t have been long before the entire place went up.

“When I heard Jana scream I didn’t know what was going on, I genuienly thought she was burning to death. It’s lucky that Janka wasn’t in the back with her.”

The EFEST battery had been bought in November and had been charged a few days earlier.

It’s not the first battery manufactured by the company that has been reported to the M.E.N after an explosion.

Last month, a young mum was left needing plastic surgery after the same make of e-cig battery exploded in her face.

Kirby Sheen’s eye lid was split in two by the mouth piece of the device which was propelled towards her by the blast

The 24-year-old, who lives in Salford with partner Adam Burgess, 27, and their daughters Aymaris, two, and Ayviarna, six months, had only wanted to check if the battery was working but said she was instead left scarred for life.

The M.E.N has contacted EFEST, who are based in China, for a comment in relation to both incidents and is awaiting a response.

Man left with third degree burns and scared for life after e-cig battery explodes in pocket

A JLR worker was left with horrific burns after an e-cig battery exploded in his pocket and set his leg on fire.

Dan Walker has been scarred for life after the shocking incident left him with second and third degree burns on his left thigh.

Dan started using e-cigs regularly around two months ago, after he gave up smoking as a New Year’s resolution.

But the 20-year-old was out shopping with a friend at Resorts World in Birmingham, on Saturday when the spare battery in pocket of his jogging bottoms exploded out of the blue – and Dan was horrified to see his leg engulfed in a sea of sparks and flames.

Dan, from Tamworth, has now vowed to ‘never vape again’ after the shocking incident.

He said: “We were half way into a shop when I heard a massive bang – the only way I can describe it is like a firework, like a whooshing sound.

“I looked down and there were sparks coming out of my trousers, and I could feel an intense heat on my leg.

“I whipped them straight off and shouted out for an ambulance.

“As soon as I got my trackies off, the extent of the damage hit me – I couldn’t even walk properly.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked, I was in really bad shock.

“At first I didn’t know what was going on.

“I thought the e-cig itself had caught on fire, but when I checked my pockets I realised it was in my jacket and the batteries were in my joggers.

“The whole incident was absolutely terrifying – I dread to think what could have happened if the batteries had been near my face, or I’d been wearing jeans and couldn’t get my trousers off quick enough.

“I could have lost my leg.

“I always carry spare batteries around in case my e-cig dies – I don’t want to go back to smoking again and use the e-cig whenever I feel I need a fag.

“That seems stupid now.

“After this I’ll never vape again.

“It’s been two months since I last smoked a cigarette, but I’d feel much safer having a fag than ever using an e-cig again.”

Medics rushed Dan to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where he was treated at a specialist burns unit.

Dan suffered second and third degree burns, and has had to go to hospital every day since the incident to have his wounds checked – and docs have warned he may need a painful skin graft.

He said: “I’ve not been my normal self since. It’s been life-changing.

“I’m in unbelievable pain from the second I wake up – if I have pain killers then it’s bearable, but the pain is constant throughout the day.

“I can’t do normal day-to-day things – I can’t walk properly, even going to the toilet is a struggle.

“It’s been completely traumatic – not just for me but for my family too – and the pain is indescribable.

“Everyone has just been in total shock that this has happened.

“It’s been a terrifying experience – you hear horror stories but never think it will happen to you, and when it does it really hits home.”

The owner of the shop where Dan claims he bought the batteries has refused to comment.

The battery manufacturer has not commented.

Action against on-screen smoking

Cinema is a core element in mass media approaches to normalizing smoking, states the World Health Organization. Since smoking in films is not perceived as advertising, it does not draw the skepticism that advertising engenders. Tobacco industry has funded film producers to feature specific tobacco brands and launched advertising campaigns through latest films using top stars.

The British Medical Association, the US National Cancer Institute, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all cite several reasons why smoking in films should be addressed as a public health problem. Films reach every corner of the globe effectively promoting smoking, in the absence of public health scrutiny until now.

However, public health researchers and institutions are increasingly paying close attention to this important exposure. The tobacco industry knows that motion pictures are one of humanity’s most common entertainment experiences. Half of world’s households now have Internet access, including nearly one third of households in developing countries.

Worldwide, one in three individuals now has a mobile-broadband, which is five times more than in 2008. The rapid spread of multiple media platforms for viewing films outside of cinemas, across cultures and economies, means that exposure to film content is vastly underestimated by cinema attendance alone.

Films offer not only para-social relationships with world famous stars, but also an imagined view of life; insofar as adolescents hope to take part in the glamorous and exciting lifestyles depicted in films, they may adopt the behaviour they see in them. Tobacco industry has been able to covert a deadly product into a status symbol or token of independence through films.

Hollywood and Bollywood films provide powerful information about the “benefits” of smoking, instead of traditional advertising. Young people imitate, not only “positive” characters, but also the villain who smokes can have even more influence on them than the hero. The USA National Cancer Institute in 2008 and the USA Surgeon General in 2012 concluded that smoking in films causes adolescent smoking.

There are strong theoretical grounds about the mechanisms by film smoking influencing adolescent smoking. Population based scientific surveys and indirect scientific surveys on exposure to smoking in films show links that adolescent smoking in a range of socio-cultural contexts. Trend studies show that prevalence of smoking, both generally and among adolescents, tend to parallel trends in film smoking.

A brain imaging study shows how seeing on-screen smoking stimulates smoking and generates pleasurable feelings. WHO-FCTC Article 13 guidelines obligate Parties to enact comprehensive bans on banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship within five years of ratification. It clearly states that depiction of tobacco in entertainment media, such as films, theatre and games, is a form of tobacco advertising and promotion.

It also calls specifically for a ban on cross-border advertising to prevent the entry of banning advertising and promotion into their territories. This regulation applies to all forms of commercial communication including print, television, radio, internet, mobile phones and other new technologies, recommendation or action and all forms of contribution to any event, activity or individual with the aim, effect or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product, brand names or tobacco use either directly or indirectly.

The WHO-FCTC asserts that implementation of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship should not prevent legitimate expression. The presentation of smoking on screen is, however, rarely realistic, generally showing images more consistent with cigarette advertising than with authentic representations of the dire health consequences of tobacco use.

Some people raise concern on free expression of measures limiting smoking in films. Most of the concern is based on distorted accounts of the policies actually proposed to reduce tobacco imagery in films.

On-screen smoking increases the initiation of smoking by young people. Therefore, measures to limit film smoking should be there to establish a comprehensive tobacco control strategy. Policy-makers must also take into account the rapid evolution of the media and the emergence of new platforms in order to provide “future-proof” solutions.

One way to counteract the effect of film smoking on smoking attitudes might be to show an anti-smoking spot before any film with smoking. Well-designed, evidence-based public health policy will improve population health both nationally and globally.

E-cig revolution? Only 1 in 6 smokers has converted

78% of current smokers have either used e-cigs and disliked them, or never want to try them

Only one-in-six smokers has converted to the e-cigarette, new data reveals today.

As the chart below shows, most of the UK’s current smokers are not fans of the product – despite their supposed benefit as “electronic substitutes for the cancer sticks of old”.


78 per cent of current smokers have either used e-cigs and disliked them, or never want to try them, while 8 per cent haven’t used them yet but think they may in the future.

Yet working out the benefits of the e-cigarette is not quite as simple as this donut chart suggests.

Along with the 1.3m current smokers using e-cigs, nearly 850,000 ex-smokers are using it too.

The question is whether these ex-smokers would be smoking real cigarettes if it wasn’t for e-cigarettes, or whether they might start again as they become regular users of the new fad.

Time will tell, but one thing is clear: the ‘e-cig revolution’ is closer to a media-made myth than a true change in people’s behaviours – at least so far.

2016 global tobacco control Hot Spots



Many new hot spots have flared up in global tobacco control in 2016; others remain from last year.

There are two recurring themes:

1/ Governments are tightening regulations on packaging as a main vehicle for tobacco advertising, as per the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC); 2/ The tobacco industry continues to fight implementation of these and other FCTC measures, sometimes publicly, often behind the scenes.

We update progress on plain packaging in a separate map. Please let us know if you think we’ve overlooked other burning, or simmering, issues.

The federal government elected late last year has pledged to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products. No details have yet been released.

Watch our video.

Tobacco control measures are gradually being approved and put into place. They include bans on public smoking in the capital Beijing and 10 other cities and on tobacco advertising.

Read our article.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Tobacco control advocates are hoping that a new law will be passed this year. The legislation has been in the making since 2006, and has faced intense opposition from the tobacco industry.

Read our article.

Tobacco control advocates are hoping that a new law will be passed this year. In February, authorities in the capital Addis Ababa said they would start enforcing public smoke-free areas.

European Union
The European Commission is scheduled to adopt a proposal on tracking and tracing of tobacco products, as a tool to fight illicit trade. Tobacco industry lobbying has accelerated in response. Simultaneously, the EC has postponed its decision on whether to renew a controversial deal that protected some tobacco firms that agreed to cooperate with anti-smuggling measures from smuggling charges.

Read this article from the Head of the FCTC Secretariat.

Watch our video.

Like Ireland and the UK, France is scheduled to have plain tobacco packs (free of colours, logos and all other branding), on store shelves by May.

Read our article

Delays in passing enabling legislation have put on hold the measures in the tobacco control law, which were approved in 2013 after five years of intense advocacy led by civil society, opposed by the tobacco industry.

Read our article.

Despite passing its tobacco control law four years ago, Ghana has still not implemented its provisions. The enabling legislation needed to put the law into force has been under discussion in parliament for over a year.

Watch our video.

After postponing in 2015 a plan to introduce larger graphic health warnings, covering 85 percent of tobacco packages, the central government now says this will happen on 1 April 2016. New Delhi will host the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the FCTC on 7-12 November.

Read our article.

Indonesia is one of the largest countries that is not yet a Party to the WHO FCTC; it’s estimated that more than two-thirds of adult males there are smokers. There have been some positive steps recently. For example, in 2014, graphic health warnings became mandatory on tobacco packages.

However, in 2015 the Tobacco Bill was introduced into Parliament. Unlike an earlier bill, it emphasises the economic impact of tobacco rather than the disastrous health effects.

Watch our video.

Like France and the UK, Ireland is scheduled to have plain tobacco packs (free of colours, logos and all other branding), on store shelves by May. In December 2015 the European Court of Justice, in a preliminary ruling, rejected a challenge to the legislation by tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.

The tobacco industry, via British American Tobacco (BAT), has fought all attempts to implement regulations for the Tobacco Control Law, including suing the government for violating the constitution in its consultation process. The matter is now in the courts.

Activists are pushing the government to take action against BAT after a BBC-TV program accused the company of trying to bribe influential policy makers in order to hamper the implementation of tobacco control measures.

Read our article.

In 2001 Imperial Tobacco signed a 25-year deal with the Lao Government to limit increases on tobacco taxes for tobacco products produced and sold in the country. FCA member SEATCA says that by 2020 the tobacco industry will more than double its income in Laos, from US$187 million in 2013 to $424m in 2018.

After a long struggle by tobacco control advocates, Nigeria passed a law in 2015. However, it has still not approved enabling legislation.

In February 2015 the Government of Pakistan announced it would increase the size of graphic health warnings on tobacco packages to 85 percent of the pack surface, but it has rescheduled the due date several times. In January 2016 it said it would give the tobacco industry one more month to comply with the new regulation.

Delays in passing enabling legislation have delayed the measures in the tobacco control law, passed in 2014. Included in the law is a ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Read our article.

The Government of Singapore is holding consultations until 29 March 2016 on a series of proposed measures: plain packaging, raising to 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco products, and restricting sales of flavoured tobacco products.

United Kingdom
Watch our video.

Like France and Ireland, the UK is scheduled to have plain tobacco packs (free of colours, logos and all other branding), on store shelves by May. In response the tobacco industry sued the UK Government: a decision is expected soon.

Watch our video

A decision is expected in the first half of 2016 in the case launched by tobacco industry giant Philip Morris International at the World Bank against Uruguay’s packaging measures. The government has announced that it will introduce plain packaging soon after the decision is known.

Read our article.

Plain packaging another step closer

The Māori Party is thrilled plain tobacco packaging is another step closer to becoming law, now the Government has signalled plans to progress the Bill in Parliament.

“This is a message to international tobacco companies that New Zealand will not be intimidated by their threats of legal action,” says Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox.

The Government has indicated that the Bill could return to the House for its second reading before the end of the year.

The Plain Packaging Bill drafted by the Māori Party went before the Health Select Committee in August 2014, just six months after it was introduced into the House by Dame Tariana Turia.

She was internationally recognised for her leadership in tobacco reforms.

Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the Bill is not about punishing smokers.

“Research tells us that plain packaging will turn people off who haven’t started smoking. It’s better to deter people from picking up the habit than having to support them to quit later on,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

“It’s time to get the ball rolling again because the Māori Party will not stand by idly while 5,000 New Zealanders die each year of smoking-related illnesses,” says Mrs Fox.

Smoking has steadily declined largely as a result of Māori Party initiatives including the tax increase on cigarettes, banning shops from displaying them and securing Government funding for programmes to support people who want to quit smoking.

The Government says it remains committed to the Māori Party’s target of a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.

‘Brain movies’ show nicotine affects men and women differently

Innovative research being done in Israel demonstrates, on film, how short-term bursts of brain activity are prompted by stimulants

A 'dopamine movie' (screenshot)

A ‘dopamine movie’ (screenshot)

Addictions are hard to kick. Just ask all cigarette smokers who keep puffing away despite the boatload of evidence that they are killing themselves.

Now, new research being conducted in Israel shows that addictions work differently in women and men. A study being conducted largely in Israel by Evan Morris, an associate professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Psychiatry at Yale University, shows this clearly. In fact, Morris and his students have even made a movie out of it.

“Our dopamine movies show the effect of nicotine on the dopamine levels in the body, and those movies – which essentially show how the brain reacts when the chemical is released – shows clearly that there is a difference in brain activity for men and women who smoke.”

Those findings are interesting, Morris told The Times of Israel, but the real point is to show “how short-term bursts of brain activity are prompted by chemical changes. This could have all sorts of implications for treating symptoms like PTSD and other stress-induced conditions, where there can be radical changes in brain activity for short periods of time.”

Morris is a world-renowned expert on Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging using tracer kinetic modeling to create functional images of the brain.

“With PET, you can see in how the brain changes – based on mathematical formulas – in response to induced changes,” said Morris. “One of the most difficult challenges facing researchers is developing models of short-term changes – changes in the brain that pass quickly, perhaps in just a few minutes or so.”

It’s clear that with a supercharged emotion taking over the body – anger, ecstasy, or anything in between – there are changes to the brain, “but generally researchers have been able to capture only changes that linger, with the imaging of the short-term changes unattainable.”

That’s what makes a study of smoking so attractive. “When a person smokes, the chemicals they inhale – especially nicotine – engender a response that releases dopamine, the brain’s primary motivation neurotransmitter.”

Dopamine is released in response to environmental and internal stimuli – food, sex, or pleasurable events – as well as in response to chemicals that stimulate the central nervous system, like nicotine.

The sensation involved with nicotine – as with other drugs – is fleeting, with dopamine levels rising sharply but briefly. PET scans, said Morris, provide an opportunity to see how this fleeting sensation physically affects the brain.

“We are able to scan the brain’s reaction using a tracer that mimics dopamine. With our method, we are able to see how brains react to the chemically induced changes associated with addiction over time, creating a movie which shows the changes – and that is where we noticed how male and female brains differ when it comes to smoking.”

The results of the study, which was largely carried out at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem with Dr. Nanette Freedman of the Nuclear Medicine Dept., were published in a recent edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The findings, according to the report, show that “male smokers smoking in the PET scanner activate dopamine in the right ventral striatum during smoking but female smokers do not. This finding—men activating more ventrally than women—is consistent with the established notion that men smoke for the reinforcing drug effect of cigarettes whereas women smoke for other reasons, such as mood regulation and cue reactivity.”

Based on these results, said Morris, who collaborated on developing the method with Yale co-researcher Prof. Kelly Cosgrove, researchers will be better able to understand what makes smokers tick – and develop more effective ways to get them to kick the habit. “It could be, for example, that you need different kinds of nicotine patches designed for men and women, since they react differently to nicotine.”

But besides what the study means for smokers, it also has implications far beyond nicotine addiction.

“Any short-term event that affects the brain could be ‘filmed’ for analysis, to see which part of the brain is affected, and how,” added Morris.

Just like adrenaline flows in a moment of danger providing extra strength in a moment of need, brain changes in response to those dangers could teach researchers about how people think and react – and how to “turn on” parts of the brain that can enhance thinking, among other things.

“PTSD, ADHD, and other conditions in which an individual’s mood and actions change depending on stimuli could be better understood using this method,” said Morris.

Morris, an associate professor of diagnostic radiology, biomedical engineering and psychiatry at Yale University, is in Israel on a Fulbright exchange program scholarship, which each years brings dozens of American researchers to Israel to work on innovative medical and technology projects in the start-up nation for a year, while sending Israeli researchers to work in the US for the same amount of time.

One reason Morris chose Israel is that he needed a young adult population that had recently taken up smoking in order to find recently addicted people.

“Part of what we are trying to determine is the development of addiction. Are there people more prone to addiction?” he said. “To see that kind of progression, you want people who are recent smokers so you can see over time what their brain patterns are, and how they change the more they are exposed to the cause of their addiction.

“In the US, most of these early stage smokers are kids – under 18 years of age, study of which entails all sorts of legal and disclosure issues. In Israel, many of the young smokers pick up the habit in the army – so they are already over 18, and it is much easier legally to recruit them for studies like these, that entail using the radioactive material we need for the PET tracer,” he added.

Morris will be discussing this and other findings of his research, along with other uses and research being conducted with PET, at a special event at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital on February 29, in a one-day symposium on Advances in Brain Imaging. The symposium is funded by Fulbright, Yale, Hadassah, and the US National Institutes of Health, which is also helping to fund Morris’s Hadassah research.

“Smoking was a good place to start, but we certainly don’t intend to stop there. The movies we created showing brain changes induced by stimuli can ‘star’ many more chemicals besides dopamine, giving us more insight into how the brain works.”

HC Raps Centre Over Tobacco Case

BENGALURU: The High Court on Tuesday expressed its displeasure with the Union government over its lack of representation in a case pertaining to packaging and labelling on tobacco products.

The petitioners comprising tobacco companies, growers and retailers had challenged an amendment order under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008, which mandates that tobacco products must display pictorial warnings of 85 per cent on both sides of the pack. The order is meant to come into effect from April 1. In an earlier order, the High Court had stayed the amendment order.

Two organisations – Health for Millions and Cancer Patient Association – filed impleading applications on Tuesday and sought to vacate the stay order. They stated that an earlier Supreme Court judgment, which had heard a matter pertaining to the 2008 Act mandating 40 per cent of pictorial warnings on packs and upheld it, had given an order stating that an adverse judgment could not be passed by the High Court.

They contended that the present judgment violated that order and hence had to be vacated.

The petitioners, however, contended that the Supreme Court had given the judgment pertaining to a different notification and was not applicable in the present case. The petitioners also contended that the organisations filing impleading applications were third party and if the High Court allowed them to do so, it would set precedence for third parties.

While adjourning the matter, Justice Ravi Malimath sought to know why the Union government was not represented in the case and whether they favoured the petitioners.

“Maybe, the Union government supports private parties. Is the Union government aware that they were also absent in a similar case at the Rajasthan High Court and the Court made serious observations?” he asked.

Exclusive: Legal fight looms for government over plain tobacco packaging

British American Tobacco has confirmed to ONE News that it will explore “all possible legal avenues” to fight the legislation, which will be debated later this year after a delay due to legal action against Australia’s government by another tobacco company.

However, Prime Minister John Key says he is not worried about the impending legal fight.

The case against Australia, brought by Philip Morris, failed, but there is still a World Trade Organisation case pending.

Both British American Tobacco and Philip Morris say forcing them to adopt plain packaging on their products breaches copyright.

ONE News also understands that the government is waiting for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement to be ratified, because it contains a clause that allows the government to make any changes to public health law it pleases without fear of reprisals like this.

Neither of the companies would comment on the issue, but they claim there is no evidence plain packaging reduces smoking rates, and say the government should be cracking down on home-grown tobacco instead.

The government is working towards the goal of New Zealand being smokefree by 2025.

Hong Kong must sustain the war on tobacco even as smoking rates continue to decline

Government should press on with the expansion of no-smoking areas and legislation to enlarge health-warning signs on cigarette packets

Every time the budget comes around so too does the question of raising the tax on tobacco, to deter a community and self-harming habit. So it is a good time to cite recent statistics on the dwindling number who remain addicted. A survey shows the percentage of Hongkongers over 15 who smoke has edged closer to a single digit. Another links a large fall in child hospital admissions for respiratory infections to indoor smoking bans.

Health authorities attribute the decline in smokers to effective tobacco control measures. Along with education and greater awareness, that is no doubt true. This means the anti-smoking lobby will be looking to the financial secretary to raise the tax on cigarettes again, after rises of 50 per cent in 2009, 41.5 per cent in 2011 and 20 cents a cigarette in 2014. The tax on a packet of cigarettes is now 69 per cent.

The percentage of the population who smoke daily fell from 11.8 in 2009 to 10.5 last year, according to a survey of 10,000 households by the Centre for Health Protection. Such a modest decrease may sound unconvincing, but the remaining smokers include a hard core of addicts who will only decline by attrition. Of more importance are potential future addicts, or people aged 15 to 19, among whom the percentage of smokers fell from 2 per cent to 1.1 per cent last year. The aim should be to get it even lower. There is also a need to target female smokers, the percentage of whom rose from 3.1 to 3.2. Experts regard tobacco tax as one of the most effective means to reduce the smoking rate.

A new health argument is to be found in a University of Hong Kong study showing hospital admissions of people under 18 with serious lower respiratory tract infections fell by 47.4 per cent in the first year after smoking bans were extended to all indoor areas of restaurants, workplaces and public venues in 2007, followed by a sustained reduction of 13.9 per cent in the following five years.

The government should press on with the expansion of no-smoking areas, such as bus exchanges, and legislation to enlarge health-warning signs on cigarette packets.
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