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November 19th, 2016:

If You Think E-Cigarettes Are Harmless: Check Out Latest Academic Research

If you think electronic cigarettes with brands South Beach Smoke, V2, Mig Vapor, etc. are all so friendly and harmless to your oral health, you’d better think twice. In a recent research by a team of concerned health science students at the University of Rochester Medical Center, USA, e-cigarettes were proven to be as oral health-threatening as conventional cigars.

On a general note, e-cigarettes can affect the oral health in a molecular and cellular level. To start off, the researchers/medical students exposed a clean gum to e-cigar vapor.

Consequentially, the vapors induced inflammatory protein from the tissues’ cells, stressing the cells in an unprecedented degree. In short, there is burning in the gums that caused an abnormal production of protein.

If such kind of contact is frequented in the gum, worst case could lead to exposing to a lot more diseases. This kind of damage posed by e-cigars is no different from the conventional cigarettes, Times Live reported.

As a result, e-cigar industry tycoons were saddened by the news as more and more researches on vaping trend come popping up in medical and academic journals. For instance, another research from the Desert Research Institute in Nevada shook to the core the belief that e-cigarettes or vapes are safer than the usual cigarettes.

Along that line, the researchers also exposed that toxic aldehydes are actually the ultimate byproducts of constant heating of flavored liquid. And, by all means, that cannot be safer than any forms of smoking, India Times reported.

Back to the research published in the journal Oncotarget by medical students in University of Rochester- details of their experiments are making the rounds in many health domains, magazines and other journals. Their experiment involved a 3D human as main subject.

From such, they were able to discover that the rate of dead or dying cells in a normal unexposed gum rapidly increased from 2% to 53% in a span of 3-day exposure to the notorious e-cigarette.

Over 20% smokers consume smuggled cigarettes

Over 20% of smokers puff tax-evaded smuggled cigarettes in Pakistan as heavy taxes on locally manufactured products continue to hit the industry hard.

“These LTE (local tax-evaded) cigarettes are extremely cheap,” said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in the Annual Report on the State of Economy in fiscal year 2015-16.

“Average selling price of LTE brands in Pakistan is Rs27 per pack, which is far below the minimum tax per pack of Rs33.8,” said the central bank quoting Nielsen’s report on “The challenge of illicit trade in cigarettes: impact and solutions for Pakistan-2015”.

“In 2014, 17.3 billion local tax-evaded cigarettes were sold in the country, which was 21.1% of the total cigarette market in Pakistan,” it said.

The central bank added the price of locally manufactured cigarettes had increased over the years mainly due to imposition of excise taxes. This has created a huge price gap against illicit (non-duty paid, smuggled and counterfeit) cigarettes.

The number of illicit cigarette smokers is gradually expanding with the passage of time. “Nearly one billion cigarettes are added every year to the black market,” it added.

No US-FDA certified medicine plant

Separately, the State Bank highlighted that Pakistan had not a single medicine manufacturing plant, which was working in compliance with the standards prescribed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Pakistan does not have FDA-approved plants despite the size of the industry standing at $2 billion with a population of 200 million people.

On the contrary, Jordan and Bangladesh with an industry size of $1.5 billion each and population of 17 million and 170 million, respectively, have three and five FDA-certified plants.

“FDA approved plants allow firms to make inroads into markets of advanced economies,” the central bank said.

Pakistan’s pharmaceutical industry used to be the most modern in this region during the 1960s. However, it could not keep pace with the developments taking place in other countries.

The industry is facing “some underlying issues, such as strict regulation, unpredictable price structure, lack of patent protection, abundant supply of counterfeits and lack of US FDA approved plants,” it said.

Accordingly, the growth in the pharmaceutical industry slowed down to 6.5% in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016 from 7.5% in the preceding year, according to the bank.

Steel production slumps

The overall steel production witnessed a contraction of 9.3% in FY16, compared to a growth of 35.4% in the previous year.

“The suspension of PSM’s (Pakistan Steel Mills) operations overshadowed the notable performance of private steel manufacturers,” the SBP said.

The steel industry mainly faced two key challenges during the year which constrained domestic private manufacturers from effectively utilising their capacity expansions.

First, the deepening liquidity crisis in PSM caused its operations to come to a complete standstill from July 2015.

Second, the unprecedented decline in international steel prices, coupled with the influx of cheap Chinese steel under the free trade agreement, squeezed the profit margins of domestic firms.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2016.

South Australia looks to restrict e-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes will be subject to the same restrictions as tobacco products under new laws proposed by the South Australian government.

Under current laws the devices can legally be sold to children and used in places where ordinary cigarettes cannot.

But Substance Abuse Minister Leesa Vlahos says the changes will bring them into line with conventional cigarettes, banning the sale to children, their use in enclosed public spaces and preventing any advertising or promotion.

Curbing tobacco pays dividends

Hardly anyone starts smoking after age 21, for obvious reasons: By adulthood, people can better grasp the deadly risks and expense of tobacco addiction.

That explains why tobacco companies target marketing to young adults, ages 18 to 21. “They know it is a critical time period for solidifying tobacco addiction,” according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

This addiction is life-changing and life-ending: Smoking eventually kills a third of those who become smokers before age 18. It is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., killing more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders and suicides — combined.

This argues for legislation under consideration by Columbus City Council to ban tobacco sales, including e-cigarettes, to those younger than 21. (A public hearing will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Columbus City Hall, 90 W. Broad Street.)

While, generally, government should not be in the position of dictating personal choices to adults, who now might purchase tobacco products at 18, it has overriding reasons to intervene:

Big Tobacco spends more than $1 million a day — an estimated $425.7 million a year — marketing its product in Ohio. A government ban on sales to those most susceptible to the industry’s subliminal and overt advertising efforts evens the playing field. And it meets government’s obligation to protect citizens’ health, including efforts to reduce Ohio’s high infant-mortality rate.

Federal studies also show 95 percent of smokers begin before age 21. Delaying addiction amounts to preventing it.

Taxpayers bear an enormous expense from tobacco use. Smoking-related Medicaid costs in the state total $1.72 billion a year, Tobacco Free Kids reports. It estimates each Ohio household pays $1,047 in state and federal taxes for smoking-related government expenditures.

And since many teens in middle and high school get their smokes from high-school pals or siblings who can buy at age 18, restricting the supply line could help snuff out smoking before young people can become addicted.

“If we can prevent the addiction from the beginning, that’s the right start,” said Dr. Teresa Long, health commissioner for Columbus.

Her city would join a growing number of cities and states, including California and Hawaii, that have raised the legal age for tobacco sales to 21. In Ohio, Cleveland, Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights all have similar bans.

The Columbus proposal would not criminalize the smoker, but police could charge clerks and levy fines for underage sales. Columbus Public Health says its proposed ban would differ from many other existing ones, in that it includes compliance checks and education for merchants and the public. To do so, it will hire a dedicated sanitarian and a part-time administrator. This shows the city is serious about protecting young people.

Raising the legal smoking age works: After Needham, Massachusetts, banned cigarette sales in 2005 to those under 21, tobacco use dropped by nearly half among those younger than 18.

Ohio already bans alcohol use until age 21, a recognition that youths need to develop judgment before obtaining a product that, absent abuse and far unlike tobacco, might have heart-healthy benefits.

Retailers, who would be required to purchase a $150 annual sales license, understandably question whether cities should be able to regulate tobacco sales; the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants thinks the state should decide. We agree: The legislature should follow the bold lead of its largest cities and raise the age for tobacco purchases statewide to age 21.