Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 4

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12 tobaccoasia FRONT PAGES 卷首新闻 UK Study: e-cig vapor not harmful According to a review of several dozen electronic cigarette studies published in the journal Addiction, when compared to regular tobacco cigarettes, electronic cigarettes are a lot safer to use than conventional ones. The comprehensive research, partly funded by the US National Institutes of Health, was conducted by an international team of healthcare experts and tobacco research- ers lead by senior author Dr. Hayden McRobbie, from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London. The scientists examined a total of 81 electronic cigarette studies that mainly focused on general safety of e-cigarette products, particularly the chemicals present in the e-liquids and vapor. The analysis of the studies revealed that the benefits of using e-cigarettes greatly outweigh the risks. The researchers found no evidence that electronic cigarette vapor is harmful to users or bystanders, or that e-cigarettes acted as a gateway to smoking for young people, as opponents of e-cigs frequently claim. Quite the opposite, the data showed that there has been a drop in the number of child smokers when e-cigarette sales started to grow. "If there are any risks, these will be many times lower than the risks of smoking tobacco," McRobbie said. "We need to think carefully about how these products are regulated. What we found is that there is no evidence that these products should be regulated as strictly as tobacco, or even more strictly than tobacco." Professor Peter Hajek, at the UK Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at Queen Mary University of London, said that "the evidence we currently have is clear: e-cigarettes should be allowed to compete against conventional cigarettes in the marketplace. Health care profes- sionals may advise smokers who are unwilling to cease nicotine use to switch to e-cigarettes." Based on their findings, the scientists urged policy makers around the world to be mindful of how they regulate electronic cigarettes. According to the researchers, regulation should ensure easy access to electronic cigarettes so they can compete with tobacco analogs. Sri Lanka Court orders graphic warnings The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka recently ordered Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC), the Sri Lankan subsidiary of British American Tobacco and the leading manufacturer of tobacco products in the country, to attach graphic health warnings that are to cover 60% of the front and the back of all the cigarette packs released to the market from January 1, 2015. A panel of three judges delivered the verdict when it heard the appeal filed by the CTC against a lower court ruling that mandated the company to display such graphic warnings on its cigarette packs. A lower court dismissed a CTC appeal against the legislation intended to cover 80% of the surface on cigarette packs, but asked the Indian Ministry of Health to amend the law and allocate between 50% and 60% of the surface area for the health warnings. The newly amended regulations were due to be implemented from July 1, 2014. The CTC earlier this month said it would continue to produce and supply cigarettes to the market in its current form until a final decision is reached by the Supreme Court. South Korea Tobacco cures dementia Korean researchers recently discovered a protein in tobacco leaves that can cure dementia. The scientific team involved in the research plans to create a new drug for dementia within five years. It has already been awarded a local patent and a pharmaceutical firm that specializes in dementia medicine has expressed interest and signed an agreement with the researchers to manufacture the drug when it is ready to be introduced to the market. The team, headed by Professor Kim Myeong-ok from the department of Neurobiology at Gyeongsang National University, discovered and managed to extract a special protein substance from the leaves of a tobacco plant. Dementia is caused by the formation of amyloid plaque, which severs the connection between nerve cells. The researchers say that the new tobacco substance helps to remove the plaque and restore the severed neural links. "Through various experiments we have confirmed that the substance is similar to the human cell structure and has no toxins. We have also confirmed that it has no side effects," said Prof. Myeong-ok. In experiences, lab mice treated with the new substance improved their dementia symptoms by over 80%. If the research proves effective in human trials, the natural protein extracted from tobacco leaves will be the world's first cure for dementia, since existing medications only reduce symptoms of the disease. UK PMI ready to sue The world's largest tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) announced it is prepared to sue the British government if a law requiring plain packaging of cigarettes is imple- mented in the UK. The law would mean cigarette boxes and packs would not be allowed to have any form of branding on them in the UK, but will have graphic warnings on them instead, mirroring the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 already in force in Australia. The government said in April it wanted to implement plain packaging. After the Department of Health published its draft regulations in June, it launched a six-week consultation period that ended last week. Reacting to the news, PMI an- nounced that it "is prepared to protect its rights in the courts and to seek fair compensation for the value of its property." PMI, the maker of the Marlboro brand of cigarettes, has spent years on marketing strategy to gain the foothold that is currently has in the UK tobacco industry. "'Standardized packaging' is a euphemism for government-mandated destruction of property," said Philip

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