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Anti-prohibition news from over the world

Collected live from our allies' blogs.
Note: All opinions expressed below are those of the authors only, not necessarily TICAP's.

Food and soft drink taxes in the EU

Published on 2017-06-22 14:59:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I was in Lithuania this week talking about food and soft drink taxes at the Lithuanian Free Market Institute. This is what I said...

By a bizarre coincidence, there was a big neo-temperance conference in the same hotel the following day featuring John Holmes, Robin Room and many other familiar names. Our paths did not cross.

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7 PM Happy Hour in the Smoky Drinky Bar

Published on 2017-06-22 11:05:28.
Website: Frank Davis

This morning I’ve been reviewing the events of the last few days, during which smokers have been meeting up in the Smoky Drinky Bar. I’ve been reminded once again of one of the last occasions when smokers met up, at … Continue reading →

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Fingerprint File

Published on 2017-06-21 10:39:27.
Website: Frank Davis

A worried email about the Smoky Drinky Bar this morning served to concentrate my thoughts on matters of privacy therein. The author, who will remain nameless, expressed a concern that if video recordings of the bar should be made public, … Continue reading →

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Smoky Drinky World

Published on 2017-06-20 10:39:48.
Website: Frank Davis

Regardless of exactly how it’s done technically, the effect of going to the Smoky Drinky Bar webpage is to bring a few smokers together inside a room where they can see and talk to each other, while smoking and drinking. … Continue reading →

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Reflections On Warsaw: Pissing On Chips Edition

Published on 2017-06-19 20:30:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

I thought some here may be interested in a few thoughts on my few days away in Warsaw for the fourth Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) ... which I nearly didn't make at all thanks to a car fire on the motorway on the Wednesday afternoon.

I can faithfully report that watching kids playing football on the carriageway amongst stationary traffic when you have a plane to catch in less than an hour is a deeply depressing experience. As it happens the blockage - a car which had quite literally melted by the time it had been extinguished and dragged to the hard shoulder - was cleared just in time for me to catch the flight with minutes to spare. My gallant cabbie floored it for the rest of the way and, after jumping out at the terminal while he was still travelling (I doubt he got out of second gear), managed to sprint to the gate in time for priority boarding.

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The Continuing Smoky Drinky Bar Saga

Published on 2017-06-19 11:33:21.
Website: Frank Davis

Continuing the Smoky Drinky Bar saga: I was rather exhausted yesterday, and spent a lot less time at the Smoky Drinky Bar than I had the day before. I left at about 8 pm. Apologies to all concerned for unanswered … Continue reading →

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When the chips are down

Published on 2017-06-19 09:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

There was a story in The Telegraph last week claiming that eating chips (french fries, if you're American) 'doubles your chances of death'. The headline was obviously silly, but I'm not sure the study should be taken too seriously either.

I wrote about it for the Spectator. Have a read.

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Yesterday at the Smoky Drinky Bar

Published on 2017-06-18 10:22:59.
Website: Frank Davis

Yesterday I created the Smoky Drinky Bar as a premium account on appear.in, and then wrote a blog post to announce it, and at 2 pm took up residence in the bar, and waited. I then spent the rest of … Continue reading →

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American Lung Association in Wisconsin is Lying About Health Effects of Smoking

Published on 2017-06-17 19:36:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

It used to be that the tobacco industry lied to the public in order to downplay the severe health effects of cigarette smoking. Today, it is the Wisconsin branch of the American Lung Association (ALA) that is lying about the risks of smoking.

According to the director of tobacco control and public policy for the ALA in Wisconsin: "there’s still a perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes and so for some kids who never would have tried smoking cigarettes they get the idea this might be a safer alternative."

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Where's Martin McKee?

Published on 2017-06-16 14:34:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

In September 2015 - in the wake of Public Health England throwing their weight behind e-cigs - merchants of doubt, Martin McKee and Simon Capewell, described their stance as being a house built on sand.
So does the available evidence show clearly that e-cigarettes are as effective as established quitting aids, ask McKee and Capewell.Unfortunately not. For example, a recent Cochrane review, widely cited in the PHE report, concluded the available evidence was of "low or very low quality" by recognised standards.So where does this leave Martin and his commie sidekick following yesterday's news about new smoking prevalence data from the ONS.

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Taxi for the gateway theory

Published on 2017-06-15 21:25:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

New smoking prevalence data were published today and it was egg on face time again for the anti-vaping alarmists.

Britain's smoking rate fell by 1.7 percentage points between 2015 and 2016 and has fallen by 4.3 percentage points since vaping went mainstream in 2012. All that talk about the 'gateway effect' is looking decidedly stupid now. Taxi for Capewell and McKee please!

As this graph shows, the smoking rate was flatlining between 2007 and 2012 when ASH's neo-prohibitionist efforts were in full effect. Since then, ASH have been mainly lobbying for plain packaging, a policy that came into force this year and isn't covered by the latest ONS data. The only anti-smoking law of any note since 2012 was the display ban and that wasn't introduced until 2015. Whereas government coercion failed to reduce the smoking rate, vaping in a free market worked.

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New CDC Data Should Put to Rest the Contention that E-Cigarettes are a Gateway to Youth Smoking

Published on 2017-06-15 18:21:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

New data released moments ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should put to rest the contention that electronic cigarettes are a gateway to smoking among youth. These new data show that the prevalence of smoking among high school students was cut in half in just five years - from 2011 to 2016 - at the same time as the use of e-cigarettes among these very same students increased dramatically from 1.5% to a peak of 16.0% in 2015.

There is more good news from the CDC. Not only has youth smoking declined at an unprecedented pace in the last five years, but for the first time, the prevalence of youth use of e-cigarettes has also declined, dropping from 16.0% in 2015 to 11.3% in 2016 (among high school students). Use of cigarettes among high school students continued to fall between 2015 and 2016, dropping from 9.3% to 8.0%.

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Violence in psychiatric hospitals - junk science edition

Published on 2017-06-15 12:08:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

A study has been published in The Lancet looking at whether violent assaults rose or fell after a psychiatric hospital banned smoking. Here are the results (click to enlarge)...

As you can see, it made no difference at all. See you tomorrow.

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The tobacco template

Published on 2017-06-13 20:31:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Benedict Spence has written a nice little article at Spectator Health about the inevitable demands for graphic warnings and plain packaging to be rolled out to alcohol.

Do have a read of it but also have a look at the news story that inspired it. It's a classic of the genre...

Dr Judith Mackay, an advisor to the World Health Organisation who took on the tobacco lobby [ie. people who enjoy smoking - CJS] in Asia, said there were lessons to be learned from the fight against smoking in efforts to "de-normalise" excessive alcohol or calorie consumption. 

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The March Of Bigotry

Published on 2017-06-12 18:44:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

Back in December 2015, The Soviet Republic of Brighton Council dropped plans to ban smoking outdoors on beaches and in parks due to the fact that responses to a public consultation told them to stop being a bunch of puritanical knob-gobblers and go do something worthwhile instead.

They didn't.

 Via The Brighton Argus:
CAFES, restaurants and pubs with outside eating areas will be asked to consider introducing a voluntary smoking ban.Hopefully, those with outside areas will consider the idea, then politely tell Brighton Council to fuck off.

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Ban children from cars

Published on 2017-06-12 13:02:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Sir David King in The Guardian...

The government’s latest estimates suggest that 80% of harmful pollution at the roadside in the UK is coming from cars, vans and buses. This pollution is hugely damaging for our health – tiny particles and poisonous gases are able to travel deep into our lungs and recent studies have shown they can get into our bloodstream.

For children whose lungs are still developing, these emissions are even more dangerous. They can stunt the growth of their lungs and leave them with permanent lung damage.

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Skandalöses Urteil des LG Dortmund

Published on 2017-06-09 13:01:12.
Website: Netzwerk Rauchen e.V.

Dowes sollen nach Stundenplan rauchen  „Überraschung im Prozess um den Raucherstreit von Dortmund-Grevel“, schreiben die Ruhr Nachrichten, „anders als das Amtsgericht hat das Landgericht am Donnerstag entschieden, dass ein Raucher-Ehepaar ab sofort nur noch zu festgelegten Zeiten auf der eigenen Terrasse qualmen darf.“

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Plain packaging fake news

Published on 2017-06-08 09:03:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

This brief and wafer-thin article in The Scotsman looks very much like fake news...

New packaging laws see slump in cigarette sales

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/new-packaging-laws-see-slump-in-cigarette-sales-1-4466340New plain packaging laws see slump in cigarette sales
CIGARETTE retailers have seen a dip in sales since laws enforcing plain packaging were introduced, according to a recent report.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/new-packaging-laws-see-slump-in-cigarette-sales-1-4466340Cigarette retailers have seen a dip in sales since laws enforcing plain packaging were introduced, according to a recent report.

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'Public health' versus science

Published on 2017-06-07 13:47:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I have used this image before to illustrate the relationship between 'public health' advocacy and science and medicine.

In short, 'public health' as we know it today has nothing to do with either science (the search for truth) or medicine (curing disease). It is a political movement with fixed prior beliefs. It has some of the accoutrements of science and medicine - its own journals, its own PhDs and its own systematic reviews - but, as Eric Crampton says, is it not science. It is 'sciency'.

In truth, it is a grotesque parody of science. Grotesque because it seeks to do the opposite of science by confirming dogma and narrowing thought.

Put in simple terms, the scientific method involves developing a falsifiable hypothesis and putting it to the test. Seeking to disprove - rather than prove - a hypothesis is at the heart of the scientific method, as Peter De Forest explains...

The core of the scientific method is the rigorous testing of hypotheses. Hypotheses that endeavor to explain the event are put forward, and then an earnest attempt is made to disprove each. A hypothesis that fails this testing is discarded. A modified hypothesis or new alternate hypotheses are developed and tested in turn. Only a hypothesis that survives repeated vigorous testing develops into an explanatory theory of the event. The scientific method and hypothesis testing is a cyclical, iterative process. The key to the process is the vigorousness and rigorousness of the testing. There is a human tendency to identify with a hypothesis that one has developed and to subconsciously overlook observations or data that do not fit the hypothesis. This is antithetical to good science and must be avoided. Scientists must be involved in actively attempting to disprove their own hypotheses
This is not how it works in 'public health'. In 'public health', the activist-researchers 'know' the truth before they turn on their lap top. They 'know' what the problems are (availability, advertising and affordability) and they know the solutions (bans and taxes). There is ample evidence that these beliefs are wrong-headed or, at the least, overly simplistic, but this evidence is never published in journals that are sympathetic to the cause.

One clue that 'public health' is not scientific is that their hypotheses are always proven correct (for example, take this risible attempt to claim that policy-based computer models pass the Bradford Hill criteria for causality). Its policies always work. This suggests a degree of infallibility that is beyond the reach of mere mortals.

Insofar as hypotheses are altered by 'public health' research, it is only by purporting to show that the problems are even worse than was previously believed and the solutions are even more effective than was previously believed. It is no coincidence that this is what the media and politicians want to hear. It is not science. It is PR.  

Occasionally, an activist-researchers will speak a little too freely and give the game away. Anti-smoking campaigner and Californian 'public health' professor Stanton Glantz once told an audience: 


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Everything Changes But ASH

Published on 2017-06-05 20:03:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

There was a bit of a blast from the past on Twitter today when ASH Wales tweeted this.

It's 2 weeks since final implementation of plain packaging across the UK. Here's a look at the story so far... https://t.co/b3s69lCccE pic.twitter.com/LNn2YABvNg— ASH Wales Cymru (@ASHWalesCymru) June 5, 2017
"Story" is the operative word here, because - as we have come to expect from tobacco control - it linked to a document containing a succession of fake facts like this, for example.

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Lifestyle regulation and the general election

Published on 2017-06-05 13:10:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

It might not be front of mind for everybody at election time but for single issue voters like me, only one question matters: where do the parties stand on the nanny state? For the benefit of those who have similar concerns, I have waded through every party’s manifesto to see what our would-be masters have in store for drinkers, gamblers, smokers, vapers and people who like eating food. And so, in alphabetical order and with marks out of five for devotion to lifestyle liberties, let us proceed:


I have previously argued that Theresa May is relatively sound on nanny state issues. She is reputed to have been one of the cabinet ministers who dissuaded David Cameron from introducing minimum pricing. She voted against the ban on smoking in cars and there is evidence that she watered down Cameron’s hideously paternalistic obesity strategy. We will have to wait and see if my hunch is correct because there is previous little to go in the manifesto. Aside from a vague pledge to ‘continue to take action to reduce childhood obesity’, lifestyle regulation doesn't get a look-in. Nothing on alcohol, nothing on smoking and nothing on gambling. In the spirit of misplaced optimism, I was going to assume that no news is good news and award three stars, but then I remembered plain packaging, the sugar tax and the outrageous food reformulation scam and downgraded it to two.

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Rubber Bands For New Zealand Please

Published on 2017-06-02 16:24:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

The problem with tobacco control is that it is a Goliath industry with very few big ticket items for it to go for any more, but it is still drowning in taxpayer cash.

Once a nation has advertising bans, display bans, smoking bans, graphic warnings and even pointless plain packaging, what else is there for their tobacco controllers to do with their huge salaries? Being greedy bastards, they don't make redundancies and scale back their operation - they're for too dishonest for that - but instead they flail around trying to find something, anything, to do.

Take New Zealand for example. Following a spate of violent robberies and assaults on retailers due to sky high tobacco prices (caused by bored tobacco controllers demanding them), some of the country's tobacco control glitterati came out with this hilarious piece of 'research'.

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The Mark Of Stupidity

Published on 2017-06-01 18:07:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

When the debate around plain packaging was raging in 2012/13, there was one thing that was conspicuous in its absence; that being that there was no evidence whatsoever that it would work.

You may remember anti-smoking tax spongers telling us that they'd found out kids don't like ugly things, which is true but has nothing to do with whether they'll take up smoking or not at some point. They also said that smokers had said an ugly packet might make them ring a quitline, but not whether they would actually quit smoking.

The test case was always going to be Australia and - as I mentioned just the other day - it's been shown not to be working there just as it appears now not to be having any effect on smokers or retail sales in this country either.

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Australian smoking rate has flatlined since 2013

Published on 2017-06-01 10:23:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Image courtesy of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

When plain packaging came into full force in the UK two weeks ago, anti-smoking campaigners claimed that it would somehow lead to 300,000 fewer smokers in the first twelve months. This figure was essentially plucked out of thin air. Only one country has had plain packaging in force for more than a year. That country is Australia and since we know that cigarette sales rose in the first year, it seems unlikely that the smoking rate fell at the same time.

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Congratulating The Fox For Killing The Livestock

Published on 2017-05-31 18:23:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

Today is World No Tobacco Day and to mark the occasion the Brussels-based Smoke Free Partnership - whose members include ASH and Cancer Research UK - held a lunchtime event at the EU parliament. 
The keynote speaker was Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Lithuanian Health Commissioner. If you are a vaper, you may be staggered as to what he said. Here is an edited excerpt of the speech which you can read here. How can we 'ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages' – our worldwide sustainable development goal for 2030 – without reducing smoking?  How can we reach the specific target of "reducing by one third deaths linked to chronic diseases" without reducing one of the main causes of such diseases – smoking? And finally, how can we succeed in achieving "no poverty" or "zero hunger" – other related goals – without reducing the harm that tobacco causes? The answer is: We can't!And to whom did he address this heart-rending rhetoric?I am talking here about the revised Tobacco Products Directive that Linda and I negotiated: Linda as the rapporteur at the time and myself as the Health Minister of the country holding the EU Presidency. And I would like to thank once more Linda - and also the Smoke Free Partnership - for their tireless work and commitment to this cause.The Linda in question is Linda McAvan, Labour MEP and the woman who stubbornly drove through the disgraceful regulations on e-cigs which have hampered take-up of the devices in this country and - in some cases - led to draconian measures in other EU member states which amount to a de facto ban. 

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Wer bedroht hier die Entwicklung?

Published on 2017-05-31 13:37:38.
Website: Netzwerk Rauchen e.V.

Weltantirauchertag unterbietet sich wieder selbst  Am 30. Mai ist bekanntlich der Weltuntergang, und einen Tag später kommt’s noch schlimmer, heute wird der alljährliche „World No Tobacco Day“ begangen – im Deutschen irreführend Weltnichtrauchertag genannt. Mit dem Nichtrauchen hat er nämlich nichts zu tun – sonst wäre so sinnlos wie ein Weltnichtschwimmertag –, es geht vielmehr um die Bekämpfung des Tabakgenusses, die mit den beiden bewährten Mitteln Lügen und staatlicher Zwang betrieben wird.

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Prohibitionists for human rights

Published on 2017-05-31 09:36:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

This is a new one...

After completing a collaboration with multi-national tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) to develop a “human rights implementation plan” for the company, the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) concluded that immediately stopping the sale and marketing of tobacco is the only way for tobacco companies to uphold basic human rights...
Following DIHR’s completion of their work, they concluded:

"Tobacco is deeply harmful to human health, and there can be no doubt that the production and marketing of tobacco is irreconcilable with the human right to health. For the tobacco industry, the [United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights] therefore require the cessation of the production and marketing of tobacco."

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An Object Lesson In Snobbery

Published on 2017-05-30 18:01:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

A couple of repulsive snobs have been whining in The Times about the government's obesity strategy. It is probably the most draconian in the world, but that's still not enough for these two interfering weasels.
Theresa May dropped crucial features of the childhood obesity strategy because she does not have children, a leading female restaurateur has suggested. Thomasina Miers, 41, claimed that if the prime minister had had children she would not have allowed measures such as banning junk food advertising and preventing supermarkets pushing sugary foods at children to be dropped.Rudely bringing May's childless status into the debate has led to condemnation from some quarters, but this is far more offensive in your host's humble opinion.

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Meanwhile In The Real World

Published on 2017-05-29 20:26:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

Last week, BBC Radio 5 Live featured a spot on the new TPD regulations on tobacco (around 1 hr 8 mins here), along with the cowardly gold-plating which the UK government added by including pointless plain packaging to the mix.

Part of the piece included this very telling vox pop section with retailers and consumers in Haverhill, Suffolk. It is 2 minutes long so do have a listen.

You'll note that the real people spoken to were all of the opinion that none of these silly rules will have any effect on whether people smoke or not. Those who were in retail had first hand experience of how there was absolutely no effect at all except to encourage smokers to trade down ... as we all predicted but ASH etc denied.

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CDC Bemoans the Fact that the Public Has an Accurate Understanding of Secondhand Vaping Risks

Published on 2017-05-26 12:21:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

In an article published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report the results of a national survey of U.S. adults to assess their opinion regarding the harmfulness of exposure to "secondhand" vaping (i.e., exposure to the air in a place where vaping is taking place).

The results of the study were as follows: "Overall, 5.3% of adults responded that secondhand EVP exposure caused “no harm” to children, 39.9% responded “little harm” or “some harm,” 21.5% responded “a lot of harm,” and 33.3% responded “don’t know.”"

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Why is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Congratulating a Political Leader Accused of the Murder of Thousands of Innocent Civilians?

Published on 2017-05-25 12:27:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

In a press release issued this past Tuesday, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids congratulated Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his election as the new Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Ghebreyesus' CV notes that he "facilitated critical health investments and reforms that helped expand health care access to tens of millions of Ethiopians," which sounds like a strong qualification for his election to this position as leader of WHO. However, the CV is only telling part of the story.

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The nanny state we're in

Published on 2017-05-25 11:35:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Since the first edition of the Nanny State Index was published in March 2016, there have been many regulatory changes, most of them for the worse. Of the 28 countries included, all but six of them have a higher score than they did last year.

2016 was a particularly bad year for vapers. Eleven countries now forbid the use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is banned after Finland, Luxembourg, Hungary and Poland joined the fold. As governments seek to raise money and protect their tobacco revenues, there is also a growing trend towards taxing e-cigarette fluid. Greece, Slovenia, Romania, Latvia and Hungary all introduced new taxes in 2016, and e-cigarette tax rates now range from €0.01 per ml in Latvia to €0.60 per ml in Portugal. Although some governments have been slow to recognise the health benefits of safer nicotine products, they have been quick to see their potential for raising revenue. The emergence of ‘heat-not-burn’ technology, such as iQOS, has inspired Greece and Slovakia to approve new taxes that specifically target tobacco for ‘electronically heated’ products.

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