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How dangerous is vaping? The science remains hazy

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Is vaping a useful tool for quitting smoking or just a new way of harming your health? Countries around the world are beginning to consider this question and India on Wednesday announced a total ban on the sale of e-cigarettes,

However such legislation is running ahead of scientific research into the issue. So what do we know for sure about electronic cigarettes?

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– What do e-cigarettes contain? –

Vaping consists of inhaling the vapor of a heated liquid inside e-cigarettes.

That liquid normally contains nicotine, the highly addictive substance present in regular tobacco. Nicotine can effect brain development in the under-25s, according to some studies, and have a detrimental effect on adult brains.

However the liquids vaped do not include a number of dangerous substances found in cigarettes, such as carcinogenic tar and carbon monoxide, which can be a factor in cardiovascular diseases.

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What e-cigarettes do contain are tiny particles which enter the lungs. There are “numerous potentially toxic substances,” according to a report published last year by the US National Academies of Sciences.

Among these are metals such as nickel and lead, probably from the coil used to heat the liquid.

There are also additives considered safe in the agro-food industry but linked to pulmonary problems in their vaporized form or simply not studied at all with regard to vaping.

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The different flavors offered by e-cigarette manufacturers include tobacco but also menthol, fruit, vanilla and even candy or creme brulee, some of which have led to accusations that they are aimed at youngsters.

– So is vaping dangerous? –

Researchers have little long-term perspective on the health issues of a product which has only been on the market since the mid-2000s.

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For those who move from cigarettes to vaping, the scientific consensus is that they have chosen a less toxic alternative. They still get their nicotine fix but carcinogenic substances present in cigarettes are no longer inhaled.

“Even if it is difficult to quantify precisely the long-term toxicity of electronic cigarettes, there is evidence that it is significantly lower than traditional cigarettes,” the French Academy of Medicine opined in 2015.

The World Health Organization has remained more cautious, saying that vaping is “probably less toxic” than smoking but that there was insufficient information to quantify the risks.

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– Can vaping help smokers to quit? –

A British study published in February in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that e-cigarettes are more efficient than patches, gum or other products in helping people to stop smoking cigarettes.

But, again, the WHO says there is insufficient proof of this effect and could vary according to the type of e-cigarettes adopted.

E-cigarette manufactures complain of “misinformation” being disseminated about their products, as do some anti-smoking specialists.

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– Young e-smokers –

One of the concerns most often raised about vaping is that it attracts young people who have never even smoked cigarettes, encouraged by aggressive marketing and the variety of alcopops type flavours available.

They inhale the nicotine and studies show that vaping can in fact lead them to the more traditional cigarettes.

The protection of young people is one of the reasons cited by India for its ban on e-cigarettes.

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“The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi.

In the United States, there is talk of a vaping epidemic in high schools, with the fruit-flavored, mint and menthol versions predominating.

On Tuesday New York became the second US state, after Michigan, to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

“It is undeniable that vaping companies are deliberately using flavors like bubblegum, Captain Crunch and cotton candy to get young people hooked on e-cigarettes — it’s a public health crisis and it ends today,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced last week that it would soon ban flavored e-cigarette products to stem the rising tide of young users.

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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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Trump campaign has 12-person ‘War Room’ toiling to fight the impeachment inquiry: report

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While the White House has bragged about refusing to start a "war room" to deal with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's administration, his campaign is footing the bill for a 12-person operation, the LA Times reported Friday.

“Some of you have criticized us for not having a war room — OK? — which we don’t by the way,” acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

“You don’t have a war room when you haven’t done anything wrong," he added.

By that logic, Trump's 2020 re-election campaign may fear the president did something wrong.

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‘I don’t think he knows what he’s doing’: Ex-Trump advisor rips the ‘cascading crisis’ of his ‘strategic disaster’

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President Donald Trump received harsh criticism from a former top Middle East advisor for the ethnic cleansing campaign Turkey is waging against the Kurds in Syria.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewed Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.

"The truth of the matter is when President Trump announced to the world last December that we were leaving Syria and he arbitrarily cut our force reportedly in half, which is already a small force, we lost all of our leverage and influence," McGurk argued. "And he really threw it out the window on this call on October 6th."

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