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Vaping-related illness sickens over 500 in US

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More than 500 people have been sickened in an outbreak of vaping-related illness in the United States, health authorities said Thursday, as Los Angeles became the latest city to take steps to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

The known tally from the mysterious lung disease has jumped from 380 to 530, although the number of deaths stood unchanged at seven, according to a weekly report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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More than half the cases involved patients under 25 years of age and three-quarters were men, Anne Schuchat, the centers’ principal deputy director, said. Sixteen percent of those taken ill were under age 18.

E-cigarettes have been touted as a safer alternative to smoking, but critics say the risks are insufficiently understood, while flavored vaping liquids appeal particularly to children and risk getting them addicted to nicotine.

The US Food and Drug Administration’s laboratories are testing more than 150 samples of suspect product, but have yet to identify the substance responsible for the patients’ severe pulmonary disease, said Mitch Zeller, who directs the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products.

“There is no consistent pattern when it comes to what product is being used, what products plural are being used, how they’re being used, where they might have been purchased, and what might have happened to the products along the way, from the time that they were put into the hands of the end user to the, to the moment of aerosolization, and, inhalation,” Zeller said.

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Investigators have so far been careful not to point the finger at any one brand, product or source.

In many cases, vaping refills containing THC, the principal psychoactive compound in cannabis, were linked to those taken ill.

Refills are often purchased on the street or internet, since cannabis remains illegal in many parts of the United States. Counterfeit refills whose ingredients are unknown could also be at cause.

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The FDA, whose Office of Criminal Investigations is now involved in the inquiry, is running tests to determine with what substances the nicotine or THC was cut, as well as whether any additional diluents, additives, pesticides, poison or toxins were used.

Health authorities first realized in July that vaping was linked to the severe breathing difficulties, coughing, chest pain and even nausea being reported by young people.

Most reported that they had vaped cannabis-laced e-liquids, but some said they had used only nicotine products.

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Reacting swiftly to the health scare, the state of New York banned flavored e-cigarettes Tuesday, effective immediately, following in the footsteps of Michigan which declared a ban earlier this month that has yet to go into effect.

On Thursday, the city attorney for Los Angeles, Mike Feuer, likewise recommend a citywide ban on flavored tobacco products.

And in India authorities announced on Wednesday a ban on the sale of all electronic cigarettes.

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“I know that this is very frustrating for the public and the media,” said Schuchat. “It’s very frustrating for us. This is a complex investigation. And I don’t think that we should expect definitive answers imminently.”


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Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

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"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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The faith of Fox News: How the network’s propaganda warps viewers’ sense of reality

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A longtime sticking point among Fox News employees is their insistent differentiation between its news division, where employees practice actual journalism, and its opinion division, where employees practice actual nativism, spew misinformation, and have been actively campaigning for Donald Trump’s re-election since 2016.  Inside the organization, they claim to believe that the news side is separate from the opinion side, and insist that the audience can tell the difference.

News anchor Shepard Smith once characterized comparing the two as “apples and teaspoons.”

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