FDA to restrict sale of flavored Juul pods to fight teen vaping

Flavored pods make getting into Juuling easier for teens.
Image: scott olson/Getty Images

It’s like taking candy away from a baby.

The FDA will move to ban Juul’s fun flavors from most convenience stores to fight teen use of the product, reports the New York Times. The agency will also require stricter age verification measures for buying Juuls online.

The new policies are part of the FDA’s investigation into teens’ love of the product, and whether Juul itself is to blame. In September, the FDA gave JUUL 60 days to introduce new initiatives to fight teen use. Now that time has expired, the FDA is taking action themselves. The restrictions will also apply to other big tobacco companies that sell flavored nicotine pods. The FDA will reportedly share further details of the plan the week of November 12. 

Juul pods come in mango, cucumber, fruit, and creme, in addition to mint, menthol, Virginia tobacco, and classic tobacco. The FDA won’t allow gas stations and convenience stores to sell the more teen-friendly flavors: mango, cucumber, fruit, and creme. Vape shops and other “specialty retailers” will still be able to sell all the flavors, according to Reuters.

There aren’t details yet about how the stricter age verifications will work. Juul already restricts all online sales of its products to its own website, and is fighting counterfeiters who sell fake Juuls all over the internet. This is part of their push to curb teen vaping, because the Juul site already requires shoppers to verify their age with their social security number.

Juul’s age verification page.

Image: screenshot: rachel kraus/mashable/juul

Juul’s age verification page.

Image: SCREENSHOT: RACHEL KRAUS/MASHABLE/JUUL

Juul bills itself as a way to help adult smokers quit; it says that if you have never smoked, you should never start Juuling. But Juul has 70 percent of the market share of vaping devices. And Juuls in particular are the beloved e-cig brand of the high school set; “Juuling” is all over teenage social media, and a University of Michigan survey even found that 1 in 4 high school seniors said they vaped in 2017.

Going after flavored pods may be a good step in fighting teen use. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reported that flavored pods might be easing the runway into vaping: 81 percent of 12-17 year olds “who had ever used e-cigarettes had used a flavored e-cigarette the first time they tried the product,” their report reads. And flavored pods remain popular even after the first time: “81.5 percent of current youth e-cigarette users said they used e-cigarettes “because they come in flavors I like.”

Given that research, restricting sales of the flavors might deter some first time Juulers. Although, plenty of companies sell other flavored pods that still work with Juuls.

However, the Campaign — and anyone who has eyes — first attributes the rise of Juul to the “sleek design” and easy ability to hide the activity from adults. That is, like so many other trends, it’s the rebellious, aesthetic cool-factor of Juul that has made it so popular with teenagers — not just fun flavors. 

Juuling is also a verb all its own that specifically does not look like smoking; it’s a necessarily nonchalant action in the same way smoking was, but with an under the radar swagger all its own.

That aura is something harder for the FDA to regulate. The cool factor (and subsequent use) of cigarettes has only ebbed as the adverse health effects and stigma have taken precedence over the James Dean look. Teens also reportedly don’t view vapes as being that bad for them, despite current research indicating that vaping comes with health risks all its own. 

Juul and the FDA have a long road ahead of them if they’re both committed, together, to getting teens to stop Juuling. Making mango pods slightly harder to buy isn’t the end of the road.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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FDA To Restrict Sales Of Fruit And Candy-Flavored E-Cigarettes

Los Angeles, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration next week will issue a ban on the sale of fruit- and candy-flavored electronic cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations, an agency official said, in a move to counter a surge in the teenage use of e-cigarettes.

The ban means only tobacco, mint and menthol flavors can be sold at these outlets, the agency official said, potentially dealing a major blow to Juul Labs Inc, the San Francisco-based market leader in vape devices.

The FDA also will introduce stricter age-verification requirements for online sales of e-cigarettes. The FDA’s planned restrictions, first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed to Reuters by the official, do not apply to vape shops or other specialty retail stores.

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The ban means only tobacco, mint and menthol flavors can be sold in convenience stores and gas stations.

There has been mounting pressure for action after preliminary federal data showed teenage use had surged by more than 75 percent since last year, and the FDA has described it as an “epidemic”.

“E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous ‒ and dangerous ‒ trend among teens,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in September. “The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It’s simply not tolerable.”

That growth has coincided with the rise of Juul, whose sales of vaping devices grew from 2.2 million in 2016 to 16.2 million devices last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency threatened in September to ban Juul and four other leading e-cigarette products unless their makers took steps to prevent use by minors. The FDA gave Juul and four big tobacco companies 60 days to submit plans to curb underage use, a compliance period that is now ending.

The planned restrictions on flavors in convenience stores are likely to have the biggest impact on Juul, which sells nicotine liquid pods in flavors such as mango, mint, fruit and creme, previously called creme brulee.

The only other e-cigarette competitors sold at convenience stores are those marketed primarily by tobacco companies such as Altria Group Inc, British American Tobacco Plc, Imperial Brands Plc and Japan Tobacco Inc .

Those products, sold under the MarkTen, blu, Vuse and Logic brands, have lost market share as Juul has risen to prominence over the last year, growing from 13.6 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market in early 2017 to nearly 75 percent now, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen retail data.

E-cigarette products represent a small share of revenue for major tobacco companies, whereas Juul’s business is built entirely on the vaping devices. Revenue from e-cigarette devices made up less than 1 percent of British American Tobacco’s global revenue for the first six months of 2018, according to a company filing from July.

Altria last month announced it would stop selling its pod-based electronic cigarettes, generally smaller devices that use pre-filled nicotine liquid cartridges, in response to the FDA’s concerns about teen usage. The company also said it would restrict flavors for its other e-cigarette products to tobacco, menthol and mint.

Representatives from Altria, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening. A Juul spokeswoman declined to comment.

The companies have previously said their products are intended for adult use and that they work to ensure retailers comply with the law.

Juul has previously said the company wants to be “part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people” but that “appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch.”

Meredith Berkman, a founder of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, which seeks to curb underage use, said the agency’s move was a “good first step,” but added that “the final step should have happened yesterday.”

“Why not do away with flavors altogether, why not do away with online sales altogether?” she said.

E-cigarettes have been a divisive topic in the public health community. Some focus on the potential for the products to shift lifelong smokers onto less harmful nicotine products, while others fear they risk drawing a new generation into nicotine addiction.

Last year the FDA, under Gottlieb, extended until 2022 a deadline for e-cigarette companies to comply with new federal rules on marketing and public health.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Over 200 shopping centres ‘in crisis’

Image copyright Getty Images

More than 200 UK shopping centres are in danger of falling into administration, experts are warning.

The demise of “major anchor stores” like BHS and Toys R Us and the rise of online shopping has caused a “downward spiral”, analyst Nelson Blackley said.

Many of the at-risk centres are owned by US private equity firms under deals that will need refinancing.

“If centres close, particularly in small towns, it will be catastrophic,” Mr Blackley said.

“We have too many of them, doing exactly the same – the same range of stores and products – and basically that’s not attractive,” he added.

In pictures: The rise and fall of shopping centres

Mother and daughter Helena Waszczyszyn and Anja Ramsden, from Nottingham, said the city’s Broadmarsh Centre was “empty and soulless”.

While it is not one of the 200 owned by private equity, the centre has seen shops close over the course of the past decade and is currently awaiting an £86m redevelopment.

Ms Ramsden said: “The shops have gone one by one – even when they were there they were a bit rubbish.

“It’s desolate in there. There’s a toilet, somewhere to sit and it’s out of the rain, that’s it.”

Image caption Mother and daughter Helena and Anja described their city’s shopping centre as “desolate”

Jasmin Stephenson, from Eastwood in Nottinghamshire, had a similar view of the centre, saying: “I literally only go if I have to.”

“A few years ago a lot of businesses closed down and cleared out,” she said.

“They said they were going to renovate it but nothing has happened. It’s not a place I go to now.

“It’s a shame, as a lot of history was demolished to make way for it and it’s just a concrete block. That’s quite depressing.”

Mr Blackley, from the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, said the growth of online retail in the UK – on sites such as Amazon – had been faster than in almost any other retail market in the world.

“If the major anchor store moves out, that has a halo effect on other stores in that centre. It’s a downward spiral and you can’t fill shopping centres with nail bars and vape shops.”

Steve Hall, from Essex, said: “I like shopping centres but they do seem to be dying and I wish some money was spent on making them good again.”

Image caption Steve Hall, from Essex, says shopping centres “seem to be dying”

Mr Blackley, who is based at Nottingham Trent University’s Nottingham Business School, pointed to research in the Financial Times that suggested about £2.5bn worth of shopping centres and retail parks are up for sale in towns and cities across the UK.

Some of this marketing is unofficial and not in the public domain,” he said.

“It’s a trend that’s moving very quickly. You don’t necessarily want to be in the business of owning shopping centres at the moment.

“People are suggesting a number of leading national retailers are on the edge and may close and that would bring shopping centres down with them.

“The collapse of BHS, two years ago, left empty units in around 200 shopping centres and more than half of those large, empty units have not yet been filled.”

Image copyright Getty Images

The crisis is affecting shopping centres across the UK, regardless of their location Daniel Mead from asset management firm APAM said.

All kinds of shopping centres, regardless of location or whether they are in small towns or major cities, could be affected,” he said.

“What they have in common is the way in which they are funded – the capital structure behind them. Obviously, if the centre is in a more affluent location, the problem could be easier to fix.”

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption The Nicholsons Centre, in Maidenhead, went into receivership in October

One centre which recently went into receivership is the Nicholsons Shopping Centre in Maidenhead which, according to the Financial Times, was bought by Vixcroft, a private equity-backed property specialist and hedge fund Cheyne Capital in 2015.

The paper described Nicholsons as “one of the first significant collapses among dozens of UK retail property assets bought by opportunistic investors”.

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Some centres seem to be caught in a “downward spiral”

Centres stagnating?

Residents have spoken to the BBC about their concerns regarding a number of shopping centres up and down the country, where they feel empty units and an apparent lack of investment have led to stagnation.

  • Kettering’s Newlands Centre, which is backed by private equity, has seen the closure of a number of outlets. “It’s a sad scene at the moment,” said Paul Ansell, chair of the town’s civic society. “There is a cycle of shops opening and closing and I’m not sure what they can do to improve it.”
  • The Guildhall in Stafford, also backed by a private equity group, has seen many retailers vacate the centre in favour of the town’s new Riverside complex. “We are concerned it’s not as vibrant and active as it was,” said William Read, of the Stafford Historical and Civic Society. “I walked through there the other day and about 15-20% of the units are empty.” Both private equity groups have been contacted for a comment.
  • The Callendar Square shopping centre in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, was bought by “global real estate investment manager” Colony Northstar in 2015. In 2006, the centre was valued at more than £25m but local media reported it sold for little more than £1m at auction last year.
  • The Broadmarsh in Nottingham is owned by Intu – currently the subject of a takeover bid – which operates shopping centres across the UK. While it does not face the same issues as private-equity backed centres, Mr Blackley said it offers “about as bad a retail experience as you can get without the centre physically closing”. Nigel Wheatley, the centre’s general manager, said preparations were under way for its “exciting transformation”. Intu, which runs the centre, said it was currently undertaking “preparatory work” for a planned £86m redevelopment.

The research to identify “at-risk” centres was carried out by APAM, which said it had found many of the affected centres had been the subject of short-term speculative deals.

Executive director Simon Cooke said: “We think these shopping centres have been hit with the perfect storm of defaulting retail markets, weaker consumer spending, the impact of the internet and rising rents and rates, making it very difficult for retailers to trade and make a profit.

“We perceive many of these borrowers beginning to breach land covenants.”

Image copyright Getty Images

Mr Cooke said most of the centres “in crisis” were the subject of deals that are due to be refinanced.

“They have to return money to their investors,” said Mr Cooke. “That’s not looking very likely. Frankly, the centres are either going to have to be sold at a lower price or have capital injected in order to regenerate and we don’t see banks having an appetite for that.”

“These are big tracts of land, occupying a central space in towns,” he said.

“You could see increasing vandalism, increasing crime, with a knock-on impact on infrastructure. I’m not suggesting every town is going to face these problems but we need to stop the rot.”

“Politicians need to come up with a plan to kick-start the regeneration of shopping centres,” he added.

A government spokesman said: “It’s true that high streets are changing, like they always have, and we’re committed to helping communities adapt.”

They said the government had put together an “expert panel” to “diagnose the issues affecting the high street and develop recommendations that will help them thrive”.


Image copyright Lidl
Image caption This site in Richmond, London, will be occupied by both a store and a school

The future of shopping centres

The trend of closing shopping centres is fairly well-known in the US, where “dead mall” or “ghost mall” is the term that describes the decaying edifices left when mainstream department stores have moved out.

“Many of the challenges facing shopping centres in the UK are mirrored in the USA,” said Mr Blackley.

Centres that have prospered, he said, have been canny about expanding their offer.

“UK shopping centres must change if they are to survive,” according to Mr Blackley.

“They need to think like a hospitality brand. There has been a marked shift to the ‘experience economy’, and an increase in spend on food and beverage, which is now accounting for over 20% of total spend in some of the newest schemes.

“Some of the big centres in the UK are incorporating Sea Life Centres, ice rinks, indoor ski slopes. These are the shopping centres that, in my view, will survive.

“There’s no doubt that if shopping centres don’t deliver an experience consumers want, they will fall by the wayside.”

Image copyright Jason Lock
Image caption Shopping centres should incorporate visitor attractions such as Sea Life, according to the experts

Some of the other visions for the future are similarly radical.

Mr Mead, head of shopping centre asset management at APAM, said community facilities such as libraries, medical centres and even schools could all sit within retail complexes.

“In Richmond, a new school is being built above a Lidl store, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility,” he said.

“What people like about shopping centres is that they are centrally located with good transport links. The NHS has expressed interest in having a presence in some centres. With a chemist and other retailers already located there, it would be like a one-stop shop in the town centre.

“The problem is, these centres are run by investors who have a short-term approach and haven’t the skill-sets or investments to embrace the kind of changes required. There needs to be a joint venture created with local communities to fix the problem.”


Image copyright Shearer Property Group
Image caption Coventry’s plans for its centre are seen as a positive move for the city

In recent months, some local authorities have bought unloved shopping centres from investors keen to offload them.

“In February 2018, Canterbury City Council struck one of the largest shopping centre deals involving a council on record, taking full control of Whitefriars Shopping Centre in the city,” said Mr Blackley.

“The local authority bought out global fund manager TH Real Estate’s 50% stake for £75m.”

In Shrewsbury, Shropshire Council bought three centres – including one that was neglected – to “support economic growth and regeneration” in the town centre.

Whether such schemes will work depends on the passion and vision of the authorities concerned and whether they are able to secure private investment.

Image copyright Jack Alford

In Coventry, the city council’s plan to work with private investors to redevelop its post-war shopping precincts is seen as a good example of how to revive a shopping centre.

“But such investments by councils do risk public money,” said Mr Blackley.

“In too many cases, councils are trying to plug a gap and I don’t think that is sustainable long term.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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This strange cedar egg wants to help you breathe deep and calm down

In moments of stress and anxiety, there are those of us who find it difficult to breathe — and paradoxically, many reach for a cigarette or vape as a way to manage that. But what if instead of nicotine or smoke, the device you grabbed put fresh air in your lungs and helped you calm down? That’s the idea behind the Kitoki.

Looking a bit like an oversized bean with a sippy cup tip on the end, the Kitoki is a striking but not immediately attractive device. It’s not really clear what it’s supposed to do. And indeed after trying it, I’m still not entirely sure. But I like it anyway.

The idea is this: When you need to calm down, you grab the Kitoki. Its rounded shape and smooth cedar make it a pleasant thing to hold in the first place. Then you put your fingers on the little buttons and take a deep breath through the mouthpiece. A tiny LED lights up when the device senses that you have taken a deep enough breath. The idea here is to prevent hyperventilation and promote calmness, and sometimes a cue can be helpful for that.

While and after you’re taking this breath, your galvanic skin response (an electrical measurement affected by sweat) is measured via the little metal dots. This is supposed to be a general indicator of stress (take all these claims with a grain of salt, naturally) and the device monitors it and, the company claims, de-noises the signal and finds something worthwhile in it. If it decides you’ve calmed down while you’ve been using the device, it gives you a little buzz. If not, take another breath.

The air I breathed when I tried the device seemed different, but I don’t think there’s any kind of scent module in there. It might just be that it is drawn through channels in the cedar and given a fresh sort of taste. If anything it might just be some tiny bit of essential oil — no nicotine or e-juice or anything like that.

The Kitoki isn’t going to change the world, but I like the design and the intent behind it. It’s a friendly little device, simple and well made, and it’s about calmness and mindfulness rather than productivity and speed. We could all stand to stop and take a deep breath once in a while.

CES

Read more: https://techcrunch.com

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UK’s ‘unhealthiest’ High Streets revealed

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Fast food outlets in Blackpool, which has the third most unhealthy High Street in the UK

Britain’s High Streets are getting unhealthier, according to a report analysing 70 major UK towns and cities.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) ranked High Streets with more payday lenders, bookmakers, tanning salons and fast food outlets the worst.

There was a clear link between deprived areas and unhealthy High Streets.

Grimsby led the unhealthy High Street list ahead of Walsall and Blackpool, while Edinburgh, Canterbury and Taunton had the healthiest outlets.

Outlets that were considered good for people included leisure centres, health services, libraries and museums and art galleries.

The report also considered pubs and bars as being good for people, because they are centres for social interaction.

However, they are in decline and many people are using the UK’s 22,000 coffee shops as places to socialise, eat and drink instead.

The number of fast-food outlets on UK streets rose by 4,000 between 2014 and 2017 and there was a clear link between deprived areas and unhealthy High Streets.

London’s High Streets were not considered in the report, as they have been ranked separately in the city.

Each business was scored on the basis of whether it encouraged healthy lifestyle choices, promoted social interaction and greater access to health services.

The UK’s 10 unhealthiest High Streets are:

  • Grimsby
  • Walsall
  • Blackpool
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Northampton
  • Bolton
  • Wolverhampton
  • Huddersfield
  • Bradford

The UK’s 10 healthiest High Streets are:

  • Edinburgh
  • Canterbury
  • Taunton
  • Shrewsbury
  • Cheltenham
  • York
  • Brighton & Hove
  • Eastbourne
  • Exeter
  • Cambridge

The report paints a picture of the rapidly changing British High Street dominated by cafes and coffee shops, convenience stores, off-licences, vape shops and boarded-up premises.

Vape shops were counted as a “healthier” business, because of their role in discouraging smoking. However, the report added the “precise long-term effects of vaping are unknown”.

Shirley Cramer, RSPH chief executive said: “When our time and money are converted into a loss at the bookmaker, a tan from a sunbed, a high-cost loan or a bucket of fried chicken, the High Street is enabling and supporting poor health behaviours.

“Our Health on the High Street rankings illustrate how unhealthy businesses concentrate in areas which already experience higher levels of deprivation, obesity and lower life expectancy.

“Reshaping these High Streets to be more health-promoting could serve as a tool to help redress this imbalance.”

Image copyright RCPH
Image caption Canterbury has the second healthiest High Street in the country
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Empty businesses on Freeman Street in Grimsby, which used to be the town’s main shopping area

The rise in online retail is linked to the growing numbers of empty premises, which have increased from 7% in 2007 to 11% in 2017.

This year the High Street has seen several big name closures including Toys R Us and Maplin and, in this week’s Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond cut the business rates for small retailers, and proposed a new tax on online retailers in an effort to boost physical shops.

Image copyright RSPH
Image caption An empty shop in Grimsby

However industry bodies said the changes didn’t go far enough.

The RSPH is calling for further measures including urging local authorities to make vacant properties publicly accessible for what is known as “meanwhile use” – pop-up art galleries or community centres.

The London rankings showed that the borough of Haringey boasted both the most unhealthy street, West Green Road in Seven Sisters, and the healthiest one, in Muswell Hill.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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People Are Now Using E-Cigarettes To Vape Their Vitamins

Forget smoking nicotine, cannabis, and even Viagra. The latest fad is to vape vitamins. That’s right – the tobacco industry is now rebranding itself with a new, “healthy” image to appeal to a wellness-orientated generation. 

When e-cigs first hit the market, they were sold as a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes with one study in 2015 claiming they were “around 95 percent less harmful”. The jury’s still out on exactly how much healthier they are and more recent studies have also linked vaping to lung inflammation, cancer, immune system repression, and windpipe damage

And so, while the consensus is that they probably are better for you than regular cigarettes, the vaping industry is changing tack. Several companies are now selling e-juice concoctions made from vitamins and essential oils, and skipping the nicotine.

So, what’s the medical verdict? 

“To me, [using vitamins and nutrients] is a marketing ploy to sell this product and make it look healthier. Consumers associate vitamins with health,” Regan Bailey, a nutritional epidemiologist at Purdue University, told Scientific American. “These products might be completely safe, but they might not be. We know literally nothing about the safety or efficacy of inhaling vitamins.”

Even the vape companies themselves debate the relative merits (and safety) of inhaling different vitamins, picking and choosing scientific studies like they are at a pick n’ mix stand at your local cineplex.

Take George Michalopoulos, who started his vitamin vaping business to provide vitamin B supplements to vegans like himself. He told Scientific American he specifically chose not to include vitamin D in his products because “inhalation of vitamin D might be toxic”.

Avi Kwitel, who is co-founder and CEO of Sparq, thinks differently. Vitamin D is incorporated into his products because of research he says shows that “inhaling vitamin D is a potentially promising and safe strategy”. That was one study – and it was on neonatal rats.

The moral of the story? There isn’t enough evidence to either prove or disprove the health benefits (and dangers) of inhaling various vitamins but until there is, it just isn’t worth the risk. The language used by these companies mirror the language used by many in the supplement and cosmetic industries – vague, misleading, and sometimes downright false statements dressed up as scientifically credible facts. 

For example, Michalopoulos’ companies, Breathe and VitaminVape, even include a “science” page, that makes various unsubstantiated claims like “vitamin B12 is NOT sensitive to the heat associated with vaporizing” and “[B12 inhalation] is many times more efficient than pill absorption, and comparable only to injections.”

As always, the best way to make sure you are getting the recommended daily doses of vitamins is to eat them or, as in the case of vitamin d, get some sunlight, unless you are specifically told to take them by your medical practitioner (ie you have a deficiency or are pregnant). Most healthy adults should be able to get the nutrients they need through their diet, not through pills, not through IV drip, and definitely not through vaping. Let’s just say, it’s incredibly telling when even Dr Oz – known for his endorsement of certain questionable “health” practices – is telling readers “Don’t be fooled!”

[H/T: Scientific American

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com

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Vaping kits for prisoners to cost 150,000

Image caption Vaping kits were handed out by the prison service ahead of the ban coming into force

More than £100,000 has been spent buying vaping kits for inmates in Scottish jails, it has emerged.

It follows a nationwide ban on smoking in prisons which came into force at the end of November.

The Scottish Prisoner Service has given out about 7,500 of the vaping kits.

It said it would make long-term savings through improvements to the health of staff and prisoners. However, campaigners have questioned whether this is good value for money.

About 72% of inmates smoke compared with 16% of Scots in the wider population.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Request, the SPS said it expected the total cost of the vaping kit scheme to be about £150,000.

Image caption The kits cost about £14 and include a pen, charger and pack of three flavoured liquids

Each vaping kit supplied by the prison service – which includes a pen, a charger and a pack of three flavoured liquids – costs £14.

“It’s a very positive step for the well-being of the people in our care and the people who work for us,” said SPS spokesman Tom Fox.

“I think it’s money well spent. The health benefits for our staff and those in our care greatly outweigh any initial cost we have introducing the programme.”

The air quality in prisons has risen by an average of 80% since smoking was banned, according to the SPS.

Image caption The SPS says air quality in prisons has improved since smoking was banned

BBC Scotland spoke to some female inmates at HMP Edinburgh who said they were not in favour of the smoking ban, but that the vaping kits made it more bearable.

“There’s not been a lot of trouble, or anything like that, since the smoking ban came in, which you would expect,” said one prisoner.

“And that’s down to the fact we have had the vapes.”

Another added: “If we didn’t have the vapes, there would have been all sorts of trouble.”

However, the prisoners did raise the issue of the cost of refills.

“It’s costing us more money and some lassies in here can’t afford that,” said one.

Image caption Campaigners have argued prisoners should still be allowed to smoke in designated areas

“But at the same time, it’s a good thing for our health.”

Simon Clark, director of pro-smoking pressure group Forest, said he believed the prison smoking ban went too far.

“At the very least, inmates should be allowed to light up outside, in an exercise yard or designated smoking area,” he said.

“Vaping may satisfy some prisoners but for many people vaping is still no substitute for smoking.

“Why not offer e-cigarettes to those who want to quit and allow them to vape in their cells, but permit designated smoking areas for those who prefer to smoke?”

‘Black market’

Pete White, chief executive of the charity Positive Prison? Positive Futures, which campaigns for the rights of prisoners, said a black market had already developed within Scottish prisons.

“There seems to have been quite a high take up of the vaping devices supplied by the SPS and, for some people, the ban represented an opportunity to give up smoking,” he said.

“But there are reports that tempers seem to be a bit shorter for some and that the black market price of tobacco, papers and lighters has rocketed.

“A half-ounce of tobacco is now reported to be on sale for over £100, papers for £15 and lighters around £50.”

Inmates will be expected to pay for their own vaping pens and liquids from April this year.

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Young voters usually sit out the midterms. There are signs 2018 could be different.

Santa Clarita, California (CNN)Donald Trump’s presidency has sparked revolt among large swaths of young Americans.

Typical midterm elections tend to draw out an older, whiter electorate and fewer single women than presidential years. But because of the deep disdain for Trump among the younger generation, this midterm cycle appears supercharged by younger voters who were stung by the outcome in 2016, and cognizant that their generation could have made the difference for Hillary Clinton.
Strong turnout within that age group could tip some of the closer House races into the Democratic column.
    There’s “an embarrassment that comes with having not voted, or having not cared about voting in the past,” said Jessica Cohen, a 30-year-old product manager for a software company in California.
    “(People) are realizing how many consequences there have been since 2016,” she added.
    “That apathy has gotten us into some serious trouble.”
    New polling this week confirms that the energy among youth voters on the ground isn’t a mirage.
    A new poll from Harvard Institute of Politics this week found that 18-to-29-year-olds are far more likely to vote in Tuesday’s midterm election than they were in 2010 and 2014. Forty percent of those polled said they would “definitely vote” in the midterms.
    President Trump’s job approval rating among those under 30 was 26%. If he runs for re-election in 2020, 59% of those polled said they “will never” vote for him.
    In one striking finding, 65% of likely voters in the 18-to-29 age group said they were more fearful than hopeful about the future. Immigration and refugees topped the list of concerns, followed by jobs, President Trump (or leadership issues), and health care.
    The energy among the younger generation has also resulted in a crop of candidates in their late 20s and early 30s.
    One of those candidates is 31-year-old Katie Hill, the Democrat running in California’s 25th District against incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Knight. Clinton won this district in 2016.
    Hill is one of the youngest Congressional candidates running this November, along with Abby Finkenauer in Iowa’s First District, and Lauren Underwood in Illinois’s 14th District.
    Every weekend morning in recent months, dozens of young voters have shown up at Hill’s campaign headquarters in Santa Clarita. The office is wedged in a strip mall between a gun armory and a vape shop, underscoring the political diversity of this partly-suburban, partly-rural district north of Los Angeles.
    The line of canvassers spilling out the door is decidedly youthful: Echo Park hipsters, Berniacs sporting 2020 T-Shirts, athletic young moms pushing jogging strollers, and large contingents of USC and UCLA students who are competing over who can make the most voter contacts in California’s competitive House districts.
    Hill, a first-time candidate who filmed one of her campaign commercials while free-climbing a hundred-foot rock wall in nearby Texas Canyon, blends in easily in her purple campaign T-shirt and aqua skinny jeans.
    But she steps up on the staircase to rally this fresh crop of doorknockers, warning that national Republican groups are pouring last-minute money into the race because it is polling within the margin of error.
    “You can tell people when you’re knocking on those doors that this election could come down to a few hundred votes,” Hill tells the group as they ready the lists on their clipboards. “So their vote really will matter more in this election than probably any election that they’ll ever vote in – and that there’s no path to flipping the House and holding Donald Trump accountable or making any real progress across the country if we don’t flip this seat.”
    At Hill’s headquarters, 30-year-old Caitlin Carlson said she was relieved that people in her generation finally “want to step up and do something.”
    “We have been coasting a little bit. We just always kind of assumed that things would work out,” Carlson said. “Taking the House back is the first step to getting our country back on the rails. It just feels like we’re on this crazy train right now where logic and facts don’t matter.”
    She views Tuesday’s election as “the first real big test for millennials to have faith that the system works.”
    Nationally, Democrats have engaged in a forceful effort this fall to convince younger voters that flipping control of the US House could serve as a check on Trump administration policies that they don’t agree with.
    They have enlisted many of the potential 2020 Democratic candidates — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris — to deliver that message.
    On Friday night in Oceanside, Sanders drew hundreds of cheering, foot-stomping young fans to a rally organized by California Young Democrats for down ballot candidates, including Mike Levin, the Democrat who is vying for the open seat of retiring Republican Congressman Darrell Issa in Orange and San Diego counties.
    Levin, an environmental attorney, delivered an even more pointed message than Sanders — telling the crowd that the 2018 midterm election will be “won or lost” by people between the ages of 18 and 35.
    “In 2016, 31 million voters in that age group, all very much eligible to vote, decided not to,” Levin told the rally crowd gathered in a gymnasium. “The result was Donald Trump — and Charlottesville, and a tax cut designed to benefit the wealthiest 1% of Americans, and Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.” (Kavanaugh’s name alone drew the loudest boos of the night).
    “You stay home on Election Day, and Republicans stay in charge,” Levin continued. “Your healthcare gets taken away, your student loans become more impossible to pay off, and places like Pulse (the nightclub in Orlando) and Parkland are joined by many more preventable tragedies.”
    Resa Barillas, a 30-year-old in the crowd who came to see Sanders, said she had just sent in her ballot – the first she has ever cast in a midterm election.
    “My friends are way more involved in voting now,” said Barillas, a single mom who tutors at MiraCosta College where the rally was being held. “Even in the midterms. I never really remember them posting about them, and now they’re on Facebook every day talking about it.”
    When Barillas thinks about Democrats retaking the House, she said she hopes they will advance Sanders’ agenda for universal health care and free college tuition.
    “That’s still a pipe dream, but it’s something that we’re moving towards,” Barillas said.
    She also believes divided government could force more compromise and bring more unity to America. “Right now there’s so much polarization going on. I feel it; I feel it even at school…. Before people were always Democrats or Republicans or something else, but you didn’t have that hatred. Now it’s like you’re afraid to talk about politics, even with people in your own family.”
    Perhaps no one has more faith in the power of the youth vote this cycle than Hill herself.
      The former head of a non-profit that was focused on the region’s homeless crisis, Hill often reminds her audiences that she never expected to fill this role — but decided she needed to step up if her perspective was going to be heard.
      “We have to turn out young people, and I believe that we can this time,” Hill said in an interview. “I had so many people tell me that’s a losing strategy, and I just don’t believe that’s true. This is a campaign, and this is a moment in history, when people are going to show up.”

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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      These ‘Cosmo’ Relationship Tips Are Completely Insane Betches

      Look guys, I don’t know what the f*ck is wrong with the writers at Cosmo. Are they on drugs? Have they never met people before? Are they all just f*cking with us for the fun of it? It’s hard to tell when they continue to give the worst advice ever. Their sex tips could get you arrested, make someone infertile, or at the very least, convince a guy you’re batshit crazy. But I guess they’re just super bored over there, because Cosmo does not know where to stop. In addition to wild sex tips, they also offer super solid relationship advice. Turn off Dr. Phil, here are the relationship tips you never knew you needed:

      If He Thinks You’re Bad With Money, It Means He’s Going To Propose

      “It’s that when he sees you buy that bag, he envisions you 20 years from now sneaking off to Vegas and blowing the kids’ college funds in an orgy of high-end boutique shopping and late-night keno. In a twisted way, his concern is kind of endearing, because it probably means he’s thinking about marrying you at some point.”

      Or he’s pissed that you’re spending rent money on dumb shit and he has to pick up the slack? If he’s complaining that you’re bad with money, he def does not want to marry you. He’s probably thinking the exact opposite, like “Oh shit, if we’re married then it’s ‘our money’, and I will be f*cked.”

      Proper Hygiene Means He’s Cheating

      “He steps up the grooming. ‘This is so obvious, but it’s a sign many women miss: if your man starts grooming down there without you requesting it, that could be an indication that he’s spending more time naked,’ says Vranich. You can actually thank porn for this tipoff. Guys today are used to viewing manscaped dudes onscreen, so if he has another chick to impress with his sexual prowess, he may emulate those ultra-trimmed guys. Another clue: he’s spending more time at the gym.”

      Is your boyfriend finally trimming his hair after you’ve bitched about it for three months? Is he showering regularly? Is his dirty laundry suddenly making it into the hamper? Has he finally decided to do something about his holiday weight? According to Cosmo, your bf is screwing his work wife and also thinks he’s a porn star. The only way to save this mess of a relationship is to dramatically accuse him of cheating with your ~evidence~. He’ll really appreciate it and vow to never do anything you ask again.

      Don’t Tell Him If You Cheat

      “Your mother may have told you that honesty is the best policy, but in this case, many experts advise keeping your mouth shut. ‘If it really was just one indiscretion, don’t tell him,’ says psychologist Marcella Bakur Weiner, PhD, author of Cheaters. ‘Although it might make you feel better, it will only hurt him and ruin the trust between you.’”

      Ah, yes. The foundation of any healthy relationship, hiding your infidelity. You’re accusing him of cheating for changing his socks every day, but def don’t tell him that you actually cheated. Who needs therapy when Cosmo is there for you? Who is this f*cking expert and where did you get your PhD? The hurting him and the ruining of trust came from your f*cking someone else, not the telling part of it. And my degree is in animation.  Congrats on your fairytale marriage!

      Be An Asshole And Then Bribe Him

      “Cut him in line at Starbucks like an a**hole but then pay for his latte like an angel. This way he knows you’re both assertive and rich. First he’ll be like, ‘I cannot believe this woman just cut me in line, I’m going to be so late!’ but then he’ll be like, ‘Wow she was actually doing a kind gesture, we should date and maybe get married.’”

      Oh, where to begin with this one? First of all, I really like that being able to afford a prob $5 latte shows men that you are rich. Also, cutting someone in line in LA is a really good way to get stabbed because we don’t f*ck around here, especially pre-coffee. But like maybe after he stabs you, he’ll want to get married? Also, why is buying someone a latte (against their will, I might add) grounds for marriage? Cosmo, your standards suck.

      Pretend You Know How To Read

      “Ask him what book he’s reading and then say, ‘That one’s good, but her other work is much better,’ no matter what book it is.”

      In the same advice article, Cosmo also wants you to look like a complete f*cking idiot. I’m not convinced any of these morons know how to read anything more complex than Cosmo. One Redditor was hoping the guy was reading Mein Kampf, which would be absolutely f*cking hilarious. It is so obnoxious when you can tell someone is lying about liking something to look cool and makes you look way dumber than just saying you haven’t read it and asking what it’s about. This is just like when I met my work crush’s girlfriend and I described my writing style by listing an author I drew inspiration from, and she told me he was her favorite author and then she couldn’t talk about it at all. It was soooo embarassing and also I loved it. Then she brought her vape out and asked me if I had cocaine. Needless to say, they broke up and I no longer was interested because I am not following up that trash person. Don’t f*cking do this.

      So yeah, take any dating advice you read with a huge grain of salt. Otherwise, you might end up stabbed in a coffee shop or something. I love Cosmo as much as the next person, but this stuff is literally insane.

      Images: Shutterstock; 

      Read more: https://www.betches.com

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