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OWN #3 | 22-28 APRIL 2019

This week we look at some views on the comparison of nicotine to caffeine, how higher nicotine levels can help you quit smoking, the vaping black market down under, and the story of how 12 anti-vaping bills were defeated in New Mexico. Lots to cover, so let's get started

Is Nicotine Similar to Caffeine?

It has become quite common to equate nicotine (as a substance, outside of cigarette smoke) to caffeine - their effects seem similar in some ways, and they are often used in conjunction. However, according to some professionals, they are chemically very dissimilar - "apples and oranges". Nicotine can apparently make coffee taste better - they pair well - which may also enforce people linking them together.

Caffeine is a drug that blocks the neurotransmitter that causes relaxation - leading to increased adrenaline and boosted blood pressure. Nicotine, on the other hand, can "increase the release of multiple different neurotransmitters" - it can be both a stimulant and a relaxant, depending on context. Most people also do not become addicted to caffeine in quite the same way they do to nicotine.

If a doctor tells someone to switch to decaf, most people can, despite the headache. But people have a harder time ignoring nicotine cravings when they're trying to stop smoking.

The bottom line here is that even though these substances are often used for similar purposes, they are, at least in some ways, very different. Seems like big tobacco planned this association a long time ago. Read the full article here:

That said - very little actual research has been done on nicotine as a pure substance (i.e. not as part of tobacco smoke). This will hopefully change going forward. An upcoming documentary - "You Don't Know Nicotine" - by Aaron Biebert (who brought us "A Billion Lives") aims to do just that - investigate nicotine as a substance without the associated stigma of cigarette smoke. Read more about this project here:

More Nicotine Helps You Quit Smoking

A new study (or rather a review of some prior research) shows that smokers are more likely to quit smoking when using higher doses of nicotine. And allowing smokers to regulate the amount of nicotine they take in (when quitting) helps as well.

Smokers determine their nicotine intake while they smoke, but when they try to quit, their nicotine levels are dictated by the recommended dosing of the treatment. These levels may be far too low for some people, increasing the likelihood that they go back to smoking.

This could be yet another reason why quitting smoking by vaping has a higher success rate - vapers regulate their nicotine intake as needed. Read the full report here:

The Vaping Black Market, Down Under

Vape liquids containing nicotine is illegal to buy, sell, or possess in Australia. But it seems people want it and find ways to get it. It is estimated that over 230,000 people are vaping down under.

Some people bring these vaping devices in from overseas, and sell them at inflated (black market) prices. There are also rumours of retailers importing these liquids or manufacturing them and selling them under the counter. The bulk of people however, seem to just order these products from online suppliers - which, puzzling enough, seems to not be technically illegal.

The reason these products are illegal in Australia, is because nicotine is a Schedule 7 poison. That said, it is legal to import a 3 month supply under the "Personal Import Scheme". The Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association views these devices more positively however.

It is immoral and unscientific to ban a far safer alternative to smoking, while allowing widespread access to lethal cigarettes which kill up to two-in-three long-term users.

Smokers should be given the opportunity to choose the safer option. Smokers should not be placed in the position of having to break the law to avoid dying from smoking.

Here's hoping things change for better, vaping wise, down under. Read the full article here:

Vaping David vs Government Goliath

Since the start of 2019 the New Mexico government had proposed 13 different anti-vape bills. Missy Alvarez-Currie, a vape shop owner, wasn't about to take this lying down.

I had a Democratic senator tell me 13 bills proposed against one single industry? That's unheard of.

With the help of the Vapor Technology Association (VTA), Missy fought back hard. And when all was said and done, a single bill - the Clean Indoor Act bill (a positive regulation) - was passed and the other 12 bills were defeated.

Hopefully, going forward, more people stand up for vaping and fight back against these preposterous regulations all around the world. Read the full coverage here:

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