Published since 1884 by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Editor-in-Chief, Robert West

We welcome suggestions and contributions from our readers. Send your material to John Witton, News and Notes Editor, Addiction, National Addiction Centre PO48, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF. Fax +44 (0)20 7848 5966;
e-mail john.witton@kcl.ac.uk

Cannabis Decriminalized in Georgia

Posted 04-Sep-18

OC Media reports that the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled in July that cannabis users will no longer face administrative sanctions such as fines. This decision follows the court’s abolishing of criminal sanctions for cannabis use in November 2017. The court said that the consumption of cannabis is “an action protected by the right to a person’s free development,” Article 16 of the country of Georgia’s constitution. According to OC Media the court said in its ruling that “punishing someone for consuming cannabis would comply with the constitution only if consumption put a third person at risk, such as consuming the drug in an educational facility, certain public spaces like in public transport, or in the presence of children.” The cultivation and selling of cannabis remain criminal offences in Georgia.

Sources:

http://oc-media.org/constitutional-court-outlaws-all-punishment-for-cannabis-consumption-in-georgia/

http://oc-media.org/georgian-church-slams-drug-legalisation/

FDA Outlines Next Moves in Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation

Posted 04-Sep-18

Writing on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s blog, Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA, and Mitch Zeller, Director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, mark the first anniversary of the FDA’s Comprehensive Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation by outlining the FDA’s planned steps toward regulation. Amongst these steps are the setting out of a framework for manufacturing practices and the development of tobacco product applications that meet legal requirements. The FDA proposes to hold a public meeting on the premarket application and review process to seek ways of improving the process and to take new administrative steps to improve the process. The FDA is also developing an e-cigarette product standard that will take into consideration issues such as the levels of toxicants and impurities in propylene glycol, glycerin, and nicotine in e-liquids.

Source:

https://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2018/08/advancing-tobacco-regulation-to-protect-children-and-families-updates-and-new-initiatives-from-the-fda-on-the-anniversary-of-the-tobacco-control-act-and-fdas-comprehensive-plan-for-nicotine/

Ontario Prepares for Retail Sale of Cannabis

Posted 04-Sep-18

Following approval of cannabis legalization legislation by the Canadian senate in June, the Federal government gave the Canadian provinces and territories eight to 12 weeks after the legislation was passed to prepare for the retail sale of recreational cannabis. Ontario's Progressive Conservative government announced in August that it will allow recreational cannabis to be sold in retail stores while the province will handle online sales. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli said “The government of Ontario will not be in the business of running physical cannabis stores. Instead we will work with private-sector businesses to build a safe, reliable retail system that will divert sales away from the illegal market.” The province will meet the federal government’s requirements by its introduction of a system for online sales through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) on 17 October. This will be followed by a consultation process with the aim of introducing a private retail model by 1 April. The OCS will act as a wholesale supplier for private retailers and the government proposes to create an official Ontario Cannabis Retail Seal to help buyers identify stores where federally qualified cannabis products can be found. Legislation will be introduced to set the legal age for the purchase of cannabis at 19, ban the use of recreational cannabis in all public places and workplaces, and prohibit those under the age of 19 from possessing, consuming, or cultivating the drug.

Source:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/pc-government-announcement-1.4783630

Indian Health Ministry Signals Opposition to E-cigarettes

Posted 04-Sep-18

The Health Ministry in India has asked Indian states to “ensure” that electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices, are not sold, manufactured, imported or advertised. Reuters reports that the ministry said on 28 August that the products “are a great health risk to public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age.” According to Reuters a senior health official said the government was “sending a strong message” about how such products were harmful for the public. The Delhi High Court had asked the ministry in the preceding week when it would announce regulatory measures for ENDS following the filing of public interest litigation in 2017 by a New Delhi resident for the regulation of e-cigarettes. The health ministry announcement contrasts with a statement by the minister of state for commerce and industry in the Indian parliament earlier in the month and reported by The Print that there was no proposal to ban the import of e-cigarettes. The minister said that the import of e-cigarettes had doubled in the preceding two years and were mostly imported from China. The minister added that “the available scientific evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are hazardous for an active as well as passive user and it has a serious impact on public health.” ENDS are already banned in the Indian states of Bihar, Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, according to The Print.

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-health-tobacco/indias-health-ministry-calls-for-halting-sales-of-e-cigarettes-smoking-devices-idUSKCN1LD250

https://theprint.in/governance/modi-govt-takes-u-turn-on-e-cigarettes-says-no-plan-to-ban-import/94776/

Heroin-assisted Treatment to Be Introduced in Norway

Posted 04-Sep-18

Medical Press reports that the Norwegian government plans to introduce a heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) programme by 2020. The Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs has been given the task of devising the treatment programme, identifying patients likely to benefit from the programme, and calculating the costs of the programme. The Norwegian Health Minister, Bente Hoie, said “We hope that this will provide a solution that will give... a better quality of life to some addicts who are today out of our reach and whom current programmes do not help enough."

Source:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-norway-free-heroin-drug-addicts.html

San Francisco to Explore Safe Injecting Facility Option

Posted 04-Sep-18

The California state Senate passed a measure on 21 August that would authorize San Francisco to open a facility for injecting illegal drugs. The bill had been approved by the state Assembly in June 2017. According to Epoch Times the bill’s sponsor, Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, said “We are in the midst of an epidemic, and this bill will grant us another tool to fight it—to provide better access to services like treatment and counseling, to better protect public health and safety, and to save lives.” KPIX5 reports that the City had set up a mock injecting facility as part of a drive to encourage support for the initiative, with San Francisco Mayor London Breed attending its launch to advocate for an injecting facility. The mock facility, based on Vanouver’s safe injecting site, included curtained booths for privacy, kits for injecting, testing kits for attendee’s drugs, and needle disposal facilities and all given a City Seal of San Francisco. But in a New York Times op-ed piece published on 27 August the US Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, said that safe injection facilities were “very dangerous and would only make the opioid crisis worse,” adding that “it is a federal felony to maintain any location for the purpose of facilitating illegal drug use. Violations are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, hefty fines and foreclosure of the property used in the criminal activity.”

Sources:

https://www.theepochtimes.com/opposition-mounts-to-san-franciscos-plans-to-open-nations-first-drug-injection-center_2630672.html

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/08/29/san-francisco-officials-promote-safe-injection-program/  

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/27/opinion/opioids-heroin-injection-sites.html

New Report on E-cigarettes from UK Parliamentary Committee

Posted 04-Sep-18

A report from the Science and Technology Committee of the UK House of Commons reviews the current evidence base on the harmfulness of e-cigarettes and examines current policies. The Committee concludes that e-cigarettes should not be treated in the same way as conventional cigarettes and in the report’s summary the Committee says “There should be a shift to a more risk-proportionate regulatory environment; where regulations, advertising rules and tax duties reflect the evidence of the relative harms of the various e-cigarette and tobacco products available. While an evidence-based approach is important in its own right, it also would help bring forward the behaviours that we want as a society—less smoking, and greater use and acceptance of e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products if that serves to reduce smoking rates.”

Source:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-committee/news-parliament-2017/e-cigarettes-report-publication-17-19/

Sri Lanka Plans to Execute Drug Offenders

Posted 04-Sep-18

The Guardian reports that the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena, told his cabinet in July that he “was ready to sign the death warrants” of repeat drug offenders, according to his spokesman Rajitha Senaratne. Sri Lanka has commuted death sentences for serious crimes to life in prison since 1976 but the Sri Lankan president said “From now on, we will hang drug offenders without commuting their death sentences.” Sri Lankan ministers said that the change in policy was prompted by the growth in drug problems in the country and its increasing use as a transhipment point for drug trafficking. There are 19 drug offenders whose death sentences had been commuted to life and The Guardian cites local media reports quoting Senaratne as saying that they would now face execution.

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jul/11/sri-lanka-to-begin-hanging-drug-dealers-to-replicate-success-of-philippines

Smoking Banned in Paris Parks

Posted 04-Sep-18

Paris authorities are planning to ban smoking in public parks from the autumn according to The Telegraph. Laurence Goldgrab, a Paris councillor, said the ban was prompted by public hygiene and public health concerns and seeks to cut down the number of discarded cigarette ends as well as discourage smoking. A trial ban has been imposed this summer in four parks, with a plan to extend the ban to all Parisian parks within months. The city estimated that around 350 tons of cigarette butts were collected in Paris in 2017. People caught throwing cigarette ends on the ground will now receive a fine of €68 (£60).

Source:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/04/paris-authorities-try-stub-french-smoking-habit-public-parks/

FDA Publishes Guidance on Development of Drugs for Medication-assisted Treatment

Posted 04-Sep-18

Policy and Medicine reports that on 6 August, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released draft guidance, Opioid Use Disorder: Endpoints for Demonstrating Effectiveness of Drugs for Medication-Assisted Treatment Guidance for Industry. The guidance attempts to encourage the development of new medication-assisted treatment (MAT) drugs for the treatment of opioid use disorder and indicates a new approach by the FDA in its evaluation of such drugs. “We must consider new ways to gauge success beyond simply whether a patient in recovery has stopped using opioids, such as reducing relapse overdoses and infectious disease transmission,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. This draft guidance follows another draft guidance published by the FDA in April about drug development and trial design issues relevant to the study of depot buprenorphine products. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said “The evidence is clear: medication-assisted treatment works, and it is a key piece of defeating the drug crisis facing our country. The FDA’s new guidances have the potential to bring new medications to market that are more closely tailored to patient needs and help give Americans facing addiction a better chance at recovery.”

Sources

https://www.policymed.com/2018/08/fda-releases-draft-guidance-on-new-mat-opioid-use-disorder-treatments.html

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM615743.pdf

National Ban on Smoking in Public Places in Japan

Posted 06-Aug-18

In July the Japanese parliamentary upper house, the Diet, passed an amendment to the country’s Health Promotion Act 2002 banning smoking in public spaces across the country. The ban will be implemented in stages but completely in place by April 2020, and before the Tokyo Olympics start in July. The Japan Times reports that the amendment designates certain public institutions such as schools, hospitals and municipal offices as nonsmoking. Non-compliant operators and smokers will face fines of up to 500,000 yen and 300,000 yen respectively. But for some public facilities, including restaurants and bars, the amendment only prohibits indoor smoking. Additionally, even inside these spaces, smoking will be allowed in segregated, well-ventilated rooms, where no drinking or eating will be permitted. Establishments capitalized at 50 million yen or lower and with a floor space of up to 100 square metres can choose to allow smoking if they put up a sign warning their customers. Consequently, The Japan Times reports that an estimated 55 percent of restaurants and bars nationwide will be exempt from the ban. In contrast, an anti-smoking ordinance adopted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in June is expected to make more than 80 percent of the city’s restaurants and bars smoke-free. The Japan Times observes that the amendment had met resistance from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and tobacco industry groups which had led to the amendment being weakened. According to Japan’s health ministry the measure will raise the World Health Organization’s grading of Japan’s anti-smoking efforts by one rank to the second-lowest level.

Sources:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/18/national/crime-legal/japans-watered-smoking-ban-clears-diet/#.W2GorjqWyUm

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/31/national/science-health/japan-violating-anti-smoking-treaty-bowing-tobacco-industry-expert-says/#.W2LPuzqWyUk

Drug War Continues in Philippines

Posted 06-Aug-18

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in his State of the Nation address in July that the anti-drug campaign, which has led to thousands of deaths in his country, would continue. President Duterte said, “Let me begin by putting it bluntly: the war against illegal drugs is far from over,” adding “It will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began.” Since the anti-drug campaign began in June 2016, 4,354 alleged drug users and dealers have been killed in police operations, according to the government’s figures. However, the New Straits Times reports that human rights organizations and other critics of the campaign say the true number of deaths could be three times higher. New rules governing police operations were introduced in January 2018 following public outcry about the deaths of three teenagers, including 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in August 2017, as a result of police actions. Rappler, an online news service that has been strongly critical of President Duterte and his anti-drug campaign, reports that an order issued to all police officers states that the “Rule of law shall always prevail during the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations and respect for human rights shall always be strictly observed." Under the new rules, police operations should take place only during the day and the police should wear body cameras and be accompanied by human rights observers. Deaths have fallen since the introduction of the new rules, according to Rappler, from an average of 5 deaths per 100 anti-drug operations to one per 100.

Sources:

https://www.nst.com.my/world/2018/07/393720/philippines-duterte-pledges-unrelenting-drug-war

https://www.rappler.com/nation/207947-pnp-report-death-toll-war-on-drugs-july-sona-2018-philippines

Plain Packaging in Canada

Posted 06-Aug-18

The Canadian federal government passed the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act in May. The legislation imposes new plain and standardized packaging for cigarettes and introduces new regulations around the sale and promotion of alternative tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes. On 22 June the Canadian Health Minister, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, released new national regulations for the plain packaging, which are subject to a 75-day consultation period. Plain packaging is expected to be in operation in Canada sometime in 2019.

Sources:

http://strategyonline.ca/2018/05/11/government-to-impose-plain-packaging-on-tobacco-products/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=government-to-impose-plain-packaging-on-tobacco-products

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2018/06/plain-and-standardized-appearance-for-tobacco-packaging.html

Cannabis Policy Changes in New York

Posted 06-Aug-18

Manhattan District Attorney (DA), Cyrus Vance, announced a new policy in July that will end the prosecution of cannabis possession and use in the New York borough. The initiative follows the publication of a report from the DA’s office, Marijuana, Fairness and Public Policy. Prosecutions will be made only where cannabis is being sold or “it poses a significant threat to public safety.” “Every day I ask our prosecutors to keep Manhattan safe and make our justice system more equal and fair,” Mr Vance said in a statement accompanying the announcement, adding “The needless criminalisation of pot smoking frustrates this core mission, so we are removing ourselves from the equation”. The DA’s office estimates that prosecutions for cannabis offences would drop from 5,000 cases per year to 200 per year in the borough. The new Manhattan policy follows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement in June that from 1 September, New York City police will give summonses for those caught smoking cannabis, while still arresting those with past arrests or convictions. According to The New York Times Mayor de Blasio said that one of the goals of the new policy would be to address the sharp racial disparity in cannabis offence arrests. These moves come against a backdrop of strong signals from incumbent New York State Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo(Democrat), that his administration is considering cannabis legalization across the state. Governor Cuomo is facing competition from Cynthia Nixon, who favours cannabis legalization, in the Democrat Party primaries in his forthcoming re-election campaign.

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/marijuana-smoke-manhattan-nyc-cannabis-weed-smoking-cyrus-vance-a8472091.html

https://www.manhattanda.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/DANY-Report-on-the-Legalization-of-Recreational-Marijuana-Final.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/nyregion/nypd-marijuana-arrests-new-york-city.html

Medical Use of Cannabis-based Products to Be Allowed in UK

Posted 06-Aug-18

In June the UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, commissioned reviews of the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis from the Chief Medical Advisor to the UK government, Professor Dame Sally Davies, and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). The move followed widespread media attention given to cases involving children being denied access to cannabis oil to control epileptic seizures, most notably 12-year-old Billy Caldwell and six-year-old Alfie Dingley. In her review, Professor Dame Sally Davies concluded that there is evidence that medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits. In its review the ACMD recommended that such products meeting a “clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product” should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Cannabis has been a Schedule 1 drug and considered to have no therapeutic value and cannot be lawfully possessed or prescribed in the UK. Following these reviews, Sajid Javid announced on 26 July that he has decided to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products and allow them to be prescribed. Javid said that “This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, but is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.” The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will develop a definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product so that they can be rescheduled and prescribed. Only products meeting this definition will be rescheduled and other forms of cannabis will not be available on prescription. Ash Soni, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, observed that moving cannabis-based medicinal products to Schedule 2 would allow “research to understand the benefits and risks.”

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/19/cannabis-based-medicines-should-be-allowed-say-uk-drug-advisers

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cannabis-derived-medicinal-products-to-be-made-available-on-prescription

Supreme Court of Canada Rules against Tobacco Company in Health Data Case

Posted 06-Aug-18

CTV News reports that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on 13 July that British Columbia (B.C.) does not have to give the tobacco company, Philip Morris International, access to detailed B.C. health databases to help the company in its defence in a damages trial. Together with the other provincial governments of Canada, B.C. is suing the tobacco company to recoup smoking-related health-care expenditures in the province. Philip Morris International had wanted access to B.C. databases which compiled individual health-care records about individuals, including details of medical services and prescription drug use. The tobacco company rejected a compromise offered by the B.C. government that would give it and other tobacco companies restricted access through an agreement with Statistics Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the province’s favour, saying that the disclosure of such information is barred by a provision of the B.C. legislation protecting "health care records and documents of particular individual insured persons." A trial date of 4 November 2019 has been set in New Brunswick for the first damages trial in Canada, with other provinces still in preparatory stages.

Sources:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/supreme-court-affirms-privacy-protections-in-tobacco-health-data-case-1.4011875

https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/17185/index.do

WTO Rules in Favour of Australia's Plain Packaging Law

Posted 04-Jul-18

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled on 28 June that Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 contributed to improving public health by reducing the use of and exposure to tobacco products. The WTO panel rejected the arguments from the claimants, Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and Dominican Republic, that alternative measures could be equally effective. The ruling also rejected arguments from the claimants that Australia’s law unjustifiably infringed tobacco trademarks and violated intellectual property rights. The WTO ruling is expected to be appealed and a ruling would normally be expected within 90 days. But Bloomberg News observes that the WTO has not met any 90-day deadline since 2014 and suggests that the complexity of the case and a shortage of panelists in the WTO appellate-body system means the deadline is likely to be extended.

Sources:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-28/wto-tobacco-ruling-opens-door-to-new-plain-packaging-laws

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news18_e/435_441_458_467r_e.htm

New World Drug Report Highlights Rises in Opium and Cocaine Cultivation

Posted 04-Jul-18

Writing in the preface of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s World Drug Report 2018, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov says “We are facing a potential supply-driven expansion of drug markets, with production of opium and manufacture of cocaine at the highest levels ever recorded.” The UNODC report also shows that the largest quantities of pharmaceutical opioids were seized in African countries, with a number of these countries reporting widespread misuse of the opioid painkiller tramadol. Yury Fedotov also comments that “Drug treatment and health services continue to fall short: the number of people suffering from drug use disorders who are receiving treatment has remained low, just one in six.”

Source:

https://www.unodc.org/wdr2018/index.html

WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Comes into Force

Posted 04-Jul-18

The Secretariat of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) has announced that, with the ratification of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the necessary number of Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (the Protocol) has been reached for the legally binding instrument to enter into force. According to the WHO FCTC, “the Protocol contains a full range of measures to combat illicit trade distributed in three categories: preventing illicit trade, promoting law enforcement and providing the legal basis for international cooperation.”

Source:

http://www.who.int/fctc/mediacentre/press-release/protocol-entering-into-force/en/

Tougher Cannabis Penalties Planned for South Australia

Posted 04-Jul-18

ABC News reports that South Australia’s attorney general (AG), Vickie Chapman, has announced plans for an increase in penalties for cannabis possession in the state. South Australia (SA) partly decriminalized cannabis possession with its “prohibition with civil penalties” scheme in 1987 and since then the most common penalty for possessing less than 25 grams of cannabis has been an A$125 fine, according to ABC News. Under the SA government’s new plans, the maximum fine for cannabis possession would be increased to A$2,000 and a new maximum prison sentence of two years would be introduced, the same as for possession of other drugs such as ecstasy or heroin. According to AG Chapman, the move had been prompted by a murder in the state in 2012 by a teenager who had used alcohol, ecstasy and cannabis. AG Chapman said the crime had made “everyone to sit up and reappraise the significance of cannabis and the dangers of using the drug.” Increasing cannabis penalties had been part of the ruling Liberal Party’s election manifesto, which said that the move would meet “community expectations and recommendations of the South Australian Coroner who regularly sees the deleterious effects of cannabis use in cases coming before the court.”

Sources:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-02/sa-government-to-quadruple-cannabis-fines/9930344

https://strongplan.com.au/policy/keeping-penalties-in-line-with-community-expectations/

More Executions for Drug Offences in China

Posted 04-Jul-18

According to Amnesty International’s Death Sentences and Executions 2017 report, the organization believes that in 2017 “China was the world’s top executioner, implementing more death sentences than the rest of the world combined.” While the use of the death penalty is classified as a state secret in China, Amnesty International monitors the use of the death penalty and judicial verdicts uploaded on the online database maintained by the Supreme People’s Court. China Daily reported that ten people were executed for non-violent drug offences on 23 June in the city of Lufeng in Guangdong province. The executions were swiftly carried out following a hearing open to the public where the offenders appealed against their earlier convictions and death sentences. The Supreme People’s Court approved the executions and, according to China Daily, said that one of the executed men, Fan Shuixian, “earned 1.1 million yuan (US$172,000) from selling the ephedrine he extracted, and later mixed 16.4 kilograms of methamphetamine, commonly known as ice, with his ephedrine.”

Sources:

https://www.amnesty.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/amnesty-report-death-penalty-2018.pdf

http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201806/25/WS5b304928a3103349141de81e.html

FDA Approves Cannabis-based Medicine

Posted 04-Jul-18

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved GW Pharmaceuticals Plc’s Epidiolex for the treatment of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is the first cannabis plant-derived medicine to be approved in the US and is expected to be launched in the US in autumn 2018. According to The Guardian, Epidiolex should be available for prescription in Britain and the rest of Europe by mid-2019 if the European Medicines Agency approves it early next year.

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm611046.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/25/uk-epilepsy-drug-set-to-be-first-cannabis-based-medicine-on-us-market

Tokyo Prepares for 2020 Olympic Games with New Anti-Smoking Law

Posted 04-Jul-18

Reuters reports that a new city law passed by the city of Tokyo on 27 June bans smoking in any bar or restaurant with hired employees. According to Reuters, the new Tokyo city law is more stringent than the legislation to tackle second-hand smoke currently passing through Japan’s national parliament. The Tokyo law will take effect several months before the Olympics open.

Source:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-smokingban-tokyo/tokyo-passes-tough-anti-smoking-law-ahead-of-2020-olympics-idUSKBN1JN1LP

San Francisco Bans E-cigarette Flavourings

Posted 04-Jul-18

San Francisco voters approved a ban on flavoured liquids used in e-cigarettes in a ballot in June. San Francisco is the first US city to ban the liquids and the city was unwilling to wait for the Food and Drug Administration to take federal action, according to The Washington Examiner. Supporters of the ban claim that flavoured e-liquids can lead young people to take up e-cigarette use with the latest US National Youth Tobacco Survey finding that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high-school students, with 2.1 million of them using e-cigarettes in the last year. A similar ban is under consideration in the New York state legislature.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/san-francisco-first-city-to-ban-e-cigarette-flavors

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0607-youth-tobacco-use.html