US unveils partial ban on flavored e-cigarettes

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US government announced Thursday it was banning most flavored e-cigarettes in a bid to curb the rising tide of youth vaping, but under industry pressure, it stopped short of the full ban promised in September by the White House. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said cartridge-based e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco or menthol would be illegal unless specifically authorized by the government. The change […]

US raises tobacco and e-cigarette purchase age from 18 to 21

  by Issam AHMED Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US Congress voted Thursday to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 across the country, a move intended to stem the rising tide of youth vaping. Passed by the Senate as part of a wider budgetary bill, it will take effect next year and will mean that tobacco and e-cigarettes will join alcohol as substances that […]

Vaping linked to rare lung disease: study

PARIS, France (AFP) — Doctors treating a patient with a rare lung disease usually caused by exposure to industrial metals say it may instead be the first case linked to vaping. Electronic cigarettes are sold as safer alternatives to traditional tobacco products and as aids to stop smoking. But they have been implicated in a growing number of recent deaths and health alerts, especially in the United States. Researchers at the University of California San […]

Japan launches human trial of new Ebola vaccine

  TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japanese scientists will begin the country’s first human trial for a new vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus this month, they said Friday. The vaccine, which has previously been tested in monkeys, uses an inactivated form of the virus that can only effectively replicate in artificial cells. Scientists hope that will make it safer than other treatments, the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo said in a […]

Measles killed more than 140,000 amid stagnating vaccine rates

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — More than 140,000 people died from measles worldwide in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) and US authorities said Thursday, the result of global vaccination rates that have stagnated for almost a decade. Poorer countries were hardest hit, with the vast majority of measles cases and deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Wealthier countries, however, have also been battling their own outbreaks, with four European nations losing their “eliminated” status in 2018. […]

Early cholesterol treatment lowers heart disease risk: study

PARIS, France (AFP) — Treating younger people with high cholesterol levels may help reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke in later life, a major study showed Wednesday. Described as the “most comprehensive” review of its kind covering almost 400,000 patients over more than 40 years, the study in The Lancet said its findings on the link between cholesterol levels and ill health “may be particularly important in people under 45 years.” A summary […]

Samoa’s measles death toll rises to 20

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — The death toll from a measles epidemic in Samoa has risen to 20 as the outbreak rages out of control, with hundreds of new cases emerging daily, official data released Friday showed. The government said there were 1,644 cases, with 202 diagnosed since Thursday, most affecting young children. It said the number of deaths had hit 20, including 19 children aged under four years old. An additional 11 children are […]

Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A 17-year-old Canadian nearly lost his lungs after five months of intensive vaping, but the ingredient suspected of doing the damage, diacetyl, is different from the substance US authorities blame for dozens of deaths. The case, described Thursday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), deepens the mysteries surrounding e-cigarettes, which have grown so popular US President Donald Trump earlier this week backed away from a proposed ban on certain […]

New York sues e-cigarette firm Juul for targeting youngsters

  NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — New York on Tuesday became the second state this week to sue Juul, the United States’ largest electronic cigarette manufacturer, for illegally targeting minors with its marketing campaigns. The lawsuits come as the vaping industry faces intense scrutiny over an epidemic of lung ailments linked to e-cigarette use that has killed more than 40 people and sickened more than 2,000 in recent months. The New York action, which […]

E-cigarettes: five things to know

  by Olivier THIBAULT Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — E-cigarettes have become hugely popular in the past decade but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses is feeding caution about a product, already banned in some places. On Thursday an 18-year-old man died in Belgium in a vaping-linked death, the first such case in the country. Here are five things to know about electronic cigarettes. – Around for two decades – Early designs […]

Two treated for deadly pneumonic plague in Beijing

BEIJING, China (AFP) — Two people in Beijing have been diagnosed with the pneumonic plague — a rare instance of the highly-contagious disease that is fatal if left untreated. The two individuals were being treated at a central hospital in China’s capital city — home to over 21 million inhabitants — on Tuesday, local authorities said. Pneumonic plague can prove fatal in 24 to 72 hours and is the “most virulent form of plague,” according […]

WHO prequalifies first Ebola vaccine

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said it had prequalified an Ebola vaccine for the first time, hailing a “critical step” towards its licensing, access and roll-out in countries most at risk of outbreaks. “This is the fastest vaccine prequalification process ever conducted by WHO,” it said in a statement, explaining that “prequalification means that the vaccine meets WHO standards for quality, safety, and efficacy.” The announcement comes hot on […]