London, Sep 28 (AP/UNB) — While the U.S. scrambles to crack down on vaping, Britain has embraced electronic cigarettes as a powerful tool to help smokers kick the habit.
The Royal College of Physicians explicitly tells doctors to promote e-cigarettes "as widely as possible" to people trying to quit. Public Health England's advice is that vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking.
U.S. public health officials have taken a more wary approach, and have been slow to regulate e-cigarettes. That caution turned to alarm, though, with an explosion in teen vaping, prompting the federal government and some states to take steps to ban fruit and minty flavors that appeal to youths.
And now, with hundreds of U.S. cases of a mysterious lung illness among vapers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people consider not using e-cigarettes, especially those with THC, the compound that gives pot its high.
The U.S. reaction is "complete madness," said Dr. John Britton, director of the U.K. Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham. "The reality with smoking is, if you tell people to stop vaping, they will go back to tobacco and tobacco kills."
Regulations about e-cigarettes vary by country, making for a patchwork of policies. More than 30 countries ban e-cigarettes outright; India halted sales this month. Many European countries including Austria, Belgium, Germany and Italy classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, subjecting them to strict controls. They are mostly sold as consumer products in Britain and France, under more lax rules.
Since arriving in the U.S. in 2007, e-cigarettes have been largely unregulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration didn't get the power to do that until three years ago and is still working out the details. Black market versions, meanwhile, have flourished.
Appearing before Congress last week, the U.S. FDA's acting commissioner was pressed to explain the agency's position. Several lawmakers suggested e-cigarettes should be completely removed from the market.
"We do not consider these products safe, we think they have harm," said Dr. Ned Sharpless. "We do not think really anyone should be using them other than people using them in place of combustible tobacco."
In Britain, a review by Public Health England, an agency similar to the CDC, concluded that vaping is about 95% less dangerous than smoking. A leading British anti-tobacco charity, Ash, even called for e-cigarettes to be licensed as medicines and provided free to smokers trying to quit by Britain's government-funded health system.
"We need radical solutions to stop smoking and one option is providing smokers with e-cigarettes so they can get the nicotine they need without the tobacco smoke," said Britton. "We have a much more relaxed attitude to people being addicted to nicotine on the basis that nicotine itself isn't particularly hazardous."
E-cigarettes and other vaping devices typically heat a solution containing nicotine into a vapor that's inhaled. The amount of nicotine varies widely: Some countries set limits on the amount. There's no cap in the U.S. And the surge in U.S. teen vaping brought warnings from health officials that nicotine can harm a teenager's still developing brain.
"What's right for England might not be right for the U.S.," said Ryan Kennedy of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Compared to the United States, England has had historically higher rates of tobacco use and a "deeper comfort" with the idea of substituting a less harmful habit for a dangerous one, Kennedy said. British health officials have been able and willing to strictly regulate e-cigarettes while promoting them as a stop-smoking tool.
"It's not very surprising that a place like England has embraced e-cigarettes," Kennedy said. "A lot of things lined up to make sense to use these devices to help people transition away from cigarettes."
In the U.S., meanwhile, the rapid rise in e-cigarettes' popularity among teenagers, a thriving black market for vapes containing marijuana extracts and the illness outbreak have muddied the public health message recently, Kennedy said.
"Obviously there are a lot of moving parts with this," he said.
Another key difference is advertising. Unlike in the U.S., Britain has tight regulations on advertising vaping; all TV, online and radio marketing is banned, explained Linda Bauld, a public health professor at the University of Edinburgh.
"E-cigarettes are promoted to middle-aged smokers as a way to quit and the imaging from our annual quit campaign is usually all men with beards, so it looks pretty boring," she said.
On Friday, the CDC said it appears THC vaping products are playing a role in the puzzling U.S. outbreak of lung injuries and deaths. The agency said many of the 800 people who got sick reported vaping THC. It said more information was needed on whether a single product, substance or brand is responsible. Some researchers suspect an ingredient used as a thickener in vaping oils, particularly in black market products.
"It's inconceivable that any legitimate vaping product would cause that degree of damage," Britton said.
Some British e-cigarette users said, in the meantime, their own habits wouldn't change.
Houston, Sept 25 (AP/UNB) — The Houston building where Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong and his colleagues were quarantined after their 1969 moon mission has fallen into disrepair and will be demolished, NASA said.
The Lunar Receiving Laboratory at Johnson Space Center hasn't been used for two years and will likely be torn down next year, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.
The building, completed in 1967, was designed to isolate the astronauts and their lunar rock samples until it was clear they weren't carrying disease. Now, exposed wires hang from ceiling tiles saturated with mold, their ends spiraling along the ground next to fallen pieces of fiberglass and discarded office materials.
"I just hate to see what this building represents and what we did here 50 years ago go away," said Judy Allton, a curator at Johnson.
In the years after the Apollo program, the building housed astronaut health projects. But a 2015 economic analysis determined that the historic building's structural and electrical problems can't be fixed.
Dallas-based HDR Architecture has been commissioned to design an energy-efficient building to replace the old lab, and historians are hoping to salvage some of the building's artifacts to display elsewhere.
Johnson's historic preservation officer Sandra Tetley said she intends to save the original stairs, pillars and walkways, and as many pieces of equipment inside the building as possible.
"But it's a shame to lose the building," Tetley said.
Everett Gibson, an emeritus senior scientist at Johnson, worked in the lab during the Apollo missions 12 through 17.
Just months after celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar footsteps by Apollo 11 astronauts, Gibson said it's difficult to see the building go but that saving it for historical purposes would be too costly. He's also not sure there's still public interest.
"Sometimes in life we have to make hard decisions, and I don't know what you could do with it," he said. "It's sitting out there rotting, and the cost to keep it going is just horrendous. I don't think it's that exciting to a man and a woman on the street."
Brussels, Sep 24 (AP/UNB) — Google won a major case in the European Union on Tuesday, when the bloc's top court ruled that the U.S. internet giant doesn't have to extend the EU's "right to be forgotten" rules to its search engines outside the region.
The case stems from a 2014 ruling that said people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online. They can ask Google, for example, to remove a link. The French privacy regulator then wanted that rule applied to all of Google's domains, even outside the EU, and asked the EU's top court for advice.
The European Court of Justice said Tuesday that there "is no obligation under EU law for a search engine operator" to extend the rule beyond the EU states.
It said, however, that a search engine operator must put measures in place to discourage internet users from going outside the EU to find that information.
The decision, which matches a preliminary opinion in January from the court's adviser, highlights the need to balance data privacy and protection concerns against the public's right to information. It also raises questions about how to enforce differing jurisdictions when it comes to the borderless internet.
In a reaction to the ruling, Google's Senior Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer said "it's good to see that the Court agreed with our arguments" and added that Google had worked hard "to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy."
The 2014 ruling that people in the EU have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online forced Google to delete links to outdated or embarrassing personal information that popped up in searches within the 28-nation bloc.
Tuesday's ruling that says it applies only to EU countries is final and becomes the benchmark on which courts in the bloc must base their decisions relating to such cases.
Those who wanted to see an extension beyond the EU argue that on the internet it is easy to switch between national versions of Google's web site - from google.fr to google.com, for example - to find the information that must be removed within the EU.
Since Google started handling "right to be forgotten" requests in May 2014, the U.S. tech giant has removed about 1.3 million web links from its search results, or 45% of total requests processed, according to the company's transparency report .
Online takedown requests filed by European residents are reviewed by Google staff, based mainly in Ireland, who consider factors such as whether the webpage solely concerns sensitive information such as race, religion, sexual religion; relates to children or crimes committed as a minor; or is about old convictions, acquittals, or false accusations.
In one request last year, Google delisted a 1984 German news article about an individual's conviction for hijacking an East German airplane to try to flee to West Germany, because it was "very old" and related to now-repealed laws against unlawful emigration, according to the transparency report. Other delisted links include pages about a former politician involved in a drug scandal because it disclosed his home address and other pages about convictions for rapes, sexual abuse and aiding and abetting terrorism because the offenders had served their sentences.
Google notes that it's not removing pages wholesale from its results — they're only delisted for a person's name but will still show up for other search terms found on that page.
Google says it may reject a delisting request if the page contains information that's "strongly in the public interest." That can include material on public figures that relates to the requester's professional life, past crime, political office, position in public life. It can also say no if the content consists of government documents or "journalistic in nature."
Dhaka, Sept 24 (UNB)- Smartphone V17 Pro made by multinational Chinese smartphone maker Vivo is likely to be introduced in Bangladesh market soon.
Though the specialised smartphone V17 Pro has been already introduced in some countries including India, Bangladeshi smartphone lovers are happy with some billboards of V17 pro in some showrooms in the capital.
Industry insiders said V17 Pro is Vivo’s 9th Phone in its V series lineup. In addition to the number of cameras and selfie camera technology, there are many variations on this new phone.
The phone will be full packed with 8 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM which can be amplified up to 256 GB. It features 6.44 inches display with a resolution of 1080x2440, 4100 mAh dual-engine fast-charging battery, face unlock and fingerprint scanning technology, said a press release.
Vivo is bringing new technologies every year, due to its increasing passion on smartphone camera variety and style. Vivo brought elevating camera technology to smartphone for the first time in global phone industry. This year's popup selfie camera has been added in Vivo phones.
Emphasizing on smooth experience of playing games, this Chinese technology company continuously developing the style and capacity of display and battery.
San Francisco, Sep 23 (AP/UNB) — Google is restarting a practice in which human contractors listen to and transcribe some voice commands people give to the company's artificial intelligence system, Assistant. But this time Google is taking steps to make sure people know what they are agreeing to.
The company suspended its transcription practices after more than 1,000 recordings were leaked to the media in Belgium this summer. Critics have said users didn't fully understand what they were agreeing to because Google's language was unclear.
Amazon, Apple and Facebook have used similar practices. The companies say it helps make their AI systems more accurate.
Now Google will require users to agree again to voice transcription and make it clear human transcribers might listen to recordings. The company will also delete most recordings after a few months.