By Richard Davies
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Mar 5, 2014 8 38am

(Photo Credit Martina Paraninfi/Getty Images)

Morning Money Memo

The debate over e cigarettes is heating up. Los Angeles has joined New York and Chicago, becoming the latest big city to approve new restrictions. By a 14 0 vote the L.A. City Council outlawed “vaping” inhaling e cigarette vapors at most public places, including parks and some beaches. Council members defeated a proposal to allowing vaping in “bars and nightclubs.

The push for regulations is a threat to the rapidly growing e cigarette industry. Sales of e cigarettes reached $1.5 billion in 2013, according to an analysis by Bloomberg News. Altria, Lorillard and other producers have marketed e cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking. But industry critics say they are a gateway for teens and others to try cigarettes.

General Motors’ new CEO Mary Barra is also taking a strong personal interest in consumer safety, leading an internal review of the company’s practices after an embarrassing recall of 1.6 million older small cars. GM last week doubled the number of cars included in a global recall over faulty ignition switches that have been linked to 13 deaths. The company issued a rare apology for the slow response and admitted it knew of the problem a decade ago. Barra says GM’s reputation will be determined by how the company handles the problem.

A bank specializing in bitcoins says it shut down after computer hackers robbed its digital currency. The closure of the Flexcoin bank comes just a week after the collapse of Mt. Gox, a major bitcoin exchange. Mt. Gox also said it was the victim of an electronic heist. Flexcoin says 896 bitcoins were stolen from its online vault. That translates into a loss of about $600,000, based on the current trading value. Unlike banks dealing in government backed currencies, Flexcoin’s losses aren’t covered by deposit insurance.

It was a major relief rally. Stock averages had their best day of the year so far. The S&P opens this morning at a record high after gaining 1 1/2 percent Tuesday. The Nasdaq is at a 14 year high. The belief on financial markets is that the worst of the crisis over Ukraine and the threat of a broader Russian invasion may be over. Asian stocks rose overnight as tensions appeared to ease.

China’s government is promising a series of changes to promote competition and economic growth by opening state run industries to private investment and making banks more market oriented. China’s top economic official says more consumer spending will be encouraged. Chinese authorities say they want to keep this year’s growth target at 7.5 percent.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter daviesnow

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– medical news today

Buy cigarettes online illegal

The safety of e cigarettes has caused much debate in recent months. Now, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that the number of phone calls to poison centers involving e cigarette liquids containing nicotine has dramatically increased, from one call per month in 2010 to 215 calls per month in 2014.

E cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) are battery operated devices that simulate tobacco smoking. The devices contain a heating element and a liquid solution. When the user sucks on the device, a sensor activates the heating element, which vaporizes the liquid solution and enables the user to inhale it.

The liquid solutions come in many different flavors and typically contain nicotine, although there are solutions available that do not contain nicotine.

The use of e cigarettes has boomed in recent years. The National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) 2011 12, also from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that e cigarette use has more than doubled among middle and high school students from 2011 to 2012.

Many observers believe that because e cigarettes do not contain tar the ingredient in conventional cigarettes that is the root of health problems linked to smoking they are a healthier alternative and can encourage a smoker to quit the habit. But the jury is still out regarding their safety.

E cigarettes still contain nicotine the addictive stimulant found in tobacco. Because of this, there is concern that the devices may encourage individuals to take up conventional smoking. In 2012, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that e cigarettes can still harm the lungs.

Now, this most recent report from the CDC raises further safety concerns and shows that those affected do not even have to be users of the device.

More than 50% of calls involved children 5 years of age and under

To reach their findings, the study researchers assessed data from the poison centers that serve all states across the US, as well as centers that serve the District of Columbia and US territories.

More than half of e cigarette related phone calls to poison centers involved children aged 5 years and under, according to the report.

The team focused on calls that reported exposure to conventional cigarettes, e cigarettes or the nicotine liquid used in e cigarettes.

Between September 2010 and February 2014, the poison centers reported 2,405 calls related to e cigarettes and 16,248 calls related to cigarette exposure. The researchers note that these numbers are likely to be higher, since it is possible that not all exposures would have been reported to poison centers.

The researchers found that the number of total monthly calls relating to e cigarette poisoning increased from 0.3% to 41.7% during the study period, while the number of calls relating to conventional cigarette poisoning did not show a similar increase.

Furthermore, the report reveals that more than half of these calls (51.1%) involved children aged 5 years and under. Approximately 42% of the calls involved individuals aged 20 years and over.

According to the investigators, child poisoning from traditional cigarettes is usually a result of children eating them, while poisoning related to e cigarettes involves the nicotine containing liquid, which is either ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin and eyes.

Calls relating to e cigarettes were more likely to involve reports of adverse health effects after exposure such as vomiting, nausea and eye irritation than calls linked to conventional cigarettes.

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, says

“This report raises another red flag about e cigarettes the liquid nicotine used in e cigarettes can be hazardous.

Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue. E cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

The researchers conclude that creating strategies to monitor and prevent future poisonings is “critical.”

They add that health care providers, the public health community, those involved in manufacturing, selling, distributing or marketing e cigarettes and the general public should be vigilant that e cigarettes “can cause adverse health affects and represent an emerging public health concern.”

Earlier this year, a spotlight feature from Medical News Today discussed how policy makers should react to the rapid increase in e cigarette usage.

Written by Honor Whiteman

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