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‘Troubling signs’: Health Canada to review tobacco strategy as smoking rate spikes

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Health Canada is looking for outside experts to review its tobacco control strategy — a federal program that appears to have hit a wall after years of helping to drive down smoking rates.

According to a posting on Merx, a website used by Ottawa to list outstanding government tenders, Health Canada is asking contractors to prepare a report on the “value for money” of the longstanding, multi-million-dollar program that has sought to reduce the number of smokers in this country. The review would look back at how well the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) performed between 2001 and 2017.

The number of Canadian smokers aged 25 and up hit 16 per cent of the population in 2017, up from 13 per cent two years earlier, according to a recent survey by Statistics Canada.

The FTCS has spearheaded several initiatives meant to convince Canadians to quit, including graphic warnings on cigarette packages, a toll-free ‘quitline’ offering smokers access to advice and resources to help them kick cigarettes, and ad campaigns directed at young people. The Liberal government has earmarked a further $330 million over five years for the FTCS.

“The objective of the requirement is to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of the FTCS … investigating the fiscal benefits that accrue from reductions in smoking prevalence against the cost of implementing such policies,” the tender reads.

“This retrospective analysis will be used to update the fiscal success of new initiatives as they are implemented and support ongoing policy decisions regarding the implementation of the best ‘value for money’ programs in the future.”

David Hammond of the University of Waterloo, one of the nation’s foremost experts on tobacco controls, said this proposed historical review should take a backseat to an urgently needed, fundamental “rethink” of the current tobacco control program.

Hammond said there have been some substantial changes in the nicotine market since the FTCS was launched, with the recent legalization of e-cigarettes and the introduction of more sophisticated vaping devices.

David Hammond, a professor at the University of Waterloo and an expert on tobacco control policy, said the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy needs a re-think in a changing nicotine market. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“There’s definitely a need for renewal. We have a massively changing market in terms of e-cigarettes and despite it all we still have 5 million Canadians who continue to smoke,” he said.

“Do we need a new strategy? Yes. We need one quickly. In terms of contracting out — to figure out how the last one did — evaluation, reflection is important but we have some new challenges and I’d rather us look forward than backwards.

“There’s not too many areas in tobacco control or public health where we have extra resources laying around … I don’t think we can stand around looking over our shoulder for too long because this market is moving so quickly.”

Health Canada defended the proposed external review in a statement to CBC News, saying it’s standard for any federal program.

“The government of Canada is committed to evaluating our programs to ensure that we are delivering value to Canadians,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“This ‎contract is intended to bring in experts to help us evaluate the value of the previous tobacco strategy, and the benefits it has delivered to Canadians. This is a standard part of regulatory and policy development. The results of this evaluation will inform future strategies and policies.”

The strategy, first launched in 2001, has been credited by some experts with helping to substantially reduce the number of traditional cigarette smokers.

The number of smokers aged 15 and over peaked at nearly 50 per cent of the population in 1966 before dropping to 22 per cent in 2001.

As of 2017, that figure stood at roughly 15 per cent — a number unchanged since the last Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey in 2015.

‘Have we stalled?’

But last year saw the uptick in the number of Canadians aged 25 and up smoking cigarettes, while the percentage of Canadians aged 25 or older who reported having used cannabis in 2017 hit 13 per cent, up from 10 per cent in 2015.

The government aims to drive down the overall smoking rate in Canada to less than five per cent by 2035.

“Have we stalled? It’s possible,” said Hammond. “We’ve seen some troubling signs among youth, and that’s a big concern.

“If we see another year or so of data that … suggest the declines have stalled or youth smoking is picking up, then we really need to understand this new dynamic market much better.”

Beyond the plain tobacco packaging regulations the federal government is set to introduce, Hammond said the federal government could pursue more restrictions on where cigarettes can be sold. “You can still buy cigarettes more places than you can buy milk,” he said.

Hammond also said Ottawa should pursue new regulatory controls over cigarettes themselves.

“Where we’ve struggled is on the product side. We’re really good at telling people not to smoke. We’re pretty good at telling them where not to smoke. We’re not great at actually helping them to quit,” he said.

“Where we’ve really dropped the ball is in dealing with the product. We’ve done nothing to make cigarettes less harmful or addictive.”

Rob Cunningham, senior policy adviser for the Canadian Cancer Society, holds up a proposed standardized cigarette package. The federal government has mandated plain packaging for tobacco firms. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

New data from the U.S., he said, suggest mortality from smoking is actually higher than it was 50 to 60 years ago, when cigarettes were far more popular in the West.

“Cigarettes are no less lethal,” he said. “It’s really gotten out of hand.”

He suggested Ottawa could do more to “incentivize people to get off smoke” by championing e-cigarettes and vaping products as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes. “We have to get off smoke.”

“When I see an adult vaping I think, ‘Good for you,'” he said, adding that, unlike younger users, the vast majority of adult e-cigarette smokers are people who have quit smoking cigarettes.

Health Canada only recently acknowledged that vaping is safer than cigarettes and a viable smoking cessation tool.

“Except for nicotine, vaping products typically only contain a fraction of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco or tobacco smoke, and at lower levels. Switching completely from tobacco cigarettes to vaping products will reduce a person’s exposure to many toxic and cancer-causing chemicals,” a spokesperson with Health Canada said.

But despite the promise of these devices for former smokers, a spike in usage rates in the U.S. has health experts concerned that young people are picking up a nicotine addiction from vaping devices before turning to traditional cigarettes to get their fix.

While numbers are scarce in Canada because the products were only recently made legal, the number of U.S. high school students who say they’ve used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days is 78 per cent higher this year than last year, according to the latest National Youth Tobacco Survey, a joint study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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