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Vaping Ban Upheld By Federal Court

Vaping Ban Upheld By Federal Court By Bryan Le 07/24/17

Federal appeals court judges issued a controversial ruling that some are calling a dangerous interpretation of the law.

Image:
Airline pilot vaping an e-cigarette before a flight.

No ripping clouds in the sky.

A federal court has stamped out a challenge to the Department of Transportation’s ban on e-cigarettes on commercial flights. E-cigarettes were added to the list of banned tobacco products last year in order to protect passengers from a vaper’s secondhand mists on all commercial U.S. flights as well as international flights to and from the U.S.

E-cigarettes or similar vaping devices use electric heating elements to vaporize a specialized liquid, typically containing nicotine, to allow users to experience the act of smoking without all the downsides that come with inhaling smoke. This would, in theory, allow a person with nicotine cravings to reduce the harm they commit to themselves and others with carcinogenic smoke.

“True, e-cigarettes might fit within these definitions if one squints hard enough, but as the court itself notes, ‘we cannot just tally the dictionary definitions,’” said dissenting judge Douglas Ginsberg.

 The DoT ban was challenged by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives and an e-cigarette user. They are mulling over whether to appeal the ruling.

“Today’s court ruling creates a dangerous new rule for interpreting the law,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It allows the commonly-understood language of Congress’s 30-year-old no-smoking statute to be stretched in a ban on e-cigarettes—even though e-cigarettes involve no combustion and produce no smoke.”

Kazman’s team argues that “any risks to airline passengers are totally undemonstrated.”

Being a relatively new technology, the research is not yet in on the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarette use. But the technology, branded as “safe” by its marketers, has a special appeal to teenagers. A Surgeon General report finds that vaping among high schoolers has increased by about 900% since 2011. Ironically, while the technology is touted to help people quit smoking, researchers have found that it may be a gateway to tobacco use for teens.

Please read our comment policy. – The Fix

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Vape At Work Bosses Should Let Staff VAPE in Office

As part of the new Tobacco Control Plan, health bosses will promote e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional fags.

Employers are reminded that e-cigarette use is not illegal in offices and bosses are free to decide whether to allow staff to vape.

The plan says: “E-cigarette use is not covered by smoke-free legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smoke-free policy.”

And advice from Public Health England also says that staff should not “routinely” ban vaping – although they should take into consideration the fumes could be a nuisance and affect those with asthma.

PHE guidance states: “International peer-reviewed evidence indicates that the risk to the health of bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour is extremely low.

“The evidence of harm from second-hand exposure to vapour is not sufficient to justify the prohibition of e-cigarettes.

 The Government wants to slash smoking rates by a quarter by 2022 by urging millions to switch to e-cigarettes

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The Government wants to slash smoking rates by a quarter by 2022 by urging millions to switch to e-cigarettes

“Reasons other than the health risk to bystanders may exist for prohibiting e-cigarette use in all or part of a public place or workplace, such as commercial considerations and professional etiquette.”

Ministers also want to cut regular smoking among 15-year-olds from eight per cent to three per cent.

Campaigners Ash predict the UK could be smoke free – with less than one in 20 lighting up – by 2030.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said: “Britain is a world-leader in tobacco control, and our tough action in the past decade has seen smoking rates in England fall to an all-time low of 15.5 per cent.

“But our vision is to create a smoke free generation.

“Smoking continues to kill hundreds of people a day in England, and we know the harms fall hardest on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society.

“That’s why we are targeting prevention and local action to address the variation in smoking rates in our society, educate people about the risks and support them to quit for good.”

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Vaping congressman vapes to protest anti-vaping law

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Feds Ignore National Plunge In Smoking Rate, Sound Alarm On Vaping

Feds Ignore National Plunge In Smoking Rate, Sound Alarm On Vaping

Dr. Vivek Murthy said use of e- cigarettes is rising at an alarming rate and warns of negative health consequences from the inhalation of liquid nicotine vapers. The report, the first from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General on vaping products, says that e-cigarette use among America’s youth is rapidly creating a public health crisis. Health officials largely ignore the drop in the youth smoking rate, claiming vaping could lead to an increase in users of traditional tobacco products, reports The Washington Post.

Many health experts are taking issue with the report, criticizing government officials for ignoring the positive impact vaping is having on current smokers.

“The new report on electronic cigarettes focuses on youth experimentation and completely omits the opportunities for harm reduction these devices offer for adult smokers,” Dr. Edward Anselm, senior fellow at the R Street Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is a continuation of the recent demonization of nicotine by some in the public health community, to the detriment of 40 million adult smokers who could be helped to reduce their risk to tobacco-related disease substantially.”

 

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Vape tax opponents rally around repeal effort, election challenge

Vape tax opponents rally around repeal effort, election challenge

New Taxes Threaten Pennsylvania Vape Stores
Wallace McKelvey | WMckelvey@pennlive.com By Wallace McKelvey | WMckelvey@pennlive.com The Patriot-News
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on September 19, 2016 at 2:10 PM, updated September 19, 2016 at 3:09 PM

Opponents of Pennsylvania’s 40 percent tax on e-cigarettes are rallying around new legislation that would repeal what vape store owners describe as the death knell of the industry.

Lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf avoided another protracted budget impasse this year by relying on new revenues from an expansion of gambling, reforms to the liquor system and higher taxes on smokers and the businesses that cater to their nicotine habits. That includes a 40 percent tax on the wholesale price on vaping supplies as well as a 40 percent “floor tax” on the inventory currently sitting on vape shop shelves.

The “floor tax,” in particular, was seen as an insurmountable obstacle to for an industry dominated by sole proprietor operations and small businesses that can’t afford to make lump sum payments to the state.

“It’s more profitable to throw out brand new, never-used product than to keep it on the shelves,” said Chris Hughes, a vape shop owner and a leading voice of opposition to the law. “That’s really bad.”

Unless the law can be repealed, Hughes said he plans to close his Fat Cat Vapor Shop in Montoursville prior to the Oct. 1 effective date of the tax. In the meantime, he’s selling off inventory at steep discounts and plans to discard whatever’s left.

A pair of proposals are working their way through the state House and Senate that would eliminate the “floor tax” and replace the 40 percent tax with a tax on vaping liquid at 5 cents per milliliter. Someone who bought a 15 mL vile of liquid, for example, would pay 75 cents for the vape tax in addition to a standard 6 percent sales tax.

Another House proposal would repeal the tax outright and another Senate bill would delay payment of the tax for another 90 days.

“If these small businesses do decide to close and lay off workers, not only will the new vape tax revenues fall short of estimates, but the state may lose significant sales and income tax revenues,” one of the 5-cent-per-mL bills’ sponsors, Rep. Jeff Wheeland, said in his co-sponsorship memo. The Lycoming County Republican did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hold on to your wallet: Here's how you'll be paying for Pa.'s $31.5B budget

Hold on to your wallet: Here’s how you’ll be paying for Pa.’s $31.5B budget

Here’s a look at what the budget negotiators were able to scrounge from Pennsylvania’s metaphorical couch cushions.

Pennsylvania had expected to receive $13.3 million from the 40-percent e-cigarette tax, although vape shop owners said the real-world revenue would be much lower as smokers turned to online retailers and the shops shut their doors.

It remains unclear how much revenue the 5-cents-per-mL tax would generate.

Hughes said he opposes any tax on vape supplies — since they are used by some smokers to wean themselves off cigarettes — but believes the new bills would keep shops like his open. Supporters of the revised tax, including Hughes, have planned a rally next Monday in the Capitol Rotunda.

Wheeland’s bill, which was referred to the House Finance Committee on Monday, garnered several dozen co-sponsors from both parties. House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana County, has expressed his general support for a per-mL tax.

Fat Cat Vapor ShopGrover Norquist, left, and Chris Hughes, owner of the Fat Cat Vapor Shop, at an event last week in Montoursville.

Last week, Hughes took his efforts a step further by announcing a write-in challenge to his own lawmaker, incumbent Republican state Rep. Garth Everett. Grover Norquist, an anti-tax political advocate, spoke at an event at Fat Cat Vapor Shop.

Everett, like many of his Republican colleagues, voted for the state spending bill and also voted for the revenue package.

“We don’t get to pick and choose on a menu,” Everett said. “It’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the whole package. I already voted for the spending package, so I felt obligated to vote for the revenue package. Some of my colleagues didn’t and I don’t understand that — to vote to spend money without the revenue.”

Everett, who represents parts of Lycoming and Union counties, said he would have changed a number of things about the budget if that was an option.

“I’m not a fan of voting for any tax increases,” he said, “but I thought this was as good a deal as we were going to get.”

Hughes, for his part, said he’s pledged not to raise any taxes, particularly the kinds of taxes included in this year’s budget bill that target low-income people. On the issue of a natural gas severance tax, for example, he hasn’t arrived at a firm position although he generally supports gas drilling. He’s also “satisfied” with current abortion laws, pro-gay marriage and a supporter of gun rights.

“I want to win,” he said, of his candidacy. “I recognize the challenges of a write-in campaign, but I think the district size is manageable and I have a lot of friends and volunteers who are willing to help.”

Garth EverettState Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming County

Everett said he’s willing to consider any change to the vape tax that’s revenue-neutral, but he doesn’t believe Wheeland’s proposal fits that bill.

“It’s not as easy as it stands with a 5-cents-per-mL tax,” he said. “The tax would need to be almost 22 or 25 cents to raise the same revenue that we did with the budget package.”

A lobbyist for the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association said he estimated the proceeds from the per-mL tax at closer to $14 million, based on current sales.

Everett also doesn’t believe as many shops will close as the owners have said. Those that do close, he said, likely were on that trajectory already.

“It’s the natural way with anything new,” Everett said. “An entrepreneurial opportunity comes out, a lot of people rush in, the ones with some good business plans survive and it weeds itself out.”

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Seeing through the haze of tobacco and vaping tax proposal

Seeing through the haze of tobacco and vaping tax proposal

Proposition 56, on California’s Nov. 8 ballot, is flawed. It would impose a heavy tax on small businesses, it would kill jobs, and it would be a big step backward in accomplishing the goal of protecting the health of state residents.

Prop. 56 misleads voters by falsely implying that the harmful health effects of tobacco are similar to those of vapor products. Broadly speaking, the measure is dangerous to public health.

Under this measure, vapor products would be taxed by more than 300 percent, making these products so expensive that California’s 3.8 million smokers will be less likely to consider them as alternatives to combustible cigarettes. Nowhere in the initiative is this tax explained.

An astronomical increase in the cost of vapor products puts jobs and the many small businesses in the state that sell these devices to adult consumers at risk, forcing these companies to fire employees, relocate or even close down their shops.

Millions of former smokers in California and around the world already have switched to vaping, which science says is more than 95 percent less harmful than combustible tobacco. Among those drawing that conclusion is Britain’s Royal College of Physicians, one of the world’s leading medical institutions. in fact, according to researchers at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center, the use of vaporized nicotine products may end up triggering a 21 percent reduction in smoking-attributable deaths and a 20 percent decrease in life-years lost.

Prop. 56 overlooks the potential for vapor products to help to reduce the public harm caused by smoking, which accounts for California’s 37,000 deaths and $18 billion in economic and health-care costs each year, including the impact on Medi-Cal patients, among whom the prevalence of smoking is more than double the national average.

This initiative only puts more money in the hands of special interest groups, with 82 percent going to fund doctor salaries and training, as well as protecting inefficient programs that are losing money from declining tobacco tax revenues as smoking consumption rates continue to fall.

Interestingly, only 11 percent will go to smoking cessation programs. The sad truth is that California received $1.52 billion in excise taxes and settlements in 2014, but used only 4.3 percent on prevention and cessation programs. Prop. 56 also will pay for programs aimed at discouraging people from using vapor products.

At the same time, one of the arguments for raising tobacco taxes is that California lags behind the rest of the country. The fact is that California’s smoking rate has dropped to the second lowest of any state, thanks in part to vapor products. And claims that this tax will protect minors couldn’t be farther from the truth, since vapor products are only sold in age-verified venues and the legal age to vape in California is now 21 years old.

Despite what proponents of this measure may claim when it comes to underage use, the average age of a vaper is 39 and recent data from the National Institute of Health’s Monitoring the Future survey found decreases in teen smoking and e-cigs over the last two years.

Voters must understand the stark differences between vapor products and combustible cigarettes. Prop. 56 is just more of the same: government trying to fund programs on the backs of hard-working Californians.

Kari Hess is owner of Nor Cal Vape in Redding, Calif., and co-president of the NorCal chapter of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association.

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POV: New FDA Regulations on Vaping Products a Failure

POV: New FDA Regulations on Vaping Products a Failure

They do not protect public’s health, do impose a public safety hazard

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On May 5, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its long-awaited regulations on electronic cigarettes and vaping products. These rules, which require every one of the more than 10,000 vaping products on the market to submit a pre–market approval application simply to stay on the market, were widely applauded by antismoking and health groups. What may not have been apparent at the time, but what I have discovered through a detailed analysis of the 499-page regulations, is that these regulations not only fail to protect the public’s health, but they impose a public safety hazard.

One key hallmark of the FDA regulations is that as of August 8, 2016, no new vaping products will be allowed on the market. Because the FDA considers virtually any change in a product to constitute a new product, this means that the deeming regulations will essentially freeze the vaping market as it exists on August 8. From that date forward, not only will companies not be able to introduce new products, but they will also be unable to make changes in their existing products. Such changes would require a new product application, which is prohibitively expensive for most companies. Moreover, these regulations will discourage companies from undertaking any revisions to their products.

And therein lies the problem. In prohibiting all changes in existing products, the FDA is specifically prohibiting even critical safety improvements that may be necessary to address reported safety hazards.

To be clear, even small changes in products will not be allowed. For example, changes to the battery will not be allowed. If a company wanted to change to a new type of battery in a rechargeable model it produces so the risk of battery explosions is reduced, this will not be allowed because it would represent the introduction of a new tobacco product into the market for interstate commerce. Similarly, if a company wanted to change its propylene glycol supplier and use a purer grade of propylene glycol to prevent diethylene glycol—a poison—from getting into the e-liquid, this would also be prohibited.

In essence, the FDA is freezing all defective batteries, impure e-liquids, and overheating coils, preventing companies from addressing these impending safety hazards. Far from protecting the public’s health, the FDA is putting the public’s safety at great risk.

I can think of no other consumer product manufacturer that is prohibited by federal regulators from introducing critical safety improvements to its products. This demonstrates just how nonsensical these regulations are.

But the lack of common sense doesn’t end there. By banning new and improved products from the market, the FDA is going to greatly stifle product innovation, thus ensuring that the products that remain on the market are the most hazardous and least effective vaping products possible. After all, it is through product innovation that the e-cigarette industry would have been able to refine vaping products to make them even more effective for smoking cessation and to reduce their associated health risks to even lower levels than now exist.

This is obviously not in the interests of protecting the public’s health. To the contrary, it actually introduces safety concerns that would not otherwise have been present if companies were permitted to make improvements in their products without preauthorization.

However, the most nonsensical aspect of the e-cigarette regulations is the way they protect the sales of the real tobacco cigarettes that are killing hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. While easily tens of thousands of vaping products will be required to submit onerous, expensive applications estimated to cost no less than $1 million each, what will cigarette manufacturers—like the makers of Marlboro, Camel, Newport, and Kool—have to do?

The answer: absolutely nothing.

The FDA has grandfathered these products in, meaning that they can continue on the market without having to spend one dime on an application to stay on the market. It is only their competitors—much safer e-cigarettes—whose very existence is being threatened by these onerous and misplaced regulations. The FDA could have done no greater favor to the continued profits of manufacturers of toxic tobacco cigarettes.

What makes the tragic consequences of the FDA regulations most unfortunate is that there is an effective alternative that would protect the public safety from e-cigarette hazards while at the same time allowing these products to compete with combustible tobacco products in order to save lives. That approach is to treat electronic cigarettes as consumer products, not as tobacco products, and to directly set uniform safety standards for these products—standards that address battery safety, overcharge protection, temperature control, safety of flavorings, and basic quality control and manufacturing safety. Congress must act quickly to carve out such a separate regulatory framework for e-cigarettes. We need to reduce cigarette consumption in this country, not protect cigarettes from competition from a much safer alternative.

Michael Siegel, a School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, can be reached at mbsiegel@bu.edu

https://flickr.com/vaping360

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Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction

Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction

This report aims to provide a fresh update on the use of harm reduction in tobacco smoking, in relation to all non-tobacco nicotine products but particularly e-cigarettes. It concludes that, for all the potential risks involved, harm reduction has huge potential to prevent death and disability from tobacco use, and to hasten our progress to a tobacco-free society.

Key recommendations

  • Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability, and social inequality in health, in the UK.
  • Most of the harm to society and to individuals caused by smoking in the near-term future will occur in people who are smoking today.
  • Vigorous pursuit of conventional tobacco control policies encourages more smokers to quit smoking.
  • Quitting smoking is very difficult and most adults who smoke today will continue to smoke for many years.
  • People smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, but are harmed by other constituents of tobacco smoke.
  • Provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without the harmful components of tobacco smoke can prevent most of the harm from smoking.
  • Until recently, nicotine products have been marketed as medicines to help people to quit.
  • NRT is most effective in helping people to stop smoking when used together with health professional input and support, but much less so when used on its own.
  • E-cigarettes are marketed as consumer products and are proving much more popular than NRT as a substitute and competitor for tobacco cigarettes.
  • E-cigarettes appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.
  • E-cigarettes are not currently made to medicines standards and are probably more hazardous than NRT.
  • However, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.
  • Technological developments and improved production standards could reduce the long-term hazard of e-cigarettes.
  • There are concerns that e-cigarettes will increase tobacco smoking by renormalising the act of smoking, acting as a gateway to smoking in young people, and being used for temporary, not permanent, abstinence from smoking.
  • To date, there is no evidence that any of these processes is occurring to any significant degree in the UK.
  • Rather, the available evidence to date indicates that e-cigarettes are being used almost exclusively as safer alternatives to smoked tobacco, by confirmed smokers who are trying to reduce harm to themselves or others from smoking, or to quit smoking completely.
  • There is a need for regulation to reduce direct and indirect adverse effects of e-cigarette use, but this regulation should not be allowed significantly to inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers.
  • A regulatory strategy should, therefore, take a balanced approach in seeking to ensure product safety, enable and encourage smokers to use the product instead of tobacco, and detect and prevent effects that counter the overall goals of tobacco control policy.
  • The tobacco industry has become involved in the e-cigarette market and can be expected to try to exploit these products to market tobacco cigarettes, and to undermine wider tobacco control work.
  • However, in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.

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Promote e-cigarettes widely as substitute for smoking says new RCP report

Promote e-cigarettes widely as substitute for smoking says new RCP report

The Royal College of Physicians’ new report, Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction, has concluded that e-cigarettes are likely to be beneficial to UK public health. Smokers can therefore be reassured and encouraged to use them, and the public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking.

Tobacco smoking is addictive and lethal with half of all lifelong smokers dying early, losing an average of about 3 months of life expectancy for every year smoked after the age of 35 (some 10 years of life in total). Although smoking prevalence in the UK has reduced to 18%, 8.7 million people still smoke. Harm reduction provides an additional strategy to protect this group of smokers from disability and early death.

Since e-cigarettes became available in the UK in 2007, their use has been surrounded by medical and public controversy. This new 200-page report examines the science, public policy, regulation and ethics surrounding e-cigarettes and other non-tobacco sources of nicotine, and addresses these controversies and misunderstandings with conclusions based on the latest available evidence:

  • E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking – in the UK, use of e-cigarettes is limited almost entirely to those who are already using, or have used, tobacco.
  • E-cigarettes do not result in normalisation of smoking – there is no evidence that either nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or e-cigarette use has resulted in renormalisation of smoking. None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people.
  • E-cigarettes and quitting smoking – among smokers, e-cigarette use is likely to lead to quit attempts that would not otherwise have happened, and in a proportion of these to successful cessation. In this way, e-cigarettes can act as a gateway from smoking.
  • E-cigarettes and long-term harm – the possibility of some harm from long-term e-cigarette use cannot be dismissed due to inhalation of the ingredients other than nicotine, but is likely to be very small, and substantially smaller than that arising from tobacco smoking. With appropriate product standards to minimise exposure to the other ingredients, it should be possible to reduce risks of physical health still further. Although it is not possible to estimate the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes precisely, the available data suggest that they are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure.

The report acknowledges the need for proportionate regulation, but suggests that regulation should not be allowed significantly to inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers. A regulatory strategy should take a balanced approach in seeking to ensure product safety, enable and encourage smokers to use the product instead of tobacco, and detect and prevent effects that counter the overall goals of tobacco control policy.

Professor John Britton, chair of the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group, said:

The growing use of electronic cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco smoking has been a topic of great controversy, with much speculation over their potential risks and benefits. This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the UK.

Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever.

RCP president Professor Jane Dacre said:

Since the RCP’s first report on tobacco, Smoking and health, in 1962, we have argued consistently for more and better policies and services to prevent people from taking up smoking, and help existing smokers to quit. This new report builds on that work and concludes that, for all the potential risks involved, harm reduction has huge potential to prevent death and disability from tobacco use, and to hasten our progress to a tobacco-free society.

With careful management and proportionate regulation, harm reduction provides an opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people. It is an opportunity that, with care, we should take.

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Electronic Cigarettes Usher In New Era Of Smoking And Possibilities

From –Tobacco News

If the terms “electronic cigarette” and “e-cig” are new to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s an alternative to smoking and a relatively new technology, but it is a simple one: a battery powered device that replicates the act of smoking. Continue reading

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