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Zyn Nicotine Pouches Are All Over TikTok, Sparking Debate Among Politicians And Health Experts

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Washington — The latest tobacco product selling online, Zyn, is a little pouch containing nicotine and flavours.

However, it has sparked a controversy among lawmakers, parents, and pundits, reflecting an increasingly complex picture in which Big Tobacco actively promotes alternative products while specialists grapple with their possible benefits and risks.

Zyn is available in mint, coffee, and citrus flavours and is marketed to adult tobacco users by Philip Morris International. However, videos of young people popping the pouches have received millions of views on TikTok and other social media platforms.

zyn

Zyn Nicotine Pouches Are All Over TikTok, Sparking Debate Among Politicians And Health Experts

Advocates are concerned that Zyn may become the newest nicotine product to entice underage kids, similar to how Juul sparked a years-long surge in vaping activity. Other scientists contend that the possibility of preventing people from using cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products, which result in 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, balances the risk.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result,” explained Dr. Jasjit Ahluwalia, an addiction specialist at Brown University. “That is how we’ve dealt with tobacco for decades. We’ve been all about abstinence, rather than promoting products that can prevent harm.”

Ahluwalia sees nicotine pouches and e-cigarettes as a means to assist smokers in reducing or quitting smoking.

That strategy is common in the United Kingdom, but it is not part of the medical mainstream in the United States, where only pharmaceutical-grade drugs such as nicotine gum and lozenges are officially allowed to assist smokers in quitting.

According to Ahluwalia, Zyn works like those products do: it releases modest quantities of nicotine, which are absorbed into the gums and reduce cravings. He emphasizes that the main distinction is that Philip Morris, the largest cigarette manufacturer in the world and a longtime foe of anti-smoking organizations, offers Zyn.

The Zyn debate has now spilt over into politics, pitting Democrats and Republicans in Washington against one another and sparking yet another conflict in the country’s culture war.

In late January, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York urged regulators to look into Zyn, stressing its attraction to teenagers. Several House Republicans then warned residents that “Big Brother” planned to “ban nicotine.”

Tucker Carlson, a Zyn user, joined the fray, stating, “Zyn is not a sin,” praising its unverified benefits, such as “enhancing male vitality and mental acuity.”

Zyn users immediately evolved their online lexicon, which includes terms like “zynnies,” “zynner,” and “zynsky.”

Ollie Ganz, a tobacco and nicotine researcher at Rutgers University, said that there is a young male-led online subculture around Zyn, but much of that is not coming from the brand itself.

Online videos show young people chronicling their first Zyn experiences, comparing different taste combinations, and showcasing heaping stacks of used canisters.

“It’s concerning to see the countless Zyn-related memes and hashtags that are being amplified and normalized across social media,” said Kathy Crosby, CEO of the Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco advocacy group.

Truth and other groups cite data indicating that nicotine can interfere with adolescent brain development.

The Food and Drug Administration’s responsible for balancing Zyn’s hazards to children with its potential to benefit adults.

According to an FDA representative, the government is monitoring underage use, with 1.5% of high school and middle school students reporting using pouches last year. That is well below the 10% who use e-cigarettes.

zyn

Zyn Nicotine Pouches Are All Over TikTok, Sparking Debate Among Politicians And Health Experts

The FDA has allowed Zyn to remain on the market while they assess Philip Morris’ marketing application, which has been waiting since 2020. If teen use continues low, the company may be able to obtain FDA approval for at least part of its products, which are available in several strengths and a dozen flavours.

In 2019, the FDA granted its first reduced-risk classification to a similar product: snus, a tobacco pouch popular in Sweden that has fewer carcinogens than cigarettes. The FDA stated that smokers who switch to snus lessen their risk of lung cancer, bronchitis, and other ailments.

Zyn eliminates the tobacco leaves contained in snus, leaving only nicotine, which Philip Morris claims boosts its attractiveness.

“People may be hesitant to switch to an oral tobacco product if they believe it is similar to traditional chewing tobacco,” business spokesman Corey Henry explained. “Consumer acceptability is a big part of Zyn.”

Henry says Philip Morris does not market Zyn through internet influencers or endorsements. The website is only available to people over the age of 21. Flavours such as cinnamon and peppermint are “familiar to adults,” Henry added.

Zyn launched in the United States in 2014, but sales have skyrocketed in the last year, producing $1.8 billion as shipments increased by more than 60% yearly.

On a November call with retailers, a firm executive described the rise as “gonzo” and “lights out.”

“I did not see this coming. “I don’t know anyone who did,” said Joseph Teller, the head of oral tobacco products.

zyn

Zyn Nicotine Pouches Are All Over TikTok, Sparking Debate Among Politicians And Health Experts

Zyn’s advertisements emphasize the pouches’ unobtrusive and convenient nature as a “smoke-free,” “spit-free” alternative for smokers “at work” or “on the move.”

However, to achieve the company’s claimed objective of a “smoke-free future,” Zyn will need to assist customers in completely quitting cigarettes rather than cycling between them.

There is limited research on switching, and preliminary findings show there may be better solutions than pouches.

Researchers at Ohio State University recently discovered that it took smokers 30 minutes to an hour to receive enough nicotine from Zyn to satisfy their cravings. Cigarette smokers achieved the same nicotine levels—and relief—in five minutes.

“The pouches we studied, especially those with lower nicotine concentrations, did not appear to meet the needs of smokers,” stated study leader Brittney Keller-Hamilton. “That being said, they didn’t totally flop either.”

For the time being, smokers who have found success with Zyn are hoping it remains available.

Last spring, while working as a bartender in Portland, Oregon, Justin Wafer, 39, was smoking one pack every day. On hectic days, he would vape instead of taking a smoke break.

But, when his reloadable electronic cigarette failed in May, he tried Zyn. He now pops a pouch every three to four hours and claims to have not smoked in over nine months.

“I don’t see how it’s any different from pharmaceutical solutions like lozenges or gum,” he said. “Except it’s easier to get and tastes better.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Eli Lilly Invests $5.3 Billion to Address Mounjaro and Zepbound Shortages

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Mounjaro and Zepbound
Demand for the weight loss and diabetes drugs has outpaced its supply: Getty Images

Eli Lilly, the American pharmaceutical company, has announced that it will invest an additional $5.3 billion in a new manufacturing site to increase production of its weight loss and diabetic drugs Mounjaro and Zepbound.

Over the last year, demand for Mounjaro and Zepbound has significantly surpassed supply, resulting in shortages in the United States and requiring the pharmaceutical giant to invest extensively to scale up its manufacturing.

This latest commitment raises Eli Lilly’s total investment in the site to $9 billion. Eli Lilly’s CEO, David Ricks, stated that this is the company’s largest production investment in nearly 150 years.

Eli Lilly intends the Lebanon location to begin producing medications by the end of 2026 and expand operations through 2028. The corporation first revealed plans to establish new Indiana locations in 2022.

The investment will create 200 full-time jobs at the site, including roles for engineers, scientists, operating workers, and lab technicians, increasing the total workforce to 900 full-time employees, according to Eli Lilly.

Mounjaro and Zepbound have “limited availability”

Eli Lilly expects production at the site to begin at the end of 2026, with operations ramping up through 2028.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, most injections of Mounjaro and Zepbound have “limited availability” in the United States due to growing demand for both medications.

Eli Lilly’s shares, which are up 39% this year, increased marginally to $808.69 on the announcement, according to Forbes.

In recent years, Eli Lilly has concentrated on increasing manufacturing following good research results for tirzepatide. In November, the FDA approved the drug—previously licensed for treating diabetes as Mounjaro—for weight reduction treatment under the brand name Zepbound, joining other weight loss drugs such as Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy.

The popularity of injectable weight-loss treatments has resulted in shortages of all four medications, forcing Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly to increase manufacturing efforts.

Earlier this year, Eli Lilly raised its full-year revenue estimates by $2 billion, citing “production expansion.”

Source: Forbes

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Tick Season Has Arrived. Protect Yourself With These Tips

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Black-legged tick: Image AP

FORT COLLINS, CO – Tick season has begun across the United States, and experts warn that bloodsuckers may be as prevalent as ever. According to some analysts, another warm winter and other favorable variables will most certainly result in the 2024 tick population being equal to or higher than the previous year.

“It’s very bad and has only been getting worse,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Susanna Visser.

Rising ticks are spreading into new locations, bringing unique diseases. Exotic southern species, such as the Gulf Coast and lone star ticks, are being found in New York and other northern states, for example.

However, the tick that experts warn about the most is the common black-legged tick, which lives primarily in forests and transmits Lyme disease. Infection rates peak in May, with US health officials estimating that roughly half a million Lyme infections occur yearly.

Here is a peek at what to expect this year and how to protect yourself.

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Black-legged tick: Image AP

TICK FACTS.

Ticks are little, eight-legged, bloodsucking parasites (arachnids, not insects) that prey on animals and occasionally humans. Some ticks carry illness-causing bacteria, which they spread when they bite.

There is no widely recognized estimate of the number of ticks that exist each year, but scientists agree that ticks are becoming an increasingly widespread health threat in significant parts of the United States.

Blacklegged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks because they feed on deer, are some of the most common in the eastern portion of the United States. They were abundant centuries ago, then declined when woods were cut down, and deer were hunted before rebounding alongside deer in wooded suburbs. Ticks have expanded from New England and the Midwest to the South and Great Plains.

Tick populations fluctuate throughout the year for various reasons. They prefer warm, humid weather and can be seen after a mild winter. The number of deer and mice available to feed is also important.

Researchers estimate that the black-legged tick population has been growing for at least four decades.

“This is an epidemic in slow motion,” stated Rebecca Eisen, a CDC research scientist and tick expert.

ticks

Black-legged tick: Image AP

2024 TICK SEASON FORECAST

Weather can influence the severity of a tick season.

Very cold, dry winters can reduce tick numbers, but recent winters have been mild, which some ascribe to climate change.

Scott Williams, a tick researcher at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, stated, “Winters are no longer limiting the tick population.”

Ticks can endure high temperatures but tend to hibernate during a dry summer. That happened in Maine from 2020 to 2022, according to Chuck Lubelczyk, a vector ecologist at the MaineHealth Institute for Research.

However, last year was exceptionally wet, and tick activity increased in Maine, the state with the highest prevalence of Lyme disease in the nation. The weather service predicts increased temperatures and precipitation, so “on paper, at least, it could be a very good year for the ticks,” Lubelczyk added.

Because of the warm winter in Wisconsin, adult ticks remained active longer than usual. The tick nymphs are emerging, and a wet spring is paving the way for a large population, according to Xia Lee, an entomologist with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The same holds for New York.

“It will be as bad as last year, if not worse,” said Saravanan Thangamani, a tick and tickborne illness researcher at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.

What is Lyme Disease?

Not all ticks contain disease-causing germs; researchers anticipate that 20% to 30% of black-legged tick nymphs emerging in the Northeast and Midwest during spring and summer will carry the Lyme disease bacteria

Lyme disease symptoms often appear three to thirty days following a bite, including fever, headache, lethargy, and a bull’s-eye-like rash. If you are bitten and develop symptoms, visit a doctor to be treated with antibiotics.

ticks

Black-legged tick: Image AP

HOW TO KEEP TICKS AWAY FROM YOU

According to experts, the best course of action is to prevent getting bitten by a tick in the first place.

When you go outside, take note of woody regions and where grassy lands begin to blend into wooded ones. Ticks typically perch on ankle-level plants with extended upper legs, waiting to latch on to an unwary dog or human.

Try to walk in the middle of the walkway, wear light-colored, permethrin-treated clothing, and apply EPA-registered insect repellents.

How to Check for Ticks

When you get inside, check for ticks. They can be found anywhere on the human body, but the most common locations are around the waist, below the knees, between the fingers and toes, underarms, around the belly button, and the neck or hairline

They are more difficult to see while young, so inspect them closely and promptly remove them with tweezers.

The CDC does not advocate submitting individual ticks to testing services for analysis since a person may receive more than one tick bite, and the results of the tested tick may not provide enough information.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

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Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

For the nation’s bicycle stores, the last several years have certainly felt like the business version of the Tour de France, with innumerable twists and turns testing their stamina.

Early in the pandemic, a surge in interest in cycling drove sales up 64% to $5.4 billion in 2020, according to Circana, the retail tracking firm. It wasn’t uncommon for some stores to sell 100 or more bikes in a few days.

The boom did not last. Due to pandemic-related supply chain challenges, the retailers sold out of bikes and struggled to replenish. Inventory has caught up, but fewer people require new bicycles. Bicycle manufacturers have started lowering prices to clear off excess inventory. It all adds up to a challenging climate for retailers, with a few bright areas such as dirt and e-bikes.

“The industry had a hard time keeping up with demand for a couple of years, but then demand slowed as the lockdowns ended, and a lot of inventory started showing up,” said Stephen Frothingham, editor-in-chief of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. “So now for the last, a year and a half, the industry has struggled with having too much inventory, at the supplier level, at the factory level, at the distributor level, at the retail level.”

Circana reports that bike sales will reach $4.1 billion in 2023, up 23% from 2019 but down 24% from 2020. The recovery from the epidemic has been uneven, with large businesses such as REI and Scheels recovering faster than independent bike shops, according to Matt Tucker, director of client development for Circana’s sports equipment business.

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Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

John McDonell, owner of Market Street Cycles on San Francisco’s famed Market Street, says the pandemic’s shift to hybrid labor has been especially difficult for business. During the summer, 3,000 bikes would pass by his shop each day. With fewer individuals commuting to work, that number has dropped to less than 1,000.

According to Pacer.ai, which tracks people’s activities based on smartphone usage, San Francisco falls behind all other major cities regarding workers returning to work, with office visits down 49% from April 2019.

“Our downtown is still a wasteland,” McDonell explained.

Independent bike stores now compete not only with national chains but also with bike manufacturers such as Specialized and Trek. These companies have been buying bike shops and selling their bikes directly to customers, thus eliminating the middleman. According to Frothingham, there are now over 1,000 bike shops in the country that are either owned by Trek or Specialized.

“They’ve got the money to absorb the fact that bike stores, you know, are not a super profitable thing, and in the process, they’ve also been able to cut us out of it,” McDonell stated.

McDonell has been obliged to use a skeleton team of himself and another employee, down from five earlier. His desire to sell his shop to a younger bike enthusiast when he retires is diminishing. He might close his store when his lease expires in a few years.

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Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“Now I am just trying to land it with both engines on fire and trying not to lose money on my way out,” he stated

Douglas Emerson’s bike business, University Bicycles, in Boulder, Colorado, is doing better, thanks to its placement in one of the country’s most popular biking destinations. He’s owned the shop for 39 years and employs 30 people.

University Bicycles, like other bike retailers, experienced a surge in bike sales due to the pandemic. Emerson recalls selling 107 bicycles in 48 hours. However, immediately following the boom, sales fell considerably due to a lack of inventory, and rentals declined because no one was traveling.

“It became a struggle right after the boom,” Emerson explained. “Since then, manufacturers have overproduced.” In addition, they have significantly reduced prices, which benefits consumers. However, tiny retailers generally cannot take advantage of those discounts.”

Emerson claims the shop hit a “saturation point” when everyone who wanted a bike purchased one. He now sells these consumer items such as jackets, helmets, and locks. His store has returned to its 2019 sales figures.

University Bicycles has also benefited from some of the changes in purchasing trends. The continued strong demand for e-bikes and the increased need for children’s bikes have contributed. Gravel bikes, which can be ridden on both paved and dirt routes, are displacing road cycles as a top seller.

John Ruger, a 50-year biker and faithful University Bicycles client, hasn’t purchased a bike in ten years but intends to buy a gravel bike at present costs. He says a top gravel bike he’s interested in, which would normally cost $12,000 to $14,000, is presently on sale for $8,000.

bike

Bike Shop: Image Pixa Bay

Bike Shops Boomed Early In The Pandemic. It’s Been A Bumpy Ride For Most Ever Since

“The timing is good,” he remarked. “I can get a bike now because they’re less expensive and my bikes are getting old.”

Shawna Williams, the owner of Free Range Cycles in Seattle, Washington, did not see the same sales boom as others because her 700-square-foot business was so small that she only accepted customers by appointment from March 2020 to May 2021.

However, Williams did have to deal with the coming shortages. She spent a great deal of time “checking in with other shops to see if we could buy something, even at retail, from them, just in order to get a repair done or a build done.”

She expanded her service offerings, such as repairs and maintenance, to compensate for decreasing bike sales. Despite the epidemic, the maneuvering allowed her to maintain consistent overall sales.

“Bike sales, the way that I have kind of framed the shop, are an awesome bonus, but we really need to be sustaining the shop through repair and, like, thoughtful accessory sales,” Williams stated. “A bike sale to me, if we do things well, that means creating a customer for life.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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