E-cigarettes seeing US smokers quit: study

A rise in the use of electronic cigarettes among American adults is linked to a significant increase in the numbers of people quitting smoking, researchers say.

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In a study published in the BMJ British medical journal, scientists from California said their findings were based on the largest representative sample of e-cigarette users to date and provided a “strong case” that e-cigarettes have helped to increase rates of smoking cessation.

“These findings need to be weighed carefully in regulatory policy making and in the planning of tobacco control interventions,” the researchers, led by Shu-Hong Zhu at the University of California, said in their study.

The global scientific community is divided over e-cigarettes and whether they are a useful public health tool as a nicotine replacement therapy or a potential “gateway” for young people to move on to start smoking tobacco.

Many specialists, including health experts at Public Health England, think e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but no tobacco, are a lower-risk alternative to smoking.

But the US surgeon general last year urged lawmakers to impose price and tax policies that would discourage their use.

Zhu’s study used five US population surveys dating from 2001 to 2015. E-cigarette users were identified from the most recent survey in 2014/15, and smoking quit rates were obtained from those who had reported smoking cigarettes 12 months before the survey. Rates were then compared to four earlier surveys.

The results showed that e-cigarette users were more likely than non-users to make a quit attempt (65 per cent versus 40 per cent) and more likely to succeed in quitting smoking tobacco for at least three months.

The overall population quit rate for 2014/15 was 5.6 per cent, up from 4.5 per cent in 2010/11, and higher than the rates in all other survey years.

The researchers said that while the 1.1 percentage point rise in the smoking cessation seemed small, it represented around 350,000 additional US smokers who quit in 2014/15.

Canavan vows to fight citizenship issue

Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan considered quitting parliament, but decided to fight issues over his citizenship in the High Court.

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Senator Canavan resigned from cabinet on Tuesday after it emerged his mother had signed him up to become an Italian citizen in 2006.

She informed him of his status as an “Italian citizen abroad” on July 18 having seen media reports about the ineligibility of Greens senator Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam which forced them to quit parliament.

Under Section 44 of the constitution a person is disqualified from being elected if at the time of their election they are a citizen of “a foreign power” or otherwise have an “allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power”.

Senator Canavan told reporters in Rockhampton on Thursday while he felt it appropriate to resign from the ministry, legal advice led him to conclude he was not in breach of the constitution.

“I did consider not continuing on, given the circumstances of other cases, but I base my decision very much on that legal advice that we’ve been provided which provides grounds that I have not breached section section 44,” he said.

“I think it’s important we let that process run now and let the court make its decision.”

He said it was an important legal question for all people thinking of running for parliament, not just for him.

Senator Canavan said he was aware his mother had applied to become an Italian citizen but he had no knowledge or suspicion of what had occurred 11 years ago until last week.

“I’ve never signed a document, given consent or have any knowledge of these matters until last week.”

Asked whether he was aware his mother had been receiving Italian election voting papers in his name for the past decade, he said he had never received any correspondence from Italian authorities.

Senator Canavan’s father Bryan was involved in a $1.6 million fraud, for which he was convicted and jailed, over several years leading up to the family holding a meeting to discuss Italian citizenship in 2005.

The Queensland senator said he would not go into “personal details”.

“They are not relevant to my position in the Senate. It was a tough time for our family, but we stood together very strongly, I’m proud we did, and I’m not going to go into further details of that matter.”

‘I was in trouble’: Florist in Sydney Central Station shooting says he’s glad to be alive

Manuel Theoharis was at his shop at Central Station about 6.

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30pm on Wednesday when a man since identified as 30-year-old Danukul Mokmool allegedly grabbed him from behind and threatened him with a bottle.

Mr Theoharis, 73, says he initially thought his attacker was a friend playfully surprising him until he felt the jagged glass pressed against his neck.

He managed to escape the man’s grip before he grabbed a pair of scissors and kicked over buckets of flowers, breaking vases.   

Police shot the intruder after he allegedly refused to put down the scissors.

Mr Theoharis said officers had escorted him around the corner when he heard loud shots.

0:00 Moment of Sydney central station shooting Share Moment of Sydney central station shooting

“I feel sorry for him, he’s not alive and I’m happy. I have my life but I could be where he is,” he told AAP.

“I was in trouble.”

Cleaning up broken glass and scattered flowers with family and friends on Thursday morning, Mr Theoharis said the man didn’t ask for money.

“The only thing he said was, ‘Call the police, don’t move’.”

First photos of Danukul Mokmool shot by police at #CentralStation – neighbours say he’d been an ice user. #TenNews pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/IUPljk65T4

— Andrew Denney (@Andrew_Denney) July 27, 2017

Salim, who owns the kebab shop near the florist, rushed out after he heard people screaming.

He said he saw the elderly florist, who he has worked alongside at the station for years, covered with blood.

“I heard a noise – three shots – but I only realised what it was after I heard someone screaming,” he said.

Salim said he saw the suspected attacker lying on the ground surrounded by police as he rushed past to help his injured friend.   

A police critical incident investigation team has been formed to investigate all aspects of the shooting, including the discharge of firearms.

That information will be handed to the coroner and police are appealing for witnesses.

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Anti-cancer drug lands huge royalties deal

A Melbourne research institute has scored a $400 million royalties windfall for its groundbreaking anti-cancer medicine.

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The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research has partially sold the royalty rights to venetoclax, a treatment that inhibits a protein that makes cancer cells in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients resistant to other therapies.

The institute has sold some of its royalty rights to a subsidiary of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.

The deal includes an up front $US250 million cash payment and a potential milestone payment of $US75 million, taking the tally to more than $A404 million.

It’s thought to be the biggest deal of its kind outside of the US.

“For us it’s a really prudent deal, it gives us money up front now that allows us to invest in great science but it also allows us to share in the possibility of even greater returns in the future,” institute director Doug Hilton told reporters on Thursday.

The deal means the institute can build its endowment to make sure venetoclax is not “a once in a generation experience for the institute”, Prof Hilton said.

“We have a number of other great projects in pipelines that are being worked on in collaboration with pharmaceutical industries and other philanthropic groups around the world,” he said.

“We want to invest some of this money into making new medicine pipelines for Australia and Victoria and something that can create new industries and new jobs.”

The deal was announced by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and his Victorian counterpart Jill Hennessy on Thursday at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.

Mr Hunt told reporters it was one of the “great moments in Australian medical science”.

“Perhaps even more significantly the research is being now to discover whether or not venetoclax can spread across and be used to protect against other forms of cancer,” Mr Hunt said.

Australia ‘receiving reports’ North Korea may test second ICBM missile: Bishop

North Korea may be planning a second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile to mark its Victory Day national holiday on Thursday, the Australian government has been warned.

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South Korean media are quoting military sources saying vehicles are moving missile launch tubes in North Pyongan province.

A US Defence official said if the North was readying itself for a test, it would “probably” occur on July 27, according to the news agency AFP.

“We are receiving these reports,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC Radio.

“We’re taking these threats very seriously and working with other like-minded nations to ensure that there is peace and stability in the Korean peninsula,” she said.

“[North Korea is] constantly advancing its nuclear and missile programs and even a failed missile test provides it with useful data.”

This year’s Victory Day will mark 64 years since the armistice that effectively ended the Korean War.

The launch is expected to be similar to the recent July 4 test of the Hwasong-14 missile, which flew for 37 minutes before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.

That test prompted strong condemnation from world leaders, including US president Donald Trump.

0:00 North Korea claims first ICBM missile launch ‘successful’ Share North Korea claims first ICBM missile launch ‘successful’

The ‘Washington Post’ reported that the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency now believes Kim Jong-un will have a reliable nuclear ICBM some time in 2018.

“I can’t confirm whether that assessment, that it will reach capacity in 2018 if left unchecked, is accurate,” Ms Bishop said.

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But the foreign minister said it was North Korea’s “clear intention” to develop such a weapon that could strike Australia.

Ms Bishop called on China to review its economic sanctions against North Korea.

China remains the primary trading partner of the North, and Ms Bishop described the Asian superpower as the regime’s “chief financial backer”.

“It has much more leverage over North Korea than it claims,” she said.

“There’s much more that China can do.”

0:00 What ties North Korea and China? Share What ties North Korea and China?

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