NEWS A rundown of the latest developments and research making the news worldwide. By Róisín Delaney loud Cloud No to vapes, yes to tax Vaping is still prohibited in Australia, but the cost of cigarettes is on the rise once more. While the government down under maintains its reluctance to legalise nicotine e-liquids, the tax on cigarettes went up again by 12.5 percent in September and it’s set to increase again in September 2019. Prior to this tax hike, Australia already held the title for being the most expensive place in the world to buy cigarettes. While the country says it is aiming to reduce the adult smoking rate among Aussies, it has yet to acknowledge vaping as a less harmful alternative. E-liquids containing nicotine are banned in the nation, as liquid nicotine is classed as a poison there. Closer to home Vaping is Personal in Devonport was the subject of a recent police raid. According to the Plymouth Herald newspaper, CBD ‘buds’ or hemp flowers were among the products seized from the shop under the Misuse of Drugs Act. While CBD e-liquids can be sold freely, the legal status of flowers and buds remain a contentious issue. A supplier to the shop, Trevor Dodd of thcfreewedd.com said, “CBD-related products are totally, 100 percent legal in the UK.” However, the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) believes that suppliers of CBD flowers are misinterpreting the laws, saying: “Full flower or bud is illegal unless processed legally by a licensed company.” The owner of the raided shop, Ashley Cole, said he felt “victimised” and told Vapouround, “there have been some clear unlawful actions, we still sell are [sic] products at www.cbdlabsuk.com They even allowed us to refill our store just hours later and haven’t returned.” Devon and Cornwall Police said, “enquiries continue into the matter.” No arrests have been made. More raids stateside Authorities in the US have discovered fentanyl in a ‘CBD’ e-liquid on sale in a vape shop. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics has warned the public to be wary when buying e-liquids after a bottle sold as CBD was tested and found to contain the deadly drug. The liquid was seized as part of an investigation into the illicit sale of synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as ‘spice’ which can mimic the effects of cannabis but can also be far more dangerous. A total of nine businesses were investigated, seven individuals have been arrested and $350,000 has been seized in bank deposits following the raid. 10 | VM19 Street wise Can vape shops save the great British high street? Perhaps if recent research by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) is any indication. According to a new report by the economic forecaster, the vape economy is having a positive effect on the wider economy as 40 percent of vape shops were found to be trading on premises that previously lay vacant. Almost 6,000 people are employed by vape shops in the UK and the number of shops has grown by more than 100 percent at the same time as retailers that have traditionally been a staple of the high street such as grocers, down 15 percent, and electrical goods stores, down 26 percent.