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Daily Archives: January 3, 2022
Posted: January 3, 2022 at 2:49 am
In its continued efforts to protect the public, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening its warning to consumers to stop using vaping products containing THC amid more than 1,000 reports of lung injuriesincluding some resulting in deathsfollowing the use of vaping products. The FDA is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local public health partners to investigate these illnesses as quickly as possible.
While the work by federal and state health officials to identify more information about the products used, where they were obtained, and what substances they contain is ongoing, the FDA is providing members of the public with additional information to help protect themselves.
A majority of the samples tested by the states or by the FDA related to this investigation have been identified as vaping products containing THC. Through this investigation, we have also found most of the patients impacted by these illnesses reported using THC-containing products, suggesting THC vaping products play a role in the outbreak.
More information is needed to better understand whether there is a relationship between any specific products or substances and the reported illnesses. To help gather and analyze as much information as possible, the FDA is working closely with federal and state partners to identify the products or substances that may be causing the illnesses.
The FDAs Forensic Chemistry Center is using state-of-the-art technology to analyze hundreds of samples submitted by a number of states for the presence of a broad range of chemicals, including nicotine, THC, other cannabinoids, and opioids along with cutting agents/diluents and other additives, pesticides, poisons, heavy metals and toxins.
No one substance has been identified in all of the samples tested. Importantly, identifying any compounds that are present in the samples will be one piece of the puzzle but will not necessarily answer questions about what is causing these illnesses.
Federal and state partners are following any potential leads. The FDA is committed to taking appropriate actions as the facts emerge and keeping the public informed as we have more information to share.
CDC and the FDA encourage the public to provide detailed information related to any unexpected tobacco- or e-cigarette-related health or product issues to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portal.
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Posted: at 2:49 am
Adult smokers who say that they dont plan to quit smoking but who start using e-cigarettes are more likely quit than those who dont start vaping, according to a new study. People who say theyre not trying to quit often arent included in studies of the potential benefits of e-cigarettes for adult smokers, and the new data shows that the group should be considered during that type of analysis.
In the new study, published Tuesday in JAMA Network Open, researchers evaluated data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, which is run by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Participants were interviewed about their tobacco use four times between 2014 and 2019.
Of the study group, 1,600 people said in initial interviews that they didnt use e-cigarettes and didnt plan to ever quit smoking cigarettes. By the next set of interviews, around 6 percent of that group had stopped smoking traditional cigarettes. Participants whod started using e-cigarettes daily during that time were much more likely to be in that 6 percent than participants who hadnt 28 percent of the group using e-cigarettes had stopped smoking cigarettes, compared to just under 6 percent of the group not using e-cigarettes.
The relationship might be because smokers who start using e-cigarettes tend to shift toward planning to quit smoking, the authors suggest, a pattern seen in previous research from the PATH Study and in other experiments. The new analysis didnt untangle whether peoples decisions to quit came after they started smoking e-cigarettes, so it cant pinpoint the cause of the change. The switch, though, is likely beneficial some research shows e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, even if theyre not harmless.
The study was released while the FDA is still reviewing some e-cigarette related products, including those made by Juul. The agency has blown past its September deadline to evaluate applications from e-cigarette companies after a yearlong period without enforcement, companies now need authorization before they can market their products. The only e-cigarettes the FDA has authorized so far are tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes from the RJ Reynolds Vapor Company. At the end of December, it had rejected 260 applications.
The FDA says its focus is on figuring out whether a vaping or e-cigarette product has benefits to adult smokers that outweigh the risks to kids and teenagers, who started vaping in huge numbers in 2018 and tend to be attracted to flavored products. The new research indicates that smokers who say they dont plan to quit should be included in those risk-benefit calculations, the study authors note.
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Posted: at 2:49 am
Jan 02, 2022, 2:16amUpdated 15h ago
By: News 12 Staff
A new year means new laws are now in effect. In Scarsdale, a new law now bans smoking on public property.
The law went into effect on Jan. 1. It bans lit cigarettes, pipes and vaping systems at all village facilities, recreation spaces, business districts and on public streets and sidewalks. This includes tobacco and marijuana.
Some Scarsdale residents say that they are happy about the new law.
I am thrilled that it is going through. The less smoking the children can see people doing in public, the less of a chance that theyll start smoking, says one resident. It will lead to a healthier environment.
The village is allowing a 60-day transition period. Police will only be issuing warnings during this period. After the transition, violators could be fined $100.
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Posted: at 2:49 am
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
On January 1, 2022, two new state laws will become effective in Illinois and Oregon and could cause significant disruption to the vapor industry. We provide background on the legislation and discuss the potential implications for the sales of vapor products in the respective states.
On January 1, 2022, SB 0512,The Preventing Youth Vaping Act, will take effect in Illinois.
Under this new law, anelectronic cigaretteis broadly defined as
any device that employs a battery or other mechanism to heat a solution or substance to produce a vapor or aerosol intended for inhalation;
any cartridge or container of a solution or substance intended to be used with or in the device or to refill the device; or
any solution or substance, whether or not it contains nicotine, intended for use in the device
Critically, SB 0512 considers an electronic cigarette to be adulterated (and prohibited for sale) if, it is required by 21 U.S.C. 387j(a) to have premarket review and does not have an order in effect under 21 U.S.C. 387j(c)(1)(A)(i) or is in violation of an order under 21 U.S.C. 387j(c)(1)(A). In other words, if an e-cigarette is required by the federal Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (21 U.S.C. 387j(a)) to have premarket authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and does not have a Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) order in effect (or is in violation of such an order), it would be considered adulterated under the Illinois law.[i]
Although the law exempts e-cigarettes first sold prior to August 8, 2016 and for which a premarket tobacco product application was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by September 9, 2020 from the adulteration definition, products that are subject to timely submitted PMTAs that FDA has either refused-to-accept, refused-to-file, or have received marketing denial orders from FDA would likely still be considered adulterated by the state (as well as FDA).
However, because this part of the state adulteration provision only applies to e-cigarettes that are required to have PMTA authorization, it would appearnotto apply to e-cigarettes that are not tobacco products under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act i.e., e-cigarettes that do not contain tobacco-derived ingredients and that do not fall within the meaning of components and parts of tobacco products. In other words, e-cigarettes that utilize synthetic (tobacco-free) nicotine or CBD-containing e-cigarettes, for example, that arguably arenot tobacco productsunder federal law, would not be considered adulterated in Illinois for not having authorized PMTAs.
Any distributor, secondary distributor, retailer, or person who violates the Illinois law shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony, which carries a 1-to-3-year prison sentence and fines of up to $25,000 if convicted.
On January 1, 2022,HB 2261, will take effect in Oregon.
The legislation prohibits the shipment of inhalant delivery systems to any person in Oregon other than a distributor or a retailer (ORS 180.441(1)(A)). Thus, the legislation effectively prohibits direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales (including online sales) of the vast majority of vapor products in Oregon.
Inhalant delivery systems are defined in the legislation as a device that can be used to deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor or aerosol to a person inhaling from the device; or a component of a device described in this paragraph or a substance in any form sold for the purpose of being vaporized or aerosolized by a device described in this paragraph, whether the component or substance is sold separately or is not sold separately.
As such, the legislation would appear to prohibit the DTC sale of most types of vapor products, but likely wouldnotcover non-nicotine closed-system products:
[i]An e-cigarette is also considered adulterated if (A) it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance, or is otherwise contaminated by any added poisonous or deleterious substance that may render the product injurious to health; or (B) it is held or packaged in containers composed, in whole or in part, of any poisonous or deleterious substance that may render the contents injurious to health. See section 15(a)(4) of SB 0512.
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For 20 years teenage smoking fell steadily in Ireland. Then along came vaping and it all changed – The Irish Times
Posted: at 2:49 am
Shannon DArcy (20), from Palmerstown, Co Dublin, started smoking when she was 17. I was with my friends and I just said, Ill have one, and it just went on from there.
She is standing with some other smokers on St Andrews Street, in Dublin city centre. School might have been a contributory factor in her developing a nicotine addiction, DArcy says.
I started stress smoking. Wed go out for a break [from school] and have a smoke. Then I started working and getting my own money, and buying my own smokes, and it got even worse then.
She smokes about 20 a day and says all of her female friends are smokers too. I know it is bad for you but once you are addicted to it, it is hard to stop. I just cant stop. I dont know why.
She doesnt touch e-cigarettes or vapes which work by heating up a flavoured liquid, usually containing tobacco, and inhaling the vapour. She doesnt know anyone who does.
Over on South William Street Adam Ellis (19), from Donnybrook, Dublin 4 is pulling on a vape as he walks along with three male friends.
I dont smoke any more, I only vape, Ellis says. I started smoking at 17. I was just out drinking and my mate was smoking and he gave it to me and I started smoking when I was drinking.
Soon, on days when he wasnt drinking, he was smoking the cigarettes that he had left over from the night before. Thats how I started.
A few months ago Ellis started vaping in an effort to quit cigarettes. Cigarettes are expensive, he doesnt like the taste and sometimes they make him sick. The day he spoke to The Irish Times he was inhaling from a pineapple grapefruit ice flavoured vape.
The percentage of Irish 15 and 16 year-olds who were smoking fell steadily from the mid-1990s to 2015, according to data collected by the Europe-wide ESPAD youth surveys, which are carried out every four years.
However, the steady downward trend had come to an end by the time of the 2019 survey, which showed that the prevalence of teenage smoking had begun to edge upwards again.
One of the largest drop-offs in teenage smoking in 1995-2015 was in the years preceding the 2004 ban on smoking in the workplace, a measure that, by definition, did not directly affect young people.
It was an unintended consequence, said Prof Luke Clancy, a consultant respiratory physician and founder of the Tobacco Free Research Institute, Ireland.
By and large, if you want to get children not to start smoking, initiatives aimed at them alone are not really that successful. The reasons for this are complex, but they include the fact that teenagers want to be grown-ups.
The widespread public discussion at the time of the workplace ban about the dangers of smoking and the desirability of not being addicted to cigarettes, made an impression on teenagers.
The public policies that drive down smoking rates include price increases, age restrictions on sales, and bans on advertising, said Clancy. If you want young people to stop smoking, then what works for everyone else, also works for them.
The overall rate for smoking in Ireland is 18 per cent, according to the Healthy Ireland Survey 2021. The 2019 ESPAD survey found the rate was 14 per cent for those aged 15-16. Ireland has a strategy of trying to reduce smoking prevalence overall to 5 per cent by 2025, and up to 2019 it had looked possible that this would be achieved for teenagers, though not for older smokers.
To find that the only group that were likely to meet that target, that they are not going to meet it either, is very disappointing, said Clancy.
In a recent paper, called Increased Smoking and E-cigarette use among Irish Teenagers: A new threat to Tobacco Free Ireland 2025, Clancy and two others outlined how in the period between 1995 and 2015, teen smoking (cigarettes, not e-cigarettes) fell 41 per cent to 13.1 per cent; only for the 2019 survey to find that smoking among the teenagers had increased to 14.4 per cent.
The paper analysed how e-cigarette use had increased significantly in the four years to 2019, with the percentage of those who had ever used the addictive nicotine product going from 23 per cent to 37.2 per cent, while current use went from 10 per cent to 18 per cent.
The study found an association between smoking cigarettes and e-cigarette use. Teenagers who experimented with e-cigarettes were at an increased risk of becoming cigarette smokers and seeing their lifespans shorten by between 10 and 15 years as a result.
Smoking kills approximately 6,000 people in Ireland every year, more than Covid in its worst year, but unlike Covid there is an industry driving [smoking], says Clancy. Their opportunity is anything they can see, and e-cigarettes are one of the things they see.
Social media, flavours, and packaging are among the factors being used to target the young, Clancy believes. Flavours are used to entice the young, and the industry know this, he said. They are a delivery mechanism.
One out of three teenagers who starts smoking will end up dying from smoking, said Chris Macey, director of advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation.
You cant prove that e-cigarettes are the cause of the change in the trend for teenage smoking, but the change in the trend coincides with e-cigarettes.
This view is shared by Clancy and his co-authors of the recent study, who noted that other factors linked to teenage smoking did not change during the 2015-2019 period.
We suggest that our findings highlight the negative impact that increased youth e-cigarette use had on current teenage cigarette smoking, they concluded.
Joe Dunne, who owns a vape retailing business, and is the spokesman for the lobbying group Respect Vapers, has a different position on vaping and cigarette smoking.
There are 250,000 people in Ireland who have managed to stop smoking cigarettes by replacing their habit with vaping, he said, adding that studies have shown that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking. The often-made suggestion that e-cigarette companies are owned by the tobacco companies couldnt be further from the truth, he said.
Dunne was formerly a spokesman for Vape Business Ireland, a lobbying group that says its membership is open to any business involved in the manufacture, supply, distribution or sale of vaping products. He told The Irish Times that he left his role with Vape Business Ireland and set up Respect Vapers to represent those who use vaping products to help them quit smoking.
Both vaping organisations have a position on the Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill, which would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to those aged under 18 years, and was recently before the Oireachtas health committee for pre-legislative scrutiny.
On its website, Vape Business Ireland says it has been calling for the 18 years-of-age threshold for a long time but adds that other elements of the proposed law that might restrict choice of vaping products could result in consumers moving back towards smoking after making the switch to vaping. A request for an interview with someone from Vape Business Ireland was met with no response.
Dunne is in favour of people having to be over 18 to buy vapes, and wouldnt be against the age threshold being raised to 21, but he is against vape flavours other than tobacco being banned.
When people give up smoking, they get their tastebuds back, and they dont like the taste of tobacco. Flavours are not there to target teenagers and vapes are not a gateway to cigarette smoking. If flavours go tomorrow, 62 per cent of vape users will go back to smoking.
The Bill that is before the Oireachtas does not include a ban on all flavours bar tobacco. Macey thinks it should, because he believes the huge range of flavours that currently exist are being used to target young people.
When asked, Dunne confirmed that Respect Vapers is funded by the Wexford-based entity, the Edmund Burke Institute. Dunne said he did not know much about the Washington DC-based foundation, the Atlas Network, which provides funding to the Edmund Burke Institute.
The Atlas Network, which funds and supports hundreds of partner organisations around the world, promotes anti-regulation libertarian political views. It has been shown to have links with the tobacco sector, the billionaire Koch brothers, the oil industry, and think tanks that support libertarian and anti-regulation attitudes.
A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Health Planning and Management said the Atlas Network was a strategic ally of the tobacco industry and that there was a coherent strategy by the tobacco industry to work with Atlas to influence public health policies from multiple directions.
The Vape Business Ireland website shows that current members include Vuse, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, IQOS, a subsidiary of Altria (previously Philip Morris), and Juul Labs, which is 35 per cent owned by Altria.
Vape Business Ireland is run by an international public affairs consultancy called Instinctif Partners, which has its headquarters in London and offices around the world, including on Merrion Square, Dublin. According to the University of Bath-based organisation, Tobacco Tactics, Instinctif Partners worked for Imperial Tobacco on an EU campaign for smarter vaping regulations.
During an appearance before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health in November, Macey argued that four measures were needed to help resume the downward direction of smoking prevalence among the young. These were to: increase the legal age for the sale of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to 21; outlaw all e-cigarette flavours bar tobacco; ban all e-cigarette advertising; and introduce mandatory plain packaging for e-cigarettes.
We risk losing the hard-won gains of the past 25 years, as the worlds big tobacco firms that now control much of Irelands vaping market, seek to addict a new generation of young people to nicotine, he told the politicians.
The vaping sectors marketing tools are almost 100 per cent directed at young people, he said, because if young people are not addicted, there is no business model.
E-cigarettes are allowing tobacco companies introduce a whole new generation to nicotine addiction, Macey said.
Would Malboro manufacturer Altria have paid 12.8 billion for a 35 per cent stake in [vape business] Juul Labs just to help long-term smokers quit, ultimately putting itself out of business. Of course not.
Posted: at 2:49 am
Smoking comes with a host of negative effects on the body. This includes increasing the risk of cancer and other deadly illnesses.
Vaping is when, instead of inhaling smoke, users inhale a vapour.
This vapour is created when a liquid is heated up in a device known as a vape.
Vapes heat up vaping liquid, creating an aerosol users breath in.
Vaping liquids can include nicotine, but also CBD oil and marijuana.
The liquids are often flavoured too, usually with fruity, sweet flavours.
Joanna said: "There are two potential avenues for cravings: chemical (nicotine) and behavioural (the act of smoking)."
She explained it may be the action of smoking you miss. To help with this Joanna said: "You could try keeping your mouth busy with crunchy vegetables.
"Try to take yourself away from triggering situations or to a place where you cannot smoke.
"Consider phoning or texting a friend and practising deep breathing."
Vaping expert partners with Oldham City Council & Geek Bar to tackle counterfeit products – Convenience Store
Posted: at 2:49 am
A leading vaping industry expert is working with Oldham City Council in Manchester to help tackle counterfeit and non-compliant products on behalf of Geek Bar.
Billy Rahman is the managing director at vape manufacturer iBreathe and has been appointed to act as a consultant for Geek Bar. He hopes to help stop the flow of illegal vape products in a campaign which has already resulted in the seizure of thousands of pounds worth of items in the UK.
I have operated in the vaping industry for 12 years and the issues facing Geek Bar with counterfeit and non-compliant products are the same as those my business faces, explains Rahman.
These products originate almost exclusively from China and at least 11 large-scale manufacturers have been closed down there in recent months.
He has established a primary authority arrangement with his local council, Oldham in Greater Manchester, in which trading standards officers there will co-ordinate operations with their counterparts around the country.
Rahman is also working alongside compliance company Arcus Compliance, which represents some of the largest brands in the vaping industry, to ensure that all CLP (classification, labelling and packaging) requirements for Geek Bar products being sold around the UK are met.
Working with Oldham as the primary authority, this partnership has already produced results, with the confiscation of numerous illegal products in North Lanarkshire. Meanwhile we have also identified several counterfeit re-sellers operating in Southall in west London, and in parts of Manchester, Rahman continued.
The popularity of Geek Bars products means that unfortunately, some people are willing to take illegal steps to get them to market. However, through this partnership we are working hard to ensure that counterfeit re-sellers are properly policed and sending out the message that it is only a matter of time before these operators are identified, and that ultimately this kind of activity can lead to a prison sentence.
Trading standards officers recently carried out the biggest single raid so far in the UK, seizing non-compliant disposable vaping products those which may meet standards in other countries but fail to do so in the UK worth around 190,000 from a former takeaway premises in Newcastle.
Items have also been seized in raids in recent weeks in Aberdeen, North Lanarkshire, South Ayrshire, Stockton, Halton, Walsall, Cherwell in Oxfordshire, Cheltenham, Cirencester and Kent.
Geek Bar has created a list of approved distributors, published on the Geek Bar website. Retailers and distributors can also report suspected counterfeit and non-compliant products at firstname.lastname@example.org and the company is incentivising retailers to report counterfeits or products that do not comply with UK regulations.
Posted: at 2:49 am
A woman has complained after her visit to the cinema was ruined by a group of aggressive children who had "no thought for anyone else".
The woman visited The Light Cinema in New Brighton yesterday afternoon and was disappointed after the group of five, which consisted of three boys and two girls, sat in front of her and were disruptive from the get-go.
Before the film even began, the Wirral woman said three different adults had to have words with the kids, which was met with a reaction she said 'people would expect from such a group'.
READ MORE:State pension could be paid early for 20 million people
During the showing of the PG rated, Clifford the Big Red Dog, the woman said the children, who she presumed were about ten or possibly a little older but not much, acted disruptively in ways such as vaping [...], swearing, talking at full volume, messing about, up and down and stamping down the corridor with no thought for anyone else.
Eventually, this went too far and the woman complained to a member of staff about the group who were soon removed from the screen.
The three boys of the group returned shortly after to "look for something" when a member of the audience intervened and saw to it the boys left after already causing so much trouble for other cinemagoers.
The man, who people have described as brave, attempted to usher the group out but they continued to act in a way the woman described as duly indignant.
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Left disappointed by her experience, the woman took to a community Facebook page to inform others about the behaviour of the five kids.
She wrote: At the The Light cinema this afternoon to watch Clifford The Big Red Dog. Charming film if interested.
"The three boys and two girls sat in front of us were less so I am sorry to say.
"Three different adults had to have words with them before the film started. You can imagine the reaction.
"During the film, vaping.....although the four did tell the one to stop it, swearing, talking at full volume, messing about, up and down, stamping down the corridor, with no thought for anyone else..
"I eventually complained to the staff. They were asked to leave, tried to resist but the staff were fabulous and insisted.
"They left, noisily, then the boys came back looking for something. A chap in the audience removed them - brave or reckless I don't know.
"From what I saw, he did not put his hands on anyone, he simply got in their way and kept moving them along. They were duly indignant.
"My point is that these children, and they were children were about ten, possibly a little older but not much, they were there watching a kids film - totally too old for the film.
"The level of aggression against an adult from these children was shocking.
"So if your child came home unexpectedly early from the pics this afternoon, you might want to have a word.
In the comment section, another women who was present for yesterdays scene replied and said she and her daughter knew what was in store as soon as the group entered the screen.
She said: I was there with my 11-year-old daughter.
Unfortunately I was sitting in the same row as them, I was at the end and they passed me several times on their way in and out!
Their language was disgusting. On their way back in, I stood up and had a very polite and quiet word with them.
I explained that the cinema was full of children and that they should behave accordingly.
The woman seconded that staff were brilliant in handling the situation and said she overheard one of the boys say thats twice weve been thrown out of here this week as they left.
She added: As soon as they walked in and sat on the same row, my daughter looked at me and said oh no, theyre going to spoil it. I assured her that I wouldnt let them spoil it for her!
Others filled the comment section with their shock and "disgust", with one person even saying this is the reason they wont go to the New Brighton cinema anymore.
One person said: Some teens/kids need pulling into line, if mine came home told me all that, I would say they obviously deserved to get out cinema - and next time have respect or you will never go again, simples.
Another said: Why can't these ferals be barred from the cinema?
A third said: There's far too many groups of youngsters going out in groups of three and four plus unsupervised, and they show off massively.
"The parents are to blame here, they either don't care what they are doing or just assume they are well behaved. Under 12s shouldn't be having so much freedom, in my opinion far too immature to behave appropriately.
Jamie Atherton, operations manager for The Light Cinemas told the ECHO: We pride ourselves on trying to ensure everyone has a great trip the cinema when they visit one of our venues.
"I can confirm our team at New Brighton did remove several children from one of our showings yesterday due to bad behaviour.
"Incidents of this nature at New Brighton are uncommon, that said our teams are trained in conflict management to help them manage these difficult situations. Having spoken with the management at site I am satisfied this was dealt with promptly and professionally."
Go here to read the rest:
Posted: at 2:47 am
The technology behind everyday computers such as smartphones and laptops has revolutionised modern life, to the extent that our day-to-day lives are unimaginable without it. But an alternative method of computing is advancing rapidly, and Boris Johnson is among the people who have noticed. He will need to push the boundaries of his linguistic dexterity to explain it.
Quantum computing is based on quantum physics, which looks at how the subatomic particles that make up the universe work. Last week, the prime minister promised the UK would go big on quantum computing by building a general-purpose quantum computer, and secure 50% of the global quantum computing market by 2040. The UK will need to get a move on though: big steps have been taken in the field this year by the technology superpowers of China and the US.
Peter Leek, a lecturer and quantum computing expert at Oxford University, says classical computing (the common term for computing as we know it) has been an incredible 20th-century achievement, but the way we process information in computers now still doesnt take full advantage of the laws of physics as we know them.
Work on quantum physics, however, has given us a new and more powerful way of processing information. If you can use the principles of quantum physics to process information then you can do a range of types of calculations that you cannot do with normal computers, says Leek.
Classical computers encode their information in bits represented as a 0 or a 1 that are transmitted as an electrical pulse. A text message, email or even a Netflix film streamed on your phone is a string of these bits. In quantum computers, however, the information is contained in a quantum bit, or qubit. These qubits encased in a modestly sized chip are particles such as electrons or photons that can be in several states at the same time, a property of quantum physics known as superposition. This means qubits can encode various combinations of 1s and 0s at the same time and compute their way through vast numbers of different outcomes.
If you compared a piece of memory in a normal computer, it is in a unique state of ones and zeroes, ordered in a specific way. In a quantum computer that memory can be simultaneously in all possible states of ones and zeroes, says Leek.
To really harness this power requires an entanglement of pairs of qubits: if you double the number of qubits the computing power increases exponentially. Link these entangled qubit pairs together and you get a very powerful computer that can crunch through numbers at unprecedented speed, provided there is a quantum algorithm (the set of instructions followed by the computer) for the calculation you want to do.
Jay Gambetta, a VP of quantum computing at IBM, which last week unveiled the worlds most powerful quantum processor, says: The combined system has a computational power that is much more than the individual systems. The computer firms US-made Eagle quantum processor a type of computer chip strings together 127 qubits compared with the 66 achieved recently by the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei.
Gambetta stresses that the practical applications of quantum computers are not there yet, but theoretically they could have exciting uses like helping design new chemicals, drugs and alloys. Quantum computing could result in a much more efficient representation of chemical compounds, says Gambetta, predicting accurately what a complex molecule might do and paving the way for new drugs and materials. It gives us a way to model nature better, he adds.
There are ways in which quantum computing could help combat global heating, too, says Gambetta, by more efficiently separating carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide, reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Alternatively, quantum computing could help understand how we can make fertiliser by using much less energy.
Last year, IBM teamed up with German carmaker Daimler, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, to use quantum computing to model new lithium batteries. Renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, electric cars, fertiliser: if these are just some of the products that can be enhanced by quantum computing, then the UK understandably wants to be at the forefront of the market.
Once quantum computing reaches the 1,000 qubit level it should be able to achieve what IBM calls quantum advantage, where a quantum computer consistently solves problems faster than a classical computer. IBM is hoping to reach 1,000 qubits via its Condor processor in 2023.
The UKs strong university system and long history of innovation, epitomised by Alan Turing in computing and Paul Dirac in quantum mechanics gives the country some hope of achieving Johnsons goal. But Gambettas IBM colleague Bob Sutor says that for the UK and other countries ambitious in making advances in quantum computing, educations and skills are key at university level and below, including schools. The more people working on it, the faster we will get there.
Posted: at 2:47 am
From quantum discoveries to the first AI-discovered drug candidates going into clinical trials, 2021 was a landmark year for deeptech in Europe.
Swedish battery maker Northvolt now has huge investment from companies like Volvo and VW to build gigafactories, and even ideas like Energy Vault (storing grid energy as huge stacked-up concrete blocks) which may have seemed out there a few years ago, are getting real investment.
Quantum computing took a big leap forward, with many top academics and even former White House officials, joining startups and a huge funding boost from the French and German governments. Even places like Finland built their first quantum computer.
So, what more will 2022 bring?
Investors believe that 2022 will be the year of deeptech with many more VCs and corporations jumping in to fund startups, especially as other sectors become overheated and overcrowded.
Ewan Kirk, tech entrepreneur and founder of Cantab Capital Partners, says that consumer tech like fintech, social media and ride-sharing has ridden a wave of interest, but that these businesses are hard to defend and new competition is entering the market all the time. Which starts to make deeptech look a lot more attractive.
Deeptech businesses are fundamentally different at their base, they are about leveraging a technological or scientific breakthrough, which is defensible through IP. Many VCs are starting to see that this makes them a very strong investment proposition.
Benjamin Joffe, partner at SOSV, says more funding will help startups overcome the multiple transitions they need to make from lab to market.
But what specific developments can we look forward to? Quantum computing, fusion energy and healthtech feature heavily in our experts predictions:
In 2022 we will see the first quantum computing companies demonstrating that they have solutions that are competitive with classical only computing clusters, for applications useful to society as whole even if its with a relatively narrow focus to start with. The metric is a mix of time to solution, accuracy and energy consumption. At a minimum we will have a clear vision of the requirements and scaling laws to make it happen within the next two years.
Christophe Jurczak, founder and partner at Quontonation
2022 will be a breakthrough year for quantum computing and we will finally develop material and technology enabling robust qubits. Quantum computing is a hot topic, but in reality we are very early in developing basic hardware required for the quantum computing dream to materialise.
Quantum computing depends on availability of very specific hardware and material that is able to maintain spin states of qubits for extended period of time. Due to lack of such material the qubits that we have at this point are unstable and highly prone to error, not capable of making more complex calculations with certainty. To unleash the massive potential of quantum computing we need systems with millions of stable qubits rather than the 10s of not-so-robust ones we have at this point.
Marcin Hejka, cofounder and general partner at OTB Ventures
As it stands, the most common approach to improving battery chemistry is through trial and error. Even AI and simulation technologies increasingly used to accelerate the process of identifying and cycling through potentially winning combinations are limited in their impact by the capabilities of computers.
In 2022, there will be huge steps forward as quantum computing begins solving key problems in battery materials modelling that are simply beyond the reach of standard computers, unlocking higher-performance and lower-cost batteries.
2022 will be the year in which government-backed funding will really take off
With significant capital now being invested in quantum computing, we will see more first case uses as innovation in hardware and software accelerates in 2022. As governments in the West begin to take notice of the huge potential applications of quantum computing, 2022 will be the year in which government-backed funding will really take off.
Moray Wright, CEO at Parkwalk Ventures
Nuclear fusion has always been a distant dream, always 30 years away from being ready to commercialise. But investors are starting to pay attention to nuclear fusion startups now, with US-based Commonwealth Fusion Systems raising more than $1.8bn in Series B funding led by Tiger Global. In Europe, nuclear fusion research has long revolved around the long-running ITER mega-project in the south of France, but now younger startups like Renaissance Fusion in Grenoble and Marvel Fusion in Munich are leapfrogging this with new approaches.
Ilkka Kivimaki, partner at Maki.vc
I think we are seeing the tail end of the AI and machine learning wave
I think we are seeing the tail end of the AI and machine learning wave. While it is incredibly important, it is now very much a part of modern technology development, rather than a special formula for the next big company. The focus will instead be on how we can neutralise the dual threats of climate change and future pandemics.
Ewan Kirk, founder of Cantab Capital Partners and tech entrepreneur
Chip shortages revealed the weakness of supply chains and tech sovereignty. It will become more crucial to have key suppliers located within your own country or region.
Benjamin Joffe, partner at SOSV
The light that Covid has shone on the health sector wont go away, and big investment will continue to be made here particularly in increasing the throughput of labs, from simple upgrades to the way in which data is collated, recorded and shared through to transforming the benchtop equipment itself with more flexible hardware.
Well also see more investment in further understanding complex and heterogeneous diseases; now we have the ability to retrieve and combine information from multiple genomics sources, we expect that machine learning algorithms will naturally have a bigger role to play in interpreting all the distinct layers of information and correlating findings with relevant medical knowledge (which will be particularly challenging when dealing with new variants or new genes not previously associated with a specific disease).
Zoe Chambers, partner at Frontline Ventures
The science equity industry is an emerging one but it is picking up pace. In 2022 it will continue growing since it is a main transformational engine for the European economy, and around 100 new industrial science-based companies will be set up in Europe.
Almudena Trigo Lorenzo, founding partner and chair at BeAble Capital
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