Voices of Vapers

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  • Menthol Bans Won’t Reduce Youth Tobacco Use (Guest: Jacob Rich)

    Published February 19, 2020
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    Reason Foundation’s Policy Analyst Jacob Rich joins The Heartland Institute’s State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss Reason’s latest Policy Study Does Menthol Cigarette Distribution Affect Child or Adult Cigarette Use?

    In this episode, Jacob and Lindsey discuss the results of the study, specifically noting that Reason’s analysis found states with “more menthol cigarette consumptions relative to all cigarettes have lower rates of child smoking.” The findings of the study are included into a broader discussion on menthol bans and their effects on cigarette consumption and other policy implications.

    You can find Reason’s study here.  You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @jacobjamesrich and at jacobrich.com.   

  • Tackling the Opioid Epidemic through Criminal Asset Forfeiture Reform (Guest: Rep. James Spillane)

    Published January 13, 2020
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    In 2017, over 420 New Hampshire residents died due to an opioid overdose. Further, the epidemic has cost the New Hampshire economy $6.6 billion between 1999 and 2015.

    To address the issue, New Hampshire State Representative has introduced House Bill 1563 which would reform the state’s criminal asset forfeiture laws. Under the proposed bill, proceeds that are seized after a criminal conviction would be dispersed to a Governor’s council to use to fund medication, rehabilitation and other programs to address the opioid epidemic.

    Rep. Spillane discusses his legislation, its importance and the battle it may face in the 2020 session. Rep. Spillane also highlights what can be expected from New Hampshire in this year’s session. You can track the legislation here. You can contact Rep. Spillane at [email protected]

  • Voices of Vapers: Making Political Waves in the Magnolia State (Guest: Bill Wikstrom)

    Published November 14, 2019
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    Bill Wikstrom, president of the Mississippi Vaping Advocacy Association joins The Heartland Institute’s State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss Mississippi’s recent 2019 gubernatorial election and vaping issues in the Magnolia state. Wikstrom is a retried combat veteran and owns two companies including 13 vape shops and an e-liquid distribution company.

    Stroud and Wikstrom discuss the election results, including the impact of vapers turning out to the polls, as well as the current e-cigarette regulations in Mississippi, the Mississippi Vaping Advocacy Association, and what to expect in 2020. You can find more information about the Mississippi Vaping Advocacy Association at msvaa.org.

  • Michigan’s Flavor Madness: A Governor, Some Lawmakers, and the Courts (Guest: Marc Slis)

    Published November 6, 2019
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Marc Slis joins State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss the latest out of Michigan Gov. Whitmer banned flavors in nicotine-containing e-cigarettes in September. Slis is a 55-year-old father of three who smoked for 41 years and in 2014 "wandered" into a vape shop and effectively quit smoking. Slis would later buy that same vape shop and has helped 1,000 other people quit smoking. 

    Slis and Stroud discuss Gov. Whitmer's executive order, his subsequent lawsuit in which a judge issued a temporary restraining order on the ban, and legislation that has been introduced by Representatives Johnson and LeFave. Slis also chats about Michigan Vape Shop Owners (MVSO). MVSO is a trade group, representing manufacturers and brick and mortar vape shops throughout Michigan that have come together to work for sensible legislation, to keep vaping safe and legal in Michigan. You can find more information at mymvso.org
  • Voices of Vapers: A Can of Worms in Big Sky Country

    Published October 10, 2019
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Matt Culley joins The Heartland Institute’s State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss a recently proposed flavor ban in Montana.

    Culley, quit smoking seven years ago after being diagnosed with oral cancer. Culley and Stroud discuss his journey, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s recent vaping ban and address the media fearmongering surrounding vaping-related hospitalizations, which are being linked to the use of black market vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

    You can find Culley’s YouTube page here.

  • Voices of Vapers: California’s Bad Flavor Bans Have Spread to Other States (Guest: Stefan Didak)

    Published September 26, 2019
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    Stefan Didak, founder of Not Blowing Smoke, and currently operating the public affairs firm Ignyter joins State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss the history of flavor bans in California, LA’s recent flavor ban and how these have spread to other states, including Michigan, New York and Rhode Island.

    Stefan and Lindsey talk about solutions to the issue of youth use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices, how “Big Tobacco” did not create vaping products as a gimmick to attract kids, what to expect in the coming months and the consequences of inaction.

    You can contact Stefan on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Voices of Vapers: 2019 Legislative Sessions and Clearing the Smoke on Vaping-Related Hospitalizations (Guest: Gregory Conley)

    Published August 27, 2019
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    Gregory Conley is an attorney in New Jersey and president of the American Vaping Association (AVA). The AVA is a nonprofit advocacy organization that champions the use of vapor products and electronic cigarettes to help smokers quit. AVA has testified in over a dozen states and localities, on behalf of vapor products and his work has been featured in in outlets in several countries and Greg has spoken at dozens of conferences and conventions

    Conley joins Heartland State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss the various legislative actions that happened across the states in 2019, including taxes and banning flavors. The two then address the recent media alarmism concerning vaping-related hospitalizations, which are continuing to be linked to black market vaping products. 

    You can find out more information about the American Vaping Association at www.vaping.org

  • Voices of Vapers: Vaping in the Land Down Under (Guest: Paul Blamire)

    Published July 11, 2019
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    Paul Blamire is a major vaping advocate in Australia. Paul helps educate people in his own country and the United States on the major health effects of vaping. A former 30 year smoker, Paul first tried vaping in 2014. Since then, Paul has created his own e-liquid line and is a major contributor to the do-it-yourself community. The do-it-yourself community is useful for countries like Australia, as their regulations on liquid nicotine are even more restrictive than the United States’.

    Paul joins The Heartland Institute’s State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss vaping in Australia, the impacts of Australian law on other countries and what we can expect for the future of tobacco harm reduction. You can find more information at Legalise Vaping Australia and the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (AHTRA).

  • Supreme Court Ruling is Major Win for Capitalism (Guest: Anya Bidwell)

    Published July 1, 2019
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    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of capitalism, striking down a Tennessee statute which essentially discriminated against non-residents by requiring liquor store retailers to be residents of the state for two years prior to obtaining a retailer liquor permit, and to be a resident for 10 years in order to renew their liquor license.

    Anya Bidwell is an attorney at the Institute for Justice and litigates cases to protect and promote economic, speech, and property rights. Anya was also an attorney on Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Russell F. Thomas, in which the Supreme Court struck down Tennessee’s residency law.

    Anya joins the podcast to discuss the case, its reliance on the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, and the effects the ruling with have on other state’s regulatory statutes.

    For more information on IJ and Anya’s work, you can visit https://ij.org/. You can find more information about Short Circuit here, and their podcast and newsletter. To reach Anya directly, email [email protected].

  • Voices of Vapers: California Is Snuffing Out Harm Reduction (Guest: Stefan Didak)

    Published June 27, 2019
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Stefan Didak joins Heartland’s State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to talk about what is going down in California. Stefan has recently founded THR Policy and was the president and founder of NOT Blowing Smoke. Stefan started the organization as an educational resource and inadvertently became involved in legislative efforts surrounding vaping products including taxes, regulations, tobacco 21, and flavor bans.

    Stefan talks about California, from its ever-changing tax schematic and the various localities passing flavor bans, San Francisco’s push to ban e-cigarettes but not combustible cigarettes, and the hypocrisy of governments subsidizing nicotine in nicotine replacement therapy, but banning e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

    You find more information about THR Policy at http://thrpolicy.com. You can find Stefan on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Voices of Vapers: Vaping in the UK (Guest: James Dunworth)

    Published May 29, 2019
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    James Dunworth is the co-founder of E-Cigarette Direct, a rapidly expanding vaping supplies sales company founded in 2008. E-Cigarette Direct now employs 90 workers and sells regulated e-cigarette supplies through their website, shops and resellers. James is the co-author of the first peer-reviewed study into electronic cigarettes, which was published in November 2009. James has been featured in most major newspapers in the UK and has been interviewed on Sky News, BBC Wales (TV and radio), The Jeremy Vine Show, Hello Wales and Radio Free Live. James also maintains and writes for the Ashtray Blog.

    James joins State Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss the electronic cigarette market in the United Kingdom, compare UK and US vaping regulations, and touch base on the Master Settlement Agreement.

    You can find James’ blog at https://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/ashtray-blog/ and follow him on Twitter at @inijames.

  • Voices of Vapers: Fighting for Vaping in the Evergreen State (Guest: WA State Rep. Drew MacEwen)

    Published May 2, 2019
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Washington State Representative Drew MacEwen, a republican representing the 35th House district, joins state government relations manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss vaping-related legislation. Rep. MacEwen was first elected to the House in 2012 and has been a continuous leader on tax and education funding reform. Rep. MacEwen is the current assistant floor leader and ranking member of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee, assistant ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as serving on Joint Committee on Veterans' and Military Affairs and the Joint Task Force on Economic Resilience of Maritime and Manufacturing. Rep. MacEwen served in the United States navy for six years and upon completion entered the financial sector. He is the founder and president of the investment firm Falcon Financial Inc. located in Union, WA.

    More importantly, this year Rep. MacEwen has helped fight against bad vaping legislation in Washington state and is still trying to fight against a recently-passed bill that will tax vaping products. Rep. MacEwen talks about the various bills that were introduced in Washington this year, including Tobacco-21, HB 1873 – which is an egregious tax on vaping products that was heavily amended during the 2019 session, and even legislation that would have banned flavored tobacco products, as well as requiring vaping companies to be responsible for recycling used e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

    You can find more information on legislation in Washington state at: http://leg.wa.gov/. And for more information on Representative MacEwen visit: http://drewmacewen.houserepublicans.wa.gov/.

  • Voices of Vapers: Fear Mongering and NICOTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE! (Guest: Taylor Cage)

    Published April 25, 2019
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    Nicotine is getting a bad reputation lately. The Nicotine Queen joins State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss her efforts in tobacco harm reduction. Taylor was a sales executive at Alchem USA and Nicselect and has recently joined North American Nicotine as Vice President of Sales. North America Nicotine is the exclusive importer of CNT and the world’s leading supplier of the gold standard of nicotine.

    Despite fearmongering campaigns, other than being addictive, nicotine is not harmful when used outside of combustible cigarettes. Lindsey and Taylor discuss erroneous claims around nicotine, the difference between e-liquid nicotine and nicotine salts, how the nicotine industry is currently addressing the tobacco shortages in India and China, and issues related to tobacco harm reduction products in 2019 and beyond.

    You can find more information about CNT at https://nicotineusp.com/, North America Nicotine at  https://northamericanicotine.com/. You can find Taylor on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thenicotinequeen and reach her directly at 916/472-8863.

  • Voices of Vapers: Bad Legislation Threatening Small Businesses and Tobacco Harm Reduction in the Land of Opportunity (Guest: Scout Stubbs)

    Published February 28, 2019
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Scout Stubbs joins the Heartland Institute’s state government relations manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss her efforts in Arkansas. Scout and her husband opened their vape shop in 2015 and have expanded it to a franchise chain of five stores in Arkansas. Drippers Vape Shop exclusively sells their e-liquid line that come in 103 different flavors and are all registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    The two discuss Scout’s journey into vaping, the role and economic impact of her business in Arkansas, efforts to restrict youth from using e-cigarettes, and pending legislation in Arkansas which will tax e-cigarettes, as well as ban access to these products and other tobacco products, from persons under 21 years of age.

    You can find more information about the Arkansas Vape Advocacy Alliance at arkansasvaaa.org or on their Facebook page. The video mentioned in the podcast can be found here.

  • Voices of Vapers: Bucking Bad Legislation in the Buckeye State (Guest: James Jarvis)

    Published January 24, 2019
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    In this Voices of Vapers podcast, James Jarvis, president of the Ohio Vapor Trade Association (OHVTA), joins Heartland’s State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss his efforts and advocacy in shaping vaping regulations in Ohio. James owns five vape stores and an e-liquid manufacturing lab in central Ohio, and has been involved in the vaping industry since 2008. Lindsey and James discuss his work at OHVTA and his efforts to educate elected officials, including Congressman Steve Stivers. James talks about the regulatory challenges Ohio has faced and what to expect in 2019.

    You can find more information about OHVTA at https://www.ohvta.com/, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Voices of Vapers: Flavors Are Essential! (Guest: Guy Bentley)

    Published January 17, 2019
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    State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud rejoins Guy Bentley, a research associate at Reason Foundation to discuss A Question of Taste: The Public Health Case for E-Cigarettes.

    Lindsey and Guy explore his brief, his findings when examining the role of flavors in electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, the implications of legislation introduced in localities, states and the federal government to ban such flavors and other reforms to address the uptick in youth consumption of e-cigarettes.

    For more information about Guy, visit www.reason.org.  

  • Voices of Vapers: Checking in with the Vaping Congressman (Guest: Congressman Duncan Hunter)

    Published January 15, 2019
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) talks with The Heartland Institute’s state government relations manager to discuss vaping and tobacco harm reduction. Known as the “Vaping Congressman,” Congressman Duncan Hunter represents California’s 50th congressional district, which covers East and North San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County. Congressman Hunter is a former United States Marine, and has served three combat tours overseas, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and he the first combat veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan to serve in the U.S. Congress.

    Congressman Hunter is also a vaper and an advocate for tobacco harm reduction (THR). The congressman made headlines in 2016 when he vaped in a congressional hearing on an amendment to ban vaping on planes. Before vaping in Congress, Congressman Hunter authored an op-ed in the The Hill, where he implored the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to not restrict access to vapor products, as he believes they have saved his life, as well as millions of other smokers’ lives.

    In this episode, Congressman Hunter describes his own personal journey to vaping, the flavor he’s currently vaping (Blueberry Crumb), his legislation that will separate vaping products from combustible cigarettes and place THR products on a continuum of harm, and his advice for vapers and policymakers when regulating these products.

    For more information on Congressman Hunter and to see his legislation visit, hunter.house.gov or follow him on Twitter at @Rep_Hunter.

  • Voices of Vapers: Public Health Activists’ Fearmongering Campaigns Threaten Tobacco Harm Reduction (Guest: Michelle Minton)

    Published January 10, 2019
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Michelle Minton, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) joins The Heartland Institute’s state government relations manager Lindsey Stroud to discuss her expertise and work at CEI. Michelle specializes in consumer policy covering regulatory issues that include gambling, tobacco harm reduction, cannabis legalization, alcohol and nutrition. She is the author of numerous studies and her analyses have been published and cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, as well as frequent guest in the news media. Michelle discusses her role on tobacco harm reduction policy, her recent CEI Policy Analysis Fear Profiteers: How E-Cigarette Panic Benefits Public Health Activists, the problem with the data surrounding the “youth vaping epidemic,” and how fearmongering campaigns and unjustified alarmism threatens current smokers from truly understanding and finding usefulness in tobacco harm reduction products.

    For more information on Michelle’s work, follow her on Twitter @michelleminton and to see her work, please visit https://cei.org/.

  • Voices of Vapers: Vaping in the Show-Me State & Misconstruing Data (Guest: A.J. Moll)

    Published December 27, 2018
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    A.J. Moll is the Executive Director of Missouri Smoke Free, a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote science, health and legal aspects of vapor products through advocacy and education. Moll is also a member in good standing with the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association and former Vice President of Media Relations for Bistate Regional Advocates for Vaping Education. Moll came into vaping due to government regulations prohibiting smoking through a Smoke Free law and has been vaping for eight years. Moll talks with State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud about how he found himself a vaping and tobacco harm reduction (THR) advocate, the regulatory landscape of vaping in the Show-Me state, and recent misconstrued data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey and the Monitoring the Future Surveys. The two also discuss U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adam’s recent Twitter statements, Big Tobacco’s role in THR, the fearmongering use of “epidemic” and how public health groups in the United States have continuously changed alarmism campaigns after science has proven e-cigarettes to be effective cessation devices and are 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes. You can find more information about Missouri Smoke Free at https://missourismokefree.org, or follow on Twitter at @SmokeFreeMO You can reach out to A.J. on Twitter at @BRAVEmediaMO.
  • Voice of Vapers: One Woman Army and Her Many Roles in Tobacco Harm Reduction (Guest: Amy Netherton)

    Published December 20, 2018
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    Amy Netherton is vice president of domestic and international sales and marketing, and regulatory affairs director at Flavor Revolution, a highly recognized flavor supplier. Amy is also membership director for the Vapor Technology Association (VTA). She is president of the Indiana Smoke-Free Alliance (ISFA). Amy is a co-owner of Alchemist Vapor Shop and CEO of Transcendent Enterprise Consulting Group. She has a degree in cell physiology from Purdue University and is an active paramedic.

    Amy’s unique set of skills have fostered positive dialogues between scientists, doctors, politicians and other professions.

    Lindsey and Amy discuss how she found herself immersed in an active role in the vaping community, the work ISFA did in defeating Indiana’s monopoly on e-cigarette manufacturers, the importance of flavors for tobacco harm reduction, VTA’s hard work in 2018, the latest compliance regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and what Indiana and states can expect in 2019.

    For more information about ISFA, please visit www.insmokefree.org. For more information on VTA, please visit www.vaportechnology.org. For VTA’s marketing hotline, please email [email protected] And to reach Amy, please email [email protected]

  • Voices of Vapers: Tales From a Globetrotter’s Fight for Tobacco Harm Reduction (Guest: Dimitris Agrafiotis)

    Published December 10, 2018
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Dimitris Agrafiotis joins Lindsey Stroud to discuss his history in the vaping community. Dimitris is executive director of the Tennessee Smoke Free Association, president of the Global eVapor Consulting and a host at SmokeFreeRadio. Dimitris and Lindsey discuss his efforts in Tennessee, the role of state and federal advocacy associations, self-regulation from the vaping industry, Dimitris’ efforts in the European Union, China, and how vaping is not Big Tobacco. You can find out more information about the Tennessee Smoke Free Association at http://tnsmokefree.org/. You can reach Dimitris at https://www.facebook.com/vapingreek.

  • Voices of Vapers – The Fight for Vaping in the Empire State (Guest: Andrew Osborne)

    Published December 5, 2018
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Andrew Osborne, vice president of the New York State Vapor Association (NYSVA) joins Lindsey to discuss a proposed flavor ban in the state of New York. NYSVA is an advocacy organization that supports more than 700 New York vaping businesses and more than 2,700 employees. The board has been advising researcher, legislators, government agencies, and industry stakeholders for eight years on local, state, federal and international issues. Andrew is the president and co-founder of Vapor Trail Electronic Inc., one of the first vapor retail stores in New York State.

    Lindsey and Andrew talk about his history in the vaping industry, why New York’s proposed flavor ban is different than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent decision to restrict access to flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores, and NYSVA’s efforts in the Empire State. For more information about NYSVA, please visit nysva.org.

  • Voices of Vapers – Catching Up With the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (Guest Mark Anton)

    Published November 27, 2018
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, Mark Anton, executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) joins Lindsey to discuss SFATA’s work in 2018. SFATA is a national advocacy organization representing member companies at local, state and federal levels. Mark is an early pioneer of vaping, CEO and founder of What A Smoke, LLC, an electronic cigarette and vaping device manufacturer and distributor. Mark is also a legislative director for federal matters for the New Jersey Vapor Rights Coalition. Lindsey and Mark talk about the early days of vaping, legislation in New Jersey threatening vaping, SFATA’s work on industry standards and what to expect from SFATA’s annual conference in Austin this year. For more information on SFATA, please visit sfata.org.

  • Voices of Vapers: An Overview of the Vaping Industry (Guest: Tony Abboud)

    Published November 21, 2018
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    In this episode of Voices of Vapers, state government relations manager Lindsey Stroud talks with Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association (VTA). VTA is a national trade organization representing manufacturers, wholesalers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs who have developed innovative and quality vapor products. Lindsey and Tony discuss how he found himself in the vaping industry, VTA’s work in preventing youth access to vapor products, VTA’s 50 State Joint Defense Strategy, and the organization’s work on ensuring access to flavors for adult e-cigarette users. Tony also discusses VTA’s third annual Vapor Game Plan conference, taking place in Austin, TX December 4-5. You can find more information about VTA at vaportechnology.org

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