What We’re Reading: Expanding Scientific Research; Juul Teen Vaping Settlement; Mask Wearing Amid Delta Variant Concerns

House of Representatives passes 2 pieces of legislation to boost funding in scientific research; Juul agrees to pay $40 million settlement to North Carolina for its role in the teen vaping epidemic; LA County Department of Public Health recommends for all residents to wear masks in public indoor places amid Delta variant concerns.

House Passes Legislation to Boost US Scientific Research

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed 2 pieces of legislation that will increase funding for the National Science Foundation and establish a new directorate for science and engineering, which will expand research opportunities and authorize research funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. In an effort to make the United States more competitive with China, The Hill reports that the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science will receive an increased funding boost of about 7% annually. Moreover, Republicans added a provision in committee to ban grant applications from participating in talent programs associated with foreign governments of concern, such as the Thousand Talents program associated with the Chinese government.                                                                                                                            

Juul to Pay $40M in Teen Vaping Settlement

Electronic cigarette corporation Juul Labs Inc announced yesterday that it agreed to pay a settlement of $40 million to the state of North Carolina for its role in fueling the teen vaping epidemic. As reported by the Associated Press, Juul will also take more action to prevent underage use and sales, which it had been accused of promoting through ad campaigns that targeted young people for its vaping products that contain addictive nicotine. Juul agreed to not advertise to anyone under the age of 21 in North Carolina and will limit sales amounts of its products online to any state residents.

LA County Pivots Back to Indoor Mask Wearing

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced recommendations for all residents to wear masks in public indoor places, regardless of vaccination status, amid rising cases of the novel Delta COVID-19 variant. Health officials said that while vaccines have been shown to provide effective protection, there is significant concern regarding those who have yet to be fully vaccinated, as the strain is twice as transmissible as the conventional coronavirus strains.