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Articles of Interest

Decades of Deliberate Deception
An Important Moment in Tobacco Control
National Cancer Institute

2019

Collins, Frances. "Ultra-Processed Diet Leads to Extra Calories, Weight Gain." NIH Director's Blog, May 21, 2019.

If you’ve ever tried to lose a few pounds or just stay at a healthy weight, you’ve likely encountered a dizzying array of diets, each with passionate proponents: low carb, low fat, keto, paleo, vegan, Mediterranean, and so on. Yet most nutrition experts agree on one thing: it’s best to steer clear of ultra-processed foods. Now, there’s some solid scientific evidence to back up that advice.

One of lung cancer’s most lethal attributes is its ability to trick radiologists. Some nodules appear threatening but turn out to be false positives. Others escape notice entirely, and then spiral without symptoms into metastatic disease.

On Monday, however, Google unveiled an artificial intelligence system that — in early testing — demonstrated a remarkable talent for seeing through lung cancer’s disguises.

Hsiang, Esther Y.; Shivan J. Mehta; Dylan S. Small; Charles A.L. Rareshide; Christopher K. Snider; Susan C. Day; Mitesh S. Patel . "Association of Primary Care Clinic Appointment Time With Clinician Ordering and Patient Completion of Breast and Colorectal Cancer Screening." Jama Network, May 10, 2019.

Cancer is a leading cause of mortality in the United States.  Appropriate cancer screening can be effective in decreasing both morbidity and mortality by detecting and treating cancers at an earlier stage.  However, underuse of cancer screening tests is common.  For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that among patients who meet guideline recommendations, approximately 37% of adults have not been screened for colorectal cancer, and 28% of women have not been screened for breast cancer.

Jacobs, Megan. "Yes, You Still Have Smokers in Your Workplace." The EX Program, April 10, 2019.

Now that smoking is no longer the employee health issue it once was, companies can turn their attention to other wellness program strategies, right?

Unfortunately not.

Because smoking in the workplace today isn’t always obvious, that’s led some employers to believe this type of addiction isn’t a big issue anymore. Out of sight, out of mind, out of HR planning.

That misperception can be very costly on multiple levels—from direct productivity losses to higher healthcare expenditures. Even worse, it means those who do smoke won’t get the help they need.

McGinley, Laurie. "The Disturbing Links Between Too Much Weight and Several Types of Cancer." The Washington Post, April 14, 2019.

It’s not that often that you hear a top Trump official unabashedly blaming a US company for a health crisis. But that’s exactly what FDA chief Scott Gottlieb did Tuesday in an interview during his final week in office.

Clinicians and public health practitioners should start considering the concept of flourishing when examining patients and assessing population-level health trends, according to a new Viewpoint article in JAMA, authored by Tyler VanderWeele, Ph.D. (Human Flourishing Program — Harvard), Eileen McNeely, Ph.D. (SHINE— Harvard), and Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. (Culture of Health — Harvard). It explores how even more holistic measures of “well-being” from medicine, psychology, economics, sociology, and government, while coming closer to capturing an individual’s complete wellbeing, still often fall short.

Boyles, Salynn. "Survey of Adults' Perceptions of E-Cig Safety Yields Surprise." Med Page Today, March 29, 2019.

Adults in the U.S. increasingly think electronic cigarettes are as harmful as combustible cigarettes, if not more so, according to findings from two multiyear national surveys.

Munarriz, Rick. "Disney Bans Smoking at Disney World and Disneyland." The Motley Fool, March 28, 2019.

It's going to be harder to get your smoke on at one of Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) domestic theme parks in a few weeks. Smoking will no longer be permitted inside Disney World and Disneyland theme parks and water parks starting May 1. The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida and Downtown Disney in California will also be participating in the ban. 

 

"Higher consumption of sugary beverages linked with increased risk of mortality." Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, March 18, 2019.

The more sugar-sweetened beverages(SSBs) people consumed, the greater their risk of premature death—particularly death from cardiovascular disease, and to a lesser extent from cancer, according to a large long-term study of U.S. men and women. The risk of early death linked with drinking SSBs was more pronounced among women.

Maloney, Jennifer. "FDA Sets Limits on Retail Sales of Flavored E-Cigarettes." Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2019.

Convenience stores and gas stations will effectively be banned from selling most flavored e-cigarettes under restrictions issued Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration.

Cigarette smokers provided with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or vaping) and smoking cessation counseling had higher quit rates than smokers given nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches, gums, and lozenges, together with face-to-face smoking cessation counseling, results from a randomized clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) show.

"Making Cancer Clinical Trials Available to More Patients." NCI Cancer Currents Blog, March 7, 2019.

With so many new and promising cancer treatments being developed, the need for clinical trials to efficiently and effectively test them has never been greater.

Maximizing the number of patients who are eligible for clinical trials, while still maintaining an appropriate level of safety, is a top priority for NCI leadership, given the challenges of enrolling enough patients in clinical trials. Eligibility criteria—the requirements that must be met before a person can enroll in a trial—have not kept pace with the modernization of clinical trials. Restrictive criteria have not only been a significant hurdle for many patients who have wanted to participate in trials, but they have also limited the generalizability of study findings.

Incollingo, Beth Fand. "Sweet Surrender: Will Cutting Out Sugar Help You Prevent Cancer?." CURE, February 20, 2019.

The latest findings about the dangers of eating sugar and carrying extra body fat may spell bad news when it comes to dietary freedom, but being aware of them gives people the power to lower their cancer risk.

Recent studies confirmed that two diet-related culprits can contribute to the development of cancer: eating sugar, which increases the body’s production of insulin, and having excess body fat, which leads to inflammation. Perhaps surprisingly, these processes happen not only in those who are obese or overweight but also in people who are considered a normal size based on their body mass index (BMI).

 

"Public Health Plagued By Preemption." American for Nonmokers' Rights Foundation, February 14, 2019.

At ANR, we are no strangers to preemption. This tricky tactic was cultivated and perfected by the tobacco industry. We know the industry never quits, so we have never stopped tracking and defending against preemptive strikes.

Reference Refresh

A little rusty on the vocabulary? According to the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network, preemption occurs when a “higher” level of government eliminates or limits the authority of a “lower” level of government to regulate a certain issue. Preemption can take different forms: either explicitly spelled out in a statute, or implied, which is murkier and based on legislative intent. Implied preemption can result in a legal challenge to interpret what the law says, which is why our model language always recommends expressly stating that state laws do not preempt local action. An example of this industry interference trick is in the fact Pittsburgh, PA, Nashville, TN, and Oklahoma City are barred from enacting local smokefree laws.

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