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The hidden power of nonprofits in the struggle against cancer
MedCity News

2020

The news about the COVID-19 global pandemic has everyone concerned. Those who smoke or vape e-cigarettes, or care about someone who does, may be especially worried because the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the lungs and could be a particularly serious threat to tobacco users.

Jagat Narula, MD, PhD. "For Every 50 Smokers – One Non-Smoker Dies from Secondhand Smoke Exposure." JAMA Network Open, March 17, 2020.

These results could help policy makers to better understand the scale of harm inflicted by secondhand smoke and develop new measures that will protect non-smokers. This is especially important considering children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, and asthma. Even a low dose of secondhand smoke can damage the cardiovascular system and long-term exposure can lead to a 20-30 percent increase in risk for heart attack and lung cancer. 

More than one-third of parents did not follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their young children in 2014, opting for a different schedule that included delaying or skipping vaccines, researchers found.

King, PhD, Brian A., Christopher M. Jones, Dr. P.H., Grant T. Baldwin, PhD, Peter A. Briss, MD. "The EVALI and Youth Vaping Epidemics - Implications for Public Health." The New England Journal of Medicine, February 20, 2020.

Since entering the U.S. marketplace in 2007, e-cigarette, or vaping, products have evolved into a diverse class of inhaled aerosol devices. Earlier generations of these products were disposable, resembled conventional cigarettes in shape, and were designed to deliver nicotine to the user. Newer generations are rechargeable, don’t resemble conventional cigarettes, and can be used to deliver various substances, including nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana). The U.S. markets for both nicotine- and THC-containing vaping products have dramatically expanded. Recently, there has been an unprecedented increase in the use of nicotine-containing products by young people (see graph). Simultaneously, an increasing number of U.S. states have legalized marijuana use, a shift that coincided with changes in the public perception of risk, the availability of a wide variety of products containing THC or cannabidiol (CBD, a nonpsychoactive ingredient in marijuana), and increases in marijuana use among adults, especially young adults.

Oransky, MD, Ivan. ""Evidence That e-Cigs Cause Heart Attacks" Retracted." Medscape Internal Medicine, February 19, 2020.

A study published last year touted by its coauthor as "more evidence that e-cigs cause heart attacks" has been retracted, following intense criticism.

The article, in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), was written by Dharma Bhatta, PhD, and Stanton Glantz, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and concluded that, "Some‐day and every‐day e‐cigarette use are associated with increased risk of having had a myocardial infarction, adjusted for combustible cigarette smoking."

Ladarian, MD, Bahar. "Documented: Effects of Cancer Treatment on Employment." MedPage Today, February 18, 2020.

A recent study addressed the need for attention to breast cancer survivors after surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation to shed light on the adverse effects of treatment on employment. The hope was that knowing the results could better prepare patients and healthcare providers as well as employers and policymakers.

Lawrence, Leah. "Severe Health Issues Lay Ahead for Many Young Cancer Survivors." MedPage Today, February 14, 2020.

Compared with the general population, young cancer survivors were far more likely to develop severe and life-threatening health conditions in later life, and faced a significantly higher risk of death, data from a large retrospective study indicated.

Jenkins, Kristin. "Evidence Grows for One-Dose HPV Vaccination." MedPage Today, February 11, 2020.

Even a single dose of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (4vHPV) vaccine was associated with lower incidence of pre-invasive cervical disease compared with no vaccination in adolescent women, according to researchers.

In a large retrospective matched cohort study involving women age 15-19, risk of histologically confirmed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia II/III (CIN-II/III) was equivalent with one, two, or three doses of 4vHPV vaccine. The adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were 0.64, 0.72, and 0.66, respectively, all with statistical significance.

Over the past decade, wellness has ballooned into a $4.2 trillion business. In the crowded marketplace of self-improvement, hardcore health innovations jostle with softcore supplements in the jade egg domain. Meanwhile, “hustle” culture has spawned a kind of work worship that has many people burning out and questioning how much they should really expect to get from (or give to) their jobs. In the midst of all this, workplace wellness is on the rise; more than 80 percent of large companies and 50 percent of small companies have implemented such programs. Despite their pervasiveness, big questions linger over what, exactly, works.  

Siegel, Rachel. "U-Haul's no-smokers hiring policy tests the boundaries of corporate wellness." The Washington Post, January 22, 2020.

When U-Haul announced it would stop hiring nicotine users in the states where it could, the reactions were decidedly mixed.

“Good for U-Haul! Nicotine is a drug. … It just happens to be legal!” wrote one Facebook commenter.

“I’m not [a] smoker, but I don’t think being a smoker should keep you from employment,” wrote another.

One posted a simple, “Dream on!”

Nackerdien, Zeena. "Losing Weight after age 50 may lower breast cancer risk." MedPage Today, January 15, 2020.

In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Lauren R. Teras, PhD, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues found that women age 50 years or older who lost weight and kept it off had a lower risk of breast cancer compared with those whose weight stayed the same.

Amid the epidemic levels of youth use of e-cigarettes and the popularity of certain products among children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued a policy prioritizing enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions.

A single-dose vaccination regimen for human papillomavirus (HPV) had similar efficacy against HPV infection compared with the recommended two- or three-dose series, although researchers caution that more research is needed.

Nackerdien, Zeena. "Obesity in America: Who is Most Affected?." MedPage Today, January 2, 2020.

Nearly half of U.S. adults will be obese by 2030 if current trends continue, with almost one-quarter projected to be severely obese, according to an analysis considered highly predictive that corrected for self-reporting bias.  Note that severe obesity is also likely to become the most common body mass index category among women, non-Hispanic black adults, and adults with low income.

2019

The choking fug of tobacco smoke that hung over pubs and restaurants was snuffed out back in 2007.

Now the smoking ban has been voted the UK’s greatest public health achievement of the 21st century.

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