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Articles of Interest

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

2020

Bankhead, Charles. "PCPs Seek Identity in Cancer Survivor Care." Medpage Today, June 10, 2020.

A professional identity crisis has begun to emerge among primary care clinicians regarding their role in caring for cancer survivors, authors of a survey of physicians, nurses, and physician assistants (PAs) concluded.

Survey participants had widely divergent views regarding primary care's role in cancer survivor care and about the concept of survivorship. A few providers said responsibility for follow-up after acute care belonged entirely to oncology. Alternatively, some respondents viewed cancer survivors as no different from other patients with chronic conditions.

Walker, Molly. "Quarantine Brings up More Issues for Patients with Obesity." MedPage Today, June 10, 2020.

Patients with obesity not only reported more anxiety and depression, but the majority reported less exercise, more stress eating, and increased stockpiling of food due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, researchers found.

The American Cancer Society has updated its guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention, with adjustments to reflect the most current evidence. The updated recommendations increase recommended levels of physical activity and have an increased emphasis on reducing the consumption of processed and red meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed foods, and alcohol. They also include evidenced-based strategies to reduce barriers to healthy eating and active living and to reduce alcohol consumption. The guideline is published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, the ACS’s flagship medical journal.

Firth, Shannon. "Vaccine Access, Hesitancy Amid COVID-19." MedPage Today, June 3, 2020.

Overcoming vaccine hesitancy and access issues has become even more critical because of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts argued at a recent webinar hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

As it became clear in March that the coronavirus was tearing through the U.S., federal health officials and cancer societies urged Americans to delay their routine mammograms and colonoscopies. The public has heeded those recommendations — and that’s helped lead to an apocalyptic drop in cancer screenings, according to a white paper released Monday by the electronic medical records vendor Epic.

NCI Staff. "Helping Cancer Survivors Cope with Cancer-Related Anxiety and Distress." National Cancer Institute, April 30, 2020.

Being diagnosed with cancer and going through intensive treatment is stressful. So, when treatment ends, family and friends are eager to celebrate. But many cancer survivors don’t feel like celebrating or don’t feel ready to move on with their lives.

Pavlik, MA CTTS, Jim; Chad Morris, PhD. "COVID-19: Tobacco Use and Health Disparities Populations." Behavorial Health & Wellness Program, April 13, 2020.

Smoking and vaping may lead to worse clinical outcomes following respiratory infections, which is particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many groups of Americans, such as persons living in poverty, individuals with behavioral health conditions, and persons involved with the criminal justice system, smoke and use other nicotine products at high rates and are at greater risk after contracting COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. 

Reinberg, Steven. "The Sooner Young Smokers Start, the Less Likely they are to Quit ." HealthDay, April 13, 2020.

Kids and teens who take up smoking are more likely to become daily smokers and find it harder to quit by their 40s, a new study finds.

"Based on our data coupled with a variety of other evidence, we found childhood smoking leads to adult smoking," said lead researcher David Jacobs Jr., a professor of public health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. "Cigarette smoking, even experimentally, among children of any age should be strongly discouraged."

Boyles, Salynn. "Smokers Face Greater Risk from COVID-19." MedPage Today, April 8, 2020.

It is a familiar public health message that has taken on new urgency in the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic: If you smoke, you need to quit.

The sooner, the better.

Tobacco users face an elevated risk for a long list of chronic diseases and malignancies, and there is growing evidence that smoking, and possibly vaping, also increase the risk for life-threatening complications and death from COVID-19.

Gretler, Corinne. "Smoking Helps Open Gateway to Coronavirus Infection, Study Shows." Bloomberg, April 8, 2020.

Smoking may raise the risk of Covid-19 by elevating enzymes that allow the coronavirus to gain access into lung cells, according to a new study.

Smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may have elevated levels of an enzyme called ACE-2, which helps the virus enter cells in their lungs, where it replicates, a study published in the European Respiratory Journal Thursday showed.

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."

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