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Articles of Interest

‘Safer’ does not mean ‘safe.’
E-cigs pack a harmful punch
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

2019

NEW ORLEANS—Vaping is not a low-risk substitute for smoking cigarettes, according to researcher Charlie Lin, MD, who authored a case study of a 34-year-old former smoker diagnosed with granulomatosis attributed to two months of electronic cigarette use. Dr. Lin will present his case study at the CHEST Annual Meeting 2019 in New Orleans.

“This case of granulomatosis secondary to electronic cigarette use exemplifies an unintended consequence of ‘vaping,’” Dr. Lin wrote. Granulomas destroy healthy tissue and inflame blood vessels, which can limit blood flow to organs including the lungs.

Electronic cigarettes vaporize liquids for inhalation to simulate the combustion of smoking traditional cigarettes. Until recently, e-cigarettes, with their lack of combustion-produced toxins, were thought to be lower risk than traditional cigarettes. Consequently, e-cigarettes have been heralded as having a perceived role in smoking cessation.

Rodriguez, Megan. "Texas A&M to implement tobacco-free campus policy in January." The Eagle, October 13, 2019.

Texas A&M University will implement a tobacco-free policy in January, using a $20,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to help fund the effort. 

Recently, I was approached on London Bridge by an attractive sales woman with samples of what looked like sweet containers. On closer inspection, they were not confectionary, but instead turned out to be nicotine vape samples. I was not asked if I was over 18 (I look young for someone in their mid-20s), and I was not asked if I was trying to quit smoking or had a previous history of substance abuse. I politely declined.

The marketing for nicotine vapes around the world has been, by and large, poorly regulated, and it is commonplace in London to see teenagers with their hands on vapes blowing pillows of smoke. While 10 years ago it would have been more common to see teenagers experimenting with their first cigarettes under the cover of trees and park benches, the seemingly more accessible nature of vapes has started to replace this underage rite of passage with something more blatant. In the United States, the Federal Court has launched an investigation into Juul, a large nicotine vape producer. The global regulation of vaping, which contains nicotine, a substance found to be nearly as addictive as heroin, should be more common than it is now.

Bassett, Mike. "How to get more men in breast cancer trials?." MedPage Today, October 8, 2019.

The FDA recently drafted new recommendations encouraging the inclusion of more men in breast cancer clinical trials.

The industry draft guidance urges that eligibility for breast cancer drugs should include both men and women, and that there should be a scientific rationale included in a trial protocol when men are excluded from trials.

Boyles, Salynn. "Smoking Cessation Tx Highly Effective in Cancer Patients." MedPage Today, September 29, 2019.

Smokers with cancer who participated in a comprehensive tobacco cessation program achieved high sustained quit rates, and they were just as likely as patients without cancer to successfully stop smoking cigarettes, a new study finds.

"Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 19, 2019.
  • There are 530* cases of lung injury reported from 38 states and 1 U.S. territory. Seven deaths have been confirmed in 6 states.
  • CDC has received complete sex and age data on 373 of 530 cases.
    • Nearly three fourths (72%) of cases are male
    • Two thirds (67%) of cases are 18 to 34 years old
    • 16% of cases are under 18 years and 17% are 35 years or older
  • All reported cases have a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping.
  • Based on initial data from certain states we know: Most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC. Many patients have reported using THC and nicotine. Some have reported the use of e-cigarette products containing only nicotine.
Saul, Jessie. "Your Boss Doesn’t Support a Smoke-Free Policy…Now What?." ex Program, September 17, 2019.

Not every business leader embraces a smoke-free policy or tobacco-free workplace. Surprised? Don’t be.

Today 20% of indoor workers in the U.S. are not yet covered by a 100% smoke-free policy. And if you work in certain industries, such as construction, agriculture, and transportation, your company is even less likely to have a workplace no-smoking policy.

Today, the Trump Administration announced that as part of its ongoing work to tackle the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, the FDA intends to finalize a compliance policy in the coming weeks that would prioritize the agency’s enforcement of the premarket authorization requirements for non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, clearing the market of unauthorized, non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products. The FDA plans to share more on the specific details of the plan and its implementation soon.

Brennan, Troyen; Eileen Howard Boone. "Strengthening our commitment to help end tobacco use." US News, September 3, 2019.

FIVE YEARS AGO, WE decided to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in all CVS Pharmacy locations. It was the first step toward building an innovative health care company driven by a purpose — helping people on their path to better health. Since then, CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation announced a multi-year $50 million Be The First initiative to help create the first tobacco-free generation.

Jacobs, Megan. "6 Ways Tobacco Use Hurts Today's Retail Employees." The EX Program, September 3, 2019.

In the tight-margin industry of retail, innovating to contain employee healthcare costs is a must. But it isn’t the only thing that matters. Just ask retail giant Walmart—well-recognized both for its cost-effective use of healthcare resources and for prioritizing the employee healthcare experience.

Tobacco cessation is one example of a critical employee benefit that can help minimize healthcare spend—when it’s delivered in ways that employees want to use. So why isn’t it top of mind for all HR benefit leaders in retail companies?

Within days, Alexander Mitchell had gone from being a 20-year-old hiking enthusiast to being kept alive by two machines forcing air into and out of his lungs and oxygenating his blood outside of his body.

The Food and Drug Administration has evaluated the effectiveness of its youth anti-smoking campaign. Short answer: it worked!

Researchers from the government agency and nonprofit RTI have found that awareness campaign The Real Cost prevented between 380,000 and 587,000 teens from starting to smoke, according to the study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Sun, Lena; Lindsey Bever. "Mystery lung illness linked to vaping. Health officials investigating nearly 100 possible cases.." The Washington Post, August 16, 2019.

State and federal health officials are investigating almost 100 cases of mysterious lung illnesses linked to vaping and e-cigarette use in 14 states, many of them involving teens and young adults. A large number of those stricken ill have been hospitalized, with some in intensive care and on ventilators.

Chris Sweeney. "The problem with industry-sponsored vaping research." Harvard T.H. Chan, August 16, 2019.

Use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products including Juul is soaring, especially among youths. Between 2017 and 2018, the prevalence of current e-cigarette use among U.S. high school students increased from 12% to 21%. Andy Tan, assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences, recently co-authored a Lancetarticle examining how Juul is funding scientific research—and why this is problematic.

Kaplan, Sheila . "The F.D.A.’s New Cigarette Warnings Are Disturbing. See for Yourself.." The New York Times, 8/15/19.

WASHINGTON — The corpse is gone.

So are the grief-stricken woman, the rotting teeth and the man struggling to smoke despite a hole in his windpipe.

Nine years after the Food and Drug Administration first proposed graphic images as warnings on cigarette packs but was thwarted by tobacco companies in a successful court battle, the agency announced on Thursday that it is finally issuing a new set.

 

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