Healthy Choices - Healthy Lifestyle
From United Press International.
Anti-tobacco groups are accusing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of failing to implement a recent ban on menthol cigarettes -- which are blamed for untold deaths each year, and encouraging people to start smoking.
The federal court hearing highlights a conflict between FDA efforts to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and regulating the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes.
The FDA permitted the marketing of e-cigarette products, including R.J. Reynolds Vapor Companies' Vuse Solo e-cigarette and three tobacco-flavored e-liquid pods, but said it was "still evaluating" the company's application for menthol-flavored products. The conflict is clear.
A 2013 FDA report found that menthol cigarettes make it easier to start smoking and harder to quit, after the flavor was exempted from a 2009 congressional ban on all flavored cigarettes.
The American Medical Association, African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council and Action on Smoking and Health sued the agency last year, urging it to take action based on the findings of the FDA report. The suit noted that tobacco companies "for generations" have marketed menthol cigarettes to Black Americans. (The American Medical Association (AMA) joined the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) as co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the FDA).
Read the complete article here.
The number of 18 to 34 year-olds in England who smoke increased by 25% in the first lockdown, according to a study published in the journal Addiction and funded by Cancer Research UK. This equates to over 652,000 more young adults smoking compared to before the pandemic, according to the charity’s estimates. This is a serious setback for tobacco prevention efforts.
Dr. Sarah Jackson lead the research study Moderators of changes in smoking, drinking and quitting behavior associated with the first COVID-19 lockdown in England. She explains: "The first lockdown was unprecedented in the way it changed people’s day-to-day lives. We found that many smokers took this opportunity to stop smoking, which is fantastic. However, the first lockdown was also a period of great stress for many people, and we saw rates of smoking and risky drinking increase among groups hardest hit by the pandemic."
We know the lockdown will have ripple effects on mental and physical health in ways we are just now discovering. As we continue to battle COVID-19 its important to remember that addiction, stress and mental health issues still persist. If you need help managing stress, or managing addiction- there are ways you can still connect to support. Don't wait, reach out and find medical or professional help.
xting Its no secret the popularity of vaping has grown among youth. As soon as new nicotine products hit the market with their sleek devices and enticing flavors, teens were hooked. Knowing the huge toll nicotine addiction will have an a teenager's future and health, one program has stepped in to take advantage of another common teen addiction: their smart phones.
The "This is Quitting" is a free and anonymous text messaging program from Truth Initiative designed to help young people quit vaping. The first-of-its-kind quit program incorporates messages from other young people like them who have attempted to, or successfully quit, e-cigarettes. Our messages show the real side of quitting, both the good and the bad, to help young people feel motivated, inspired and supported throughout their quitting process. We also send young people evidence-based tips and strategies to quit and stay quit. This is Quitting is tailored based on age (within 13 to 24 years old) and product usage to give teens and young adults appropriate recommendations about quitting.
We know from countless studies that Smoking Cessation is much more successful when you have social support. Youth should take the same approach with their quit attempts, especially from electronic products. Cessation programs aimed at youth should take advantage of teen's willingness to utilize anonymous texting as a means of support.
COVID-19 has brought many issues to the forefront. Social justice issues, access to medical care, rural health inequities, and many more. . The impact of social isolation during the lockdown created was very challenging for one group in particular. Even in the best of times it is apparent our aging population is facing hardship. With the added challenge of protecting our older adults from a pandemic, outreach for older adults reached a near standstill. The QuitDoc Foundation has long been supportive of normalizing positive social change for a happier and healthier community. Do you have the resources to equip older adults to age independently, longer and healthier?
Here are a few resources that you can use to assist older adults in your community feel more connected and cared for:
Video Chat Features like Skype, Facetime, Zoom, and many others.
Food Delivery Services like Instacart, Grubhub, and many others.
Smart Home Devices that can store medical information in case of emergency, like Alexa, Google Assist, and Siri.
These are just a few recommendation for connecting Seniors with resources to help them stay independent. You can find more recommendations here.
Even in the best of times, quitting is a huge challenge! Doctors and cessation professionals strongly encourage a combination of cessation medication along with counselling support to maximize your chances of successfully quitting. In person support might not work for everyone, many don't have the time to attend, experience social anxiety, or for certain populations (like seniors or those with chronic disease) may fear the risk of contracting illnesses while in mixed groups.
Another avenue to find support for quitting is to use assistive technology, like apps. Two that have been supported by the National Cancer Institute, SmokeFree.gov.
You can find out more about the to resources below:
Elizabeth Djinis Via the Hearld-Tribune
Read the Complete Article Here
The Co-Founder of the QuitDoc Foundation and medical director of Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Clinical Research Center, Dr. Kirk Voelker, has been part of a game-changing COVID-19 Treatment. As part of 12 other research institutions, SMH is taking part in a trial of new drug to treat those hospitalized with respiratory disease and low blood oxygen.
“I’ve realized how frustrating it is and how little control we may have over this inflammatory response, so the fact that we now have a drug trial that addresses the inflammatory response is actually very exciting for me,” he said. “I am very hopeful that this will somehow make a difference.”
When asked the goal of the trial, Voelker kept it simple: “To save lives.”
Read more about the trial here.
By Sarah Damien
No one understands the importance of Tobacco Retail Licensing (TRL) and Point of Sale (POS) Marketing like Big Tobacco. Retail stores, especially convenience stores, are a major way that youth have access to tobacco products either through illegal underage purchase, theft, or purchase by an older friend. Advertising in these stores is a key component to Big Tobacco’s marketing to today’s youth. The retail environment lets companies communicate directly to the consumer especially since the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act banned advertising on television, radio, and billboards. It is at the point of sale where the tobacco industry’s messages continue to reach and appeal to kids.
Protecting the next generation is why training on TRL/POS is so crucial for tobacco prevention efforts. It is the key reason why QuitDoc Foundation arranged a training for Tobacco Prevention Specialists and Point of Sale Task Force members to share strategies for creating new policies in local government. This is a collaborative effort that has reached across many counties in the state of Florida with key speakers with experience passing new tobacco ordinances. Presenters included Brittany Chatman, who serves as the Statewide Tobacco Policy Manager for the Point of Sale policy area for Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida; Ryan McGuire the tobacco prevention specialist at the department of Health-Alachua with a Masters of Public Health; Kim Waser Nash whose Martin County Tobacco Free Partnership helped pass the Tobacco 21 ordinance in 2020; Kyleigh Savoie, the Community Health Advocate for Indian River County with a BA in Sociology and currently working towards her Masters in Public Health focusing on Epidemiology; and rounding out the panel Dr. Barry Hummel, CEO of QuitDoc Foundation and Pediatrician and main presenter.
Dr. Hummel’s presentation focused the health equity and social justice issues exacerbated by the tobacco industries tactics that encourage underage tobacco use, and the history of TRL/POS legislation. Changing local policy is critically important now so that Florida counties can align state laws with federal laws like changing the age of purchase to 21, implementing flavor bans across all products or instituting financial penalties for stores that violate these ordinances. A recording of the presentation as well as highlight clips can be found online at: https://www.quitdoc.com/trl-and-pos-webinar.html.
By A. Pawlowsk for TODAY.com
Health experts are urging families not to forget about another kind of epidemic that dominated the headlines before the coronavirus came along: vaping among teens and young adults.
The problem “has been overshadowed, but it'll come back,” Dr. Nancy Rigotti, director of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told TODAY.
“Vaping is still an important issue just as I think smoking is still an important issue … We've sort of forgotten about it because we've had a bigger health concern to worry about.”
According to the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey released in September 2020, almost 20% of high school students are vaping. But youth who vape may be presented a perfect opportunity to quit. The Experts have called the social distancing rules of 2020 a “golden opportunity” for teens to quit vaping and for families to talk about the habit’s harmful effects, even if they don’t think their kids are using e-cigarettes. Many parents are unaware their children are vaping, a study published last month in the journal Pediatrics found.
Read the full article here.
By Dr. Barry Hummel, SPECIAL TO THE SUN SENTINEL.
On Sept. 9, those of us who are working to reduce youth nicotine addiction in our community learned that Gov. DeSantis had vetoed SB 810, Florida legislation designed to reduce youth access and exposure to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
You may be wondering what was so controversial in this bipartisan legislation the governor felt compelled to stop the law from being implemented?
As passed by both houses of the Florida Legislature, the legislation would have done the following:
To be fair, it might seem redundant for Florida to pass law to simply restate current federal law. For example, if the age to buy and sell tobacco is 21 nationally, it is 21 in Florida by default.
The answer lies in the enforcement of the rules.
Poor enforcement of our current state rules, including the marketing of kid-friendly flavors targeting youth, has led to an epidemic of vaping and nicotine addiction among Florida’s teens.
In his comments regarding his veto, DeSantis did not address this youth epidemic. Instead, he seemed more concerned that “this legislation would almost assuredly lead more people to resume smoking cigarettes and it would drive others to the hazardous black market." That is a cop-out. That is the same argument as “we shouldn’t have speed limits because people are going to speed.”
There is a silver lining in this veto. The Tobacco Control Act of 2009 allows local communities to regulate the time, place and manner of tobacco sales and marketing. Every municipality in Broward County can pass their own Tobacco Retail License, raise the age to 21, ban the sale of any-and-all flavored tobacco products including vaping devices and e-liquids, and enforce those rules locally. Alachua County did all those things, charging a fee for the local license that offsets the cost of enforcement.
Our kids deserved better from our governor. Since the state has abdicated its responsibility with regards to protecting our youth from the vaping industry, it is time for local governments to step up and hold these retailers responsible.
Dr. Barry Hummel is the Vice Chair of Tobacco Free Partnership of Broward County.
This is a excerpt, you can find the complete Op Ed piece here: Click Here .
Kalia Richardson, The Independant Alligator
“Let's all be realistic. We all know [smoking and vaping] damages your lungs; it doesn't do you any good,” said UF philosophy major Bryan Berlioz, who used to smoke disposable vape. “So, I wanted to limit my chance of my body failing.”
As reported by the Independant Alligator, The Journal of Adolescent Health conducted a study with college-aged individuals and analyzed their susceptibility to COVID-19. Smokers, including e-cigarette users, are twice as likely to be vulnerable to complications from the virus, according to the findings.
“Not a lot of college students have heart disease, for example, or have had a heart attack. So, smoking either cigarettes or e-cigarettes is going to be the biggest issue for them in terms of making them susceptible to pneumonia, viral infections, things like that,” said UF assistant professor of medicine Dr. Eric Papierniak.
“In general, people who smoke have more heart disease and more lung disease. So, they tend to do worse. Those things can start relatively early on, especially if you start smoking at an early age,” Papierniak said.
Dr. Judy Lew, a former UF clinical associate professor in the department of pediatrics with a subspecialty in pediatric infectious disease, said that the correlation between COVID-19 and vaping was unsurprising because both are tied to lung damage.
“Not surprising since using cigarettes and e-cigarettes are known to potentially damage the lungs and so can Covid,” Lew wrote in an email to the Alligator.
In a similar study conducted by the European Respiratory Journal, nicotine in vaping products increases the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) in cells. The ACE-2 receptor acts as a “binding site” for the coronavirus to enter and infect human cells. This puts e-cigarette users at greater risk of contracting the virus.
“As a pulmonologist, it’s my mission in life to get people to not smoke. I think that even if we weren’t in a pandemic, I would strongly encourage people not to smoke,” Papierniak said. “In the situation we are in now, I think that anything that you could do or not do in order to make yourself less risky to get really, really sick from serious disease is something you should very strongly consider doing.”
Read the Full Article Study finds college e-cigarette users more susceptible to COVID-19 here.