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Teen Use of Flavored E-Cigarettes Keeps Rising

THURSDAY, Oct. 3, 2019 — Coming on the heels of recent U.S. federal and state efforts to ban flavored e-cigarettes, a new report finds the percentage of American teenagers who’ve used these products continues to climb.

According to 2018 data, nearly 2.4 million middle and high school teens say they have used a flavored e-cigarette at least once over the past 30 days.

Among teens, “e-cigarettes were the most commonly used flavored tobacco product in 2018; flavored e-cigarette use has increased in recent years,” according to researchers led by Karen Cullen. She’s from the Center for Tobacco Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In fact, almost two-thirds (about 65%) of the nearly 5 million teenagers who used some form of tobacco product in 2018 said they had used a flavored e-cigarette over the past month. The figures come from annual National Youth Tobacco Surveys.

Experts in lung health said the numbers are troubling, because any nicotine-containing product that comes in fruit, candy or other flavors can be a gateway to lifelong addiction.

“In order to make vaping more enticing, flavors have been introduced into the manufacturing of both commercial brands and black market products,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“Young people are attracted to the flavorings, but as they get older, they add other substances like nicotine and THC,” he added. THC is the chemical in marijuana that provides a high.

And there’s an even more frightening issue emerging — cases of serious lung injury linked to vaping. According to the latest figures, more than 800 such cases have occurred this year across the United States, including up to 17 deaths.

The exact cause of the illness is unclear, but diacetyl, often used in flavored vapes, has been “implicated now in the pulmonary syndromes,” Horovitz noted.

Responding to the epidemic of youth vaping and the recent spate of vaping-linked lung injury, federal and state governments are moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

On the national level, the situation has spurred the Trump administration to call for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

And on Tuesday, Los Angeles County banned flavored forms of e-cigarettes — echoing a move made recently by Michigan and the state of New York. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called for similar legislation in his state on Tuesday, and last week retail giant Walmart announced that it would pull all e-cigarette products from its shelves.

Cullen and her colleagues believe such efforts can help. They point out that after New York City initiated an almost total ban on the sale of many flavored cigars and “chew” products in 2009, cigar sales dropped by 12%, even as sales rose elsewhere in the nation.

Another lung health specialist agreed that something must be done to spare kids a lifetime of addiction to nicotine.

“Many youth admit that flavored e-cigarettes are the major reason they started vaping,” said Dr. Mina Makaryus, a pulmonary specialist at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“Given the addictive nature of nicotine, these youth are now addicted to nicotine at a very young age, and they are more likely to continue using e-cigarettes and even start smoking regular combustion cigarettes in the future,” he said.

Makaryus hopes that “more states will start to ban flavored e-cigarettes. There also needs to be increased FDA regulation of e-cigarettes, including their marketing and targeting of underage youth.”

The new study is published in the Oct. 4 issue of Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about vaping and lung health.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Marijuana Use Among College Students Rising Fast

FRIDAY, Sept. 6, 2019 — Marijuana use by U.S. college students in 2018 was the highest in 35 years, researchers report.

Their survey of about 1,400 respondents, ages 19 to 22, found that about 43% of full-time college students said they used some form of marijuana at least once in the past year, up from 38% in 2017, and previous month use rose to 25% from 21%, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The 2018 rates are the highest found in the annual University of Michigan survey since 1983.

About 6% of college students said they used marijuana 20 or more times in the past month, compared with 11% of respondents the same age who weren’t in college, the AP reported.

“It’s the frequent use we’re most worried about” because it’s associated with poor school performance and can harm mental health, researcher John Schulenberg said.

In the United States, marijuana use is greater among college-age adults than any other age group, the AP reported.

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Cases of Lung Injury Tied to Vaping Keep Rising

THURSDAY, Aug. 22, 2019 — Chance Ammirata was a vaper for almost two years. But three weeks ago, the 18-year-old began to have trouble breathing.

“I would say my chest felt like it was collapsing and tightening up, and I couldn’t breathe,” he told CBS News. After going to the emergency room, doctors told him his right lung had a hole in it and they would have to put a chest tube in immediately. Two days later, a surgeon repaired the hole.

Ammirata believes his vaping was the culprit behind his collapsed lung, and he has since started a social media campaign called #LungLove to convince other teens to throw away their e-cigarettes.

“I decided that spreading my story could help others not have to go through the same thing as me,” he explained on his Instagram account.

Ammirata is not the only American to have landed in the hospital with vaping-related lung troubles recently.

Late Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its tally of such cases to 153, spread across 16 states. These cases have emerged in a relatively short timeframe — from June 28 through Aug. 20, the agency said in a statement.

Cases have so far been recorded in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, the CDC said.

No age group is immune: E-cigarette users ranging from teenagers to middle-aged adults are falling ill with respiratory symptoms that include coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Some patients have had so much trouble breathing that they wound up on a ventilator in their hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), said Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.

Public health officials in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, New York, Indiana and New Jersey are tracking the most cases, CNN reported.

“We do have to be careful [to say] that this has not been linked to any specific device, or any specific chemical that might exist in a device,” the ALA’s Rizzo said. “The commonality is it’s mainly young people who’ve supposedly been vaping who ended up having respiratory symptoms.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for the Jack and Lucy Clark Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Testing shows that the inflammation is not caused by an infection, leading doctors to seek another explanation for lung irritation, Wilson and Rizzo said.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

The CDC recently put out a statement urging doctors to report all possible cases of vaping-associated lung illness to state or local health officials.

E-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead, Rizzo said.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

In its Wednesday statement, the CDC also noted that recent marijuana use could be a factor.

“In many cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]-containing products while speaking to health care personnel or in follow-up interviews by health department staff,” the agency said. THC is the chemical in pot that gives users a high.

Wilson believes that parents should make sure their teenagers aren’t vaping, and also refrain from vaping in the presence of kids, to prevent secondhand exposure.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” Wilson said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

More information

The American Lung Association has more about e-cigarettes and popcorn lung.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

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Head Injuries Tied to Motorized Scooters Are Rising: Study

SUNDAY, June 16, 2019 — Head injuries from riding electric scooters without a helmet are on the rise, a new study reports.

Between 2008 and 2017, nearly 32,000 injuries were estimated nationwide, according to a review of records in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance system. Accidents tripled from about 2,300 in 2008 to nearly 7,000 in 2017.

Most of those injured were adult men, but a third of the injuries happened to kids between 6 and 12 years of age, researchers said.

The most common injuries were closed head injuries, such as concussions, and bleeding or bruising of the brain, the researchers found. Facial cuts and abrasions were also common.

In accident records that made note of helmet use, 66% of those injured weren’t wearing one. Use of helmets increased with age from 19% among toddlers to 67% among senior riders. Helmet laws vary from state to state.

Researchers emphasized that electric scooters aren’t toys and can reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

“The United States should standardize electric scooter laws and license requirements should be considered to decrease the risky behaviors associated with motorized scooter use,” said study lead author Dr. Amishav Bresler. He’s a resident in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark.

“In 2000, Italy implemented a law mandating helmet use for all types of recreational scooter drivers — legislation that reduced head trauma in scooter riders from about 27 out of 10,000 people before the law passed to about 9 out of 10,000 people afterward,” Bresler said in a Rutgers news release.

The report was published online recently in the American Journal of Otolaryngology.

More information

The consumer safety group Safer America provides electric scooter safety tips.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

AHA: Marijuana, Cocaine May Play Role in Young Americans’ Rising Stroke Rate