Harm Reduction

Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis

A recent op-ed in the Sacramento Bee issues a strange warning about e-cigarettes, saying that they may cause hearing loss among teenagers. The piece was authored by Dave Fabry, identified as the vice-president of audiology for Starkey Hearing Technologies in Eden Prairie, MN.

While the urge is to simply view this as fear-mongering by someone who does not understand nicotine modes of action (and confuses it with smoking, which...

shutterstock_262380071Of the three most common types of skin cancer basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma the last is the most deadly. Melanoma can and does metastasize to other organs, including the brain (as we recently learned in the case of former president Jimmy Carter). Although preventing or stopping it is an important and active area of current research, no sure-fire way to prevent or cure melanoma has yet been found.

It has long been suspected that exposure to UV light, e.g. sunlight,...

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 3.15.25 PMAs I have written numerous times, such as here, and here, the "War on Drugs" has been a dismal failure by any measure. The clumsy and misguided attempt by the Drug Enforcement Administration to address the enormous (and growing) narcotic abuse problem in the country has already...

Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis

You might not picture Rolling Stone when you think of evidence-based health stories - they gave space to anti-vaccine crank Robert Kennedy Jr. after all - but they have published an informative discussion of the ongoing debate about the pros and cons of e-cigarettes and vapor products.

In a lengthy article, author David Amsden discusses the burgeoning "...

Courtesy: Janet Loehrke, USA Today Courtesy: Janet Loehrke, USA Today

A new report, Monitoring The Future, is the latest update of this annual survey, done by researchers affiliated with the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The survey asks teens in the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades about their use of alcohol, cigarettes, and legal and illegal drugs.

This latest data...

A new study finds that people with a particular version of a gene involved in the brain s reward system are more likely to succeed in quitting smoking. Compared with people who have other versions of this gene, those with the lucky DNA were also more likely to abstain from cigarettes. The study in Translational Psychiatry was a meta-analysis (a review of other studies) and supports a role for heredity, i.e., genotype, in the likelihood that someone will become a smoker and how difficult it will be, once starting to smoke, to eventually quit. The primary objective was to determine whether the variant DRD2/ANKK1 gene Taq1A has any effect on smoking cessation. ANKK1 happens to be next...

stop smokingJessica L. Muilenburg, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, in Athens GA, investigated how well adolescent and youth counselors were doing at helping teens and young adults deal with addiction to tobacco. Her results were cause for serious concern.

Rather than treating youth smoking the same way counselors would alcoholism or drug addiction, it was more like the equivalent of preaching abstinence instead of making protected sex possible...

NHIS 2014 SmokingA nationally representative survey over 36,000 adults in 2014 showed that one-eighth of all Americans had tried an e-cigarette (a nicotine vapor created from heated liquid rather than tobacco) at least once in their lifetime.

Nearly 48 percent of current smokers and 55.4 percent of recent former smokers had tried an e-cigarette, while 8.9 percent of long-term former smokers and 3.2 percent of adults who claim to have never smoked cigarettes had...

America is all about freedom but individual freedom has its limits, especially when it impacts society in general. And the health consequences of smoking have a huge impact on society. Since smoking skews more heavily toward poor people, that means the burden in an Obamacare world will be shouldered by taxpayers, the vast majority of whom do not smoke.

For that reason, it makes sense to wonder if raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes make sense. The American Academy of Pediatrics is...

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 2.06.58 PMIn a new study, Dr. Abigail S. Friedman from the Department of Health Policy and Management, Yale School of Public Health, has concluded that bans of electronic cigarettes to minors results in a higher rate of smoking deadly cigarettes.

Dr. Friedman subjected data on smoking rates as related to e-cigarette access to various statistical tests...