Beginning in May of this year, all cigarettes sold in the UK must be packaged to standards regulating material, size, shape, opening mechanism and more importantly with plain packaging.

And by plain packaging, I mean a "mud-green box" stripped of all branding. Like this: 





The tobacco companies argued that plain packaging was ineffectual. But as the Financial Times notes

"The argument that plain packaging was ineffectual was...

Once again, the echo chamber nature of press releases serves to promote misleading science and health clickbait.  This time it is with headlines like “Tobacco, but not pot, boosts early stroke risk.” 

First, it is an imprecise conclusion based on the newly published study.  Second, the research it refers to downplays the significant flaws and limitations of its own work.  

Let’s break down the findings for you to draw accurate (and your own) conclusions.  The goal of the work was to determine whether there is an “association between cannabis use and early-onset stroke, when accounting for the use of tobacco and alcohol.”

Who was studied and how was the data acquired? (1)

  • Population-based cohort study comprised of 49,321 Swedish men (...

Smoking is bad.  Bad for mom.  Bad for unborn and born baby.  Now, yet another study reveals its adverse effect on the developing child.  

This time the focus is the kidney and the resultant damage.  

Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan set out to clarify the association between smoking during and after pregnancy in the home with the risk of proteinuria at age 3 years old of the child.  

Proteinuria refers to the spilling of protein into the urine.  This can occur in a benign fashion when it is in trace amounts and due to orthostatic proteinuria (aka protein appearing in the urine upon standing due to a positional or postural shift).  When it is sustained and present in the urine in increasingly significant amounts, it can reflect underlying disease or...

One of my extended family members is a former smoker. Nagging him to stop did little good. Warning him against its health dangers produced similarly poor results. He was addicted, and he appeared to like smoking, anyway. 

Then e-cigarettes came along. After giving them a try, he quit cigarettes for good. No nagging was necessary. He received the same kick from vaping minus all the nasty smoke that makes cigarettes so dangerous. His blunted sense of smell and taste returned to normal and breathing became easier. 

His story is not unique. Many former smokers credit e-cigarettes with changing their lives for the better. A study in the journal Tobacco Control concluded that...

All you have to do currently to encounter an influx of negativity and persistent “what ifs” or anxiety is turn to social media or any news outlet.  This pervasive, chronic theme—no matter where you fall on the political spectrum—has been ever present the last 18 or so months throughout the campaign season.  

Now that election day has come and gone it appears we keep attaining new thresholds of vitriol.  

Life is replete with ups and downs.  Negative emotions are a part of the deal.  They often make positive experiences more joyful due to the perspective they promote.  Some stress can be a salvation to enable us to flee danger, hence, why we have the innate, instinctual biological response of hormone release during those critical moments or brief periods of time.  


The prevalence of dementia in the United States significantly declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012.  A new study by JAMA Internal Medicine attributes this, in part, to an increase in educational attainment. 

Dementia has multiple causes and types.  It reflects damage to the nerve cells of the brain which can appear in varying locales.  Symptoms of memory loss and cognitive changes manifest differently depending on the individual, medical history and etiology.  

Alzheimer’s is the most common culprit in those 65 and older.  Right behind is vascular damage of the vessels that...

With the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in more than a century, there's a level of excitement for the team's historic achievement that's extending well beyond Wrigley Field and the city of Chicago.

Baseball fans nationwide are appreciating what the franchise accomplished this season, with broad interest for this instant-classic showdown with the Cleveland Indians averaging more than 20 million viewers each game. As for the series finale, Game 7 drew an astounding 40.45 million viewers, making it the most-watched baseball game -- of any kind -- since Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

Yes, Americans wanted great, thrilling baseball -- along with seeing a perennial loser finally win it all --  and they got exactly that. And while the Indians also brought a...

Despite decades of public health campaigns, a lot of Americans still smoke. The CDC recently released data on the prevalence of tobacco use in the U.S. The map below depicts the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes in each state. Clearly, there is a regional pattern: Tobacco is most popular in Midwestern and Southern states, where roughly 20-25% of the population smokes. 

Notably, this regional pattern is very similar to the one observed for obesity. The map below depicts the prevalence of obesity in each U.S. state. Once again, the Midwest and South struggle with the highest percentages of people with obesity.


By now everyone knows that smoking damages the lungs, causing bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. Along with that goes heart damage, with smokers at a greater risk of heart failure than non-smokers or ex-smokers. A new report in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging provides insight into one possible mechanism by which smoking interferes with normal heart function.

Dr. Wilson Nadruz Jr. from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston,  and colleagues studied nearly 4600 participants in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study. At the time of the study, these people were free of coronary artery disease, heart failure and heart valve disease. They were categorized with respect to...

This morning, my daughter left home to go to college.

Watching my oldest child head to another part of the country, Jenna's departure produced feelings that are new and strange and sad and thrilling -- but none that are at all special, or unique, nor more poignant or significant than those being felt right now by millions of other parents in my position around the United States.

Courtesy: Shutterstock Courtesy: Shutterstock

Personally, all told the overriding feeling is an unsettling and haphazard brew of pride, caution, happiness, dread, excitement and -- most importantly, concern...