Out of their mind(fulness)

As you know, the FDA is not too happy with JUUL for improper marketing practices aimed at America’s youth. Essentially, the agency alleges that by making vaping “cool,” they’re trying to get the next generation addicted to nicotine. Well the marketing geniuses at JUUL must have mistaken their foot for their vapes, because one of their “solutions” involved offering schools up to $20,000 to use an anti-vaping curriculum they developed. Hey y’all? That’s not a good look. After all, the tobacco industry tried to do the same in the eighties, and those education programs may have caused more students to smoke. JUUL’s version of the course would’ve included the science behind e-cigs, blaming teen use on peer pressure and, uh, mindfulness through telekinesis?? Yeah, why vape when you can move clouds with your mind (audio required)?

Social determinants of health

As insurers attempt to set health plan prices, they understandably try to pull in as much info as they can get their hands on. But patient advocates say they could be going too far by collecting ‘lifestyle data.’ That’s the subject of an NPR/ProPublica story on how providers are amassing a trove of data on consumers’ “race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth … what you post on social media, whether you’re behind on your bills, what you order online.” Insurers say they’re just using the data to improve patient outcomes, while companies that sell this data to insurers say it shouldn’t be used for pricing. But there’s not technically anything that would stop them from doing so, which is encouraging. Makes you want to live in Europe (kinda.)

These teens’ hobby is to lobby

Ever tried doing your kid’s homework for a week like this dad? It might be worth a try to get a sense of the stresses affecting students these days, and it could make you more sympathetic towards getting some mental health legislation on the books. If you don’t want to, well those dang kids might just get it done themselves. Three high school students recently successfully lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to require mental health instruction for 9th and 10th graders. It’s not about kids just being bratty about too much schoolwork; the CDC estimates 1 in 5 US kids experience mental disorders and $247B is spent on these disorders each year. At least they’ll have a break soon—it’s about that time of year when School’s Out for summer.