480,000 Americans die from smoking each year according to FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Well it’s time to take another big swing at preventing those deaths, at least that’s what’s behind the FDA’s new move to cut nicotine levels down in cigarettes. In the US, cigarettes are typically made with a nicotine dose of around 1.1-1.7 milligrams. The regulatory agency wants to cut that to a maximum of 0.4 milligrams, which could help 5 million Americans quit smoking within a year. The move is focused on combustible cigarettes which probably give you the most bang for your buck in terms of ways they can kill you, as opposed to newer vaping products which have pretty high nicotine levels themselves. Presumably, the FDA doesn’t want to impinge on the very cool emerging field of vape tricks.
Ready to see an exciting video? Then don’t click on that. It’s an anti-smoking ad paid for by “Big Tobacco,” and boy is it a snoozer. That’s not exactly a surprise considering the four companies court-ordered to pay for this ad campaign have been fighting tooth and nail to not have to. A quick timeline: in ’99 the US Justice Department filed a racketeering lawsuit, which tobacco companies spent a short seven years in court fighting before a judge ruled they had to pay for these ads. A measly eleven years of denied appeals later, you’ll be able to see the ads start running this weekend on primetime network television. Joe Camel would roll over in his grave if that hump wasn’t in the way.
Happy belated International Coffee Day to all our readers (even the ones who have their coffee celebrations on the incorrect date.) It sure was a happy week for coffee proponents—a study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that three cups of coffee a day can halve the risk of death for HIV and Hep C patients. The results were most prominent when the coffee drinkers combined it with other positive health behaviors, namely not smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and having a decent amount of physical activity… all things that generally contribute to not dying. The best part for non-caffeine fans is that you can still receive the anti-inflammatory benefits from decaf. Here are 13 other health benefits of coffee, cheers!
Possibly some bad news for members of the Vape Nation; a recent study has identified that e-cigarettes containing nicotine can temporarily cause increased arterial stiffness, as well as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. NB: “containing nicotine” is pretty important there, as that’s likely what’s causing those adverse effects. So competitive vapers may not have to worry about this particular research. While the study was pretty small—15 young adults—it still provides some insight into using vapes as a way to quit smoking. The insight is groundbreaking: the healthiest way to not be affected by smoking chemicals is to ingest them at all. Wait, haven’t we heard this argument before…
CT scans are one of the best ways for smokers to figure out if there’s something going on in their lungs… well at least for the most part. But there’s an argument that goes something like, “if a smoker receives this kind of exam and doesn’t receive bad results, it gives them a license to smoke.” Well, a study from Cardiff University is throwing shade on that argument. Researchers found that the simple act of receiving a CT scan might make a smoker more likely to quit—regardless of the result. The study authors chalk it up to the exam being a teachable moment where smokers give serious thought to giving up their cancer sticks.
This writer is confused. Is the government in the business of deregulating drug use (i.e., marijuana, i.e., the sticky icky) or regulating drug use? The FDA has announced its desire to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes in an effort to decrease addiction, reduce smoking, and improve health. At the same time, The Washington Post reports that the FDA is delaying its regulation of trendy smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes, hookah, and vape thingies that all the cool kids are using. The hope is that keeping these smoking alternatives easily available and less regulated will give smokers ready access to “safer” alternatives to taking in their nicotine. Here is a list of the 20 most destructive drugs, as reported in The Economist. Yikes.