Health and Fitness

Minority Teen Boys Smoke More When They Perceive Discrimination; Girls Do Not

The perception of discrimination increases the amount teenage minority boys smoke but does not increase the amount teenage minority girls smoke, according to a new study from the Indiana University School of Medicine. This study, to be published in the March 2010 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, has been posted by the journal under "First Look" at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/first_look.shtml. While the IU researchers found that minority boys smoke more when they perceived discrimination, girls reacted differently. There does not appear to be an association between perceived discrimination and smoking in minority girls, ages 12 to 15. For minority girls ages 16 to 19, perceived discrimination is associated with lower, not higher, rates of smoking. "We looked at the association between self-reported discrimination and adolescent smoking because both the perception of discrimination and the rate of smoking are so high in minority teens. Our findings in girls, especially in the older girls, really surprised us.

Government Of Canada Announces Project That Will Increase Action Across Canada On Tobacco Use Reduction

Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced just over $630, 000 in funding to the Canadian Public Health Association for a project that will help increase engagement of public health practitioners across Canada in tobacco use reduction initiatives. "The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting all Canadians from the proven health hazards associated with tobacco use, " said Minister Aglukkaq. "Today's funding announcement will give public health professionals the tools they need to help more Canadians quit smoking." Funding from today's announcement will go towards a project entitled "The Next Stage: Delivering Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Knowledge Through Public Health Networks." This project will help integrate tobacco use reduction information into public health curriculum at post-secondary institutions, establish an online forum for public health practitioners, and establish a national public health approach to tobacco use reduction.

Also In Global Health News: HIV Vaccine; Chile To Provide Free 'Emergency Contraception'; China Indoor Smoking Ban; Malaria Clinical Trials

TIME Examines HIV Vaccine Efforts TIME features a profile on David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC) in New York City, who is currently working on a novel HIV vaccine. Ho "now believes that a traditional shot, one that relies on snippets of a virus to both awaken and prod the immune system to churn out antibodies, may not be the best way to fight HIV. Rather than expecting the body to do all the work of first recognizing then mounting an attack against the virus, why not just present the body with a ready-made arsenal of antibodies that can home in on HIV?, " the magazine writes. The article details Ho's theory, highlights how his research helped to shape current HIV drug regimens and tracks the challenges scientists have faced in developing an HIV vaccine in recent years (Park, 1/25). New Chilean Law Allows Free Distribution Of 'Morning-After Pill' In Public Hospitals Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Monday signed a law that permits the "morning-after pill" to be distributed for free in Chile, the Santiago Times reports.

Sweating Out The Cravings

It's been 18 excruciating hours since you last had one. You're irritable, stressed out, and the cravings are intense. There is only one thing you can think about firing up - and it isn't your treadmill. But that's exactly what University of Western Ontario researchers have been hard at work trying to convince smokers to do. Dr. Harry Prapavessis, Director of Western's new Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory, and his team (Dr. Anita Cramp, Dr. Mary Jung and Therese Harper) are getting smokers to make the switch from lighting up to lacing up in an effort to help beat their cravings and kick their smoking habit - for good. Dr. Harry Prapavessis and his team have shown that supervised exercise in addition to pharmacological agents like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) helps smoking cessation, improves physical fitness, and delays weight gain in women smokers. "However, as with all smoking cessation intervention, relapse effects after stopping the program are common problems.

Electronic Cigarettes: Are They Safe?

Two experts on bmj.com today say that further research is needed before consumers can be reassured that electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes) are safe. "Our knowledge on the acute and long term effects of e-cigarette use is, at best, very limited", say Andreas Flouris and Dimitris Oikonomou, from the Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation in Greece. Interest in alternative smoking products is augmenting since anti-smoking policies are becoming more widespread. Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are one of the most newly introduced products on the market. These are battery operated devices that allow users to inhale a nicotine vapor. They are meant to substitute normal cigarettes and help smokers quit. There are a number of doubts regarding the safety of e-cigarettes. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had expressed serious concerns. Three reports have been undertaken on the product: one by the FDA, one by a private body called Health New Zealand (HNZ) and another by Demokritos, a publicly-funded Greek research institute.

Tobacco Smoke Causes Inflammation, Promotes Cancer Growth

Repeated exposure to tobacco smoke makes lung cancer much worse, and one reason is that it steps up inflammation in the lung. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that mice with early lung cancer lesions that were repeatedly exposed to tobacco smoke developed larger tumors - and developed tumors more quickly - than unexposed animals. The key contributing factor was lung tissue inflammation. The results of their study, to be published January 19 in the journal Cancer Cell, provide definitive evidence for the role of lung inflammation brought on by chronic exposure to tobacco smoke in promoting lung cancer growth. The findings also establish new lung cancer models, provide insights into both the development and growth of lung cancer, and suggest the possibility of using anti-inflammatory agents to prevent or slow lung cancer progression, said Michael Karin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who led the work.

Molecular Link Between Tobacco Carcinogen And Cancer

A team of researchers, led by Yi-Ching Wang, at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, Republic of China, has uncovered a potential mechanism by which the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK promotes lung tumor formation and development. Specifically, they suggest that NNK induces the accumulation of a protein known as DNMT1 in the nucleus and that this protein silences genes that suppress tumor formation. The authors generate several lines of evidence to support their suggested mechanism, one of which is the observation that DNMT1 accumulates in both lung adenomas from NNK-treated mice and tumors from lung cancer patients that were smokers. Of clinical relevance, DNMT1 overexpression in lung cancer patients who smoked continuously correlated with poor prognosis. These data identify a potential important link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer. TITLE: The tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK induces DNA methyltransferase 1 accumulation and tumor suppressor gene hypermethylation in mice and lung cancer patients View this article at: http://www.

Court Affirms Electronic Cigarettes As Tobacco Products, Not Drugs

Smoking Everywhere, Inc. announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in its favor Thursday, affirming that the company's electronic cigarette product is legally considered a tobacco product and cannot be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a drug. Smoking Everywhere filed a lawsuit against the FDA in April 2009, claiming that inbound shipments of its products from overseas manufacturers had been denied entry into the United States, or had otherwise been detained, by order of the FDA on the ground that electronic cigarettes are an unapproved drug-device combination under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The court's recent decision affirmed Smoking Everywhere's assertion that its electronic cigarette is designed to compete with traditional burned tobacco products, rather than as a drug, as argued by the FDA. "This is an important decision because it defines the scope of FDA authority under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the newly enacted Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and properly frames the application of the laws regulating the use of tobacco products in the United States, " said Walt Linscott, Partner at Thompson Hine LLP, the law firm who argued the case.

China To Ban Smoking In 7 Cities: Pilot Project

Seven cities in China, the largest consumer of tobacco worldwide, are taking steps to ban smoking in workplaces and public venues: under current legislation smoking is allowed in certain public places, but experts say enforcement is poor. The 7 cities that will implement the new ban, to be run as a pilot project under the joint auspices of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease(UNION) are Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenyang, Harbin, Nanchang, Lanzhou and Shenzhen. Speaking at the launch of the joint project on Friday, Wang Yu, director of China's CDC told the media that: "Only with the support of the pilot cities' municipal governments and legislatures can the people there finally enjoy smoke-free environments." Responding to criticism about the current legislation not being well enforced, Wang expalined that: "This project would create strict legislation to guarantee 100-percent smoke-free public venues and workplaces and figure out a feasible and forceful working mechanism to enforce the smoking ban.

Federal Court Halts FDA Efforts To Detain E-Cigarettes

Matt Salmon, president of the Electronic Cigarette Association (ECA), today applauded a federal court's decision yesterday to halt the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulatory overreaching by blocking adult consumers' access to electronic cigarettes. "This is a major victory for consumers, common sense, and electronic cigarette companies, " said Salmon. "It is a significant step in the right direction for the electronic cigarette industry and finally gives the long-overdue recognition of its products as viable alternatives to traditional cigarettes." Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision granting a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the FDA from detaining or refusing U.S. entry of electronic cigarette products. Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered or rechargeable devices that dispense a vaporized nicotine solution. Last year, the FDA seized or blocked shipments of these alternative smoking devices. The agency justified its actions by alleging health risks associated with these products.

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