E-cigarette ads’ wide reach among U.S. youth alarming: CDC

admin   •   January 7, 2016   •   2083

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, in this August 7, 2015, file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, in this August 7, 2015, file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

E-cigarette companies are reaching about seven in 10 U.S. middle- and high-school students with advertisements employing themes of sex, independence and rebellion that hooked previous generations on regular cigarettes, a government study released on Tuesday said.

The marketing strategy could reverse decades of progress in preventing tobacco use among youth, warned the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which suggested tighter controls on e-cigarette sales to reduce minors’ access.

“The e-cigarette advertising we’re seeing is like the old-time Wild West,” CDC Director Tom Frieden told reporters. “No rules, no regulations and heavy spending advertising the products.”

E-cigarette use among middle- and high-school students soared over the past five years, surpassing use of regular cigarettes in 2014, according to CDC statistics. Spending on e-cigarette advertising also jumped, increasing to an estimated $115 million in 2014 from $6.4 million in 2011.

The CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 68.9 percent of this age group saw e-cigarette ads from one or more media sources in 2014, most commonly in stores but also online, on television and in movies or magazines.

E-cigarettes contain cartridges that typically hold nicotine as well as other liquids and flavorings, and a heating element to create a vapor that the user inhales.

Many researchers believe e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, but the risks are still being studied.

Frieden said any tobacco use by young people could lead to brain damage, addiction and higher risk of becoming regular cigarette smokers.

“The use of e-cigarettes in kids appears increasingly likely to result in an increased risk of using regular cigarettes,” Frieden said.

Most states have passed laws banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to regulate the products is under federal review.

Altria Group (MO.N), which owns three U.S. tobacco companies, is among e-cigarette sellers that have said they favor laws that prevent minors purchasing their products.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston in Orlando, Fla.; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Lisa Von Ahn and Andrew Hay)

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MMDA to inspect school perimeters for e-cigarettes, tobacco products

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2019

A man uses an E-cigarette, an electronic substitute in the form of a rod, slightly longer than a normal cigarette, in this March 5, 2013 file illustration picture taken in Paris. CREDIT: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/FILES

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced that it will check the 100-meter perimeter of public and private schools for establishments that sell, advertise and promote e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The MMDA said violators will receive verbal warnings if they are found smoking within the said distance from the schools.

The initiative is part of the agency’s preparations for the opening of the school year 2019 to 2020 in June.

It also aims to raise awareness on tobacco control and promoting a safer and healthier environment.

“Health and sanitation, urban protection and pollution control are among the seven mandates of the MMDA. We are tasked to promote and safeguard the health and sanitation of Metropolitan Manila especially the youth who will become our future leaders,” MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said in a statement released on Tuesday.

A massive information drive will also be conducted by distributing leaflets to store owners, students, teachers, and public utility vehicle drivers containing the provisions of the law on access restriction and effects of smoking and cigarette smoke and conduct orientation on the dangers of smoking to high school students in public secondary schools.

“Our health environmental officers will be posting signage in public facilities to supplement these efforts,” Lim said.

The MMDA is also looking to enhance pedestrian lanes near the schools to protect crossing children and to increase visibility to drivers. /rrd 

Vaping may help pneumonia-causing bacteria invade airways

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2018

FILE PHOTO: An exhibitor staff member uses an electronic cigarette at Beijing International Vapor Distribution Alliance Expo (VAPE CHINA EXPO) in Beijing, July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

(Reuters Health) – People who smoke e-cigarettes might have an increased risk of developing pneumonia because the vapor could help bacteria stick to cells lining the airways, a small experiment suggests.

Traditional cigarettes have long been linked to an increased risk of pneumonia, but it’s been less clear whether e-cigarettes might have the same effect.

To find out, researchers did a series of laboratory experiments to see whether exposure to e-cigarette vapor might increase levels of a molecule produced by airway lining cells, called platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR).

Pneumococcal bacteria use PAFR to help them adhere to airway cells.

First, the researchers exposed some human airway epithelial cells in culture dishes to e-cigarette vapor. Compared to cells that weren’t exposed, those that were had PAFR levels three times higher.

Then, they exposed mice to e-cigarette vapor and found higher PAFR production in the rodents who inhaled the fumes.

Finally, the researchers asked 17 people who were regular vapers to come smoke an e-cigarette in the lab. Compared with these participants’ PAFR levels measured before the vaping session, there was a three-fold increase in PAFR levels an hour after people smoked e-cigarettes.

“The take-home message is that it is over-optimistic to assume that all of the adverse effects of cigarette smoking are reduced by switching to vaping,” said senior study author Jonathan Grigg of Queen Mary University of London.

“It also raises the question that, even if we have not proved that vaping increases the risk of pneumonia, for young people taking up vaping for the first time, a precautionary approach would suggest that the risk should be assumed to exist until proved otherwise,” Grigg said by email.

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes. The battery-powered gadgets feature a glowing tip and a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

Even when e-liquids don’t contain nicotine, the lungs are still exposed to flavoring chemicals when the e-liquids are heated and the vapors are inhaled.

Some previous research, mostly in lab experiments, has linked exposure to these flavorings to an increase in biomarkers for inflammation and tissue damage. This type of cell damage can lead to lung problems including fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma.

In the current lab experiment, PAFR levels surged in human nose lining cells in culture dishes exposed to e-liquids with nicotine and in cells exposed to nicotine-free vapor. This was accompanied by increased adhesion by pneumonia-causing bacteria.

Even though the study is small and the results must be verified in larger human trials, the findings still suggest that e-cigarettes aren’t risk-free and shouldn’t necessarily be considered a safe way for people to try to curb use of traditional cigarettes, the researchers conclude in the European Respiratory Journal.

At least when it comes to pneumonia, nicotine patches or gum may be a safer option for smoking cessation, the researchers note.

“PAFR expression is enhanced in cigarette smokers and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and has been hypothesized to be mediating enhanced adhesion of bacteria to epithelial cells and subsequent development of pneumonia,” said Ilona Jaspers, deputy director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma & Lung Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The data shown here suggest that vaping e-cigarettes could also increase expression of PAFR in relevant epithelial cells,” Jaspers, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “In general, I would refrain from calling e-cigarettes ‘safer’ than cigarettes, but would suggest calling them causing ‘different’ effects than cigarettes.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2nV3Ts7 European Respiratory Journal, online February 7, 2018.

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Even without nicotine, e-cigarettes can still damage lungs

UNTV News   •   February 12, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

(Reuters Health) – E-cigarette liquids sweetened with flavorings like vanilla and cinnamon may harm the lungs even when they don’t contain nicotine, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers examined what happened to monocytes, a type of white blood cell, upon exposure to flavoring chemicals used in popular e-cigarette liquids. None of the liquids contained nicotine, but the flavoring chemicals still appeared to increase biomarkers for inflammation and tissue damage, and many of them also caused cells to die.

Over time, this type of cell damage can lead to wide range of lung problems including fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and asthma, said senior study author Irfan Rahman, an environmental health researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate New York.

“Nicotine-free e-liquids have generally been considered safe; however, the impact of flavoring chemicals, especially on immune cells, has not been widely researched,” Rahman said by email. “This study shows that even though flavoring compounds are considered safe for ingestion, it is not safe for inhalation.”

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes. The battery-powered gadgets feature a glowing tip and a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

Even when e-liquids don’t contain nicotine, the lungs are still exposed to flavoring chemicals when the e-liquids are heated and the vapors are inhaled. Since the flavoring chemicals are considered safe to eat, e-cigarettes are often promoted as a alternative to traditional cigarettes, researchers note in Frontiers in Physiology.

When researchers exposed human lung cells to e-liquids in the laboratory, the cells increased their output of inflammation-related chemicals that can eventually lead to damage in the lungs.

Exposing cells to mixtures containing a variety of flavors appeared to cause a worse reaction than using a single flavor, the study found.

Among the single flavors, cinnamon and vanilla appeared the most toxic to the lung cells.

One limitation of the study is that the experiment didn’t involve people actually vaping and breathing in the e-liquids, the authors note. The study also doesn’t offer a complete picture of e-cigarette safety or address the potential for health problems to emerge after long-term use.

While more research is needed to better understand what happens to lung cells when people smoke e-cigarettes, the results suggest that e-liquids should be regulated and clearly labeled to list the mix of flavors used, the researchers conclude.

“It is expected that more complex mixtures or exposure at higher doses will have more adverse effects on isolated cells in the laboratory,” said Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a researcher at the University of Patras-Greece and the National School of Public Health-Greece who wasn’t involved in the study.

While evidence to date suggests that e-cigarettes may be less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, it still make sense for users to pay attention to what’s in the e-liquids they’re inhaling, Farsalinos said by email.

“Whether pre-mixed or do-it-yourself liquids, it is the amount of flavorings that would determine the level of potential adverse effects,” Farsalinos added. “I expect simpler mixtures to be safer compared to more complex blends.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2Bkvc7p Frontiers in Physiology, online January 11, 2018.

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