A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
(Reuters Health) – Even though the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded e-cigarette vapor may expose children to nicotine and other harmful chemicals, a new study finds that one in three adults aren’t sure if the devices are dangerous to use around kids.
Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes, battery-powered gadgets with a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale. Some previous research suggests vapor from e-cigarettes may be less toxic than traditional cigarette smoke, but the electronic alternatives still release chemicals that aren’t normally in the air and the long-term health effects of the ingredients and flavorings in e-cigarettes are unclear.
Overall, just 5.3 percent of adults who participated in a 2015 online survey thought exposure to secondhand e-cigarette vapor caused “no harm” to kids, the study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Another 40 percent of adults thought it caused “little harm” or “some harm” to children.
“The bottom line is that kids should not be exposed to the emissions from any type of tobacco product, irrespective of whether that product is smoked, smokeless or electronic,” said senior study author Brian King, a researcher with the CDC Office on Smoking and Health in Atlanta.
“Although e-cigarette aerosol generally contains less harmful ingredients than secondhand smoke, it is not harmless; safer is not the same thing as safe,” King said by email. “It’s important for users of these products, particularly parents, to know the dangers of secondhand exposure to e-cigarette aerosol and to protect kids from this preventable health risk.”
To assess how adults thought about the risk of exposing kids to e-cigarettes, CDC researchers examined data from a survey of 4,127 adults 18 or older. The survey asked people to consider the potential harms of all electronic vapor products including e-cigarettes as well as e-hookahs, hookah pens, vape pens and e-cigars.
Current e-cigarette users were almost 18 times more likely than people who never tried the devices to think the secondhand vapors caused no harm to children, and former e-cigarette users were more than seven times more likely to have this opinion, according to the results published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease.
Compared with people who never smoked traditional cigarettes, current smokers were more than four times more likely to consider secondhand e-cigarette vapor harmless for kids, and former smokers were about twice as likely to have this opinion, the study found.
Men were more than twice as likely as women to think secondhand e-cigarette fumes were harmless for kids.
Adults aged 45 to 64 were less likely to be uncertain about the risk of exposing kids to second-hand e-cigarette smoke than younger adults aged 18 to 24, the study also found.
One limitation of the study is that researchers didn’t have detailed data to determine how often current or former e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers had used these products, the authors note. That means responses from heavy users were included in the same categories as people who only smoked or vaped occasionally.
Still, the findings underscore the need to raise awareness about the potential harms as researchers continue to investigate the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, said Dr. Alexander Prokhorov, director of the tobacco outreach education program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“The products simply have not been in existence long enough to investigate their long-term effects,” Prokhorov, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
“It took us decades to fully understand the devastating consequences of conventional cigarettes and we are regularly discovering more and more illnesses and disorders attributable to active and passive smoking,” Prokhorov said. “I would not be surprised if ongoing studies will soon report additional facts on first- and second-hand vaping and health.”
SOURCE: bit.ly/2r4cn1g Preventing Chronic Disease, online May 31, 2017.
Premature babies often catch up to peers in school: study
FILE PHOTO – A nurse holds the hand of a premature baby, who was born at five months of pregnancy, at a hospital in Medellin, Colombia on August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Fredy Builes/File Photo
A study following more than 1.3 million premature babies born in Florida found that two-thirds of those born at only 23 or 24 weeks were ready for kindergarten on time, and almost 2 percent of those infants later achieved gifted status in school.
Such very prematurely born babies did score lower on standardized tests than full-term infants, but as the length of pregnancy increased, the differences in test scores became negligible, according to the study, conducted by Northwestern University and published on Monday in JAMA Pediatrics medical journal.
“What excites me about this study is that it changes the focus for the clinician and families at the bedside from just focusing on the medical outcomes of the child to what the future educational outcomes might be for a child born early,” Craig Garfield, the first author of the study and an associate professor of pediatrics and medial social sciences at Northwestern Medicine, said in a statement.
Researchers analyzed the school performance of 1.3 million infants born in Florida from 1992 to 2002 who had a fetal development term of 23 to 41 weeks and who later entered the state’s public schools between 1995 and 2012.
They found that babies born at between 23 and 24 weeks tended to have normal cognitive functions later in life, with 1.8 percent of them even achieving gifted status in school. During the time period the study covered, 9.5 percent of children statewide were considered gifted.
Premature birth happens when a baby is born before at least 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A normal pregnancy term is around 40 weeks, and a preterm birth can lead to serious medical problems, underdevelopment in early childhood or death for the infant.
The study does not account for why these extremely premature infants later performed well in school, Garfield said in the statement, and did not look at whether their success could be related to extra support from family or schools, or the children’s biological make-up. — By Gina Cherelus
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus; editing by Patrick Enright and Lisa Shumaker)
Nationwide smoking ban out soon
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said the system implemented in Davao City will be the reference for the smoking ban that will be imposed nationwide.
The president does not agree with designating a closed area for smoking inside a building.
“If you want to smoke, find a place where it is allowed. Now, I’ve always been against even building a structure inside just to accommodate smokers. That ain’t the way. It must be out. It must not be in an enclosed cubicle inside the building. That is not good enough. Statistics will show, there is no debate on that. You will die of cancer if you continue to mess up with nicotine,” he said.
The Department of Health has already submitted the draft executive order for the nationwide smoking ban, and is currently being evaluated by the Malacañang legal team. — Victor Cosare │UNTV News and Rescue
Two hospitalized, nearly 200 sickened in Seattle norovirus outbreak
The norovirus structure in an undated image. Hundreds of thousands of people have been struck down by a highly infectious stomach bug that swept the country during the holiday period, doctors said on Thursday.
REUTERS/B.V. PRASAD/HEALTH PROTECTION AGENCY/HANDOUT
Nearly 200 people who attended a catered party at a downtown Seattle office building have become ill with norovirus, a public health official said on Monday.
Public health officials closed all the food-service locations inside the Russell Investments Center in downtown Seattle, including a Starbucks location, said Dr. Meagan Kay, a medical epidemiologist for the public health department.
Norovirus can spread by an infected person, contaminated food, water or contaminated surfaces, the CDC said.
Nearly 200 people out of roughly 600 people who attended the party catered by California-based Bon Appetit Management Co on Tuesday reported some level of sickness, Kay said. That number is likely to go up as the investigation continues into the cause of the outbreak, she said.
“The source of this illness remains unclear, and we are as eager as anyone to learn precisely how and when it began,” the catering company said. “We have worked with our food safety experts to disinfect the surfaces in our facility and have taken all other necessary steps to ensure food safety.”
Two people have been hospitalized overnight and eight people visited an emergency room for their illness, though the conditions of the patients were not known, Kay said.
Over the weekend, the building was disinfected in part to address vomiting in restrooms and to clean door knobs and other surfaces, Kay said.
The virus causes the stomach or intestines or both to become inflamed with acute gastroenteritis which leads to stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks and acute gastroenteritis in the United States, causing some 19 million to 21 million illnesses and 570-800 deaths annually, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
A man who identified himself as Bryan said on a health department blog that he and his wife, who is eight months pregnant, had become sick. He said he had gone to the emergency room and received intravenous fluids.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)