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FDA Orders Juul To Stop Selling E-Cigarette Products

On Thursday, federal health officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Juul to remove its electronic cigarettes from the U.S. market as it continues to battle against the popular and addictive products that have seen high usage amongst teen groups.

Under the ruling, Juul cannot sell its e-cigarette device, along with its four kinds of tobacco and menthol-flavored Juul pods. It’s a move that dates back to April, when the FDA gained the ability to regulate e-cigarettes and other products that utilize synthetic nicotine.

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“Today’s action is further progress on the FDA’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, said.

“We recognize these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.”

The ban only affects the commercial distribution, importation, and retail sales of Juul’s products and not those currently owned and used by a consumer. Juul had previously sought approval from the FDA in regards to its device and pods.

However, the FDA noted that Juul lacked “sufficient evidence” regarding the toxicological profile of their products in order to show their marketing would be appropriate for public health. Additionally, Juul’s studies also raised questions due to conflicting data — particularly in regard to genotoxicity and potential chemicals leaking from their pods — that were not addressed.

While the FDA said it didn’t receive any information that suggests an immediate hazard associated with using Juul products, their ban shows that the lack of health data played a critical part in the regulatory process.

E-cigarettes have become a staple of the country’s current youth. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a 2021 survey found that 43.6% of high school students and 17.2% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes on 20 or more of the last 30 days. One in four high schools smoke e-cigarettes daily, while that number is one in 12 for middle schoolers.

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The study also found that 53.7% used a disposable device, while 28.7% used a prefilled or refillable pod or cartridge device. Juul was found to have been the fourth-most used brand among students at 6.8% (130,000) behind Puff Bar, Vuse, and SMOK.

It’s another blow for a company that has often been blamed for starting the e-cigarette epidemic. It’s seen its total revenue fall from $2 billion in 2019 — when it possessed 600,000 daily users under 21 — to $1.3 billion in 2021, while its market share has endured similar falls.

That decline in sales can also be attributed to the FDA, which banned flavored e-cigarettes in 2018. Altria, which purchased a 35% stake in Juul Labs for $12.8 billion in 2018, already felt the heat in the form of a 10% stock drop Wednesday. This year, Altria values that stake at $1.6 billion, just 13% of their original purchase.

Meanwhile, the FDA will continue to review and regulate other e-cigarette products, many of which have never been through the application process before. The administration previously stated it’s reviewing 6.5 million applications from 500 companies, and have already rejected over 950,000.

Woman Practicing Yoga

Study Suggests Lifestyle Changes Reduce A Woman’s Risk Of Stroke

A new study performed has determined that even in their middle age, women are way less likely to suffer from a stroke if they begin to adopt a healthy lifestyle at any point during adulthood. The research itself was performed by experts from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the University of São Paulo Medical School in Brazil. The teams used data that’s been gathered as a part of an ongoing study in America called the “Nurses Health Study,” which focuses on investigating “risk factors for major chronic diseases in women.” 

Thanks to data from that study, the researchers had access to health information from over 59,000 women, all of which consented to being involved in these projects. The data provided information regarding each women’s smoking status, exercise/eating habits, as well as their body mass index (BMI), which is a number that represents how healthy one is based on height, weight, and age. Within the Nurses Health Study specifically, all of the women were around 50-years-old when they began, and they remained in the study for an average of 25 years. 

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The findings were published in a journal from the American Stroke Association, called Stroke, and found that 4.7% of the women who made no lifestyle changes at all throughout their 26 years in the study had a stroke of some kind; “2.4 percent experiencing ischemic stroke and 0.7 percent having a hemorrhagic stroke.”

Besides healthier eating habits, the “lifestyle changes” that researchers were looking for specifically focused on those who quit smoking, began doing 30 minutes of exercise a day, and lost weight if they were considered to be overweight from a health officials perspective. If the women made these three specific changes, the study suggests that they could reduce their risk of stroke by up to 25%.

If the women just adopted healthier eating habits, they reduced their stroke risk by 23%. Goodarz Danaei, one of the lead authors of the study, also suggested that by increasing things like fish and nuts in ones diet, while also reducing the amount of unprocessed red meat you eat, would also decrease the risk of stroke in women.

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“We found that changing to a healthy lifestyle, even in your 50s, still has the potential to prevent strokes. Women who made lifestyle modifications in middle age reduced their long-term risk of total stroke by nearly a quarter and ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, by more than one-third,” Danaei said.

Danaei then emphasized that this was simply an observational study, so the data isn’t necessarily concrete enough to make a direct correlation between these specific lifestyle changes and risk of stroke, however, as most studies/professionals will tell you, a healthy life in general will likely lead to less medical ailments/conditions down the road.

Danaei said “there are other studies to support that the proportional changes in stroke risk from lifestyle and dietary modifications may be generalizable to men. We also estimate that exercising 30 minutes or more daily may reduce the risk of stroke by 20 percent.”

With a global pandemic on all of our plates, now really is the perfect time to begin practicing healthier habits in our day-to-day proceedings. It can be so easy to get couch-locked with a bag of chips and candy, but try to start doing little things every day to lead you to a happier and healthier life once all of this is over.

Heart Healthy Diet

5 Healthy Habits That Can Help You Live A Decade Longer: Study Suggests

In a massive study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers and health experts alike studied the impact of healthy lifestyle habits and life expectancy. The individuals involved in conducting the study had access to medical data that provided a huge pool of subjects with decades worth of medical records to go through. When all was said and done researchers were able to draw conclusions using data from over 120,000 participants; 34 years worth of records from 78,000+ women, and 28 years worth of records from 40,000+ men. 

The researchers specifically focused on five areas of life/health: diet, physical activity/exercise, body weight, smoking, and alcohol intake. The data regarding these five categories was collected through a series of regularly administered questionnaires that would be validated through a multitude of actual medical records; all participants completely consented to the study. These five particular categories were chosen because, based on the death rates in America, these five areas pose the largest risk of premature death when attributed with unhealthy habits. 

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Obviously, researchers also had to take every individuals specific genetic make up into consideration as well, so they took data on age, ethnicity, medication use, and other health conditions as well. Within the study this is how researchers defined “healthy habits” within each of the five categories. 

  1. Healthy diet, calculated based on the reported intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, and unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.
  2. Healthy physical activity level, which was measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity daily.
  3. Healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9.
  4. Smoking, “Healthy” here means never having smoked.
  5. Moderate alcohol intake, measured as between 5 and 15 grams per day for women, and 5 to 30 grams per day for men. Generally, one drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

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Once the study was concluded, researchers determined that healthy habits make a huge difference in terms of life expectancy, and not in the obvious sense. The analysis showed that women who met the criteria for all five healthy habits lived, on average, 14 years longer than those who didn’t; for men it was a 12 year difference. If an individual didn’t meet the criteria for any of these healthy habits, they were much more likely to die prematurely from either cancer or cardiovascular disease; the two top causes of death in the world in terms of disease. 

Beyond these results, the study also concluded that if any of the subjects adopted just one of the healthy habits listed above their life expectancy would likely be prolonged by two years, regardless of gender, especially if they were over the age of 50. 

The experts behind this study want the individuals who observe the results to take away a very specific message. In America, our health care focus is too concentrated on fancy and expensive medications to combat deadly disease as opposed to ways of preventing those diseases in the first place. This isn’t the first time in which experts have stated that the best, and easiest, way to inspire the masses to adopt healthier lifestyle habits is through “public health efforts and policy changes.” 

While we wait for those systematic changes to occur, however, it’s never too late to make even the slightest of changes to our lifestyles to give us the best shot at living a long and healthy life. Start slow, as the data stated even one habit adoption can add two years to your life, so what are you waiting for?

Healthy Lifestyle

Study Finds That a Healthy Lifestyle can Add a Decade of Life Free From Disease

Everyone knows that practicing healthy habits, such as dieting, exercising, and avoiding cigarettes, can extend one’s life span and improve one’s quality of life. However, it can be difficult to conceptualize exactly how much of a benefit these habits offer in one’s life, as it’s easy for these metrics to become somewhat abstract. As such, a study published in the British Medical Journal sought to quantify exactly how much a healthy lifestyle benefits one’s life, and found that practicing a healthy lifestyle can expand one’s disease-free lifespan by an average of ten years.

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The study looked at five factors associated with a healthy lifestyle, which included drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating well. The study, which looked at more than 100,000 people, found that people who practiced four of these five traits lived as much as ten years longer without diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, than people who practiced none of these habits. Not only does a healthy lifestyle allow people to live longer lives, but the quality of life increases when people practice healthy lifestyle habits, as the risk of developing diseases decreases dramatically.

Specifically, the study found that women who practiced any four of the five traits in question lived an average of 84 years without disease, whereas women who practiced none of the five habits only lived an average of 74 years without disease. Likewise, men with four out of the five healthy habits lived to 81 years old without disease, whereas men who practiced none of the healthy habits lived to 73 years old without disease. The most unhealthy characteristics a person can have, the study found, were smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day or having a BMI greater than 30, which is defined as obesity.

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While the study shows that moderate drinking is far healthier than heavy drinking, it’s important to note that other studies have shown that no amount of alcohol is good for you, despite persistent rumors that suggest that having a glass of wine with dinner can improve one’s health. In fact, using recreational drugs at all is widely considered to have either a neutral or a negative impact on one’s health, and definitely not a positive one. Instead of relying on drugs as a method of reducing stress, doctors recommend other methods that help to both relieve stress and improve health. Regular exercise, for instance, has been shown to improve one’s overall mood, and meditation, a practice whereby people focus on paying attention to their experiences in the present moment, can improve mental health as well. If, like most people, you’re concerned about extending the longevity and quality of your life, it’s not a bad idea to think about the various ways in which your current lifestyle habits might contribute to disease and develop strategies to improve your lifestyle habits.

Happy Woman

Life Expectancy in America Declining According to Latest Study

A study published in the journal JAMA has highlighted some reasons behind the latest news that life expectancy in the United States has started decreasing, despite having been on the increase for several years.

The study discovered that Americans between the ages of 25 and 64, or “working age,” are dying younger due to a combination of suicide, hypertension, and drug abuse as well as over 30 more different causes.

It has also been discovered that other wealthy countries around the world have a longer life expectancy to those in the US, which appears to be declining at a dramatic rate. And with working age adults seeing the biggest increase in deaths Steven H. Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine believes it is a “distinctly American phenomenon.”

Woolf, who is co-author of the study alongside Heidi Schoomaker, explained that “death rates among working age adults are on the rise. We have known for years that the health of Americans is inferior to that of other wealthy nations, but our research shows that the decline in US health relative to other countries began as early as the 1980s.”

Both Woolf and Schoomaker looked at over 50 years worth of US life expectancy data with the results appearing to show that although life expectancy began to rise annually between 1959 and 2014, these figures stabilized around 2011 before declining again.

And America’s relationship with opioid abuse seems to be one of the main reasons, along with suicide and alcohol abuse, especially among young and middle aged adults. The figures increased amongst those who did not finish high school.

Strangely, the decline in life expectancy was higher in areas including Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont – all in New England, while those living in the “Ohio Valley” – Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana – were also affected.

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The rise of the opioid epidemic appears to be one of the main reasons in these areas, especially since the collapse of the manufacturing industries that were a strong source of income in the regions. In fact, since 2010 over one third of “excess deaths” were reported from the Ohio Valley states since.

However those living along the Pacific coast – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington – saw their life expectancy increase during 2010 and 2017.

The authors of the report claims that data from previous years shows that Americans began to slip behind those in other countries as far back as the early 1980s.

“Historically this [period] was the beginning of the opioid epidemic, the shrinking of the middle class and the widening of income inequality,” Woolf said.

And although there were economic shifts around the world as a whole during this time, Woolf believes the lack of support experienced by struggling families contributed to the drop in America stating that “in other countries, families that fall on hard times have programs and services available to cushion the blow. In America, people often have to fend for themselves.”

With few social services to help families it may help us to understand why there was a larger increase in death among females as they “have even fewer support systems, and more childcare responsibilities.”

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Howard Koh commented on the study, saying that although the “most exhaustive and detailed analysis of this topic to date” has helped us find the main causes of death the citizens of America should start “embracing the leading causes of life.”

For instance, by looking at how social connections alongside strong communities are affecting our wellbeing.

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“Other countries spend relatively more in terms of social services. Health is much more than what happens in a doctor’s office. It starts where people live, learn, labor and pray.”

So what can we do to improve our life expectancy? Harvard Medical School has a few suggestions and while most of them are both obvious and easier to do, some may have you asking why!

For instance, we all know that smoking, excessive drinking and drug abuse will seriously damage our health but did you know that people who have quit smoking could repair some of the damage caused by cigarettes, cigars and even marijuana?

Once you stop smoking your risk of heart disease starts to reduce after only a few months, matching that of a non-smoker after around 5 years. Likewise with strokes. Giving up tobacco can see a reduction in the risk of having a stroke within two to four years while the mortality rate from colorectal cancer also reduces each year.

And while these statistics apply to most people, quitting smoking before you reach 50 will make the health benefits stronger, sooner.

There have also been discussions on the dangers of vaping, with many calling for the fruit flavored options to be banned.

A healthy diet, keeping fit and building a good network around you are also key to keeping you healthy and strong and therefore living longer.

By doing these things we can hopefully turn the trend on the average American’s life span before we are in “a future in which declining life expectancy may be the new norm.”

Red Heart with Stethescope

Research Shows Lifestyle Changes and Medicine as Effective as Surgery for Heart Disease

According to a recent large study, stents and coronary artery bypass surgery are not more effective treatment options than intensive drug treatment and lifestyle changes that incorporate healthy habits, causing a new controversy in the medical field of cardiology. The subject of the best way to treat people with narrow coronary arteries has long been the subject of fierce discussion among doctors and researchers, with most doctors opting to implant stents into clogged arteries in order to treat people who have heart disease. Stents are tubes made out of wire mesh that force arteries open, allowing blood to flow more vigorously through the body. This type of surgery is very common, and it is even performed when patients have no symptoms or only experience pain after exerting themselves.

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The findings of the study were released on Saturday during the American Heart Association’s annual scientific conference, and the study was the largest and one of the most rigorous of its kind ever conducted. Though the study found that surgery is often lifesaving for people who had heart attacks, the procedure may be performed more often than is medically necessary, as less invasive options produce similar positive health outcomes in certain populations. Among these options are the use of drugs that lower cholesterol, which contributes to the buildup of plaque within the arteries, which in turn increases one’s risk of heart attack or stroke. Stents or bypass surgery, however, are more effective than drugs and lifestyle changes for frequent chest pain.

While the findings discourage the use of surgery in patients who are asymptomatic, they may also encourage the procedure in people who have frequent chest pain

The findings are likely to have an impact on the conversations doctors have with their patients about the best course of treatment for a wide range of heart problems. While lifestyle changes, combined with medicine, are the ideal treatment for people with heart disease who experience no or only minor symptoms, these changes can be difficult for patients to make and keep over time. Changing one’s diet, for instance, generally involves a significant shift in the way one thinks about food, and committing to an exercise routine can be especially challenging for people who are busy. Interventional cardiologists perform surgeries like stent procedures, whereas preventative cardiologists prescribe drugs and encourage lifestyle changes; these recent findings are likely to inspire disagreements between these two specializations.

While the findings discourage the use of surgery in patients who are asymptomatic, they may also encourage the procedure in people who have frequent chest pain, as implanting stents was shown to be effective both in reducing chest pain and lowering the risk of a cardiovascular event. The study also highlighted the importance of smoking cessation in reducing one’s risk for heart attacks and strokes, as quitting smoking is perhaps one of the most significant lifestyle changes a person can make to improve their health overall, especially as he or she ages. 

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While implanting stents is an effective treatment option in some cases, it is not totally effective; in the study, patients who had stents implanted suffered heart attacks at a rate of 5.3% whereas the group receiving medical therapy only underwent heart attacks at a rate of 3.4%. However, after four years had passed, the group with invasive procedures fared better than the other group, having heart attacks at a rate of 13.3% as opposed to 15.5%. While these findings need to be studied further, they may be the result of the fact that many people fail to maintain lifestyle changes over the course of several years. For treating chest pain, stents had a clear advantage over the other therapies, as they relieved chest pain in 50% of patients whereas medical and lifestyle therapy relieved chest pain in only 20% of patients. That being said, both options have been shown to be effective treatments for a number of heart problems, and thanks to modern medicine, people suffer from untreated heart issues at a lower rate than in the past.

Lung Cancer Xray

Lung Cancer Rates Are Down In The U.S. But Doctors Still Want You To Get Annual Screenings

With vaping making all health headlines within the past year, it seems as though Americans are experiencing a large lung injury epidemic. However, according to a recent study published by the American Lung Association, lung cancer rates have decreased substantially within the past decade here in the United States. 

Specifically, the rate of new lung cancer cases in the U.S, has dropped 19% within the past ten years and the five year survival rate with the disease has increased 26%! While these numbers are quite incredible, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer related death as well, a title it’s unfortunately almost always held. In general the American Lung Association reported that between 2012 and 2016, there was an average of 60 lung cancer cases per 100,000 people. The numbers overall varied state by state, Utah holds the lowest rate with an average of 27 people, while Kentucky holds the highest rate with 96 people per 100,000. The same goes for the percentage of survival rates in each state; the lowest being 16.8% in Alabama, and the highest being 26.4% survival in Connecticut, according to the report.

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The best chance at surviving this vicious cancer is to detect it early on, which unfortunately doesn’t happen to often. In fact, in the state by state data the highest rate of early detection for new lung cancer cases is only 28.1% in Wyoming; the lowest being 16.6% in Alaska. 

“Most cases are only caught at a very late stage. You don’t get symptoms until it’s very late and it’s very developed. If you get diagnosed at an early stage, which very few people are, the tumor’s often limited, it hasn’t spread and at that point, you’re often eligible for surgery where they can cut it out and it’s essentially curative. The difference between an early diagnosis and a late diagnosis is about a five times higher survival rate,” said Zach Jump, national director for epidemiology and statistics at the American Lung Association.

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The biggest take away the American Lung Association wants to convey to readers with their annual reports is that yearly lung cancer screening are at the minimum the best way to prevent yourself from becoming a part of any of these statistics. This is especially true for those with a higher risk for the disease, whether that means genetically, or if you’re a dedicated smoker. However, the reality is that many individuals don’t ever get screened because of the assumption that they’re completely healthy. This is especially true for those at the highest of risks. The ALA’s report states that the screening rates for adults considered to be “high risk” is only 4.2% nationally!

The ALA wants Americans to know that there really is no harm in just getting screened. You don’t want to become just a number on an annual report, you want to be an actual human being who lives out the rest of their lives happy and healthy, so don’t be afraid to go get screened. 

“The report found that lung cancer rates for every measure vary significantly by state, and that every state can do more to defeat lung cancer, such as increasing the rate of screening among those at high risk, addressing disparities in receipt of treatment, decreasing exposure to radon and secondhand smoke and eliminating tobacco use. This report provides unique information for state officials, policymakers, researchers and those affected by lung cancer and emphasizes the need for resources and action to decrease the toll of lung cancer across the country,”  researchers wrote in the report.

Vaping

Vapor Detectors Are Administrators First Step In Solving Teen Vaping Epidemic

New statistics show that 20% of high school students use some sort of e-cigarette device. Middle and High school districts all across America are trying different methods to try to cut down on the vaping epidemic plaguing teenagers everywhere. A school in Alabama has even gone as extreme as removing the doors from bathroom stalls, since the bathroom is the number one spot teens go to vape during school hours. 

Smoking

The FDA Hopes A Picture Really Is Worth 1000 Words In New Proposed Anti-Smoking Effort

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed for the use of graphic images portraying the negative effects of smoking on cigarette packages. This is part of a greater effort that the FDA has been working on for years involving graphic content to “scare” smokers into quitting. 

Smoke free

A Teen Pacifier? How Nicotine Infiltrated A Smoke-Free Generation

According to thetruth.com, one of the most reputable sources for all nicotine and cigarette related statistics, electronic cigarette and vape use has created the same level of addiction and dependence on nicotine as previous generations. The unsettling part of that statistic is the level of addiction is present in a generation that was statistically unlikely to start smoking nicotine products in the first place.