Harm Reduction

Critics of e-cigarettes claim these products don't necessarily reduce a user's exposure to the carcinogenic or toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke. However, new research shows that the product can, in fact, deliver benefits to "vapers" that are not available to smokers of tobacco.
A new study estimates that adding an MRI test - a short-term cost in increasingly stretched government health care budgets - would yield savings because 27 percent of men could avoid an unnecessary biopsy and also reduce over-diagnosis by 5 percent. An over-diagnosis is when a patient is diagnosed with a cancer that does not go on to cause any harm during their lifetime.
Doctor checking BP
When we check our blood pressure, we usually do it in one arm or the other. But there's a good reason to check the pressure in both arms. A large difference between arms may be a sign of increased cardiovascular disease – and even the threat of death.  
Smoking is bad. Bad for mom. Bad for the unborn and born baby alike. Now, a new study reinforces its adverse effect on the developing child, with a focus on the damage done to the kidneys. 
A debate is on over the benefits of taking aspirin for those without a history of prior cardiovascular disease. The current thinking advocates using low-dose aspirin, for primary prevention, in certain high risk groups: those with advanced age, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking. But not so, says a new study from Japan. 
The Food and Drug Administration told Swedish Match that its snus tobacco product will not receive a MRTP designation, as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product. Snus, a small packet of moist tobacco used orally, is popular in Sweden, which has a substantially lower rate of cigarette-related death and disability than other European Union nations.
A dangerous practice
It's been nearly one year since the Food and Drug Administration recommended that teens be prevented from using tanning beds, however the agency has yet to make its final ruling. But a new study estimating significant financial and life-saving benefits of such a ban will hopefully prompt the FDA to finally act.
Vivek Murthy recently announced that e-cigarettes pose a "major public health concern," adding that "the use of nicotine-containing products by youth, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe." But that's not what the science says. It'd be far better for the Surgeon General to say that those who don't currently vape shouldn't do it, bit, but that e-cigarettes are likely to prove much safer than regular cigarettes. 
No one looks forward to chugging a gallon of gag-inducing bowel-prep and spending hours running to the bathroom, all as a prelude to an even more pleasant experience involving a snaking tube and a camera. So if you're averse to a colonoscopy, here are other options you can consider -- albeit with some caveats.
A new paper seeks to inform concerns about e-cigarettes, purportedly used as harm reduction and smoking cessation techniques, being a gateway to smoking. The conclusion by Hongying Dai and Jianqiang Hao is that e-cigarettes, and especially flavors, do lead to both cigarette smoking and an unwillingness to quit. There is just one problem: there is no data showing that.
By any measure, opioid medications are much harder to get. But has this helped or hurt us? Some evidence suggests the latter. 
Topical Sunless Tanner
While seeming contrived, spray-on tanning is actually considered safe -- provided the consumer uses the product smartly and follows its guidelines. So if appearing tan or golden brown is important and it helps combat the winter blues, then this artificial skin coloring option may be for you. (And the tanning bed is dangerous, so stay away from it.)