Harm Reduction

Pictorial warning labels courtesy of JAMA Pictorial warning labels courtesy of JAMA

During my medical training, it seemed like a guarantee that  the patients who were the sickest or fared the worst were smokers. Despite diagnoses of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or limb amputation, these folks continued to smoke.  One would think that inability to breathe or losing a foot would be an "aha moment," but sadly, that's not always the case.

Quitting smoking is not easy and the longer one has been smoking the tougher it becomes to kick the habit.  Smoking is the foremost modifiable...

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I had a tough time coming up with a title for what I wished to write.  We, as an organization, stand by debunking junk science and advocating against misinformation and fear mongering.  By upholding these virtues our aim is protecting people from harm and when it comes to naturopathy - harm from non-evidence-based magical science.

It seems to me that while thoroughly critical of the medical profession, many alternative medicine practitioners are very quick at calling themselves...

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A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that calls to U.S. poison centers about young children swallowing (confounder: also inhaling or touching) e-cigarette liquid climbed from from January 2012 through April 2015.

Calls totaled 4,128 during the study, 14 early on to 223 by the end of the chosen timeframe, which mirrors the increased popularity of the products. Most children were age 2 or younger.

Is that alarming?...

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Cigarettes are expensive. One truism of economics is that if you raise prices, demand will adjust accordingly, so while an ad for Nellie's "free-range" eggs may show a few chickens in a pasture, (1) if that were anything but marketing hoopie those eggs would need to cost $400 each and no one would buy them.

For that reason, government...

In November of 2015, the American Council on Science and Health was called on to testify at the White House on the proposed deeming regulations, making all tobacco products subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act), as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act).

This was six years in the making so we dismissed concern about some of the rules, like stronger regulations on cigars and pipes. We recognize that tobacco regulation was being geared toward potential future products like a nasal spray, so we limited our key recommendation to changing the "grandfathered" date for products...

There has been a rising tide of demands from governmental and other regulatory bodies targeting two related but distinct problems within the chiropractic profession.

The first is the push from COAG Health Ministers, the ACCC and (at a ponderous pace) the Chiropractic Board of Australia (CBA) to stop chiropractors from making unsupported statements to the general public.

The CBA has issued press releases...

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a big concern in sports where concussions happen -- which is a lot of sports. There are gaps in understanding (see the Council's peer-reviewed look at concussions here) and both nature and commerce abhor a vacuum, so any number of wacky treatments have sprung up claiming to treat concussions.

Before they can be treated it's best to understand what is really happening, and the authors of a study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease claim to have made some progress.

They used cerebral perfusion imaging technology called SPECT (single photon emission computed emission tomography) to examine the brains of 161 retired and current NFL players, with an average...

Leading tobacco control experts say that when it comes to regulating vaporized nicotine products (e.g. e-cigarettes) the public needs a trusted guide, and that should be the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For that reason, they are calling on the FDA to stop predetermining that vapor nicotine products might act as a gateway to cigarette use, and instead look at the evidence to-date about their harm reduction benefits.

"We believe that the discussion to date has been slanted against e-cigarettes, which is unfortunate, because the big picture tells us that these products appear to be used mostly by people who already are or who are likely to become...

shutterstock_173191196 Hookah courtesy of Shutterstock

So is there a way to smoke tobacco without generating the seriously negative effects of cigarette smoking? We would say no, but some folks apparently believe that bubbling tobacco smoke through water before inhaling it somehow "cleans" it.

(Just to be clear, using a hookah is not the same as using an e-cigarette, which contains none of the...

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Cigarette smoking remains, as it has been for decades, the number one public health enemy. In 1964, then-Surgeon General Luther Terry issued his now-famous report on the health risks conferred by cigarette smoking. Since then, many smokers have quit the habit, but others have unfortunately picked it up, in spite of many warnings by the public health establishment.

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