Harm Reduction

If 20 years ago you had told the American Council on Science and Health that tobacco company stocks would be outpacing the S&P 500 by 600 percent for investor return in the two-year period leading into 2016, we'd have thought you were proposing some bizarre science-fiction story. While I understand the power of addiction, that is only an issue for smokers; and future generations would be far more aware of the dangers of smoking and not become smokers, I'd have argued.

"Smoking is an IQ test by now," I'd have said, "no one will be doing it then." That's because young people would be smarter and learn from our mistakes, and not get addicted...

shutterstock_385416322 Crushing the Habit via Shutterstock

Cigarette smoking is without a doubt the greatest public health villain in the United States — indeed worldwide. It causes about one of every five deaths in the U.S. annually — on the order of 480,000 deaths, according to the...

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As states across the country legalize marijuana, the increase in the drug's usage has grown significantly. From 2001 to 2013, "marijuana use rose from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent of the U.S. adult population," while 30 percent of that sizable smoking group meet the "criteria for addiction,"...

Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis

I haven't written on tobacco harm reduction in quite a while, so catching up for lost time now is no longer possible, too much water has flowed under the bridge. But among the ongoing, pervasive campaigns of deception and misleading assertions coming from all the official policy makers and "public health" authorities trying to dissuade smokers from switching to safer reduced-harm products (e-cigarettes, vapor products, etc.), there are some lights in the darkness. I will focus upon these.

In Congress, the recent Omnibus...

Athlete with concussion / Shutterstock Athlete with concussion / Shutterstock

While football, hockey and other contact sports garner the most attention pertaining to concussions, experts estimate that a much larger segment of the U.S. population has been affected by this type of brain injury. With these swelling ranks, so-called brain rehabilitation clinics are gaining prominence across the country, offering "boot camp"-style treatment to help victims of concussions seek a...

Sad news from the "reality TV" front lines: Mob Wives star Angela Raiola, "Big Ang" to her large cult following, passed away, aged 55, from lung cancer which had spread to her brain. She also had a large throat cancer removed in April 2015, and had been undergoing chemotherapy recently for the lung cancer, but this did not stop its spread.

The VH1 show on which she came to "fame" premiered in July 2012 and is now about to launch its sixth season. The show revolves around the lives and interactions of several women "married to the mob." In Ang's case, she was a niece of a higher-up in the...

President Barack Obama signed S. 142, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015, which was introduced a year ago by Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), and 20 other U.S. senators.

It requires the packaging of liquid nicotine containers to be subject to existing child poisoning prevention packaging standards. Child-resistant caps on e-liquid products were already the law in 15 states, and child-resistant packaging is also a requirement for members of the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association.

One...

Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis Courtesy Richard Levine/Corbis

A recent op-ed in the Sacramento Bee issues a strange warning about e-cigarettes, saying that they may cause hearing loss among teenagers. The piece was authored by Dave Fabry, identified as the vice-president of audiology for Starkey Hearing Technologies in Eden Prairie, MN.

While the urge is to simply view this as fear-mongering by someone who does not understand nicotine modes of action (and confuses it with smoking, which...

shutterstock_262380071Of the three most common types of skin cancer basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma the last is the most deadly. Melanoma can and does metastasize to other organs, including the brain (as we recently learned in the case of former president Jimmy Carter). Although preventing or stopping it is an important and active area of current research, no sure-fire way to prevent or cure melanoma has yet been found.

It has long been suspected that exposure to UV light, e.g. sunlight,...

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 3.15.25 PMAs I have written numerous times, such as here, and here, the "War on Drugs" has been a dismal failure by any measure. The clumsy and misguided attempt by the Drug Enforcement Administration to address the enormous (and growing) narcotic abuse problem in the country has already...