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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has ruled that use of a nicotine vaporizer, also known as an "e-cigarette," doesn't violate the state's indoor smoking ban, the Washington Post reports. The heated vapor the devices emit doesn't constitute "smoke" as the word is "commonly understood," Cuccinelli decided, so Virginians are free to light up in restaurants and other public places.

An American Cancer Society spokesman is quoted by the Post as saying the ruling "would really be turning back the clock on what we're trying to do in Virginia to create smoke-free workplaces and environments that promote health."

"Who are they to tell smokers they...

A report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like AstraZeneca’s Nexium and Prilosec — which treat inflammation of the esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers and several other conditions by suppressing acid production in the stomach — can raise the risk of fractures in post-menopausal women and are associated with an increased risk of an uncommon bacterial infection in hospitalized patients.

“The researchers found a 74 percent increase in cases of a recurrence of an infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhea,” says ACSH’s...

In March, the FDA advised against the use of GSK’s Rotarix vaccine against the rotavirus — a gastrointestinal virus that kills over half a million children under five worldwide each year — after researchers found trace amounts of DNA from a benign pig virus in the vaccine. Recently, the only other rotavirus vaccine, Merck’s RotaTeq, was found to contain DNA from the same virus and another virus. So far, similar warnings against RotaTeq have not been issued, and the FDA is expected to release updated recommendations soon.

“The original virus found in Rotarix, known as PCV1, does not even cause sickness in pigs, much less humans,” says Dr. Ross. “PCV1 was also found in RotaTeq, along with PCV2, which...

The latest issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine includes a meta-analysis of 25 studies on the effects of nut consumption on blood-lipid levels, concluding, “Nut consumption improves blood lipid levels in a dose-related manner, particularly among subjects with higher LDL-C [‘bad cholesterol’] or with lower BMI.”

“The meta-analysis covers only 583 people over 25 trials, which is a surprisingly small number,” says Dr. Ross. “Still, this is a pretty well-focused study, and it’s important because almost everyone eats nuts. The bottom line is that moderate amounts of the nuts studied here are good for you as...

An editorial in the Richmond (Va.) Times Dispatch offers some perspective on the issue of redesigning hot dogs to reduce the likelihood of children choking: In 2006, only 61 choking deaths were food-related, and hot dogs accounted for only 13 of those. Any child death is tragic. Yet it's worth noting ¦ that children under age 10 eat almost 2 billion yes, 2 billion hot dogs a year.

This editorial represents a sort of backlash against strict regulation, asking how much is too much when intervening to protect children, says Dr. Whelan. Obviously it s terrible when there is a death...

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, established in accordance with first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign, has released a report outlining suspected causes of childhood obesity and strategies on how best to address it. In addition to reliable advice about nutrition, food availability, and physical activity, the report also contains ominous references to the dangers of “endocrine disruptors” and chemicals in plastic containers.

[I]t is possible that developmental exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) or other chemicals plays a role in the development of diabetes and childhood obesity. … An increased understanding of chemical...

A meta-analysis of data reported on food allergies was published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association as part of a large project organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to the report, despite the fact that 30 percent of the population believe they have food allergies, the true incidence of food allergies is only about 8 percent for children and less than 5 percent for adults.

“Many people who think they have a food allergy may have a food intolerance that does not involve their immune system,” explains Dr. Ross. “For example, lactose intolerance causes very uncomfortable reactions to dairy products...

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association concludes, “Between 1994 and 2005, there was a decrease in CHD [coronary heart disease] mortality rates in Ontario that was associated primarily with trends in risk factors and improvements in medical treatments, each explaining about half of the decrease.”

“The mortality rate from coronary heart disease dropped by 35 percent,” says Dr. Ross. “That is astounding. One half is attributed to improvements in terms of coronary risk factors, including lipid levels and blood pressure reduction, while medical and surgical treatments accounted for other half. This is in spite of the fact that the smoking...

ACSH President and Founder Dr. Elizabeth Whelan was on CNN Sunday, May 9, 2010, to discuss the President's Cancer Panel report blaming cancer on environmental chemicals. Watch here.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) yesterday released a report on biomarkers, which are characteristics that indicate biological processes; e.g., high cholesterol as an indicator of the development of heart disease. According to the IOM, “[T]he Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the IOM to conduct a study on the evaluation process for biomark¬ers, focusing on biomarkers and surrogate endpoints in chronic disease. The FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition initiated this study at a time when it was faced with hundreds of applications for review of food health claims based on stated effects on biomarkers.”

“The main point of the IOM report is that...