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While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it is the long term exposure to inhaled smoke - and its toxic constituents - that adversely impact the lungs. 

One such harmful mechanism is inflammation of the airways, which progressively damages and ultimately impairs lung function.  Nowadays, there are several ways one can give up the harmful toxicants of cigarette smoke while minimizing nicotine cravings.  Nicotine replacement is available in gums, patches, sprays, and electronically vaporized liquids. Proponents say that the latter, which they call electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), may be particularly more appealing, and therefore more beneficial in reducing cigarettes, because of their ability to simulate the mechanics of cigarettes.

But what...

imagesIn a recent Forbes blog post, Dr. Sally Satel, psychiatrist and addiction specialist, and professor of medicine Brad Rodu asked this question: Why do public health care advocates seem to care more about heroin addicts than smokers?

They have a point. There is a seemingly incomprehensible disconnect between "official" public...

NJOY e-cigaretteHow mainstream are e-cigarettes these days? Last week this writer found a starter kit advertised for $19.99 at the cash register of his local 7-Eleven in Manhattan’s TriBeCa district. Well, if they’re good enough for Katherine Heigl...

The NJOY mini-kit came with an e-cigarette, USB charger and two nicotine cartridges. After letting it charge, ACSH staffers were vaping during ourDispatch meeting this morning. (Yes, really).

We were impressed by the device’s realism, including a...

Simon Cowell is into vaping.

Simon Cowell is into vaping.

Reports of recent sales and earnings from tobacco companies and surveys of e-cigarette users (vapers) yield a drumbeat of near-miraculous good news: parallel historic declines in Big Tobacco s cigarette sales, paired with annual doubling of e-cigarette sales. Remember two key factors:

1-electronic cigarettes provide vapers with their craved drug,...

Vaping Not SmokingA new study from Tasmania, Australia and Finland, published in the European Heart Journal, used sensitive ultrasound measurements to quantify carotid artery thickening and narrowing among almost 5,000 adults, and related the results to the degree of childhood exposure to parental smoke (i.e., second-hand smoke, SHS).

The researchers were led by Dr. Seana Gall of the University of Tasmania, and...

BRITAIN-TOBACCO-SCIENCE-TECHNOLOGY-HEALTHThe latest figures are out from the Big Tobacco companies, and, as usual, their bottom lines are doing just fine. But the devil in the details are actually angels from a public health point of view, if the various product line results are closely observed.

The following data come from a well-respected Wells-Fargo market survey, conveyed by their tobacco expert analyst, Bonnie Herzog:

Based on results from our Q3 Tobacco Talk survey, we believe cigarette industry shipment volume was down around -5% during the quarter--lower than historical averages. This is driven by...the...

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 1.12.36 PMA recent study concludes that teen e-cigarette use leads to nicotine addiction and then cigarette smoking.

This finding is a concern because it goes against CDC data, which has instead found that as teenagers have experimented with e-cigarettes in the last few years actual smoking rates have plummeted to the lowest levels ever recorded.

The issue may be a flaw in understanding correlation and epidemiology....

There is so much disinformation on the Internet, that debunking junk science and bogus health claims could be a full-time job. Indeed, debunkery is one of the main reasons why ACSH exists.

Narrowing down a full year's worth of nonsense into the 10 worst bogus health stories is quite a challenge. But we never shy away from a challenge. Here are the stinkiest stories from 2018:

#10. Our children are suffering from "video gaming disorder." Any health story about our children will go viral, no matter how ridiculous. This year, many hands were wrung over video games. Parents are worried that Little Johnny is spending too much time playing Fortnite. In reality, this is normal childhood behavior. Kids go through various phases, and obsession with something (like...

Smoking can be thought of as a pediatric disease.

The reason is because a substantial number of people who go on to become lifetime smokers began as children. According to a recent Eurobarometer poll* (which measures the opinions and behaviors of Europeans), 52% of smokers began before the age of 18, with 15% beginning before the age of 15.

Overall, public health officials have been effective at getting the anti-smoking message out. Rates of smoking initiation (i.e., the number of people who begin smoking per 1,000 people) have fallen over the decades. For example, a new study in PLoS ONE shows that, prior to the 1970s, the...