Cigarettes

There's no doubt about it. E-cigarettes have the potential to save millions of lives.

What makes smoking so dangerous isn't the nicotine, per se. Nicotine is an addictive alkaloid, just like caffeine. (Believe it or not, plants produce both compounds because they are insecticides.) The addiction makes people want more tobacco, but the molecule itself isn't all that harmful.

Tobacco is lethal because of the smoke. A lit cigarette releases known chemical carcinogens and tiny bits of particulate matter, which are incredibly damaging to the lungs. Setting anything on fire, not just tobacco, and inhaling the fumes is a bad idea. That's why innovative ways to get...

Last week, international media outlets reported that asparagus causes cancer. It does not.

Like a series of bad sequels, the media is back with yet another terribly botched story. This time, the claim is that using household cleaning sprays is like smoking 20 cigarettes per day. Wrong again.

The study, which used a cohort design, examined lung capacity and function among...

My wife and I travel frequently from our home in Seattle to Europe to visit her parents. I've been across the pond 20 times, and I've visited 18 countries there.

Whenever I listen to Americans talk about Europe, I'm struck by how little they actually understand it. To the Left, Europe is a progressive paradise -- scientifically savvy, technologically advanced, and culturally liberal with cradle-to-grave welfare for all. To the Right, Europe is a socialist hellhole -- an economically stagnant, irreligious, morally bankrupt continent of has-beens.

These diametrically opposed caricatures are completely wrong. As is often the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Take science policy, for instance. Europe notoriously embraces the "precautionary principle,"...

The King County Health Department, which serves mostly the city of Seattle and its suburbs, has recently earned a reputation for being driven by politics rather than by evidence-based medicine or common sense.

Last month, the county decided that crisis pregnancy centers that don't perform abortions aren't "real healthcare." According to its website, Care Net -- a crisis pregnancy center in the Puget Sound region -- performs pregnancy tests, STD screens, and ultrasounds and provides prenatal education. Because such crisis centers are often faith-based, what they don't do is perform or encourage abortions.

That's anathema to Seattle, a city whose residents and politicians have little use for religion or...

Once again, the echo chamber nature of press releases serves to promote misleading science and health clickbait.  This time it is with headlines like “Tobacco, but not pot, boosts early stroke risk.” 

First, it is an imprecise conclusion based on the newly published study.  Second, the research it refers to downplays the significant flaws and limitations of its own work.  

Let’s break down the findings for you to draw accurate (and your own) conclusions.  The goal of the work was to determine whether there is an “association between cannabis use and early-onset stroke, when accounting for the use of tobacco and alcohol.”

Who was studied and how was the data acquired? (1)

  • Population-based cohort study comprised of 49,321 Swedish men (...

One of my extended family members is a former smoker. Nagging him to stop did little good. Warning him against its health dangers produced similarly poor results. He was addicted, and he appeared to like smoking, anyway. 

Then e-cigarettes came along. After giving them a try, he quit cigarettes for good. No nagging was necessary. He received the same kick from vaping minus all the nasty smoke that makes cigarettes so dangerous. His blunted sense of smell and taste returned to normal and breathing became easier. 

His story is not unique. Many former smokers credit e-cigarettes with changing their lives for the better. A study in the journal Tobacco Control concluded that...

It is well documented that cigarette smoke causes lung cancer, but giving up nicotine still proves to be the most challenging part of quitting cigarettes. 

Of all the available smoking cessation aides, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have gained the most popularity - likely because they are designed to simulate the cigarette-smoking experience.  E-cigarettes are battery operated wands that contain liquid nicotine, which when heated, emit an aerosol that can be inhaled (vaped). 

Due to the relatively short history of e-cigarettes, there are some unanswered questions about their long-term health safety.  Studies up to this point have suggested that vaping is safer than smoking because it does not expose a person to the inhaled toxins found in cigarette smoke that can...

 

shutterstock_277590983 Ecigs VS Cigs courtesy of Shutterstock

The CDC has just released a report on tobacco use by youngsters in middle and high school, and the results are disturbing — not just because of the number of kids reporting tobacco use, but because of the way the agency has defined it.

The data were reported in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Since tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death...

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...

joint_620x350A recent report disclosed that smoking among teens living in the U.S. has dropped to 64 percent; however, the statistics for marijuana use among teens has doubled.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 30 percent of white, black, and Hispanics have smoked cigarettes, cigars or marijuana in 2013. The researchers have tracked teen smoking rates from 1997 to 2013. Vince Willmore, the president for communications at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, stated that this is a...