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US mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes amid youth ‘epidemic’

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WASHINGTON: US regulators said Wednesday they are considering an immediate ban on flavored e-cigarettes, as the Food and Drug Administration chief warned of an “epidemic” of vaping among youths.
The agency sent more than 1,100 warning letters and 131 fines to retailers it said illegally sold JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors during a nationwide undercover sting including brick-and-mortar and online stores this summer.
The crackdown marked the “largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history,” the agency said in a statement, warning of even harsher action to come.
“We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement.
“We’re especially focused on the flavored e-cigarettes. And we’re seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavored products from the market.”
Gottlieb cited preliminary data that has not yet been published, but which he said shows “youth use of e-cigs is rising very sharply.”
The data is expected to be published in the coming months. The FDA declined to release the figures publicly.
According to the Washington Post, the preliminary data is from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, and it shows a 75 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students in 2018 compared to 2017.
“I use the word epidemic with great care. E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous – and dangerous – trend among teens,” added Gottlieb.
“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end.”
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ president Matthew Myers, the FDA has made a crucial step toward curtailing youth use of e-cigarettes.
“Critically, FDA for the first time recognizes that it must be addressed by requiring that manufacturers remove flavored products from the market unless those products have been reviewed by FDA, alter current marketing practices, eliminate online sales and take significant steps to curtail illegal sales to kids,” Myers said.
He said the FDA move could “represent a fundamental turning point” if the agency requires “all of these products undergo premarket review now, not four years from now.”
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine liquid into a vapor that can be inhaled. Many use fruit-flavored liquids that critics say appeal to kids, and risk addicting them to nicotine.

 

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Common painkiller tied to increased risk of heart problems

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ISLAMABAD: The commonly used painkiller diclofenac may be linked with an increased risk of heart problems, a large Danish study suggests.
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that are often used to treat arthritis and other painful joint conditions. In many countries, it is available without a prescription, a private news channel reported.
Researchers found that the rate of first-time cardiovascular events was 20 to 30 percent higher among people who started taking diclofenac than among people who started taking ibuprofen or naproxen, which are also NSAIDs, or paracetamol (acetaminophen). These events included heart attacks, development of an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, or death from heart problems.
The rate of new heart problems was 50 percent higher for diclofenac users than for people who weren’t taking any painkillers.
The researchers analyzed data from the Danish national patient registry. Altogether, they had information on nearly 1.4 million diclofenac users, 3.9 million ibuprofen users, 292,000 naproxen users, 765,00 paracetamol users, and 1.3 million people not on any of these painkillers.
“It is important to note that the absolute risk for the individual patient is low,” Morten Schmidt, lead author of the study, told Reuters Health in an email.

 

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Anti-polio campaign to start in Karachi from today

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KARACHI: Mass immunization campaigns, known as National Immunization Days (NIDs), would be started from today to administer anti-polio drops along with the supplement of Vitamin A to over 2.3 million children up to five years of age in all 188 union councils in the metropolis during seven days.
More than 9000 polio teams will perform their duties in the campaign, it was decided in a meeting chaired by Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Sualeh Farooqui, at his office, said a statement on Sunday. Briefing about security arrangements it was told the meeting that foolproof security arrangements have been made to ensure the security of polio teams. The meeting was attended among others by Municipal Commissioner KMC Dr. Saifur Rehman, all Deputy commissioners, all district and town health officers, officials of Police, Pakistan Rangers, Health
Department, Emergency Operation Centres (EOC). The Commissioner stressed the need to work with the focus based strategies addressing issues specifically in all areas.  He said that there is a great need to work for the improvement of micro plan and communication strategy. He asked the Deputy Commissioners to make all-out efforts to make the campaign result oriented. He urged the parents to cooperate with the polio teams to ensure their children are safe as a vaccine, given to them multiple times, can protect them for life. The Commissioner also stressed the need that efforts should also be made to administer polio drops to school going children of up to five years of age.
It was informed to the meeting that the Education department’s private school secretariat has instructed the concerned private schools to help the administration and cooperate with the polio teams in carrying out their duties for providing children the protection from the crippling decease. It was decided in a meeting that awareness campaign of teachers, as well as parents, would be initiated with the support of school administrations in coordination with the Directorate of the Private Schools. He said that polio eradication was a national cause and it would be the top priority of city administration to carry out its efforts for the elimination of poliovirus.

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Insulin can also treat bowel inflammation

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ISLAMABAD: Insulin, which plays a key role in managing blood sugar, also has potential to act against colitis a chronic bowel inflammation, said a study.
The study, conducted on mice, showed that chronic bowel inflammation can be treated effectively by injecting insulin into the rectum, health news reported. Insulin works because it activates a gene inside the bowel cells, which has an antioxidant effect and thus may be able to protect the bowel cells from inflammation.
“Existing treatments attack the bowel’s immune system, dampening it, instead our method strengthens the bowel cells’ own defense. It appears to work equally well, and it can probably be used in combination with existing treatments,” said Jorgen Olsen, Professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
For the study, published in the scientific Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, the team examined the effect of the treatment in a series of tests on mice with chronic colitis of the type Colitis Ulcerosa. The cause of these bowel disorders is unknown but they cause patients great discomfort and can involve bloody diarrhea, anemia, stomach ache, and weight loss.
The researchers have studied the effect of the insulin treatment in various ways.  The team found that treatment with insulin led to a 50 percent drop in the amount of inflammation, compared to the saltwater control treatment. Further, the mice also lost 15-20 percent less weight than the control group and importantly, they gained weight 50 percent faster, following the treatment. Based on the positive results, the researchers will now test the treatment in clinical trials on humans.

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