E-Cigarettes May Lead More to Smoke Cigarettes Than to Quit

A new study points to more public harm. Here’s what you should know if you do want to try to use e-cigs to stop smoking.

The number of adults who quit smoking by using e-cigarettes will be far lower than the number of teenagers and young adults who develop a regular smoking habit after trying these products, according to a first-of-its-kind study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS-One.

The findings promise to add fuel to a long-standing debate among scientists and policymakers over these controversial products.

Because e-cigs are less toxic than regular cigarettes, they have the potential to curb a global smoking addiction that claims billions of dollars and millions of lives every year. But because they come in fruit and candy flavors, these products may also lure teens and young adults into a dangerous smoking habit that they might otherwise have avoided.

The new study tried to measure both sides of that equation. Using census data, national surveys, and published studies, researchers analyzed three things: the additional number of current smokers who will quit smoking with the help of e-cigs, the additional number of teens and young adults who will transition to long-term daily smoking after using e-cigs, and the total number of life years that will be gained (or lost) as a result.

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What state parties hardest? You might think California, or maybe New York—but it turns out North Dakota drinks the most alcohol.

Financial news site 24/7 WallStreet reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to rank which states had the heaviest drinkers. Binge drinking includes at least four drinks for women and five for men in a single instance. Women who drink at least eight alcoholic beverages per week and men who consume at least 15 are considered heavy drinkers.

They found that nearly 25 percent of adults drink excessively in North Dakota.The state also has a high percentage of alcohol-related driving deaths at 46.7 percent.

People in Tennessee appear to have the healthiest relationship with alcohol as only 11.2 percent drink excessively. Despite the lower incidence of alcohol-related accidents, which is at 28 percent, the Volunteer State does have a high rate of premature deaths. According to 24/7 Wall Street, 436 out of 100,000 people die before reaching 75, making it the eighth highest premature death rate in the nation.

Read more here.

Why the liquor industry wants to get self-driving cars on the road

Automakers and tech firms have long been the ones hustling to get self-driving cars on the street. But they’ve lately been joined by a surprise ally: America’s alcohol industry.

In recent weeks, two industry groups — one representing wine and liquor wholesalers, and another representing large producers — have thrown their weight behind coalitions lobbying to get autonomous vehicles on the road faster.

Inherent in their support, analysts say, is an understanding that self-driving cars could revolutionize the way Americans drink. Brewers and distillers say autonomous vehicles could reduce drunk driving.

Without the need to drive home after a night at the bar, drinkers could also consume far more. And that will boost alcohol sales, one analysis predicts, by as much as $250 billion.

“It makes a lot of sense that the industry is interested,” said Jim Watson, a senior beverage analyst at Rabobank, a multinational finance firm. “It’s a win-win for them: Self-driving cars could boost alcohol sales and simultaneously reduce drunk driving.”

Continue reading here.

Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous Work as Well as 12-Step Programs: Study

A new study comparing Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to alternative mutual help groups find these groups perform about as well as 12-step programs, Vox reports.

The study compared AA, the original 12-step program, with the three biggest alternative mutual help groups: Women for Sobriety, SMART Recovery and LifeRing.

The researchers surveyed more than 600 people with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) who were involved in one of the groups studied. They followed up at six months and 12 months, measuring abstinence from drinking and alcohol-related problems. After controlling for several factors, the researchers concluded that these alternative groups are as effective as 12-step groups for those with AUDs. The findings appear in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

“This study suggests that these alternatives really are viable options for people who are looking for recovery support and don’t like AA for whatever reason,” said lead researcher Sarah Zemore of the Alcohol Research Group in Emeryville, CA.

Read more here.

It’s Time to Talk About the Opioid Crisis as a Women’s Health Issue

At the beginning of the Oscar-nominated short documentary Heroin(e), centered on the town of Huntington, West Virginia, deputy fire chief Jan Rader speeds to a local pub, sirens blaring. By the time she arrives, a woman is already being wheeled out on a stretcher after overdosing in the bathroom. Not a minute passes before another call comes over the scanner: a second overdose, this time a 23-year-old who didn’t make it. This is an everyday reality for Rader, and she’s not alone. Across the country, as the opioid crisis continues to worm its way into rural outposts and cities alike, fatality rates are staggering: The epidemic claims as many as 115 Americans lives daily, according to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a newly published study recording a 30% increase in emergency visits for overdoses across all states between 2016 and 2017.

The 39-minute Netflix Original, directed by Peabody Award–winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon, tracks the issue on an intimate scale, following three women as they confront the scourge of addiction in their hometown. Judge Patricia Keller presides over drug court, Necia Freeman supplies meals to local sex workers through the town’s ministry, and Rader patrols the streets. Their front-lines perspective shines a light on an overlooked truth: While the majority of such fatalities are men, the toll on women is grim, with an 850% increase in opioid-related deaths between 1999 and 2015, almost double the rate for men, according to Linda Richter, Ph.D., director of policy research and analysis at the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse. Digging into the reasons for this disparity reveals a patchwork of factors tied to opioid-use disorder, ranging from gender-biased biological data to treatment centers without child care. The point, as outlined below, is that this national crisis is just as much a women’s health one, and treating it as such is crucial.

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State auditor talks about Ohio’s marijuana mess

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost says the state’s marijuana grow licensing process was an “epic fail”.

Ohio handed out 24 marijuana grow licenses, but records already show there were problems in picking the winners and losers.

Local 12’s Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman sat down in a rare, one-on-one interview with Yost to find out how he’s going to investigate what went wrong.

It’s next to impossible to get the state auditor to talk about a continuing investigation, let alone the highest profile case in Ohio right now, but that’s exactly what Duane did.

While it’s not clear whether Ohio’s epic failure of medical marijuana was a mistake or something more, Yost is already saying that the licensing process was so bad that it may change the way Ohio handles all future contracts.

To view the interview, click here.

Powerful Documentary On The Impact of Marijuana In The Brain

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As the legal status of marijuana changes its perceived dangers are lessening while the potency of the drug is increasing.

This video covers marijuana as a psychoactive substance that induces its effects by manipulation of natural brain chemicals known as the endocannabinoids. The toxic and addictive impact that results from the drug’s disruption of natural endocannibinoids is characterized in this video by the testimony of those impacted by the drug and by the scientists who are studying its effects.

This video is 26 minutes and will help to clarify the many myths and misconceptions regarding the effects of marijuana.

Johnstown economic boost after marijuana denial

A big blow to Johnstown last year when a local business wasn’t granted a marijuana grower’s license from the state. The village had been banking on the economic boost.

But, that exposure may have put the small town in the limelight and attracted other businesses.

Village leaders spent two and a half years working with local business Apeks in preparations for a “marijuana campus.” The company makes devices that extract botanicals and planned for a growing and distribution operation.

They had intended to expand and buy the neighboring 31 Gifts building which had been vacant for two years.

But Apeks was denied a growers license.

“For him not to get one was pretty devastating,” said Village Manager Jim Lenner.

Because Johnstown was the first community in Ohio to embrace the marijuana movement, it was noticed by other businesses. The former 31 Gifts building, which Apeks had to back out of, was just bought a company called Ohio Packs.

Developers are putting buildings on two adjacent properties as well, confident they’ll attract more manufacturing. One will house a marijuana cultivation operation.

The village is also partnering with the Licking County Port Authority to build a 140-acre business park on the opposite side of town on Duncan Plains Road.

“We all want those commercial, manufacturing jobs to bring our general fund revenue up,” said Lenner.

Johnstown’s population is growing as well. Lenner says it will move from a village to a city after the next census in 2020.

To view original article, click here.

Ohio recreational marijuana ballot measure might not happen in 2018, backer says

Ohioans hoping to vote to legalize recreational marijuana this year will likely have to wait a little longer, perhaps as long as two years.

Cincinnati businessman Jimmy Gould told reporters at a news conference on Friday that the language for his proposed measure hasn’t been set yet and that the measure might not appear on the ballot until 2019 or 2020. The deadline to qualify for the November ballot is July 4.

Gould, who co-founded Ohio’s failed 2015 legalization effort, had pledged to  put another measure on the ballot this year after his company wasn’t chosen to grow medical marijuana in the state’s new program. Gould, along with business partner Ian James, announced in November they would propose a “free market” system that didn’t establish a monopoly for wealthy investors.

But Gould and other backers are running out of time to submit proposed amendment language to the attorney general and to collect the required 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters. In 2015, language was submitted in early March and supporters initially didn’t collect enough signatures by July to qualify. (They were allowed to collect additional signatures to make up the difference and later qualified.)

Read more here.

Can Pregnant Women Drink Wine?

Question: “What are your thoughts on the occasional glass of wine? I’ve heard conflicting stories. Is it safe to splurge once in a while, or is it better to play it safe?”

Unfortunately there’s no research to support that an occasional glass of wine (or cocktail, or beer) is a safe bet when you’re expecting. Ultimately, it’s just not worth the risk. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Surgeon General all recommend abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy, including the occasional glass of wine, altogether.

Why? Mostly because nobody knows what the safe limit is — and that safe limit may vary from woman to woman, fetus to fetus, depending on all kinds of variables. What’s more, one glass of wine during pregnancy leads to another for some women. True, in many European countries an occasional glass of wine during pregnancy, sipped with food during a meal, is accepted. But given all of the risks of drinking when you’re expecting, it’s best to avoid altogether. Although abstaining may seem like a high hurdle now, the next few dry months will fly by (and you will drink again!).

Looking for confirmation or more motivation to skip that glass of wine? Check with your practitioner.

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