One third of U.S. adults don’t know e-cigarette vapor may harm kids

UNTV News   •   June 16, 2017   •   2813

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters Health) – Even though the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded e-cigarette vapor may expose children to nicotine and other harmful chemicals, a new study finds that one in three adults aren’t sure if the devices are dangerous to use around kids.

Big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes, battery-powered gadgets with a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale. Some previous research suggests vapor from e-cigarettes may be less toxic than traditional cigarette smoke, but the electronic alternatives still release chemicals that aren’t normally in the air and the long-term health effects of the ingredients and flavorings in e-cigarettes are unclear.

Overall, just 5.3 percent of adults who participated in a 2015 online survey thought exposure to secondhand e-cigarette vapor caused “no harm” to kids, the study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Another 40 percent of adults thought it caused “little harm” or “some harm” to children.

“The bottom line is that kids should not be exposed to the emissions from any type of tobacco product, irrespective of whether that product is smoked, smokeless or electronic,” said senior study author Brian King, a researcher with the CDC Office on Smoking and Health in Atlanta.

“Although e-cigarette aerosol generally contains less harmful ingredients than secondhand smoke, it is not harmless; safer is not the same thing as safe,” King said by email. “It’s important for users of these products, particularly parents, to know the dangers of secondhand exposure to e-cigarette aerosol and to protect kids from this preventable health risk.”

To assess how adults thought about the risk of exposing kids to e-cigarettes, CDC researchers examined data from a survey of 4,127 adults 18 or older. The survey asked people to consider the potential harms of all electronic vapor products including e-cigarettes as well as e-hookahs, hookah pens, vape pens and e-cigars.

Current e-cigarette users were almost 18 times more likely than people who never tried the devices to think the secondhand vapors caused no harm to children, and former e-cigarette users were more than seven times more likely to have this opinion, according to the results published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Compared with people who never smoked traditional cigarettes, current smokers were more than four times more likely to consider secondhand e-cigarette vapor harmless for kids, and former smokers were about twice as likely to have this opinion, the study found.

Men were more than twice as likely as women to think secondhand e-cigarette fumes were harmless for kids.

Adults aged 45 to 64 were less likely to be uncertain about the risk of exposing kids to second-hand e-cigarette smoke than younger adults aged 18 to 24, the study also found.

One limitation of the study is that researchers didn’t have detailed data to determine how often current or former e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers had used these products, the authors note. That means responses from heavy users were included in the same categories as people who only smoked or vaped occasionally.

Still, the findings underscore the need to raise awareness about the potential harms as researchers continue to investigate the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, said Dr. Alexander Prokhorov, director of the tobacco outreach education program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“The products simply have not been in existence long enough to investigate their long-term effects,” Prokhorov, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“It took us decades to fully understand the devastating consequences of conventional cigarettes and we are regularly discovering more and more illnesses and disorders attributable to active and passive smoking,” Prokhorov said. “I would not be surprised if ongoing studies will soon report additional facts on first- and second-hand vaping and health.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2r4cn1g Preventing Chronic Disease, online May 31, 2017.

US advises citizens vs traveling to PH due to COVID-19 situation

Maris Federez   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines –The United States (US) government has issued an advisory for its citizens to avoid travel to the Philippines due to a “high-level” of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the Philippines due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country,” the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) announced in its website.

The CA said that aside from COVID-19, crimes, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping are among the reasons cited by the CDC in placing the Philippines on Level 4 advisory.

The bureau advises US citizens to exercise increased caution in going to the Philippines, and to “read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.”

“There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into the Philippines,” the CA said.

The Do Not Travel advisory specifically indicated the Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping; and Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

It also advised to Reconsider Travel to other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

The State Department added that should US citizens decide to travel to the Philippines, they must visit the U.S. Embassy’s webpage regarding COVID-19, the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19, monitor local media for breaking events, and adjust their plans based on new information, and other follow other precautions specified.

Countries that were issued a Level 4 travel warning include Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and Spain among others.  —/mbmf

CDC reverses earlier COVID-19 guidance that said asymptomatic people may not need testing

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday (US Eastern Time) reversed its controversial coronavirus testing guidance that said people who were exposed to an infected person but weren’t showing any symptoms “do not necessarily need a test.”

The new guidance says that people who have been in close contact with an infected person and do not have symptoms “need a test.”

“Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the CDC says.

The agency defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of a person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes.

The CDC guidance reversal followed criticisms from public health specialists on the agency’s change in testing guidance in August that seemed to downplay the significance of testing people who don’t have symptoms but could be spreading the virus.

The new guidance also advised people who are waiting for their test results to “self-quarantine/isolate at home and stay separated from household members to the extent possible and use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.”

The CDC also reiterated its recommendations to follow “measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and to protect people at increased risk of severe illness:  social distancing, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, avoiding crowds, avoiding indoor crowded spaces, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently.” —/mbmf

Know: How to prevent novel coronavirus infection —CDC

Maris Federez   •   January 31, 2020

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

As a reminder, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

These include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact their healthcare provider immediately. — (with details from Yam Escala) /mbmf

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