Tag: Smoking

Aside

In case you haven’t heard, public health authorities in the United States caught on to a weird kind of lung damage syndrome that is strongly associated with vaping (aka “electronic cigarettes”). The syndrome manifests itself as lung damage that is acute and severe, leaving young people with lungs that work at the capacity seen in octagenarians.

There are hundreds of cases and some deaths reported, and we are all working on understanding this phenomenon further and doing something about it.

Speaking of doing something about it, it seems that the federal government is mulling a ban on electronic cigarettes. Some states and local governments have already done it, and it’s making people stock up on their supplies before it happens. So that is likely where this is going… While parents want to protect their kids from damaging their lungs permanently, and while sentiment on smoking is definitely not in its favor, we are probably going to have a nationwide ban on vaping products that are flavored, at the very least.

Personally, I am not in favor of a ban because bans create black markets for these products, making them harder to regulate and assure their safety. In my opinion, it is better to tax them into oblivion, allowing only those with the means to pay through the nose to pay for a safer product. We’ll see how it goes.

Talking Tuesday, Korea Edition: Smoking Causes Cancer (On Average)

Epi_Podcast_Cover

 

Greetings and salutations form the wonderful city of Seoul, Korea. It’s the Korea without the labor camps and despotic dictator-for-life, maybe. (Most dictators are for life, I hear.)

Here are 4 minutes of me giving you a quick thought about causality and how smoking causes cancer. I was sitting in a courtyard at one of Seoul’s palaces and recorded this. A friend and colleague back home said that there was a discussion in a class on whether we, epidemiologists, can say that “smoking causes cancer” or if we should instead say that “smoking increases your risk of lung and other cancers”. She and I agree that we should say that smoking causes cancer, period, when talking about smoking to the public. If you throw in words like “chances” or “probability” or even “risk”, the message gets confused. Individuals within the population start asking for their specific risk, or they think that other things they do minimize the risk. (Some people have told me that they won’t get lung cancer from smoking because they run marathons.)

So that’s the very quick Talking Tuesday for this week. I’ll be back home next week. All my pictures here in Korea are being uploaded to Flickr at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epi_ren/sets/72157648495180885/

You can download this episode by clicking here.

Fifty Smoking Years

I was eating my steak, egg and cheese on a bagel this morning as I listened to the local radio. They were taking calls from listeners to hear their opinions on the last 50 years since the Surgeon General warned that smoking was hazardous to human health. Since that January morning in 1964, the public’s attitude on smoking has changed.…