Public Health

Federal budgeteers should ramp up funding for scientific research

* This oped was cowritten by Garrett Watson. As the federal budget careens toward a shutdown at year’s end, it’s important to recognize that a strong intellectual and political consensus …

Reducing nicotine in cigarettes: Challenges and opportunities

The attached policy study is co-authored by R Street Harm Reduction Policy Director Carrie Wade.  In a July 28 announcement, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, recently appointed as the 23rd commissioner …

It’s time for the feds to stop micromanaging birth control in the US

It might surprise American women to learn the process most of them have to undergo to access hormonal birth control — which requires an annual screening and a …

California wants to make healthcare a ‘right’

A Bay Area Assemblyman got an earful last week as he pushed a largely symbolic bill that would have made it legal for California public employees to be members …

Auditor spurs calls to combat disabled-parking spot abuse

California has nearly 25 million passenger vehicles, yet hands out a whopping 2.9 million disabled-person parking plates and placards. Anecdotal evidence—i.e., watching those healthy-seeming drivers parking in the disabled …

Letter: Support California AB 186

Dear Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer: On behalf of the R Street Institute, I write in support of Assembly Bill 186 (Eggman), as amended March 23, 2017. This measure would allow cities …

Costly veterans’ homes not serving broad population

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been a font of scandal in recent years, with various reports showcasing the way the agency charged with caring for our nation's veterans …

E-cig tipping points vs. FDA deeming regulations

The attached policy study originally was published in Volume 8, Issue 1 of the Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy. In 2002, writer Malcom Gladwell introduced the concept of …

Tobacco harm reduction potential for ‘heat not burn’

"Heat not burn" is a method of delivering the tobacco experience by heating, rather than igniting it. The potential benefits of this approach involve its ability either to …

Eight tobacco harm reduction proposals for the federal government

The attached policy study was co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer and David Sweanor, professor at the University of Ottawa’s Center for Health Law. In 2015, 36.5 million …

13 free-market groups urge Congress to amend the FDA’s deeming rule for e-cigarettes

We, the undersigned organizations dedicated to free markets and innovation, urge you to amend the Food and Drug Administration’s Deeming Rule, which heavily restricts the development and availability …

Letter to New York Times on opioid treatment

The treatment proposed by Tim Lahey is part of a larger family of clinical approaches that could help reshape the landscape for many of our health care challenges. Harm …

Yes, fewer traffic fatalities is a good thing!

Outlet bias is a hallmark of the bored and lazy, and also of The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro. Taken by the recent headline of a piece I wrote with …

Self-driving cars will make organ shortages even worse

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams. Much has been said about the ways we expect our oncoming fleet of driverless cars to change …

Vapescore 2016: Regulating vapor products in U.S. cities

The attached study was co-authored by R Street Research Associate Dan Semelsberger  Americans' use of tobacco cigarettes has declined over the past decade from 20.9 percent of adults in 2004 …

Harm-reduction initiatives violate Hippocratic Oath

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Western Region Director Steven Greenhut. Most of us have heard the dictum, "First, do no harm." It's often thought of as …

Dr. Edward Anselm’s comments to the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness regarding e-cigarettes

Dear Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness: My name is Dr. Edward Anselm. I am a medical expert currently serving as director for Health Republic Insurance of …

If you want to stop Zika, start promoting GMOs

The Zika virus is scary. Zika infections during pregnancy have been linked to birth defects, including microcephaly. Because it is spread via mosquitoes, it can be difficult to …

PROP 56: Tobacco initiative fails to make crucial distinctions

The attached policy short was co-authored by R Street State Programs Director Cameron Smith.  As the United States’ failed experiment with Prohibition was drawing to a close, two major groups fought …

Will the CDC let us drink in peace this Fourth of July?

As Independence Day approaches Monday, one wonders if the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will follow its recent pattern and release some scary anti-alcohol …

Doctor’s Orders: E-cigarettes in U.S. clinical practice

E-cigarettes and related nicotine vapor devices have become extremely popular among smokers in the United States, while attracting remarkably few nonsmokers to continuing nicotine use. According to a …

What drives tobacco-control policy?

The attached policy brief has been accepted for publication by the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. This is a follow-up to the presentation by Dr. David Ashley of the FDA’s …

H.R. 2058 and the regulation of e-cigarettes

H.R. 2058, recently introduced in May 2015 by U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., draws the attention of policymakers to the structure of the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory …

The role of flavoring in tobacco harm reduction

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY One of the great public health controversies of our time surrounds the debate over what role Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), of which e-cigarettes are the most …

E-cigarette primer for state and local lawmakers

Cigarettes kill an estimated 480,000 Americans each year. An estimated 46 million Americans smoke cigarettes, the most hazardous and most addictive of tobacco products. Despite our best efforts, …

The case in favor of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction

This paper has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. A carefully structured Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) initiative, with e-cigarettes as a …

The promise of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction

Nicotine vaporizers, usually referred to as e-cigarettes, show substantial promise as a vehicle for tobacco harm reduction (THR). Skyrocketing sales of e-cigarettes, consumer advocacy for these products, and …

Reducing smoking: A guide for state policy makers

PDF Download Text A review of public health literature related to smoking cessation suggests smoking bans and efforts to stop minors from smoking can be very effective. They …

Finally, U.S. official admits that smoking deaths are declining

Dr. Phil Cole and I asserted in 2008 that smoking-related deaths in the United States were on the decline. Finally, this month, a Food and Drug Administration official …

Overweight and low mortality

Last week, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a meta-analysis documenting that being "overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.” The study was authored by …

High school seniors’ tobacco use pales in comparison to alcohol

Smoking by teens has declined to record-low levels, according to the latest University of Michigan annual Monitoring the Future Study, which examines youth tobacco, alcohol and drug use …

R Street policy on tobacco harm reduction

Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) is a policy and process by which smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking are enabled and encouraged to switch to a …

FDA inaction strengthens cigarette market supremacy

Two weeks ago, Michael Felberbaum of the Associated Press published an interesting story, "FDA review of tobacco products grinds to a halt," about how the Food and Drug …

The e-cigarette revolution

Richard Craver, a writer for the Winston-Salem Journal, recently described the growing popularity of e-cigarettes.  Bonnie Herzog, a Wells Fargo security analyst who has followed the tobacco industry …

Snus is the leading smoking cessation aid for Swedish men and women

A Swedish population-based survey documents that "snus continues to be the most frequently reported cessation aid among male smokers” and “[u]se of snus at the latest quit attempt …

Big Tobacco advertising and promotion do not drive consumption

One of the longstanding fallacies promoted by the anti-tobacco movement is that tobacco use is solely driven by advertising and marketing by large multinational companies, also known as …

Secondhand smoke and mirrors

As I discussed over a year ago, claims that smoking bans result in enormous declines in hospitalizations for heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction, AMI) are largely based on …

Jane Brody and the New York Times: Counting smokers badly

Jane Brody falsely reported in her Nov. 12 New York Times “Personal Health” column that, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the smoking …

Tobacco trick or treat by Florida’s surgeon general

On Halloween, Dr. John Armstrong, Florida surgeon general and secretary of health, launched an attack on flavored tobacco, ostensibly to protect children (I expressed concern three years ago …

Nicotine levels in American smokeless tobacco products

Nicotine levels in smokeless tobacco products available in the U.S. in 2006 and 2007 were analyzed by scientists at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.  I previously discussed other analyses …

E-cigarettes prove effective for smoking cessation

The scientific foundation for tobacco harm reduction is well established.  My comprehensive reviews of the evidence in 2006 and 2011 were based on 279 articles published primarily in …

Low trace metal levels in American smokeless tobacco products mean no significant health risk

I previously discussed a comprehensive chemical analysis of smokeless tobacco products conducted by M.F. Borgerding and colleagues at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. and published in Regulatory Toxicology and …

Louisville professor: Smoke-free option is one Oklahoma should consider to reduce tobacco harm

A quit-smoking strategy with “the potential to save millions of lives” will be the subject of an Oklahoma legislative hearing Wednesday. At issue will be tobacco harm reduction, …

Dual use and smoking suppression

Norway has proven that the Swedish tobacco experience can be duplicated in other countries where smokeless tobacco is used (discussed earlier here and here).  Karl Erik Lund, from …

An absorbing nicotine lesson

Nicotine uptake from snus, cigarettes and medicinal gum varies significantly, new research shows.   Helena Digard of British American Tobacco is lead author on the work, joined by colleagues from …

Snus prohibition in the EU

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports that the European Commission’s health directorate has proposed a ban on the export of Swedish snus. Sweden’s government has been quietly urging the European …

What a difference the truth makes: Researchers say government needs to get smokers facts about smokeless tobacco

A new study reveals that telling smokers the truth about smokeless tobacco corrects their misperceptions and increases the likelihood of their trying smokeless products to quit smoking.   Lead author …

Pipe smoking and health

Health risks associated with cigar smoking are lower than those for cigarette smoking, reflecting a lower exposure to smoke toxicants (see my earlier post here).  The same holds …

E-cigarette awareness and use

American Legacy Foundation staff, led by Dr. Jennifer Pearson, reported two surveys gauging awareness, use and perceptions of e-cigarettes.  The research was published in the American Journal of …

Federal warnings undermine smokeless tobacco harm reduction messages

I recently discussed research showing that warnings on smokeless tobacco (ST or SLT) products discourage smokers from switching, while messages describing risk differentials between ST products and cigarettes …

The surprising economic effects of smoking and quitting

Anti-tobacco forces often argue that smokers are a burden on the American economy.  When Congress debated FDA tobacco regulation in 2009, the White House advised that tobacco use …

The health risks of cigar smoking

Cigarette smoking risks are well known, but cigars are also combustible tobacco products.  Do cigars present the same health risks as cigarettes?   Researchers from the Kaiser Medical Care Program, …

How should insurers treat tobacco use?: A review of the research

Co-published by R Street and the Heartland Institute, this paper explores a growing body of data, including several studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, finding that certain …

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