The New York Times reports today that electronic cigarettes moved a step closer to being regulated like mainstream tobacco products after a federal appellate court unanimously upheld an injunction against the FDA's attempt to ban them or more strictly regulate them. Meanwhile, what in blazes are Snus? Oh, "spit-free tobacco pouches". Blecccch.
Or just be a scene-maker in Williamsburg, the presumed center of cool in Brooklyn? Well, in a deeply cynical move on the part of RJ Reynolds, the cigarette brand that sports a four-legged mammal with a hump on his back will come in a special, er, hipster package this December (slyly getting in under the wire of the new packaging regulations soon to be enforced by the federal government). Camel Blue will be customized with scenes of Williamsburg behind Joe himself and a curiously counter-intuitive "Be Free" online campaign. It's hard to say which stylish iconoclast is going to fall for this transparent marketing ploy, but who imagined that a mediocre cup of coffee, with a big green logo and a $4.00 price tag, would catch on either?
Screening former or current smokers with high-tech scans can significantly cut deaths from lung cancer, according to a long-awaited federal study released Thursday.
The study of more than 53,000 middle-aged and elderly people who either once smoked or currently smoke heavily found there were 20 percent fewer deaths among those who underwent annual screening with a scanning procedure known as a low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) compared with those who got standard chest X-rays.
The findings were so striking that the National Cancer Institute, which helped sponsor the study, halted the National Lung Screening Trial early after a panel of experts notified officials about the clear results of an interim analysis.
"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. and throughout the world, so a validated approach that can reduce lung cancer mortality by even 20 percent has the potential to spare very significant numbers of people from the ravages of this disease," said NCI Director Harold Varmus.
Lung cancer strikes more than 196,000 Americans each year and kills more than 159,000, accounting for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths. Although significant advances have been made in reducing deaths from other leading cancers, such as breast and colon cancer, lung cancer has remain stubbornly resistent. The new finding marks the first good news about the disease in decades. There are an estimated 91.5 million current and former smokers in the United States, all of whom are at increased risk for lung cancer.
"This is the first time that we have seen clear evidence of a significant reduction in lung cancer mortality with a screening test in a randomized controlled trial," said Christine Berg, who led the study for the National Cancer Institute.
Read the full story in The Washington Post.
This just in:
"I've not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months," Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, told reporters on Thursday. "I think he has worked extremely hard. And I think he would tell you, even when, in the midst of a tax agreement and a START deal and all the other things that accumulate, that even where he might have once found some comfort in that . . . he's pushed it away. So he understands . . . its dangers and I think has done a lot of extraordinary work to wrestle with that habit, as millions of Americans have."