Public Health

Both daily and less frequent use of marijuana among college students has risen sharply, to the highest prevalence since the Monitoring The Future study began.

In a silver lining aspect, cigarette smoking continues to decline - marijuana use surpassed daily cigarette smoking in 2014.  Smoking tobacco using a hookah (a type of water pipe) in the prior 12 months rose substantially among college students, from 26 percent in 2013 to 33 percent in 2014. 

Most people know smoking is risky, by now it is something of an IQ test if you take up that habit. There is no amount of awareness that will stop all people from doing all things, young people like to rebel and if they get hooked on nicotine, it can be difficult to pull away after they come to their senses.

But both harm reduction and smoking cessation can help once people decide to quit: There are other tobacco products, like snus or chewing tobacco, and then there are nicotine replacements, like gums, patches and e-cigarettes.

Yet they are all made by corporations and each corporation believes it will benefit by confusion, so a large number of people aren’t aware of the differences. Unfortunately, overly broad US Food and Drug Administration labels don't help.

It's time to stop counting calories and start promoting the nutritional value of foods, according to an editorial in Open Heart. 

Drs Aseem Malhotra and James DiNicolantonio, and Professor Simon Capewell, argue that rather like stopping smoking, simple dietary changes can rapidly improve health outcomes at the population level.  They believe this will more rapidly cut illness and death from cardiovascular disease and curb the rising tide of obesity. For example, boosting omega 3 fatty acid (from fatty fish), olive oil, and nut intake have all been associated with reductions in deaths from all causes and from cardiovascular disease, within months, they say.

"If I offered you a bruised banana, you probably wouldn't be interested," said Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, director of Drexel University's Center for Hospitality and Sport Management. "But what if I offered you some banana ice cream on a hot summer day? I bet you'd find that a lot more appealing."

It was this simple observation that inspired a new model for recovering would-be wasted - or surplus - food and repurposing it to feed hungry people, generate revenue and even create jobs. The model was recently piloted in West Philadelphia, home to a large population of low-income and food insecure individuals, as part of the Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Challenge with support from Brown's Super Stores.

Thanks to decades of action against tobacco, smoking rates among children and young people are in decline: far fewer teenagers are now taking up smoking than in the past.

More than a quarter of a million people die each year that are linked to using smokeless tobacco, say scholars who believe that governments need to consider incorporating the regulation of smokeless tobacco into policy frameworks.

A paper funded by Leeds City Council and the Medical Research Council links smokeless tobacco to more than 62,000 deaths due to cancers of the mouth, pharynx and oesophagus and accounted for more than 200,00 deaths from heart disease in 2010.

Licensed tobacco retailers throughout New York City are selling a substantial number of cigarette packs carrying either counterfeit or out-of-state tax stamps, finds an investigation by NYU public health researchers.

These illegal cigarette sales are more pervasive in independent stores, as opposed to chain stores. 

By Amanda Salis, University of Sydney

Dietary guidelines broadly recommend a daily intake of 10,000 kilojoules (2,400 calories) for men and 8,000 kilojoules (1,900 calories) for women. But what do these figures mean in the context of the number of kilojoules or calories you personally need to consume to attain and maintain a healthy body weight?

I’m going to stick with kilojoules in this article because kilojoules – not calories – are the metric unit for measuring energy, just as kilograms – not pounds – are the metric unit for measuring body weight.

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have identified the genes encoding a molecule that famously defines Group A Streptococcus (strep), a pathogenic bacterial species responsible for more than 700 million infections worldwide each year.

The findings, published online in the June 11 issue of Cell Host&Microbe, shed new light on how strep bacteria resists the human immune system and provides a new strategy for developing a safe and broadly effective vaccine against strep throat, necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) and rheumatic heart disease.

A large international analysis of 174,000 patients has shown conclusively that statin treatment reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.