July 30, 2019
Over the last four weeks, eight Wisconsin teenagers have been hospitalized with severe lung damage. The news that vaping caused these illnesses has swept across social media and is, predictably, being used to push for more government restrictions on e-cigarettes. But, what few of these reports have pointed out is that it seems most—if not all—of the hospitalizations were related, not to e-cigarettes, but illicit “street vapes.”
July 16, 2019
Is this a story from The Onion? It’s a question we often ask ourselves these days when we encounter stories online that seem too ridiculous to be true. Sadly, Cheantay Jensen’s recent article about why she returned to smoking is not satire.
July 12, 2019
News reports this week described the tragic death of a British woman, who died last November while using a metal straw. Apparently, Elena Struthers-Gardner, a former jockey who was disabled from a work-related injury, tripped while holding a mason jar with a metal straw affixed to the lid. When she fell, the straw went through an eye and then into her brain.
June 24, 2019
Environmental activists threw an ever-predictable tantrum after Environmental Protection Agency officials indicated last month that they may eliminate EPA grants to a number of university-based children’s environmental health centers. Headlining their rhetoric were assertions that defunding these centers represents a heartless attempt to undermine children’s health. Lost in this melee is the fact that these centers don’t have any measurable impact on children’s health, nor do they add much to the body of research on that topic.
June 12, 2019
There is good news for young entrepreneurs coming out of the Lone Star State, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recently signed a bill allowing children to operate lemonade stands without needing a permit. Specifically, it “prohibits cities and neighborhood associations from enacting rules that block or regulate minors trying to sell nonalcoholic beverages on private property.”
May 16, 2019
Readers of The New York Times deserve better than advertising masquerading as righteous opinion writing. While reporters at Times get credit for exploring and exposing conflicts of interest among its reporters or sources, their commitment to ethical journalism is not consistently applied. See the paper’s coverage of e-cigarette controversies.
April 15, 2019
E-cigarettes pose less risk than smoking. The science is clear: while cigarettes kill about half their users, e-cigarettes have perhaps five percent of the risk. Therefore, e-cigarettes have the ability to save the lives of those smokers who switch to vaping. Yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is trying to eradicate e-cigarettes, a move that would sacrifice smoker lives and squander one of the greatest public health opportunities of our generation.
April 4, 2019
Journalists aren’t the only purveyors of “fake news.” Federal agencies also generate misleading headlines. Sometimes, they do it with a purpose. That seems to be the case with the Food and Drug Administration’s recent press release warning the public about a possible link between e-cigarettes and seizures.
April 1, 2019
In a tidal wave of Washington drama, President Trump’s Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb abruptly and unexpectedly announced in March 2019 that he would be resigning. His reasons remain a source of mystery and speculation, but that means there’s a huge opportunity now to get a replacement who does better at adhering to the principles of FDA’s mission and improving the effectiveness of FDA policy across all programs.
March 19, 2019
Maryland consumers may soon be deprived of one of my favorite products: plastic foam coffee cups. The Maryland House of Delegates has already passed a bill that would ban all containers made with polystyrene foam, which—if eventually signed by Gov. Larry Hogan—would be the first statewide foam container ban. But that move will likely do more environmental harm than good, despite claims to the contrary.