Banning e-cigarette flavors could boost cigarette sales – Journalist’s Resource

E-cigarettes come in over 7,000 flavors. If the flavors were banned, as American regulators wish, more people are likely to smoke traditional cigarettes.


Smoking costs the American economy over $300 million annually, according to government figures. Each year, cigarettes kill almost half a million people prematurely; another 40,000 die from exposure to second-hand smoke.

So e-cigarettes might be cause for celebration. From a harm-reduction perspective, “vape pens,” as they’re also known, may be a good alternative to what researchers call “combustible cigarettes.” They do not emit second-hand smoke and may even help smokers quit.

Yet as e-cigarettes have exploded in popularity, regulators have grown concerned about the way they are marketed in over 7,000 flavors. The Food and Drug Administration tried and failed to ban the flavors in 2016, arguing that they appeal to children and that the long-term effect of e-cigarettes remains unknown.

A ban, however, could have unintended consequences, finds a 2017 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

John Buckell of Yale University and his team surveyed 2,031 adult American smokers and recent quitters about their preferences. Their findings present the net impact of different policy proposals, such as banning e-cigarette flavors, banning menthol cigarettes (the only flavor of traditional cigarettes allowed by American law) or banning both:

  • To reduce the use of combustible cigarettes the most, policymakers should ban only menthol cigarettes. This would cut the number of combustible smokers by 4.8 percent; 1.3 percent would stop smoking altogether and e-cigarette use would rise by 3.5 percent.
  • To reduce the use of all cigarette types, policymakers should ban both menthol cigarettes and e-cigarette flavors. The number of combustible cigarette smokers would rise by 2.7 percent, yet overall the number of smokers would fall 5.2 percent.
  • By contrast, the FDA’s proposed ban on all e-cigarette flavors would increase the number of combustible smokers: 8.3 percent of e-cigarette smokers would switch to combustible smokes and 3 percent would quit altogether.

Check out other research on public health and smoking.

Last updated: October 6, 2017

READ MORE HERE: Banning e-cigarette flavors could boost cigarette sales – Journalist’s Resource

Farmed versus wild: Research worth reviewing if you enjoy salmon

The debate over farmed salmon raises a number of health and environmental questions. This explainer and research review will help journalists sort through the noise.



Evidenced by the rapidly growing salmon-farm industry, salmon is one of the world’s most popular fish. The volume of farmed Atlantic salmon increased almost 1,000 percent between 1990 and 2015, according to United Nations statistics; 75 percent of all the salmon we eat is farm-raised. Wild-caught salmon, meanwhile, has become a luxury; it’s harder to find and generally more expensive.

Aquaculture is often hailed as a solution to feeding our growing planet. A 2017 study in Nature Ecology & Evolution estimates that fish farms could produce 15 billion tons of fish per year, over 100 times more seafood than humans currently eat. In the case of Atlantic salmon — the most popular farmed variety — these farms consist of large cages anchored offshore, primarily in Norway, Chile, Canada and Scotland. The sea cages are susceptible to parasites like sea lice and other predators, which pisciculturists often fight with pesticides and other chemicals.

Fish farm
(Wikimedia commons/Asc1733)

A growing body of research — accompanied by an explosion of media reports with conflicting information — suggests consumers have questions about farmed salmon and the risks it could pose to their health and the environment. This brief overview will identify trends in academic research and media coverage: the risks of sea lice and pesticides, antibiotic use and ecological concerns.



Life expectancy may now predict American partisanship 

Americans are not all enjoying the same life expectancy gains. The differences, when mapped by county, could have predicted the 2016 presidential election.

America in recent decades has seen increases in life expectancy, a proxy for quality health care. We gained, on average, 5.3 years between 1980 and 2014. But the uneven distribution of these gains may be influencing political affiliation.

Counties that enjoyed above-average gains overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, according to a forthcoming paper. The majority of people in counties with below-average gains voted for Donald Trump.

Boston University’s Jacob Bor presents these discoveries in the American Journal of Public Health. He also compares voter shares by party in 2008 and 2016, two recent presidential elections that lacked an incumbent.

  • In 781 counties, life expectancy increased less than 3 years between 1980 and 2014. In those areas, the Republican vote share grew 9.1 percentage points between 2008 and 2016.
  • In counties where life expectancy grew more than 7 years, Democrats saw vote share grow 3.5 percentage points.
  • For each year of life expectancy gain in a county, the Republican vote share fell 2.3 percentage points.

Bor suggests the opioid epidemic and diverging access to medical care are factors in this growing divide.

Last updated: September 27, 2017

Citation: Bor, Jacob. “Diverging Life Expectancies and Voting Patterns in the 2016 US Presidential Election.” American Journal of Public Health, October 2017. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303945.

Source: Life expectancy may now predict American partisanship – Journalist’s Resource

Kidnapping: For parents of school-age kids, turns out birth mothers, along with female relatives are most likely to abduct children 

Some key findings:

  • 4 percent of children in the sample had experienced family abduction or kidnapping and 1.2 percent had experienced it within the past year. Based on this information, the researchers estimate that 875,000 children a year – 12 per 1,000 — are either abducted or kidnapped by a relative.
  • Parents were the perpetrators in more than 90 percent of kidnappings and abductions. Mothers and female family members were responsible for the majority – 60 percent. However, fathers and male relatives were responsible for 64 percent of all kidnappings.
  • Children who have been abducted or kidnapped are more likely to be from low-income households and have separated, estranged or divorced parents. In two-parent families, an estimated nine children per 1,000 experience an abduction or kidnapping compared to 84 per 1,000 in single-parent households.
  • 43 percent of abductions and kidnappings were reported to the police, including 86 percent of family kidnappings.

READ MORE HERE: Mothers, female relatives are most likely to abduct children – Journalist’s Resource