The California Department of Public Health recently released two ads that target electronic cigarettes as the industry’s new addictive and highly toxic commodity. Two videos posted on the TobaccoFreeCA YouTube page highlights big tobacco as the primary driving force behind the rise in fame of e-cigarettes. Both ads claim that “there’s a lot the e-cig industry isn’t telling us about vaping.”
The first video ad entitled “Kids Aren’t Alright” shows how kids are being lured towards the seemingly innocent and ultra-trendy reputation of the electronic cigarette. Set to the tune of “Lollipop”, the ad reveals the exploitation of big tobacco companies on kids who don’t know any better.
Meanwhile, the second ad called “What Could Go Wrong” sends a strong message that e-cigarettes are backed up by the big tobacco industry.
The hazards of e-cigarette use have not been completely identified, but the Department of Public Health says that the chemicals inhaled through vaping can cause lung cancer as well.
The hippocampus is the human brain’s storage for long-term memory, and was recently found by scientists to be one of the casualties of heavy cannabis use by teenagers.
This discovery was based on a study by researchers from the Northwestern Medicine who conducted memory tests on young adults who took marijuana for about three years starting at age 16 to 17. Results of the study showed that these individuals fared 18 percent worse in tests that assessed long-term memory, compared to those who did not engage in marijuana abuse.
Study senior author Dr. John Csernansky, who works at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine as head of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, said that marijuana use may lead people to serious repercussions not only to memory but also to relationships. “The memory processes that appear to be affected by cannabis are ones that we use every day to solve common problems and to sustain our relationships with friends and family,” Csernansky said in a news statement.
The study discovered that part of the reason behind the disruption of memory storage is the abnormal shape of the hippocampus in people engaging in chronic marijuana use. This was confirmed by lead study author Matthew Smith, based on not only the current study but also an earlier one. “Both our recent studies link the chronic use of marijuana during adolescence to these differences in the shape of brain regions that are critical to memory and that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it,” Smith said. Although further studies are needed to prove a direct causality of marijuana to create brain changes, Smith added that the team’s study is already proof that “marijuana may be the cause.”
As authorities zero in on prescription drug abuse and its effects on society, drug agencies are fearing that the situation — if left untreated or intervened — may lead to worse effects.
The San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse issued a statement via a news item, saying that unwarranted use of prescription drugs may eventually lead to dependence on other illicit substances such as heroin. “We see a lot of pain medications that are being abused, and that becomes a gateway drug for heroin abuse,” according to Abigail Moore of the San Antonio drug council.
What’s scary is the fact that many teenagers believe that prescription drugs are not dangerous compared to other types of drugs, which could probably explain why more adolescents are hooked on opioid medication. “Whether it’s adolescents abusing or taking prescription from their parents, or adults a using prescriptions that are prescribed to them or other family members, this is on the rise,” Moore said.
To make things worse, dependence on painkillers may lead to tolerance. “We’ve taken assessments where people have admitted to taking 30-40 pills day,” Moore expressed. In addition, heroin continues to be a growing business as proven by the rise in arrests due to heroin use by up to four times since 2008.
Early and successful intervention to treat anxiety in children and adolescents may decrease the likelihood of considering suicide during adulthood, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Study lead author Courtney Benjamin Wolk, who works as the school’s Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, expressed the importance of treating anxiety at a young age. “”This study underscores the importance of the identification and evidence-based treatment of youth anxiety,” Wolk said in a news release.
The study involved following up the condition of 66 patients who were identified during their childhood to be diagnosed with anxiety (generalized, separation, or social). Forty of the patients were able to successfully complete cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). After 7 to 19 years from the completion of the therapy, the remaining 26 patients who did not respond to CBT intervention were revealed to have thought about committing suicide within a year before the follow-up.”This study suggests the importance of ongoing monitoring of anxious youth who are not successfully treated for later suicidal ideation,” said study co-author Rinad Beidas, assistant professor of the research center.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
If you think the warning signs on your cigarette pack aren’t effective enough to help you quit smoking, this new invention might be the answer: A teenager from Dubai created a cigarette pack that talks!
Dubai resident Achilles Ash, 14 years old, created a special flip-top cigarette box that activates an audio-recorded message that tells about the health risks of smoking. The mechanism is similar to a musical birthday card that plays a tune when the reader opens it. The teenager believes that his invention would leave a more lasting impact on the smoker than the printed warning ads. “It would be much more effective than the written warnings. They are also economically viable as I was able to get a chip from a card I bought for (2 Dirham),” Ash said.
The whole idea sprung up when he remembered how amused he was with musical cards. “Suddenly, this idea stuck me and I bought a new musical card and took out the chip and tried working with it… My father brought me an old cigarette packet. I also attached the red light from the card on to the cigarette packet. So when the packet is opened, the red light shines to warn the person, and the recorded message starts,” Ash added.
Ash began his personal quest against smoking when he experienced his first puff at age five. “I tried a puff and that was it. I started coughing and found it very hard to breathe,” the young inventor said.
[ Image source: The National UAE ]
Pregnancy is a highly sensitive condition for many women, but a large proportion of teenage pregnancies are jeopardized by use of alcohol and drugs.
This was reported by a recent study by The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, in which Christopher Salas-Wright and a team of researchers investigated a possible link between teenage pregnancy and substance abuse. The research team discovered that 59 percent of pregnant teenagers have used drugs or alcohol for the past 12 months. It also revealed that 34 percent of pregnant adolescents aged 12 to 14 used controlled substances in the past 30 days prior to the survey. Details of the study were published in the Addictive Behaviors’ Spring 2015 edition.
The study used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2012, specifically on teenage girls 12 to 17 years old. Out of the representative sample of 97,850 female adolescents, 810 of them declared that they were with child. Questions from the survey included use of illicit substances such as cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and alcohol.
According to a news release by UT, alcohol tops the most commonly used substances by pregnant teens, pegged at 16 percent. Cannabis and other illicit substances follow suit at 14 and 5 percent, respectively.
Salas-Wright, an assistant professor at UT, said that their study was the largest research on teenage pregnancy and substance use. The team emphasized the importance of information to prevent substance use by pregnant teens. “Mothers’ substance use during pregnancy can have important consequences for the health and development of newborn babies. Despite efforts to prevent substance use among pregnant teens, our findings suggest that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Salas-Wright.