From my American Association for Justice morning newsletter –
E-cigarettes may pose health risks, especially for minors.
Business Insider (3/5, Brodwin, 4.07M) reports that e-cigarettes “are not without health risks,” and since “they contain nicotine, e-cigarettes are especially dangerous for kids and teens whose brains are still developing.” Specifically “in young people, nicotine appears to blunt emotional control as well as decision-making and impulse-regulation skills,” which “most likely helped prompt a warning about e-cigs from the US surgeon general in December.” In that public advisory, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams “discussed these concerns and said young people should never use e-cigs.” He said, “We need to protect our kids from all tobacco products, including all shapes and sizes of e-cigarettes.” The article adds that some e-cigarettes “appear to contain toxic metals, and using them has been tied to an increased risk of a heart attack.” Experts “say there’s a lot we still don’t know about” vaping “and how it could affect the body.”
Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) received one of the three Medfield Foundation Legacy Fund inaugural grants, one for $5,000, which MCAP will use to hire a grant writer so as to apply for the $625K five year federal grant ($125K/year) for substance abuse prevention staffing in town.
I represent the town government sector at MCAP, and at our meeting a week from tomorrow I will be trying to write that sector’s DFC grant action plan with Amanda Decker of Bright Solutions. Below is part of what Dedham included in its grant application, which was taken from the grant language itself. Here is a link to the PDF:
From my American Association for Justice daily e-newsletter –
Massachusetts AG investigating whether Juul Labs took adequate steps to prevent sales to minors.
Reuters (7/24, Raymond) reports Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said at a press briefing that her office has opened an investigation into Juul Labs Inc. and online retailers Direct Eliquid LLC and Eonsmoke LLC to determine if they broke state law by “failing to prevent minors from buying their products.” The investigation intends to evaluate the effectiveness of Juul underage sales prevention efforts and what it does, “if anything” to stop its products from being sold by online retailers without age verification. The office said it was sending cease-and-desist letters to the online retailers to stop sales of Juul and e-cigarettes to Massachusetts residents “without adequate age verification systems.”
CNBC (7/24, LaVito, 4.81M) reports Healey said, “I want to be clear with the public. This isn’t about getting adults to stop smoking cigarettes. This is about getting kids to start vaping. That’s what these companies are up to. They’re engaged in an effort to get kids addicted, get them hooked so they will have customers for the rest of their lives.” Healey’s office will investigate whether the Massachusetts consumer protection statute or state e-cigarette regulations were violated.
The Hill (7/24, Wheeler, 2.71M) reports Healey “said Tuesday morning her office has sent Juul Labs subpoenas for information.” The Verge (7/24, Becker, 1.55M) reports the investigation is part of “a statewide push to end youth vaping and nicotine addiction.”
Interesting article from a Boston Globe email today. 20% of Massachusetts adults drink excessively, which makes it a major societal issue, as lots of societal costs result from that behavior. –
Perspective | Magazine
The legal drug we should be worried about isn’t marijuana
Alcohol is a far more dangerous substance. Yet the state of Massachusetts is thinking about making it easier to get.
By Gianmarco Raddi
Massachusetts recently issued its first recreational marijuana license, bringing pot more fully into the ranks of regulated substances. Bravo! Decriminalizing drugs is a tactic that has been demonstrated to reduce their harm, notably in Portugal. And legalizing pot in Colorado and other states has not led to a surge in usage and related crime — or indeed even that collective societal zombification predicted by legalization opponents. But regulation is not a panacea, as we’re seeing with a substance that’s been legal for much longer: alcohol.
Almost 1 in 5 adults in Massachusetts drinks excessively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the higher rates in the United States. Consumption comes with substantial costs. For instance, the Massachusetts economy lost more than $5.6 billion in 2010, according to a 2015 study, from lost productivity, health care expenses, and other costs, including those from accidents caused by drunken driving. About 31 percent of driving deaths in the state in 2016 were alcohol-related. Nationally there are more than 88,000 alcohol-related deaths every year.
Beyond the statistics is the tragic personal impact of alcohol abuse: broken families, physical and sexual assaults, and infants born with physical abnormalities and mental disabilities when expectant mothers consume. Heavy alcohol consumption causes other serious illnesses, too. Liver disease and strokes are the two big killers, but as a medical student on rounds, I saw one patient whose drinking had caused issues leading to the removal of several abdominal organs. I was startled when that patient told me, “I would still drink if I could.” Also, people addicted to alcohol can die if they’re deprived of it, which is not the case with pot or even cocaine. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome claims the lives of between 5 and 10 percent of those who suffer from it.
Yet, we are bombarded with ads selling us on alcohol’s magical properties. Commercials seduce us with the promise that drinking will bring us happy, active social lives featuring sensual, fit men and women. Alcohol is indeed life altering; in 2010, British researchers ranked alcohol as the most harmful drug, legal or illegal, beating out heroin and crack cocaine.
The American approach to drinking is irrational, and must change. Two years ago, public health officials in the United Kingdom cut their recommended alcohol consumption limits to no more than seven 6-ounce glasses of wine or six pints of beer a week, for both men and women. A recent study by scientists at the University of Cambridge made the startling find that after five drinks a week, each one lowers life expectancy by 30 minutes. This is comparable to the life expectancy smokers are expected to lose per cigarette.
Care to guess what the recommended alcohol consumption limit is in the United States? The Department of Health and Human Services dietary guidelines allow men two drinks a day, or about 77 percent more alcohol per week than the United Kingdom does (suggested limits for US women are slightly lower than those in the UK).
From a public health perspective, the answer is crystal clear: We must immediately lower recommended drinking levels in the United States and then strive to reduce alcohol consumption. Following the model used for cigarettes, we should add strongly worded public health warnings on alcoholic beverages, ban alcohol advertisements, and decrease product visibility.
This will not be easy. The alcohol industry is a behemoth — the global alcoholic beverages market was valued at $1.34 trillion in 2015 — and is sure to fight back against attempts to enforce drinking guidelines. But we know it can be done. Tens of millions of people have quit smoking. If you are among them, never even touched a cigarette, or feel under siege for your habit, you are living proof that decades of coordinated assaults by public health experts on tobacco have worked. These efforts are estimated to have saved 8 million American lives over the last 50 years. Turning the public against the Marlboro Man shows societal attitudes toward drugs can change.
This is not a moral call, nor a cry for abstinence: The results of the American experiment with Prohibition were clear. And, drinking wine within recommended guidelines may reduce heart attack risk (sorry, beer and spirits drinkers, the same does not apply to you).
Instead of dogmatic approaches, we need a public conversation on why we drink to stupor, on the damage alcohol can cause, and on how to best regulate its consumption. All the controversy about where to let pot dispensaries open obscures the truth that we already patronize establishments dedicated to the consumption of legal narcotics: bars. Massachusetts is ridiculed for abolishing happy hour, but bringing it back would play into the hands of the liquor industry, which is known to target heavy drinkers, “super consumers” who are highly profitable for the industry. This is irresponsible if not immoral, and it ought to be illegal.
Late last year, the state’s Alcohol Task Force called for major changes in Massachusetts liquor laws, including relaxing some restrictions, which could increase drinking, while also recommending measures that will raise prices, which should lower consumption. The Legislature has since taken little action. You can help counter the power of industry lobbyists: Contact your state legislators and urge them to make sure any revisions to the law rein in cheap alcohol, help reduce binge drinking, and safeguard us from the worst effects of liquor.
Gianmarco Raddi is an MD/PHD student at the University of Cambridge and the University of California at Los Angeles. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the best of the magazine’s award-winning stories and features right in your e-mail inbox every Sunday.Sign up here.
I started this blog to share the interesting and useful information that I saw while doing my job as a Medfield selectman. I thought that my fellow Medfield residents would also find that information interesting and useful as well. This blog is my effort to assist in creating a system to push the information out from the Town House to residents. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how it can be done better.
For information on my other job as an attorney (personal injury, civil litigation, estate planning and administration, and real estate), please feel free to contact me at 617-969-1501 or Osler.Peterson@OslerPeterson.com.