Roundup: 1 in 3 Adults Misdiagnosed as Asthmatic; e-Cigarettes May Entice Teens Who Wouldn’t Otherwise Smoke

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January 27, 2017


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As many as one in three adults who’ve been diagnosed with asthma may not actually have the chronic respiratory disorder, a new study has found.

Researchers in Canada performed lung function tests on more than 600 adults diagnosed with asthma over the past five years.

One-third of them did not have the disease, the study concluded. Eighty percent of those people had been taking asthma drugs, and about 35 percent who were taking medication every day, the investigators found.

Participants who took asthma medicines were gradually weaned off the drugs over four clinic visits to see how well their lungs worked without treatment.  After one year of follow-up, 181 of the 203 who were classified as misdiagnosed still did well on lung tests, according to the findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Some of the patients who were misdiagnosed had other conditions other than asthma, and some did have asthma — but were in remission when tested as part of the study, says lead study author Shawn Aaron, M.D., of the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Among those misdiagnosed with asthma, 12 people, or 2 percent of the participants, had serious conditions other than asthma — such as heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or anxiety-related hyperventilation.

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E-Cigarettes May Entice Teens Who Wouldn’t Otherwise Smoke, Report Finds

Smoking among middle and high schoolers has declined steadily over the past decade, but that trend did not decrease further after e-cigarettes entered the U.S. market in 2007, a new study reports.

Those battery-powered “vaping” devices may actually entice some youth into smoking who otherwise wouldn’t have, potentially pushing them into a nicotine habit, researchers concluded in the report published in Pediatrics.

“E-cigarettes are encouraging—not discouraging—youth to smoke and to consume nicotine, and are expanding the tobacco market,” said Stanton Glantz, a study co-author and director of the University of California-San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research.

Since the introduction of e-cigarettes a decade ago, public health experts have debated whether these devices serve as a tool to help smokers quite the habit, or possibly a safer alternative to smoking traditional combustible cigarettes. But some studies have reported the opposite effect. E-cigs can lure a new generation into nicotine addiction, just as the overall U.S. smoking rate continues to fall among adults, experts say.

In the new study, researchers looked at data for more than 140,000 middle and high school students between 2004 and 2014. “The introduction of e-cigarettes was not associated with a change in the linear decline in cigarette smoking among youth,” researchers concluded.

The good news: The overall percentages of teens who said they smoked decreased from 40 percent to 22 percent over the ten-year period.

The bad news: Combined e-cigarette and cigarette use among these adolescents in 2014 was higher than total cigarette use in 2009.

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Florida Gets Mostly Failing Grades for Its ‘Tobacco Control’ Efforts

The American Lung Association (ALA) has issued grades to each state for its tobacco control efforts, including laws and policies aimed at reducing exposure to nicotine products and helping smokers kick the habit.

Out of five graded categories, Florida got four “F”s including one for “tobacco prevention and cessation funding,” according to the ALA’s State of Tobacco Control 2017. The rest of the report card included three failing grades for tobacco taxes, access to cessation services and the fact that you only have to be 18 to buy tobacco instead of 21.

Florida’s best showing was a ‘B’ for “smoke-free air,” because smoking is prohibited in restaurants and retail stores, and restricted in most bars.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.

The ALA has warned that the use of e-cigarettes and hookah among young people has sharply increased. This trend calls for state to increase the cost of tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, the ALA says.

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