Quick Hits: FDA Cracks Down on Flavored E-Cigs, No CV or Cancer Benefit from Fish Oil and Vitamin D Supplements & More

The FDA is proposing new restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes as well as a ban on flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes as part of an effort to curb youth smoking and vaping. Under the agency’s proposal, flavored e-cig liquids and pods can only be sold in stores that have age-restricted entry or areas inside stores where those under 18 are not permitted. This essentially means that the products would only be available in vape and tobacco stores and not convenience stores and gas stations. In addition, the FDA will require “heightened age verification processes” for sales of flavored e-cigs online. The agency also released new data from its National Youth Tobacco Survey which showed that between 2017 and 2018, the number of high school students using e-cigarettes increased by 78%. There was a 48% increase among middle school students. About 3.6 million high school and middle school students currently use e-cigarettes. Last year, that figure was 2.1 million. Posted November 15, 2018. Via FDA.

Taking omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) and vitamin D supplements isn’t any better than taking a placebo at preventing major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, or cancer. In a study, researchers recruited 25,871 healthy people 50 and older. They were then given either a fish oil supplement, vitamin D supplement, both supplements or a placebo. Participants were followed for an average of about five years. Results showed that taking fish oil supplements did not result in lower rates of cardiovascular events or cancer compared to placebo. Likewise, taking vitamin D pills didn’t result in a lower incidence of cardiovascular events or cancer compared to placebo. Secondary findings did indicate that those on fish oil pills had a 28% lower risk of heart attack, and there were fewer cancer deaths among those on vitamin D pills for at least two years. Posted November 10, 2018. Via New England Journal of Medicine.

Half of older patients are prescribed medications that may be inappropriate. This puts seniors at greater likelihood of experiencing adverse drug events, reduced quality of life and an increased risk of emergency room visits and hospital stays. A new study, which looked at older patients in Ireland, also found that a hospital stay is associated with an increased risk of being inappropriately prescribed medication. The potentially inappropriate prescribing is due to adding medications to existing regimens and neglecting to stop or at least reduce dosages of drugs after discharge from hospital. The study’s authors say better coordination of care, especially for seniors who have many medical conditions, can help to reduce the risk of medication errors, adverse drug events and readmission to the hospital. Posted November 14, 2018. Via BMJ.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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