Power. Progress. Prevention. August 2, 2019

Published on August 2, 2019

Updated on April 17, 2023

Power. Progress. Prevention. -- An Advocacy Newsletter | Prevent Cancer Foundation

August 2, 2019

New study finds chemicals in “vape Juice”  


A study released this week from researchers at Yale and Duke Universities found traces of chemicals known as acetals in “vape juice,” the liquid used in many electronic cigarettes and vaporizers. Researchers looked at eight flavors of Juul e-liquids, which have different mixtures than many other brands on the market – as reported from previous research in October 2018 which this study builds upon.

Acetals are formed from alcohol and aldehydes, chemicals used to flavor foods and other products. Researchers found that, when heated, some of the flavors react to form these acetals, which then irritate the lungs and airways. The study’s lead author, Hanno Erythropel, said, while the aldehydes in small doses are generally safe when consumed in foods, vaping introduces the acetals as you breathe.

“You’re breathing this in. We didn’t imagine people would be inhaling flavor compounds at the level they are now,” he said.

When asked about the study, Lindsay Andrews, a spokeswoman from JUUL, said the aldehydes cited in the study far exceeded “real world” exposure from JUUL pods.

The researchers say more data is needed to determine the impacts; however, the study further highlights the growing concerns about vaping among teens and young adults. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report more than 3 million middle and high schoolers use e-cigarettes. Last week, eight teens were hospitalized in Wisconsin with “seriously damaged lungs” – all of them reporting they had vaped in the weeks and months prior.

Congresswomen introduce bill to support breast cancer awareness funding

Nurse with patientRepresentatives Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) and Susan Brooks (R-IN) introduced the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act this week. The bill reauthorizes an existing program within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which raises awareness and provides education, outreach and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer as well as young women at higher risk for development breast cancer.

When asked about the bill, Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz said, “Reauthorizing the EARLY Act means that we will continue the vital work of educating young and higher risk women about their breast health and direct their attention to this deadly disease. We must continue supporting initiatives that help identify high-risk women, collect family histories and educate doctors.”

Congresswoman Brooks further highlighted the importance of raising awareness and education for both young women and their doctors, adding “It is important to reauthorize the EARLY Act because it shines a necessary spotlight on the threats posed by breast cancer to young women. I’m proud to lead this bill with my friend and cancer survivor Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz because it seeks to educate health care professionals and the public about the importance of young women’s breast health and supports research that will help end breast cancer once and for all.”

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® proudly supports the EARLY Act and its important goal of raising awareness and education to support young women with breast cancer. 

Trump administration introduces plan to allow importation of drug

This week the Trump administration announced a new proposal that would allow for the importation of certain drugs from Canada and other countries. The proposal creates two channels through which importation may happen.

The first allows states to submit plans to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a demonstration project. If approved, states could begin importing drugs which have already been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration and meet efficacy and safety standards. However, any “biological products,” such as insulin, would be excluded.

Under the second pathway, pharmaceutical companies would be able to “import versions of FDA-approved drug products that they sell in foreign countries that are the same as the U.S. versions.” While it is unclear why manufactures would engage in this practice, the administration claims that several companies have either privately or publicly approached HHS about offering lower-priced versions of their products; however, they have been unable to do so due to contracts with other parties in the supply pipeline. 

Although the proposal is a big move to address drug pricing, it is unclear when it would take effect. The administration would need to open the proposal for public comment and finalize it – a process which could take months, if not years. Also, while drug makers could potentially start importation more quickly after a finalized rule, states would only be allowed to launch demonstration projects that the administration may not scale up nationally for a quite some time (if at all).

Lobbyists in Canada have reportedly been encouraging the government not to engage with the US on the proposal over concerns that it may seriously impact the Canadian drug supply, as their population is much smaller.

This is a developing story. We will provide updates as they occur.

Congress passes new budget deal

Congress passed a massive two-year budget deal, which is expected to add an estimated $1.7 trillion to the national deficit and suspends the debt ceiling until 2021. The House passed the measure last week by a vote of 284-149 before heading into a six-week recess, while the Senate voted 67-28 on Thursday before heading into their own recess. The budget will now go to the president’s desk, where he is expected to sign.

The deal had plenty of bipartisan support, with each side getting some concessions. Democrats
secured additional funding to fight the opioid crisis and support the 2020 census, while Republicans were able to obtain more military spending. However, not everyone was pleased. The higher increases to non-defense spending without any significant offsets upset many Republicans.

Senator Rand Paul said, “Both parties have deserted – have absolutely and utterly deserted – America and show no care and no understanding and no sympathy for the burden of debt they are leaving the taxpayers.”

Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said he was certain the bill would “strengthen national security” and “clear the way for critical investments to the middle class.”

The final numbers resulted in $738 billion and $740 billion in defense funding for 2020 and 2021, respectively, and $632 billion and $634.5 billion for 2020 and 2021.

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