TIME E-Cigarettes

E-Cigarettes May Be Just As Addictive As Cigarettes

e-cigarette-nicotine-vaping-smoking-cigarette
Victor de Schwanber / Getty Images A person "vapes," or smokes an e-cigarette.

The most addictive form of nicotine commonly found in cigarettes is often the same as the one found in cigarettes.

Vapers—or e-cigarette smokers—aren’t any safer from developing addiction, finds a new study released Thursday.

The basis of the pro-vaping argument has been that e-cigarettes don’t contain the harmful chemicals in and byproducts of tobacco cigarettes. There’s nicotine, to be sure, but not all nicotine is the same. Vaping proponents have said that the type found in cigarettes is a highly addictive form, and the type of nicotine in e-cigarettes is less addicting.

“This perception [of e-cigs being safer] stems from the fact that e-cigs are electrically powered devices that heat and vaporize a nicotine-containing flavored liquid to produce an inhalable aerosol, without involving combustion and presumably much of the exposure to combustion-related toxicants,” such as carbon monoxide and nitric oxide, the authors wrote.

But a new study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Research in Toxicology, indicates that nine out of 17 common, commercially available e-cigarettes contained the most addictive kind of nicotine.

Critics have long held that e-cigs contain ingredients that make them essentially a cigarette in terms of addictive power. There is also evidence that e-cigs may not be an effective means to quitting (some research shows that 75% of Americans who vape also smoke).

TIME Addiction

‘Very Light’ Smoking Is Increasing Among Young American Women

young woman smoking
Artem Furman / Getty Images A young woman smoking

But the habit isn't safe, the authors of a new study warn

For a large swath of young American women, light smoking is growing in popularity, according to a new study.

In new research published in Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin were intrigued by other studies that noted a spike in casual smoking in recent years. To find out more about very light smokers, they analyzed a sample of 9,789 women between ages 18 and 25 from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The researchers asked the women if they had smoked part or all of a cigarette in the past 30 days; those who said they had were classified as current smokers, while those who hadn’t, but had smoked previously, were considered “former” smokers.

While heavy smoking—a pack a day—has decreased in the U.S., the researchers found that 27% of all people in the study—and 62% of the current smokers—identified as very light smokers, a habit of five or fewer cigarettes a day. It also can mean skipping smoking some days, then picking up a cigarette every so often. In fact, this kind of casual smoking—what many people often refer to as “only smoking when drunk”—has become predominant, particularly because of its perceived lack of health effects, the study authors note. Many light smokers consider smoking “only once in a while” as not harmful; while they understood smoking to be risky, the authors write, they did not consider the risk as high as non-smokers.

Interestingly, a specific group of women emerged as “light” and “very light” smokers: 18- to 20-year-old single women with some college education.

The research team thinks young women entering adulthood are at particular risk for smoking, perhaps because young adulthood is a time of stress and anxiety and because smoking fewer cigarettes is cheaper than a heavier habit.

But even a very light habit isn’t safe, the authors warn. Research has indicated repeatedly that picking up even one cigarette puts a woman at increased risk for health problems. The fact that the women who are smoking lightly tend to be young and of childbearing age is especially worrisome, they note, since smoking can not only affect conceiving and fertility but can also put women at higher risk for disorders such as cancer of the cervix.

Beyond pregnancy effects, very light smokers are susceptible to the same issues that affect heavier smokers, including depression, psychological distress, and dependence on other controlled substances, the study found. And while the research team did not correlate smoking with binge drinking, they found that heavy and light smokers were similar in their patterns of past alcohol bingeing.

“Social features of college life, including weekend partying, may promote smoking at a very light level among college women,” the authors write. “Emotional distress and multiple substance misuse may serve to both initiate and maintain very light smoking.”

The authors write that anti-smoking campaigns—which tend to focus on heavier smokers—still haven’t yet reduced the “cool” factor associated with taking a drag, even an occasional one.

“Advertising aimed at women attempts to associate smoking with independence, attractiveness, and sophistication,” the study notes. “To meet the challenge of the tobacco industry, smoking intervention programs and policies directed at emerging-adult women need to be based on an understanding of the diverse characteristics…associated with very light smoking in this population.”

TIME Addiction

Majority of Americans Agree You Should Be 21 to Buy Tobacco

Three out of every four American adults favor increasing the minimum age from 18

Three out of every four American adults favor increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The study, released by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on Tuesday, also found that smokers overwhelmingly agreed; 7 of 10 cigarette smokers backed raising the minimum age.

Brian King, acting deputy director for research translation at the Center for Disease Control’s Office on Smoking and Health, highlighted the health benefits that could come from such an increase. “It could delay the age of first experimenting with tobacco, reducing the likelihood of transitioning to regular use and increasing the likelihood that those who do become regular users can quit.”

Most states require tobacco purchases to be made by someone who is at least 18; in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, and Utah, the minimum age is 19. Hawaii, however, already has a must-be-21 to purchase tobacco rule in place.

The data came from a 2014 online survey of 4,219 adults over 18. A separate study earlier this year found that if the all states were to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21, there would be a 12% decrease in smokers along with 250,000 fewer premature deaths.

TIME Addiction

Heroin Use in U.S. Reaches Epidemic Levels

Heroin use has increased 63% in 11 years

Heroin use in the United States has skyrocketed, spreading to include groups who previously were less likely to abuse the drug.

New data released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that heroin use increased 63% between 2002 and 2013, and heroin-related overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled over the same time period. In 2013 an estimated 517,000 people reported that they had used heroin in the last year or had a heroin-related dependence, a 150% increase from 2007. More than 8,200 people died of heroin-related overdose in 2013, according to national surveys published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

While heroin use continues to be most common among men between the ages of 18 and 25 who make less than $20,000, the CDC researchers note that in recent years people in nearly every demographic group are using the drug more. For instance, heroin use has doubled among women and non-Hispanic white people.

MORE: Why You Don’t Know About the Heroin Vaccine

“Heroin use has increased rapidly across the U.S. and throughout society,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden during a press conference. “With that increase we are seeing a dramatic rise in deaths.”

Addiction to prescription pain killers may be fueling some of the rise in heroin use. As TIME has reported, people who are addicted to painkillers may make the switch to heroin since it’s cheaper, doesn’t require a prescription, and offers a similar high. According to the CDC, those who are addicted to prescription opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. “Most heroin users have a history of nonmedical use of prescription opioid pain relievers, and an increase in the rate of heroin overdose deaths has occurred concurrently with an epidemic of prescription opioid overdoses,” the study authors write.

The report also shows that Americans using heroin are likely to be using other drugs. People addicted to cocaine are also 15 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. And the latest data shows that 96% of people who used heroin in the last year reported using at least one other drug during the same period, with 61% reporting they used at least three different drugs.

The CDC says comprehensive interventions need to happen at the federal and state levels, and health care providers need to follow best practices prescribe pain killers responsibly. As part of that effort, the government is increasing access to substance abuse treatment under the Affordable Care Act and increasing education and training for providers. States can address the problem by implementing prescription drug monitoring programs and expanding access to opioid overdose antidote naloxone, the CDC says.

Read Next: Why America Can’t Kick its Painkiller Problem

TIME movies

Joe Manganiello Opens Up About His Battle with Addiction

attends the European Premiere of "Magic Mike XXL" at Vue West End on June 30, 2015 in London, England.
Dave Hogan—Getty Images attends the European Premiere of Magic Mike XXL at Vue West End on June 30, 2015, in London, England

"I'm so lucky to have found that right person for me"

He’s engaged, starring in the hottest movie of the summer and was deemed one of the sexiest men alive.

But Joe Manganiello says none of that erases the struggle to stay sober – a commitment he says still requires strength and focus.

“I battled with addiction at a young age and got to the other side of that,” he tells Haute Living for its July/August cover story. “That’s an ongoing battle.”

The Magic Mike XXL star, 38, revealed his struggle with alcoholism in late 2013, telling HuffPo Live his life was “ruined” for a period in his 20s when he was homeless, jobless and careless. At the time of the interview, he said he hadn’t had a drink in 11 years.

Manganiello touched on his struggles in a book he published at the time,Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You’ve Always Wanted. Now, he says he’s considering opening up about his recovery even more.

“I was writing a one-man show at some point, and maybe I’ll pick up with that or turn that into a book; there are some hurdles that were thrown my way in life that I had to get over [that I want to discuss],” he told Haute Living. “I think there’s a story in there somewhere about trying to find my way through that and making it to where I am today.”

Where he is today is engaged to be married to Sofia Vergara, and he tells the magazine the pair work because they are both “grounded.”

Case in point? When he suggested to his bride-to-be that they consider starring in a movie together, he says she wisely rejected the idea on the grounds that she didn’t want them to make a flop along the lines of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez‘s famously panned joint project.

“Her fear is that we’d make the next Gigli,” he says, and said he agreed with her after some reflection. “We get along so well together; I’m so lucky to have found that right person for me, and I know she feels the same way. We’re really good with each other. Why risk f—ing that up?”

The actor also confirms that the duo have set a date, and when it comes to wedding planning, “We’re very traditional male-female in that way. [I’ll be like], ‘What do you need me to do? I’ll call the DJ.’ ”

The only thing that seems to really matter to him, it seems, is sealing the deal with the love of his life – and carving out a private existence despite being two public people.

“That’s the tricky part – staying centered,” he says. “Lucky for us – and I use this word in the most positive way – we’re very ‘normal’ people, but ‘down-to-earth’ would be a better way of describing it. We’re very grounded.”

This article first appeared on People.com

TIME Innovation

Fight Prison Gangs by Breaking Up Big Prisons

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. America’s biggest prisons are factories exporting prison gangs. Break them up.

By David Skarbek and Courtney Michaluk in Politico

2. Find out why demographics and a charismatic leader still aren’t enough to make a majority party.

By Suzy Khimm in the New Republic

3. Denied a seat at the table of global power, the BRICS nations are building their own table.

By Shashi Tharoor in Project Syndicate

4. With an implanted treatment that blocks a narcotic high, one doctor wants to end addiction.

By Sujata Gupta in Mosaic Science

5. Your next insurance inspector could be a drone.

By Cameron Graham in Technology Advice

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Addiction

One in 10 Americans Now Vape but Most Also Use Regular Tobacco Products

New e-cigarette laws
Yui Mok—AP

Three out of four of e-cigarette users are now both vaping and smoking

E-cigarette use may be on the rise but isn’t helping Americans kick tobacco addictions, according to new research

A poll of 5,679 Americans conducted by Reuters found 75% of people who use electronic cigarettes or other vaporizing devices continue to also smoke traditional tobacco products. The poll indicates that this population of “vapers” is now up to roughly 10% of U.S. adults and 15% of U.S. adults under the age of 40. This number represents a significant rise from 2013, when the U.S. government estimated the figure to be about 2.6% of Americans. Almost 70% of this poll’s e-cigarette users claim to have started in the last year.

While about 40% of e-cigarette-using respondents said they were motivated to use e-cigarettes because they could be smoked indoors and are cheaper than most tobacco products, a majority of users also cited vaping as a safe alternative to smoking. In fact, researchers have yet to corroborate this. The FDA has even proposed regulations requiring e-cigarette manufacturers to add health warnings to their labels.

Some 80% of respondents also identified vaping as “a good way to help people quit smoking.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 17.8% of U.S. adults are current tobacco smokers.

Read more at Reuters

TIME opioids

FDA Warned Drugmaker About Pain Pill Injection

Endo Pharmaceuticals Opana Drug Pain Killer
Tripplaar Kristoffer—Sipa/AP A logo sign outside of a facility occupied by Endo Pharmaceuticals in Malvern, Penn. on May 30, 2015.

A new form of pain killer could be driving addicts to inject the drug, hastening the spread of HIV

As officials in Indiana scramble to contain a fast-spreading HIV outbreak, TIME has learned that government officials warned one company that the newest version of a drug it manufactured could be driving behavior that is contributing to the crisis.

In May 2013, federal regulators from the Food and Drug Administration told Endo Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the widely used prescription pain pill Opana, that a new form of the medication could be driving abusers to inject the drug intravenously instead of snorting it.

The HIV outbreak in southern Indiana, which has ballooned from 8 cases in January to 166 as of June, is the result of addicts dissolving and injecting Opana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local officials in Scott County, where the outbreak is centered. 96% of those who tested positive for HIV and were interviewed by the CDC said they were injecting Opana, according to an April health alert by the agency.

In 2012, Endo introduced a new version of the drug that it said was designed to be abuse deterrent. Where a previous version of the drug could be easily crushed and snorted or dissolved and injected, the new version had a special coating that supposedly made doing so more difficult. Endo removed the previous version from the market and asked the FDA to rule that it had been unsafe. Such a ruling would have prevented other drug makers from introducing generic versions of the pill.

The FDA denied Endo’s request, rejecting the company’s claims about the new coating’s ability to deter abuse. While the new formulation made it harder to crush and snort the drug, the FDA found, “it may be easier to prepare OPR for injection.” That raised, the FDA said, “the troubling possibility that the reformulation may be shifting a non-trivial amount of Opana ER abuse from snorting to even more dangerous abuse by intravenous or subcutaneous injection.”

Officials in Scott County say abusers discovered they could cook down the abuse deterrent version of the pill, dissolving it and preparing it for injection. Officials say addicts prefer the drug to heroin, even though it is more expensive, and the high doesn’t last as long. Addicts in Scott County have transmitted HIV to each other by sharing needles as they shoot up, sometimes as often as 20 times a day.

Endo, a Pennsylvania-based company that specializes in pain medications, earned $1.16 billion in revenue from Opana from 2008-2012. The company has denied Opana is at the heart of the outbreak and has suggested generic versions of its drug that didn’t have the “abuse deterrent” coating might be at fault, as discussed in the current cover story of TIME on opioid abuse in America:

In April, Endo held a conference call with public-health officials in Scott County. The Endo officials “thought it was a mistake,” says [Scott County public health nurse, Brittany] Combs, who was on the call. Around the same time, [Scott County Sheriff Dan] McClain says an Endo security official called him and offered to help investigate the source of the pills. The Endo official told him the drug being abused couldn’t be Opana because it had been reformulated to be “abuse deterrent.” McClain was skeptical. “I’ve got an evidence room full of Opana over there right now, and I don’t have any generic forms of that pill that are being purchased off the street,” McClain says.

Endo officials declined repeated requests to be interviewed for this article. In response to questions emailed to the company regarding its marketing of Opana and its response to the crisis in Scott County, Keri Mattox, senior vice president for investor relations, said, “Patient safety is a top priority for Endo,” and the company has “an ongoing, active and productive dialogue” with the FDA regarding Opana’s “technology designed to deter abuse.” Mattox says the company supports “a broad range of programs that provide awareness and education around the appropriate use of pain medications” and has reached out to the CDC, Indiana state officials and Scott County health and law enforcement officials, among others.

 

 

 

TIME Addiction

Alcohol Problems Affect About 33 Million U.S. Adults

Many do not get treated

About 14% of U.S. adults have alcohol-related problems, according to new data on Americans’ drinking behaviors.

The new study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, looked at the prevalence of drinking issues based on a new definition for alcohol use disorders in the DSM-5 handbook. The new definition classifies problem drinkers as those who have two of 11 symptoms including continuing to drink even if it harms relationships, drinking harming performance at work of school, or inability to quit. The severity of the problem is classified by the number of symptoms a person has.

In the new research, the study authors interviewed more than 36,000 adults about their lifetime drinking behaviors. The report shows that 30% of those interviewed had been a problem drinker at some point in their lives and 14% currently had problems. Many of the people had never been treated.

Overall, men were more likely than women to have trouble with alcohol, and the issue was particularly noticeable among 18- to 29-year-olds, with about 7% showing symptoms of the most severe form of drinking problem, the study found. The researchers say that is in line with increasingly higher rates heavy of drinking among the age group.

“Most importantly, this study highlighted the urgency of educating the public and policy makers about alcohol use disorder and its treatments, destigmatizing the disorder, and encouraging among those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own, despite substantial harm to themselves and others, to seek treatment,” the study authors concluded.

TIME portfolio

On the Fringe of Society with Christopher Occhicone

Christopher Occhicone was the recipient of the TIME award at the 2014 Eddie Adams Workshop

Photographer Christopher Occhicone spent months following a group of addicts who live on the outskirts of Lakewood, N.J., in a tent city in the forest. The result is his long-term project titled Fringe. “They live outside the boundaries of social norms,” he writes in his introduction to the series. “Their food and clothing needs are satisfied through donations. Their drug and alcohol needs are met by cash gotten from odd jobs, petty crime, sympathetic relatives, and social security and disability payments.”

Today, the camp is gone. Promoters acquired the land it used to sit on, buying out its former occupants. But, in 2013, when a group of 15 to 20 people still lived in tents and makeshift home, Occhicone documented their everyday lives.

“It took time to get the access,” he says. “In the eight months I spent there, I really shot a lot for four months. The first two months, I was just hanging around, talking to people and not taking any pictures. I wanted to get to know the guys.” That also meant eating and drinking with them. “They invite you to eat, you eat. They offer you a beer, you have a beer,” he says. “Obviously, there are certain lines you don’t cross, certain things you get offered that you don’t accept.”

Quickly, two main characters appeared in Occhicone’s work: Chris and Eve. The married couple, featured in many of the New Jersey-based photographer’s work, had a turbulent relationship. “She was a 30-year-old alcoholic, and he was only 19,” he says. “And it felt like he thought he was in a summer camp. I don’t think he realized what he was doing. They would call the cops on each other all the time.”

Now, with the camp dismantled, Occhicone’s work is done. “I think I said what I wanted to say,” he tells TIME.

Christopher Occhicone is a New Jersey-based freelance photographer.

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