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Tobacco Industry Targets New Generation with Vapes, WHO Warns

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WHO accuses tobacco companies of using social media and flavored products to attract young people to vaping.

LONDON, May 25 (waryatv.com) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has accused tobacco companies of actively targeting young people through social media, sports events, and music festivals with new flavored products, aiming to hook a new generation on nicotine.

Despite increasingly stringent regulations on traditional cigarettes, major tobacco companies and new market entrants have shifted their focus to smoking alternatives such as vapes, which they claim are intended for adult smokers.

Aggressive Marketing Tactics

The WHO’s accusations highlight the strategic use of social media platforms, popular sports, and music festivals to attract younger demographics. These events and platforms have become effective channels for promoting flavored vaping products, which appeal to younger tastes and preferences.

According to the WHO, these tactics are designed to circumvent strict regulations on cigarette advertising and capitalize on the growing popularity of vaping among younger people.

Targeting Youth with Flavors

Flavored vaping products are a significant aspect of this strategy. With options ranging from fruit to candy flavors, these products are particularly appealing to teenagers and young adults, making them more likely to try vaping and potentially develop nicotine addictions.

Regulatory Challenges

While tobacco companies assert that their vaping products are meant for adult smokers looking for less harmful alternatives, the WHO and other public health advocates argue that the marketing strategies and product designs are clearly aimed at younger audiences.

Efforts to regulate vaping products have been implemented in various countries, but the rapid evolution of the market and the diverse range of products available pose challenges for regulators. The WHO continues to advocate for stronger regulations to prevent youth from accessing these products and to curb the influence of aggressive marketing tactics.

Health Implications

The rise of vaping among young people has raised significant public health concerns. While vaping is often promoted as a safer alternative to smoking, the long-term health effects are not fully understood. Additionally, nicotine addiction remains a major concern, particularly among adolescents whose brains are still developing.

The WHO’s warning serves as a call to action for governments and regulatory bodies worldwide to strengthen their oversight of vaping products and marketing practices. The goal is to protect young people from nicotine addiction and to ensure that public health policies keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape of tobacco and nicotine products.

This warning from the WHO underscores the need for vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard public health, particularly the health of younger generations who are at risk of being targeted by the tobacco industry’s evolving strategies.

Health

Should Social Media Carry Health Warnings Like Cigarettes?

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In a bold move reminiscent of the 1960s anti-smoking campaigns, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has issued a stark warning about the dangers of social media, particularly for young people. He suggests that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok should carry health warnings similar to those found on cigarette packages. This proposal has ignited a fierce debate about the role of social media in our lives and its impact on mental health.

In a recent New York Times article, Vivek Murthy outlined his concerns about the mental health risks posed by social media. He pointed out that children are particularly vulnerable to the content they consume online, which can lead to various mental health issues. Murthy believes that warning messages, similar to those mandated on cigarette packs since 1966, could serve as a crucial reminder of the potential dangers.

Murthy’s call comes in the wake of his 2023 public health advisory linking social media use among youth to poor mental health. He advocates for more stringent controls, including banning phone use in schools and limiting device use during meals and bedtime. While there is no definitive study proving these measures’ efficacy, Murthy insists that increased awareness is a vital first step.

The suggestion to place warnings on social media is not without precedent. The first health warnings on cigarette packs appeared in the U.S. in 1966, following a report by Surgeon General Luther L. Terry that linked tobacco to lung cancer. This move significantly raised awareness about the dangers of smoking, and similar warnings were later adopted worldwide.

Murthy argues that the success of these anti-smoking campaigns can be replicated in the fight against the negative effects of social media. He believes that explicit warnings could encourage parents to monitor their children’s online activities more closely and make informed decisions about their digital consumption.

The impact of social media on mental health remains a contentious issue. Some studies suggest a clear link between excessive social media use and mental health problems in young people, including depression, anxiety, and decreased life satisfaction. Pediatrician Gin Lalli supports Murthy’s proposal, emphasizing that warning messages could be a significant step towards improving mental health outcomes.

However, the evidence is not unanimous. A 2023 study found no direct link between Facebook use and mental health issues, highlighting the complexity of the relationship between social media and well-being. This mixed evidence fuels the ongoing debate and underscores the need for further research.

The issue also resonates within the Somali community. Dr. Mohamed Hassan, a UK-based physician, highlighted the potential mental health risks posed by social media to Somali youth. He supports the idea of health warnings and emphasizes the importance of community awareness and education.

Parents who have lost children to internet-induced distress are among the strongest advocates for these measures. Their tragic experiences underscore the urgent need for action and the potential benefits of health warnings on social media.

The proposal to place health warnings on social media is both provocative and controversial. It raises essential questions about our digital age’s responsibilities and the balance between freedom and protection. As we navigate this complex issue, it is crucial to consider multiple perspectives and remain open to new research findings.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a safer online environment for young people, where the benefits of social media can be enjoyed without compromising mental health. Whether through warnings, education, or stricter regulations, society must find effective ways to address the risks posed by our increasingly digital lives.

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Respiratory Diseases in Kenya Linked to Increased Use of Firewood

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In Kenya, respiratory diseases have become a major public health issue, exacerbated by the increasing use of firewood for cooking. Economic challenges have driven more people, especially in rural and low-income urban areas, to rely on biomass fuels, which has significant health repercussions.

Jane Muthoni, a 65-year-old resident, is surrounded by firewood in her makeshift kitchen. Like many others, she suffers from respiratory issues due to prolonged exposure to smoke but feels she has no alternative. “I’ve used firewood all my life,” she says. “Sometimes I cough from inhaling the smoke, and my eyes itch, but there’s nothing I can do about it” .

Respiratory diseases are the most prevalent health issues in Kenya, with 19.6 million cases reported last year. The burning of biomass such as firewood is the largest contributor, according to Evans Amukoye from the Kenya Medical Research Institute’s respiratory diseases research center. Common symptoms include itchy eyes and coughing, with severe cases leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which restricts breathing .

Data from the Ministry of Health indicates that COPD accounts for 1.7% of deaths in Kenya. The disease primarily affects those in low-income areas who have less access to healthcare and are more likely to use traditional cooking fuels .

Economist Abraham Muriu attributes the increased reliance on firewood to economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing inflation. The number of households using firewood rose from 4.7 million in 2020 to 6.7 million in 2022 . In urban areas, the rising costs of living have led many to revert to cheaper, albeit more harmful, cooking methods.

Mercy Letting, a businesswoman in Nairobi, experienced health issues from using charcoal. “I am asthmatic, so whenever I used charcoal to cook, the smoke would always trigger an attack,” she said. She eventually switched to an eco-friendly cooker and an induction burner, which significantly improved her health and reduced her costs .

While companies like BURN Manufacturing are developing cleaner and more efficient cookstoves, affordability remains a significant barrier. Chris McKinney, BURN’s chief commercial officer, emphasized the need for affordable clean cooking solutions to ensure widespread adoption .

The reliance on firewood in Kenya has severe health implications, particularly respiratory diseases, driven by economic constraints. While clean cooking technologies offer a solution, their high cost remains a barrier for many. Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach, including economic support and affordable technology to improve public health outcomes.

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In many US cities, Black and Latino neighborhoods have less access to pharmacies

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Black and Latino Neighborhoods in U.S. Cities Struggle with Reduced Access to Essential Pharmacies

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA — In parts of Montgomery’s north side, the absence of vital services like pharmacies underscores a growing issue faced by many historically Black neighborhoods. Sharon Harris, a resident of Newtown, a predominantly Black area, expresses her frustration as the local pharmacy closed five years ago, forcing her to travel four miles to fill prescriptions.

This scenario is not unique to Montgomery. Across the U.S., numerous major retail pharmacies have shut down hundreds of stores in recent years, and independent pharmacies often struggle to remain operational. The result is a significant reduction in access to pharmacies for residents of color, who rely on these establishments not only for prescriptions but also for fundamental public health services, including vaccinations and over-the-counter medicines.

Dima Qato, a professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of Southern California, emphasizes the broader implications: “Closures create a situation where there’s not just a lack of investment in pharmacy development and expansion, but there’s no incentive to stay in those neighborhoods.”

An Associated Press analysis of licensing data from 44 states, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, and the American Community Survey reveals that majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods have fewer pharmacies per capita compared to predominantly white neighborhoods.

In Cleveland, MAC Pharmacy serves about 20,000 people in a predominantly Black ZIP code. George Tadross, the pharmacy manager, ensures personalized service for his mostly elderly clientele. “You have to have a pharmacist to talk to,” Tadross states, highlighting the critical role pharmacists play in managing chronic diseases prevalent in these communities.

Language and cultural barriers further complicate access. Jasmine Gonzalvo of Purdue University’s College of Pharmacy notes that pharmacists who reflect their customer base can build stronger rapport and trust. This is crucial for patients who might otherwise struggle with medication adherence due to communication issues.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, Bert’s Pharmacy addresses these challenges by maintaining bilingual staff and providing Spanish-language labels and instructions. Owner Prakash Patel ensures that his predominantly Hispanic customers understand their medications fully.

Montgomery’s north side is undergoing development planning, with analysis showing a small pharmacy could generate $1.5 million annually. Bob Gibbs of Gibbs Planning Group, which conducted the analysis, sees an opportunity due to the residents’ loyalty to local businesses. However, Harris remains skeptical about new developments: “I don’t see it happening,” she says, indicating a lack of faith in seeing new pharmacy openings soon.

The struggle for accessible pharmacies in Black and Latino neighborhoods is a significant public health issue, necessitating attention and action to bridge the health disparities exacerbated by these closures.

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Preventing Kidney and Gallbladder Stones: Essential Tips

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The human body has remarkable abilities, but sometimes these abilities can lead to problems, such as the formation of stones. Commonly, we hear about kidney stones and gallstones, but the body can produce stones in other areas as well. Understanding the causes and preventive measures for these stones can help maintain better health.

Understanding Kidney Stones and Gallstones

Kidney Stones:

  • Kidney stones are solid masses made of crystals. They typically originate in the kidneys but can develop anywhere along the urinary tract.
  • One in ten people will experience kidney stones at some point. They often consist of calcium and oxalate or phosphate, which are chemicals normally present in urine.
  • Kidney stones vary in size, from less than a millimeter to several centimeters, and in shape.

Gallstones:

  • Gallstones form in the gallbladder, primarily from cholesterol and bilirubin.
  • These stones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball, and individuals may have one or multiple stones.

Common Symptoms and Complications

Kidney Stones:

  • Severe lower back pain.
  • Painful urination.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Gallstones:

  • Sudden and intense pain in the upper right abdomen.
  • Back pain between the shoulder blades.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Other Types of Stones in the Body

Salivary Stones:

  • Form in the salivary glands, blocking saliva flow.
  • Can cause pain and swelling, often leading to infection.

Tonsil Stones:

  • Form in the crevices of the tonsils.
  • Can lead to bad breath and discomfort.

Preventive Measures

1. Hydration:

  • Drinking plenty of water is crucial. Proper hydration helps dilute the substances in urine that lead to stones.

2. Dietary Adjustments:

  • Reduce intake of foods high in oxalates such as spinach, nuts, and tea.
  • Limit salt and animal protein, which can increase calcium and uric acid levels in the urine.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of gallstones.

3. Oral Hygiene:

  • Regular brushing and flossing can prevent the formation of salivary and tonsil stones by reducing bacterial accumulation.

4. Balanced Diet:

  • For gallstones, avoid high-fat foods and maintain a balanced diet rich in fiber.
  • Monitor cholesterol intake to prevent gallstone formation.

Medical Treatments

Kidney Stones:

  • Small stones may pass naturally with increased fluid intake.
  • Larger stones might require medication or surgical procedures such as shock wave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy.

Gallstones:

  • Surgery (cholecystectomy) to remove the gallbladder is often the best solution for recurrent gallstones.
  • Non-surgical options include medications to dissolve the stones, though these are less commonly used.

Conclusion

Stones in the kidneys, gallbladder, and other parts of the body can cause significant discomfort and health issues. By staying hydrated, maintaining good oral hygiene, and following a balanced diet, you can reduce the risk of stone formation. Should stones develop, various medical treatments are available to alleviate the problem. Proactive steps and timely medical intervention can ensure better health and prevent complications associated with stone formation.

For further detailed information and personalized advice, consulting healthcare professionals is always recommended.

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Weight-Loss Drug Forecasts Soar to $150 Billion as Supply Increases

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May 29 (WARYATV) – Projections for annual global sales of weight-loss drugs have skyrocketed to approximately $150 billion by the early 2030s, driven by increasing supply, potential for wider usage, and a growing number of competitors. This marks a significant leap from the $100 billion range estimated just a year ago.

The surge in demand for weight-loss treatments from pharmaceutical giants Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) and Eli Lilly (LLY.N) has been a major factor in this upward revision. These companies are ramping up production to meet the needs of millions of people seeking effective weight-loss solutions.

Michael Kleinrock, senior research director at healthcare analytics firm IQVIA Institute for Data Science, commented on the phenomenon, stating, “It is very unusual to have a medicine that is capturing the imagination of millions of people.”

The burgeoning market for weight-loss drugs reflects a broader shift in public interest and acceptance of pharmaceutical interventions for weight management, spurring increased competition and innovation in the field. As supply chains strengthen and new entrants vie for market share, the industry is poised for unprecedented growth in the coming decade.

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South Africa’s president signs major health bill just before election

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South Africa’s Landmark Health Reform: President Signs Crucial Bill Ahead of Election

BY GUEST ESSAY:

In a significant move just before the upcoming election, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa signs a transformative health reform bill, marking a milestone in the nation’s healthcare landscape. This landmark legislation promises to reshape healthcare delivery, enhance access to essential services, and address longstanding disparities in the health system.

The approval of this major health reform law comes at a pivotal moment for South Africa, underscoring the government’s commitment to prioritizing public health and advancing the well-being of its citizens. As the nation grapples with various health challenges, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and endemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and non-communicable diseases, the implementation of comprehensive health reforms is imperative.

The newly signed bill represents a culmination of extensive consultation and deliberation, involving stakeholders from across the healthcare spectrum, including government agencies, healthcare providers, civil society organizations, and community representatives. Its provisions aim to address systemic weaknesses, promote equity, and ensure that every South African has access to quality healthcare services, regardless of their socio-economic status or geographic location.

Key highlights of the health reform legislation include measures to strengthen primary healthcare infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, improve healthcare financing mechanisms, enhance the quality of healthcare services, and prioritize preventive and promotive healthcare interventions. By prioritizing preventive care and early intervention, the law seeks to mitigate the burden of disease and reduce the strain on the healthcare system.

Furthermore, the bill emphasizes the importance of community engagement and empowerment, recognizing the crucial role of communities in shaping health outcomes and fostering a culture of health and well-being. It envisions a participatory approach to healthcare delivery, where communities are actively involved in decision-making processes and healthcare planning, thereby ensuring that services are responsive to local needs and priorities.

The signing of this health reform legislation reflects South Africa’s commitment to advancing the right to health as enshrined in the country’s constitution and international human rights instruments. It signals a renewed resolve to tackle health inequalities, address social determinants of health, and build a more inclusive and resilient healthcare system that serves the needs of all South Africans.

As the nation prepares for the upcoming election, the approval of this landmark health reform bill serves as a testament to the government’s dedication to improving the health and well-being of its citizens. It underscores the importance of political leadership, policy innovation, and multi-sectoral collaboration in driving transformative change in the healthcare sector.

In conclusion, South Africa’s decision to enact comprehensive health reform legislation represents a significant step towards realizing the vision of universal health coverage and health equity for all. By signing this bill into law, the government reaffirms its commitment to building a healthier, more prosperous future for the people of South Africa

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The Devastating Impact of Khat: A Comprehensive Analysis of Somaliland’s Crisis

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Unveiling the Religious, Health, Economic, and Environmental Ravages of Khat Consumption in Somaliland

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

In the tranquil streets of Somaliland, an invisible enemy lurks, threatening the essence of society and corroding its foundations. This enemy is none other than Khat, a narcotic plant wreaking havoc on the religious, health, economic, moral, hygienic, and environmental spheres of Somaliland.

  1. Religious Problems of Khat: Khat’s insidious infiltration into the societal fabric of Somaliland has unleashed a myriad of religious challenges. The gluttonous consumption of Khat undermines the completeness of faith, diverting individuals from their religious obligations. Fasting, the cornerstone of religious practice, is undermined by Khat consumption, hindering individuals from fulfilling their sacred duties.
  2. Health Problems of Khat: The detrimental impact of Khat on public health cannot be overstated. From neurological impairment to digestive disturbances, Khat inflicts severe harm on the human body. Its consumption weakens the immune system, rendering individuals susceptible to illness and posing grave risks to their overall well-being.
  3. Financial Problems of Khat: Khat’s pervasive influence extends to the economic realm, paralyzing communities and draining resources. The economic paralysis induced by Khat consumption disrupts livelihoods and perpetuates cycles of poverty. Scarce financial resources are squandered on Khat, exacerbating economic inequalities and stifling progress.
  4. Moral Problems of Khat: In a society anchored in the principles of Islam, Khat engenders moral degradation, eroding the fabric of social cohesion. The vile behavior exhibited by Khat users stands in stark contrast to the moral virtues espoused by Islam, perpetuating discord and disharmony within communities.
  5. Hygienic Problems of Khat: Khat’s consumption fosters neglect of personal hygiene, exacerbating societal challenges and perpetuating unhygienic living conditions. The relentless pursuit of Khat leaves individuals devoid of the inclination to maintain cleanliness, further exacerbating public health concerns.
  6. Family Problems of Khat: The scourge of Khat precipitates familial discord, tearing apart the fabric of familial bonds and disrupting domestic tranquility. Marital strife, fueled by the financial strain of Khat consumption, destabilizes households and undermines familial cohesion.
  7. Environmental Problems of Khat: As Khat consumption proliferates, it exacts a heavy toll on the environment, polluting ecosystems and despoiling landscapes. The wanton disposal of Khat waste contaminates soil and disrupts natural habitats, threatening biodiversity and compromising environmental sustainability.

Conclusion: The pernicious influence of Khat permeates every facet of Somaliland society, leaving devastation in its wake. Urgent measures are imperative to combat this existential threat and safeguard the future of Somaliland. Only through concerted efforts to address the religious, health, economic, moral, hygienic, and environmental ramifications of Khat consumption can Somaliland reclaim its vitality and resilience.

The Poisoned Chalice: Battling the Khat Epidemic in Somaliland

In the face of adversity, Somaliland must unite to confront the scourge of Khat and forge a path towards renewal and prosperity.

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Over 6,000 men in Brazil have had their penises amputated

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The harrowing journey of João, a Brazilian pensioner who battled male genital cancer, shedding light on the global rise of this rare yet deadly disease.

BY GUEST ESSAY:

In 2018, João, a pensioner from Brazil, was confronted with a devastating diagnosis: male genital cancer. What began as a small tumor on his genitals swiftly escalated into a life-altering ordeal, plunging João into a world of pain, uncertainty, and profound loss.

Despite seeking medical attention and undergoing various treatments, João’s condition deteriorated rapidly, leaving him and his wife grappling with the emotional and physical toll of the disease. As the tumors grew larger and more debilitating, João’s once vibrant life was overshadowed by the looming specter of cancer.

The journey of male genital cancer is a rare but increasingly prevalent global crisis, with cases and mortality rates on the rise worldwide. In Brazil alone, thousands of men like João have been afflicted by this insidious disease, with devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities.

Symptoms of male genital cancer often manifest as persistent sores, abnormal discharge, and other alarming signs, signaling the urgent need for early detection and intervention. However, access to timely and adequate healthcare remains a challenge, particularly in underserved regions where resources are scarce.

João’s experience underscores the urgent need for heightened awareness, early screening, and comprehensive healthcare services to address the growing burden of male genital cancer. From diagnosis to treatment and beyond, individuals like João require compassionate support, effective interventions, and access to life-saving treatments.

While surgical excision and other medical interventions offer hope for some patients, the journey towards recovery is fraught with challenges and uncertainties. For João, the decision to undergo penile amputation was a painful and irreversible choice, marking a profound turning point in his life.

The global surge in male genital cancer cases reflects broader trends in healthcare, demographics, and lifestyle factors. From Brazil to Uganda, Thailand to England, the prevalence of this disease is on the rise, necessitating urgent action and concerted efforts to address its root causes.

Experts attribute the rise in male genital cancer cases to various risk factors, including poor hygiene, smoking, and infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV). While preventive measures such as vaccination against HPV offer promise, uptake remains low in many regions, exacerbating the crisis.

The tragic tale of João serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost of male genital cancer and the urgent need for global action. As researchers project a steep increase in cases in the coming decades, addressing this crisis requires a multifaceted approach encompassing education, prevention, and access to quality healthcare.

For João and countless others affected by male genital cancer, the road to recovery is long and arduous. Yet, amidst the darkness, there is hope: hope for early detection, hope for effective treatments, and hope for a future free from the shadow of this devastating disease.

As João awaits the final results of his treatment, his resilience and determination inspire us to redouble our efforts in the fight against male genital cancer.

Together, we can confront this global crisis, support those in need, and strive towards a world where no one suffers needlessly from this preventable disease.

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