In the last fifty years, the number of people who smoke has gone down tremendously, but smoking accounts for one in every five deaths in America. The FDA wants to lower this by mandating a cut in the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. But will this merely encourage smokers to find alternate sources of nicotine?
According to Dr. Eric Donny, if an eighty-five percent reduction of nicotine happens in cigarettes, w will see fewer smokers smoking, and fewer kids getting addicted. Dr. Neal Benowitz says that the plan to lower nicotine in cigarettes might lead some to find a “healthier” alternative like e-cigarettes. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein says that e-cigarettes have been in the middle of a great debate, with some asking whether they are a great tool to quit smoking or a gateway substance for kids to try real cigarettes. The reduction might push people to cleaner forms of nicotine consumption, perhaps even quitting smoking.
Dr. Stanton Glantz, says that this reduction is not good for the future because it pushes back regulation of e-cigarettes. Dr. Glantz believes the FDA is overselling the reduction in cigarettes and giving e-cigarettes a pass on nicotine regulation. Some also think that this would create a black market of full-strength cigarettes. Dr. Glantz does think this is a step in the right direction, even though it does not solve the problem.
America is not the only country that is considering this. Dr. Benowitz says that Canada and New Zealand have been talking about a reduction too. Any one country starting this could create a domino effect on the whole world, leading not just to a healthier country, but a healthier world.
Dr. Eric Donny, Director, Center for Evaluation of Nicotine and Cigarettes, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Neal Benowitz, Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and Chief, Division of Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Professor of the Practice, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and former FDA Deputy Commissioner
Dr. Stanton Glantz, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Director, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
If medical experts aren’t sure which foods are healthy, how do we decide what to eat? Dr. Charles Katzenberg, a cardiologist at the Sarver Heart Center, says he has discussions about heart healthy food every day with his patients. There is not a national consensus on heart healthy food. This means that different people will give different answers, and no one seems to know what to do. Most cardiologists agree that a good diet will help a person. While the same cardiologists admit to having minimal or no training at all on nutrition in medical school or at their residencies.
Dr. Stephen Devries of the Gaples Institute says while some nutritional knowledge is common sense, other information needs to be taught. If medical professionals aren’t properly trained, they won’t be able to suggest effective interventions. Why is nutrition not taught to a cardiologist? According to Dr. Katzenberg, nutrition isn’t taught to cardiologists, because their training programs prioritize other information.. Both experts agree that the issue starts with the system not putting enough emphasis on preventative measures. The key to solving this problem is for medical professionals to work together with other specialists, like nutritionists, who might have relevant training that would benefit the patient.
Dr. Charles Katzenberg, University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center
Dr. Stephen Devries, Executive Director, Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology
Most forms of cancer have a built-in constituency of patients, loved ones, and concerned others. Lung cancer patients, instead, are often blamed for their own disease because of its frequent connection with smoking. Patients are often isolated, and research dollars lag behind other, less common cancer killers.
Donna Fernandez, lung cancer patient
Carly Ornstein, National Director of Lung Cancer Education, American Lung Association
Just as people face an obesity crisis in the US, so do our pets, who have many of the same health consequences as overweight humans. Experts discuss why pet obesity is a problem and ways pet owners can keep their furry friends healthy.
Dr. Ernie Ward, Veterinarian and founder, Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
Dr. Deborah Linder, Research Assistant Professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University
Analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency often rely on psychological techniques to predict the behavior and decisions of world leaders, and of populations around the world. Experts, including an active CIA analyst, describe how they do it, and how other nations use these techniques as well.
George Gerliczy, Senior Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency
Dr. David Broniatowski, Assistant Professor of Engineering Management Systems, George Washington University
Handedness is a central part of a person’s identity. Left-handers are often seen as somehow different than the rest of us, and over history they’ve been stereotyped as more quirky, intelligent, and sinister than righties. Science shows that some labels are likely to be true. Experts discuss where handedness comes from, and what differences truly result.
R. Ron Yeo, Regents Professor, University of New Mexico
Kimberly Sawyer, left-hander
Dr. Clare Porac, Professor of Psychology, Penn State University and author, Laterality: Exploring the Enigma of Left-Handedness
Have you ever fought with a sibling? Most of us have at some point, especially as kids. While some experts say sibling rivalry strengthens sibling relationships, others claim this can be harmful for a child’s well-being. In extreme cases, siblings torment their brothers or sisters to the point of psychological or physical abuse. This abuse can lead to psychological disorders throughout a child’s life.
Thirty to fifty percent of siblings face abuse in their lifetime. What line can parents determine which is plain sibling rivalry and which is actual abuse? PTSD trainer Nancy Kilgore suffered through fifteen years of severe emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her own sister. She wrote the book Girl in the Water about her abuse and the psychological effects on her life. Kilgore says parents must not dismiss that it is normal for siblings to torment each other, and suggests parents step in should they see an issue arise.
Valparaiso University’s assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Mandy Morrill-Richards claims that parental attention is a key factor in sibling abuse. Typically, sibling abuse occurs out of the watch of parents, usually when they leave the children home alone. Often times the oldest child takes care of their siblings, and begins to abuse their younger siblings due to the lack of supervision. While parents cannot keep watch over their children 24/7, these experts suggest tackling the problem before it becomes even larger or more harmful for the children. This involves weekly open communication like meetings and paying attention to any warning signs. In order to prevent self-doubt, guilt, shame, and possibly even PTSD, parents need to supervise their children, especially if they begin to harm one another.