Viewpoints: Red Flag Laws Can Both Help Stop Mass Shootings, Protect Gun Owners; What’s Taking The FDA So Long To Ban Flavors In E-Cigs?
Opinion writers weigh in on these public health topics and others.
The New York Times:
A Strong Bipartisan Path To Tackle Gun Violence
After a string of mass shootings this summer, Americans are demanding a response to curtail the violence. If we are looking to deliver a solution that reduces bloodshed and respects the rights of responsible gun owners, the only realistic action must be bipartisan. This is why the recent focus on red-flag proposals from our Senate colleagues and the president are welcome. The most effective step Congress can take right now to prevent tragedies like those in Parkland, Fla.; Newtown, Conn.; and Dayton, Ohio, is to enact red-flag laws, which give law enforcement the ability to restrict gun access for unstable, potentially violent people, without infringing on other Americans’ rights. (U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, 9/12)
Gun Violence Is A Public Health Crisis, Requires Major Action
The recent spate of mass shootings across the United States has reignited the debate over gun violence prevention. Lawmakers returning to Washington this week are facing renewed pressure to do something — anything — in response to the shooting sprees that killed 41 people, from California to Texas to Ohio, in a little more than a month. Yet I am concerned that the debate will return to an all-too-familiar and self-defeating stalemate. From the perspective of the medical community, gun violence is not primarily a political or ideological issue. With 100 people in America dying of gun violence each day, the equivalent of multiple mass shootings, seven days a week, it’s a public health crisis. It’s an epidemic. It’s relentless, and it's spreading. (David J. Skorton, 9/10)
Los Angeles Times:
Banning Flavored Vapes May Not Stop A Deadly Respiratory Outbreak, But It Can Cut Teen Use
The number of e-cigarette users, many of them teenagers, who have been stricken by a mysterious and acute lung illness has more than doubled around the country in just the last week. More than 450 people have been hospitalized with serious respiratory distress and six people have died, including a 55-year-old man in Los Angeles County. Public health officials still don’t know what it is causing the ailment. That’s the bad news. The silver lining is that this mystery illness has lit a fire under the Food and Drug Administration, which had been moving at a glacial pace in deciding whether and how to regulate electronic cigarettes, even as their popularity exploded among teenagers. (9/12)
We Spend Billions After Child Sexual Abuse Happens And Nothing To Prevent It
For weeks, the nation has been gripped by details surrounding Jeffrey Epstein and his child sex-trafficking operation. An operation uncovered more than a decade ago but badly addressed by prosecutors. Last year we learned that Larry Nasser continued to sexually abuse child athletes for 20 years after the first accusations surfaced against him. These aren’t isolated incidents. We’ve seen similar patterns of open secrets that everyone knows about and no one acts upon with Jerry Sandusky and Cardinal George Pell. With too many people in too many sectors of society, assaulting children for years or decades with impunity. (Elizabeth J. Letourneau, 9/11)
Calling Personal Foul On The Food Ads This Football Season And Changing The Game
With football season comes a bombardment of television ads for “manly man” foods — the triple-decker burgers, racks of ribs, Buffalo wings, mighty meaty pizzas galore. For those of us who are trying to eat healthier, seeing the artery-clogging junk fare during commercial breaks detracts from the game — and sometimes, even more regrettably, tempts the eyes. Call it a personal foul. Anyone still clinging to the “eat like a man” messaging would do well to see a new film, due out next week, called “The Game Changers.” (Courtland Milloy, 9/10)
Here's Why Diabetes Increases The Risk Of Cancer
One of the lesser-known complications is an increased risk for cancer of the liver, pancreas, endometrium, kidney and breast. A recent study suggests that overall cancer risk in women with diabetes may be about 6 percent higher compared to men’s disease risk. The exact reasons for this link are unclear, but excess circulating insulin, estrogen and pro-inflammatory hormones from fatty tissue are thought to play a significant role. These biological events can promote cell mutation and tumor progression. (John Termini, 9/11)
Industry Payments Must Be Openly Disclosed By Cancer Researchers
Treating cancer is one of the most difficult medical challenges of our time. In addition to requiring effective therapies and compassionate clinicians and caregivers, it demands trustworthy and transparent communication. A report in JAMA Internal Medicine that summarized payments from the drug and device industry to directors of National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers underscores the need to develop more rigorous strategies for reporting and monitoring. (Karen E. Knudsen, 9/12)
With Scandals Multiplying, Will Ricardo Lara Last A Full Term As Insurance Commissioner?
Will Ricardo Lara survive his first term as California’s insurance commissioner? We can’t say for sure. ... He’s been caught red-handed taking sneaky donations from people connected to the insurance industry. Now he’s fighting back against suggestions that the money – over $50,000 in all – affected his decision-making as insurance commissioner. He’s also on the defensive after Politico revealed that he’s been sticking California taxpayers with the bill for rent on his apartment in Sacramento. And now he’s refusing to say who paid for his ticket to a fancy New Year’s Eve party in London that he attended with an insurance industry lobbyist. To be clear, there’s no evidence that Lara has broken the law. Yet there’s no question that he has broken his word and broken faith with voters. (9/11)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Trump’s Homelessness Proposal For California Would Be Ineffective And Punitive Policy
President Trump has ordered government officials to look into ways his administration can address California’s homeless crisis, calling it a “disgrace.” The effort, which was announced Tuesday and came as a surprise to local and state officials, may involve getting homeless people off the streets and into federally backed facilities. ... If Trump really wants to help homeless people in California, he could start by giving his own Housing and Urban Development department the funds and the direction to rebuild low-income housing. Washington politicians in both parties have defunded low-income housing production across the country for decades. That’s a big part of the reason why homelessness is a national problem. (9/11)