Viewpoints: Strong Push Needed To Help More Smokers Kick The Habit; That Was An OxyContin Settlement?
Opinion writers weigh in on these public health issues and others.
New England Journal of Medicine:
Redoubling Efforts To Help Americans Quit Smoking — Federal Initiatives To Tackle The Country’s Longest-Running Epidemic
The 2020 U.S. Surgeon General’s report on smoking cessation1 is the first such report to focus on this topic since 1990. Its release came as the Department of Health and Human Services was investigating an outbreak of deadly lung injuries linked to the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Although these products pose a new public health challenge, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the burden of death and disease associated with tobacco use in the United States is still overwhelmingly caused by combusted tobacco products, especially conventional cigarettes. The rate of cigarette smoking among U.S. adults is 13.7%, its lowest point since monitoring of smoking rates began in 1965, yet smoking remains the country’s leading preventable cause of death and disease, and it costs the United States more than $300 billion annually. Increasing smoking-cessation rates among adults is the fastest way to reduce this health and economic burden. As leaders of three of the federal agencies responsible for reducing tobacco-product use, we are committed to intensifying our efforts to help Americans quit smoking. (Robert R. Redfield, Stephen M. Hahn, and Norman E. Sharpless, 10/21)
Los Angeles Times:
OxyContin Settlement No Fix For Harm Purdue Pharma Has Caused
The prescription opioid crisis that has taken well over 100,000 American lives and ruined hundreds of thousands more wasn’t just an accident of time or the byproduct of a dysfunctional society. It was in good part the deliberate result of unethical and occasionally illegal machinations by the pharmaceutical industry, particularly by Purdue Pharma, which paid kickbacks and willfully misled physicians and the public to boost sales of its addictive signature drug, OxyContin. The company has now pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a federal settlement that doesn’t even begin to make up for the harm Purdue has caused. It takes back hardly any of the billions the company has made while addicting a nation. In fact, despite Purdue’s admission of guilt and a settlement purportedly worth $8.3 billion, the agreement is a whole lot less than it seems. (10/22)
Dallas Morning News:
New Rules For Texas Social Workers Allow Discrimination And Imperil Those In Need
The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners recently changed its Code of Conduct to no longer prohibit social workers from turning away clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. This new rule is not only inhumane but also contradicts what social work professionals stand for. As social workers, we have a responsibility to serve everyone in need and to uphold the dignity of all. It is not often that the deans of a leading school of social work in Texas object publicly to a decision made by a state licensing board. But this decision warrants it. This decision threatens the practice of licensed professional social workers and the many Texans they are dedicated to serving. This is a moment that calls for us — and all Texans — to speak out. (Luis H. Zayas and Allan Hugh Cole Jr., 10/22)
Los Angeles Times:
Why The Pope's Words About Civil Unions For Gay Couples Matter
No sooner had it been reported that Pope Francis had endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples that Vatican-watchers started arguing about whether this was a big deal. The answer is yes, but not because it’s a sign that the Roman Catholic Church will change its mind about same-sex marriage or renounce its teaching that “man and woman were created for one another.” Catholics and others who see the pope’s comments as a harbinger of such a dramatic change in doctrine will be disappointed. (Michael McDough, 10/21)
It's Time To Map Medicine's Sexual And Gender Harassment Iceberg
Gender harassment happens every day in health care organizations, academic medicine, research labs, and other corners of the science, technology, engineering, and math worlds. It’s largely hidden — except to those experiencing it — unlike its more egregious counterpart, sexual harassment, which often makes headlines. (Holly G. Atkinson, Anu Anandaraja and Stella Safo, 10/21)