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E-cigarettes Do Not Offer a Guarantee Against Relapse for Smokers




Oct. 22, 2021 — Ex-smokers who use ecigarettes are just about as likely to light up again than those who smoke other nicotine alternatives, according to new evidence.

Recent research showed that people who quit smoking and switched to electronic cigarettes were just as likely as those who switched to nicotine gum or other products to go back to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The best strategy was to quit smoking completely. The odds of someone quitting smoking completely was 8.5% higher if they used e-cigarettes or other tobacco products than people who quit smoking “cold turkey”.
The study was published in JAMA Network Open on Oct. 19.
These findings are interesting because they come a week after FDA announced its first ecigarette authorization for three Vuse vaping products. The FDA released data from R.J. Reynolds that showed the products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch, either completely or with a significant decrease in cigarette use.
Electronic Cessation
“We were surprised by the FDA’s approval to allow some electronic cigarettes to be marketed to smokers to help them quit,” said John P. Pierce PhD, the lead author of the smoking relapse research.
The current paper is different from the two previous studies done by Pierce and his colleagues on e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes were evaluated as a long-term aid for quitting smoking in a December 2020 study. In September 2020, another study compared e-cigarettes with other aids and the effectiveness of quitting smoking cold turkey.
Pierce, a professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, said that “none of the research has been able to identify a benefit to e-cigarettes to cessation.”
Researchers decided to see if people who had quit smoking were more likely than others to relapse within a year if they switched to nicotine patches or e-cigarettes.
Nearly 1 in 4 Quitters switched to e-Cigarettes
Pierce and his colleagues studied 13,604 cigarette-smokers from the U.S. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. 9.4% of the participants had quit smoking in the last year, according to the first annual follow up.

The 37% who quit smoking were among the 1,228 people who had recently quit. 23% also switched to non-cigarette tobacco products, while 23% switched to e-cigarettes. The remaining 63% remained tobacco-free. Non-Hispanic whites were the most dependent on tobacco, while those with an annual income of more than $35,000 were more likely switch to e-cigarettes.
To make matters worse, some people smoke cigarettes and use electronic cigarettes where smoking is prohibited. Pierce and his colleagues point out that this doesn’t reduce the harm of switching to a safer product.
“The potential harm reduction offered by e-cigarettes means that people who want to quit smoking should not smoke again and must stop using dual-product cigarettes.
Hotly Debated Topic
The debate surrounding e-cigarettes as a method to quit smoking is still ongoing.
Terry F. Pechacek (Doctor of Philosophy) writes that the question “continues be hotly debated” in a commentary published along with the study.
Pechacek, who is a Georgia State University professor of health policy and management, said that these new results are a further addition to the growing body evidence from observational studies and randomized trials examining the effects of switching to electronic cigarettes on smoking cessation.
He said that the study “provides additional evidence suggesting a higher relapse rate back to smoking” when e-cigarettes are used in real-world settings.

WebMD Health News


JAMA Network Open: “Incidence Of Cigarette Smoking Relapse Among Individuals who Switched To e-Cigarettes Or Other Tobacco Products.”

American Journal of Epidemiology: “Use of electronic cigarettes to aid long-term smoking cessation in the United States: Prospective evidence from the PATH Cohort Study.”

PLoS One: “Role e-cigarettes and psychotherapy during attempts to quit smoking: The PATH Study 2013-16.”
John P. Pierce, PhD is professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.
Terry F. Pechacek PhD, professor of policy and health management at Georgia State University in Atlanta

(C) 2021 WebMD LLC. All rights reserved.

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.

Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.

Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.


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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”

5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”


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