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Last 50 News Postings

 (Click on title to be directed to posting, most recent listed first)

Determining if Drug Price Increases are Justified
Court Overturns CMS' Site-Neutral Payment Policy
Pulmonary Disease Linked to Vaping
CEO Compensation-One Reason Healthcare Costs So Much
Doctor or Money Shortage in California?
FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Resigns
Physicians Generate an Average $2.4 Million a Year Per Hospital
Drug Prices Continue to Rise
New Center for Physician Rights
CMS Decreases Clinic Visit Payments to Hospital-Employed Physicians
   and Expands Decreases in Drug Payments 340B Cuts
Big Pharma Gives Millions to Congress
Gilbert Hospital and Florence Hospital at Anthem Closed
CMS’ Star Ratings Miscalculated
VA Announces Aggressive New Approach to Produce Rapid Improvements
   in VA Medical Centers
Healthcare Payments Under the Budget Deal: Mostly Good News
   for Physicians
Hospitals Plan to Start Their Own Generic Drug Company
Flu Season and Trehalose
MedPAC Votes to Scrap MIPS
CMS Announces New Payment Model
Varenicline (Chantix®) Associated with Increased Cardiovascular Events
Tax Cuts Could Threaten Physicians
Trump Nominates Former Pharmaceutical Executive as HHS Secretary
Arizona Averages Over 25 Opioid Overdoses Per Day
Maryvale Hospital to Close
California Enacts Drug Pricing Transparency Bill
Senate Health Bill Lacks 50 Votes Needed to Proceed
Medi-Cal Blamed for Poor Care in Lawsuit
Senate Republican Leadership Releases Revised ACA Repeal and Replace Bill
Mortality Rate Will Likely Increase Under Senate Healthcare Bill
University of Arizona-Phoenix Receives Full Accreditation
Limited Choice of Obamacare Insurers in Some Parts of the Southwest
Gottlieb, the FDA and Dumbing Down Medicine
Salary Surveys Report Declines in Pulmonologist, Allergist and Nurse 
CDC Releases Ventilator-Associated Events Criteria
Medicare Bundled Payment Initiative Did Not Reduce COPD Readmissions
Younger Smokers Continue to Smoke as Adults: Implications for Raising the
   Smoking Age to 21
Most Drug Overdose Deaths from Nonprescription Opioids
Lawsuits Allege Price Fixing by Generic Drug Makers
Knox Named Phoenix Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs
Rating the VA Hospitals
Garcia Resigns as Arizona University VP
Combination Influenza Therapy with Clarithromycin-Naproxen-Oseltamivir
   Superior to Oseltamivir Alone
VAP Rates Unchanged
ABIM Overhauling MOC
Substitution of Assistants for Nurses Increases Mortality, Decreases Quality
CMS Releases Data on Drug Spending
Trump Proposes Initial Healthcare Agenda
Election Results of Southwest Ballot Measures Affecting Healthcare
Southwest Ballot Measures Affecting Healthcare
ACGME Proposes Dropping the 16 Hour Resident Shift Limit


For an excel file with complete news listings click here.

A report from Heartwire described a letter written by Peter Wilmshurst to the AHA asking for full disclosure of conflicts of interest in the MIST trial. Wilmshurst was portrayed in SWJPCC on April 27, 2012 in our Profiles of Medical Courage series. We felt the report of the letter might be of interest to the readership of SWJPCC but there was no good section to pass along the Heartwire article. For this reason, a new Section entitled “News” has been started to report developments outside the usual medical journal purview or from other sources which might interest our readers. We encourage bringing news-worthy articles to our attention and would welcome submission of written reports of such articles.


Entries in nicotine (1)


Younger Smokers Continue to Smoke as Adults: Implications for Raising the Smoking Age to 21

A review article published in Pediatrics assesses the evidence that smoking is particularly harmful the younger a smoker begins (1). Not only do youths tend to accumulate more pack-years but they have more difficulty quitting. The recent shift in smoking trends from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes may not be helpful since both contain the addictive component, nicotine. Although e-cigarettes are marketed as a smoking cessation tool, there is no strong evidence to support these claims, the authors report.

"I think most people realize nicotine is addictive, but I don't know if there's an understanding of just how addictive it is – particularly for youths," said Lorena M. Siqueira, MD, MSPH, lead author of the report (2).

Evidence shows that the earlier in life a person is exposed to nicotine, the more likely they will consume greater quantities and the less likely they will be able to quit (1,2). The vast majority of tobacco-dependent adults (>99%) started smoking before age 26 years. Approximately two thirds of children who smoke in sixth grade, become regular smokers as adults. In comparison, 46% of youth who begin smoking in the eleventh grade go on to become regular smokers as adults. Youths require more attempts to quit smoking before being successful compared to adults. Only about 4% of smokers aged 12 to 19 years have been shown to successfully quit each year.

"There are now seven published longitudinal studies showing that youths who initiate smoking with e-cigarettes are about three times more likely to be smoking conventional cigarettes a year later," said Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, of the Center for Tobacco Research and Education at the University of California and a coauthor of the review (2). Instead of making quitting easier, e-cigarettes make it harder, Dr. Glantz added.

An Institute of Medicine report notes that the age of initiation of smoking is critical (3). The report estimates that that raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 will, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent. This reduction is estimated to result in reducing smoking-related deaths by 10 percent, which translates into 223,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost (3).

These data may prove valuable in evaluating the potential health impact of this legislation.  California became the second state to raise the tobacco sale age to 21 in 2016, joining Hawaii (3). At least 210 localities have raised the tobacco age to 21, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Kansas City and Cottonwood, Arizona. Statewide legislation to do so is being considered in several other states and will probably be introduced in Arizona during this legislative session.

Richard A. Robbins, MD

Editor, SWJPCC


  1. Siqueira LM; Committee on Substance Use and Prevention. Nicotine and tobacco as substances of abuse in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2017 Jan;139(1):e20163436. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. Melville NA. Nicotine's highly addictive impact on youth underestimated. Medscape. January 3, 2017. Available at: (accessed 1/5/17).
  3. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Increasing the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21. Available at: (accessed 1/5/17).

Cite as: Robbins RA. Younger smokers continue to smoke as adults: implications for raising the smoking age to 21. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;14(1):24-5. doi: PDF