The latest medical research on Addiction Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about addiction medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Are e-cigarettes reviving the popularity of conventional smoking among Taiwanese male adolescents? A time-trend population-based analysis for 2004-2017.

Tobacco Control

In Taiwan, national tobacco use surveys show that e-cigarette use has increased since 2014 among youth, while, at the same time, conventional cigarette smoking has continuously decreased. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the increased popularity of e-cigarettes has undermined this favourable declining trend for cigarette smoking.

We examined conventional cigarette and e-cigarette prevalence among male high school students (aged 16-18 years) and adults from 2004 to 2017, using data from cross-sectional nationally representative surveys. Applying interrupted time series analysis, we assessed whether there was a change in trend in 2014, when e-cigarette use started to gain popularity from long-term trends in prior years (2004-2013).

E-cigarette use prevalence increased from 2.5% in 2014 to 6.4% in 2017 among male high school students but was negligible among male adults, declining from 1.4% in 2015 to 0.8% in 2017. The annual relative decline in the cigarette smoking rate after e-cigarettes started to gain popularity was greater (-10%) than the long-term trend (-2%) among high school students. Among adults, the change in trend over time after e-cigarettes started to gain popularity was not significant (ie, not significantly different from 0).

The increased popularity of e-cigarettes since 2014 is associated with a greater decline in youth smoking, compared with previous years. On the contrary, e-cigarette use has remained very low among Taiwanese male adults and no additional impact on the conventional smoking trend is found.

Tobacco price increases in Korea and their impact on socioeconomic inequalities in smoking and subsequent socioeconomic inequalities in mortality: a modelling study.

Tobacco Control

Through a modelling study, we assessed the impact of tobacco price increases on smoking and smoking inequalities by income, and then quantified the subsequent effects on mortality and inequalities in mortality in Korea.

Eleven-year pooled data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) (n=65 197) were used to estimate the income group-specific price elasticity. The price elasticity was then used to calculate changes in current smoking prevalence and per capita cigarette consumption resulting from a spectrum of hypothetical tobacco price increases. The mortality risk function from the 10-year mortality follow-up data of the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort (n=293 858, numbers of deaths=14 953) and the current distributions of smoking-related variables from the KNHANES 2015-2017 were employed to estimate the effect of tobacco price increases on inequality in mortality.

Low-income Korean smokers were more responsive to changes in tobacco price. Increasing the tobacco price by 100% would achieve the overall reduction of 2.0% for 10-year mortality. For mortality inequalities by income, the relative index of inequality (slope index of inequality) would be reduced by 3.8% (4.8%) for 10-year mortality.

This modelling study showed that tobacco price increases in Korea can reduce current smoking prevalence and per capita cigarette consumption in the whole population, and especially among the poor, which in turn would reduce the gap in mortality between income groups.

Social media use by leading US e-cigarette, cigarette, smokeless tobacco, cigar and hookah brands.

Tobacco Control

Youth and young adults frequently use social media and are susceptible to tobacco use. This study is the first to provide a systematic overview of how leading tobacco product brands use popular social media platforms.

We identified 112 leading brands of e-cigarettes, hookah, cigars, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco based on sales and self-report user data. We searched for each brand on six platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Tumblr. In early 2019, we conducted a content analysis of each page, coding: age restrictions, warning display, page characteristics and post characteristics.

Cigarette brands were generally not present. Most e-cigarettes, hookah and cigar brands had pages on at least two platforms. One-third of smokeless brands had pages on at least one platform. Few brands had pages on Pinterest and Tumblr. Most pages had existed for 3-5 years. Overall, brand pages rarely used age gating, did not display health warnings, generally posted images of a product alone and often used hashtags unrelated to tobacco. Brands commonly used special features like ephemeral posts on Instagram and pop-up chat windows on Facebook. Many pages displayed images of young people and mentioned flavour. Median followers per brand ranged from about 1 000-10 000, and total followers summed across brands reached over 5 million on Facebook and Instagram alone.

Leading brands of most tobacco product types use social media extensively. Several findings identify issues related to youth exposure to and appeal of tobacco social media marketing. Findings can inform tobacco education efforts and regulation.

Do state regulations on e-cigarettes have impacts on the e-cigarette prevalence?

Tobacco Control

We examine the association among five types of state regulations on electronic cigarettes (defining e-cigarettes, special tax, packaging, youth access and licensure) and initiation and current usage of e-cigarettes in 50 US states and the District of Columbia.

Data came from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the US e-cigarette regulations-50 state review by the Public Health Law Center. Logistic regressions were used to determine the odds of initiation and current use of e-cigarettes among individuals aged 18-24, 25-34 and the whole sample, adjusting for socio-demographic covariates.

Despite the short history of state laws on e-cigarettes, each of the five state laws was associated with lower odds of initiation and use of e-cigarettes in the whole sample. In the 18-24 age group, only the licensure was associated with lower initiation. In the 25-34 age group, the licensure and taxation were related to lower initiation and current usage. There were significant differences of e-cigarette initiation and usage based on the number of state laws regulating e-cigarettes.

Our analysis indicates the potential of states' policy efforts to regulate e-cigarettes comprehensively in leading significant changes to e-cigarette prevalence in their populations.

Perceived addiction to vaping among youth and young adult regular vapers.

Tobacco Control

The prevalence of e-cigarette use among youth and young adults has increased markedly in recent years; however, little is known about young people's perceptions of e-cigarette addiction. This study examines factors associated with self-reported addiction to e-cigarette use among this population.

In 2018, 1048 Canadians aged 16-25 years were recruited through online social media platforms to complete a survey. Quota sampling was used to oversample regular e-cigarette users (vaping at least weekly); these 578 regular users were included in this analysis. Self-perceived addiction was assessed by asking participants if they felt they were 'very', 'somewhat' or 'not at all' addicted to e-cigarettes. A proportional odds model was employed to identify factors associated with the ordinal outcome.

Almost half of regular users perceived themselves to be 'not at all addicted', 41% felt they were 'somewhat addicted' and 13% felt they were very addicted to e-cigarettes. Women, former cigarette smokers, daily vapers and those vaping for more than a year were more likely to report higher levels of perceived addiction. Similarly, high sensation-seeking youth, those reading blogs and websites about vaping, those frequently dripping and those using higher nicotine strengths had a greater likelihood of higher perceived addiction than their respective counterparts.

More than half of youth and young adult regular e-cigarette users felt they had some level of addiction. The findings identify possible opportunities for targeted programming for education and treatment, as well as potential opportunities for policy change such as maximum allowable nicotine strengths.

At the speed of Juul: measuring the Twitter conversation related to ENDS and Juul across space and time (2017-2018).

Tobacco Control

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are the most-used tobacco product by adolescents, and Juul has rapidly become the most popular ENDS brand. Evidence indicates that Juul has been marketed heavily on social media. In light of recent lawsuits against the FDA spurred by claims that the agency responded inadequately to this marketing push, measuring the social media conversation about ENDS like Juul has important public health implications.

We employed search filters to collect Juul-related and other ENDS-related data from Twitter in 2017-2018 using Gnip Historic PowerTrack. Trained coders labelled random samples for Juul and ENDS relevance, and the labelled samples were used to train a supervised learning classifier to filter out irrelevant tweets. Tweets were geolocated into US counties and their fitness for use was assessed.

The amount of Juul-related tweets increased 67 times over the study period (from 18 849 in the first quarter of 2017 to 1 287 028 in the last quarter of 2018), spreading widely across US counties. By the last quarter 2018, 34% of US counties had more than 6 Juul-related posts per 10 000 people, up from 0% in the first quarter 2017. However, during the same period, the total of non-Juul ENDS-related tweets decreased by 25%.

Juul-related content grew exponentially on Twitter and spread across the entire country during the time when the brand was gaining market share. This social media buzz continued to increase even after FDA's multiple interventions to curb promotions targeting minors.

Trends in affordability of tobacco products before and after the transition to GST in India.

Tobacco Control

To estimate the trends in affordability of bidis, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (SLT) in India and examine the impact of transition from the earlier indirect taxation system to the new goods and services tax (GST) on the affordability.

Retail price data and per-capita gross domestic product data were used to examine the trends in affordability of cigarettes, bidis and SLT from 2007-2008 to 2018-2019. Relative income price defined as the share of real per-capita income required to purchase a given quantity of a product was used to measure affordability. Changes in affordability were decomposed to disaggregate the effects of real prices or income changes.

On average, cigarettes, bidis and SLT have become increasingly affordable over the past 10 years. Bidis were found to be nine times more affordable than cigarettes. The GST has accentuated the increase in the affordability of cigarettes and SLT, and did not significantly alter the high affordability of bidis. In general, states with high (low) value-added tax rates during the pre-GST period experienced increases (decreases) in tobacco products' affordability after GST.

Bidis continue to be highly affordable while the affordability of cigarettes and SLT increased mainly due to lack of any tax changes after GST and the growth in per-capita income. To effectively reduce affordability, significant increase in either the excise taxes and/or the compensation cess-a temporary duty in addition to GST-is warranted. Compensation cess should also be applied on bidis to address the huge tobacco use problem in India.

Projecting the future impact of past accomplishments in tobacco control.

Tobacco Control

The benefits to adults who quit smoking increase over time as former smokers live longer, healthier lives. Youth who never smoke will benefit for decades. Thus, the long-term population effects of tobacco prevention and control policies may be substantial. Yet they are rarely quantified in evaluations of state tobacco control programmes.

Using a microsimulation model, we predicted the benefits to Minnesotans from 2018 to 2037 of having reduced cigarette smoking prevalence from 1998 to 2017. We first simulated the health and economic harms of tobacco that would have occurred had smoking prevalence stayed at 1997 levels. The harms produced by that scenario were then compared with harms in scenarios with smoking declining at observed rates from 1998 to 2017 and either expected declines from 2018 to 2037 or a greater decline to 5% prevalence in 2037.

With expected smoking prevalence decreases from 2018 to 2037, Minnesotans will experience 12 298 fewer cancers, 72 208 fewer hospitalisations for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, 31 913 fewer respiratory disease hospitalisations, 14 063 fewer smoking-attributable deaths, $10.2 billion less in smoking-attributable medical expenditures and $9.4 billion in productivity gains than if prevalence had stayed at 1997 levels. These gains are two to four times greater than for the previous 20 years, and would be about 15% higher if Minnesota achieves a 5% adult prevalence rate by 2037.

The tobacco control measures implemented from 1998 to 2017 will produce accelerated benefits during 2018-2037 if modest progress in tobacco prevalence rates is maintained.

Using point-of-sale data to examine tobacco pricing across neighbourhoods in Scotland.

Tobacco Control

To assess the geographical variation in tobacco price (cigarettes and roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco) in convenience stores across Scotland and how this relates to neighbourhood income deprivation, tobacco retail outlet density and urban/rural status.

Tobacco price data from 124 566 shopping baskets purchased in 274 convenience stores during 1 week in April 2018 were obtained through an electronic point-of-sale system. These data were combined with neighbourhood-level measures of income deprivation, tobacco retail outlet density and urban/rural status. We examined brand price for 12 of the most popular cigarette brands and 3 RYO brands and variations in purchases by price segment; multivariable regression analysis assessed associations between area variables and tobacco price.

Most stores sold tobacco in all price segments. The lowest priced subvalue brands were the most popular in all neighbourhoods but were most dominant in shops in more deprived neighbourhoods. When total sales were assessed, overall purchase price varied significantly by neighbourhood income deprivation; packets of 20 cigarettes were 50 pence (5.6%) lower and RYO 34 pence (2.7%) lower among shops in the two highest income deprivation quintiles relative to the lowest. Analysis of individual brands showed that for 3 of the 12 cigarette brands considered, average prices were 12-17 pence lower in more deprived neighbourhoods with the most popular RYO brand 15 pence lower. There was limited evidence of a relationship with tobacco retail outlet density.

Across Scottish convenience stores, the purchase price of cigarettes and RYO was lower in more income-deprived neighbourhoods. The lower prices primarily reflect greater sales of cheap brands in these areas, rather than retailers reducing the prices of individual brands.

Workplace smoke-free policies that allow heated tobacco products and electronic cigarettes use are associated with use of both these products and conventional tobacco smoking: the 2018 JASTIS study.

Tobacco Control

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are rapidly gaining popularity, especially in Japan. However, at the time of the survey (2018), there was no national legislation banning HTPs or e-cigarette use in the workplace. The objective is to examine the current situation for workplace smoke-free policies which ban the use of HTPs/e-cigarettes and the associations of such rules with the use of HTP and e-cigarette as well as conventional cigarette smoking.

An internet-based self-reported questionnaire survey was conducted in 2018 as a part of the Japan Society and New Tobacco Internet Survey study. 5646 eligible employees aged 15-72 years were analysed. Proportions and adjusted rate ratios for HTP and e-cigarette use were calculated according to covariates, using Poisson regression models. Those who reported HTP or e-cigarette use within 30 days were defined as current user of the products.

In workplaces which prohibited smoking indoors but permitted the use of HTPs/e-cigarettes, the rate ratios of HTP use was 2.19 (95% CI 1.57 to 3.06), e-cigarette use was 3.86 (95% CI 1.97 to 7.57) and combustible cigarette use was 1.67 (95% CI 1.19 to 2.34) when using workplaces which also prohibited HTPs/e-cigarettes as a reference category.

Workplaces that allow HTP/e-cigarette use indoors were associated with higher rate for HTP and e-cigarette users, and for combustible cigarette smokers. National legislation banning tobacco should be enforced and also cover HTPs and e-cigarettes in order to avoid renormalisation of smoking and nicotine addiction.

Association of initial e-cigarette and other tobacco product use with subsequent cigarette smoking in adolescents: a cross-sectional, matched control study.

Tobacco Control

This study assessed whether initiating e-cigarette use increases the uptake of cigarette smoking in US adolescents compared with behavioural and synthetic controls.

Data come from 78 265 adolescents in the National Youth Tobacco Survey (2014-2017) of whom 38 630 provided information about the first tobacco product they had used in 2014/15. Ever, past 30 day and established (30 day use and 100+ lifetime cigarettes) cigarette smoking was compared in adolescents who first used an e-cigarette (exposure group), a non-cigarette combustible (CT) or other non-combustible tobacco (NT) product (behavioural controls), and propensity score matched adolescents without initial e-cigarette use (synthetic controls).

Relative to behavioural controls, adolescents who tried e-cigarettes first were less likely to have ever smoked cigarettes (26% vs CT (42.4%; OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.57), or NT initiators (52.7%; OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.39)), to be past 30 day (6% vs CT (11.9%; OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.62), or NT initiators (20.0%; OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.35)) or be established cigarette smokers (0.7% vs CT (3.9%; OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.30), or NT initiators (8.4%; OR 0.08, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.13)). E-cigarette initiators were also less likely than synthetic controls (without initial e-cigarette use) to have ever smoked cigarettes (OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.93), be past 30 day (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.91) or be established cigarette smokers (OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.51).

Less than 1% of US adolescents who use e-cigarettes first were established cigarette smokers. They were less likely to be smokers than adolescents who tried other combustible or non-combustible tobacco products first and propensity score matched adolescents without initial e-cigarette use.

The illicit cigarette market in six South African townships.

Tobacco Control

We estimate the size of the illicit cigarette market in low socioeconomic areas in South Africa before and after a tax increase. In 2018, the real excise tax increased by 3% and the value-added tax (VAT) rate increased from 14% to 15%. Thus, the real tax on cigarettes increased by 4%.

A total of 2427 smokers were interviewed over two rounds of data collection (1234 before the tax increase and 1193 after). Data were collected in six townships across four of South Africa's nine provinces. Smokers were asked about their most recent cigarette purchase. Cigarettes purchased for R1 (US$0.08) or less per stick are presumed illicit, based on a threshold price, which includes production costs and taxes.

In 2017 and 2018 respectively, 34.6% and 36.4% of smokers in the sample purchased illicit cigarettes. The increase in the proportion of illicit purchases was not statistically significant. Smokers with relatively low socioeconomic status, those who have low levels of education and those who are older or unemployed are most likely to purchase illicit cigarettes.

The illicit cigarette trade in South African townships is widespread. The government should implement an independent track and trace system to curb tax evasion. This would reduce the availability of illicit cigarettes, improve public health and increase excise tax collection.