FDA Tells R.J. Reynolds to Stop Selling Four Cigarette Products

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday ordered tobacco company R.J. Reynolds to stop selling four cigarette products. It is the first time the agency has ordered a major tobacco company to stop selling products, according to NPR.
The four products are Camel Bold Crush, Vantage Tech 13 and the regular and menthol versions of Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter cigarettes. The FDA has ordered companies to stop selling products before, but they involved much smaller companies with much less popular products, the article notes.
According to the FDA, R.J. Reynolds failed to prove the four products were no more dangerous than brands that have been on the market for a longer time.
“These decisions were based on a rigorous, science-based review designed to protect the public from the harms caused by tobacco use,” Mitch Zeller, Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a statement. “The agency will continue to review product submissions and exercise its legal authority and consumer protection duty to remove products from the market when they fail to meet the public health bar set forth under law.”
Under powers given to it by Congress, the FDA can require tobacco companies to prove new products pose no more risks to smokers than cigarettes that were on the market before February 15, 2007.
“The scientific basis for these four decisions include a failure to demonstrate that increased yields of harmful or potentially harmful constituents, higher levels of menthol, and/or the addition of new ingredients in the currently marketed products – when compared to the predicate products – do not raise different questions of public health,” the FDA stated.

Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Worsening Overdose Crisis, Officials Say

Fentanyl-laced heroin is worsening the nation’s overdose crisis, officials tell NPR. Some drug dealers are using an illicit version of fentanyl, an anesthesia drug, to increase the potency of heroin that has been diluted.
In March, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a nationwide alert in response to a surge in overdose deaths from heroin laced with fentanyl, the most potent opioid available for medical use. According to the DEA, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues produced in illicit clandestine labs are up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30-50 times more powerful than heroin.
Fentanyl is potentially lethal, even at very low levels, according to the DEA.
Federal drug agents say in the last two years, Mexican cartels have increased production of a variant of fentanyl called acetyl fentanyl, and are smuggling it into the United States.
“Heroin is bad enough, but when you lace it with fentanyl, it’s like dropping a nuclear bomb on the situation,” Mary Lou Leary, a deputy director in the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, told NPR. “It’s so, so much more dangerous.” There were at least 700 fentanyl-related deaths from late 2013 through 2014. Only a few states have added acetyl fentanyl to their lists of banned substances, the article notes. The DEA added the drug to the federal list this year.

Poison Control Centers See Big Jump in Children Ingesting Hand Sanitizer

Poison control centers have seen a nearly 400%  jump in calls related to children under 12 ingesting hand sanitizer since 2010, according to CNN. Calls increased from 3,266 in 2010 to 16,117 last year.
The findings come from an analysis by the Georgia Poison Center. “Kids are getting into these products more frequently, and unfortunately, there’s a percentage of them going to the emergency room,” Dr. Gaylord Lopez, the center’s director, told CNN.
The amount of alcohol in hand sanitizer can vary from 45 percent to 95 percent, the article notes. In contrast, wine contains about 12 percent alcohol, while beer contains about 5 percent. In some cases, ingesting as little as two to three squirts of hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning.
A child with alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizer can experience confusion, vomiting and drowsiness. A child with a severe case of alcohol poisoning can stop breathing.
Lopez sent a letter last week to Georgia’s school systems to warn them about the danger. He said children ingest hand sanitizer for a variety of reasons. They may be trying to get drunk, doing it on a dare, or drinking it because it looks like it would taste good.
“A kid is not thinking this is bad for them,” Lopez said. “A lot of the more attractive (hand sanitizers) are the ones that are scented. There are strawberry, grape, orange-flavored hand sanitizers that are very appealing to kids.”
He advises parents and teachers to store hand sanitizer in a place where children cannot reach it, and monitor its use. Sanitizing wipes or non-alcohol based products are alternatives to hand sanitizers, Lopez noted.


An Ohio mother of two shared a photo of her family posing next to the casket of her children’s father to highlight the harsh reality of drug addiction.
On September 10, Eva Holland, of Cincinnati, Ohio, posted a picture on Facebook of 26-year-old Mike Settles lying lifeless in a coffin. In the photo, Holland and her two children stand next to Settles’ coffin and smile at the camera.
In the Facebook post, Holland said she shared the photo because it shows “the reality of addiction.” Holland said Settles died from a heroin overdose, though his family has cautioned that the coroner’s office has not confirmed the cause of his death, WKRC-TV reported.
Settles’ aunt, Stephanie Evans-Flinchum, told WKRC the family appreciated that Holland posted the picture to “spread awareness and save lives,” but thought it was unfair to assume that he died of a “heroin overdose before the coroner’s report is released.”
Holland said she shared the story “in case it can help anyone else” dealing with addiction.
“If you don’t choose recovery every single day this will be your only way out,” Holland wrote in the post. “No parent should have to bury their child, and no child as young as ours should have to bury their parent. This was preventable. It didn’t have to happen, but one wrong choice destroyed his family.”
Holland said Settles’ addiction started with painkillers which led to heroin use. She said after a stint in rehab last year, he seemed to be improving and was finally the “dad that we all needed him to be again.”
“He had found his purpose for living again, he found his gorgeous smile again,” she wrote. “He became the man, the son, the brother, the dad that we all needed him to be again.”
After taking painkillers for a “toothache,” Settles slipped back into addiction, according to Holland.
She said instead of seeking help Settles said he could handle the addiction on his own, according to her Facebook post.
“Well he was wrong, he took his last breath,” she wrote. “My kids father, the man I loved since I was a kid, a great son and a great person lost his battle. I just needed to share his story in case it can help anyone else.”
Holland’s post had been shared 250,000 times. Holland said since she posted the picture she’s received “countless messages and comments from people all over the world.”