Public Health News Roundup: March 25
Color-coding Helps Tobacco Companies Get Around Marketing Restrictions
Tobacco manufacturers are essentially getting around the ban on descriptors such as “light,” “mild” and “low” by adding color-coding to cigarette packages, according to a new study in Tobacco Control. The study also found that tobacco companies trying to differentiate light cigarettes from “regular” cigarettes—implying they’re safer—did not file legal applications to have them approved as new products. “After a new federal law was passed in 2009 to end the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing practices, the industry has apparently circumvented it by using new and sophisticated ways to deceive consumers and has not sought Food and Drug Administration approval for these products as required by law,” said study co-author Gregory N. Connolly, DMD, MPH, director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at the School and professor of the practice of public health in the department of social and behavioral sciences. Read more on tobacco.
Study: 40 Percent of Parents Give Kids Solid Foods Too Early
Despite the recommendations of child development experts, about 40 percent of parents feed their infants solid food before they are 4 to 6 months old, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. Parents who formula-feed their infants rather than breastfeed were more likely to give solid foods too early, which has been linked to childhood obesity, celiac disease, diabetes and eczema. Researchers found one of the main reasons for the switch to solids was parents saying their children were getting hungrier. The researchers also said that health care providers should provide clear, accurate information on an infant’s dietary needs. Read more in infant and maternal health.
FDA’s Hamburg Proposes Improved Oversight of Compounding Facilities
The meningitis outbreak linked to tainted steroids produced at the Framingham, Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center has led U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, to propose the FDA be given greater authority to oversee high-risk sterile compounding facilities that distribute drug products in advance of or without receiving a prescription. Her proposal was posted on the FDAVoice blog. According to Hamburg, a Senate committee is drafting a proposed framework that would include requiring:
- Compliance with federal quality standards
- Federal registration of the compounding facilities
- Compounding pharmacies to report to FDA serious adverse drug reactions
Read more on infectious disease.