MDNN: Cinnamon-Flavored E-Cigarettes, Hypertension Prevalence, Right-to-Try Law


This week on MDNN: Cinnamon flavoring in e-cigarettes has been found to disrupt the lungs’ anti-bacterial defense system, new hypertension guidelines have increased the condition's prevalence, and the US Congress passed a right-to-try bill.

Hi, I’m Matt, I’m Cecilia, and this is MD Magazine News Network—it’s clinical news for connected physicians.

Matt: This week, at the 2018 American Thoracic Society International Conference in San Diego, new data has revealed that a popular electronic cigarette flavor, cinnamon, has chemical characteristics similar to that found in cigarette smoke that disrupts the lungs’ anti-bacterial defense system. This could result in significant harm to the user’s respiratory system. The chemical in question, cinnamaldehyde, is frequently featured in e-cigarette flavors—despite having structural similarities to toxic aldehyde in cigarette smoke. Lead author Dr. Philip Clapp said that cinnamaldehyde impairs normal airway cilia motility and the findings demonstrate that a common, food-safe flavoring agent, in the context of e-cigarette use, is capable of dysregulating this critical anti-bacterial defense system in the lungs.

Cecilia: Last fall, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association released a new version of their guideline for hypertension. Recently completed research comparing the new guideline with its predecessor has shown that, based on the changes, the prevalence of hypertension in US adults has increased by 13.5%. The increase accounts for 31.3 million newly hypertensive patients. The study authors estimated that if treatment goals are met with this lower threshold for the condition, 610 thousand major cardiovascular disease events and 334 thousand total deaths could be prevented annually. In editorial responses, authors called attention to the need for efforts to prevent hypertension altogether, beginning in childhood and young adulthood. Citing prospective cohort data from the CARDIA study, they pointed out that prevention may be possible, and would reduce the need for pharmacologic treatment later in life.

Matt: 9 months after the US Senate passed legislation which would provide patients who are terminally ill an ability to seek out experimental, unapproved therapies, Congress has decided to do the same, in a 250-169 vote. A somewhat controversial topic, known as the right to try, the bill will now head to President Donald Trump for final approval, which will likely be the case, as the president has repeatedly supported the potential new law, most recently in his 2018 State of the Union address. While many in medicine support the principle, there is dissension about the law’s actual benefits. Richard Klein, former director of the FDA Patient Liaison Program, told MD Magazine that “If you think critically about the benefits of right-to-try, I don’t think it provides anything above or beyond what’s currently available. It becomes a political win—but not a win for the patients.”

For these stories and more, visit us online at I’m Cecilia, and I’m Matt. Thank you for watching.

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