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Health Highlights: Jan. 30, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

FDA Gets 'F' in Tobacco Prevention Report Card

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was given an "F" in a new American Lung Association report card evaluating tobacco prevention programs.

The FDA is failing to protect youth from electronic cigarettes, which can lead to potential nicotine addiction, the group said in its 17th annual State of Tobacco Control report, according to CNN.

The FDA's inaction on e-cigarettes is "putting the lives and health of Americans at risk," said report author Thomas Carr, national director of policy at the American Lung Association, who said there was a "staggering 78 percent increase among high school students and e-cigarette use in 2017-18."

He said nearly 21 percent of U.S. high school students use e-cigarettes, CNN reported.

The sharp rise in e-cigarette use has ""led both the U.S. surgeon general and FDA commissioner to call teen e-cigarette use an 'epidemic,' " Carr said. "That is a direct result of lack of regulation of the products."

The FDA is responsible for regulating e-cigarettes, CNN reported.

Despite pledging to regulate e-cigarettes in 2011, the FDA began regulating them in 2016, setting 18 as the minimum age for buyers, and introducing additional requirements for retailers and standards for makers.

"Back then, e-cigarette use was at 1.5% among high school students, so that really was the time for action," Carr said, CNN reported.

More recently, the FDA said it has taken an "escalating series of unprecedented actions" to prevent youth use of tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in U.S., killing 480,000 people each year. An additional 16 million people have a tobacco-related disease, CNN reported.


Tyson Foods Recalls Chicken Nuggets

About 36,420 pounds of chicken nuggets are being recalled by Tyson Foods because they may be contaminated with rubber.

The recalled 5-pound plastic packages of "Tyson White Meat Panko Chicken Nuggets," were produced on November 26, 2018. They have a use-by date of November 26, 2019, a case code "3308SDL03" on the label, and the establishment number "P-13556" inside the USDA mark of inspection, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), CNN reported.

The chicken nuggets were shipped to stores across the U.S.

There haven't been any confirmed reports of illness from eating the chicken nuggets, according to FSIS, which is concerned that people may still have the recalled products in their freezers, CNN reported.

"These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase," FSIS said.

For more information, consumers can call Tyson Consumer Relations at 1-888-747-7611.


Large Insulin Price Hike to Be Investigated by U.S. Congress

The soaring cost of insulin will be investigated as the U.S. Congress holds hearings into the high cost of prescription drugs, a lawmaker says.

"I have heard stories about people reducing their life-saving medicines, like insulin, to save money," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Associated Press reported.

"This is unacceptable and I intend to specifically get to the bottom of the insulin price increase," Grassley said.

The American Medical Association says insulin prices rose nearly 200 percent between 2002 and 2013 and has called on the government the huge increase, the AP reported.

Currently, there is no effective generic alternative to brand-name insulin costing hundreds of dollars a month.

The insulin market is dominated by a few companies, including Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Eli Lilly, the AP reported.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is holding its own hearings into drug industry pricing practices, and requests for detailed information have been sent to 12 major manufacturers.

Research suggests that price spikes of a few years ago have eased, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the drug industry says government price regulation will stifle innovation and deprive patients of timely access to new medications, the AP reported.

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The news stories provided in Health News and our Health-E News Newsletter are a service of the nationally syndicated HealthDay® news and information company. Stories refer to national trends and breaking health news, and are not necessarily indicative of or always supported by our facility and providers. This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.