FDA investigates vaping and seizures


The Food and Drug Administration announced on Wednesday that it will investigate dozens of reports of seizures after using electronic cigarettes in the last decade.

At least 35 people who actively vape, mostly teens and young adults, reported suffering seizures to the FDA since 2010. Seizures, convulsions, vomiting and brain injuries are all known side effects of nicotine poisoning, according to NBC News.

“We can’t yet say for certain that e-cigarettes are causing these seizures,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in Wednesday’s statement. “As a public health agency, it’s our job to communicate about potential safety concerns associated with the products we regulate.”

According to USA Today, federal data shows that e-cigarette use was up 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students from 2017 to 2018. Popular vaping products can be highly addictive, many containing a significantly higher dose of nicotine than traditional cigarettes

“The FDA is committed to monitoring this issue closely and taking additional steps as necessary to protect the public, especially our nation’s youth,” said Gottlieb. “We will continue to provide updates as more is learned.”

This story received an extensive amount of coverage, as expected from a pervasive issue that affects youth in particular. As more is learned about the health effects of these products, media outlets fulfill their role in distributing the information, which can influence societal patterns.

Second man​ cured of HIV/AIDS


For the second time in history a patient with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus that causes AIDS, has been cured of the infection.

A man from Britain known as the “London Patient” was cleared of the AIDS virus after he was given a bone marrow transplant by an HIV resistant donor. The London patient is the second man in the world to be cured of this virus, 12 years after the first patient, Timothy Ray Brown, was cured in Germany in 2007.

The London patient and Brown were both receiving bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic protein called CCR5, this protein fights against the HIV virus. Both the patients were also first treated originally for cancer, but the protein ended up killing the cancer cells as well as the HIV.

After three years of the transfusions and 18 months of not receiving anti-retroviral drugs, highly effective test shows no signs of the London patients’ previous HIV/AIDS infection. This makes the London patient the first patient since Mr. Brown to remain HIV/AIDS free for more than a year after stopping.

Ravindra Gupta, a professor at University College London and HIV biologist, co-led the team of doctors who treated the London patient. Gupta described his patient as “functionally cured” and “in remission.”

Gupta has been treating the London patient since 2003, when he was first diagnosed with HIV. In 2012, the patient was then diagnosed with blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

In 2016, when the London patient was very sick, the doctors decided to seek a donor that would fit for the transplant. According to Gupta “This was really his last chance of survival.”

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, “The misperception that’s floating out there now is that bone marrow transplantation is now a cure for HIV infection and that is completely untrue.”

The overall cure for AIDS has not been found, but in some patients’ the infection can be killed depending on the situation. Even though doctors don’t want people to assume these transfusions can cure anybody with AIDS, it’s incredible to know that they are working on the step of finding the ultimate cure. Hearing this makes me feel blessed to live in a world with this much-advanced technology. I have faith that one day, AIDS/HIV will be gone forever.

Student overdoses on opioid Oxycodone


A Marathon High School student was rushed to the Fisherman’s Community Hospital in the Florida Keys area on Wednesday for an opioid overdose that caused a complete body shutdown.

According to the Miami Herald, which was one of the only news media sources that covered the incident, the Monroe County 911 operator received a call around 9:48 a.m. that three students took Opioid but only one ‘crashing’ as a result.

Opioid Oxycodone, defined by Erica Jacques who wrote an online article with the VeryWell Health organization, is an opiod painkiller, otherwise known as a narcotic painkiller. It is correctly used to treat moderate to severe forms of both acute and chronic pain. It works by changing the brain’s perception of pain thus providing release. However, with the abuse of this drug it can cause tremendous repercussions for an individual where they can experience irregular breathing and moments of unconsciousness.

The other two students involved in this incident were handed over to their parents who were briefed by Superintendent Mark Porter to expect an undergoing investigation into the matter.

“Our main concern is the health and well-being of the students involved,” said Porter, “Disciplinary actions may be taken once we have all the details of the investigation.”

As the numbers of daily opioid overdose were reported to be on the raise by the South Florida police departments, law makers continue to scramble in finding a way to keep them down. How did the kids get access to such powerful drugs? What is the accountability of the parents in this situation? What are some of your thoughts on the issue?

Uranium found in park’s museum


Buckets of uranium ore stored at the Grand Canyon National Park museum may have exposed park visitors and workers to radiation beyond the federal limit for nearly two decades, according to Elston Stephenson, the park’s Safety, Health and Wellness manager.

Stephenson told CNN that his requests for the National Park Service and Department of the Interior to warn tourists and employees of their possible exposure went ignored for months last summer. With a lack of response from officials, he sent an email to all park staff on Feb. 4 informing them of the situation.

“If you were in the Museum Collections Building (bldg 2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were ‘exposed’ to uranium by OSHA’s definition,” said the email. He also clarified that the exposure doesn’t mean imminent health issues. “It merely means essentially that there was uranium on the site and you were in its presence … and by law we are supposed to tell you.”

Stephenson contacted a park service radiation specialist when he found out that three buckets of ore had been stored next to a taxidermy exhibit for 18 years. According to the specialist’s report, testing results were positive for elevated radioactivity near the buckets, but elsewhere remained at background levels.

The park service decided to dispose of the ore in a nearby uranium mine, according to the report. The Department of the Interior says that the National Park Service is investigating the situation and working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Uranium naturally occurs in the rocks of Grand Canyon National Park. A recent survey of the Grand Canyon National Park’s museum collection facility found radiation levels at ‘background’ levels,” the department said in a statement provided to CNN. “There is no current risk to the public or Park employees.”

From a reporting standpoint, I think that this story doesn’t have deep enough coverage for its scale. For the museum of a national park that receives approximately five million visitors yearly, further investigation should be conducted regarding the origin of the uranium buckets and the reason why it took nearly two decades to remove them. The fact that schoolchildren would sit near the buckets regularly on tours and park employees and high school interns would work near them daily increases the urgency for more knowledge on the health effects of exposure.

An analysis of the manner in which the situation was handled from a management standpoint should also be covered, considering the poor communication and lack of acknowledgement by the National Park Service and Department of the Interior when initial reports emerged.

Measles problem needs news coverage


A measles outbreak is occurring in Washington state, resulting in Gov. Jay Inslee declaring a state of emergency. The outbreak has occurred largely due to the recent anti-vaccination movement that has been growing in the United States. The outbreak has also spread to Oregon. The news media are covering this outbreak through several lenses, each of which is important to focus on.

First, the news media are covering the anti-vaccine movement and how it has become a modern health crisis. News organizations are issuing reports about the safety of vaccines and why it is important for parents to vaccinate their children. This is an excellent example of what reporters should do. They should keep the public informed with proper factual information in order to keep their community safe. A misinformed public can, and has proven to be, extremely dangerous.

Another element that the news media are focusing on is the political side to the issue. Lawmakers in Washington state are looking to pass a bill making it illegal to refuse to vaccinate a child for personal reasons. The news media are covering the topic while examining the public reaction to these proposals. Reporters should keep the public informed about the politics of their local government.

Unfortunately, not all reporters are handling this situation properly. Less credible news outlets are publishing misinformation both about vaccines and the lawmakers involved. In today’s social media climate, it is not only important for reporters to check their facts and maintain a high standard of ethics, but news media consumers should also be alert about the news they receive. The handling of this measles outbreak could potentially save, or endanger, the lives of many, and it is important to cover the issue thoroughly.

How to get away with murder


The Democratic Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, openly embraced infanticide and dressed in blackface thirty five years ago. Which story did the media jump on? Surprisingly, the latter.

Northam is working on legislation with delegate Kathy Tran, that would remove all time restrictions on abortion. Women would have legal access to abortion up until the point of birth. This raised many questions among pro-life advocates and, reasonably so, as abortion gets more and more complicated as birth approaches.

Northam was asked what he would do in the event that the baby would be accidentally delivered during an abortion. Northam responded,

“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Though Northam was not fully clear, it is safe to say this so called “discussion” that would ensue would revolve around whether the baby would be kept alive or murdered. The idea that a beautiful, healthy, breathing child would be murdered outside the womb is abhorrent.

One would think such a story would draw a great deal of news media attention, however, the day after he made this statement, a photo of the governor in blackface surfaced. All media attention turned to this issue and his other comments were pushed to the back burner.

The American people need to comprehend the severity of Gov. Northam’s comments. Yes, the photo is disgusting and he must face consequences for his actions. Both issues are inexcusable, this is not an either or scenario. A representative of our government is calling for newborn babies to be murdered. Wake up America.

Measles spread in Washington state


An outbreak of measles in the Pacific Northwest is averaging more than one new case a day according to state health officials, intensifying their push for parents to vaccinate their children.

On Jan. 22, a public health emergency was declared in Clark County, Wash., a metropolitan area near Portland, Ore., with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state. Most of the 49 confirmed cases as of Monday were unvaccinated children under the age of 10, according to Clark County officials.

The highly contagious disease has reemerged in anti-vaccination hot spots over the past several years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 10 states have reported measles cases in 2019, mostly in and around cities where families choose not to vaccinate for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.“If you have a population that is unvaccinated, it’s like throwing a match into a can of gasoline,” Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County’s public health director, told The New York Times. “And immunization rates have been dropping.”

The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is 93 percent effective at preventing the virus according to epidemiologists, and measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 as a result of its high effectiveness. Before the vaccine’s introduction in 1963, there were four million measles cases in the U.S. each year, with its victims experiencing high fever, cough, and signature rash. Untreated cases can lead to encephalitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain that can cause permanent neurological damage.

Seventeen states, many of which are now experiencing outbreaks, allow parents to exempt their children from vaccination for unspecified personal reasons. Some parents who choose to take part in the anti-vaccination movement are concerned that vaccines can trigger autism, a theory debunked by medical professionals according to The New York Times.

Multiple media outlets have been covering the increasingly frequent outbreaks across the U.S. and world as they arise. Top stories include the 64 reported cases in New York’s Orthodox Jew community in late 2018 and reports of the highest level of measles in Europe since the 1990s. The extensive coverage is an indicator of the overall breakdown of “herd immunity” to measles.

The New York Times has featured articles explaining the science and importance of vaccines, and CBS News further explained the ineffectiveness of various home remedies like the over-consumption of Vitamin A.

In addition to emphasizing statistics that strongly encourage vaccination and referring to sources criticizing weak vaccination policy, these stories are an example of news companies using their influence as a catalyst for political change, adding pressure to state legislators to take a stronger stance on the issue.

New FDA rules bring smoking changes


According to CNN, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that vaping in high school students has gone up by 80 percent among high school students, and 50 percent in middle schoolers. This has been a hard issue to deal with for the FDA as it wants to have products that get adults to quit smoking cigarettes, but not at the cost of having kids get addicted to nicotine, which shows a correlation of smoking later in life.

CNN uses a shocking statistic in this article, claiming that 3.6 million kids in high school and million are regular vapers. These regulations come after news broke that they were investigating JUUL labs for marketing their vapes to kids.

The new regulations would make it so that flavored vapes would only be able to be purchased in age restricted retail locations like smoke and vape shops instead of gas stations. This would prevent kids from being able to walk into a gas station or convenient store and get flavored nicotine products from retailers that don’t care much about age restrictions.

CNN could have done a better job with one aspect of the story. The head of the FDA said that he wants to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. He believes that these are the way kids get into smoking cigarettes. However, they then go onto say that menthol cigarettes are smoked by one in five African-Americans and then do not come back to visit the remarks on the children.

What the FDA is doing must be done to prevent kids from the dangers of being addicted to nicotine.

FDA imposes new sanctions on e-cigs


After it was all over, the news that the FDA was going to impose sanctions on JUUL and other electronic cigarette producers, the government agency is looking to take things one step further. Its goal is to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers because of the massive spike that we’ve seen in the past few years.

Now, instead of just going after JUUL and other popular devices, the agency “plans to ban sales of most flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores and gas stations around the country, in an effort to reduce the popularity of vaping among young people.”

The issue I have with this, which is what I had an issue with when they were going after JUUL, is that these are products that really do help people quit smoking. And since compared to smoking, they are 95 percent less harmful, they can save a lot of lives for adult smokers.

In my opinion, this is going to do more harm than good. It is going to hurt vape shop owners and instead of condemning the product they should be condemning the people who sell the products to minors without identification.

This was an article by Sheila Kaplan of The New York Times and she did a wonderful job of staying non-biased and giving the facts of the story, even though it’s an issue that can get people worked up.

Emotions could cause heart failure


Heart disease is among the leading killers in our nation and claims the lives of over 600,000 people every year. This is due to a host of factors including physical, dietary, and lifestyle factors (such as smoking). This has been well documented, but now, there is a new theory that emotional pain can cause heart related death, according to an article from The New York Times, written by Anahad O’Connor.

The article discusses a new book called “Heart: A History.” The author of the book has studied the heart his whole life and believes that people need to focus on how the emotional heart reacts with the biological heart.

The article is somewhat directionless as the majority of the article discusses the history of medical procedures relating to the heart and how technological advances have made surviving with heart disease more manageable. However, the point that I believe the article is trying to make is the connection between emotional pain and how it relates to heart failure and disease

It lists mostly anecdotal evidence without much scientific backing. It attempts to reference a study done in 1948, which is incredibly outdated considering new scientific studies have been done since then. Stress is definitely a factor that goes into heart disease but is it the most important?

The article gives no evidence to support that claim and seems to be focused more on promoting the new book than it is making a point. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this article, like many articles with insufficient evidence, is that the topic needs to be studied more.

Probiotics benefits may be questionable


It can be argued that the most important shift in health in recent years is the focus on gut health and the microbiome. For years, probiotics, basically live bacteria that heals the gut, have been in the news and they have flooded the health and wellness market with supplements.

The New York Times published an article in its health section called, “The Problem with Probiotics” written by Aaron Carroll. It caught my attention because I have my finger on the pulse of the health industry and the latest trends. The article made some good points, but it is also very misleading.

The article says that probiotics have some benefits but because of its loose regulation on the market, there are potential harms in taking them. My issue with this is that it plays down the scientifically proven benefits of taking probiotic rich foods.

Carroll writes, “Probiotics have the potential to improve health, including by displacing potentially harmful bugs. The trouble is that the proven benefits involve a very small number of conditions…” This is incorrect and the evidence that they cite is just a drop in the bucket of studies done on this that show the opposite.

There are health risks, but the way that Carroll describes this risk is confusing. He says that in 2014 a probiotic supplement possibly killed an infant. This single citation reduces the validity of the article because it was not proven.

The other thing that was frustrating was that Carroll makes no distinction until the end of the article between probiotic supplements and probiotic rich foods like kimchi and sauerkraut which have been proven to be very good for one’s health.

This article makes very good points but its points are plagued by blurry information and bad sources.

Fans support Gomez during treatment


Singer Selena Gomez has been hospitalized due to complications having to do with her previous kidney transplant procedure and for her mental health. Gomez was reportedly working on the music video for “Taki Taki” and now she has to focus on her health. Many fans are supporting the celebrity through this process and the break that she is taking from her professional life.

According to an article by Lisa Respers France and Chloe Menas published on CNN.com, Gomez has suffered in the past from lupus and has been open about her medical conditions with her fans keeping the public informed about what she is going through.

Specific details about her current medical conditions are not known but the popular singer is receiving a lot of support during this time. Reportedly she will be taking a break from the spotlight at this time to focus on her overall health.

According to CBS News, “Gomez checked herself into a wellness program in New York earlier this year to treat depression and anxiety.” Mental health is a big factor when it comes to being a celebrity and right now Gomez’s fans are concerned with her well being.

News sources have been treating this story delicately since it is a very sensitive and personal topic. More specific information about Gomez’s health will be known in the future and fans will be waiting to be updated on the singer’s health.

Red tide reaches South Florida


On Thursday, Miami-Dade County officials received notice that the red tide, a toxic algae bloom that has plagued the southwest coast of Florida, was found on parts of South Florida’s East Coast beaches.

In addition, residents and tourists have been warned to avoid the beach area as the King Tide, expected from Oct. 6-13, will push these toxic algae further inland.

The red tide, which is caused by the bacteria Karenia brevis, can cause respiratory issues in humans and kill fish. These fish then push onshore, creating a foul odor and unpleasant experience for beach-goers. Much of the southwest coast of Florida, spanning from Naples to St. Petersburg, has suffered major blows to their tourism industries.

Samples of water from Haulover Beach were taken in for lab testing. The results came back this week testing positive with a “medium concentration” of algae found.

Other, smaller portions of algae were found in the water on Key Biscayne and Miami Beach, the numbers were not significant enough to close beaches.

Miami-Dade will be testing more beaches this week to assure that more locations haven’t been impacted.

While officials can’t confirm how the toxic algae made its way to the East Coast, scientists assume small portions of it were carried through the ocean’s current.

The red tide could take anywhere from a week to many months to leave an area depending on weather factors such as wind, tide and temperature conditions.

For now, residents and tourists with severe respiratory issues or other health concerns are advised to avoid the beach areas affected.

Man dies from ‘brain-eating’ amoeba


Fabrizio Stabile, 29, died from an amoeba found in fresh water that can infect people by swimming up through the nose and into the brain. The deadly infection is extremely rare, but the Centers for Disease Control is investigating samples of water from a Texas surf resort where Stabile had been just days before he died.

The story, covered on CNN.com by Michael Nedelman, is a good example of a basic news brief with a summary lede and a limited number of solid facts. The topic definitely meets the criteria for a compelling news story, as it is a rare and tragic occurrence, and the author does a good job of capitalizing on this aspect of the story without having all the information.

The CDC is still in the process of investigations at the surf resort to see if the amoeba is present in the water. It is not confirmed that Stabile ingested the amoeba at the surf resort or somewhere else, but it is probable that it happened there.

With some missing pieces to the story, the author decides to delve into some past cases of the infection as caused by the amoeba, even referencing CDC data and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. However, most important is the statement he includes about swimming precautions, warning everyone to try and keep water out of their noses while swimming in freshwater by plugging their noses or using a nose clip when going under.

The only criticism I have for the story is that there are no personal quotations included in the article. Nedelman quotes the GoFundMe page that was created in honor of Stabile, and he has quotes from Brittany Behm, a CDC spokesperson, which were written in an email. It would have been better if Nedelman had spoken to Behm on the phone at least, because email quotes usually sound too formal.

Overall, the story is a solid news brief that gives the reader as much information as the author knows, while at the same time providing background research and precautionary advice to prevent the tragedy from repeating itself.

Mushrooms could cure depression


“Magic mushrooms” are frequently considered to be a staple of counterculture because of their mind-altering potential. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine believe that it could be a huge breakthrough in the fight to combat mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

In an article for The New York Times, Laura M. Holson reports on the effort to get psilocybin, which is the psychedelic element in hallucinogenic mushrooms, changed from a schedule I drug to a schedule IV drug, a process that goes through the Federal Drug Administration. A schedule I drug is one that has no medical value, while a schedule IV drug does have medical value, like sleeping pills, which is the example Holson uses in her article.

This article did a good job trying to buckle down the key talking points on an issue that can be confusing and very controversial for a lot of people. Of course, there is more to this issue that can be discussed. One of the things that I wish Holson did a better job of explaining was how exactly that this drug can help cure anxiety and depression. The reason is that it gives the user a chance to introspectively evaluate their life in a very deep and meaningful way, which she does not mention.

The other thing I wish she wrote more about is how the research is done and how they exactly monitor the results. Do they see an increase in serotonin afterwards, or something along that line?

Overall, Holson did a very good job discussing a subject that I am sure will be discussed much more in the future.

FDA looks at e-cigarettes marketing


In response to the growing prevalence of vaping among teenagers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last Wednesday issued a warning requiring electronic cigarette manufacturers to prove within 60 days that their devices are not marketed toward minors.

If manufacturers fail to do so, the FDA threatens to ban certain e-cigarettes, such as JUUL, from the market.

 2016 Surgeon General’s report first captured the rise in vaping among minors. Some experts worry that e-cigarettes companies are putting out flavors trying to appeal to a younger audience, such as mango and creme brulee, which can serve as a gateway to smoking tobacco products.

E-cigarettes, particularly JUUL, are ubiquitous on college campuses. Students can be found vaping while walking between classes, in dorms and at parties. 

Older students who vape do not plan to stop and are unfazed by the FDA’s warnings.

Meanwhile, some e-cigarette vendors believe further regulation could hurt adults trying to quit smoking. In recent months, the U.S. government has taken closer aim at e-cigarette manufacturers.

The FDA opened an
 investigation into JUUL’s marketing practices in April and the department has begun alerting teenagers about the risks of vaping. 

In spite of the government’s concerns, Farok claimed most of his customers are of legal age to purchase e-cigarettes, leading him to question whether concerns about underage vaping are warranted.

Coroner rules food labeling ‘inadequate’


In 2016, Nadim Ednen-Laperouse experienced every father’s worst nightmare while on board a British Airways flight. His daughter, 15-year-old Natasha experienced an allergic reaction shortly after the flight began, while efforts were taken by the crew to save her life, she died shortly after at the hospital.

Natasha and her family were aware of her life-threatening allergies and took precautionary measures everywhere they went, checking food labels and carrying epi-pens in case of emergency. While at the airport, Eden-Laprouse explained, his daughter found a Pret a Manger baguette in Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in London. They both meticulously inspected the label before determining there were no listed allergens that could adversely affect her.

She consumed the baguette before boarding the plane. Approximately 25 minutes into the flight to Nice airport, Natasha began to experience an itchy throat and after going to the bathroom, her father explained, returned with large welts covering her stomach. The Epipen was administered, but did not relieve the reaction.

Natasha pleaded with her father to help her, telling him that she “could not breathe,” but there was nothing he could do. The BA crew and a young doctor on board worked to save her life for the remainder of the flight but to no avail, she suffered cardiac arrest and died later at a hospital in Nice.

After his daughter’s death, Eden-Laprouse discovered that the Pret a Manger baguette did in fact contain sesame seeds, an ingredient not listed on the label and the cause of his daughter’s allergic reaction. Pret responded to this by saying “[Pret] chooses to deliver allergy information orally and is supposed to have stickers within fridges telling customers to ask staff members for details.” However, it does not seem any stickers were up at the time.

CNN reported on Thursday that the coroner, Sean Cummings, recently stated that, “There was no specific allergen information on the baguette packaging or on the (food display cabinet) and Natasha was reassured by that.” He ruled the labeling inadequate and will now move forward to speak with the Environment secretary on the matter of food labeling.

Vogue covers Juul epidemic in new way


Recently, the FDA issued warnings to several stores that sell Juuls to underage teenagers. They will continue these raids of Juul retailers across the country, following a barrage of complaints from parents and government officials about the detrimental effects of the highly fashionable, yet dangerous vape pen.

I have seen many news outlets cover the Juul craze; they warn of its horrifying health effects and inform readers that the FDA is taking action against the $15 billion company. The conversation has been around for a while, dating back to July, when CNN ran a piece covering the Attorney General’s investigation of Juul Labs and its supposed target market of minors.

However, it was not until I stumbled upon an article in Vogue, in which author Cazzie David, a Juul fiend herself, actually broke down the epidemic, that I became invested in the topic. David’s article, “How to Quit the Juul, According to Comedian Cazzie David,” is written as a first-person narrative that David uses to target the young generation of Juul-ers today.

She admits, halfway through the piece, that she had been Juuling while writing it — taking a “hit” every two sentences, to be exact. She uses stark metaphors to describe just how trapped Juul customers are, not only due to its “dangerously addictive” substance, but also its trendy appeal among the “cool kids,” saying that even “Coca-Cola is also widespread and addictive and still no one is Coca-Cola-ing around town.”

Everything anyone has ever thought about Juuls, but has been too afraid to admit, David blurts out, apologetically, in this piece about how to quit Juuling for good. The way she writes — seriously but masked in a humorous outer shell — makes you want to continue reading.

David lists 13 steps on how to effectively quit Juuling, each one with a more witty twist than the last. Some of her ideas? Letting a sweaty guy at a nightclub take a hit of it, buying a Gucci Juul sticker so you’re embarrassed to take it out in public, staring at yourself in the mirror with your phone in your mouth, or my favorite, imagining the moment God will replay your life for you when you die and realizing how many moments of it were spent sucking nicotine out of that Juul.

Her steps are wildly creative and funny, but many of them are actually plausible. They appeal to a young audience — an audience who is attending nightclubs and buying pack after pack of pods. It makes sense that an airy, yet actually important article like this should work in trying to help Juuling youngsters quit. The academic and sometimes arrogant language of CNN, The New York Times and other major news outlets probably push teenagers away in how they cover Juul news, but Vogue connects to its young readers, letting them know that they are not alone in this addiction, and there are ways to stop.

Opioid bill passes in Congress


This country has had an opioid problem that has reached the level of an epidemic. In 2017 there were 72,000 deaths from drug overdoses, while 50,000 of those came from opioids. After years of attempting to address this issue, the U.S. House and Senate have finally compromised on a bill which aims to help those with addiction, as well as stop opioids from being on the streets.

Abby Goodnough from The New York Times wrote an article about this new bill, titled, “In Rare Bipartisan Accord, House and Senate Reach Compromise on Opioid Bill.” In the article, she describes the main elements of the bill and how it is supposed to help people.

What she did a wonderful job of was that she got quotes from a third-party addiction specialist who broke down what will work and not work about the bill. The reason this is so important to do, especially on a subject like this, is that there is so much that goes into this bill that normal people don’t understand. The specialist goes into detail about what she thinks will not work.

The one thing that is not addressed enough is the section titled “alternative to opioids.” This seems like something that should really be focused on, but is the shortest section of the article. she also listed alternative, smaller packaging as an option, which it is not.

I specifically like how the article relates this bill to the AIDS bill that passed in the 1990s, because that was incredibly successful.

This was a quality article, especially because she took a political hot button issue and focused it more on the bill itself.

‘WW’ coverage needs refocus


Following the launch of Weight Watchers’ rebranding efforts, including the new “WW” name, many news outlets focused their attention on the wrong issues at hand instead of addressing the core issues of diet-culture.

Initially, most of the articles covering the rebranding elaborate on the changes taking place within the company’s practices. This includes a new application, partnership with meditation app Headspace, and incentives for logging various health-related activities.

Then, the pieces go one of two ways. Exhibited in People’s article, “Weight Watchers Rebrands to WW and Refocuses on Health and Wellness” by Julie Mazziotta, many of the pieces fail to provide more than one side to the perception of the rebrand.

The article does well in explaining the new changes taking place, but the only opinion given in the piece is from CEO Mindy Grossman and major WW investor, Oprah Winfrey.

Only including opinions from sources who will undoubtedly speak in favor of the company creates a bias within the article’s content.

Another way the coverage of WW’s new look goes is portrayed in Independent’s, “Weight Watchers Rebrands as WW in Bid to Distance Itself From Dieting,” by Rachel Hosie.

Hosie also covers Grossman’s account on the rebranding of the company, but she elaborates on the backlash the company has received. She cites London-based nutritionist Laura Thomas also holds a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences at Texas A&M.

Thomas is notoriously anti-diet through her social media presence and nutrition practice. Including another opinion on the possibly dishonest intentions of Weight Watchers’ supposed well-intentioned rebranding adds credibility to the article.

Following Thomas’s feedback, however, the article goes on to elaborate on Oprah Winfrey’s role within the company.

This is where the majority of my issues arise with media coverage of this event. Many articles use Winfrey’s support and role in WW as a crutch.

Through covering the damage diet culture has on young women and the way WW promotes this, discussing the success Winfrey has had within the program devalues any good intentions the article, writer or publication may have had.