AJPH research: Bike share programs and head injuries, U.S. traffic fatalities, smoking and lung cancer

Date: Jun 13 2014

Contact: For copies of articles, call or email Kimberly Short, 202-777-2511.

In this month’s release, find studies about the risk of head injuries associated with bike-share programs; the United States’ slow decline in traffic fatalities; and a new model to estimate the extent to which smoking can be attributed to lung cancer cases.

Contact: For copies of articles or full table of contents of this month’s released studies, call Kimberly Short, 202-777-2511, or email her.

American Journal of Public Health highlights:

1. Bike-share programs correlated with higher proportion of head injuries, among bicycle-related injuries

2. US lags in decline of traffic fatalities leading to 20,000 excess deaths 

3. New model estimates smoking’s legal attribution to lung cancer cases

Bike-share programs correlated with higher proportion of head injuries, among bicycle-related injuries*
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that public bicycle share programs are associated with an increased proportion of head injuries among bicycle-related injuries, potentially due to a lack of helmet availability.

The study, which analyzed trauma admissions from both the United States and Canada, reviewed data from the National Trauma Data Bank, the British Columbia Trauma Registry for Vancouver and the Quebec Trauma Registry for Montreal. By comparing trauma data in cities with public bicycle share programs and those without, researchers assessed the prevalence of bicycling-related head injuries before and after the public bicycle share program implementation.

Results indicated that the public bicycle share programs were associated with a 14 percent greater risk in head injury among those admitted to trauma centers due to bicycle injuries. The study draws a correlation between a lack of helmet availability for public bicycle share programs versus those who ride bicycles through other means.

 “Although public bicycle share programs may promote healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyles, this study suggests that, at the city level, their implementation is associated with increased risk of bicycle-related head injuries. Promotion of helmet use through integrated rental programs should be a critical element of all public bicycle share programs,” authors of the study conclude.

 [“Public bicycle share programs and head injuries,” Contact:Janessa Graves, PhD, MPH, Washington State University College of Nursing/ Spokane, Spokane, Washington].

US lags in decline of traffic fatalities leading to 20,000 excess deaths 
According to a new study from the American Journal of Public Health, while all countries have shown a decline in traffic fatalities since reaching their maximum values, the United States has decreased the least.

Using data from the International Road Traffic Accident Database, the study analyzed traffic deaths from the United States and 25 other countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, , Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Results showed that all 25 countries experienced larger reductions than the United States. Maximum deaths were recorded in 1972 by both The Netherlands and the United States. By 2011 the Netherlands had reduced its total by 81%, compared to 41% in the US. If US fatalities had declined by 81% there would have been 22 000 fewer US road deaths in 2011. 

“U.S. safety policy continues to be a public health catastrophe. If the United States could only match the far from perfect safety performance of a number of other countries, 20,000 fewer Americans would be killed annually and almost a million injuries prevented,” the study notes.

[“Traffic fatality reductions: United States compared with 25 other countries,” Contact: Leonard Evans, President, Science Serving Society, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan].

New model estimates smoking’s legal attribution to lung cancer cases
A newly developed model estimates smoking’s attribution to lung cancer and finds that more than 90 percent of Quebec lung cancer cases can be legally attributed to smoking, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health. Legal attribution incorporates the notion of “more likely than not” or equivalently that the probability of causation due to smoking was greater than 0.50.

The model is based on the dose-response relationship between smoking and lung cancer, and the smoking pattern among lung cancer patients. Researchers measured the extent of smoking through a pack-years measure, which integrates the amount smoked per day and the number of years that the person smoked. The model was developed in response to a request from lawyers of a class action suit in Quebec against the tobacco industry on behalf of patients with lung cancer that was allegedly caused by smoking.

The researchers estimated that the amount of smoking required to satisfy the legal criterion of “more likely than not” is between 3 and 12 pack-years, depending on the modelling assumptions. Based on smoking patterns among lung cancer cases in Quebec, they further estimated that more than 90 percent of the cases satisfied even the most conservative of these thresholds and could be legally attributed to smoking.
“In Quebec, where there were about 6,200 newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer per year from 1995 to 2006, this translates to a total of about 5,700 cases per year that would satisfy the criterion of probability of causation greater than 0.50,” the researchers explain.

[“Estimating the proportion of cases of lung cancer legally attributable to smoking: A novel approach for class actions against the tobacco industry,” Contact: Jack Siemiatycki, Montreal, Canada].

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on June 12, 2014, at 4 p.m. EDT below:

  • The interplay of friendship networks and social networking sites: Impact on adolescent smoking and alcohol use 
  • Estimating the proportion of cases of lung cancer legally attributable to smoking: a novel approach for class actions against tobacco industries 
  • A comparison of smoking cessation counseling received by current smokers at U.S. dentist and physician offices during 2010/2011 
  • Health Literacy Environmental Scans of Community-based Dental Clinics in Maryland 
  • Changes in health care access and use in a U.S.-Mexico border community affected by state Medicaid expansion and community-level policies and programs 
  • Mortality from Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Reproductive-age Women, United States, 1999-2010
  • Public bicycle share programs and head injuries 
  • Evolution and Convergence of State Laws Governing Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Programs, 1998-2011 
  • Effects of lowering the alcohol minimum purchasing age on weekend hospitalised assaults 
  • Missed Opportunity for Alcohol Problem Prevention among Active Duty Service Members Postdeployment 
  • Triple Comorbid Trajectories of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Marijuana Use as Predictors of Antisocial Personality Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Among Urban Adults 
  • Discrimination and Substance Use Disorders Among Latina/os: The Role of Gender, Nativity, and Ethnicity 
  • The Next Generation of Users: Prevalence and Longitudinal Patterns of Tobacco Use among U.S. Young Adults 
  • Prevalence, harm perceptions and reasons for using non-combustible tobacco products among current and former smokers
  • Tobacco smoke incursions in multi-unit housing 
  • Tobacco Retailer Proximity and Density and Nicotine Dependence among Smokers with Serious Mental Illness 
  • Socioeconomic disparities in telephone-based treatment of tobacco dependence 
  • The impact of state cigarette taxes on disparities in maternal smoking during pregnancy
  • Severe Physical Violence and Black Women's Health and Well-being 
  • Effects of the It's Your Game…Keep It Real Program on Dating Violence in Ethnic-Minority Middle School Youth: A Group Randomized Trial 
  • Military Service, Exposure to Trauma and Health in Older Adulthood: An Analysis of Northern Vietnamese Survivors of the Vietnam War 
  • Differences in Time Use and Activity Patterns When Adding a Second Job: Implications for Worker Health and Safety in the United States 
  • Traffic fatality reductions in the United States compared to reductions in 25 countries 
  • Latent tuberculosis infection screening in foreign-born populations: A successful mobile clinic outreach model 
  • Sources of Racial/Ethnic Differences in HIV Vaccine Trial Awareness: Exposure, Attention, or Both? 
  • Community mobilisation and empowerment of female sex workers is significantly associated with reduced HIV/STI risk in Karnataka state, south India 
  • Transition to adulthood and antiretroviral adherence among HIV-positive young Black men who have sex with men 
  • Adolescent Immunization Coverage and New School Rule Implementation in Michigan, 2010 
  • Primary prevention of lead poisoning: Protecting children from unsafe housing
  • Changes in Discrimination across Pregnancy and Postpartum: Age Differences and Consequences for Mental Health 
  • Preconception Stress, Birth Weight, and Birth Weight Disparities among U.S. Women 
  • The associations of adolescent hopelessness and self-worth with pregnancy attempts and pregnancy desire 
  • Educational disparities in the burden of disability: contributions of disease prevalence and disabling impact  

The articles above will be published online June 12, 2014, at 4 p.m. (EST) by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look.”  “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association.

The American Journal of Public Health ® is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by strengthening the profession of public health, sharing the latest research and information, promoting best practices and advocating for public health issues and policies grounded in research.

More information is available at APHA online.

Complimentary online access to the journal is available to credentialed members of the media.  Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via e-mail. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $22 and online single article access is $20 available online.

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*This release has been updated to clarify research findings.

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