AJPH May 2019 Highlights

Date: May 16 2019

CONTACT: David Fouse, 202-777-2501

AJPH publishes research on tobacco industry-funded research, heroin overdose decline, global health aid and U.S. image, ACA disability disparities and more

American Journal of Public Health July 2019 issue research highlights:

Studies funded by tobacco industry more likely to support e-cigarettes, “safer” tobacco products, as tobacco harm reduction

Researchers analyzed peer-reviewed articles and assessed their funding sources and support for substitution of tobacco or nicotine products as harm reduction. They concluded that non-industry-funded peer-reviewed articles were evenly divided in their stance on tobacco harm reduction, while industry-funded articles favored tobacco harm reduction. Overall, 23.9% of these studies disclosed support by industry; 49% of articles endorsed tobacco harm reduction, 42% opposed it, and 9% took neutral or mixed positions. Support from the e-cigarette industry, tobacco industry or pharmaceutical industry was significantly associated with supportive stance on tobacco harm reduction in analyses accounting for sparse data.

Researchers concluded that because of their quantity, published letters and comments may influence perceptions of tobacco harm reduction when empirical studies lack consensus. Authors also cautioned public health professionals to account for industry funding when interpreting the evidence in debates about tobacco harm reduction.

[Author Contact: Pamela M. Ling, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California. “Financial Conflicts of Interest and Stance on Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Systematic Review”].

Heroin overdose emergency room visits declined overall, but increased in three states 2017-2018

This study found a significant decline of 21.5% in heroin overdose emergency department visits from 2017 through the start of 2018. Three states had significant yearly increases (Illinois, Indiana and Utah), and 9 states (Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia had significant decreases. The data also showed both sexes, all age groups and some states exhibited increases from first quarter to second quarter of 2017, and significant decreases from third quarter of 2017 to first quarter of 2018.

Study authors concluded that while there were overall decreases in heroin overdose emergency room visits, the declines were not consistent among all states included in the study. They noted that it is important that the public health field continue to prevent overdoses and focus on emerging epidemic hot spots.

[Author Contact: Alana Vivolo-Kantor, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. “Suspected Heroin Overdoses in US Emergency Departments, 2017–2018”].

Global health aid improves US image abroad

This is the first study to find other nations’ favorability ratings of the United States increased in proportion to health aid received from the U.S. The study showed favorability ratings were significantly higher after implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative. Higher U.S. health aid was associated with more references to that aid in the popular press.

Researchers concluded that sustained global health investments may offer important returns to the United States as well as to the recipient populations.

[Author Contact: Aleksandra Jakubowski, Primary Care and Population Health, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California. “Impact of Health Aid Investments on Public Opinion of the United States: Analysis of Global Attitude Surveys From 45 Countries, 2002–2016”].

Affordable Care Act reduced some disability-related health disparities

This research found disparities in access to health care were reduced for people with certain types of disabilities, young adults ages 19 to 25 and low-income families, after the Affordable Care Act was implemented. Study authors concluded that the ACA improved overall access to health care and reduced some disparities, but noted that substantial disparities persist.

Disability status remains associated with much greater risk of delayed or forgone care, and mental health disability is associated with greater likelihood of uninsurance.

[Author Contact: H. Stephen Kaye, Institute for Health and Aging, San Francisco, California. “Disability-Related Disparities in Access to Health Care Before (2008–2010) and After (2015–2017) the Affordable Care Act”].

Find a full list of AJPH research papers published online below:

  • Improved public opinion of the U.S. following health aid investments: Analysis of global attitude surveys from 45 countries, 2002-2016
  • The e-cigarette debate: What counts as evidence?
  • Suspected heroin overdose in 23 U.S. state emergency departments (2017-2018)
  • Strategies to reduce illicit trade of regular nicotine tobacco products after introduction of a low nicotine tobacco product standard
  • Nondetectable: The politics of measurement of asbestos in talc, 1971-1976
  • Empowering Chicago’s youth as the next generation of health advocates
  • Quantiferon-tb gold v tuberculin screening and care retention among homeless, Georgia, 2015-2017
  • Financial conflicts of interest and stance on tobacco harm reduction: a systematic review
  • Disability-related disparities in access to healthcare before (2008-10) and after (2015-17) the Affordable Care Act

The articles above will be published online May 16, 2019, at 4 p.m. ET by AJPH 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. AJPH is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at www.ajph.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Megan Lowry at APHA, 202-777-3913, or email her. 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 $30, and online single-article access is $22 at www.ajph.org. For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us.

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.