Health Highlights: May 21, 2019

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

Bill Would Raise U.S. Legal Age to Buy Tobacco to 21

A bill to raise the minimum age for buying any type of tobacco product, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21 was introduced Monday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The proposed bipartisan legislation comes at a time when soaring underage use of e-cigarettes has health experts alarmed, the Associated Press reported.

McConnell’s home state of Kentucky was long one of leading tobacco producers in the country, but he said passage of the bill is “one of my highest priorities.”

“Kentucky farmers don’t want their children to get hooked on tobacco products while they’re in middle school or high school any more than any parents anywhere want that to happen,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, the AP reported.

The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., another state that’s been a major tobacco producer.

Fourteen states have enacted laws raising the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21, according to the anti-smoking Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Similar action has been taken by 470 municipalities, the AP reported.

A recent federal government survey found that 1 in 5 U.S. high school students reported using e-cigarettes the previous month. Most e-cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine, which can harm young people’s brain development and may increase their risk of smoking cigarettes later in life, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Youth vaping is a public health crisis,” McConnell said Monday. “It’s our responsibility as parents and public servants to do everything we can to keep these harmful products out of high schools and out of youth culture.”

The American Cancer Society’s advocacy organization, the Cancer Action Network, said the bill is a “welcome indication that Congress is taking the alarming crisis of increased youth tobacco use seriously and is committed to taking action,” the AP reported.

But it warned against including amendments that could override stronger restrictions by states and municipalities, exempt some young people or exclude certain products.


Vienna Beef Hot Dogs Recalled

Possible contamination with metal fragments has prompted the recall of more than 2,000 pounds of Vienna Beef hot dogs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said Monday.

The agency said the recalled hot dogs were produced on May 2 and shipped to retailers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, and that consumers who have them should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase, CBS News reported.

The recalled products have the establishment number “EST. 1” inside the USDA inspection mark and have the following codes on the label: Vienna Beef 10-pound cases containing “SKINLESS BEEF FRANKFURTERS 6″ 8’s 10#” with case code 013180 and package code 9122; Vienna Beef 10-pound cases containing “SKINLESS BEEF FRANKFURTERS 6″ 11’s 10#” with case code 013312 and packaging code 9122 or 9123; and Vienna Beef 10-pound cases containing “SKINLESS BEEF FRANKFURTERS 7″ 9’s 10#” with case code 013490 and package code 9122 or 9123.

There have been no confirmed reports of illness or injury due to the recalled hot dogs, according to FSIS.


Computers Detect Lung Cancer on Scans as Well as Docs Do

Computers were able to identify small lung cancers on CT scans as well or better than doctors, a new study finds.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, was conducted by researchers from Google and several medical centers, The New York Times reported.

They applied artificial intelligence to CT scans used to screen people for lung cancer. This screening is recommended for people at high risk of cancer due to smoking.

But the screening can miss tumors or mistake benign spots for cancer, and doctors examining the same scan may come to different conclusions, The Times reported.

This new technology is still under development, but shows how artificial intelligence may have a future role in medicine.


Purely Elizabeth Granola Products Recalled

A range of gluten-free granola products have been recalled by Purely Elizabeth because they may contain foreign matter such as glass, plastic or rocks.

All of the recalled products contain cashews. The company said no injuries or illnesses have been reported in connection with the recalled products, CBS News reported.

The products were sold online and at major retailers across the United States.

The recalled products include: 16-ounce packages of Coconut Cashew Grain-Free Granola with the UPC Code 8551400002946 and best by dates of Nov. 30, 2019 and Dec. 3, 2019; eight-ounce packages of Coconut Cashew Grain-Free Granola with the UPC Code 855140002700 and best by date of Oct. 19, 2019; eight-ounce Banana Nut Butter Grain-Free Granola with the UPC Code 855140002724 with best by dates of Oct. 17, 2019 and Dec. 12, 2019; and Pumpkin Spice w/Ashwagandha Superfood Grain-Free Granola with the UPC Code 810589030158 and best by date of Dec. 7, 2019.

Consumers should not eat any of the recalled products, but instead should contact Purely Elizabeth for free replacement. For more information, call 720-242-7525, Ext 106.