News in Brief: Week of Oct. 21-25

October 23, 2013 04:10 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

Many Teens Smoking 'Little Cigars,' Flavored Cigarettes

According to an Oct. 22 CDC press release(, a new report from the agency finds that more than two out of every five middle- and high-school students who smoke report using either flavored little cigars or flavored cigarettes.

Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the CDC report( uses data from the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey( (NYTS) to show that among teen cigar smokers, almost 60 percent of those who smoke flavored little cigars are not considering quitting tobacco use, compared with more than 49 percent among all other teen cigar smokers.

The study also found that 35.4 percent of youth who currently smoke cigarettes reported using flavored cigarettes, which the CDC says could include menthol cigarettes or flavored little cigars that students mistook for flavored cigarettes.

The AAFP, along with 15 other health care organizations, recently called on President Obama to issue a proposed rule that would give the FDA the authority to regulate e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. The Academy also is urging the FDA to ban the use of menthol in cigarettes and other tobacco products.

NIDA Updates, Upgrades Teen Website, Adds Spanish-Language Features

The NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced this week( that it has upgraded its teen website( to a "responsive design" model that automatically adjusts to smartphones and tablets.

"The new design is also more engaging, with larger, more vibrant buttons that link directly to resources that provide answers to questions and concerns related to drug abuse in adolescents," NIDA said in the release. "The teen site continues to house free, interactive resources such as its teen blog( and PEERx(, an online educational initiative to discourage abuse of prescription drugs among teens."

In addition to the technology upgrade, the website now includes Spanish-language versions of its Drug Facts( page and What is Addiction?( section, as well as two videos explaining the science behind drug addiction.

Grant Money Funds Health IT, Physician Leadership Projects

The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering physicians and improving health care, recently announced( the completion of several grant activities that provided direct assistance to nearly 10,000 physicians and their practices.

More than 30 grants -- totaling more than $3 million -- were awarded by the foundation to physicians and their practices to assist in the selection and implementation of electronic health records and to develop leadership skills.

Free health information technology toolkits, physician leadership tools and other grant resources are available on the foundation's website(

Practice-based Research Networks 'Best Laboratory,' Say Commentators

Commentary in the September/October Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine( kicks off a special issue of the journal that explores the benefits and value of practice-based research networks.

The commentary is titled "Patient-Centered Research Happens in Practice-based Research Networks,(" and authors say articles included in the special issue "illustrate once again why practice-based research networks provide the best laboratory in which to conduct experiments and evaluate care outcomes that are relevant to both typical primary care patients and their physicians."

Notably, among research included in the special issue is a comparative effectiveness study( assessing various hypertension therapeutic options that was conducted by the Distributed Ambulatory Research in Therapeutics Network (DARTNet). The AAFP was instrumental in launching DARTNet in 2007 with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and remains a key partner. Today, the DARTNet Institute is a rapidly growing collaboration of practice-based research networks that seeks to build a national collection of data from electronic health records, claims and patient-reported outcomes.