What We're Reading: Vaping Ban Bill; Anal Cancer Rates; Medical Bill Protections

November 20, 2019

A House committee approves a bill to ban all flavored tobacco products; anal cancer rates are on the rise; the debate continues over competing healthcare measures.

Sweeping Ban on Flavored Tobacco, Vaping Products Approved

Late Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill to ban all flavored tobacco products, increase the age to buy to 21, and ban online sales, according to Politico. This bill, aimed to curb teens’ soaring use of tobacco products, especially vaping products, is viewed as being more aggressive than President Donald Trump’s flavor ban, which he put on hold this week fearing loss of votes. The American Medical Association is also calling for a ban in light of 2 lawsuits against vaping giant Juul for unfairly targeting teens, according to The New York Times.

Anal Cancer Cases, Deaths on the Rise in the US

Study results appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute show a rising trend in deaths from anal cancer over the past 15 years, according to CNN, among people aged 50 or older. With most cases of anal cancer linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), per the CDC, and risk factors for the historically rare cancer now including HIV, the authors are calling for improved screening and wider HPV vaccination efforts.

Patients’ Economic Interests Focus of Competing Healthcare Measures

Leaders of both political parties agree that patients need protection from oversized medical bills if they happen to require an emergency department visit and their treating physician in not in their network, according the The Hill. A measure from the Senate Health Committee (SHC) would set insurer rates, but doctors and hospitals fear it could cut their payments; they want the rates decided via arbitration. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has a bill, too, and is hoping to come to an agreement with the SHC by December.