San Francisco becomes first US city to ban sale of e-cigarettes

San Francisco voted to ban e-cigarettes in the first legislation of its kind in the United States. Supervisors approved a measure banning the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in an effort to curb the rise of youth vaping. The measure will now go for final approval to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who said she will sign the legislation, and stores in the city will be required to remove e-cigarettes from their shelves after the change goes into effect in seven months.

Illinois joins 10 other states in legalizing recreational marijuana

Gov. J.B. Pritzker made Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana on Tuesday, signing a bill into law allowing small amounts of cannabis. Residents can purchase and possess up to 30 grams of the drug, and non-residents can have 15 grams, the Associated Press reports. Sales will be limited to people ages 21 and up at approved dispensaries, which could potentially be up and running by Jan. 1, 2020.

Doctor compares conditions for unaccompanied children at immigrant holding centers to ‘torture facilities’

The unaccompanied minors, as young as 2 1/2 months old, endured “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food,” Lucio Sevier wrote, and the teens said they had no access to hand-washing, which she described as “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.” A flu outbreak at Ursula had sent five infants to the neonatal intensive care unit, and all the children Lucio Sevier saw showed signs of trauma.

Americans traveling to Canada to buy insulin

Americans are increasingly stressed and outraged by the rising costs of prescription drugs in the United States – a problem Republicans and Democrats alike have promised to fix. Insulin is a big part of the challenge. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. About 7.5 million, including 1.5 million with Type 1 diabetes, rely on insulin.

Trump says he’ll roll out new health care plan

President Trump said he’ll be rolling out a new health care plan in a couple of months, saying it will be a key focus in his 2020 reelection campaign. “We’re going to produce phenomenal health care, and we already have the concept of the plan,” Trump said in an interview that aired Sunday night. Health care was also a primary focus of Trump’s first presidential campaign, claiming that during his presidency he would repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Ebola outbreak prompts response from WHO

The latest Ebola outbreak has spread from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has now infected at least two people in Uganda. While the World Health Organization (WHO) is declining to declare the outbreak as an international emergency, it is calling for more funds to go to responders on the ground to stop the spread.

Death rates from suicides, alcohol, and overdoses hit all-time high

The findings from the Commonwealth Fund were released Wednesday and showed that, although the death rates are up nationally, some states have been hit far worse than others. “When we look at what’s going on in Mid-Atlantic states—West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania—those are the states that have the highest rates of drug-overdose deaths in the country,” said David Radley from the group.

Measles outbreak spreads to Idaho and Virginia

Public health authorities on Monday reported 41 new cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease in the two states. The suspected outbreak in Northern Virginia doesn’t appear to be related to the nationwide epidemic that has surpassed 1,000 confirmed cases, while the cases in Idaho are the first instances of measles in the state since 2001.

Disease of disinfo spreads disease

Disinformation is a scourge in and of itself, but now it’s causing real disease. Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, and whooping cough, have again become an issue in Western and developed countries, fueled by an anti-vaccine movement that is growing more cohesive, gaining more funding, and becoming more adept at spreading its message.

How anti-vax radicals found a home in the GOP

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin as an example of a well-known Republican who believes that vaccine mandates are “un-American.” And in Texas there’s Jonathan Stickland – a far-right Christian fundamentalist who serves in the Texas State Assembly and has described vaccines as “sorcery.”

Federal judge blocks MS ‘heartbeat’ law

A federal judge blocked a Mississippi law on Friday that forbids abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. In issuing a preliminary injunction, Judge Carlton Reeves said the law “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortions services until after six weeks.” The law was set to take effect in July.

Missouri Senate passes bill to ban abortions at 8 weeks

Senators approved the legislation 24-10 early Thursday with just hours left before lawmakers’ Friday deadline to pass bills. It needs at least another vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who supports it. The bill seems to be a part of a broader national push to restrict access to abortion.

Birth rate in the US hits 32-year low

The U.S. birth rate continues to fall, reaching another record low in 2018, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says that one possible explanation for the continued drop in births could be economic uncertainty, along with the fact that people may still feel uneasy about their economic situation.

Monsanto ordered to pay $2bn in largest verdict yet over cancer claims

A California jury has ordered Monsanto to pay more than $2bn to a couple that got cancer after using its weedkiller, marking the third and largest verdict against the company over Roundup. The victory for the Pilliods follows two consecutive trial wins for families taking on Monsanto over Roundup, the world’s most widely used weedkiller, which research has linked to NHL, a cancer that affects the immune system.

Everything’s deadlier in the South

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the death rates from pretty much every major cause — heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, suicide, sepsis, guns, infant mortality — remain highest in the South. A lot of the poor health outcomes there reflect longstanding poverty, fewer health care resources, and longstanding barriers to care.

Texas Republican accuses top vaccine scientist of ‘sorcery’

Texas lawmaker Jonathan Stickland called vaccines “sorcery” Tuesday in a string of Twitter posts criticizing a vaccine expert. The US is currently struggling with a historic resurgence in measles cases, largely as a result of some parents rejecting immunizations because of erroneous information, often distributed through social media.

Scientology cruise ship quarantined for measles (again)

A Church of Scientology cruise ship quarantined by the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia for measles is due to arrive on Saturday back at its home port on the island of Curacao, where it will face the same restrictions. Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth, chief epidemiologist for the Curacao Biomedical and Health Research Institute, said passengers and crew who can prove they were already vaccinated or have had measles in the past would likely be free to go about their business.

Ebola outbreak has killed 1,000

As the Ebola virus spreads across the Congo, the World Health Organization estimates that the death toll has now surpassed 1,000. This outbreak is the second-deadliest ever, with the deadliest occurring in West Africa in 2014, when over 11,000 people died.

Ebola outbreak in the DRC hits record number of cases

The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo is rising fast, reaching a high of 27 confirmed cases in one day, according to the country’s health ministry. The World Health Organization said on Friday it feared continued “intense transmission” of the virus in the country, where deaths from the epidemic are expected to officially exceed 1,000 within hours.

Opioid exec found guilty in bribery case

A jury in Boston has found one-time billionaire and drug company executive John Kapoor and his four co-defendants guilty of a racketeering conspiracy. The federal government accused Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics, of paying doctors to prescribe its potent opioid medication and then lying to insurance companies to ensure that the expensive Fentanyl-based painkiller would be covered.

Trump takes aim at Obamacare

Taking a hard line on health care, the Trump administration joined a coalition of Republican-led states Wednesday in asking a federal appeals court to entirely overturn former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. More than 20 million Americans would be at risk of losing their health insurance if the ruling is allowed to stand.

Trump lies again, claims doctors ‘execute’ newborns

“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby,” Trump told a rally. The comments are the latest in a long string of incendiary statements from the president on abortion.

Anti-polio campaign stopped after attacks

Pakistani health officials have halted two anti-polio campaigns after a health worker and two policemen escorting the vaccination teams were killed in rural Pakistan. Suspicion of the vaccines and the anti-polio campaigns have left some residents concerned, pushing them to take violent action.

GOP senator working on something good

Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley announced this week that he is aiming to introduce bipartisan legislation by mid-June to lower drug prices. Grassley is working with the top Democrat on his committee, Sen. Ron Wyden, to try to find a path forward on an issue that is a priority for Democrats. Yay, bipartisanship!