Tobacco companies are looking towards pharmaceuticalisation
In a move that many consumers and health experts did not see coming, the tobacco industry is looking at becoming part of the pharmaceutical market, in order to further their market growth, and resolve the issues created through tobacco based products, by creating further products to ensure permanent nicotine consumption.
With increased population growth worldwide, the cigarette market is still on a steady trajectory, despite frequent warnings. This legitimisation of tobacco is almost sure to create consternation with consumers, who have long been informed of the dangers nicotine presents to consumer health, and will also create huge problems within health regulations currently in place and the use of prescription pharmaceuticals.
With increased consumer education, it will be a steep hill for the tobacco industry to climb. Senior author Dr Pamela Ling, a professor of medicine at UCSF, said in a phone interview to Reuters that “Tobacco companies see their future as pharmaceutical companies. They’ve already begun to acquire pharmaceutical subsidiaries, and they’re producing tobacco products that look and feel like medicines.”
This news will be increasingly alarming, and calls into question whether these pharmaceuticalised tobacco products will undergo clinical testing, in comparison to standardised pharmaceutical products. Understanding consumer concerns, Phillip Morris International has commented, “We do not ask to be trusted but to be judged based on facts.”
However, Mark Travers, a researcher at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York stated: “Our ultimate goal will always be to end tobacco use AND nicotine addiction. Yes, pharmaceutical nicotine, as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is an effective way to assist in stopping smoking, but complete abstinence of tobacco and nicotine use is the best outcome.”
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!