CDC Links E-cigarette Advertisements With Use Among Youths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new data linking advertising exposure to the rise in e-cigarette use by middle and high school students. Nearly seven out of 10 students were exposed to such advertising in 2014, when e-cigarette manufacturers spent an estimated $115 million on marketing, up from $6.4 million in 2011. The number of high school students who report recent use of e-cigarettes increased from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 13.4 percent in 2014, the same year e-cigarettes became the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students. Students are most likely to be exposed to e-cigarette advertisements in retail stores, followed by the Internet and newspaper/magazine ads.

Exchanges Reach Administration’s Enrollment Projections

More than 11.3 million people have signed up for health insurance through the federal and state exchanges for 2016, reaching the lower threshold of the administration’s internal target with almost a month remaining to sign up. This year’s enrollment is on track to exceed the 11.7 million sign-ups in 2015. Over 41 percent of new customers are under the age of 35, and more than half of returning customers returned to actively shop for a new plan rather than be automatically re-enrolled. Consumers continue to overwhelmingly select silver-level plans, with 68 percent of enrollees choosing the silver benefit tier. The penalty for lacking health insurance has increased significantly, to the greater of $695 or 2.5 percent of income. The higher-than-expected enrollment figures will likely be highlighted in the President’s State of the Union address this week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has estimated that between 11 million and 14.1 million people would sign up for health care coverage for 2016. The enrollment period closes on January 31, and there is expected to be a surge of sign-ups immediately before the deadline.

Mark Your Calendars

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will vote on Dr. Robert Califf’s nomination for administrator of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on January 12 during an executive session. Califf has been endorsed by both Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Once the committee favorably reports out the nomination, the next step will be approval by the U.S. Senate.
The White House is expected to release its budget for fiscal year 2017 on February 9, just under a week past the statutory deadline for sending the proposal to Congress. The rollout date was announced by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week.

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