April 4, 1996 in Nation/World

Teens Respond To Cigarette Ads

From Wire Reports
 

Teenagers are three times as likely as adults to respond to cigarette ads, and 79 percent of teen smokers puff brands depicted by the Marlboro Man, Joe Camel and the fun couples of Newport, says a study published Wednesday.

The study does not prove that seeing these ads makes a teen who otherwise wouldn’t have smoked take up the habit.

But it provides evidence to back pending federal regulation of cigarette ads, showing teens are the most sensitive to tobacco advertising’s “battle of the brands,” said study author Richard Pollay of the University of British Columbia. “Whatever the intent of the firms, … it is the youth of the nation who pay attention to and respond to the advertising,” said Pollay, whose 20-year study of ads was published in the Journal of Marketing.

Anti-obesity drug

Scientists sharply curbed appetite in mice by injecting them with a newly created drug, which might lead to development of an antiobesity medication for people.

The drug worked nearly as well when given to the mice by mouth, a good sign for prospects of developing a usable pill, researcher Jean-Charles Schwartz said.

“I’m quite confident that one day or the other, this or a closely related drug will be useful in humans,” said Schwartz, director of the neurobiology and pharmacology unit of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris.

He said testing in people is still several years away. Other researchers agreed, praising the work but cautioning that questions remain about the drug’s usefulness in people.

Pain reliever warning

The popular new prescription pain reliever Ultram can cause addiction or seizures in certain patients and must be used with caution, the Food and Drug Administration warned doctors Wednesday.

Known chemically as tramadol, the drug was approved just a year ago but already has been used by 5 million patients suffering chronic pain, anything from back problems to broken bones.

But the FDA has received 115 reports of patients who became dependent on tramadol or abused it, sometimes intentionally overdosing. Doctors told the FDA about 83 patients who suffered seizures while using Ultram, usually when taken together with other medicines, including Prozac.

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