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Study finds e-cigarettes comparable to patches in smoking cessation

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — E-cigarettes may be as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit, according to a new study.

Researchers in Auckland, New Zealand, selected 657 smokers who were attempting to quit, dividing them into one group of 289 who received e-cigarettes, 295 who received nicotine patches and 73 who received placebo e-cigarettes without nicotine. The study was published online Monday in British medical journal The Lancet.

After six months, the researchers found, 7.3% of smokers in the e-cigarette group had not smoked cigarettes, compared with 5.8% who used patches and 4.1% who used placebo e-cigarettes.

Still, the researchers cautioned that overall, abstinence from tobacco was lower than anticipated, giving insufficient cause to claim that e-cigarettes are superior to patches or placebo e-cigarettes, but the researchers did conclude that they were "modestly effective" and seemed comparable to nicotine patches.

"Uncertainty exists about the place of e-cigarettes in tobacco control, and more research is urgently needed to clearly establish their overall benefits and harms at both individual and population levels," the researchers wrote.


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Giant-Landover begins offering flu shots for 2013-2014 season

BY Alaric DeArment

LANDOVER, Md. – Giant Food has started offering flu vaccinations at all of its in-store pharmacies, the supermarket chain said Monday.

Giant, based in Landover, Md., and owned by Ahold USA, said customers with a Giant Pharmacy Prescription Savings Care would receive $10 off the regular price of a flu shot and that most major insurance plans and Medicare would be accepted. Also, customers will be eligible to receive a coupon book with more than $40 in savings from various vendors.

"As stewards for the nation’s capital grocer, Giant Food associates have maintained their long-standing commitment to supporting the health and wellness of surrounding communities," Giant director of pharmacy operations Gayle Shields said. "The seasonal flu shots offered at scores of neighborhood stores in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington, D.C., exemplifies this promise."


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Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists honors Southern Illinois University pharmacy professor

BY Alaric DeArment

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists will recognize an Illinois pharmacy professor with a professional award.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville said Monday that Scott Bergman would receive the ICHP’s New Practitioner Leadership Award, saying the award recognized his professionalism, leadership and innovation.

"This award provides well-deserved recognition for Scott’s efforts with ICHP, as well as his efforts to increase local pharmacist participation in this state organization," SIUE pharmacy professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacy Practice Mark Ruscin said. "It is critically important for the profession and for the School of Pharmacy to have faculty members like Scott develop as leaders within professional organizations."

Bergman began working for the school in 2006. He has developed a clinical practice in collaboration with infectious disease physicians at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfiled as well, and has provided patient care at hospitals and an international travel clinic. Last year, he helped develop a postgraduate training program in infectious diseases pharmacy.

At ICHP, he has worked with the organization’s office to develop monthly continuing education programs for local pharmacists and received the group’s Excellence in Innovation award last year.


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