- 2018Aug 16
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Washington Post.
Teens! They’re so great at finding innovative ways to cause bodily harm. First they were eating Tide Pods, then they were jumping out of moving vehicles to dance to the new Drake song, or giving themselves frostbite by spraying an entire can of deodorant on their skin. And now they’re eating Dragon’s Breath, a snack made with liquid nitrogen that can burn your mouth or cause respiratory distress if ingested incorrectly.
It should not surprise you to learn the teens are ingesting it incorrectly.
Dragon’s Breath gets its name because the snack can make a diner breathe “smoke” — condensed moisture from your own breath — out of both their nose and mouth. It makes very appealing videos on YouTube and Snapchat and Instagram! Sold at mall kiosks across America, it’s made by pouring liquid nitrogen over a snack food, such as cheese puffs or sugary cereal, which freezes it instantly to a very cold temperature, typically around negative-320 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the same stuff that’s used to make Dippin’ Dots. Purchasers are advised to eat the snack with a stick, not their fingers, and to blow on it several times to let the liquid nitrogen evaporate.
That’s because, when a person’s skin or tissue comes into contact with liquid nitrogen, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, it “can cause serious burns to skin, cause deadly asphyxiation if inhaled, and it can damage sight if it splashes or gets rubbed into the eyes.” Shops that sell it post warnings, but they are not always heeded.
In October, a 14-year-old girl was sent to the hospital after touching the liquid nitrogen in the snack at the Pensacola (Fla.) Interstate Fair.
“The ER doctor had to cut [the thumb] open, cut away the dead skin and get the infection out,” the girl’s grandmother told the local ABC affiliate. “They said had we not come in and got her finger treated she could have possibly lost her thumb.”
In late July, a mother in St. Augustine, Fla., took her son to the ER after the Dragon’s Breath triggered a massive asthma attack. Inside Edition spoke with a young man who inadvertently burned the inside of his mouth until it bled.
- 2018Aug 15
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on USA Today.
Teen vaping is at the tipping point before possible epidemic levels, federal officials and public health advocates agree, but they're feuding over how fast and far to go to rein in the booming electronic cigarette industry.
Some of the health groups that sued the Food and Drug Administration for delaying regulation of vape products by four years charged last week that the agency let several new devices similar to the youth-favored Juul hit the market without approval.
Companies "have introduced new products at an alarming pace in total defiance of law, with no apparent concern for FDA enforcement,” the groups wrote.
More than 2 million middle school, high school and college teens use these battery-powered devices to heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor. E-cigarettes were by far the most popular tobacco product among teens: Nearly 12 percent of high school students and 3 percent of middle school students used the device in the past 30 days, according to the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey released in June.
That puts hundreds of thousands of them at "exceedingly high" risk of developing nicotine addictions, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told USA TODAY. The nicotine, he said, "can rewire an adolescent’s brain."
The agency has hardly ignored the issue. It is reviewing more than a half million public comments as it mulls whether to restrict or even ban flavors in the liquid and is investigating youth marketing by Juul, which attracts young vapers with its nicotine-packed products, easily hidden USB size and alluring social media presence.
This month, the FDA asked four e-cigarette companies for information about the appeal of their products to youths and said it could take enforcement action against the companies based on what it learns.
In mid-September, the FDA will launch a vaping prevention campaign targeting 10 million youths who vape or are open to trying it, Gottlieb said. It will continue enforcement against retailers that sell to minors.
"We are very concerned that we could be addicting a whole generation of young people," Gottlieb said. "We only have a narrow window of opportunity to address it."
Instead of committing to regulate flavor, the FDA solicited more research on flavor's role. Robin Koval, CEO of the anti-tobacco group Truth Initiative, said there is ample evidence that flavors attract teens.
- 2018Aug 14
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on BleacherReport.
As Fortnite Battle Royale continues to dominate the world of video games, parents are starting to invest in coaches in the same way they would for sports or academics.
Sarah E. Needleman of the Wall Street Journalreported parents are throwing down between $10 and $20 per hour so their kids can level up and become better Fortnite players.
"There's pressure not to just play it but to be really good at it," Ally Hicks, who purchased four hours of lessons for her 10-year-old son, told the WSJ. "You can imagine what that was like for him at school."
Epic Games struck gold with Fortnite's free-to-play model.
Gamers are able to compete in 100-player lobbies in search of a Victory Royale as the last character standing. The hit game, which is currently in its fifth season, is available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iPhone and Nintendo Switch.
Players are able to purchase skins as well as accessories such as gliders, pickaxes, back bling and emotes using V-Bucks, the game's digital currency. Those add-on elements present no in-game competitive advantage but have generated massive revenue for Epic.
Last week, Devon Pendleton and Christopher Palmeri of Bloomberg reported Fortnite is on track to generate $2 billion for its parent company in 2018.
In some cases, it's paying off. Nick Mennen told the Wall Street Journalhis 12-year-old son, Noble, struggled to win on the highly competitive Fortnite landscape.
"Now he'll throw down 10 to 20 wins," Mennen said.
The demand for coaches may continue to grow with the latest update from Epic in June placing the player count at 125 million.