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Anti-smoking Australia prevails in dry run of WTO dispute

igarettes in AustraliaIn a dry run of one of the biggest legal battles in public health, an advocate for Australia's tobacco policies has delivered seemingly strong rebuttals of objections likely to be mounted in a landmark case at the World Trade Organization.

Two top academic lawyers presented the arguments at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, a stone's throw from the WTO, where Ukraine, Cuba, Honduras and the Dominican Republic are trying to overturn Australia's radical tobacco packaging law.

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Growing antibiotic resistance 'a genuine threat of humanity'

Antibiotic resistanceThe growing antibiotic-resistant infections are a "looming public health issue" for Australia that needs urgent new funding, the country's top scientist warned.

"Antibiotic resistance has the potential to become one of the world's biggest public health challenges, requiring a serious response from our scientists, our industries and the community at large," Ian Chubb, Australia's chief scientist, told the Guardian Australia.

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Stem cell transplants wipe out HIV in two men: researchers

stem cellTwo men with HIV have been off AIDS drugs for several months after receiving stem-cell transplants for cancer that appear to have cleared the virus from their bodies, researchers reported on Wednesday.

Both patients, who were treated in Boston and had been on long-term drug therapy to control their HIV, received stem-cell transplants after developing lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

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Prescription Painkiller Overdose Deaths Rise for Women

Prescription pain killersThe number of women who died from an overdose of prescription painkillers jumped almost fivefold in the past decade amid an abuse epidemic, U.S. officials said.

Almost 48,000 women died from 1999 to 2010 from overdoses of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin or Vicodin (ABT), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report today. While more men died from painkiller abuse during the period, the increase of fatal overdoses was higher among women and the CDC warned the gender gap is closing quickly.

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12 Things The Tobacco Industry Doesn't Want You To Know

Cigarette deathsOver the past couple of decades, Big Tobacco has come under fire for selling products that kill people. Now, leading cigarette producers like Philip Morris and Reynolds American are moving into the rapidly growing electronic cigarette business, touting the battery-powered nicotine inhalers as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.

As Big Tobacco attempts to clean up its image, we thought now was as good a time than ever to remind you of these 12 facts the industry would like you to forget:

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The hidden cost of terrorism: U.S. smoking

US smokingAfter the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, a million former U.S. smokers took up the habit again and kept puffing for at least two years, a researcher says.

Dr. Michael F. Pesko, an instructor in Weill Cornell Medical College's Department of Public Health in New York, said an examination of data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and found 950,000 to 1.3 million adult former smokers resumed smoking, representing a 2.3 percent increase nationwide.

There was no increase in the months and years following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the study found.

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Could your driveway be making you sick?

Coal tar toxinsCould your driveway be making you sick?

Mounting research suggests it could. It's prompting more cities, states and businesses to ban a common pavement sealant linked to higher cancer risks and contaminated soil.

These sealants, used mostly in the eastern half of the USA to beautify pavement and extend its life, contain up to 35% coal tar pitch, which the National Toxicology Program considers a human carcinogen.

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