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Health Headlines

    Thousands of students in Colorado were out of school Thursday because of a suspected outbreak of norovirus. All 46 schools in the district serving Grand Junction and the surrounding area were closed and won’t reopen until after the Thanksgiving break so custodians can disinfect surfaces. Norovirus is a highly contagious bug that causes diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms, and can spread quickly in public places. It's most common in winter but can be seen any time of year. The outbreak was first seen last week at a high school before spreading to other schools. Officials in the district, the largest in western Colorado with 22,000 students, believe there is now another related strain of the virus that has affected some students who were previously sick. “We are taking this highly unusual action because this virus is extremely contagious and spreading quickly across our schools,” district nursing coordinator Tanya Martin said. It’s not clear how many students have become sick. Some custodians also became ill, slowing down the cleaning process, but it’s unknown if the suspected viruses were to blame. Nicole Comstock, communicable disease deputy branch chief for the state Department of Public Health and Environment, told The Daily Sentinel that there are about 150 to 200 suspected norovirus outbreaks in the state each year. She said most occur at nursing homes but outbreaks at schools are not uncommon. The U.S. Air Force Academy outside Colorado Springs reported that 400 cadets have been sickened by norovirus since October, but the outbreak hasn’t disrupted classes. The Gazette reported that infected cadets are kept on bed rest for at least three days after their symptoms disappear before they can be cleared to return to class and training.
  • Medicare’s revamped prescription plan finder can steer unwitting seniors to coverage that costs much more than they need to pay, according to people who help with sign-ups as well as program experts. Serving some 60 million Medicare recipients, the plan finder is the most commonly used tool on Medicare.gov and just got its first major update in a decade. The Trump administration has hailed the new version and Medicare Administrator Seema Verma says it will empower beneficiaries to take advantage of their coverage options. But as open enrollment goes into the home stretch Thanksgiving week, critics say the new tool can create confusion by obscuring out-of-pocket costs that seniors should factor into their decisions. “I want to make sure people are given the most accurate information and they’re making the best decision — because they are the ones stuck with it,” said Ann Kayrish, senior program manager for Medicare at the National Council on Aging, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for seniors and provides community services. Government programs mixing health care and technology have faced struggles. Despite billions spent to subsidize electronic medical records, getting different systems to communicate remains a challenge. The Obama administration’s launch of HealthCare.gov resulted in an embarrassing debacle when the website froze up the first day. The leading Democrat on the Senate Aging Committee said he’s hearing concerns from constituents and organizations that assist Medicare beneficiaries. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said he will ask Medicare to grant seniors who’ve had problems a second chance to sign up, called a “special enrollment period.” “It’s obviously an effort that needs a lot more work to meet the legitimate expectations of seniors,” said Casey. “Especially when you launch something new, (it) can go awry. People steered in the wrong direction should get a measure of fairness.” The Medicare plan finder’s issue stems from a significant change the agency made for 2020. The plan with the lowest premium now gets automatically placed on top, with the monthly premium displayed in large font. Medicare’s previous plan finder automatically sorted plans by total cost, not just premiums. But premiums are only one piece of information. When out-of-pocket expenses such as copays are factored in, the plan with the lowest total annual cost is often not the first one shown by the plan finder. It takes extra work for a Medicare enrollee to discover that. “If they pick the plan based solely on the premium they are likely getting a plan that could cost them thousands more in a calendar year,” said Christina Reeg of the Ohio Department of Insurance. She heads a program that helps Medicare enrollees try to find the right plan. In a statement, Medicare said the monthly premium is a cost that consumers understand and will always be an important decision factor. But the agency also said total cost paid out-of-pocket is at least equally, if not more important, particularly for people who take prescription drugs — as do most seniors. Medicare said it’s testing ways to encourage consumers to look at total costs, such as a pop-up. The agency said it chose to prominently display premiums because user testing showed that’s what consumers are familiar with. The total annual cost is included, but in smaller font. That’s puzzling to Kayrish. The lowest premium “doesn’t necessarily translate to lowest cost over the year,” she explained. Consumers using the plan finder first enter their medications and dosages. To get it to find plans by lowest total annual cost, they must take a few more steps, said Kayrish. After the screen displays initial search results, consumers should look for the drop-down menu on the right of the screen. Next, she said, select the feature that lets you re-sort plans by “lowest drug + premium cost.” A reporter’s sample search on a list of six medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes returned 29 plans in the Washington, D.C., area, topped by a lowest-premium option for $13.20 a month. But after re-sorting for the lowest total cost, the best deal was a plan with a monthly premium of $25.80. When out-of-pocket expenses were factored in, the second plan cost about $5,800 less a year than the initial lowest-premium option the plan finder displayed. Costs can vary so much because plans have different coverage designs and they don’t pay the same prices to drugmakers. And Kayrish said there’s another issue: The new plan finder can return options that don’t cover all of a patient’s medications. If a low-premium plan has very high out-of-pocket costs, it’s a clue that some of your drugs may not be covered. Check plan details. Some academic experts compared the old and new versions of the Medicare plan finder and confirmed the problems flagged by hands-on users. Their review also found improvements. Among them: — Consumers can enter their Medicare number and the new plan finder automatically fills in all the medications the program paid for. (Consumer advocates recommend double-checking this list.) — The new tool can be used more easily on mobile devices and tablets. — The revamped plan finder allows consumers to compare across Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage medical plans. “The new plan finder is in many ways improved, but it did take a meaningful step backward by not doing more to highlight its most useful output— the total cost estimate,” said Brian McGarry, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester in New York. He’s the lead author of a recent online article about the plan finder for Health Affairs. Seniors have until Dec. 7 to pick or switch “Part D” prescription drug plans or, if they’re seeking comprehensive medical care through a private insurer, a Medicare Advantage plan. Coverage takes effect Jan. 1.
  • In almost any other year it would be hailed as a public health victory: The smoking rate among U.S. high schoolers took its biggest hit ever this year, federal figures show, falling to a new low. Instead the milestone was relegated to a lone figure at the bottom of a government press release and went unremarked by anti-tobacco groups that have spent decades working to stamp out youth smoking. It’s a new era in the tobacco wars — one in which the alarming rise of underage vaping has almost completely overshadowed a parallel drop in traditional smoking. And the pivotal question of whether electronic cigarettes are inadvertently helping to wipe out smoking among young people has become a polarizing topic: embraced by some experts, dismissed by others. “Smoking is disappearing among young people and it’s a great public health triumph that we are failing to celebrate, much less even note,” says Kenneth Warner, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan's school of public health. E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, the drug that makes tobacco addictive. They are generally considered less harmful than cancer-causing traditional cigarettes. But there is little long-term research on the health effects of vaping. With one in four teenagers now using e-cigarettes, underage vaping is universally condemned, and the federal government considers it an epidemic. But Warner and some other researchers believe recent trends continue to show vaping’s promise as a tool to steer millions of adults away from cigarette smoking, the nation’s leading cause of death. That potential makes the case for keeping e-cigarettes readily accessible for adults — even if a certain level of teen use persists. But that approach is a non-starter for many tobacco opponents. “When adults make policy gains on the backs of children, that’s bad, and that’s what the argument boils down to here,” says Dave Dobbins, an attorney with the anti-tobacco nonprofit, Truth Initiative. Even if e-cigarettes were responsible for the smoking decline among teenagers — which Dobbins says is unlikely — allowing young people to get hooked on vaping nicotine is not a solution. “I don’t buy the argument that these things showed up and magically changed the world,” says Dobbins. Instead, he thinks the vaping industry has increasingly pursued young people as smoking has fallen out of fashion. But no one disputes the decline. The percentage of high schoolers who reported smoking fell to 5.8% in 2019 from the prior year, a 28% drop and the largest since the U.S. government began surveying teens, according to preliminary numbers released in September. The trend isn’t limited to one year or one survey. A similar study conducted by the University of Michigan shows smoking among 12th graders has plummeted 50% since 2015, the largest drop of its kind in the survey’s 40-year history. The smoking rate for adults is roughly 14% and has been falling slowly for decades. The decline among teens has been seized upon by vaping proponents, who argue it undercuts the gravest argument against the nicotine-emitting devices: that they act as a “gateway” to traditional smoking. That’s the conclusion of a number of short-term studies that followed young people and surveyed their use of tobacco and nicotine. The prestigious National Academies found “substantial evidence” for the gateway effect in a 2018 consensus paper. And the Food and Drug Administration even uses the concept as the tagline in its anti-vaping video ads: “Teens who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes.” For now, experts on both sides acknowledge there is no definitive evidence linking e-cigarettes to the decline in youth smoking. The question is clouded by too many long-term trends and complicating variables. Teen smoking has been decreasing since the late 1990s and is influenced by government policies, public opinion, changing products and tobacco industry marketing. But for researchers who believe vaping is benefiting public health, the falling numbers make one thing clear: E-cigarettes are not driving large numbers of young people to smoke. The numbers suggest the exact opposite. 'The key point here is that it seems we have seen a drastic reduction in smoking,” says Dr. David Levy, a tobacco researcher at Georgetown University. “That's clearly a good thing and it's not something that we want to mess with.” The question of how to best regulate e-cigarettes remains unresolved in Washington. The Trump administration has recently backed away from an earlier plan to ban virtually all vaping flavors due to their appeal to teens. No deadline has been set for a new proposal or announcement. Levy and others favor targeted approaches to curb youth use, such as raising the minimum purchase age to 21 nationwide. They oppose sweeping bans and restrictions, which could impact use by adult smokers. In a paper last year, Levy, Warner and several colleagues estimated that smoking among 12th graders has fallen three times faster since an uptick of e-cigarette use around 2014, compared with the earlier long-term trend. However, the authors did not conclude that e-cigarettes caused the decline and noted that it could have been influenced by other factors, such as anti-tobacco campaigns. Brian King of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also emphasized that survey data cannot prove a cause and effect between vaping and smoking rates. Therefore, it’s impossible to know which teens avoided or quit smoking due to vaping, versus those who would never have picked up cigarettes anyway. Additionally, the data suggest many of the estimated 5.3 million underage students who vape were never at risk to become smokers. “So that reflects an on-ramp to nicotine use that we otherwise would not have had without e-cigarettes,” says King, a deputy director in CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health. The CDC and other health experts warn that nicotine can harm parts of the developing brain that control learning, memory and mood in young people. The vaping debate underscores a growing rift in the tobacco control field. For decades, advocates, regulators and researchers were united in a common fight against cigarettes, which cause cancer, heart disease, stroke and many other deadly diseases. But views have diverged since the introduction of e-cigarettes and other alternative products. Some experts believe the most realistic approach is to shift smokers away from burning tobacco toward less-risky products. On the other side are those who say there is no safe way to use tobacco or nicotine and quitting should be the goal. With local, state and other authorities cracking down on e-cigarettes — particularly kid-friendly flavors — public sentiment has increasingly been turning against vaping. On Tuesday the influential American Medical Association called for a “total ban” on all e-cigarettes and vaping products. Some longtime industry observers warn that vaping proponents may have missed their opportunity to benefit public health. “The industry blew it,” said Dr. David Kessler, speaking at a recent conference for vaping and tobacco executives. Kessler served as FDA commissioner during the 1990s, when he tried unsuccessfully to assert authority over tobacco products. Congress did not grant the FDA that power until 2009. Starting in May, all e-cigarettes will need to undergo FDA review. Only those that can demonstrate a benefit for U.S. public health will be permitted to stay on the market. Some vaping companies expect to win the FDA’s endorsement, but Kessler noted: “I don’t see it.” 'You lost the trust of the American public when it comes to vaping and you've set back the issue decades,' he said. ___ Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP_FDAwriter ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • Massachusetts lawmakers passed a groundbreaking ban Thursday on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes. The bill would also place a 75% excise tax on vaping products and require health insurers, including the state’s Medicaid program, to cover tobacco cessation counseling. “This nation-leading step will save lives,” Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said. The ban was passed by the Senate early Thursday before the legislature broke for a holiday recess. It had earlier been passed by the state House of Representatives and now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. Baker hasn’t indicated whether or when he will sign the ban, but its chances are good. In September, he had declared a public health emergency and ordered a temporary ban on the sale of vaping products. The legislation would immediately ban the sale of flavored vaping products and would outlaw sales of menthol cigarettes starting June 1, 2020. The legislation responds to growing concern about the health effects of vaping products, including deaths. It is the first such statewide legislation in the country, according to Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. “This legislation is a critical step to help end the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and stop tobacco companies from using appealing flavors to lure kids into a lifetime of addiction,” he said in a written statement. “It would make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products.” The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network also called it first-in-the-nation legislation. “More than 80% of teens who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product, and the tobacco industry knows this,” the organization said in an emailed statement. Studies have shown menthol cigarettes are consumed disproportionately by young people and minorities, and anti-tobacco groups and health experts have argued menthol has been marketed in particular to African Americans. A major retailers’ organization called the legislation disappointing. “We are disappointed the legislature supports bills that disproportionately impact communities of color and have disastrous implications for public health, public safety, state tax revenue and jobs in the Commonwealth,” Jonathan Shaer, president of the New England Convenience Store Owners and Energy Marketers Association said in a statement. He called menthol and mint tobacco as “legal, adult products that aren’t associated with youth overuse.”
  • Around 1,000 people protested outside a government building in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo after an opposition lawmaker published shocking photos of special needs children tied to beds and radiators in a nearby government facility. The protest included scores of parents and relatives of children with disabilities, who vividly described a dysfunctional care system that condemns their kids to suffering. Sabina Sunic, who has a 17-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, voiced the fears of many parents. “When we die there is no system, they will tie up all our children,” she said. Sunic said her daughter is “very happy and accomplished,” but only because she is being cared for by her parents who, like everyone else in their situation, receive no assistance from the government. The protest came a day after lawmaker Sabina Cudic of the opposition Nasa Stranka party publicly shared the disturbing photos from the Pazaric care home, outside Sarajevo, and demanded that they be debated in the parliament. “This is not a shock to the government, there is a long line of documented, systemic abuse of funds and the patients,” Cudic told The Associated Press in an interview. “Just two months ago, they made a very explicit statement that they are very satisfied with the conditions in Pazaric.” The Pazaric care home, which has 149 employees, 27 of whom are economists, is already being investigated after a new manager, who took over last spring, warned authorities of alleged corruption by his predecessor. Cudic said an official report by Bosnia’s tax authority, presented to the government over a month ago, documented a high degree of wrongdoing at the care home. Aside from questions of financial mismanagement, the home has faced fierce criticism for the level of care provided. According to Cudic, the home did not have a professional therapist until a year ago and the night shift was covered by only one untrained individual. “I could give proper care and compassion to the children in Pazaric, but while I am trained, I am not (politically) suitable,” said Nikolina Toljagic, an unemployed social worker who joined Thursday’s protest. Cudic’s initiative for an emergency debate was rejected, prompting thousands of Bosnians to publish the names of the lawmakers who refused to debate Cudic's claims on social networks in an apparent attempt to shame them. “The government perceives the institutions (for special needs children) as a profit-making solution,” said a visibly shaken Aida Hrnjic, who is raising her 7-year-old autistic son at home. “It is very obvious that they do not care about children.” On Thursday, the European Union’s office in Bosnia issued a statement describing the published photos as shocking and appalling. It called on authorities “to thoroughly investigate these allegations immediately and to ensure swift and proper institutional follow up.” More protests have been called for Friday.
  • President Donald Trump will meet with medical experts, health advocates and industry representatives on the problem of underage vaping later this week, White House officials said Wednesday. Electronic cigarette use by teenagers has surged, but federal authorities have not yet finalized a plan for regulating e-cigarettes. At the White House meeting set for Friday, administration officials said Trump will hear from representatives from “all sides” of the vaping issue as he weighs “responsible guidelines.” The announcement comes days after reports that the president is backing away from a sweeping ban on virtually all e-cigarette flavors proposed in September. But White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement announcing the meeting: “The policy making process is not stalled — it continues to move forward.” Under the plan announced two months ago, the Food and Drug Administration would remove fruit, dessert, candy other sweet flavors because of their appeal to teens. But the ban has faced aggressive pushback from vaping lobbyists and conservative groups who warn it could cost Trump votes in key states. At a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday, Senators prodded Trump’s nominee to head the FDA on the fate of the flavor ban. Dr. Stephen Hahn said he supports “aggressive action” on underage vaping, but had not discussed specific plans with the president. E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. more than a decade ago and have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry despite little research on their long-term effects, including whether they can help smokers quit cigarettes. Still, some health experts say vaping could ultimately benefit public health by steering millions of adult smokers away from traditional smoking, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Vaping opponents argue that those benefits are unproven and that the lack of government regulation has triggered a vaping surge among U.S. teens and children. More than 1 in 4 high school students reported vaping in the past month, according to the latest government survey. On Tuesday, the American Medical Association called for a total ban on all e-cigarettes and vaping products until they can be reviewed by the FDA. The FDA has repeatedly pushed back its deadline to begin reviewing thousands of vaping products on the market. The deadline is now next May. ___ Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this story. ___ Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP_FDAwriter ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • A divided U.S. House committee approved a proposal Wednesday to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, a vote that was alternately described as a momentous turning point in national cannabis policy or a hollow political gesture. The House Judiciary Committee approved the proposal 24-10 after more than two hours of debate. It would reverse a longstanding federal prohibition by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, while allowing states to set their own rules on pot. The vote “marks a turning point for federal cannabis policy and is truly a sign that prohibition’s days are numbered,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement. Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine called the vote “a historic step forward for cannabis policy reform.” The vote comes at a time when most Americans live in states where marijuana is legal in some form, and committee members from both parties agreed that national cannabis policy lagged woefully behind changes at the state level. That divide has created a host of problems — loans and other banking services, for example, are hard to get for many marijuana companies because pot remains illegal at the federal level. However, the bill’s future is uncertain. It wasn’t immediately clear if the proposal would be reviewed by other committees and when, or if, a vote would take place in the full House. The proposal has better chances of passing in the Democratic-controlled chamber than in the Republican-held Senate. The House passed a bill earlier this year to grant legal marijuana businesses access to banking, but it hasn’t advanced in the Senate. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee complained that the proposal to decriminalize cannabis had never had a hearing and lacked the bipartisan support needed to become law. “It’s going nowhere,” said Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican. Among its provisions, the legislation would authorize a 5% sales tax on marijuana products to fund programs aimed at assisting people and communities harmed in the so-called war on drugs, such as job training and legal aid. It also would require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the nation has for too long “treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem, instead of a matter of personal choice and public health.” “Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating users at the federal level is unwise and unjust,” the New York Democrat said. “The racial disparity in enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.” ___ Blood is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow the AP's complete marijuana coverage: https://apnews.com/Marijuana
  • President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration sidestepped questions Wednesday on the future of a 2-month-old proposal to ban most flavored electronic cigarettes. Dr. Stephen Hahn told Senate lawmakers that a recent wave of underage vaping is an “urgent, important crisis” and demands “aggressive action.” But he said he is not privy to the administration’s plans for vaping flavors, which are pending. Hahn also told members of the Senate’s health committee that he had not discussed the issue with the president. The full Senate must vote on whether to confirm him to the position. Senators from both parties pressed Hahn on reports that the Trump administration is backing away from the September announcement that it would remove most vaping flavors, which are popular among underage users. Federal law bans sales to those under 18. “I can’t imagine a reason for holding off on immediately banning these kinds of flavors,” said Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. Hahn said he is “alarmed by the data and I think it requires bold action to keep these products out of the hands of kids.” But he added that he wants to consult with FDA experts before committing to an approach for regulating e-cigarettes. “I don’t have all the facts that they might have, but I will use science and data to make the decision,” said Hahn. Later Wednesday, White House officials announced Trump would meet with representatives from “all sides” of the vaping debate on Friday to discuss e-cigarettes. The White House meeting will include representatives from medical groups, industry and state governments. Throughout his remarks Hahn, a cancer radiation specialist and top medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, emphasized that science — not political ideology — would guide his decisions. He also told lawmakers that he would draw on his experience treating lung cancer for decisions on regulating tobacco and vaping. Trump and his top health officials said in September they would remove all fruit, dessert, candy and other sweet flavors from the U.S. market within weeks. But the plan has faced aggressive pushback from vaping lobbyists and conservative groups, who have warned that the move could cost Trump votes in states he needs to win re-election. Under pressure, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, has pulled all flavors except for menthol and tobacco. But hundreds of smaller firms continue to sell flavored e-cigarettes. Flavors have been banned from traditional cigarettes in the U.S. since 2009, except for menthol. E-cigarettes typically heat a solution containing nicotine, creating a vapor that’s inhaled. Unlike many past FDA nominees, Hahn has not worked in government or served as a public health official, an issue raised by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the committee’s top Democrat. “Dr. Hahn has almost no government experience, no public record on the policy issues related to the FDA, and no experience leading an organization anywhere near as complex as the FDA,” Murray said. She also criticized the FDA’s 2017 decision to delay health reviews of e-cigarettes and the lack of follow-through on the proposed flavor ban. The FDA regulates a variety of consumer goods and medicines, including prescription drugs, medical devices, tobacco and vaping products, cosmetics and most food. If confirmed, Hahn would face a raft of pressing health issues, including the prescription opioid epidemic, safety problems with imported drugs and the regulation of CBD, a marijuana derivative that has become a trendy food additive. Hahn, 59, would succeed Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who left the federal agency in April. ___ Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP_FDAwriter ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for an immediate ban on all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. The group adopted the sweeping stance at a policy-making meeting in San Diego. It aims to lobby for state and federal laws, regulations or legal action to achieve a ban, but the industry is sure to fight back. The AMA cited a surge in underage teen use of e-cigarettes, which typically heat a solution that contains nicotine. “It’s simple, we must keep nicotine products out of the hands of young people.” Dr. Patrice Harris, AMA’s president, said in a statement. The doctors’ group said a separate health issue also prompted its action — the recent U.S. outbreak of lung illnesses linked to vaping. Most of those sickened said they vaped THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana, not nicotine. Officials believe a thickening agent used in black market THC vaping products may be a culprit. The outbreak has “shined a light on the fact that we have very little evidence about the short- and long-term health consequences of e-cigarettes and vaping products,” Harris said. About 2,100 people have gotten sick; 42 have died. The AMA has previously sought bans on e-cigarette flavors and ads. Some observers say the AMA’s position is flawed and has little chance of achieving a sweeping ban. “I would be 100% with the AMA if they were seeking a ban on all tobacco products that are smoked, including e-cigarettes,” said Jonathan Foulds, a tobacco addiction specialist at Penn State University. “But right now, nicotine electronic cigarettes are competing with and replacing the most harmful legal product in this country.” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, a pro-vaping advocacy group, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made clear that its focus “is not store-bought nicotine vaping products, but illicit contaminated THC oil cartridges sold by drug dealers.” “It would be a mistake for adult smokers and their families to listen to these misguided prohibitionists, as the evidence continues to indicate that adult smokers who switch to nicotine vaping products greatly improve their health,' Conley said. The AMA policy calls for a ban of vaping products not approved to help people quit. But so far, none have been reviewed or approved for that use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Stephanie Caccomo, an FDA press officer, said the agency is “committed to doing everything we can to prevent kids from using tobacco products and will continue to develop a policy approach that aligns with that concern.” Juul Labs, the nation’s biggest e-cigarette maker, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. more than a decade ago and have grown in popularity despite little research on their long-term effects. The FDA has been widely criticized for repeatedly pushing back its own deadline to begin reviewing thousands of vaping products on the market, at one point until 2022. The deadline is now next May. ___ AP writer Matthew Perrone in Washington contributed to this report. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • New York has joined the ranks of states suing the nation’s biggest e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs Inc., saying the company used deceptive marketing practices to reel in young users. Attorney General Letitia James announced the lawsuit Tuesday against San Francisco-based Juul Labs Inc. It alleges the company contributed to a youth vaping epidemic using misleading sales tactics on popular social media sites. The suit also alleges that Juul advertising touted e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. In a written statement, Juul Labs said it had yet to review the lawsuit. “We remain focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and convert adult smokers from combustible cigarettes,” it said. The company previously ended the U.S. advertising campaigns and shut down the social media accounts that are the subject of the lawsuit. It also stopped selling most flavors of its e-cigarettes after complaints that they were aimed at attracting young users, not just smokers looking for an alternative to cigarettes. California sued the company on Monday and North Carolina in May. Illinois, Massachusetts and several other states are also investigating Juul, which James said represents 70% of the e-cigarette market. In the latest government survey, one in four high school students reported using e-cigarettes the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18. 'Juul basically took a page from Big Tobacco's playbook,' James, New York state’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer, told a news conference at her Manhattan office. The lawsuit was filed in state court in Manhattan. It requires Juul to stop targeting minors and pay fines for various alleged violations. The suit comes as health officials have been investigating deaths and illnesses tied to some vaping products. Most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana. Officials believe a thickening agent used in black-market THC vaping products appears to be a culprit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 42 deaths linked to vaping and 2,172 injuries, according to the federal agency’s latest count. Juul’s products contain nicotine, not THC, but politicians have used the illnesses and deaths to hammer all e-cigarette makers. James said the death of a 17-year-old boy in the Bronx, linked to vaping, spurred her to file the lawsuit. 'As a result of all of their advertising, a significant number of young people thought that e-cigarettes were safe,' James said. She said other companies that produce e-cigarettes may be targeted in the future. “All individuals who are responsible for the destruction that has been caused in the state of New York, you can be assured this office will pursue those individuals and not be limited to any one particular company,” James said. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement saying that “it is undeniable that the vaping industry is using flavored e-cigarettes to get young people hooked on potentially dangerous and deadly products, and the predatory marketing practices used by these companies have no place in New York.” ___ This story has been updated to correct that the lawsuit accuses Juul of misleading the public about potential health hazards of e-cigarettes and contributing to a vaping epidemic by touting e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but it does not claim the company’s marketing practices contributed to 42 deaths and thousands of injuries nationwide.

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  • The University of Georgia is ranked 13th in the nation for the number of students who study abroad, according to the latest Open Doors ranking from Institute of International Education. UGA was one of only two Southeastern Conference universities and the only institution in Georgia to be ranked in the top 20. Every year, with the backing of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, IIE conducts a survey on U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit and publishes the results in the Open Doors Report. In addition to ranking 13th overall, UGA was ninth in short-term study abroad programs. “We at the Office of Global Engagement are thankful to the UGA leadership for the support of student global experiential learning,” said Yana Cornish, director of global education. “We are proud to support a culture of study abroad among students, faculty and staff and are committed to expanding global experiential learning opportunities to all students, with particular consideration for underrepresented, rural, first-generation and other underserved students.” More than 2,600 UGA undergraduate and graduate students studied abroad in programs facilitated UGA Office of Global Engagement during the 2017-2018 academic year. “UGA’s position in the national rankings reflects the growing demand among students for a study abroad experience, the increased availability of scholarship funding provided by the university and individual donors, and the tireless dedication of our faculty, who are committed to offering academically rigorous programs,” said Noel Fallows, associate provost for the Office of Global Engagement. “Although many of our programs take place during the summer months, they are a year-round commitment for faculty, who work behind the scenes developing cost-effective budgets and preparing culturally immersive courses to create optimal, memorable and transformative international experiences.” Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, added that UGA’s Open Doors ranking underscores the institution’s stature as a national leader in experiential learning. “The University of Georgia is one of the nation’s largest public universities to ensure that all of our undergraduate students benefit from learning opportunities such as study abroad, internships, service-learning and research,” Hu said. “These experiences position students for career success and lay the foundation for a lifetime of engaged citizenship.” Additional information on all UGA Education Abroad programs are available on the StudyAway portal: https://studyaway.uga.edu/
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball has made it a historical start to the season with Wednesday night's 82-78 win over rival Georgia Tech. It was the Bulldogs' fifth-straight win in the series, the first time that has happened in 79 years, and the 10,205 fans at Stegeman Coliseum couldn't have been more happy. 'This is a huge rivalry,' Georgia coach Tom Crean said. 'I said to the team, there are gong to be things in life that are so much bigger than you, and a game like this is one of them. 'When those seniors can say they never lost those games, that's a big deal.' Junior Rayshaun Hammonds carried the load for the Bulldogs (4-0), matching his season high with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets (2-1). Projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and senior grad-transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Edwards, of course, made history by scoring 53 points in his first two games, eclipsing the freshman record previously held by Georgia and NBA Great Dominique Wilkins (1979). Michael Devoe had 34 points including a last-second, half-court shot to lead Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets opened the Nov. 5 with an 82-81 overtime road win over North Carolina State. Hammonds dominated the first half, scoring 19 of his points through the first 20 minutes. It carried into the second half with Georgia leading by as many as 16 points. 'It's a big win for us,' Hammonds said. 'I haven't lost to them, I don't want to lose to them.' A degree of uncertainty crept into the building with 10:15 remaining, however, when Hammonds picked up his fourth foul while scrambling for a loose ball. Hammonds took his 26 points and 8 rebounds to the bench, and Crean and the Bulldogs turned to freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards. Edwards, 1-of-8 shooting to that point with 5 points, drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down to make it 59-48 a the 9:41 mark. It triggered a 10-2 run that Edwards capped with a drive to the basket that made it 66-50. 'We did a good job on Edwards, he made some big plays late,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'He's a pro, he's going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that.' The Bulldogs had used a 13-2 run to end the first half and take control of what had been a back-and-forth first half, leading 35-27 intermission. Edwards had just 2 points at the half, and he didn't score his first field goal until hitting a long jumper that made it 42-31 with 17:50 left. The Bulldogs fans came to life, and it was another big crowd. Georgia, in fact, has the second-largest season attendance in school history through four games (35,152), approaching the record set in 1981 when Stegeman Coliseum held 11,200 and drew 38,741 through its first four games. More history will be made when Georgia returns to action at 2:30 p.m. next Monday in the Maui Invitational against Dayton (TV: ESPN2). The Bulldogs, making their first-ever appearance in the prestigious will play again on Tuesday (Michigan State or Virginia Tech) and Wednesday (TBD). DawgNation Georgia basketball coverage Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball off to historic start, dumps Georgia Tech 82-78 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — A faint, round, red spot just above his shirt collar is the only obvious physical evidence that something happened to Tate Prezzano nearly seven months ago. However, inside the University of Georgia student’s body a bullet fragment remains lodged just one millimeter from his spinal cord after he was shot multiple times near campus.  “One millimeter. One ‘mm.’ It is the smallest measurement you can get in the metric system,” his father, Dobbin Prezzano, said. To Prezzano and his father, the abbreviation “1 mm” has taken on a new meaning: “One man’s mission,” the tagline for the new foundation and scholarship program Tate Prezzano created in the wake of the shooting.  Prezzano introduced the foundation Wednesday morning at a news conference at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, the hospital where he underwent his medical treatment after the shooting. It was the 22-year-old’s first public appearance since the April 22 incident. Prezzano said the focus of his foundation, named the TateTough Foundation after the social media hashtag that began trending during his recovery, is to effect safety and security on college campuses.  RELATED: UGA victim ID’d as lacrosse player; police release sketch of alleged shooter Prezzano is part of UGA’s club lacrosse team and played lacrosse and football at Cambridge High School in Milton.  As the junior communications major was waiting at an Athens bus stop, a man approached him, robbed him and shot him multiple times in the upper part of his body. “Few incidents are more concerning than a young man standing at the bus stop, waiting to go to college, that is accosted by an armed assailant, robbed and shot,” Athens-Clarke County police Chief Cleveland Spruill said in a news conference after the shooting.  It happened about 7:15 a.m. the Monday after Easter, Prezzano said. His bus was scheduled to arrive at 7:18 a.m.  He said he saw something move out of the corner of his eye, and when he looked up a man was pointing a gun at him.  Prezzano was hit in the shoulder, in the neck and in the back of the head. He laid bleeding on the sidewalk, watching cars go by and hoping one would stop.  “I actually saw my bus go by,” he said.  One man pulled over. Phil Haymore, who manages the intensive care unit at Piedmont Athens, was on his way to work when he saw Prezzano on the ground.  “I have a son at UGA. He’s right around Tate’s age,” Haymore said. “As far as I’m concerned, my son was laying on the sidewalk.”  Haymore provided care for Prezzano until emergency medical services arrived and took him to the hospital. He remained there for six days.   A second UGA student was also robbed at gunpoint near the bus stop, which is just south of campus and the Athens Perimeter. That student was not hurt in the incident, which occurred moments before Prezzano was shot. He was able to give police a description of the suspect, which was used to create a sketch. It depicted a man with medium-length braids or dreads. Not long after the sketch was released, GBI special agent Mike Ayers said tips started pouring in from community members. MORE: Gwinnett man arrested in shooting of UGA lacrosse player from metro Atlanta Zarren Garner, 20, of Grayson, was arrested in Gwinnett County the next morning. Spruill said they were able to identify Garner through a number of citizen tips and because of the man’s prior “low-level criminal background.”  Thus began Tate Prezzano’s recovery process. He said he spent about five days a week in physical therapy over the summer. He wasn’t able to take summer classes for his major.  “His typical regimen over the summer of academics and athletics ... was going to be replaced by physical therapy, occupational therapy, aquatic therapy,” his father said.  The foundation is part of Prezzano’s recovery process. The first pillar of its three-part mission is to support Prezzano throughout his doctor visits, therapy sessions and various treatments.  The second part, Prezzano said, is to encourage other athletes.  “Our goal is to promote funding for scholarships at two schools that have been an integral part of and made an impression on Tate: The University of Georgia and Cambridge High School,” the TateTough website said. “The Foundation will award a $1,000 scholarship to one University of Georgia lacrosse player and one Cambridge High School athlete each year that the Foundation can support the effort.”  “This scholarship is going to go to the person (we) feel exemplifies what the ultimate teammate would be,” Prezzano said. “The ultimate teammate, in my opinion, is not necessarily the ‘rah-rah’ guy. It’s not necessarily the all-star or the best player. He’s the kind of person that would come off the field if he needs to, he would go on the field and play a different position, or just kind of do whatever is asked and be reliable.”  But invaluable to the TateTough Foundation is the need to augment campus safety, Prezzano said. The foundation is working with UGA to explore options to make the campus safer, such as improved kiosks and phone apps that would allow for a more immediate response in the case of an emergency. Campus safety is at the top of his mind now that Prezzano has resumed taking classes at UGA.   He is still undergoing physical therapy three times a week. However, he is taking 16 credit hours this semester, he said. After 15 more in the spring and one hour during a May semester, Prezzano will walk with his graduating class, he said.  Prezzano said he hopes the foundation’s mission of encouraging campus safety can reach other colleges. He wants his story to help other students be cognizant of their surroundings.  “We are still figuring the world out,” he said. “We don’t know what to look for.” 
  • A former Louisiana State University student was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for his role in the alcohol-related hazing death of a freshman from Roswell, but a judge suspended all but 2½ years of the term, according to local media reports.  Matthew Naquin was also sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, three years of probation when released and he must pay a $1,000 fine, The Advocate reported.  Naquin, 21, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, was convicted in July of negligent homicide in the September 2017 death of Max Gruver.  Gruver, 18, died after a hazing incident at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house, according to investigators. He had an alcohol level of .495% — more than six times the legal limit for drivers — at the time of his death, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office previously said.  LSU President F. King Alexander temporarily suspended all Greek activities after Gruver’s death. The fraternity’s national headquarters also suspended the LSU chapter. Gruver was a 2017 graduate of Blessed Trinity High School and planned to study journalism at LSU. He loved sports and helped coach younger children, including his sister’s basketball team, according to his family.  “Max was very lovable. He cared a lot about people,” Eugene Gruver, Max’s grandfather, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the day after his death. “He was bright, he was intelligent. He was so talented. He knew all about sports.” Prosecutors placed the bulk of the blame for Gruver’s death on Naquin. At trial, they told the jury Naquin ripped up Gruver's bid card and made it his personal mission to keep Gruver out of the fraternity, the Advocate previously reported. During the ritual, when Gruver answered questions about the fraternity incorrectly, prosecutors said Naquin forced him to drink. In July, two other former LSU students were each sentenced to a month in jail for their roles in Gruver’s death.  Sean-Paul Gott, 22, of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, of Butte, Montana, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing charges.
  • Planing to see the Georgia Bulldogs play at Mercedes-Benz for the SEC Championship on Dec.7?  Be aware of some rules and policies before heading to the game. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.  Leave your cash at home  In March, Mercedes-Benz Stadium became the first to adopt a stadium-wide cashless policy, a news release said. However, cash-to-card kiosks will be available at the Delta Sky360 Club, Mercedes-Benz Club, and by the team store. Fans can insert cash into a machine that will give back a pre-paid Visa card, with no transaction fee.  Don’t take just any bag Fans are encouraged to take clear bags to games for security reasons. Fans can take a one-gallon plastic freezer bag, or a clear bag no larger that 12 by 6 by 12 inches, according to SEC policy.  All bags will be checked at the secondary security perimeter set around the stadium and the Georgia World Congress Center.  For fans that take a bag, there will be four bag exchange locations: outside gates 1 and 2 of the stadium, and at the Georgia World Congress Center’s  Gold Deck and Hall B. Football fans will be charged $5 per bag they exchange. At Gate 1, fans can use the BinBox app to use a small locker for $5, a medium locker for $7, and a large locker for $9.  The clear bag policy exempts wallets and clutch purses that may be no bigger than 4.5 by 6.5 inches including the handle or strap.  There are exceptions to the the rule for medically necessary items.  Do your pom-poms or shakers have a paddle or a stick handle?  Mercedes-Benz stadium has a no stick handle policy for pompoms and shakers. Only those with a paddle handle will be allow inside the stadium, according to a news release. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Kirby Smart opened the football portion of his Monday press conference talking about injuries, updating media on his banged-up offensive line and hobbled go-to receiver. It was a pre-emptive strike. The Georgia football head coach doesn't want to be asked abut the specifics, or go down the laundry list of players limited, or out or dealing with injuries. The media viewing portions of practices have been closed the past two weeks, the Bulldogs understandably not wanting opponents to know who is healthy enough to go through drills, and who has been sitting out. Georgia's football season is on the line once again this Saturday and Smart is no different than any other coach in the sense that he doesn't want to give away any more information than necessary. The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to No. 24 Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium (TV: CBS). It's a Georgia team that survived Auburn, 21-14, despite being out-gained 158 yards to 2 yards in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs were missing three offensive by the end of the contest. Smart revealed after last Saturday's game that Ben Cleveland missed two practices following his SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week performance against Missouri. On Monday, Smart acknowledged that Georgia's Swiss Army Knife Offensive Lineman Cade Mays would miss time on the practice field. On Tuesday, Smart offered some hope, albeit, limited. Cade has been out there working, and Ben has practiced,' Smart said on Tuesday. 'Cade didn't do much yesterday, he did a lot more today as far as reps, we're hopeful he'll be able to go.' For receiver Lawrence Cager, who has been playing with a separated shoulder, Smart said it's a matter of how much he could 'sustain.' Even the staff photographer, Lauren Chamberlain, has been held out of action this week after her sideline collision with Brian Herrien. But Georgia has a fair share of players who have been playing despite injuries, receivers Tyler Simmons (shoulder) and Demetris Robertson (hamstring) both appearing somewhat limited, as well as defensive lineman David Marshall (foot) and offensive linemen Isaiah Wilson (ankle) and Trey Hill (ankle). Others simply don't put the pads on and thus don't get asked about anymore: Defensive back Tyrique McGhee (foot), receiver Tommy Bush (groin), quarterback D'Wan Mathis (head), lineman Justin Shaffer. Georgia football injury report WR Lawrence Cager (shoulder) probable WR Tyler Simmons (shoulder) probable C Trey Hill (ankle) probable OG Ben Cleveland (foot) probable DL David Marshall (foot) probable OL Cade Mays (ankle) questionable DB Tyrique McGhee (foot) doubtful QB D'Wan Mathis (head) out WR Tommy Bush (groin) out OL Justin Shaffer (neck) out Georgia football DawgNation Kirby Smart reveals redshirt plan for Georgia senior defensive lineman WATCH: Gus Malzahn says Auburn 'stuffed' Georgia in 4th quarter Georgia football stars make short list for Outland Trophy, Nagurski Award WATCH: Georgia QB Jake Fromm says offense must get better Georgia in select company, clinches third-straight SEC East Division title Jimbo Fisher says Jake Fromm as good as anyone in the country The post Georgia football injury report: Offense hobbled entering Texas A&M battle appeared first on DawgNation.
  • There's a different way to look at the bottom line for Georgia-Texas A&M this week. Especially in terms of what Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart bring to the table. Try a bottom line that charts $14,371,600. That is the reported combined 2019 salaries for the head coaches for that big SEC clash on Saturday. Read that line again. Digest that $14.3 million part. That's the number according to the latest 2019 salary figures in the annual USA Today report on coaching salaries for NCAA football . Fisher, who signed a 10-year deal worth $75 million in December of 2017, ranks as the fourth-highest paid head coach in college football. It makes one wonder why the nachos will not be $14.30 inside Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Fisher still has a robust buyout of $60 million. ( That means Jimmy Sexton's great-great-grandchildren are also getting Gucci every Christmas. Sexton represents five of the nation's 10-highest paid coaches and almost all of the SEC.) Smart comes in at No. 5 on that listing. His buyout is a mere $24.2 million for the remaining years on his deal. Several coaches, such as Auburn's Gus Malzhan (No.6) are slated to receive yearly pay hikes that will also take them into the $7 million per year range in 2020, too. The USA Today study places a somewhat unexpected name at the top. It was not Nick Saban, but still the head coach of the defending national champions nonetheless. Clemson's Dabo Swinney rates No. 1 on that database with a total compensation figure of $9,315,600 for 2019. Saban follows at No. 2 ($8.9 million) and Jim Harbaugh ($7.504 million) round out the top 3. The SEC also flexes the power of its TV deals and respective fan bases by placing the head coaches from five of its member schools among the top 10 in that survey. Mississippi State pays Joe Moorhead $3,050,000 on that listing. It will rank him last in the SEC, but that windfall places him at No. 48 out of the 122 coaching salaries tracked in that database. The post Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart both rank among the NCAA's highest-paid coaches appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Rayshaun Hammonds says he just wants to win, and now that the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder has figured out what it will take from him, Georgia basketball could prove dangerous. Hammonds matched his season high in scoring with 26 points, also leading the young Bulldogs with 9 rebounds in their 82-78 win over an experienced and battled-tested Georgia Tech on Wednesday night. It was Georgia's fifth-straight win in the rivalry, the first time that has happened in 79 years. RELATED: Anthony Edwards helps spark historical start to season 'Rayshaun has had a breakthrough,' second-year Georgia coach Tom Crean said Wednesday night. 'You never known when breakthroughs are going to come, (and) you never know how breakthroughs are going to come, and you can't plan them. 'They have to be natural and he's doing a good job. Ray is letting things come to him.' Anthony Edwards, one of 10 new players on the team and a 6-5 combo guard projected to be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, explained why the ball went inside to Hammonds throughout the first half. 'They were pressing me and Tyree (Crump) hard when we were getting the ball,' Edwards said. 'So if they are pressing us, we've got the best four man in the country, he's going to eat.' Indeed, Hammonds scored 19 of his points in the first half, helping Georgia take a 35-27 lead to intermission. 'I thought [Rayshaun] Hammonds was a stud tonight,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'Obviously, we recruited him hard, too. He's a really good basketball player and he really had a great game and is a big difference maker for them, especially in that first half. 'That was the difference tonight, what Hammonds did in the first half, that set the tone.' Crean has been challenging Hammonds to be a difference-maker and set the tone in practice, too, harping on him publicly and privately to become more consistent. Edwards can score all the points and make all the highlights, but if Hammonds doesn't provide a physical presence in the paint, Georgia will likely miss the NCAA Tournament for what would be the seventh time in the past eight years. The Bulldogs' hopes took a major hit last summer when All-SEC sophomore Nicolas Claxton left for the NBA, adding to attrition that included six seniors and three underclassmen transfers. Georgia lost more than 56 percent of its scoring off last year's team and 63 percent of its rebounding. But Edwards has come in with a signing class that ranked fifth in the nation, and the 10 new players have brought enough firepower and positive energy to help get Hammonds going. 'The incoming freshmen took a lot of stress off me, because they can play,' said Hammonds, who was ranked the 51st-best player in the 2017 class coming out of Norcross. 'We have dogs, nobody is scared to get on the floor. The main focus is to play physical, you don't want to get punked by other teams.' Hammonds has proven he can supply the muscle as well as provide an outside touch, connecting on 2 of 4 attempts beyond the 3-point arc against Georgia Tech. 'Rayshaun did a great job leading us,' Edwards said, 'and we followed.' Georgia basketball's Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball c Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball forward Rayshaun Hammonds breakthrough' wrecked Georgia Tech appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball has made it a historical start to the season with Wednesday night's 82-78 win over rival Georgia Tech. It was the Bulldogs' fifth-straight win in the series, the first time that has happened in 79 years, and the 10,205 fans at Stegeman Coliseum couldn't have been more happy. 'This is a huge rivalry,' Georgia coach Tom Crean said. 'I said to the team, there are gong to be things in life that are so much bigger than you, and a game like this is one of them. 'When those seniors can say they never lost those games, that's a big deal.' Junior Rayshaun Hammonds carried the load for the Bulldogs (4-0), matching his season high with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets (2-1). Projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and senior grad-transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Edwards, of course, made history by scoring 53 points in his first two games, eclipsing the freshman record previously held by Georgia and NBA Great Dominique Wilkins (1979). Michael Devoe had 34 points including a last-second, half-court shot to lead Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets opened the Nov. 5 with an 82-81 overtime road win over North Carolina State. Hammonds dominated the first half, scoring 19 of his points through the first 20 minutes. It carried into the second half with Georgia leading by as many as 16 points. 'It's a big win for us,' Hammonds said. 'I haven't lost to them, I don't want to lose to them.' A degree of uncertainty crept into the building with 10:15 remaining, however, when Hammonds picked up his fourth foul while scrambling for a loose ball. Hammonds took his 26 points and 8 rebounds to the bench, and Crean and the Bulldogs turned to freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards. Edwards, 1-of-8 shooting to that point with 5 points, drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down to make it 59-48 a the 9:41 mark. It triggered a 10-2 run that Edwards capped with a drive to the basket that made it 66-50. 'We did a good job on Edwards, he made some big plays late,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'He's a pro, he's going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that.' The Bulldogs had used a 13-2 run to end the first half and take control of what had been a back-and-forth first half, leading 35-27 intermission. Edwards had just 2 points at the half, and he didn't score his first field goal until hitting a long jumper that made it 42-31 with 17:50 left. The Bulldogs fans came to life, and it was another big crowd. Georgia, in fact, has the second-largest season attendance in school history through four games (35,152), approaching the record set in 1981 when Stegeman Coliseum held 11,200 and drew 38,741 through its first four games. More history will be made when Georgia returns to action at 2:30 p.m. next Monday in the Maui Invitational against Dayton (TV: ESPN2). The Bulldogs, making their first-ever appearance in the prestigious will play again on Tuesday (Michigan State or Virginia Tech) and Wednesday (TBD). DawgNation Georgia basketball coverage Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball off to historic start, dumps Georgia Tech 82-78 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia stars have made the short list for two of the most prestigious awards in college football, the Outland Trophy and the Nagurski Award. Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas was named one of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the top interior lineman on offense or defense. Outland Trophy semifinalists OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia OC Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin DT Derrick Brown, Auburn OT Penei Sewell, Oregon OG John Simpson, Clemson OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa. Reed, a senior safety, is one of five finalists for the Nagurksi Award, which recognizes the best defensive player in college football. SS J.R. Reed, Georgia DT Derrick Brown, Auburn LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson DB Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota DE Chase Young, Ohio State Georgia DawgNation stories Kirby Smart reveals redshirt plan for Georgia senior defensive lineman WATCH: Gus Malzahn says Auburn 'stuffed' Georgia in 4th quarter WATCH: Georgia QB Jake Fromm says offense must get better Georgia in select company, clinches third-straight SEC East Division title UGA stock report: Bulldogs cash in at Auburn with 21-14 win Georgia game ball, punter Jake Camarda kept Tigers backed up Brian Herrien, Jake Fromm pray for injured UGA photographer The post Georgia stars Andrew Thomas, J.R. Reed semifinalists for Outland Trophy, Nagurski Award appeared first on DawgNation.