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  • CVS stops selling tobacco, offers quit-smoking programs
    Posted: 9/3/2014
    From USA Today:

    CVS Caremark plans to stop selling tobacco products in all of its stores starting Wednesday ? a move health experts hope will be followed by other major drugstore chains.

    CVS announced in February that it planned to drop tobacco by Oct. 1 as the sales conflicted with its health care mission. To bolster its image as a health care company, CVS will announce a corporate name change to CVS Health. Retail stores will still be called CVS/Pharmacy.

    CVS, which has 7,700 retail locations, is the second-largest drugstore chain in the USA, behind Walgreens. It manages the pharmacy benefits for 65 million members and has 900 walk-in medical clinics.
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  • Will mayor, group ignite effort to end smoking in Chicago parks?
    Posted: 9/3/2014
    From RedEye Chicago:

    Smokers may no longer be allowed to light up cigarettes as they watch bands play at Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Riot Fest or North Coast music festivals in Chicago.

    That?s if a push to ban smoking in the city?s nearly 600 city parks ? some of them home to big-ticket concerts ? gains traction. At one point Mayor Emanuel backed such a plan, but in recent days his staff didn?t sound as enthusiastic about making park visitors kiss their ash goodbye.

    But the possibility of a ban in parks has smokers fired up.
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  • Secondhand smoke ups asthma, rhinitis, eczema risks through adolescence
    Posted: 8/25/2014
    From Clinical Advisor:

    The development of allergic diseases such as asthma, rhinitis, and eczema are linked to in utero or early childhood exposure to secondhand smoke according to a study published in Pediatrics.

    "Many children are exposed to tobacco smoke both in utero and postnatally," explained Jesse D. Thacher, MPH, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues. "[U]p to 60% of mothers who quit smoking during pregnancy return to smoking within the first six months postpartum, and 80%-90% relapse less than 12 months after delivery."
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  • Doctors may be missing chances to talk to teens about smoking
    Posted: 8/25/2014
    From Business Insider:

    Less than a third of teens say their doctors have spoken to them about tobacco use, according to a new study.

    "Given that tobacco is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., it is surprising that more clinicians are not intervening with adolescent patients to help them avoid or quit tobacco," lead author Gillian L. Schauer, of Carter Consulting, Inc., told Reuters Health.

    Schauer worked on the study as a contractor to the Office on Smoking and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. She and her colleagues write in the journal Pediatrics that most current smokers started as teenagers or young adults.
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  • Prison smoking bans linked to substantial fall in deaths among US inmates
    Posted: 8/8/2014
    From Medical Xpress:

    Prison smoking bans are associated with a substantial reduction in deaths from smoking related causes, such as heart disease and cancer, finds a US study published in the BMJ today. Smoking related deaths were cut by up to 11% in state prisons with long-term bans in place.

    In the United States at year end 2011, there were 1.4 million people in state prisons. Fifty to 83 percent of people in prison smoke ? substantially higher than the general population outside prison.
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  • Asthma twice as likely in black children as whites in 10-year span
    Posted: 8/4/2014
    From Healio:

    Black children were twice as likely as white children to have asthma from 2001 to 2010, while disparities based on at-risk rates, including ED visits and hospitalizations, decreased, according to recent CDC-based study data.

    Lara J. Akinbami, MD, of the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, and colleagues used data to calculate estimates of asthma prevalence and outcomes, including ED visits, hospitalizations and deaths, for children aged 0 to 17 years. Weighted loglinear regression was used to calculate trends, while Joinpoint measured time changes in racial disparity.

    "Disparities in asthma prevalence between black and white children increased from 2001 to 2010 (P>.01); at the end of this period, black children were twice as likely as white children to have asthma," the researchers wrote.
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  • Thunderstorms can worsen asthma and allergies
    Posted: 7/28/2014
    From The Washington Post:

    Allergy sufferers often wish for rain, hoping it will wash away all the pollens and molds that stuff up their noses. While rain can indeed provide relief, a violent thunderstorm may have just the opposite effect: An unlucky few may experience a little-known threat called thunderstorm-related asthma.

    Not fully understood by scientists, thunderstorm asthma can cause labored breathing for those with asthma and with allergies - including some who have never had breathing difficulties before.
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  • CDC reports annual financial cost of COPD to be $36 billion in the United States
    Posted: 7/25/2014
    From CHEST:

    The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) announced today the Online First publication of Total and State-Specific Medical and Absenteeism Costs of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years in the United States for 2010 and Projections Through 2020 in the journal CHEST.

    The report, presented by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), finds:

    - In 2010, the total national medical costs attributable to COPD were estimated at $32.1 billion dollars annually.
    - Absenteeism costs were $3.9 billion for a total burden of $36 billion in COPD-attributable costs.
    An estimated 16.4 million days of work were lost due to COPD each year.
    - Of the medical cost, 18% was paid for by private insurance, 51% by Medicare, and 25% by Medicaid.
    - The study also projects a rise in medical costs from $32.1 billion in 2010 to $49 billion by 2020.
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  • Chicago mold spore count reported near 'dangerous' level
    Posted: 7/7/2014
    From Healio:

    The Gottlieb Allergy Count for mold spores neared the threshold for a "dangerous" air quality alert in Chicago earlier this week, according to a press release.

    "The extreme humidity coupled with hot temperatures and rain have created a soupy environment that is causing serious distress for those with mold allergies and asthma," Joseph Leija, MD, an allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official count of the Midwest, said in the release. "It's like having a hot, wet towel over your face all the time for many with sensitive systems. Difficulty breathing, itchy throat, coughing and fatigue is what Chicagoans feel today and possibly for the rest of the week."
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  • Quitting snus after a heart attack halves death risk: study
    Posted: 7/1/2014
    From Reuters Health:

    Heart attack survivors who stop using snus, a Swedish smokeless tobacco, were half as likely to die in the next two years as those who didn't, according to a new study.

    The survival difference was comparable to that seen when smokers quit after a heart attack, suggesting that nicotine alone may harm the heart more than is recognized, researchers say.
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  • Asthma rate drops in survey; experts wary
    Posted: 6/24/2014
    From The Columbus Dispatch:

    The self-reported U.S. asthma rate has fallen significantly for the first time in four years, to a nine-year low, according to a survey released last week. Researchers cautioned that the number might not mean that the disease is dwindling.

    In 2013, 7.4 percent of the U.S. population reported having asthma, down from a level that has hovered around 8.5 percent since 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found.
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  • Smoking before becoming a father can damage future offspring
    Posted: 6/23/2014
    From Business Wire:

    A study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) explains that men who smoke can cause genetic damage to their future children, even before conception.

    FASEB scientists report that men who smoke before conception can damage the genetic information of their offspring, making them more susceptible to diseases such as cancer. Adolescents and young adults should think ahead if they plan on conceiving at some point in their lives.
    Read More »
  • Majority of Americans back Obama's push to reduce carbon emissions, poll shows
    Posted: 6/18/2014
    From Huffington Post:

    Two-thirds of Americans back President Barack Obama's push to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

    An NBC poll released Wednesday shows that 67 percent of Americans support Environmental Protection Agency rules released this month that will cut carbon emissions from power plants 30 percent by 2030. Thirty-seven percent expressed strong support.

    The poll shows that a majority of Americans identify as "supporters" of the new limits. Of those surveyed, 53 percent agree that action to reduce coal emissions in necessary, because it will lead to cleaner air and reduced health care costs, while confronting global warming and natural disasters.
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  • Cleveland Clinic tests promising new procedure for emphysema patients
    Posted: 6/16/2014
    From WOIO:

    The Cleveland Clinic has announced that they have an innovative new treatment for COPD/emphysema that is being tested as part of an extensive trial.

    This new procedures involves doctors putting coils into patients' lungs. The coils are said to be advantageous by sucking in the oversized lungs of emphysema patients and making it possible for them to breathe with more ease.

    Cleveland Clinic doctors say that there are a few patients that have done really well. Those patients have gone from being on oxygen 24/7 and barely able to talk without being out of breath to being able to spend time on the treadmill.
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  • Early exposure to bacteria protects children from asthma and allergies
    Posted: 6/10/2014
    From NPR Shots:

    Babies who are exposed to both bacteria and allergens in the first year of life are less likely to develop asthma and allergies, a study finds.

    It's the latest wrinkle in the hygiene hypothesis - the notion that exposure to bacteria trains the infant immune system to attack bad bugs and ignore harmless things like pollen and cat dander.

    But what's interesting about this study is that it gets specific; not just any old germs or allergens will do.
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