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  • Union Station Air Tested by EPA for Diesel Pollution
    Posted: 6/15/2015
    From Chicago Tribune
    Prompted by ongoing complaints about noxious diesel exhaust at Union Station, federal authorities are testing the air at Chicago's busiest commuter center to build a case for a potential legal crackdown.

    During the next month, investigators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be walking station platforms wearing portable devices that measure lung-damaging soot. What they find could more accurately pinpoint health risks posed by acrid blue clouds of pollution that hover between trains ferrying nearly 130,000 commuters every weekday.
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  • Climate Change Could Increase Allergies, Air Pollution and Asthma
    Posted: 5/15/2015
    From Natural Resources Defense Council
    2014 was the hottest year on earth since recordkeeping began in 1880, and ten of the previous warmest years on record occurred since 2000. The scientific consensus is that climate change is the driving force behind these rising temperatures. Scientific studies have also shown that our changing climate could favor the formation of more ozone smog in some areas and increase the production of allergenic pollen such as that released by the ragweed plant, the principal source of pollen associated with allergic rhinitis.This is bad news for allergy sufferers and asthmatics because both ragweed pollen and high levels of ozone smog can trigger asthma attacks and worsen allergic symptoms in adults and children. Moreover, studies show that people exposed to both ragweed allergens and ozone are likely to become more ill than people exposed to just one of the two.These negative health effects are expected to worsen if carbon dioxide (Co2) concentrations keep rising and climate change continues unchecked.
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  • CDC and FDA Report Increases in E-Cig and Hookah Use Among School Students
    Posted: 4/17/2015
    From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

    In 2014, one in four high school students and one in 13 middle school students used one or more tobacco products in the last 30 days.

    Current e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014.

    In 2014, for the first time in NYTS, current e-cigarette use surpassed current use of every other tobacco product, including cigarettes.

    Hookah smoking roughly doubled for middle and high school students, while cigarette use declined among high school students and remained unchanged for middle school students.

    There was no decline in overall tobacco use between 2011 and 2014.

    Youth use of tobacco in any form, whether it be combustible, noncombustible, or electronic, is unsafe (1); regardless of mode of delivery, nicotine exposure during adolescence, a critical time for brain development, might have lasting adverse consequences for brain development (1), causes addiction (3), and might lead to sustained use of tobacco products.

    Because use of emerging tobacco products (e-cigarettes and hookahs) is increasing among middle and high school students, it is critical that comprehensive tobacco control and prevention strategies for youths should address all tobacco products and not just cigarettes.
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  • Work-Related Asthma Affects Millions of U.S. Adults
    Posted: 4/10/2015
    From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
    Almost 16 percent of American adults with asthma either developed the condition on the job or have asthma symptoms made worse by conditions in their workplace. That adds up to an estimated 1.9 million cases of work-related asthma in the 22 states that were part of the CDC study. "Work-related asthma is associated with increased disability, mortality, and adverse social and economic outcomes,? said one of the lead researchers. Many people who have asthma flare-ups at work experience poor quality of life, loss of income and unemployment.
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  • The White House wants to explore how climate change makes you sick
    Posted: 4/7/2015
    From Washington Post:
    President Obama launched an initiative Tuesday aimed at highlighting the connections between climate change and public health, bringing both medical and data experts to the White House this week.

    As part of the effort, the White House will hold a Climate Change and Health Summit later this spring, featuring Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The administration is expanding its Climate Data Initiative, which it launched a year ago, to include more than 150 health-relevant data sets.
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  • FTC Releases Reports on 2012 Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Sales and Marketing
    Posted: 4/1/2015
    From Federal Trade Commission:
    The number of cigarettes sold to wholesalers and retailers in the United States declined from 273.6 billion in 2011 to 267.7 billion in 2012, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report.

    The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion by the largest cigarette companies in the United States rose from $8.37 billion in 2011 to $9.17 billion in 2012, due mainly to an increase in spending on price discounts (discounts paid to cigarette retailers or wholesalers in order to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers). Spending on price discounts increased from $7.0 billion in 2011 to $7.8 billion in 2012. The price discounts category was the largest expenditure category in 2012, as it has been each year since 2002; in 2012, it accounted for 85.1 percent of industry spending.
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  • Reduce COPD Limitations: Stop Smoking & Exercise More
    Posted: 3/27/2015
    From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
    In the recent issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the CDC released Employment and Activity Limitations Among Adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease ? United States, 2013. In this study, adults with COPD who reported being nonsmokers and physically active were less likely to report activity limitations.
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  • Thousands Hustle up the Hancock for charity
    Posted: 2/22/2015
    From WGN:

    94 stories is a long way up.

    But the excitement before the hustle, at the base of the Hancock, is enough to energize all.

    The mission is fundraising. For nearly 20 years the climb has raised millions for the Respiratory Health Association, which helps those battling lung diseases like cancer, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and pulmonary fibrosis.

    On Sunday, so many who battled or know someone who has, were there. Around 4000 total, even those who continue chemotherapy to this day.
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  • KCBX takes the hint on petcoke
    Posted: 2/19/2015
    From Chicago Tribune:

    It has been a tough week for Chicago's petroleum coke industry, which means it has been a good week for lungs on the Southeast Side. People there have long complained about choking clouds of black petcoke dust blowing across their neighborhoods.

    On Thursday, KCBX Terminals, the city's last petcoke storage operator, said it would whittle down its piles of the gritty refinery byproduct. By June of next year, the incoming petcoke will be transferred directly to transport barges rather than remaining in mountains that could be blown across the East Side and South Deering neighborhoods.
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  • Smoking's Death Toll May Be Higher Than Anyone Knew
    Posted: 2/12/2015
    From NPR:

    The U.S. surgeon general lists 21 deadly diseases that are caused by smoking. Now, a study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine points to more than a dozen other diseases that apparently add to the tobacco death toll.
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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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