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  • 7 in 10 students who currently use tobacco used a flavored product
    Posted: 9/30/2015
    An estimated 70 percent of U.S. middle and high school students who have used a tobacco product in the past 30 days have used at least one flavored tobacco product during this period, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

    Data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) show that among students who used each of the following tobacco products in the past 30 days (defined as current users), 63.3 percent (1.58 million) had used a flavored e-cigarette, 60.6 percent (1.02 million) had used flavored hookah tobacco, 63.5 percent (910,000) had used a flavored cigar, 58.8 percent (690,000) had used flavored smokeless tobacco, 53.6 percent (900,000) had used menthol cigarettes, and 42.3 percent (120,000) had used flavored tobacco in pipes.

    About 18 percent of all high school students reported using at least one flavored product in the past 30 days; 5.8 percent reported using only non-flavored tobacco products. E-cigarettes (8.8 percent) were the most commonly used flavored tobacco product among high school students, followed by hookah (6.0 percent), cigars (5.3 percent), menthol cigarettes (5.0 percent), any smokeless tobacco (4.1 percent), and tobacco in pipes (0.7 percent).

    Flavored tobacco products are enticing a new generation of America?s youth into nicotine addiction, condemning many of them to tobacco-related disease and early death, said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. Nicotine is not safe for the developing brain, and we must do everything we can to protect kids from a lifetime of tobacco use and nicotine dependence.

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  • Finalization of the U.S. Clean Power Plan & Support of IL Clean Jobs Act
    Posted: 8/3/2015
    From: Joel J. Africk, President and Chief Executive Officer, Respiratory Health Association

    Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Clean Power Plan, which will require huge reductions in greenhouse gases from hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country in order to cut emissions driving global warming.

    The Clean Power Plan is the largest, most in-depth action the U.S. has ever taken towards curbing climate change. The rule requires a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants based on 2005 levels by 2030, as well as requires states to draw at least 28 percent of their power from renewable sources. We applaud the EPA?s release of this live-saving rule, said Joel Africk, president and chief executive officer of Respiratory Health Association. This is crucial step towards improving our air quality and curbing global warming.

    The Clean Power Plan heralds great benefits for lung health. Preliminary estimates from Harvard University indicate that the health co-benefits of the preliminary power plant rule proposal issued in 2014 would include the prevention of 2,100 premature deaths, 760 hospitalizations, and 160 heart attacks between 2020-2030 in Illinois alone.

    With the release of the federal Clean Power Plan, the Rauner administration in Illinois must now formulate a clean energy plan for Illinois that complies with the federal rule. ?This is a tremendous opportunity for the State of Illinois, Africk said. Done the right way, an Illinois Clean Power Plan will bring immediate and long term public health benefits, protect consumers through lower power bills and create thousands of green jobs.

    There is already significant support for moving Illinois towards cleaner energy. The Illinois Clean Jobs Act now pending in the General Assembly would ensure significant reductions in greenhouse gasses through increasing energy efficiency goals and by ensuring that Illinois gets 35 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2030. In Springfield, this legislative proposal has garnered over 80 House and Senate co-sponsors thus far.

    Respiratory Health Association looks forward to working with Illinois officials to maximize the health benefits that can be achieved through cleaning up the power sector, so that families living with lung disease can breathe easier.
  • 3 out of 4 American adults favor making 21 the minimum age of sale for tobacco
    Posted: 7/7/2015
    From: CDC Media Relations
    Three out of 4 American adults, including 7 in 10 cigarette smokers, favor raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21, according to an article by CDC published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. While an overwhelming majority of adults favored the policy overall, favorability is slightly higher among adults who never smoked and older adults. In contrast, 11 percent of adults strongly opposed making 21 the legal age of sale, while 14 percent somewhat opposed such measures.

    In most states, the minimum age of sale for tobacco is 18; in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah the minimum age of sale is 19. One state, Hawaii, currently prohibits sales of tobacco products to youth under the age of 21. Additionally, several cities and counties across the U.S. have adopted laws raising the minimum age to 21, starting with Needham, Massachusetts, in 2005. New York City; Hawaii County, Hawaii; Evanston, Illinois; Englewood, New Jersey; Columbia, Missouri; and several other communities in Massachusetts later followed suit.

    Raising the minimum age of sale to 21 could benefit the health of Americans in several ways, said Brian King, Ph.D., acting Deputy Director for Research Translation in CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. It could delay the age of first experimenting with tobacco, reducing the likelihood of transitioning to regular use and increasing the likelihood that those who do become regular users can quit.

    Data for the study came from Styles, a nationally representative online survey of U.S. adults aged 18 and older. The findings are consistent with those from a national survey conducted in 2013 and polls of voters in Colorado and Utah that found 57 percent and 67 percent, respectively, favor such policies. Favorability for the policies was found to increase with increasing age.

    According to the 2014 Surgeon General Report, the tobacco industry aggressively markets and promotes its products and continues to recruit youth and young adults as new consumers. People who begin smoking at a young age are more likely to become addicted, to progress to daily use, to smoke more as they grow into adulthood, and to have trouble quitting. A previous Surgeon General Report found about 96 percent of adult smokers first try cigarettes by the age of 21.

    Age-of-sale restrictions have been shown to contribute to reductions in tobacco use and dependency among youth. In March 2015, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report found that increasing the legal age of sale for tobacco will likely prevent or delay tobacco use initiation by adolescents and young adults. The IOM found that if all states were to raise the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21, there would be a 12 percent decrease in cigarette smoking prevalence across the nation by 2100. This would translate into nearly 250,000 fewer premature deaths from cigarette smoking among people born between 2000 and 2019.
  • 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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