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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Secondhand Smoke Continues to Take a Toll Worldwide

The new report released from the World Health Organization estimates the number of people who die worldwide from secondhand smoke each year at 600,000.  The report combined data from 192 countries and was the first to estimate the worldwide burden of disease and death from tobacco.  More than half of the deaths are from heart disease, followed by deaths from cancer, lung infections, asthma and other illnesses. The worst part about this astonishing statistic is that children under the age of five account for 28% of these deaths.  Most of these children are dying in Africa and Asia where there is less access to vital public health services and advanced medical care.

So, what are countries doing to battle secondhand smoke? More than 40 countries have enacted some kind of smoking ban.  In the U.S., 35 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Northern Mariana Islands have smoke-free laws that protect 79% of the population. 

Sounds good, right? Well, there is definitely room for improvement.  Many of the smoke-free laws are limited and worldwide, only 7% of the population is protected by these laws.  Studies have shown that smoke-free laws encourage smokers to quit and rates of heart attacks, asthma and other smoking-related illnesses decline within the first year after the bans are implemented. 

Partnership for Prevention recognizes the importance of smoking bans in decreasing morbidity and mortality and the role they play in encouraging smokers to quit. Partnership’s ActionToQuit initiative works to advance policies that ensure all American have access to comprehensive tobacco cessation treatments to further assist people in stopping smoking and help them and others lead healthier lives.

Brandi Robinson

Tobacco Control Program Associate

Posted by: Partnership for Prevention at 12:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Great American Smokeout Event, Number of Uninsured Rises named “Best/Worst News for Prevention"

"Best and Worst News for Prevention” is based on a purposive sample consisting of expert staff members who each week choose to share their opinions on the best and worst news for prevention.

Smokers Urged to Join Thursday's Great American Smokeout

Get ready, get set, quit! Thursday marks the annual Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, which urges all smokers to lay off the habit for at least 24 hours. There have been dramatic changes in attitudes about smoking and a large decrease in smoking rates since the Smokeout was first held in 1977. The annual event includes local and nationwide events meant to encourage smokers to quit for at least one day in the hope that they may decide to permanently kick the habit. The Smokeout has helped focus attention on the dangers of tobacco use and contributed to a "cultural revolution" in tobacco control, says the American Cancer Society. Between 1978 and 2009, the percentage of adults who smoke in the United States fell from 34 percent to 21 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Number of Uninsured Rises, Report Says

The number of uninsured adults in the United States continues to rise, with one in four adults under 65 reporting they were without health insurance at some point in the last year, according to a recent report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  About 50 million adults said they were uninsured for at least some time. The report is based on a survey conducted between January and March.

The “Best/Worst” awards are announced each week in “Prevention Matters,” the blog of Partnership for Prevention. "Best/Worst News for Prevention” polls are snapshots taken during a brief period of time that reflect the views of Partnership for Prevention staff. The polls are not designed or intended to reflect a statistically valid representation of the population and should not be used as such. More information is available at

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Labels: AmericanCancerSociety, CDC, healthinsurance, smokingcessation, tobaccocessation

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Be Thankful for…

...antibiotics and STD screening.

This week CDC released its annual sexually transmitted diseases surveillance report, which showed that chlamydia and syphilis rates in the U.S. continued to rise in 2009. However, gonorrhea reached its lowest level in almost 70 years. All three STDs can be easily treated with antibiotics but can have serious consequences, including infertility and organ damage, if left untreated.

According to the report, chlamydia rates increased by 3% last year, with 409 cases per 100,000 people—representing an all-time high for reported chlamydia infections. The rate increased by almost 20% since 2006. On a positive note, CDC believes that the increase is likely attributed to expanded screening, and not an increase in the disease.

Unfortunately, large disparities still exist among racial and ethnic minority groups, with young African Americans baring a large burden of the disease.

STD screening can help detect disease early and, combined with treatment, is an effective way to protect a person’s health and reduce transmission to partners. One of the continuing problems is that less than half of the people who should be screened for STDs, do so. To help improve screening, as well as prevention and treatment of chlamydia, Partnership for Prevention convenes and leads the National Chlamydia Coalition, whose mission is to reduce the rates of Chlamydia and its harmful effects among sexually active adolescent and young adults.

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Labels: African-American, antibiotics, Chlamydia, NationalChlamydiaCoalition, screening, STD

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