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Thursday, September 30, 2010

ActionToQuit Tobacco Cessation Summit in Buffalo, New York

Partnership for Prevention’s second ActionToQuit state summit was held on September 28 in Buffalo, New York. The event brought together organizational representatives, leaders, and advocates committed to saving lives and improving health through tobacco cessation. The summit was led by the New York State (NYS) Smokers Quitline, which received a grant from Partnership for Prevention to develop a state plan for tobacco cessation.

David Zauche, Senior Program Officer at Partnership for Prevention, provided the keynote address at the Buffalo summit. He stressed that tobacco cessation offers the highest value of all preventive services, receiving the top rating by the National Commission for Prevention Priorities for health impact and cost effectiveness. He noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that tobacco cessation services be covered benefits for all employees, and he explained how federal health reform will positively impact cessation in the nation.

Currently there are 2.7 million smokers in New York State. Leaders from the state quitline and other agencies and organizations set an ambitious goal of reducing that number by one million by the year 2014. This would entail reducing the adult smoking prevalence from 18% to 12%. Fortunately, most cessation indicators are moving in the right direction in New York.  

  • There have been steady increases in the past decade in the percentage of smokers receiving assistance from their health care provider
  • Similar increases have been seen in the percentage of smokers making a quit attempt
  • The NYS Smokers Quitline is heavily promoted, providing free telephone and online cessation services and free medications to thousands of people each year
  • Paid media campaigns reinforce the need to quit and cessation centers exist to provide additional help

However, there is one cessation area in need of strengthening -- health plan provided and employer supported comprehensive treatment benefits. Among the primary barriers smokers face when attempting to quit are a lack of insurance coverage, co-pays for these services, and annual limits on quit attempts. Thus, the Buffalo summit focused on the need for all employees in the state to have comprehensive coverage for cessation treatments when they choose to quit smoking.
According to a September 2010 American Lung Association study, tobacco use costs the United States economy $301 billion per year in health care expenditures, workplace productivity losses, and premature death. New York State’s share of this is about $20 billion annually. This remarkable toll will be a motivating factor for elected officials, insurers, health care systems, and other state leaders in the continuing dialog about health reform and cost containment. Tobacco cessation policies, especially those related to insurance coverage within health plans and workplaces, must be implemented to save lives and contribute to the bottom line.

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Labels: ActionToQuit, quitlines, tobaccocessation

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Partnership joins national health leaders in advocating EPA authority to support public health

In a strongly worded letter to President Obama and Members of the US House and Senate, Partnership for Prevention joined key national and state public health leaders in supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) effort to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.  The  September 28 correspondence advised US political leaders to “fully support the EPA in fulfilling its responsibilities” and oppose “any efforts to weaken, delay or block the EPA from protecting the public’s health from these risks.”

The letter acknowledges “the threat to public health posed by climate change” and urged support for “measures that will reduce these risks and strengthen the ability of our local, state and federal public health agencies to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change.”

In addition to Partnership for Prevention, national organizations signing the letter included American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, APHA, ASTHO, NACCHO, NALBH,  Trust for America’s Health and over 100  public health organizations representing 37 states.

E. Ripley Forbes
Director, Government Affairs

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Labels: climatechange, emissions, EPA

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bill to Add Free Water to School Menus, Costs of Obesity named “Best/Worst News for Prevention”

The bill introduced in California to require schools to provide free drinking water in eating areas was named the “Best News for Prevention” while the new report showing the high price of obesity was named the “Worst News for Prevention.”

Bill seeks to add free water to school menus


In many California school cafeterias, there's no free water to drink. Surprised?

"Everyone I talked to says, 'You're kidding,' " said state Sen. Mark Leno (D- San Francisco).

Leno has introduced legislation to change that. His bill requiring schools to offer drinking water at no charge to students has passed the Senate and Assembly and awaits the governor's signature — a fairly sure thing because the governor sponsored the bill.

"As we all know, young people are constantly bombarded by advertisements and pressure from their peers to consume junk beverages that are high in calories and sugar. Yet many students do not have access to free, fresh drinking water at lunchtime," Leno said in material promoting his bill.


Obesity hurts your wallet and your health

Obesity puts a drag on the wallet as well as health, especially for women.

Doctors have long known that medical bills are higher for the obese, but that's only a portion of the real-life costs.

George Washington University researchers added in things like employee sick days, lost productivity, even the need for extra gasoline — and found the annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man.

That's far more than the cost of being merely overweight — $524 for women and $432 for men, concluded the report being released last Tuesday, which analyzed previously published studies to come up with a total.

The “Best and Worst” awards are announced each week in “Prevention Matters,” the blog of Partnership for Prevention. "Best and Worst News for Prevention” is based on a purposive sample of expert staff members who each week choose to share their opinions on the best and worst news for prevention. More information is available at

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Labels: best/worst, obesity, schoollunch

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