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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

World No Tobacco Day 2011

Every year on May 31st, countries across the globe observe World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), which is meant to draw attention to the harmful health effects of tobacco and encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from tobacco products. According to a statement by Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Tobacco use, the major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide, represents a public health catastrophe. Globally, tobacco use is projected to cause a billion deaths in this century.”

WNTD was created in 1987 after the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) passed a resolution calling for a “world no-smoking day” which would be celebrated every year with a different tobacco related theme. The themes create a more unified global message for WNTD events around the world, helping set the tobacco-related agenda for the following year.

The theme for WNTD 2011 is “The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” which is a treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO that is comprised of several tobacco control requirements. The framework has been in effect since 2005, and is already one of the most rapidly embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations with more than 170 parties conferring to its legal obligations. WHO hopes that this year’s WNTD will urge countries to put the treaty at the heart of their tobacco control efforts and highlight its overall importance in protecting present and future generations from the devastating consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is celebrating WNTD by releasing new global data from 14 countries regarding warning labels on cigarette packages and their effect on smokers’ interest in quitting. Using 2008-2010 data from the Global Adult Tobacco Surveys, researchers found that in the 14 countries who had warning labels, most smokers (more than 90%) reported noticing a cigarette package warning and there was wide variation in thinking about quitting because of the warning ( ranging from 76.6% of Brazilian women to 16.1% of Polish men). Additionally, concurrent with WNTD, the CDC released a new interactive web application—Global Tobacco Surveillance System Data (GTSSData). It provides tobacco-related data that can be used to support countries’ capacities to monitor tobacco use and guide national prevention and control efforts.

The World Health Organization hopes that WNTD 2011 will encourage countries across the globe to step up their tobacco prevention and control efforts and reduce the toll of tobacco related-diseases and deaths worldwide.

Jenna Frkovich
Tobacco Control Team

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Monday, May 16, 2011

New Plan to Prevent and Treat Viral Hepatitis

On May 12, 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services launched its plan to prevent and treat viral hepatitis, a silent epidemic affecting 3.5 – 5.3 million Americans. Combating the Silent Epidemic: US Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis outlines a comprehensive approach to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and creates more opportunities to train health professionals to deliver comprehensive services for what is often a vaccine-preventable infection. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer. The plan invites active participation from all sectors. Partnership for Prevention is a new member of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.

For more information on viral hepatitis, see

Susan K. Maloney, MHS
Managing Senior Fellow & Senior Program Officer

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Labels: Hepatitis, HHS

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Screening Technology May Decrease Lung Cancer Deaths

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States. It is expected to cause approximately 157,000 deaths in 2011, representing 28% of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer has long been rightfully considered a relatively easy-to-prevent cancer, by not smoking or breathing secondhand smoke, but impossible to detect early with lifesaving benefit. While the early detection of colon, breast, skin cancers and others has paid big dividends in lower mortality rates in recent decades, not so with lung cancer. Previous attempts to develop a test to find lung cancer early, when it is easier to treat, have not been successful. But this may be changing as we look to the near future.       

Earlier this week an educational program entitled “Out of the Shadows: Lung Cancer and Screening” was sponsored jointly by the Lung Cancer Alliance and Legacy. The expert panelists made the case that National Cancer Institute’s Lung Cancer Screening Trial, launched in 2002, has demonstrated that tens of thousands of lives can be saved annually if this screening becomes a U.S. health care priority. Specifically, Spiral CT scans, also known as low-dose helical computed tomography, have been shown to decrease lung cancer mortality in current and former heavy smokers.

Cheryl Healton, President and CEO of Legacy, called CT screening the single most important cancer control advance in her lifetime. James Mulshine, MD, another panelist, stated that it is a public health opportunity that won’t be seen again for a long time. There are over 94 million current and former smokers in the United States who are at high risk for lung cancer. Now, with the Spiral CT, an early detection screening procedure exists that could save many of their lives.  

It should be added that never starting to smoke, or quitting if you already do, will continue to be the top priorities in saving lives from tobacco. But now, it appears, early detection will be a tool as well.

Posted by: Brian McCue at 12:00 AM
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Labels: Legacy, lungcancer, screening, tobaccocessation

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