This is Public Health

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New Orleans, one of the South’s largest major tourist cities with a high-grossing land-based casino and more than 500 bars within the city limits, made history today by becoming the largest city in Louisiana to unanimously pass a comprehensive, 100 percent smoke-free ordinance.

The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Louisiana (CTFLA) applauds and thanks the New Orleans City Council for their unanimous votes today in favor of protecting the health of all New Orleans employees by making all workplaces, including bars and gaming establishments, smoke-free.

The smoke-free measure, championed by Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and co-sponsored by Councilwoman Susan Guidry, ensures that all employees, including bartenders, gaming facility employees, and entertainers, will be protected from the dangerous health effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace.  The ordinance will go into effect 90 days from passage.

“We are tremendously grateful to all the key city officials who stood up and took action to protect the health of all employees;” said Tonia Moore, Associate Director, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living (TFL). “We want to send a special thanks to the ordinance sponsors Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell and Susan Guidry. These leaders not only did the right thing for the health of all New Orleans citizens, but they have continued paving the way for other cities and the state to hopefully do the same.”

Click here to read the full statement.

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More teens are trying out e-cigarettes than the real thing, according to the government’s annual drug use survey.

Researchers were surprised at how many 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported using electronic cigarettes this year, even as regular smoking by teens dropped to new lows.

Nearly 9 percent of 8th graders said they had used an e-cigarette in the previous month, while just 4 percent reported smoking a traditional cigarette, said the report being released Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health.

Use increased with age: Some 16 percent of 10th graders had tried an e-cigarette in the past month, and 17 percent of high school seniors. Regular smoking continued inching down, to 7 percent of 10th graders and 14 percent of 12th graders.

“I worry that the tremendous progress that we’ve made over the last almost two decades in smoking could be reversed on us by the introduction of e-cigarettes,” said University of Michigan professor Lloyd Johnston, who leads the annual Monitoring the Future survey of more than 41,000 students.

Click here to read the full article from the AP. 

Hospital

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) recently announced 35 total WellSpots across the state. WellSpots are places and spaces that have made sustainable changes to make it easier for Louisiana residents aimed at improving health outcomes. The Department also announced the launch of a new website at WellAheadLa.com that makes it easy for users to find WellSpots in their community.

Of the 35 current WellSpots, the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge is the first hospital to receive a Level One designation, which is the highest level. Xavier University in New Orleans was the first university to receive the WellSpot designation, followed by the Our Lady of the Lake College. The full list of WellSpots is available below and all are searchable on the new website.

Read the full story from the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans here.

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If you need more incentive to exercise more and eat better, consider the results of two comprehensive new studies that found that an active and healthy lifestyle may be critical in helping to keep the brain healthy in old age. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, keeping weight down, not smoking and moderating alcohol consumption were all linked to a lower risk of dementia. And in those with dementia, exercise improved memory and helped people stay independent longer, a rigorous review of past studies found.

Click here to read more.

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People turning 50 may want to consider tweaking their exercise routines because as they age stiffer joints, slower recovery from injury and the loss of lean body mass are among the perils facing the youngest baby boomers, fitness experts say.

Studies have shown that even a 90-year-old can build muscle, so the half-century mark is a good time to retire joint-stressing high jumps and to start lifting dumbbells to build strength.

Click here to read the full article.

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In recognition of today’s 19th annual Kick Butts Day (KBD) (March 19, 2014), Representative Frank Hoffmann, Senator Rick Gallot, The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL)  and a number of youth from across Louisiana stood up to tobacco companies who continue to target those under age at the Capitol building today.

Louisiana’s teen tobacco usage rates remain higher than the national average, with approximately 38.3 percent of high school and 15.6 percent of middle school students in Louisiana using tobacco, according to the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). Additionally, across our state anyone under the age of 18 can purchase electronic nicotine devices because they are not regulated. In fact, there has been an increase in the sale, advertisement and marketing of the electronic nicotine devices to youth in particular.

Youth are targeted everyday by big tobacco, which these statistics clearly show. Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against the big tobacco companies at hundreds of events from coast to coast. Three mock stores were set up to show legislators, media and visitors the extent of tobacco advertisements that our youth are exposed to on a daily basis. In addition, a rally and press conference took place, which discussed KBD, e-cigarettes and the Defy program. Rep. Hoffmann and Senator Gallot also discussed upcoming tobacco-related legislation as well as interacted with the Defy youth, learning about their work over the past year.

Click here to read the full story.

istock_000000245060xsmallEric Lawson, who died of COPD on Jan. 10, was one of many models and actors who portrayed the rugged “Marlboro Man” over the course of the ad campaign. that began in the early 50s. Others include David Millar, who died of emphysema in 1987, and David McLean, who died of lung cancer in 1995. The latest Surgeon General’s report links smoking to a myriad of diseases that include diabetes, liver cancer and colorectal cancer.

Click here to read the full story from USA Today.

Louisiana Map

A new website recently launched in Baton Rouge features a high-tech mapping tool, allowing people to delve into data ranging from where parks and libraries are located to crime statistics and educational levels mapped out across the parish.

The new “City Key” website also features neighborhood forums, so people can post events and other communications for residents in their neighborhoods.

Click here for more information from the Advocate.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today web published the September 2013 Influenza Update which provides useful information and resources for the 2013-2014 flu season.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

The upcoming season’s flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the flu vaccine.

Click here to view the PDF 3-brief.

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Teenagers are exercising more, consuming less sugar and eating more fruits and vegetables, a trend that may be contributing to a leveling off of obesity rates, a new study shows. The findings suggest that aggressive anti-obesity messages aimed at children may be starting to make a difference, albeit a small one. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

Click here to read the full story from NOLA.com