Tag Archives: smoking

In fashion: President Obama … and the ALA

Congressman Jim McGovern Applauds $1.1 Billion in President Obama’s Budget to Address the Opioid Epidemic

McGovern Welcomes Proposal to Ensure All Who Seek Treatment Can Get Help They Need
Congressman Jim McGovern applauded this week’s announcement that President Obama’s FY 2017 Budget includes $1.1 billion in funding to address the opioid epidemic that is impacting so many families in Massachusetts and across the country.
“Today’s announcement that President Obama’s budget will dedicate more than $1 billion to address the opioid epidemic is a critical step in this fight,” Congressman McGovern said. “In the past year, I have worked tirelessly to make sure the voices of Massachusetts families are heard in Washington, co-sponsoring three different bills and joining my House Colleagues to call on Administration officials to ensure all of our communities are receiving the federal funds needed to address this crisis.
“With the proposed funding announced today by President Obama, it is clear that our voices are being heard and Massachusetts can count on the White House to be a strong national partner in this fight,” McGovern added. “We must do all we can to ensure that treatment is available to those who seek it and by prioritizing treatment and prevention, this proposal takes the smart and comprehensive approach we need to help all of the families and communities touched by the opioid epidemic. This is a national priority and I look forward to working with both parties in Congress to securing the funding and resources we need to win this fight in Massachusetts.”
President Obama’s proposal includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

This funding will boost efforts to help individuals with an opioid use disorder seek treatment, successfully complete treatment, and sustain recovery. 

This funding includes:
·         $920 million to support cooperative agreements with States to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. States will receive funds based on the severity of the epidemic and on the strength of their strategy to respond to it.  States can use these funds to expand treatment capacity and make services more affordable. 

·         $50 million in National Health Service Corps funding to expand access to substance use treatment providers.  This funding will help support approximately 700 providers able to provide substance use disorder treatment services, including medication-assisted treatment, in areas across the country most in need of behavioral health providers.

·         $30 million to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment programs employing medication-assisted treatment under real-world conditions and help identify opportunities to improve treatment for patients with opioid use disorders.

This investment, combined with other efforts underway to reduce barriers to treatment for substance use disorders, will help ensure that every American who wants treatment can access it and get the help they need.   
Second, the President’s Budget includes approximately $500 million — an increase of more than $90 million — to continue and build on current efforts across the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities. A portion of this funding is directed specifically to rural areas, where rates of overdose and opioid use are particularly high. 

To help further expand access to treatment, the Budget includes an HHS pilot project for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment, where allowed by state law.

American Lung Association’s ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ Gives Massachusetts Mixed Grades for Efforts to Save Lives by Reducing Tobacco Use

The American Lung Association released this week its 14th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report that finds that in 2015 Massachusetts made progress on tobacco control policies that will save lives.

The report also finds that most states and the federal government earned poor grades, and the high level of youth use of tobacco products other than cigarettes threatens to undermine the United States’ overall progress in the fight against tobacco-caused death and disease.
“While we celebrate successful tobacco control policies in Massachusetts like its efforts to regulate e-cigarette use by restricting sales to those 18 years and older, we still must face the reality that young people are using tobacco products like e-cigarettes and little cigars at an all-time high,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Nearly a quarter of high school students nationwide are using tobacco products, and it is essential that Massachusetts continue to  take aggressive action to reduce all tobacco use – the #1 cause of preventable death and disease in our nation.”
The “State of Tobacco Control” report documents the progress and failure of the states and the federal government to address tobacco use. The report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy.
“State of Tobacco Control 2016” finds Massachusetts mixed grades show that progress is possible, although even more needs to be done by our Governor and State Legislature to pass proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:

Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding Grade – F

Tobacco Taxes – Grade A

Smokefree Air – Grade A

Access to Cessation Services – Grade D

The American Lung Association of the Northeast calls on Massachusetts to act on increasing funding for the state’s tobacco control program to $9 million per year, include e-cigarettes and all other tobacco derived products as part of the state’s definition of tobacco and increase access to tobacco cessation treatments and services.

As of January 31, 2016, the Obama Administration had not yet given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight authority over all tobacco products including cigars, e-cigarettes, little cigars and hookah (commonly referred to as the deeming rule). The grade of “I” for Incomplete for FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products is assigned because the final rule is expected at any time. Other federal grades include a “C” for Federal Cessation Coverage, an “F” for Tobacco Taxes and a “B” for its Mass Media Campaigns, a new grading area in this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report.

“It’s not a secret how we can reduce tobacco use in this country. ‘State of Tobacco Control 2016’ looks at proven methods to save lives and prevent our children from becoming the next generation hooked on tobacco,” said Casey Harvell, Director of Public Policy for Massachusetts. “We must demand that our elected officials in Massachusetts urgently act to implement these proven policies to save lives.”

To ban or not to ban

By Edith Morgan

Is there anyone still left who does not know about the health risks of smoking cigarettes? The dangers of nicotine addiction? The danger to children breathing in second-hand smoke and the risk of fire from discarded cigarette butts?

I am assuming that, amid all the test-taking practice in our schools, our students are still yearly warned about, and informed of, the risks in smoking. So our young should be properly informed and hopefully convinced that smoking is not only not cool, but stupid, dangerous, and unhealthy.

It is always a temptation to ban things, to restrict their use, to try to keep the addicts away from their various fixes – and to make their use illegal, with stiff penalties , fines, and jail. And how well has that worked, and how well is it working. And how well will it work in the future?

If our children were getting a good dose of history, they would all know how disastrous our experiment with Prohibition turned out: Not only did it not reduce the amount of alcohol/drunkenness, but it made criminals of many people, and created powerful and rich crime syndicates. Ordinary citizens were making “hooch” in their bathtubs, and addicts were driven to crime and prostitution to pay for their illegal drinks.

We have had the same experience with other drugs – legal or illegal – and new ones are added to the list continuously. Our world is full of natural and artificial substances which are mind-altering and/or addictive , at least for some people. And addicts will always be driven to find more such substances – in the woods, the fields, from their doctors, from their friends – anywhere.

Every so often I ask, out of  the blue, of anyone I meet “If heroin (or whatever drug is in the news at the moment) were available everywhere at a nickel a bag, how much would you buy?” The answer is always NONE. We all can purchase so many things, and don’t do so. But most of us are not addicts, and are not attracted to drugs, no matter what the price.  But true addictive persons are a different story, and the price is irrelevant: they will pay whatever it costs, to get their hands on their fix of choice.

From so many years of experience as a school teacher, I have noticed that some children are at risk of becoming addicts: they form habits quickly, which may be an advantage in some areas, but which makes addiction much easier.

If we could identify those students, as early as first grade, or even Kindergarten, and warn them, watch them, and teach them how to resist, I believe we would be well on the way to reducing our number of active addicts.

We will never be fully free of addictive persons – but at least we can give them the weapons to resist and make better choices. It beats punitive measures, which have shown time and again that they do not reduce the number of addicts in the population, but are so very costly.

Want to quit smoking for the New Year? Some tips from the ALA

Tips to make quit-smoking New Year’s resolutions stick

Quitting smoking is a common New Year’s resolution for residents across the Northeast each year—but it’s easier said than done. Six out of 10 smokers require multiple quit attempts to stop smoking, but planning ahead can greatly improve a person’s likelihood of quitting for good. The American Lung Association is highlighting proven tips and resources that have helped thousands of people pack in smoking permanently:

1. Seek support: You don’t have to quit alone. Ask family, friends, and co-workers for their help and support. Having someone to take a walk with, or just listen, can give a needed boost.

· Find support online or in your community. Consider joining a stop-smoking program like Freedom From Smoking® Online (www.ffsonline.org) from the American Lung Association.

· Visit www.lung.org/stop-smoking or call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) for additional suggestions.

2. Take time to plan: Designate a day to quit on the calendar and stick to it. Avoid peak times of stress, such as the holidays, and gather in advance the tools and medications you will need.

3. Exercise daily: Exercise is proven to help smokers quit. Not only that, it will also combat weight gain and improve mood and energy levels. Walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting.

4. Prioritize nutrition and sleep: Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and be sure to get plenty of sleep.

5. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist: They can discuss with you the various over-the-counter or prescription medications available to help you quit.

“The New Year is a great time to commit to beginning a new, smokefree life,” said Jeff Seyler, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Quitting smoking is the best thing a person can do to improve his or her health and the Lung Association is here to help you be successful.”

Those looking for help seeking an in-person quit smoking program near them should call the Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA (1 800 586 4872).

“Even if you’ve tried to quit smoking before and failed, it’s important not to give up,” added Seyler. “Quitting smoking can take several tries. The good news is that the Lung Association offers proven tools and resources that greatly enhance the likelihood of your quitting for good.”

Kicking the habit helps animals, too

By Heather Moore

The Great American Smokeout was November 18. While everyone knows that smoking is harmful to humans, contributing to cancer, coronary heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses, relatively few people realize that animals are also dying because of cigarettes. Not only can our beloved animal companions develop cancer from secondhand smoke, just as humans can, monkeys, mice, rats and other animals are cruelly killed in irrelevant laboratory experiments funded by big tobacco companies and government agencies. Continue reading Kicking the habit helps animals, too