American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Hawaii County Moves Towards Adding E-Cigarettes to Clean Air Ordinance

On Thursday November 6 the Hawaii County Council held the first committee vote on Bill 302 which would add e-cigarettes to the current clean air ordinance, thus banning the use of e-cigarettes anywhere other tobacco products are currently prohibited including beaches. The committee vote was 6-2 in support of the bill. The next step will be for Bill 302 to be voted on by the entire council and then if passed sent to the Mayor for his signature. If Bill 302 passes the full vote Hawaii County will be the first county in our state to amend their clean air ordinance to include e-cigarettes.

The Honolulu City Council also took up the debate at its November 12 meeting with a proposal to add e-cigarettes to its local smoke-free ordinance. As the e-cigarette debate continues to gain momentum please take a moment and think about what can you do in your community to make sure the e-cigarette industry’s aggressive and unregulated marketing efforts do not obscure the harmful effects of smoking.  For more information on e-cigarettes and public health click here.

Earlier this year the American Heart Association released a statement on e-cigarettes click here if you would like to read it.

If you are interested in seeing how you can help our efforts, please contact Don Weisman or contact Grassroots Director Grace Henscheid.

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We're Thankful... For You

It has been an incredibly exciting year in the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, full of policy advancement and growth in our You’re the Cure network. None of our success could have happened without the work of you, our many dedicated advocates.

We are thankful for you.

Our DC advocates worked hard and accomplished two major policy wins so far this year: a tobacco funding policy that went into effect as of October 1, as well as a Worksite Wellness healthy vending and procurement policy win. These deserve major congratulations! As our year progresses, we know without a doubt we will be able to achieve even more success across our affiliate.

We are thankful for you.

Advocates and staff have been working together at Heart Walks across the affiliate to recruit new You’re the Cure members, and educate walkers on our policy issues for this year. Since July 1, we have seen our You’re the Cure network grow by over 5,000 new advocates who have been adding their voice to our campaigns to help us make even more progress this year. We would like to share a very large "thank you" with all of our advocates who joined us early in the morning to help us accomplish this growth!

We are thankful for you.

In August, we reached out to our advocates to participate in our August Recess activity and help deliver lunch bags with puzzle pieces to their federal legislators in support of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. This policy’s aim of protecting strong nutrition standards for school meals was just one of many opportunities for advocates to get to know their advocacy staff and other advocates, as well as their legislators, on a deeper level while completing offline actions – actions which have resulted in a direct, positive impact on their communities.

We are thankful for you.

Recently we were able to offer a virtual Volunteer Summit in AHA offices across the nation, which brought together high level volunteers, board members, and staff to discuss the new Community Plan 2.0. We had four volunteers attend. Tracey Perry shared her experience: "The Volunteer Summit was an excellent opportunity to review the Community Plan 2.0 and National Agenda of AHA. It was then very helpful to review our local Charlotte Market and see how our Health Assessment compared. We discussed ways to increase engagement of volunteers, increase prospects, and focus on the three top Health Priorities for 2015.

We are thankful for you.

Nothing causes our hearts to sing more than when an advocate has that feeling of making a true difference. Ginnie Gick summed up one of her experiences as an advocate. "Being able to participate in the Rally for Medical Research on Capitol Hill really brought home the importance of advocating for the funding that is so necessary to support the fight against heart disease and stroke. I met so many incredible people who are struggling with the challenge to live a normal life in spite of their risk or illness, and every one of us deserves the opportunity to ask for and receive the benefit of advancements in medicine."

We are thankful for you.

Over the next several months, our states will begin their new 2015 sessions and there will be a host of new opportunities to amplify your voice through advocacy. Without your passion and involvement, the American Heart Association would not be where we are in the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, passing policy that keeps communities healthy.

Thanksgiving is why.

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Let's Advocate for Heart

Join us for Advocating for Heart at the Texas Capitol on November 12 to support funding for the Texas Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program.

Enacted in the late 90’s, this program has been successful at preventing youth from starting to smoke and helps current smokers to quit by providing a variety of resources and educational materials. However, right now this program is critically underfunded.

Advocating for Heart: Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
Wednesday, November 12
Texas Capitol. Extension Room E2.010

Please click here to RSVP!

Comprehensive tobacco prevention programs work when properly funded, but right now Texas is only spending 4% of the recommend amount on tobacco control efforts. Come learn more about this program at our upcoming Advocating for Heart day and help turn the tide on tobacco use in Texas!

The Advocating for Heart event will begin with an advocacy training and issue overview. We will then break into groups and meet with legislative offices.

See you there!

Brian Bowser
Grassroots Director

P.S. Save the date for our next Advocating for Heart day on December 9. We will advocate for policies to prevent childhood obesity as we prepare for the upcoming legislative session.

Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.

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Great News on Youth Smoking

Earlier this year, the New Jersey Department of Health released a report on the findings of the 2012 Youth Tobacco Survey. They survey, which is conducted every other year, produced encouraging results. It showed that youth smoking rates have decreased significantly and only 9.3% of high school students report current cigarette use.

However, 44.5% of those current smokers expressed a desire to quit. Because New Jersey does not provide funding for tobacco control and cessation, it may be difficult for those students who wish to quit to find needed quit resources.

The American Heart Association continues to work with our partners to advocate for state funding for tobacco control and cessation programs in New Jersey. If you would like to read the report, it can be accessed in it's entirety at:


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Health Organizations Applaud Branson for Passing Strong Smoke-Free Law

Missouri’s leading health organizations thank Mayor Raeanne Presley and the Branson Board of Alderman for unanimously passing a strong smoke-free ordinance. This ordinance will protect workers and the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke.

“Supporters and volunteers have tirelessly worked for Branson citizens’ right to breathe clean indoor air,” said Traci Kennedy, executive director of Tobacco-Free Missouri. “Smoke-free policies are the most economic and effective protection from secondhand smoke exposure. And no one should have to put their health at risk in order to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out.”

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Tobacco Free Missouri applaud the persistence of the many individuals and organizations that fought the long battle to make Branson smoke-free. The organizations combined forces with the community to urge Branson city leaders to join other cities across Missouri to pass a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance that eliminates smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

“Branson is now added to the growing list of smoke-free cities,” said Teri Harr, volunteer chair for the Tri-Lakes Clean Air Alliance. “As a tourist destination to millions of visitors each year, we are elated to celebrate this milestone and show the rest of Missouri that Branson values the health of its workers, residents and visitors.”

It is estimated that secondhand smoke exposure kills more than 41,000 Americans every year. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 70 that cause cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory illnesses, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.

“The scientific evidence is clear – there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Kennedy. “Soon residents, employees and visitors in Branson will be able to celebrate breathing clean indoor air. We will continue to help the city in any way possible to support the implementation and enforcement of the city’s new smoke-free ordinance.”

Branson’s comprehensive smoke-free ordinance takes effect July 1, 2015.

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61,000 Kids is Why

While the state of Kansas wrestles with finding a solution for its current deficit, we know there is a popular and life-saving way to raise some much needed revenue for the state – an increase in the tobacco tax.

Kansans for a Healthy Future (K4HF) is a coalition formed around the singular mission of tobacco prevention. The American Heart Association along with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc., the American Lung Association, the Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition, Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition to name a few are proud partners of this effort.

We know smoking is still a problem in Kansas – 19.4 percent of adults and 10.2 percent of high school students smoke. Tobacco kills more Kansans than alcohol, homicides, car accidents, AIDS, illegal drugs and suicide combined.

TAKE ACTION – Join the movement! Do you have an interest in tobacco prevention? Have you, a family member or someone you know been personally impacted by tobacco use? Follow this link to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you! 

Now's the Time! 
Kansas has not raised the cigarette tax in over a decade and the tax on other tobacco products has never been raised since its inception in 1972. At the same time that tobacco products are inexpensive, our health outcomes are declining and it is time to reverse this trend. An increase in tobacco tax is one of the best proven ways to stop kids from picking up the deadly habit and to encourage current smokers to kick the habit.  

Increasing Kansas’s cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack, with a parallel increase on other tobacco products, would raise nearly $113 million for the state. It could also save the state $196 million in long-term health care costs. Most importantly however, an increase in the tobacco tax would save lives! It would prevent an estimated 61,000 kids from becoming addicted adults and would result in a 20 percent decrease in youth tobacco use.

Our success depends upon your participation and willingness to break through the chatter of competing issues and make tobacco prevention a priority!

Stay tuned on other ways you can help!

Christy Dreiling
Regional Grassroots Advocacy Director

61,000 kids is why

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You're Invited: Join Us to Learn More About Advocacy

We have a special opportunity from the NC Alliance for Health (NCAH), our statewide coalition advocating for obesity prevention and tobacco control policy change. The American Heart Association is a proud member of the NCAH.

NC Alliance for Health Healthy Food Access Training

You are invited to an interactive training on combating obesity and other chronic diseases by increasing access to healthy foods. There will be a discussion of food insecurity in North Carolina, and the many different ways people around the state are working to increase access to healthier foods.

You will how you can help make a difference. Attendees will have an opportunity to sharpen their advocacy skills, and learn tips to be more effective with media and decision-maker advocacy.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Sarah Jacobson at

Thursday, November 20, 2014
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: Forsyth County Health Department
799 N. Highland Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Lunch will be served!

Register here by Thursday, November 6!

PS: Don't forget to post pictures of what you see in your food environment on your favorite social media with the hash tag #healthyonthegoNC!

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WIN! Tobacco Cessation Funding Granted

The American Heart Association and our You’re the Cure advocates and partners made a big win this month!

After years of campaigning to increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation in the District, our efforts have finally been rewarded. On October 1, 2014, DC Council granted $2 million dollars to the District’s tobacco control program. This has been a long, hard campaign that will save a lot of lives, and is something to be celebrated!

The Need For Funding:
Twenty percent of District residents smoke, and 700 die from tobacco related causes each year.

DC tobacco taxes rake in $35 million dollars annually, yet, as little as three years ago, none of this funding was going towards tobacco prevention and cessation efforts in the District.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that $10.7 million be dedicated to the District’s tobacco control program each year. DC has long lagged far beneath this recommendation. Before the funding increase at the beginning of the month, DC’s tobacco control program did not even have enough funding to adequately support the District’s Quitline.

Although the District is still far from CDC’s recommended $10.7 million, this $2 million increase is a huge leap in that direction.

Shout out to Our Partners and Volunteers:
The American Heart Association has been working to increase budget appropriation for tobacco control for a long time and is thrilled with this recent $2 million appropriaton.

We would like to give a big thanks to our partners who helped us achieve this win:
        American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
        Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
        DC Tobacco Free Coalition

We would also like to thank our many You’re the Cure advocates who helped make our campaign a success.  Our advocates contributed greatly to the cause by making phone calls, drop-by visits, face-to-face visits, sending letters in the mail, bearing oral testimonies, acting as spokespeople, and putting on rallies.

Thank you! Your efforts have made a world of difference in the success of this campaign.

Hope for the Future:
We are confident that the health department will make the most of the funds it has been given for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts. We, along with our partners, will continue to work diligently to secure the CDC-recommended funding level of $10.7 million. This is the start of great things to come concerning tobacco cessation and prevention efforts in Washington, DC.












(Thank you to Catherine Christiansen for development of this blog post)


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Trick or Treat?

Candy Corn, Gummy Bears, Peanut Butter Cups, Swedish Fish, Candy Bar, Bubblegum and Cotton Candy… These may sound like treats the neighborhood kids are hoping to pick up when they go trick-or-treating later this month, but they’re actually the tricks used by companies to hook our kids on nicotine. These are flavors of e-cigarette liquid available for purchase today.

With alluring flavors like those and a dramatic increase in youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising, the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among youth shouldn’t come as a surprise. Still, it raises concerns. Strong regulations are needed to keep these tobacco products out of the hands of children. We’ve asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and we’re still waiting for them to act.

Meanwhile, CDC launched this week their #20Million Memorial. 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. Has smoking affected you and your family? Check out this moving online memorial, then share your story or honor loved ones lost too soon with the hashtag #20Million.  

AHA staff and volunteers across the country are preparing to fight the tobacco epidemic in upcoming state legislative sessions. They’ll ask for state funding for tobacco prevention programs and for increased tobacco taxes, a proven deterrent for youth smoking.

This Halloween, don’t let our kids continue to get tricked by the tobacco companies. Help end the tobacco epidemic for good. To amplify our message with lawmakers, ask friends and family members to join us, then watch your inbox for opportunities to act!  

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You're the Cure Volunteers in Hawaii Have Jumpstarted the Debate on E-cigarrettes

In case you missed it: our You’re the Cure volunteers in Hawaii jumpstarted the debate about e-cigarettes with an Aug. 25 news conference delivering the association’s new policy statement.

At the AHA press briefing Lila Johnson RN, MPH, program manager of the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, was especially eloquent when commenting on the appeal of e-cigarettes among young people. Please click here for the full story.

As the e-cigarette debate continues to gain momentum please take a moment and think about what can you do in your community to make sure the e-cigarette industry’s aggressive and unregulated marketing efforts do not obscure the harmful effects of smoking.  For more information on e-cigarettes and public health click here.

If you are interested in seeing how you can help our efforts, please contact Don Weisman at or contact  Grassroots Director Grace Henscheid.


Read More

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