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Gadsden is Officially Smoke-Free

In June of 2014, Gadsden City Council passed an ordinance protecting citizens and workers from secondhand smoke. In December, our coalition learned that Gadsden was going to delay implementation. As such, advocates from across the Gadsden area called city council members and the mayor in January, encouraging them to stick with their plan to make Gadsden smoke-free. Thanks to the grassroots support, the Gadsden City Council decided on January 20 to stick with their original vote from June and implement the ordinance.  

A smoke-free Gadsden would not have been possible without help from You're the Cure advocates. As we strive to make Alabama smoke-free, we need to continue to grow our You’re the Cure network. Please invite a friend to join our cause at www.yourethecure.org as we fight to cure cardiovascular disease and stroke in Alabama.   

 

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Montgomery City Council Considers Weaker Ordinance

On December 22, 2014, the Montgomery City Council's Health, Education, and Recreation standing committee took a big step forward and passed a strong ordinance to protect all workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.  However, changes could be on the way that would leave bar employees unprotected, risking their health for a paycheck.

Tell City Council to stop the games.  It's time to protect ALL workers from secondhand smoke. 

The next council meeting is scheduled for February 16, 2015.  It is our hope that council members will support a strong smoke-free ordinance and add to the momentum needed to pass a statewide bill. 

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The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 Livestream

Join us for this exclusive virtual event where top designers and celebrities demonstrate their support for women's heart health during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Heart disease is not just a man's disease. Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. We can change that--80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Help break barriers against heart disease and stroke by joining us for the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 live online at GoRedForWomen.org/RedDressCollection on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern. See you there!

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Meet the New Surgeon General

Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December to serve as the next surgeon general of the United States. The surgeon general is America’s top public health official, and his responsibilities range from managing disease to promoting prevention and a healthy start for our kids.

At 37, Vivek Murthy is the youngest person and the first Indian-American to hold the post of Surgeon General.

Since this position was created in 1871, just 18 people have held the job. Dr. Murthy, the 19th, replaces an Acting Surgeon General who has filled the role since 2013. Dr. Murthy’s confirmation was delayed for nearly a year due to political issues, but in that time he received the endorsement of more than 100 public health groups, including the American Heart Association.

Dr. Murthy has both business and medical degrees from his studies at Harvard and Yale. He completed his residency at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he most recently served as an attending physician. He has created and led organizations to support comprehensive healthcare reform, to improve clinical trials so new drugs can be made available more quickly and safely, and to combat HIV/AIDS.

His resume is remarkable, and we look forward to working closely with Dr. Murthy to improve the health of all Americans.

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Gadsden Delays Smokefree Efforts

One of the most dangerous health hazards in America today — and one that is entirely preventable — is exposure to secondhand smoke.  When the Gadsden City Council took the bold and forward thinking step to protect its workers, residents and visitors from the dangers of secondhand smoke, the citizens took a collective sigh of relief.

The evidence against secondhand smoke is indisputable; the science is clear; the debate is over.  Tobacco smoke is a public health hazard that costs us billions of dollars and more importantly, precious lives.

This is not a matter of politics; this is a matter of public health and the council understood its duty to protect the citizens of Gadsden when they passed the ordinance in June. 

To read more of this article from the Gadsden Times, click here.

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UA is officially smoke-free!

Students and staff at the University of Alabama will return from the holiday break to a smoke-free campus.

The new policy, announced in November, began Jan. 1 and applies to students, faculty, staff, campus visitors and contractors. The university resumes normal business hours Monday, and classes for the spring semester begin Wednesday.

UA announced plans to go smoke-free as part of a policy change meant to improve health and reduce litter and the risk of accidental fire.

Read more on The Montgomery Advertiser.

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Healthy Food Access Celebration, Dec. 18th

We invite you to join the Healthy Food Access Campaign Task Force for lunch on Thursday, December 18, 2014, to celebrate the campaign's ongoing efforts of bringing healthier foods closer to home in Alabama. Please feel free to bring a new supporter of Healthy Food Access to join in this celebration. We ask that everyone RSVPs online no later than December 16th.

   December 18, 2014
          11 am - 1 pm
  AIDT Training Center
 15 Technology Square
 Montgomery, AL 36116

We plan to highlight the campaign's efforts and would like to hear more about what other organizations are doing around the state. If you would like to highlight your organization’s efforts, please email Jada Shaffer at jshaffer@alavoices.org by December 15th. We will be glad to add you to the agenda; Jada will share your update if you're unable to attend.

We hope to see you there!

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You're the Cure Year End Successes, Let's Celebrate!
It was another banner year for You’re the Cure advocates championing heart and stroke policy change across the country. Year end is a time to look back at what we achieved in states, think ahead to the work still to do, and celebrate the power of volunteers.
 
What did we accomplish last year?
 
 
Below are just three of many victories that made 2014 so successful.  

 

  • 35 states now have laws protecting our littlest hearts. Pulse oximetry, a simple detection screening for heart defects gives newborns a chance to survive thanks to early detection.
  • We reached a major milestone in ensuring all students learn CPR before graduating from high school. Now more than 1 million students, in 20 states, will graduate each year with this lifesaving skill.
  • 6 states increased funding for heart disease and stroke prevention programs.

 

Want to see more accomplishments? Check out the video below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are just a few highlights and for the full story be sure to check out the state by state wrap-up online. We couldn’t achieve these great accomplishments without the power of YOU our advocates. Your work to educate lawmakers, recruit family and friends, and share your story and expertise are what makes change happen. So from your AHA staff partners a big, Thank You!
 
P.S. – You can help inspire others to join the movement by sharing our accomplishments highlight video.

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Jonathan Riley, Alabama

I recently became a You’re the Cure advocate to not only share my story about the importance of heart healthy lifestyle choices, but to inspire those who may not be making the healthiest choices. It is never too late to make healthier lifestyle choices.

My weight loss pursuit started in December 2009. I was 19 and at a mental, physical and social low point in my life. I lacked self-confidence and self esteem. My poor self-image left me feeling socially awkward and plagued by shyness. This description is a mere shadow of the person I have become today.

In December 2009, after being disgusted by photo images of myself, I knew it was time to make a change. I made space in a room in my parent’s house and bought an inexpensive elliptical machine. I started out exercising for five minutes a day and gradually worked my way to 40 minutes per session. My tip to beginners, we all have to build our aerobic base, so don’t get discouraged. Instead, take your time and be patient.

Nutrition is pretty simple. Eat less + exercise more + refuse to give up = results. That’s it! There is no magic pill that will give you a model body in two weeks. It takes time, dedication and discipline.

Now, almost five years later, my measuring cups and digital scale are my best kitchen friends. I care enough about making healthy lifestyle choices to make sure I am putting the right food and portions in my body.

In December 2009, I weighed 263 pounds. In October 2010, I weighed less than 200 pounds. Not only did my weight improve, but my cholesterol and blood pressure improved as well. Now I have the tools to stay fit. I look and feel my best. Making lifestyle changes isn’t easy, but the results certainly are worth it. Believe in yourself and don’t give up!

I appreciate the American Heart Association because they provide great research and resources to help all people in their mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.  I am living proof. 

- Written by Jonathan Riley

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