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Alabama’s Healthy Food Financing Act is Here

For nearly a year, the American Heart Association has been working in partnership with VOICES for Alabama’s Children to provide low-interest loans for grocers in underserved areas of the state where people lack access to healthy food options near their homes. This issue affects over one million Alabamians. 

Fortunately, Sen. Greg Reed and Rep. James Buskey have sponsored our Healthy Food Financing Act (Senate Bill 260 / House Bill 283) and the bills are moving through the legislative process. Senate Bill 260 recently passed the Senate and now heads to the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee, where House Bill 283 also awaits a vote.

Read more about this initiative at TimesDaily.com. 

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Healthier Budget and Lives in Alabama

Alabama has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation, yet it doesn’t allocate any of the money to tobacco cessation and prevention.  According to advocacy groups across America, this is a common situation.

Right now, the American Heart Association is working hard to engage Alabama advocates in the fight for an increase on the 42.5 cents state tobacco tax.  With the state budget downfalls, a tobacco tax increase can generate much needed revenue for a healthier budget and create healthier lives.  Studies reveal that tobacco tax increases can prevent youth from smoking and encourage smokers to quit. 

To learn more about how the tobacco tax affects Alabama, read "Advocacy groups say tobacco fight is underfunded" at DothanEagle.com.

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Gov. Bentley Releases Plan for Tobacco Tax

Recently, Governor Bentley has come forward with a plan to raise taxes on Alabamians to ensure that the state can make budgets balanced in the upcoming years. The plan includes a proposal to increase the cigarette tax by 82-cents, which would raise $205 million. You can read more about the Governor's plan on AnnistonStar.com. 

The American Heart Association supports raising taxes on tobacco products, which motivates people to quit and discourages kids from starting, while providing funding for smoking cessation programs. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, claiming on average 443,000 lives every year. It increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, especially in those who are genetically predisposed. 

Stay tuned for future You're the Cure alerts on the issue! We hope you'll join us in encouraging the governor to take a stand to raise the tobacco tax in Alabama.

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Alabama Needs Improved Access to Care

Building healthier lives depends on access to quality health care for all Americans, regardless of gender, race, age, or ethnicity. Medicaid Expansion would help protect more Alabamians against cardiovascular disease. Kentucky and other states are taking the lead to expand Medicaid. Read the Washington Post article to see how we as Alabama can also take a stand. 

Let your legislators and Gov. Bentley know that we need Medicaid Expansion in Alabama.

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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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