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Vote YES on Amendment 72!

FYK: 5,000 Coloradoans die each year from tobacco-related illnesses?

Earlier this year, the American Heart Association joined the Campaign for a Healthy Colorado to help prevent kids from picking up the deadly habit of smoking. We're doing everything we can to continue the momentum for a healthier Colorado, and we need your support! Help us advocate for a tobacco tax increase to fund critical unmet health care needs. The industry has already mobilized against our efforts, and it's going to take all of us to ensure a public health victory at the ballot come this November.

Can we count on your support?

Click here to pledge to vote YES on 72!

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Yes on 56 Campaign Update and Next Steps

Smoking is a costly and deadly habit, and the number one cause of preventable death in California – killing 40,000 Californians annually. California taxpayers pay $3.5 billion dollars annually on treating tobacco-related diseases including heart disease, stroke, cancer and tobacco-related chronic conditions.

In addition to the fiscal toll, nearly 17,000 California kids get hooked on smoking every year and one-third of them will eventually die from tobacco-related illnesses. We have an opportunity to reduce the death and disability caused by tobacco addiction this November...your voice matters…make it heard…. vote YES on 56!

 

We know that higher tobacco taxes reduce teen smoking and will help current smokers quit. You’ll recall reading stories like the one about Cindy in Nevada, yet California has not raised its tobacco tax in over 25 years. Thankfully, Prop 56 can help prevent a new generation of kids from taking up a deadly and addictive habit, help offset the tremendous financial toll tobacco use places on our state, and will help fund research to discover new treatments to reduce the cost of treating tobacco-related illnesses. 

 

Simply put, Prop 56 will save lives!

 

While we know an overwhelming majority Californian’s support this initiative, we need your support to pass Prop 56.  Back in 2012, we lost a similar campaign by less than 1 percent and we don’t want history to repeat itself. 

 

Want to get in the game? Here’s a few easy ways you can make a difference:

  1. Sign up on the coalition website so that you will receive the latest campaign updates.
  2. Volunteer! We have a plethora of volunteer opportunities including reaching out directly to California voters by phone banking, recruiting your friends to join the campaign, attending events, and many other opportunities. To find out what volunteer opportunity works best you, contact me at Josh.Brown@heart.org.
  3. If you are active on Social Media, please visit your local AHA Division accounts regularly to find messages to share with your friends and followers (and ask them to share the messaging with their fans). There are 17 statewide ballot initiatives that will be voted on in November and we really need your support to spread the word to your social network. You will also find messaging on the Yes on 56 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
  4. Share your story along with a photo and a brief reason by you support Yes on 56 so that we can share your story to motivate other advocates across the state.
  5. Take posters and other campaign materials to locations such as your doctor’s office, hairdresser, etc. Materials are available online at here.
  6. Most importantly, if you haven’t yet, register to vote and find your local polling location so that you are ready to vote with your Heart on November 8th!

 

If you would like to get involved in other ways or have any questions, please contact me at Josh.Brown@heart.org.

 

With your continued support, 2016 is truly going to be a year for the history books! 

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New Yorkers Attend White House Briefing

On Friday, September 9th, several New York advocates participated in an event sponsored by the White House, titled "Making Health Care Better Series: Cardiovascular Health."  The day-long forum offered an opportunity for volunteers to directly witness the impact of the American Heart Association's mission. 

The group was invited on a special tour of the White House prior to the briefing which provided an exciting glimpse into the history of the Presidency.  You can see many highlights from the tour on the American Heart Association's social media feed by searching with the tag #HeartAtTheWH.

In addition to the tour, the group joined advocates from across the country for a robust overview from our nation's leaders in heart disease and stroke prevention, care and treatment.  Presenters included Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, Dr. Gary Gibbons, Director of NHLBI, Dr. Nancy Lee, Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Shari Ling, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Debra Eschmeyer, the Executive Director of the First Lady's "Let's Move" initiative. 

The New York delegation was also briefed by national leadership from several organizations who have a vested interest in our mission against heart disease and stroke.  The American Heart Association's own CEO, Nancy Brown, presented on the progress made so far in the effort to promote health across the country.  She was joined by executives from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, YMCA USA, WomenHeart, the Horizon Foundation and Emory University.

With all of these impressive leaders in one room, perhaps the most impactful presentation was from a panel of heart disease and stroke survivors.  These personal stories of survival were at once inspiring and motivating.  While we have come a long way in our mission, there is still a lot of work to be done.

We are grateful for the many volunteers that attended from across the country. New York was well represented by:

* Annette Adamczak - Volunteer Advocate and one of New York's Premier Voices in Support of CPR & AED Training

* Dr. Mitchell Elkind - Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology, Fellowships Director, Department of Neurology, Columbia University

* Liz Elting - CEO, TransPerfect and New York City Go Red For Women Leader

* Janice Hall - Senior Vice President, Global Sales Capability at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and NYC Go Red For Women Corporate Chair

* William LaForte - Real Estate Attorney, Trevett Cristo Salzer & Andolina P.C. and Chair-Elect of the Founders Affiliate Board of Directors

* Wendy Mono - Volunteer Advocate and Chair Emeritus of the New York City Advocacy Committee

* Dr. Cheryl Pegus - Clinical Professor of Medicine and Population Health, Director, Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation, Associate Chair for Clinical Innovation, NYU School of Medicine                    

* Dr. Stacey Rosen - Vice President, Women's Health, Katz Institute for Women's Health at Northwell Health and NYC Go Red for Women Medical Chair

The American Heart Association is grateful for the support of these wonderful advocates.  We look forward to putting the lessons learned at the White House to good use for all New Yorkers!

Photo Credit: Stu Mono

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Gearing Up for a Busy Fall!

And just like that, summer was over!

We hope that everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing summer vacation. With Fall upon us and the kids’ back to school, we are excited for another busy season full of AHA events. From Heart Walks, to Go Red Luncheons and everything in between, we are anxious to get the ball rolling on important legislative work in advance of the 2017 legislative session and have started to work on various campaigns in preparation.

This year we are working on some of the same budget priorities as last year, including funding for Healthy Food Access Programs, CPR in Schools Implementation, Tobacco Cessation Programs, Hypertension and Obesity Prevention Programs, etc.

Legislatively, we plan to work on Stroke Designation Legislation again, as well as a two new bills: One that hopes to improve Healthy Food in Public Places by changing the vending machine requirements in state owned buildings, and another that would raise the legal purchase age of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old.

It is an exciting time here at the American Heart Association and we look forward to working with all of our advocates to help move the needle on these important public health initiatives! 

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Michael Angelucci, West Virginia

Michael Angelucci West Virginia

Michael Angelucci has been a dedicated advocacy champion for heart-health policy in West Virginia for many years. As a You're the Cure advocate, AHA Advocacy Committee Chair and Marion County EMT, he helped spearhead our efforts to pass CPR in Schools legislation in 2015. Critical to the success of the bill, he helped compile a comprehensive listing of all facilities in the state that were willing and able to teach CPR in Schools once passed, and allowed us to share it with the state department of education as a resource. In addition, he helped to teach a CPR in Schools training at the WV statewide KidStrong conference, where hundreds of health and physical education teachers and coaches attended.

And his dedication to improving healthy in the Mountain State doesn't end with passage of CPR in Schools legislation. Michael also rounded up thousands of signatures and delivered petitions to lawmakers to help us protect clean indoor air regulations around the state when several bills were introduced to weaken them in the 2015 and 2016 WV Legislation Sessions.

 In preparation for the 2016 legislative session, Michael participated in several meetings with department of health, EMS officials and neurology specialists in the state to help lay the groundwork for our Stroke Facility Designation bill. During the session, he attended committee meetings for the bill, contacted lawmakers and attended our State Lobby Day on February 2nd. At Lobby Day, he brought several employees with him and the group conducted a Hands-Only CPR training on the floor of the Senate during AHA's Go Red Week! Thanks in large part to Michael's efforts, the Stroke Bill was passed in the 2016 Session.

We were excited to be able to present Micheal with the 2016 American Heart Association Distinguished Achievement Award for his outstanding dedication to the health of the Mountain State. Thank you, Michael, for everything you do!

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Where in NC is PE?

When my granddaughter started elementary school, she had physical education (PE) class twice per week. At that time, we were disappointed that it wasn't every day. By the time she was in fifth grade, PE was only offered about twice per month. In her words, "How is that enough? I thought we needed PE every day!"

We can do better and now is our chance!

Tell our Public School Leaders to include PE in the state's education accountability plan. 

The federal law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was passed in 2015 and now every state has to create an accountability plan. ESSA emphasizes a well-rounded education, prioritizing physical and mental health. We need to tell state education leaders PE should be included in NC's plan.

All students should have the opportunity to participate in PE - it not only helps their physical health, but their mental and emotional health as well. Just like my granddaughter, many students in NC do not get the physical education they need. With an ever-growing number of priorities competing for time during the school day, too many of our children have lost what was once a given: access to quality PE.

Will you help me save PE? Take action today!

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160,000 Petition Signatures Submitted to Help Reduce Smoking and Support Critical Health Care Needs and Medical Research
CAMPAIGN UPDATE:
The American Heart Association and You’re the Cure advocates joined over 65 partner organizations to gather over 160,000 signatures in support of an important public health measure. Supporters hope to raise the state cigarette tax in order to reduce smoking, support critical health care needs and fund medical research throughout the state. 
As active members of The Campaign for a Healthy Colorado movement, our mission began earlier this summer. After several weeks of intense work, we are thrilled to announce that over 160,000 signatures were delivered to the Colorado Secretary of State's office to advance this statewide ballot initiative. If passed, the cigarette tax increase will raise money for expanding mental-health services for children and veterans, while helping to stop kids from smoking and adults to quit. It will also provide an increased investment for research and treatment of smoking-related diseases.
NEXT STEPS:
The Office of the Secretary of State will now review the petition signatures and the official title given to the measure for the November ballot.
For more information on the campaign, please visit healthyco2016.com. If you would like to get involved, please email Vanessa.Fuentes@heart.org, Sr. Grassroots Director.

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Protecting our Keiki from Secondhand Smoke

The American Heart Association believes that everyone deserves to be protected from secondhand smoke and we especially believe that our keiki deserve that protection.

During the 2016 Hawaii state legislative session a bill was proposed that would have made it illegal to smoke with children in your vehicle. Ultimately the bill did not pass but simultaneously there was work happening on the issue at the local level on Kauai.

In late July, Kauai became the second county in Hawaii to restrict smoking in vehicles when children are present. The Kauai County Council voted 6-1 to approve Bill 2629, which prohibits smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 13. The American Heart Association would have preferred the bill’s original language setting chiildren’s ages at 17 or under but we believe the bill passed is a good start. 

In 2010, Hawaii County was the first to pass a similar bill. The Hawaii County Council passed a bill by a vote of 5-3 to prohibit smoking in vehicles when children 17 or younger are present.

The AHA will continue to support this issue until we achieve statewide coverage whether it’s done county by county or through statewide legislation.

Thank you for your continued support to keep our keiki safe from secondhand smoke.

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Raising the Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

Guest Blogger: Amanda Cahill, Montana Government Relations Director

The American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association is currently advocating for new laws across the country to raise the tobacco minimum purchase age to 21 and we hope Montana will be the next state to take this important step! 

According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21 will have a substantial impact on public health and save “hundreds of thousands of lives.”  Those who begin smoking before the age of 21 are especially prone to a lifetime of smoking because their brains are still developing.  In fact, 95% of adult smokers begin the habit before the age of 21. 

In Montana, 13.1% (6,600) of high school students are current smokers, and 29.5% use e-cigarettes.   The tobacco industry spends an estimated $30 million marketing to Montanans each year.  This does not include what the industry spends to lobby against any tobacco restrictions such as smoke-free air or e-cigarette legislation. 

The annual healthcare costs directly related to smoking in Montana are $440 million dollars per year, with a tax burden of $829 per household.  Yes, that means YOU are spending money each year to pay for the negative outcomes that the tobacco industry supports.  Raising the minimum sales age is one way to fight against this as well as ensure a healthier future for generations to come. 

Recently, California and Hawaii have passed state laws requiring a person to be 21 to purchase a tobacco product.  An additional 135 cities nationwide, including Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, have also passed this policy. 

If you would like to get involved in the Montana Tobacco to 21 Campaign, contact me Amanda Cahill at amanda.cahill@heart.org

 

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Advocate Spotlight: Cindy Peterman

After 35 years of smoking, bouts with bronchitis and increasing prices, Cindy Peterman decided it was time to quit and she credits the recent price increase for tobacco products in Nevada with helping her.

 

“Last year on July 4th weekend when I went to buy cigarettes I realized with the increase I can’t do this anymore; I have rent to pay. I am so grateful for the increase. It led to me quitting for good,” said Cindy.

In addition to the tax increase, Cindy’s can-do attitude and positive outlook on life made it easier for her to quit. Prior to moving to Las Vegas to be near her son and grandkids, she owned both a restaurant and home in Texas. When the recent recession hit, Cindy lost the restaurant and then her home.

 

“After going through all that change, I thought I can make another change in my life,” she said. 

Upon deciding to quit, Cindy visited her doctor and received the patch (covered by Medicaid). While the patch has four cycles, Cindy only used it for the first cycle.

 

“I have not smoked or used the patch since,” she said.

 

Her son is overjoyed that she quit and she notes how important it is to be a good example for her grandkids. In her job at checkout at Walgreens, Cindy has discovered many of her customers are quitting since the tobacco tax increase. She shares her story to encourage them and now they have formed a small support group. Cindy also hopes by sharing her story with the AHA/ASA, she can inspire even more people to quit.

 

Most of all, Cindy is enjoying her new smoke-free life.

 

“At age 65, I enjoy having the time to start my life over,” she said.

 

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing this wonderful example of how smart, strong public health policy can positively affect the lives of individuals and communities. Keep up the good fight, Cindy!

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