American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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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
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.
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 If you would like to get involved, please email, 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


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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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We want to hear from you, Arkansas!

Our volunteers are our eyes and ears in the community. Help the AHA by identifying your friends, coworkers, neighbors, family members, or community members who may have a story to share related to heart disease or stroke.

It’s important for our legislators to hear stories from or about real Arkansans who would benefit from local smoke-free ordinances, increased access to healthy food, and other policies that can make a positive impact in their lives and communities.

Please consider if you or anyone you know can help with the following:

Comprehensive Smoke-Free Workplaces

Second-hand smoke is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report states that there is NO risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and any exposure has an immediate and adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. The good news is that secondhand smoke is a preventable risk factor. While many businesses are already smoke-free, too many bars and restaurants are not. All workers deserve the right to breathe smoke-free air, not just some of them. No worker should have to choose between their health and earning a paycheck.

Healthy Vending 
Arkansas currently has the highest adult obesity rate in the nation- 35.9%. We rank fifth in the nation for cases of diabetes, and seventh in the nation for hypertension. These illnesses and other obesity related diseases cost our state $1.25 billion annually, of which nearly 40% is financed by Medicaid and Medicare. Obesity is not only killing our state; it’s bankrupting us too.

To help us combat this problem, we are supporting the Arkansas Freedom for Healthy Choices Initiative. This effort will bring together local leaders to implement minor policy changes to help address our state’s obesity epidemic. This policy area focuses on ensuring there are healthy food items in vending machines located on public property. With this policy, public employees and visitors to government facilities will have access healthier food choices.

Improving emergency care for heart attack and stroke patients
When a heart attack or stroke occurs, everyone should receive the best care possible – from the time they dial 911 until after they are discharged from the hospital. In Arkansas we need to equip more first response vehicles to diagnose and treat heart/stroke patients, and improve consistency in care by gathering heart/stroke data that can highlight successes and pinpoint areas of need in our state. We support efforts at the legislative level to address these key opportunities for improvement.

We look forward to hearing from you!  Please contact Allison Hogue at or 501-707-6593.

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Let's Keep NJ's Young Hearts Healthy

Over the past year, several states and numerous municipalities throughout the nation have opted to raise the age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21. New Jersey is among the many states that is considering raising the age. The Senate voted to raise the age in June. It is our hope that the Assembly will act soon and that Governor Christie will sign the measure into law soon.

Approximately 95% of adult smokers picked up the habit prior to age 21 and youth use of e-cigarettes has been increasing at a staggering rate. The CDC reported in June that 24%, nearly one-quarter, of high school students reported that they had used an e-cigarette in the previous 30 days. The longer we can keep tobacco and other nicotine products out of the hands of young people, the less likely it is that they will develop a potentially lethal addiction to nicotine.

I hope that you, and all "You're the Cure" advocates, will join us in raising our voices over the next few months in support of increasing the age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarettes in New Jersey to 21.

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MA Legislature Ends Session with Some Success

The Massachusetts Legislature finished their formal session at midnight on July 31st before taking a break. We were happy that $6 million was allocated for the MA Food Trust Program, providing necessary funding for our healthy food financing initiatives in the Economic Development Bond Bill. We will  be working with the Governor to make sure that he quickly appropriates the money so that much needed funding is accessible throughout the Commonwealth.

We did not see success on a few of our key issues and will have to start again in the new session in January, raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 and creating  stroke system of care. We believe that thanks to a lot of momentum and hard work by our advocates we feel like they are in a good place to start the new year.

We still have a few things that we are hopeful will get across the finish line, requiring AEDs in Schools, Healthy Vending options and Quality Physical Education data collection. We look forward to continuing to work on these critical issues.

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Information: The Most Valuable Player

Fall is the perfect time of year to learn more about your elected officials.  November 8, election day will help shape the course for our communities, state and nation for the next several years.  We encourage everyone to vote. 

We are often asked about learning more about elected officials and candidates. 

Some of our tips are:

· Google Search – take 10 minutes and simply "google" your elected official or candidate. 

· For current state lawmakers visit the NC General Assembly website. There you can learn what committees your lawmaker serves on, bills they have sponsored and how they have voted.

· For current local officials, you can normally find information on your local government webpage.

· Today most all candidates and lawmakers have their own webpages that tell about them.

· The State Board of Elections website also has information on candidates. 

You may also consider attending local candidate forums.  Normally you can find this information advertised in local papers, local access news stations and by hosting organizations. 

Getting to know the candidates and your elected officials is an important step to being a skillful and effective advocate.  That knowledge helps you gain greater understanding and will result in improving your ability to build a stronger relationship with them.  We challenge you to take ten – take ten minutes and "google" a candidate – see what you can learn.    

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Michigan State University Goes 100% Tobacco Free

On August 15th, a tobacco-free ordinance recently passed by the Michigan State University's Board of Trustees went into effect that will prohibit the use of all tobacco products from all university property.  In addition to traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, the ordinance will also prohibit e-cigarettes and vaporizers.  All FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy products are permitted for cessation use. Cessation resources are available at

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death, and tobacco use negatively affects the entire community.  There is a fundamental concern for the health of the entire campus community and moving toward a tobacco-free policy aligns with the university's efforts to create the healthiest academic and workplace environment possible. As of January 1, 2015, the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation notes there are at least 1,514 campuses that have gone 100% smoke-free.  Of these, 1,014 are 100% tobacco-free and 587 prohibit the use of e-cigarettes.


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