American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
WELCOME! PLEASE LOGIN OR SIGN UP

LoginLogin with Facebook

Remember me Forgot Password

Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
SIGN UP
Tobacco's Latest Threat: E-Cigarettes

Tobacco Companies are aggressively marketing e-cigarettes to our nation's youth, and it's working. With thousands of flavors like cotton candy, Swedish fish and gummi bears, it's no wonder e-cigarette use among young people has tripled. The American Heart Association and its partners are working hard to bring this problem under control.

Find citations here.

Read More

Washington's 2015 Legislative Session is Officially Over


After a near shutdown of the state government, Washington’s legislative session ended on July 10 after going into three special sessions. From the beginning many suspected this would be a challenging year given the Legislature’s consideration of a transportation revenue package and its need to fund K-12 education to fulfill the State Supreme Court’s McLeary ruling. After many months of negotiating the Legislature is nearing completion of its work and it’s shaping up to be a great year for health policy in Washington.


Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects

On April 21 Governor Inslee signed Substitute House Bill 1285 into law. This bill ensures that every newborn in Washington is screened for critical congenital heart defects. Washington joins more than 35 other states in requiring this lifesaving screening. Our thanks to the many advocates across the state who shared with lawmakers the importance of this simple, inexpensive, lifesaving screening.

Tobacco Prevention

On June 29 the Legislature passed an operating budget. The budget includes a $14.5 million appropriation to the Department of Health, a portion of which will be used for tobacco prevention education. As many of you know tobacco prevention and control is a top priority for the American Heart Association and this investment will allow the state program to work closely with communities with high rates of tobacco use to educate youth and adults about the dangers of tobacco. This is the state’s most significant investment in tobacco prevention since the economic downturn.

Safe Routes to School and Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety Investments

After a hard-fought campaign to increase state investments in active transportation programs that help Washingtonians get active and healthy we are excited that Governor Inslee signed a historic transportation package into law on July 15 that does just that.  The 16-year package includes more than $164 million for bicycle and pedestrian safety projects and more than $56 million in state funds for Safe Routes to School. This is on top of $11.4 million in federal dollars for Safe Routes to School and the 2015-2017 biennial budget Governor Inslee signed further investing in both programs. These investments will ensure kids and adults across the state can safely commute via foot and bike, while also getting the physical activity needed for a healthy lifestyle. Our heartfelt thanks to our campaign partners at the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition and Washington Bikes for a fantastic collaborative effort.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools

AHA has advocated for a $5 million investment in the Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools program that would fund school grant applications for water bottle filling stations, physical education equipment, playground equipment, and kitchen renovations to enable scratch cooking. These investments will help shape the school environment for our kids, providing healthier food, beverage and physical activity options.

In all it has been a tremendous year for heart health policy in Washington. We share our sincerest thanks with you, our advocates, for all of your work communicating with lawmakers and talking with friends and neighbors, all to build a healthier state for all Washingtonians.

Read More

Visit Save Lives California Today!

The American Heart Association is proud to be a member of the Save Lives California coalition to empower Californians like you to help protect more of our state's residents from the harms of tobacco use.

Our coalition, which includes healthcare workers, doctors, dentists, health plans and prevention groups, has intensified our efforts to encourage the Governor and legislature to pass the California Tobacco Tax for Healthcare, Research & Prevention Act this year.  We have also raised $2 million toward the effort to qualify this measure for the November 2016 ballot if the legislature fails to act.

Until recently, California's tobacco tax rate was 33rd in the nation. But just last month, Nevada’s Governor Sandoval signed a new tobacco tax dropping California to 34th.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in California, killing more than 43,000 people each year. California taxpayers spend over $3 billion a year treating tobacco-related diseases of Medi-Cal patients. And the rates of nicotine use by youth are beginning to creep up.

By passing the California Tobacco Tax for Healthcare, Research & Prevention Act we can help offset the costs of treating tobacco-related diseases and increase funding for proven prevention programs that help reduce smoking among adults and youth alike. The consensus among researchers is that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4 percent among adults and about 7 percent among youth. 

But we need your help. 

Visit www.SaveLivesCA.com today. Let's save lives California!  You just might help save the life of someone you love.

Read More

Looking Back at Our Year Together!

The 2015 Legislative session in South Carolina was a lively one, allowing us to advance some vital pieces of legislation into 2016. Thank you for your advocacy efforts this session!

Senate Bill 320 & House Bill 3265: CPR in Schools
This requires all high school students to be proficient in hands-only CPR and AED as part of the already required high school health education class. The bills received favorable reports with amendments from both the House and Senate Education Committees, and each bill passed its respective body with unanimous support. However, no further action was taken once each bill passed into the opposite body.

Senate Bill 484: School Nutrition Guidelines
This ensures schools are meeting nutritional standards set by the USDA and that standards are regularly updated with USDA guidelines. It also helps parents understand how schools are meeting nutrition standards by reporting compliance in existing school health improvement plans. S 484 passed the Senate during the last week of May and will be ready for consideration by the House next year.

Send a letter to your Representative to urge them to support Senate Bill 484

Tobacco Control Funding:
We advocated during the appropriations process for an additional $6 million in tobacco control funding from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. We were able to protect the $5 million in funding for tobacco control received yearly from cigarette tax revenue.

Smoke-Free Victories:
Two more communities across the state adopted smoke-free ordinances, bringing us to 60 South Carolina municipalities enjoying- smoke-free air!

As part of the You’re the Cure team, we made GREAT strides this year toward improving the lives of South Carolina citizens. We will be revisiting each of these issues in 2016 and have no doubt we will see major victories in the Palmetto State!

Thank you, sincerely, for all you do. You are our hero.

Read More

Supreme Court Rules For the Affordable Care Act

We live in exciting times. While most of the time, the American Heart Association works with our You’re the Cure advocates on legislative issues, recently the AHA (with several other non-profit health organizations) was able to inform Americans across the country that their access to health care had been upheld by the Supreme Court through a ruling on the Affordable Care Act, directly through the court case King v Burwell.

In January, the AHA and other organizations (including the American Cancer Society & ACS Cancer Action Network, the American Diabetes Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society) submitted a brief that urged the Supreme Court to rule the original intention of Congress had been to make tax credits for health insurance available to all, not just residents of states that decided to participate in a state health insurance exchange.

The King v Burwell ruling means that residents of states which had previously opted to participate in a federal health insurance exchange will be able to continue to benefit from tax credits for the health insurance they have chosen. Consequently, Americans who participate in the insurance exchange and are eligible will be able to expect tax credits for their policies [this does not affect those who currently receive insurance through their employers].

What does this mean for cardiovascular and stroke? Two facts worth noting for those who are uninsured:

  • Uninsured patients with cardiovascular disease experience higher mortality rates and poorer blood pressure control than the insured.
  • Uninsured people who suffer the most common type of stroke have greater neurological impairments, longer hospital stays and up to a 56 percent higher risk of death than the insured.

American Heart Association President Nancy Brown had this to say in her statement reflecting on the court’s ruling: "We commend the Court for not halting premium tax credits in the federal marketplaces, enabling an estimated 6.4 million people in 34 states to keep the assistance that makes their health insurance affordable. As a result, these patients can continue to focus on their healing and recovery, instead of worrying about losing their coverage and care. Now that the Affordable Care Act has survived two major Supreme Court challenges, it’s time for our nation to concentrate on improving the law and enrolling as many uninsured Americans as possible so everyone can receive the quality health and preventive care they need."

History is made every day, and we are thankful for our advocates who help us change our communities for the better.

Read More

Governor Ige Signs Three Lifesaving Bills

Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Hawaii Government Relations Director

We are very excited to announce that Governor Ige has signed three lifesaving bills into law. We can't thank our dedicated advocates enough for their help in passing these bills. We are happy that a few of you could join us for the bill signing. Big thanks to Dr. Char and stroke survivor Chris McLachlin for their help on HB 589. The families involved with HB 467 we thank you for sharing your stories with lawmakers. They truly made a difference and helped make clear why pulse oximetry screening is so important.

House Bill 467/Act 212 requires all Hawaii birthing centers to screen newborns for critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) using a tool called pulse oximetry. CCHDs are the most common birth defects in the U.S. and the leading killer of infants with birth defects.

Babies discharged with an undiagnosed CCHD are at risk for having serious problems within the first few days or weeks of life and often require emergency care. Pulse oximetry, is a non-invasive, inexpensive test that consists of sensors placed on a baby's hand and/or foot to check blood oxygen levels.  The screening can identify some infants with a CCHD before they show any signs. Once identified, babies with a CCHD can be seen by cardiologists and can receive specialized care and treatment that could prevent death or disability early in life.

House Bill 589/Act 211 establishes a state stroke registry and require all acute stroke care hospitals to collect and submit stroke data to the State Department of Health (DOH). The DOH would then compile and share reports based on the data with the state’s Stroke Coalition, which includes representatives from acute stroke care hospitals, EMS agencies, the DOH and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The Coalition members would use the data to identify weaknesses in Hawaii’s stroke system of care and work to improve it with the goal of speeding patient access to the best available care and improving long-term health outcomes.

Senate Bill 1030/Act 122 raises the legal age to purchase and possess tobacco products to 21. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people each year.  It is known to cause heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory diseases, among other health disorders, and costs the U.S. $96 billion in health care expenditures each year. Nearly 1,000 kids under the age of 18 become regular, daily smokers each day; and almost one-third will die from it.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report on March 12 bolstering this policy in which it found “increasing the minimum legal age for tobacco products will likely prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults. The age group most impacted will be those age 15 to 17 years.” Raising the minimum legal age to 21 will mean that those who can legally obtain tobacco are less likely to be in the same social networks as high school students.

 

Read More

Nicotine-laced aerosol in your workplace? Yup.

By now, you have all heard about these new tobacco products called e-cigarettes. These products take addictive nicotine-laced liquid, add candy and fruit flavors, and insert them into a devise that aerosolizes the liquid. People inhale the aerosol instead of smoking. Kids are using these products in record numbers (the number of kids using e-cigarettes tripled last year!). The tobacco industry is working overtime to convince kids that these are safe—and it is working. What they neglect to tell kids is that once they start—it will be incredibly hard to stop. They will become our next generation of nicotine addicts.

The American Heart Association firmly believes that e-cigarettes should be treated the same way as traditional cigarettes. We supported LD1108 that would add e-cigarettes to our workplace and public place smoking laws. LD 1108 is currently on the Governor’s desk after it received strong support from the legislature. We assume he will veto the bill.

Right now, people can spew this aerosol in all restaurants, schools, businesses, shopping malls and grocery stores. We know that the aerosol contains nicotine, formaldehyde and other chemicals. We know the second-hand aerosol is a lung irritant. E-cigarettes could be used right next to your grandfather with COPD at a local diner or your asthmatic child at the library. This is dangerous and a terrible precedent. I know that I don’t want my 6-year old exposed to nicotine where she eats and plays. If an adult who is already addicted to nicotine wants to use an e-cigarette, they can follow the same rules as smokers.

If the Governor vetoes LD 1108, we will need your help to make sure the legislature overrides his veto on July 16th. You will receive (if you have not already) an email from me asking for your help. Please respond ASAP. Thanks!

 

 

Read More

Score: Vaping Industry 1 Public Health 0

State Senate adjourns without taking action to stop vaping in workplaces.  

A loophole in state law allows electronic cigarettes to be used where smoking is prohibited.  The American Heart Association joined with numerous public health groups in calling on state lawmakers to close this loophole.  Why are e-cigarettes still allowed in places where you can't smoke?  The short answer is because e-cigarettes didn’t exist when the earlier law was passed.  That's why numerous localities have passed local laws.  We are happy to report the NYS Assembly sided with public health and passed legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Rosenthal, to close this loophole.

Despite the championship of Senator Hannon, the bill's sponsor, the Senate failed to bring the bill for a vote. Given the large support from the public health community, it is disappointing to see some lawmakers heed the advice of the vaping and tobacco industry.

We need more research about the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes. We do know e-cigarettes are dangerous because they target young people, can keep people hooked on nicotine, and threaten to “re-normalize” tobacco use.  Even more disturbing, according to a new report from the CDC, e-cigarette use tripled among U.S. middle and high school students in just one year.

Thank you to everyone that helped move this bill forward in the Assembly.  We will continue to work to close the e-cigarette loophole in the next state session! 

Read More

Kansas 2015 Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2015 Kansas legislative session recently came to an end after weeks of long and contentious debate. Thank you to our You’re the Cure advocates whose countless letters of support, e-mails, phone calls and visits with lawmakers were vital in helping us maintain heart healthy policies in Kansas! Below is a legislative wrap-up outlining all of the progress we made with your help.

 

 

Tobacco Tax

  • The Kansas Legislature approved a 50-cent increase to the state’s tobacco tax.
  • The new tax on a pack of cigarettes will be $1.29.
  • This is the 30th highest in the nation and roughly, 25¢ below the national average.
  • The tax will raise an estimated $40 million in additional revenue for Kansas while reducing smoking rates by nearly 7%.
  • 8,400 Kansans under the age of 18 will avoid becoming adult smokers.
  • 8,600 adult smokers would quit smoking with this increase.

Tobacco Prevention

  • American Heart Association advocated for additional prevention funding. We believe a stronger foundation was established and will continue to build on these efforts next session.
  • Less than $1 million is currently allocated for prevention from the state.
  • The CDC recommends Kansas spend $27.9 million on a program modeled after the best practices for prevention and cessation initiatives.
  • Adequately funding tobacco prevention programs in Kansas is critical to long-term, sustained reductions in tobaccos usage.

E-Cigarettes

  • Lawmakers approved several new provisions regarding electronic cigarettes.
  • Approved language establishes a tax on the nicotine-based refills for e-cigarettes.
  • The AHA is cautious of the language that could reduce future FDA regulations of e-cigarettes that is being developed nationally.
  • There’s still a lot unknown about long-term health implications of e-cigarettes and their efficacy as a cessation tool.
  • With so much unknown about the product it is dangerous to pass legislation, as Kansas did, without formal discussions and hearings.

Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening (Pulse Ox)

  • A bill establishing standards for CCHD screening using pulse oximetry did not receive a hearing in the committee this year.
  • The Kansas Health Department and Environment announced all Kansas newborns are being screened.
  • The AHA is pleased that all newborns are reportedly being screened but we are concerned that compliance is voluntary. We will continue to push for legislation or administrative rules to ensure newborns are screened using pulse oximetry testing with recommended standards.

Thank YOU! Please stay tuned to your e-mails on how you can help us with our life-saving mission. As always, thank you for everything you do. We appreciate your advocacy efforts and support of the American Heart Association!

Read More

[+] Blogs[-] Collapse