Prevention and Public Health

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say yes, using a sophisticated microsimulation model to predict impacts of the tax. In a report released last month, the Harvard researchers calculated the proposed soda tax in Philadelphia would prevent 2,280 cases of diabetes each year once the tax is fully implemented. The Harvard microsimulation model assumes lower consumption if the city implements the three cents tax per ounce of sugar-sweetened beverage, a 49 percent price increase.

HIV and Hepatitis C, both highly infectious diseases, continue to spread in some states and among some parts of the population. Several states introduced legislation in 2015 and 2016 that explicitly allows needle exchange programs as a means to prevent and control potential public health crises.

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed tightening the state’s lead level guidelines to 10 parts per billion by 2020, stricter than the current federal mark of 15 ppb. The proposed change, announced at a meeting of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee, is part of a package of proposals that also includes annual water testing at day care centers and schools as well as a requirement that local governments create inventories of lead water pipes and then develop plans to replace them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced $25 million will be available to states for Zika preparedness. States must apply by June 13, 2016; the estimated award date is August 1, 2016. This funding is not part of the $1.9 billion emergency funding that President Obama has requested from Congress.  

Puerto Rico (to date, the only jurisdiction with locally acquired Zika cases ), Texas, Florida and Hawaii will each be eligible for...

A new rule by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that bans the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 will go into effect Aug. 8. In most cities and states, however, selling e-cigs to anyone under 18 is already prohibited. In some cases, restrictions apply to those under 19 or 21. On May 4, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that prohibits the sale, and purchase, of tobacco products and electronic devices that deliver nicotine to anyone under 21. The law makes California the second state, after Hawaii, to change its smoking age to 21.

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The Zika epidemic has garnered extensive international attention since the current outbreak was first confirmed in Brazil in May 2015. Since then, active Zika transmissions have been documented in more than 30 countries across the Americas region — including South, Central and North America and the Caribbean — with more cases in new areas expected to follow in the coming weeks and months. In response to the sudden outbreak of the Zika virus and the health complications associated with it, the World Health Organization declared, on February 1, 2016, that the virus constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. By some estimates, up to 4 million people in the Americas may contract the virus by the end of 2016.

In the United States, the only reported cases of the Zika virus have been associated with those who recently traveled to countries with known outbreaks. However, health experts have warned that localized transmissions in the United States are probable in the coming months as temperatures rise and mosquitoes carrying the virus expand into new territories. As a result of relatively favorable climate conditions for the disease-carrying Aedes mosquitoes, many SLC member states are particularly vulnerable to limited outbreaks over the next several months.

On May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final rules to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Many of the rules will go into effect on August 8, 2015. Some will have a longer phase-in timeline. 

According to April 27, 2016 data from the CDC, all cases of Zika virus in the 50 states and the District of Columbia are related to travel to affected areas. The CDC reports 496 cases confirmed by laboratory testing in the U.S. In just six states no case of Zika has yet been reported.  

There is another story in the U.S. territories. Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa report 596 cases of locally acquired Zika virus. In February, the first U.S. death from Zika virus was recorded. A 70 year old man in...

The benefits of e-cigarettes outweigh their potential harms the British Royal College of Physicians concluded after a comprehensive review of the current scientific research on e-cigarettes. The college's April 28 report, reported in Britain by the BBC and in the U.S. by the New York Times, concludes e-cigarettes are "much safer" than smoking conventional cigarettes and can be an important aid to quit smoking.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults—United States, 2014 report, which found that nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-60 are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The average hours of sleep Americans get each night vary across states and across geographic locations, the average hours of sleep Americans get each night also vary across racial and ethnic groups, age groups, employment statuses, levels of educational attainment, and relationship statuses.The implications of sleep deprivation extend beyond individual health and can impact public safety and the workforce.