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Lawrence and Martin County residents aim to improve diabetes outcome with grant from Anthem Foundation

Angela McGuire, a community health worker with Kentucky Homeplace, coordinates diabetes self-management education classes in Lawrence and Martin Counties.Angela McGuire, a community health worker with Kentucky Homeplace, coordinates diabetes self-management education classes in Lawrence and Martin Counties.

Hazard, Ky. (April 18, 2014) – Since last summer, a group of 23 Lawrence and Martin Countians who have diabetes have been meeting at the Lawrence County Community Center and Lawrence County Extension Office with a registered nurse and their local community health worker (CHW), Angela McGuire, to learn how to improve diabetes outcomes.

This is part of a larger initiative spanning 25 rural Kentucky Counties.  It is known as the Improving Diabetes Outcomes (I DO) Study, which operates with financial support in the form of a $150,000 gift from the Anthem Foundation.

“At our meetings everyone has the opportunity to receive information to help them take better care of themselves, and they also get opportunities for one-on-one education with an RN,” said McGuire, a Lawrence County native who has been a CHW with Kentucky Homeplace for five years.

“Self-management education and follow-up home visits by local community health workers is making a difference,” said Deb Moessner, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky.  “Participants have increased their knowledge on everything from diabetic foot care, to reading food labels, to communicating better with their doctor about lab results and a host of other self-management techniques.”

In Lawrence County the prevalence rate for diabetes is 14.5 percent, according to the most recent county-level data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is more than double the national average of 6.9 percent and significantly more than the state average of 10.8 percent.

 Martin County’s rate is 12.3 percent. 

“Diabetes is a chronic condition that has tremendous potential for complications,” said William Mace Baker, RN, director of Kentucky Homeplace, who taught the I DO classes to participants all across the Commonwealth.

Date: 04-14-2014

Beshear signs bill banning sale of e-cigarettes to kids;

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – Calling the measure a big win for efforts to reduce tobacco use in the state and particularly among young people, Gov. Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 109 into law, banning the sale of all types of e-cigarettes to minors.

The governor had specifically urged legislators to pass the bill during his State of the Commonwealth in January, and identified the effort as a key part of his legislative agenda.

“We have the highest rates of youth smoking in the country,” Beshear said in a statement. “And we know that if we can keep our children from trying cigarettes – including e-cigarettes – before the age of 18, they are significantly less likely to become smokers later in life.

I commend the General Assembly for passing this important bill.”

SB109 prohibits the sales of all types of e-cigarettes to minors, regardless of whether the devices use nicotine. Food and Drug Administration testing has found that a number of e-cigarettes sold as “nicotine-free” actually contained the drug, and the largely unregulated nature of e-cigarette products at present creates enforcement issues around youth access for state agencies, retailers, school districts and parents.

The effects of SB109 are especially important now. Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of all youth in grades 6 to 12 who had tried e-cigarettes doubled, with e-cigarettes being increasingly marketed to minors.

The vast majority of youth who have used e-cigarettes have also smoked conventional cigarettes.

The goal to reduce Kentucky’s smoking rate by 10 percent over the next five years is one goal of Beshear’s recently created initiative, kyhealthnow, which aims to reduce Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits through goals and strategies related to seven areas that include obesity, cancer and health insurance.

The initiative’s oversight team consists of cabinet secretaries and key state agency officials, and is chaired by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson.

“Kentucky has a special incentive to enforce strong restrictions on minor access to tobacco products, given our high rates of smoking both among teens and adults,” Abramson said in a news release. “We hope this bill will prevent our young Kentuckians from trying e-cigarettes and from moving on to traditional cigarettes as a result.

One of the kyhealthnow initiative’s key priorities is to change the state’s culture so that smoking of any kind among young people is not tolerated.”

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, vice chair of the kyhealthnow group, agreed.

“Smoking is the single biggest health challenge we face in Kentucky. With every step we take to reduce the rate of smoking, we are building a healthier state,” she said in the release.

April 9, 2014

New study finds that e-cig vapor affects cells similarly to tobacco smoke;


By Drew Prindle  

Electronic cigarettes have experienced a pretty sizable uptick in popularity over the past few years, partially due to the fact that they’re sometimes touted as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. But a newly-published study –one of the first to examine the biological effects of inhaling vaporized e-liquid– suggests that this might not be the case.

The study, which was recently published in Nature and presented at the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual meeting this week, found that bronchial cells grown in a medium exposed to e-cig vapor showed “strikingly similar” gene mutations to those grown in a medium exposed to tobacco smoke.

Further research is needed to draw clear-cut conclusions, but these similarities may be an indicator that e-cig vapor could potentially increase a user’s risk of cancer, despite the fact that e-liquid is completely tobacco free and doesn’t require combustion to be consumed.

“They may be safer [than tobacco], but our preliminary studies suggest that they may not be benign,” said study author Avrum Spira, a genomics and lung cancer researcher at Boston University.

The next step is to conduct further experiments on the genes altered by the e-cig vapor to discern their cancer-causing potential. “These studies will determine the impact of e-cig exposure on lung carcinogenicity and provide needed scientific guidance to the FDA regarding the physiologic effects of e-cigs,” Spira added.

In spite of all the uncertainty surrounding their potential health effects, the FDA has taken its sweet time in regulating e-cigs, which have risen from relative obscurity to become a multi-billion dollar industry in just a few years time. Without any federal regulation, the e-cigarette market is basically the Wild West right now. There’s little if any quality control, and marketers can peddle e-cigs  however they want — be it to kids, or as a smoking cessation method.

Proposed federal rules on how to regulate e-cigs are expected to come down soon, but considering what research has shown thus far, in the meantime it’s probably a good idea to approach e-cigargette use with caution and not assume it’s completely safe.

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