HB 1149 and The Facts About Secondhand Smoke [INFOGRAPH]

On March 9, the Indiana General Assembly approved Indiana’s first statewide smoke-free air bill. While the ICC applauds the General Assembly and statewide press for giving House Bill 1149 the attention and publicity that it deserved, we cannot be satisfied with the final result. HB 1149 falls short in protecting Hoosier workers that are most vulnerable to secondhand smoke. The bill, which Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is expected to sign in the coming days, will stand as one of the weaker smoke-free air laws in the nation.

Today, the Indiana Cancer Consortium thanks all of our members for the time and effort dedicated to the strengthening and passing of HB 1149, but more importantly, we ask that our coalition quickly shifts focus to the local level. Therefore, as an aid in local conversations, the ICC proudly presents “The Facts About Secondhand Smoke” infograph. Spread the word via blogs, Facebook, and Twitter and help the ICC get secondhand smoke out of business!

Copy the following code to embed this infograph on your own site.

Click on the image for full size or click here for a printable version.

Facts About Secondhand Smoke in Indiana

Introducing the ICC Blog

Nearly ten years ago, the Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana University Cancer Center, the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Public Health, and the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division launched the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC), a statewide network of public and private partnerships united to reduce the burden of cancer in Indiana. Over the last decade, the ICC has welcomed over 150 members, both individuals and organizations, representing all regions and counties across the state of Indiana. Year after year, these members join together in partnership, collaboration, and organization to carry out the objectives established in a comprehensive plan that addresses cancers across the continuum from prevention through palliation.

Today, we are proud to announce our next organizational milestone and our next step in the fight against cancer: The Indiana Cancer Consortium Blog!

What can you expect from the ICC Blog?

The blog will be a place for the ICC to elaborate on its mission and objectives represented in the state plan by providing committee updates, event announcements, and various accomplishments achieved by the ICC and/or ICC partner organizations. However, more importantly, the blog will act as a tool for better connecting the consortium with members, health professionals, other coalitions, and various citizens interested in cancer control and prevention. With this blog, we promise to be more transparent and more accessible, and as a result, we hope to provide readers with both educational and informative content.

What will be written about on the blog?

The blog will focus on evidence-based cancer control and prevention with a specific aim to educate professionals and the public on the objectives outlined in the Indiana Cancer Control Plan, 2010-2014.

That said, our blog will also reflect the many hats the ICC wears in the Indiana cancer community (leader, advocate, planner, cheerleader, provider, etc.). In short, blog articles will explore:

  • The depths of cancer control in developing, implementing, and evaluating a state plan;
  • The intricacies of establishing local cancer control coalitions;
  • Advocacy issues ICC committees and partner organizations are undertaking;
  • Best practices on how to use social media with public health;
  • Cancer facts and figures reports specific to the Indiana cancer burden.

All this in addition to a few special blog series that you will surely not want to miss out on!

Wrapping up…

So, welcome to all of our readers! This project is one that will evolve over time to the needs of our members and readers, but we hope you are as excited as we are about what is to come. We encourage you to get involved by commenting on our posts and letting us know your thoughts or what your organization may be doing in the field of cancer control. Finally, we love hearing from our members and invite those interested to contact us for guest blogging opportunities.

Until next time, thanks for reading and have a good day!

Screening For Colorectal Cancer Saves Lives

On March 8, the Indiana Cancer Consortium was represented at a press event at Scott Memorial Hospital in Scottsburg, Indiana. The event focused on educating men and women aged 50 and older on the importance to get screened for colorectal cancer. First Lady Cheri Daniels and State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. were joined by local leaders in Scott County at the event.

[slickr-flickr tag=”scottsburg”]

Scott County has the highest incidence rate (73.7) and the highest mortality rate (31.9) of colorectal cancer in the state. About 1,200 Hoosiers die from colorectal cancer each year.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.  Between 2004 and 2008, nearly 17,000 people in Indiana were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  The Indiana Comprehensive Cancer Control program and the Office of Primary Care are partnering with the Indiana Rural Health Association to launch a statewide effort to encourage adults 50 and older to get screened.  As part of this effort, the Indiana State Health Department will run a media campaign in Scott County, Indiana with television, radio, and print ads produced by the CDC’s “Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Action” campaign.

Originally launched in March 1999, this multimedia campaign educates and informs men and women aged 50 and older about the importance of regular colorectal cancer screenings.  TV newscaster and co-founder Katie Couric, as well as actors Morgan Freeman, Terrence Howard, and Diane Keaton have served as celebrity spokespeople for the campaign.

For more information, please use the following resources:

CDC “Screen for Life” website

Colorectal Cancer

Surgeon General Releases Report on Tobacco Smoke

On Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin announced the publication of “How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease.” This report reveals new scientific findings about how deadly cigarettes are and how quickly they can damage your body.

To read the full report, please click HERE.
To visit the Surgeon General’s Web site, please click HERE.

State: Teens must shape up

Survey on smoking, weight raises fears for their health later on

By Shari Rudavsky
June 4, 2010

Unless they clean up their act, Indiana’s teens could end up in worse shape than their parents as they age, according to the latest survey of youth risk behaviors.

Conducted every two years, the Indiana Youth Risk Behavior Survey released Thursday found that more than a quarter of the state’s high schoolers are overweight or obese, while about 23 percent are smokers.

In the 1980s, obesity rates among youths were about a third of what they are today, studies show. As obesity rates among the young increase, doctors are finding diabetes, heart disease and other potentially deadly conditions in younger and younger patients.

“This generation needs to make a lot of changes, I think most physicians would agree, to have the projected tenure of life of the generation before them,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin.

Despite concerted public and private efforts, Indiana’s teens have made little progress during the past six years in improving their health when it comes to weight, the study found. Although the percentages shifted slightly, high school students in 2009 were just as likely to be obese or overweight as from 2003 to 2007, the study found.

Doctors, policymakers and parents need to face the problem, said Dr. Vaughn Rickert, director of the section of adolescent medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children.

“We can no longer say, my child or my patient will grow out of being overweight or obese,” he said. “If there’s no intervention, it is likely that they’re not going to be more healthy. The question is, are they not going to be more healthy or not live as long?”

Obesity, bad eating habits and lack of physical activity can lead to cancer and cardiovascular disease, experts say. Those three factors contribute to about 30 percent of all cancers, said Tom Rich, director of comprehensive cancer control for the American Cancer Society in Michigan and Indiana.

In Indiana, cancer claims the lives of 12,000 people a year, said Keylee Wright, cancer control manager for the Indiana Cancer Consortium. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle throughout one’s life can translate into better health later in life.

“If adopted at an early age, these behaviors, among others, are part of a healthy lifestyle,” she said.

No simple solutions exist for reducing teen obesity, experts say. Many factors, from their friends to their families, influence teens’ eating behaviors.

“It’s not as easy a problem as just saying you need to lose 25 pounds,” Rickert said. “These are not Jenny Craig commercials.”

On at least one measure, however, Indiana teens performed well. In 2009, 40.6 percent of teens were physically active for at least 60 minutes a day, compared with the national average of 37 percent.

However, that activity does not translate into weight control. Just less than 13 percent of all high school students register as obese, and nearly 16 percent count as overweight.

“It is somewhat of a disconnect,” Larkin said. “We know it isn’t simply ‘exercise more.’ It’s your food choices.”

The percentage of teens who drank soda declined from 35.6 percent in 2007 to 29.7 percent in 2009. But so did teens’ intake of fruits and vegetables. In 2007, just more than 18 percent ate the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Two years later, that number dipped to 16.1 percent.

Nationally, high school students might also fare better when it comes to tobacco-related diseases, such as lung cancer.

But Indiana youths are more likely to be smokers than their counterparts elsewhere, and one in 10 uses smokeless tobacco, the survey found.

Rather than comparing Indiana’s rates to the national average of 19.5 percent, Larkin said he’s more interested in seeing which states perform better and identifying practices that Indiana can adopt.

For instance, many other states impose higher taxes on cigarettes and have statewide anti-smoking laws, two features that discourage youth smoking.

Adopting policies that will help improve teens’ behavior is what public health is all about, Larkin said.

“The challenge for public health is to make the right choices easier than the wrong choices,” he said.