Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A highly successful tobacco cessation program in Massachusetts was named Partnership for Prevention’s “Best Prevention Idea of the Week,” while TV commentator Glenn Beck’s mistaken claim that pet insurance was included in the health reform bill before Congress was named “Worst Prevention Idea of the Week.”

The Best/Worst Idea awards are a regular feature of Prevention Matters, the blog of Partnership for Prevention. Each week, Partnership for Prevention's staff will choose the designees based on nominations of items in the previous week's news submitted by members, staff and the public at large. To submit a nomination or for more information, contact Damon Thompson at dthompson@prevent.org.


Mass. program dramatically cuts smoking among poor

Lower income Massachusetts smokers have dramatically abandoned their habit amid a major state campaign that vigorously promotes and pays for tobacco addiction treatment. Smoking rates among the poor plummeted 26 percent in the first two years of the ongoing state program, a striking result that is already drawing national attention to the effort. The study, issued by the Department of Public Health, found early indications that the tobacco cessation efforts - aimed at patients enrolled in the state’s medical insurance for the poor, MassHealth - are reaping immediate health benefits. Once patients began receiving counseling and medications to help snuff out their habits, they made fewer trips to emergency rooms because of wheezing bouts of asthma, and there was a trend toward fewer life-threatening heart attacks.


Beck confuses veterinarian training with pet insurance

“Do you know in the health care bill, we're now offering insurance for dogs," Glenn Beck said on his Nov.12 radio program. "Do I need to say any more?" Actually, the House bill provides scholarships and education loan repayment assistance for public health professionals serving in areas of need, including veterinarians. Beck appears to have propagated some misinformation delivered recently by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL. “So the real question I have for you folks (Democrats): Why are veterinarians part of this health care bill?" asked Stearns in a recent floor debate. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., responded: "Have you ever heard of swine flu? Have you ever heard about food safety? Have you ever heard that 70 percent of all of the antibiotics produced in the United States are given to cattle and poultry even though they are not ill? But swine flu should make you worry a little bit, don’t you think?"


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