Even though we all can note how tobacco use has decreased over the past 50 years, it is still a problem and it is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Today youth under 21 can legally purchase tobacco products. There has been a movement throughout the country to raise the legal tobacco sale age to 21. It is called the Tobacco 21Initiative. The Office on Smoking and Health report that 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers tried smoking by age 18. It has been a marketing strategy for tobacco companies to develop and target our youth and young adults, spending upwards of $400 million a year! Raising the minimum age that retailers can sell tobacco products should reduce the number of teenagers who start smoking prematurely. Already California, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine have passed laws raising the age to 21. Columbus, Ohio has been implementing the law since October, 2017. Cincinnati is in the process of trying to develop support for the Tobacco 21Initiative. The Cincinnati Health Department, Interact for Health and the American Heart Association are advocating for the Tobacco 21Initiative. For more information, contact the Cincinnati Health Department.
The Cincinnati Health Department has started a new policy for it’s Elm Street Health Center patients called “Shared Medical Appointments”. What it does is to combine medical care, patient education and patient empowerment in a group setting. Patients of common conditions like diabetes and hypertension meet as a group under the direction of a doctor or clinical staff person. It is hoped that the implementation of this new policy will result in reducing health care costs, improving patient satisfaction, reducing hospital admissions and emergency room visits. Right now this policy is only impacting the Elm Street Health Center; however, its success may pave the way for it to be expanded to more health centers. We should keep this in mind as we watch the development of the Avondale Town Center and the expansion along Reading Road that is slated to include a health center.
Kimya Moyo, Health Liaison