Public Health News Roundup: March 30
New regulations announced today by the Food and Drug Administration require tobacco companies to report levels of dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes, chew and other tobacco products. This will be the first time cigarette makers will be required to report on the quantities of twenty ingredients that are associated with health problems such as cancer and lung disease. The FDA will make this information available to the public in a consumer-friendly format by April 2013. Read more tobacco news.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 88 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder. Researchers looked at data from 14 communities. Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls, and the largest increases in incidence were among Hispanic and black children. According to the CDC, the study shows an increase of 23 percent in children identified as having the condition since a previous report in 2009. It is unclear how much of that increase is due to increased awareness and diagnosis. Read more on children's health.
Eight states boosted their sales taxes on cigarettes over the past two years, but that's a decline in the number of such increases by states compared to 2009, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between 2010 and 2011, eight states (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, Utah,Vermont and Washington) boosted cigarette taxes, compared to 15 states that had done so in 2009. According to the report, the national average cigarette excise tax in the United States has risen from $1.34 per pack of 20 cigarettes in 2009 to $1.46 per pack in 2011. Actual taxes range from a high of $4.35 per pack in New York to a low of 17 cents per pack in Missouri. Read more tobacco news.
A new study of 1,430 7th grade students finds that many 7th-graders are dating and experiencing physical, psychological and electronic dating violence. More than one in three students (37%) surveyed reported being a victim of psychological dating violence and nearly one in six (15%) reported being a victim of physical dating violence. The study also found that nearly three-quarters of students surveyed report talking to their parents about dating and teen dating violence. The researchers say parent-child communication is considered a protective factor that reduces the risk for teen dating violence.
The study was conducted by RTI International on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Read more on a nation program to help prevent teen dating violence.