Public Health News Roundup: November 15
‘Great American Smokeout’ Urges Smokers to Quit
The American Cancer Society is using today’s annual Great American Smokeout to reinvigorate a decline in smoking rates. The percentage of high school students who smoke dropped significantly in the late 1990s and early 200s, but has been steady around 20 percent for the past several years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On the positive side, smokers are smoking less on average. "Today, 60 percent of smokers are smoking less than a pack a day, and it was the reverse 10 years ago: 60 percent were smoking a pack or more a day," said Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends and international cancer control at ACS. "Smoking isn't a problem that's solved...but we've certainly made progress." Read more on tobacco.
Study: 69% of U.S. Doctors Use Electronic Health Records
Approximately 69 percent of U.S. doctors utilize electronic health records in patient care, according to a new study in HealthAffairs. The findings were part of a larger survey analyzing health care systems around the world. In addition to the United States, the survey looked at Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. However, despite the increased use of electronic health records, only 15 percent of U.S. doctors said the country’s health care system worked well. "There are opportunities to learn from diverse efforts underway in the United States and other countries that are designed to achieve shared health reform goals," stated the study. "Listening to doctors on the front lines of primary care can help identify gaps and target reforms of health systems." Read more on access to health care.
FDA: Energy Drink May Be Linked to 13 Deaths
The caffeine drink 5-hour Energy may be linked to as many as 13 deaths, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There have been approximately 90 FDA filings about 5-hour Energy since 2009, related to issues such as heart attacks, convulsions and even a spontaneous abortion, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story. FDA is already investigating Monster Beverage over its possible connection to five deaths. As recently as 2009 more than 13,000 emergency visits were linked to energy drinks, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Read more on nutrition.