Category Archives: Community Health

Plan a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle during the Great American Smokeout

Let today be the day to stop smoking or using tobacco products of any kind. Today is the Great American Smokeout, an opportunity for people who use tobacco to commit to a healthy tobacco-free life. Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs. Whether it is in cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) products such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vapes, the effects of nicotine are detrimental to your health.

Tobacco use is linked to the leading causes of death and hospitalization in South Carolina, which are cancer, heart disease, circulatory system disease and births/pregnancy complications, respectively.  Nearly 90% of all trachea, lung, and bronchus cancer deaths in South Carolina are smoking related.  According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, cigarette has been shown to increase South Carolina annual health care spending by $1.9 billion per year.

Cigarette Smoking in Adults_SC Health assessment

While South Carolina is making progress toward the CDC Healthy People 2020 goal of a 12% adult smoking rate – the current rate is 20.6% (2016).  Data from the most recent Adult Tobacco Survey (2014) shows that 6.2% of adults in South Carolina use e-cigarettes and 4.6% report using both combustible tobacco products like cigars and cigarettes, as well as using e-cigarettes or vapes.  ENDS products make tobacco prevention and cessation efforts more difficult due to the high concentration of nicotine found in the products (increasing nicotine addiction) and since many smoke-free policies have not been updated to include these products.

Cigarette Smoking in Teens_SC Health Assessment

While South Carolina has achieved the Healthy People 2020 goal of 16% or fewer high school students who are current smokers, the popularity of ENDS products again complicates this achievement. The 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey data show that the use of e-cigarettes or vapes (13%) surpassed the use of cigarettes (12%) for the first time. This new threat is expected to increase with the findings from the 2019 Youth Tobacco Survey slated to be available later this year. Nicotine in any form increases the risk of heart disease and addiction and is not safe for any age, especially adolescents.

Research shows that people who use tobacco are most successful in their efforts to quit when they have support. In fact, tobacco users are three times more likely to quit successfully with individualized counseling in combination with nicotine replacement therapies (over the counter or prescription) – all of which are available free of charge 24/7 through the DHEC administered SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW).  The SC Tobacco Quitline has resources to help you quit and stay quit. Information includes: Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help books and materials, and smoking counselors or coaches. The Quitline also has a Youth Support Program for teen tobacco users and a Spanish language Quitline available by calling 1-855-DEJELO-YA.

Here are some additional cessation resources:

GASO ad - Option 4 - 4.625 x 4.875 English

For more tobacco information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Office on Smoking and Health.  For more information about electronic cigarettes, visit DHEC’s e-cigarettes and vapes webpage.  You can quit for keeps. Start today.

From Other Blogs: Food Insecurity in the United States, Preventing Varicose Veins, Breast Cancer Treatment

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Food Insecurity in U.S. Households in 2018 is Down from 2017, Continuing Trend and Returning to Pre-Recession (2007) Level

In 2018, food insecurity returned to the pre-recession level of 11.1 percent, last observed in 2007. It is down from 11.8 percent in 2017 and a high of 14.9 percent in 2011. USDA’s Economic Research Service recently released its Household Food Security in the United States in 2018 on the incidence and severity of food insecurity in U.S. households. – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

What Can You Do About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins – they’re those dark blue or purple cord-like lines that show up on your legs and they are frustratingly common. But how much do you really know about the condition or how to address it? – From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog

 

Getting the Right Treatment at the Right Time to Reduce Inequities in Breast Cancer Survival

Although death rates from breast cancer have been going down, the trend has not been equal among all women. Looking at breast cancer survival on a population level can tell us how effective our public health and health care systems are at early diagnosis, delivery of evidence-based treatment, and management of follow-up care. From The Topic is Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blog

DHEC In the News: Flu season is here, Sand mine permits, Dispose of Vaping Devices

Here’s a look at health and environmental news around South Carolina.

Is it too early to be thinking about flu season? The CDC says no

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX.com) It may still feel like summer outside, but the seasons will change in a few weeks. Influenza viruses circulate all year, but flu activity usually begins to pick up in October and peaks between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DHEC considering sand mine permit in Cottageville

WALTERBORO, S.C. (The Press and Standard) A proposal to establish a sand mine in the Cottageville area will be the topic of a South Caroline Department of Health and Environmental Control public hearing next month. The public hearing on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of Cottageville Elementary School, 648 Peirce Rd., will give residents an opportunity to voice their comments and views about MC Dirt Co. LLC of Summerville’s permit application.

Want to Get Rid of Vaping Devices? Now You Can Hand Them Over to the Feds

SACRAMENTO, C.A. (The Sacramento Bee) People throughout the Southeast can hand over their vaping devices as an “emerging public health threat” looms, federal officials say. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced its Charlotte District Office was teaming up with local officials to accept vaping devices and cartridges at sites across the region on Saturday.

DHEC continues to monitor and update confirmed and probable cases of severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette use or vaping.

Promoting Teamwork to Improve Health Outcomes in the Lowcountry

DHEC collaborates with Trident United Way to embrace service, leadership and collaboration with Stronger Together Campaign

DHEC relies on strong partnerships to realize our vision of “healthy people living in healthy communities.” Our Stronger Together video series campaign highlights strategic partnerships throughout the Palmetto State. In these inspirational testimonials, we intend to share stories to raise awareness about DHEC’s work in the community and illustrate our strategic plan. In addition, these spotlights will show out core values – Embracing Service, Inspiring Innovation, Promoting Teamwork and Pursing Excellence – in action.

We kicked off the campaign with our partnership with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. Our second highlighted partner is Trident United Way in North Charleston. DHEC sat down with Kellye McKenzie, Director of Health and Amanda Lawrence, Vice President of Community Impact to learn about the ways we work together.

“From planning and prep to providing staff, DHEC has been a partner in the Tri-County Health Needs Assessment,” said Kellye McKenzie, Director of Health for Trident United Way. “The aim is to improve health outcomes and the well-being of every person in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, which aligns perfectly with DHEC’s vision.”

DHEC also currently holds a seat on the Healthy Tri-County Executive Committee.

In the first quarter of 2019, DHEC and Trident United Way worked together to lead the efforts and completion of the community health needs assessment.

“The network consists of 60 organizations that advocate, educate, and support the Tri-County Health Improvement Plan,” said Felicia Veasey, DHEC Community Systems Director for the Lowcountry Region.

In this testimony, Cinti Mwangu, DHEC Health Educator in the Lowcountry, touches on the importance of sharing resources to ensure no community or area is left behind in our collective focus on the health and well-being of South Carolina’s residents. Amanda Lawrence, Vice President of Community Impact for Trident United Way, also mentions collective resources and praised the talented DHEC staff.

The Tri-County Health Needs Assessment underscores our agency’s core value of Embracing Service and strategy of Leadership and Collaboration.

To learn more, watch the video, and stay tuned for our next featured partner, LiveWell Greenville!

7 Fast Facts about Lead during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, recognized October 20-26, 2019, was created to increase awareness about lead poisoning prevention and decreasing potential exposure to lead. This year’s theme is “Get the Facts, Get Your Home Tested, Get Your Child Tested.” According to the 2018 South Carolina State Health Assessment, 36,083 children were tested for childhood lead poisoning, representing a 15.6% increase from 2013. The main sources of lead in South Carolina are related to contaminated soil or dust and chipping lead-based paint in older homes.

Here are some facts about lead and lead poisoning

  1. Lead, a naturally occurring metal, can be found in homes built before 1978 (when lead-based paints were banned). When the paint peels and cracks, lead dust is created. Children can be poisoned if they swallow or breathe that dust.
  2. Lead can also be found in certain water pipes, toys, jewelry, and imported candies.
  3. Occupations and hobbies that involve working with lead-based products, like stained glass work, may cause adults to bring lead into their homes.
  4. Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. Blood lead tests determine if you or your child have been exposed to lead.
  5. There is no cure for lead poisoning. That is why preventing exposure to lead, especially among children, is important. Finding and removing sources of lead from the child’s environment is needed to prevent further exposure. While there is no cure, parents can help reduce the effects of lead by talking to their doctor and getting connected to learning, nutritional, and behavioral programs as soon as possible. Finding and removing the sources of lead from your environment is necessary to prevent further exposure.
  6. Long term effects of lead poisoning may include: brain damage, loss of IQ points, learning disabilities, developmental delay, and behavioral and attention problems.
  7. Lead-safe certified contractors can safely renovate your home. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for more information about the Renovation, Repair and Painting Program.

Lead poisoning along with other toxic substances within our homes and communities impact our health and safety. For more information about where to find lead and ways to prevent exposure, visit www.scdhec.gov/lead.