Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

DHEC Partners with LiveWell Greenville to Help Create Healthier Communities

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

In our next installment of the DHEC Stronger Together video campaign, we take a look at our partnership with LiveWell Greenville. Stronger Together is a video series of testimonials from statewide partners of DHEC. 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. We then met with Trident United Way in North Charleston. Now we head to the Upstate with LiveWell Greenville.

LiveWell Greenville is a network of more than 100 community organizations that work together to ensure access to healthy eating and active living. DHEC has been a member of this coalition since its inception.

In 2008, Piedmont Health Care Foundation, a non-profit foundation in partnership with the Health and Wellness Taskforce of Greenville Forward, commissioned a youth obesity study and employed Furman University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science to serve as the research base.

“The results of the study were informative,” said Lillie Hall, DHEC Upstate Public Health Region Community Systems Director and founding member of the original coalition. “The study found about 41 percent of the roughly 1,600 Greenville County School students measured were overweight or obese.”

So, the Foundation convened a coalition to develop policy, systems and environmental approaches to address childhood obesity in the county. Originally called the Childhood Obesity or CHO Taskforce, the group included: Piedmont Health Care Foundation, DHEC, Greenville Forward’s Health and Wellness Taskforce, Furman University, PRISMA Health (formerly Greenville Health System), local physicians and pediatricians, and the YMCA of Greenville. In 2011, the name became known as LiveWell Greenville.

Since then, LiveWell Greenville has improved the overall health and wellness in schools, communities, faith organizations and worksites. Jervelle Fort, DHEC Community Health Educator, is on LiveWell Greenville’s “At Worship” and “At Work” subcommittees.

As part of her role on the subcommittees, Fort provides support through the region’s community work plan to create and maintain a community that supports HEAL (healthy eating and active living) strategies and promotes PSE (policy, systems and environmental) change. She also supports the promotion of school and community gardens, updating and maintaining access to DHEC’s fruit and veggie outlet inventory, assisting community partners to implement HEAL and PSE strategies like developing breastfeeding promotion policies in local churches, coordinating resources for creating physical activity resources and creating healthier environments at worksites.

Executive Director of LiveWell Greenville Sally Wills said that partnering with DHEC allows the coalition to have a greater impact, and Fort agrees.

“Partnerships like this help to make the community and state stronger because it groups us together and makes us whole,” Fort said. “It makes us one.”

DHEC embraces service with the LiveWell Coalition and allows us to be part of “healthy people living in healthy communities.” Partnerships like these showcase the agency strategy of leadership and collaboration.

For previous Stronger Together videos

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!