Tag Archives: cigarettes

No Butts on the Beach

By: Liz Hartje, Ocean & Coastal Resource Management

Did you know that cigarette litter is the most common type of marine debris found on South Carolina beaches? Cigarette butts are a toxic form of marine debris. Most cigarette filters are made of thin plastic fibers called cellulose acetate, a material that degrades very slowly. Plastics exposed to sunlight and waves break down into smaller and more numerous microplastics, which may never fully degrade in the marine environment. Birds, fish, and sea turtles may ingest cigarette butts or other plastic debris along the coast, which can lead to choking, poisoning, or blockage of the gut. Leaching of toxic materials from cigarette butts can also degrade water quality. Various metals, including lead and nickel, have been found to leach from smoked cigarettes within 24 hours, which may increase the risk of acute harm to local marine life. In a laboratory study, a concentration of one cigarette butt in one liter of water killed half of all fish exposed, within 96 hours!

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In 2015, DHEC OCRM conducted a Cigarette Litter Reduction Pilot Study on Folly Beach in Charleston County. The project was funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and included partners from the Surfrider Foundation and Folly Green. The goal of the project was to reduce cigarette litter on Folly Beach by educating residents and visitors about the negative effects cigarette litter can have on the marine environment. Foldable paper ashtrays and flyers printed with educational information were distributed, and new cigarette receptacles were installed at several beach walkovers on Folly Beach. Small-scale monitoring events were designed to look at the amount of cigarette litter on the beach before and after project implementation. Results of the monitoring efforts found fewer cigarette butts in the study area after project implementation, suggesting this pilot project may have influenced human behavior.

Last year, DHEC’s project was replicated in the Grand Strand by the Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium (CWSEC). CWSEC and its partners took a watershed-based approach to enhance public awareness and promote proper disposal of cigarette butt litter at beach and river accesses in Horry and Georgetown Counties. Similar to the Folly Beach study, the Grand Strand Cigarette Litter Reduction project focused on public education, installation of new cigarette receptacles, and cigarette litter monitoring. Results of the project can found on the project website.

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Great American Smokeout: Commit To A Healthy, Smoke-free Life

Catherine Warner
Outreach Coordinator
Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control

Public health advocates will observe the 43rd annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Thursday, Nov. 15. GASO is an opportunity for everyone to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives — not just for a day — but year-round.

Quitting is difficult. It takes commitment and a plan; and it often takes more than one try.  This is why GASO shouldn’t necessarily be considered the day to quit smoking for good, but rather the day to start the journey toward a smoke-free life. Support from friends and family is helpful, as is getting advice from your healthcare provider.

Free support is also available from the certified quit coaches at the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Personalized for each registered caller, the tips and support offered through the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) can help smokers succeed when they are ready to quit. Most callers are eligible to receive free over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum, patch, or lozenge — regardless of insurance coverage.

GASO gives us all a great opportunity to promote tobacco-free lifestyles to co-workers, clients, friends, and family. It’s important to our work at DHEC because tobacco prevention touches on nearly every public health program area. From flu prevention to family planning, diabetes to heart disease and stroke, tobacco users are more likely to experience negative health consequences impacting nearly every organ in the body.  Lower rates of tobacco use can decrease incidence of respiratory infections, infertility, pre-term births and low birth weight babies, Type II diabetes, periodontal disease, many cancers, heart attacks, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and tobacco-related health disparities.

If you would like to encourage smokers to participate in GASO, materials from the American Cancer Society are also available on their website. Free posters, brochures, and other print items are also available through the DHEC Educational Materials Library. You can also call 898-2287 to place an order over the phone.  Getting the word out about GASO is not only a solid investment in public health, it could truly save the life of someone you love. Support, encourage, and promote smoke-free lives.  And if you smoke, call the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for free help. Para recibir ayuda de la línea estatal para dejar de fumar: 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

DHEC in the News: Secondhand smoke in children, liver cancer, foodborne illness

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

Dangers of secondhand smoke in children

Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to your health. It causes cancer, emphysema, heart attacks and strokes.

In short, it is deadly. Yet, people still smoke.

Many smokers believe it calms their nerves and reduces their appetite. However, this article is not about convincing people to stop smoking. As adults, you already know that you should stop and why. This column is about the dangers of smoking around children and what you can do about it.

Liver cancer deaths soar in South Carolina, across the US

Deaths from liver cancer are up a staggering 43 percent overall nationwide, and South Carolina’s rate is higher than the national average, federal health officials say.

While a number of factors could be to blame, including alcohol and tobacco use, experts point to rising rates of hepatitis C, or HCV, as the main culprit.

General Interest
Foodborne illness may be on the rise. Here’s why

(CNN) One child drank apple cider at a Connecticut farm, another a glass of juice during a road trip in Oregon; later, both were rushed to emergency rooms as they struggled for their lives. A middle-aged woman became sick more than a decade ago after enjoying a salad at a banquet hosted by a California hotel; her debilitating symptoms continue to this day.

A 17-year-old paid the ultimate price when he ate two hamburgers “with everything, to go” and died days later.

These are the stories behind the faces on the “Honor Wall” of Stop Foodborne Illness, the national nonprofit that represents and supports those who suffered a drastic consequence following the most ordinary act: eating.

DHEC in the News: Free sunscreen, obesity, smoke-free college campuses

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

Free sunscreen now available in dispensers at Riverdogs stadium

Forgot your sunscreen? There may soon be dispensers of the stuff on the path to the beach and in the area’s parks.

There are already 10 of the sunscreen receptacles at the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park stadium, installed last Sunday. The SPF 30 sunscreen is free at the dispensers.

The initiative is intended to help bring down cases of melanoma. More cases of the skin cancer have been diagnosed every year in South Carolina, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

 General Interest

CDC Says Obesity Higher in Rural Versus Urban Counties

On June 15, the CDC released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)(www.cdc.gov) that found the prevalence of obesity was higher, at 34.2 percent, among U.S. adults living in nonmetropolitan counties than the 28.7 percent prevalence among those living in metropolitan counties.

This research was based on state-level data from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an annual random-digit-dialed telephone survey of adults 18 and older. The CDC and state and territorial health departments conduct the BRFSS to monitor health conditions and related behaviors.

CDC: College Campuses Increasingly Go Smoke-Free

Twice as many colleges and universities in the U.S. had smoke-free or tobacco-free policies in 2017 than in 2012, according to the CDC and American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF).

The vast majority of the 2,082 colleges and universities with anti-smoking policies as of November 2017 were tobacco free, meaning they had banned not only conventional cigarette smoking, but all other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and hookah use.

Know the ABCS of Good Diabetes Control

Taking care of your diabetes and the conditions that come with it can help you lower your chances of heart and blood vessel disease. Every step you take to keep your ABCS (A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol) in your target range and quitting smoking, will help lower your risk of heart disease or a stroke.

  • A is for A1C. The A1C test gives you a picture of your average blood glucose (blood sugar) control for the past two to three months but is different from the blood sugar checks you do each day. The results give you a good idea of how well your diabetes treatment plan is working. Having too high levels of blood sugar over time can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes. Ask your health care provider what your goal should be.
  • B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.  High blood pressure, often called the silent killer, won’t go away without treatment. That could include lifestyle changes and, if your doctor deems necessary, medicine. Ask your health care provider what your blood pressure goal should be.
  • C is for cholesterol. Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL cholesterol, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL cholesterol, can clog your arteries. High triglycerides raise your risk for a heart attack or a stroke. Ask your health care provider what your cholesterol numbers should be.
  •  S is for stop smoking. Not smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Blood vessel narrowing makes your heart work harder. E-cigarettes aren’t a safe option either. If you are having trouble quitting, the Quitline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free for any SC resident. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

To learn more about your risk for diabetes, click here to take an online risk assessment.  For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes in SC, please email ndpp@dhec.sc.gov or call 803-898-1934 to speak with someone in DHEC’s Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health Division.

 Additional Resources to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes