Tag Archives: smoking

Reduce Your Risk of Stroke: Take Action Now During National Stroke Month

May is National Stroke Month.  Did you know that up to 80% of strokes in the United States are preventable?  Use this month to prioritize healthy lifestyle choices that lower your risk.

Stroke is the number five killer and leading cause of disability in America.  While there are some risk factors that are beyond your control (i.e. age, family health history, race, gender, etc.), take the necessary steps to pay attention to what you can control.  According to the American Stroke Association, these are the risk factors to watch:

  • High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Diet
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Carotid Artery Disease
  • Peripheral Artery Disease
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Other Heart Disease
  • Sickle Cell Disease

If you have some of these risk factors or are unsure of your risk, take the Stroke Risk Quiz now.

South Carolina had the sixth highest stroke death rate in the nation and is part of the “Stroke Belt,” a group of Southeastern states with high stroke death rates.  Stroke was the fifth leading cause of death in South Carolina, resulting in 2,627 deaths in 2016.  Although stroke deaths have decreased from 53.3 to 45.5 per 100,000 (see below), South Carolina had a substantially higher rate than the United States.

May 1 2019 Stroke Death Table

Take the time to educate your loved ones about stroke prevention.  Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website:  www.cdc.gov/stroke.  For more information about South Carolina health statistics, view the 2018 State Health Assessment Report.

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!

OCRM 1

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.

OCRM 3

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: ‘Stop the Bleed,’public housing going smoke-free, students attend health summit

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

SC School Nurses Learn How to ‘Stop-the-Bleed’ in Columbia

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – School nurses from all over South Carolina come to Columbia to educate others when it comes to “stopping the bleed” in an emergency situation.

“Bleeding is the number one cause of death in trauma patients, the number one cause of preventable death,” says Rich Wisniewski with DHEC.

In this two-hour class called “Stop-the-Bleed,” school nurses are learning how to train others in emergency procedures.

Charleston public housing braces for challenges as it goes smoke-free

When the nation’s public housing goes smoke-free next week, the Charleston Housing Authority admits it will be struggling with how to enforce the ban even after adopting its own no-smoking policy last fall.

Don Cameron, executive director of the Charleston Housing Authority, said his agency that serves some, families is still trying to find the right balance between creating a healthier environment for residents and making sure the shift isn’t a jarring one.

“This is probably the biggest change we’ve had in the last decade that affects the entire public housing industry across the country,” Cameron said.

General Interest

Florence One students attend health summit in Atlanta

FLORENCE, S.C. – Five students from Florence One Schools went to Atlanta last week to attend the National Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit, the nation’s largest in-school health and wellness program.

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.