Protect West Virginia’s Kids from Candy-Flavored Tobacco
By Dr. Joseph Reed
While West Virginia has made some headway in reducing cigarette smoking, tobacco use remains a huge problem in our state. In fact, the Mountain State has both the highest high school smoking rate (18.8 percent) and the highest adult smoking rate (24.8 percent) in the country.
Smoking is a key reason why West Virginia is considered one of the least healthy states, with high rates of tobacco-related conditions like heart disease and cancer. Every year, tobacco kills 4,300 West Virginians and costs us $1 billion in health care expenses.
In Upshur County, where I work, more than half the kids in 4th and 5th grade live in homes where tobacco is used. We are working through local coalitions and the health department to promote smoke-free and tobacco-free lifestyles, including electronic cigarettes. However, we can’t do it alone.
Without support from West Virginia’s elected officials, we won’t be able to make and sustain meaningful progress toward reducing the toll of tobacco in our state. It makes no sense that state lawmakers recently voted to eliminate funding for the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
Even worse, this action comes as tobacco companies are finding new ways to target our kids. In recent years, they’ve flooded the market with electronic cigarettes and cigars in a wild array of sweet flavors that sound like they belong in an ice cream parlor or candy shop. One study found over 7,700 different e-cigarette flavors, like cotton candy, bubble gum and cherry crush. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of cigar flavors more than doubled from 108 to 250.
Unfortunately, these tactics are working to increase tobacco use. Nationwide, e-cigarette use among high school students grew by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015, passing regular cigarettes as the most widely used tobacco product among kids. It is promising that youth e-cigarette use dropped in 2016, but it is too soon to know whether this is a long-term trend.
Once again, the problem is worse in West Virginia. Over 31 percent of West Virginia high school students use e-cigarettes, way more than smoke the regular kind. And over 17 percent of our high school boys smoke cigars.
To address these new challenges, West Virginia needs to step up its tobacco prevention efforts. We also need strong action by the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. Last year, the FDA issued new rules for e-cigarettes and cigars, aimed at protecting kids and public health.
But tobacco industry lobbyists are working overtime to roll back these rules. One bill they’re pushing in Congress would greatly limit FDA oversight of e-cigarettes and cigars already on the market. Another bill would completely exempt some cigars from the FDA’s purview.
Unfortunately, some West Virginia members of Congress are supporting these harmful efforts. Just this summer, Rep. Evan Jenkins voted for a House appropriations bill that included these two provisions. In addition, Sen. Joe Manchin is a cosponsor of the cigar exemption bill.
These West Virginia leaders should reconsider their positions in light of the health risks that cigars and e-cigarettes pose and their popularity with kids. Health authorities have found that cigar smoking causes several types of cancer, including lung cancer, and claims about 9,000 lives in the U.S. each year. Congress shouldn’t create a new loophole that tobacco companies would exploit to exempt some cheap, machine-made, flavored cigars that are attractive to kids.
E-cigarettes also pose health risks to kids. A recent Surgeon General’s report concluded that youth use of nicotine in any form can lead to addiction and harm brain development, with lasting effects on attention, learning and susceptibility to addiction. Several studies have also raised concerns that youth use of e-cigarettes could lead to use of other tobacco products, including regular cigarettes.
West Virginia’s U.S. senators and representatives should be working to protect kids from these new tobacco threats. We cannot let tobacco companies get away with using candy-flavored products to hook a new generation.
With the recent ACA repeal proposal advancing, we are reaching out to key states for their help in opposing the bill. In WV we are targeting Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Senator Joe Manchin. We ask that you encourage your members to call the Senators and request that they vote no on the ACA Repeal as soon as possible. Below is contact information for the Senators:
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Twitter Handle: Sen_JoeManchin DC office number: 202.224.3954 Charleston office number: 304.342.5855 Eastern Panhandle office number: 304.264.4626 Fairmont office number: 304.368.0567
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Twitter Handle: SenCapito DC office number: 202.224.6472 Beckley office number: 304.347.5372 Charleston office number: 304.347.5372 *not a typo they are same numbers Martinsburg office number: 304.262.9285 Morgantown office number: 304.292.2310
Following is a link to a SpeakOut that you may wish to forward to your members: http://grassroots.aaf
We’ll be working all week to provide you with more information and resources, but wanted to send you information as soon as possible.
The Marshall University Family Medicine Residency Program received a 2016-2017 Senior Immunization Award to implement a quality-improvement project to increase immunization rates in seniors.
The Marshall FMRP recently completed a QI project to increase immunization awards in seniors. Attached is their Case Study; a copy of their poster which was displayed at National Conference, as well as a picture of them accepting a framed certificate at the 2017 National Conference.
Charleston, WV – March 31, 2017 – Dilip Nair, MD a family physician from Huntington, WV was the recipient of the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians highest award – Family Doctor of the Year for 2017. The award was presented by Philip Galapon, MD the current WVAFP President and MU Alumni. The award was presented during the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians (WVAFP) 65th Annual Scientific Assembly held on March 30th – April 1st at the Embassy Suites in Charleston, WV.
The Family Doctor of the Year Award honors an outstanding, community-minded family physician that provides compassionate, comprehensive care. Candidates are nominated for their service as role models, professionally and personally, in their communities, to other healthcare professionals, physicians in training and medical staff.
Dr. Nair earned his doctor of medicine degree at University of Connecticut and completed residency at Marshall University School of Medicine. He is a Professor at Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University Family & Community Health, Huntington, WV.
Founded in 1948, the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians represents more than 1,000 physicians and medical students statewide. It is the largest medical specialty society devoted solely to primary care. The West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians is a chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Dr. Philip Galapon – Installed as the 65th President of the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians
Philip Galapon, MD, FAAFP was installed as WVAFP President on March 30th at the WVAFP Annual Scientific Assembly, Embassy Suites, Charleston, WV. The installation was performed by Dr. Robert Raspa, AAFP Board Member from Fleming Island, FL.
Philip Galapon graduated from Marshall University Joan C Edwards School of Medicine in 2008 with a specialty in Family Medicine.
He became Board Certified in Family Medicine in 2011. Dr. Galapon worked for Madison Medical Group from 2011-2016 before joining Lincoln Primary Care Center in 2016.
Dr. Galapon is a life- long Southern West Virginia resident who is passionate about Diabetic care and Adolescent medicine.
The information below is intended to give specific on the process of becoming a WVAFP Officer. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Gerry D. Stover, MS, EVP at email@example.com.
Prerequisite to becoming a WVAFP Officer
All of the following conditions must be met for consideration:
• Holds active membership in the WVAFP-AAFP
• Holds a valid medical license without restrictions
• Participates for one full year on the WVAFP Legislative Committee
• Serves as Doc4Day during a legislative session
Call for membership in Legislative Committee
Once a year, active members will receive an email, fax or newsletter asking about their interest to serve on the WVAFP Legislative Committee. Active members who respond will be screened by the WVAFP EVP. This will ensure there are no issues with the WV Board of Medicine and that they are valid active (retired members may serve on the Legislative Committee but can not become Officers of the WVAFP) members. The active member will be asked to provide a copy of their CV. Then the Chairs of WVAFP Legislative Committee will review the background information on the member and make a recommendation to the Board to appoint them to the WVAFP Legislative Committee.
If the Chairs of the Legislative Committee do not know the individual or are unable to verify their prior background the Chairs may ask the member to appear and discuss their interest in serving on the WVAFP Legislative Committee.
The Chairs of the WVAFP Legislative Committee may submit names to the Board anytime during the year to be added to the roster of the WVAFP Legislative Committee.
Selection of Officers for Secretary
Unless an officer has resigned his/her position the WVAFP bylaws require that only the Secretary position be filled as the other officers with the exception of the Treasurer move up one position per year. The President will review the roster of the active members that have served as Doc4Day and select a member to contact and determine their interest in becoming an WVAFP Officer. The President may delegate this activity to any member of the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will be composed of the President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary and the Executive Vice President (as a non voting member). Once a candidate for office has been selected a slate of officers will be prepared to submit to the Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting.