Smoking rates among U.S. adults are at an all-time low. While this is good news, smoking and tobacco use still have significant health and economic implications for the global population.
On May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) observes World No Tobacco Day. This day is a powerful reminder of the tobacco epidemic that persists worldwide. Individuals and communities can take action against tobacco use. Also, World No Tobacco Day can empower people wanting to quit smoking for good.
Adult Smoking Rates Have Dropped
Last year, U.S. smoking rates dropped to one in nine adults or about 11%, an all-time low compared to 42% in the 1960s. However, adult use of electronic cigarettes rose to about one in 17. These findings come from a National Center for Health Statistics survey of over 27,000 adults.
Firefighters sign up for the job knowing they will put their lives on the line to serve and protect the public from fires. Unfortunately, burgeoning data shows that these critical first responder communities across the country might also be facing threats to their health over the long term due to their heroic occupation. While much more information is still needed about the link between cancer and firefighting, it has been compelling enough for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to create a National Firefighter Registry for Cancer. This registry is the nation’s largest effort that works to explore cancer occurrences in the firefighter community nationwide.
Whether you’re a current firefighter, a retired firefighter, or a public health communicator, being aware of the ongoing research evaluating cancer incidence in firefighters is crucial. Here’s what you need to know about why this research push is needed, the various exposures that firefighters face, the potential long-term impacts on their health, and what’s on the horizon for the newly-created cancer registry.
Why Has the NIOSH Created a New Cancer Registry?
In a press release in mid-April 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the launch of its new National Firefighter Registry for Cancer, encouraging all U.S. Firefighters to join. According to the CDC, the registry's goals are to understand and reduce cancer in the fire service.
Individual and systemic racism affects virtually every aspect of public life. It is especially pervasive in medicine and public health. Being Black, indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC) can be harmful to your health.
The U.S. Congress and several local and state governments have declared racism a public health crisis. While these declarations are not legally binding, they convey that racial and cultural justice is necessary to safeguard all citizens’ health. Racism at individual and societal levels negatively impacts vulnerable populations’ mental and physical health. It also prevents members of marginalized groups from receiving equitable and adequate healthcare.
Understanding why racism is a public health emergency can shed light on the health-related harms of racism and bigotry. It also stimulates efforts to remedy the injustices and improve the general health of all Americans.
Why Is Racism a Public Health Emergency?
A public health emergency occurs when the effects or consequences of a public health threat are pervasive enough to overwhelm the organizations and facilities responsible for responding to it. In most cases, policymakers and community leaders cannot legally enforce emergency declarations. Nevertheless, they serve as a call to action to review and revise current policies and practices that allow the emergency to permeate.