Clear Lungs, Clear Minds Coalition | LACMA has partnered with the Los Angeles Pediatric Society (LAPS) and Dr. Tony Kuo, director of the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, to form the Clear Lungs, Clear Minds Coalition and launch efforts to combat vaping use amongst adolescents and teens. I want to share a message from LACMA member and LAPS President Dr. Patrick Whelan on this topic:
For 50 years the members of the Los Angeles Pediatric Society have been involved in a pitched battle against youth addiction to cigarettes, with dramatic success. In 1989 California voters passed a ballot measure approving the California Tobacco Control Program. Subsequently, smoking rates declined in California by more than 55% between 1988 and 2015, from 23.7% to 10.5% of adults. In 2016 voters again stepped up to the plate and approved by almost a 2:1 margin a $2 per pack increase in taxes and also taxed e-cigarettes for the first time in support of the Medi-Cal healthcare program for the poor. California now has the second lowest adult smoking rate, behind only Utah.
But the e-cigarette/vaping phenomenon is threatening to reverse all the hard-earned progress against an addiction that contributes to the deaths of nearly half of all users – 6 million people worldwide every year, including 600,000 non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke. According to the Health Department, 40% of LA County high school students have tried e-cigarettes. Nationally, more than 80% of youth who have ever smoked reported using a flavored tobacco product first. There is no doubt that flavored and mentholated tobacco products are enticing a new generation of addicted users.
As terrible as the prospect of a new generation of people addicted to nicotine may be, the potential for increased marijuana habituation among teenagers is in some respects even more daunting. A San Diego County report last summer indicated that half of all adolescents arrested there tested positive for marijuana. Nine of 10 had used marijuana in the previous month, with an average age of first use at 12.4-years. With the increased availability of marijuana since legalization in California, several surveys indicate that kids think marijuana is less harmful and more easily available to them than alcohol or cigarettes.
In March, the Pediatric Society hosted the annual spring Parmalee meeting, with Dr. Michael Marcy lectures that focused on the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping. Providence St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica was the venue and brought together members of the Los Angeles Academy of Family Physicians, the Southern California Society for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Los Angeles County Medical Association.
The topic was introduced by Dr. Tony Kuo, director of the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Dr. Christopher Harris, professor of pediatrics at UCLA and previously director of the pediatric pulmonary division at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, talked about the scope of the challenge to individual pediatricians when it comes to understanding and confronting the new epidemic. Dr. Alan Blum, a professor of Family Medicine at the University of Alabama and one of the foremost national authorities on the tobacco industry, spoke about the efforts of the tobacco companies to take over the vaping industry and to employ their unparalleled marketing capabilities to expanding nicotine use again among young people.
There is reason for optimism. Four local cities have already enacted flavored tobacco bans: Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. I am working to support the Los Angeles County Medical Association and the LA County Department of Public Health in advocating a collection of measures intended to restrict the access of children to these addictive products.
First, the new regulations would require that stores have a tobacco retail license to sell e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
Second, they would prohibit the sale of flavored and menthol-containing tobacco products in the County.
Third, pharmacies would not be allowed to sell tobacco products, a lucrative market for them that muddies the message that nicotine addiction is dangerous to our health.
Fourth, the rules would prohibit the sale of tobacco products near schools, libraries and parks.
The Clear Lungs Clear Minds Coalition will give pediatricians a fighting chance of countering the perception that e-cigarettes are cool and that nicotine and marijuana are free of adverse health effects for children and adolescents in Southern California. I welcome any feedback and your involvement with me in this effort. Patrick Whelan, MD, PhD
President, Los Angeles Pediatric Society
Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, UCLA Geffen School of Medicine
Data Breaches Are Real
Hacking, ransomware and identity theft targeting medical practices continue to make headlines as Modern Healthcare magazine reported on June 14 that data breaches for the month of May alone exposed 2 million patients. Penalties are severe, and damage to both patients and practice could extend beyond personal and financial consequences; namely, image, reputation, credibility and trust can be eroded quickly. LACMA has entered into an agreement with LibertyID to provide identity theft restoration for practices. If a physician and/or his/her practice’s identity is stolen and they are signed up for one of LibertyID’s LACMA member plans, just one phone call to LibertyID results in full identity theft restoration. This means that LibertyID will take care of everything for the physician.
They will spend however much time it takes to manage the dozens of phone calls, hours of wait time, filing of documents, replacing any lost documentation, and every other detail that needs to be attended to. Their services are 100% guaranteed, which means our members can rest easy that none of the burden will fall on their shoulders, and while other companies offer identity theft resolution, this only means they will guide you through the process of doing it yourself. The hard work is still 100% up to you. If any member has a question or wants to learn more about the LACMA and LibertyID partnership, I encourage you to reach out to founders Paul Ferron at email@example.com or Travis Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resident Fair Schedule
June 20th was the kickoff of this summer’s Resident Fairs, where we began the summer-long event at UCLA’s Geffen Center. Take a look at the schedule below to see what location we will be visiting next!
June 27 | 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | USC
July 1 | 12 – 1:30 p.m. | Cedars Sinai
July 1 | 12 – 2 p.m. | UCLA Geffen Center
August 1 | 12 – 1:30 p.m. | Cedars Sinai
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Medical Association
“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”