Category Archives: Tobacco

Dec 6 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Tobacco sales to teens, academic progression for nurses, epinephrine in schools, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

A study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Annice Kim, PhD, finds teens are more likely to buy tobacco products if they are prominently displayed in stores, Reuters reports. The researchers used a virtual reality game in a simulated online convenience store to collect their data. Health Day also reported on the findings.

News coverage of anti-Muslim fringe groups after September 11 “created the misperception they were mainstream organizations, and this perception enabled them to secure funding and build social networks that they may not [have] been able to do otherwise,” RWJF Scholar in Health Policy Research Christopher Bail, PhD, told United Press International about his study, recently published in the American Sociological Review. His findings also received coverage in Yahoo News, the Times Union, and Health Canal, among other outlets. reports on a study by the RN Work Project that examined the characteristics and motivations that influence registered nurses to pursue bachelor of science in nursing or higher degrees. Read more about the study.

Debbie Chatman Bryant, DNP, RN, assistant director for cancer prevention and control and outreach at the Medical University of South Carolina, was honored at a local ceremony for receiving an RWJF Community Health Leader award. The Post and Courier reports that Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) made a surprise appearance at the event.

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Nov 9 2012

Health Issues on Ballots Across the Country

Voters across the country were presented Tuesday with more than 170 ballot initiatives, many on health-related issues. Among them, according to the Initiative & Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California:

- Assisted Suicide: Voters in Massachusetts narrowly defeated a “Death with Dignity” bill.

- Health Exchanges: Missouri voters passed a measure that prohibits the state from establishing a health care exchange without legislative or voter approval.

- Home Health Care: Michigan voters struck down a proposal that would have required additional training for home health care workers and created a registry of those providers.

- Individual Mandate: Floridians defeated a measure to reject the health reform law’s requirement that individuals obtain health insurance. Voters in Alabama, Montana and Wyoming passed similar measures, which are symbolic because states cannot override federal law.

- Medical Marijuana: Measures to allow for medical use of marijuana were passed in Massachusetts and upheld in Montana, which will make them the 18th and 19th states to adopt such laws. A similar measure was rejected by voters in Arkansas.

- Medicaid Trust Fund: Voters in Louisiana approved an initiative that ensures the state Medicaid trust fund will not be used to make up for budget shortfalls.

- Reproductive Health: Florida voters defeated two ballot measures on abortion and contraceptive services: one that would have restricted the use of public funds for abortions; and one that could have been interpreted to deny women contraceptive care paid for or provided by religious individuals and organizations. Montanans approved an initiative that requires abortion providers to notify parents if a minor under age 16 seeks an abortion, with notification to take place 48 hours before the procedure.

- Tobacco: North Dakota voters approved a smoking ban in public and work places. Missouri voters rejected a tobacco tax increase that would have directed some of the revenue to health education.

Aug 10 2012

Increasing Life Expectancy Could Undercut Social Security Viability, Scholar Finds

Samir Soneji, PhD, is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program, and an assistant professor at the Dartmouth College Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. His study on the statistical security for Social Security was published in the August 2012 issue of Demography. Read the study.


Human Capital Blog: This study is a follow-up to your previous research. Can you briefly describe what you’ve studied up to this point?

Samir Soneji: Previously we studied the impact of historical smoking and obesity patterns on future mortality and life expectancy trends. For men there’s been a steady decline in cigarette smoking, and so also a gain in life expectancy. Women have also experienced a decline in cigarette smoking, but not as quickly. The rise in obesity has been much more recent than the historic decline in smoking, and we don’t know yet the impact of that rise. There’s a lag—the effect of today’s obesity may affect the population in 15-20 years, or later.  One possibility may be that the rise in obesity may partially offset what’s been achieved by the historic reductions in smoking. Taking these factors into account, we found that both men and women will have an increase in life expectancy in the next 25 to 30 years.

HCB: Your new study looks at the solvency of Social Security. Tell us more about what you were analyzing.

Soneji: The Social Security Administration and Medicare use the same mortality and demographic forecasts to determine the number of beneficiaries, and the number of working age adults who are contributing payroll taxes to support those retirees.

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Apr 26 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Low birthweight infants, antibacterial soap, youth and tobacco advertising, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

Surgeons do not include radiation oncologists early enough in the breast cancer treatment decision-making process, according to a study led by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Physician Faculty Scholar Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil. The result is that patients are sometimes not informed about all their treatment options. Health Canal and Cardiovascular Business are among the outlets to report on the study. reports that a study by Eileen Lake, PhD, RN, FAAN, and colleagues finds that some outcomes for very low-birth-weight infants are better at hospitals with Magnet recognition—those recognized for nursing excellence. Lake is a grantee of the RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI). The study of more than 72,000 very low birthweight infants finds significantly lower rates of hospital infection, death at seven days and severe intraventricular hemorrhage among babies born at Magnet hospitals than those born at other hospitals. Read the study.

After student leaders at the University of Texas passed a resolution calling for administrators to ban antibacterial soap from campus on grounds of chemical and environmental concerns, RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumnus Allison E. Aiello, PhD, MS, spoke to the Houston Chronicle. Aiello studies triclosan, an antibacterial chemical used in soaps and other products, at the Center for Society Epidemiology and Population Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

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