NATIONAL. Next FDA chief must continue fight against teen vaping, local health officials urge (CNN)

By Shefali Luthra

In an almost uniform response to the impending exit of Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, city and county public health officials are urging the Trump administration to go bigger in its response to adolescents' growing use of e-cigarettes.

The issue, they say, is reaching crisis levels and many worry the FDA's much-touted efforts are falling short.

Read more.

SAN ANTONIO. After ‘Tobacco 21,’ Metro Health Director Seeks ‘Culture of Health’ for SA (Rivard Report)

By Roseanna Garza

March 28, 2018 (Rivard Report) -- Photographs and awards line the walls and shelves in Colleen Bridger’s office at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, mementos from her last job, in Orange County, North Carolina.

“[Before,] a big day for me would be one press conference and two meetings,” Bridger said of her job in Orange County, which has a population of just 135,000. When she took over as San Antonio’s Metro Health Director just over one year ago, she knew she would have to adjust to a much faster pace.

Bridger moved fast and aimed high during her first big push for change, successfully spearheading San Antonio’s effort to become the first city in Texas to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. She introduced the idea to City Council in November 2017, and it was passed just three months later.

She called the legislation, known as Tobacco 21, the “most significant public health policy that I will ever be involved with.”

Counterparts from the Big Cities Health Coalition, which comprises leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments, called the policy success “remarkable” given that little progress implementing Tobacco 21 has been made in other Texas cities despite overwhelming evidence of the positive health impact.

Read more

KANSAS CITY. Kansas City’s killers: guns, pills and cigarettes (Kansas City Star)


Kansas City has a thing for drugs, guns and smokes.

And that’s killing us.

Data released Tuesday comparing cities on various measures of public health showed Kansas City residents more likely than those elsewhere to drop dead from drugs in the heroin family, to get injured or killed by firearms or to die from lung cancer.

The numbers released by the Big Cities Health Coalition compared 28 cities on measures ranging from cancer deaths to binge drinking. (Fewer Kansas Citians tend to get drunk than those in other cities.) The database covers the largest cities in the country defined by the population within their city limits. That leaves out some large metro areas, such as St. Louis. And not all cities reported data in every category.

Largely drawn from city health departments, the numbers showed deaths from opiates in Kansas City at 15.7 for every 100,000 people — or more than three times the national average.

Read more.