HealthyPharmacies.org projects reduction of tobacco sales in pharmacies
SAN FRANCISCO In a 180-degree about face from its position announced this past fall, HealthyPharmacies.org is now predicting that tobacco will be sold in few if any U.S. pharmacies within three years the organization announced Thursday.
“We’ve been amazed at how strong the support is for throwing tobacco out of all pharmacies,” stated Stuart Skorman, executive director of HealthyPharmacies.org. “The first mover will have the opportunity to pull off the PR coup of the century in the pharmacy industry. All the pharmacies have put wellness at the center of their marketing campaigns. But by eliminating tobacco from their stores, they will be sending a strong message to consumers that they really do care about peoples’ health while their competitors don’t.”
Such retailers as Target and Wegmans have already sent that message, has have regional pharmacies like Kopp Drug in Pennsylvania or Morton Pharmacy in Wisconsin. According to a USA Today report, most independent pharmacies are also already tobacco free.
In November, HealthyPharmacies.org floated a proposal to significantly reduce smoking by limiting tobacco sales to pharmacies only, with the goal of pharmacists being able to provide relevant cessation education. Pharmacy school leaders and anti-smoking nonprofits strongly rejected the proposal because they believe pharmacists, as healthcare providers, should not distribute tobacco under any circumstance.
Study: Some African-American diabetics at risk of developing retinal disease
NEW YORK African-American diabetics who consume large amounts of calories and sodium risk developing more severe retinal disease than those who don’t, according to a study published in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.
Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry and the New Jersey Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey examined 469 African-American patients with Type 1 diabetes who enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1998, administering eye exams, blood tests and a diet questionnaire after a six-year follow-up.
Those with the highest caloric intake at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop retinopathy leading to vision loss by the end of the six-year period, while those with high sodium intake had the highest risk of developing macular edema.
“In African American patients with Type 1 diabetes, high caloric and sodium intakes are significant and independent risk factors for progression to severe forms of diabetic retinopathy,” the authors wrote. “These results suggest that low caloric and sodium intakes in African American individuals with Type 1 diabetes mellitus may have a beneficial effect on the progression of diabetic retinopathy and thus might be part of dietary recommendations for this population.”
Google.org to expand Google Flu Trends tracking
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. Google.org on Tuesday announced on its blog site that it is expanding its Google Flu Trends tracking capabilities from the macro to the micro.
“We’ve been chatting with public health officials about new ways we can help people understand the spread of flu during this unusual time and today we’re excited to bring city level flu estimates to 121 cities in the United States,” the company wrote in its blog.
The city level estimates are “experimental,” the company cautioned, meaning they haven’t been validated against official data. However, the estimates are made in a similar manner to its U.S. national estimates, which have been validated.
In contrast to the unusually early spike of flu activity this October, Google Flu Trends is currently showing a low level of activity in the United States.
Google Flu Trends helps estimate flu trends in real time by tracking the popularity of certain Google search queries.