Former Speaker John Boehner, to Join Tobbaco Board

23 September 2016

Former US Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has recently joined as a member of the Board of Directors of Reynolds American Inc (RAI). Reynolds, the makers of such cigarettes as Camel and Newports, and John Boehner, a current smoker, especially of Camels, seem like a match made in heaven. Boehner will serve on the board governance committee as they try to navigate the new tobacco regulations (once again, not a big surprise here).

In a public statement, a Boehner spokesman said that, “RAI is is striving to transform the tobacco industry through innovative strategies that include speeding the decline in tobacco use among young people and reducing the harm caused by smoking. These are objectives Speaker Boehner supports and looks forward to helping RAI advance through his service on the board.”

While I will offer no opinion about whether or not RAI, specifically, is in fact trying to reduce youth use and reduce the harms caused by smoking, I will say that historically, the tobacco industry has been targeting youth to use, especially those in minority communities. In fact, Asian countries have actually seen a rise in Tobacco use and sales, whereas, in other continents, tobacco sales and use are declining. To me, I would love to see their strategies on how they are going to reduce youth use. If it is anything like before, then it will not be very much.

What do you think of John Boehner joining the board of the second largest Tobacco Company in the country? Comment down below.

Looking into Substance Abuse Policies: US Presidential Race

16 September 2016

As we get closer and closer to the November elections I thought it would be important to look at the Substance Abuse Policies put forth by a few candidates running for office. By doing this, I wish to help inform you, and by no means is this an endorsement or and opinion piece of one candidate or another. I hope you enjoy the read, and find the article helpful.

For this final piece, we will be looking at the two major party candidates running for the US Presidency: Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. You can find a bio for Donald Trump here. You can find a bio for Hilary Clinton here. Both candidates have positions on substance abuse on their website.

Donald Trump

You can find Trump’s position on the “Drug Epidemic” under the Issues tab on his website. Link to that here.  You are going to have to scroll down a bit to read more into it. There, you will find a 43 Second YouTube video about his issue. Some Highlights (excluding the epic background music): His commitment to “stop the drugs coming in to New Hampshire and in the country by building a wall” and “will make the people that are addicted better” (slightly paraphrasing, sightly direct quote).

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has a whole page dedicated to “Addiction and Substance Use.”  There is a video on that page as well, and most of it, is a story women’s addiction to drugs when she was a teen in what looks to be some sort of Town Hall with Hillary Clinton listening on. Some highlights: she wants to “empower communities to implement programs to teach adolescents about drug use and addiction,” “investing on recovery community organizations to make sure everyone gets treatment,”  “giving first responders access to naloxone,”  and “rehab and treatment over jail time for low-level Drug offenders” (once again, slight paraphrasing, slight direct quote).

Clinton also has a little fact sheet that you can find here.

What do you think about each candidate’s position? Comment down below.

Looking into the Substance Abuse Policies: Illinois US Senate Race

9 September 2016

As we get closer and closer to the November elections, I thought it would be important to look at the Substance Abuse policies put forth by a few candidates running for office. By doing this, I wish to help inform you, and by no means is this an endorsement or an opinion piece for one candidate or another. I hope you enjoy the read and find the article helpful.

This week we will be looking at the two major party candidates running for the US Senate in Illinois: Incumbent Mark Kirk (R) and Tammy Duckworth (D). Both Mark Kirk’s and Tammy Duckworth’s campaign website contains no information on any policy stance about anything on their websites, but they do contain brief bio’s of each candidate and you can read more about each in the link here, for Mark Kirk and here, for Tammy Duckworth. After doing some digging, I was able to find some public statements about drug policies, but no real clear information about their drug policy agenda that they would propose.

Mark Kirk

Senator Mark Kirk has a piece on the heroin epidemic on his official Senate website. You can find that here. He  has since been continuously talking about the heroin epidemic throughout his time in office. You can find them by searching on his website. Mark Kirk has also made a few mentions of drug policy in relation to border security.

For a full list of all statements by Mark Kirk in relation to drug policy you can also go here. (Disclaimer: the website, has a limit on the amount of pages you view on their website before you have to start paying/ getting a subscription. I would just be careful about how many times to click and surf through the pages.)

Tammy Duckworth

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has also been very interested in tackling the ppioid/ heroin epidemic. On her official Congressional website, she has talked a bit about the heroin epidemic and preventing drug abuse, and you can find that here.  For a full list of all public statements by her on the issue, you can click here. (Disclaimer: same website as above with Mark Kirk. Be mindful of your clicks.)

What do you think about the drug policy statements put forth by each candidate? Comment below!

Next week: the Race for President!



Tips for a Fun, Safe, Last Barbecue of the Summer

2 September 2016

This weekend marks the unofficial end of Summer. As you fire up the grill one last time before Fall rolls around, here are some tips that’ll keep your kids safe and Alcohol-free during your long-weekend barbecue.

  1. Restrict Access to Alcohol As a responsible adult, it is important to know where it is you are keeping the alcohol. The best thing to do is to store all of your adult beverages in a separate cooler from your soda, water, and juice. The cooler should be within eye range so that anyone can keep an eye on the cooler. By restricting access, you greatly reduce the chances of teen sneaking a drinking.
  2. Be Vigilant- So you’ve limited where kids can get a drink at your party, and now you can sit back and relax, because there’s no way that they can get their hands on alcohol, right? Wrong! You would be amazed about how creative a kid can be when they want to, especially if they are trying to hide something from their parents! No matter what, always be vigilant of what your kids are up to, at a party. This is also just a good parenting tip in general.
  3. Be a good Role Model/ “Good Drinker”- We hear it all the time at the end every beer commercial. “Always drink responsibly.” This is especially true whenever you are around kids. No matter how much they “hate” you, kids always look up to their parents or those older than them, at the end of the day, and they often imitate and take cues from the adults in their lives, which is why it is so important for an adult to show responsible beverage drinking. Drink too much, and kids will think it is ok to drink a lot. The way you behave after having a few drinks also affects how they may act. For instance, if you’re always smiling and laughing after a few bottles, kids may associate drinking with a good time. Do the right thing: be conscience about how much you are drinking and the way you are behaving around youth!
  4. Talk to your Kids- This last rule goes without saying, and really should not start during your labor day weekend. You would be surprised about how much kids will listen and respect their parents. The most important thing, is building a report with them. You may have to start with a conversation about something that they care about, but show that you truly care about them as a person, and they will care about what you have to say. There is so much research out there about why underage drinking is bad for the teenage brain and the consequences of drinking. Use those to your advantage. Do your research and be prepared to answer some questions.

What are some best practices that you preach when it comes to preventing youth from drinking? Feel free to comment below!

Below are some resources if you want to know more:

Sources that I used:

For more information on underage drinking click here. 

US Surgeon General to send a letter to all US Doctors about Opioid Epidemic

26 August, 2016

US Surgeon general Vivek Murthy will be sending a letter to all U.S. Physicians addressing the opioid epidemic facing the country. In it he explains what the issue is doing to communities across the country, how we got here, and what doctors can do now to help solve this issue. Dr. Murthy explains that in the past, doctors were told that opioids were safe to use and had virtually no addictive traits. This has caused a quadrupling of  prescriptions handed out by doctors, but virtually no increase in the amount of pain over time. Dr. Murthy ends the letter with a call to action to all doctors to help him “turn the tide” on the opioid epidemic this country faces, and asks doctors to pledge to do something about it.

This actually marks the first time in US history that the US Surgeon General has penned a letter to all physicians, a good indicator of the severity of the situation. According to the CDC in 2014, almost 2 million people either abused or depended on prescription drugs. Prescription opioids also go hand-in-hand with the heroin epidemic, so it is also very important to discuss this issue. If you or someone you know, is a physician, I encourage you to read this, or pass this along to the physician in your life, and take the pledge to turn the tide.

What do you think about the Surgeon General’s letter? Comment down below.

Link to the US Surgeon General’s letter can be found here.

Story can be found here.

Turn the Tide Rx website can be found here.

FDA finally bans E-cigarette sales to minors

19 August 2016

On May 6th, CASAP first wrote about how the FDA was seeking to regulate E-cigarettes. Early last week, the FDA finally began banning the sale of E-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. Under the new rules,  a photo ID is required in order to purchase them, retailers must stop handing out free samples, and e-cigarettes on the market since 2007 must undergo a federal review, all in addition to the rules barring those under 18 from purchasing.

Officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services and many other public health organizations lauded the FDA regulations as a prevention tool, citing many studies that claim that teens who vape are more likely to smoke regular cigarettes. Although, it is important to note that there are some studies that have found that adults who transition from regular cigarettes to e-cigarette, found e-cigarettes a transition tool to quit, the opposite seems to be true when it come to our youth.

The main reason behind the FDA regulation is the increase in e-cigarette marketing, that seems to be advertising directly at teens. E-cigarette companies spent $115 million on advertising in 2014 compared to $6.4 million in 2011 and feature the same images of e-cigarettes being cool, sexy, and fun as we saw in regular cigarette advertising many years ago.

More information about this story can be found here.

Click here for a story about the chemicals found in E-cigarettes.

Study: Disparities exist in Asian American Smoking Rates

12 August 2016

The CDC did an analysis study on the adult smoking rates across many different races and ethnic backgrounds by looking at National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2002-2005 to 2010-2013. Across racial boundaries they found that American Indian/ Alaska Natives had a huge prevalence of smoking (38.9%) compared to Asian Americans (10.9%). The researchers also found a wide disparity within  the Asian Subgroups, i.e. Chinese and Asian Indians at 7.6% and Koreans at 20%.

The study was a national study conducted by SAMHSA in partnership with RTI international and often involves and interviewer going to a participant’s homes to interview them. The survey was offered in English and in Spanish. You can find out more about the NSDUH here.


The findings here are hardly surprising to those who study Asian American health. Those who do study Asian American health know that, while an average number from all Asian subgroups might give you a number that would appear that Asian Americans are healthy, if you look at the subgroup data, that is when you will notice the disparities for Asian Americans. This is certainly the case in this situation.

Another point of discussion that I would like to bring up, is the fact that the survey could only be administered in English or Spanish. With the Asian American population, this is an issue, and I would suggest that the researchers could receive much more accurate data, if they were able to survey in Asian languages. As CASAP, we know that if we walked around Chinatown right now we would find a lot of people smoking, and they often do not understand English. By only offering English and Spanish services the administrators could easily be offering inaccurate data for Asian Americans. As stated above, inaccurate data is already an issue for Asian Americans. Hopefully something is done to change this.

What do you think of all this? Comment down below.

Link to the CDC report can be found here.

Nice graph summarizing Asian American cigarette usage here.