Update on Two Stories

5 May 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


Hello readers,

I wanted to give you an update to two stories that I have posted in the past 3 weeks, so here we go!

2 UIC Professors Exploring Binge Drinking and Heart Health

Last week I talked about how a German study showed a connection between alcohol consumption and heart arrhythmia. This week, we learned that 2 professors at University of Illinois in Chicago are exploring the link with excessive binge drinking and heart disease. With a $420,000 federal grant, they will be looking at blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and other signs of vascular aging. In a press release the researchers said that they were interested in learning about this issue, especially in a College setting.

Tom Marino Will NOT be Name Head of ONDCP 

US News and World Report is reporting that Tom Marino has withdrawn his name from consideration to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. I had previously reported that his name was being considered for the post two weeks ago. Citing family illness, Marino publicly announced his withdrawal from the position Wednesday evening, 3 May.

“Due to a critical illness in my family, I have, with regret and the utmost respect, informed the White House that I must withdraw my name from consideration for Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. I thank the President for the enormous honor of considering me for this lead role in the effort to address one of the most pressing issues facing our nation and my state today: the opioid epidemic. I will remain in Congress and continue to support President Trump in whatever way I can.”

No news yet on the Trump administration’s response to this.

What do you think of the following two updates? Comment down below.

Link to all stories/sources can be found in the article.


Study: Alcohol May Lead to Heart Arrhythmia

28 April 2017| By: Kevin Trieu

A study out of Germany is linking alcohol consumption with abnormal heart rhythms. Dr. Moritz Sinner, assistant professor of medicine at University Hospital Munich, and some of his colleagues decided to test this link between heart rhythm and drinking at a very unscientific place: Oktoberfest. And so they went to Oktoberfest armed with a breathalyzer and electrocardiogram.

Over 16 days, the scientist collected data on BAC levels and heart rates of 3,028 participants. The reception to the study was positive, which surprised the researchers, and they excluded people who were severely intoxicated, as they cannot truly give consent. they average age was 35 and the average BAC was 0.09%. Researchers were also able to find “a profound association of acute alcohol consumption with sinus tachycardia, or increased heart rate with no justification,” said Dr. Sinner. The likelihood of a person would experiencing this was linked to how much a person drank.

The study itself is not very surprising. we’ve known for a while that there is an association between drinking and issues with the heart, but the study does provide data that this is truly the case. Although, one limitation to the study was that, the study was not able to look at the long-term effects that drinking has on the heart; however, the researchers wanted to emphasize that drinking in moderation should not lead to many long term health consequences, but drinking excessively will. If you are an adult aged 21 or over, it is strongly suggested that you keep these words in mind.

What do you think of the study? Comment down below.

Link to the news article here.

For a story on how heavy drinking can lead to aged arteries, click here.

NYC Mayor to Raise Cigarette Prices

21 April, 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio plans to place a base price on cigarette packs from $10.50 to $13. This would make NYC the most expensive place in the country to buy a pack. For comparison, in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina the average price of a pack is lower than $5 a pack. The national average for a pack of cigarettes is $6.16.

The City is also planning on limiting the number of tobacco retailers they have, where they currently have some 9,000 retailers across the City. “There are 29 times more tobacco sellers than Starbucks in New York City.” Mayor de Blasio tweeted. His initiative would also ban any and all pharmacies from selling tobacco.

While not in New York, CASAP applauds the City of New York’s efforts to stamp out Big Tobacco. Any effort by any city to curb the use and access to tobacco is a plus in our book. We know that tobacco use is harmful and that a delayed first use of tobacco greatly reduces the chances of someone getting addicted for life, so why not limit where someone can get tobacco and raise how much it costs. Time and time again, raising the price has been a great motivator for people to quit. Let’s all stand together and applaud New York for putting the health and well-being of others over profits.

What do you think about New York raising their cigarette prices? Comment down below!

Link to Story 1 and Story 2.


RUMOR: Tom Marino (R-PA) Slated to Lead ONDCP

14 April, 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


Multiple news agencies are reporting that Pennsylvania Congressman, Tom Marino, has been tapped by President Trump to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The Office of National Drug Control Policy or ONDCP is a cabinet level office that leads the charge in developing policies around substance use and drug control.

Before his stint in Congress, Marino was a lawyer and a former U.S. Attorney. According to his official biography, there seems to be no mention of experience in drug control or drug prevention. That being said, he did introduce a bill in Congress called the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 which “provides the Department of Justice with additional tools to target extraterritorial drug trafficking activity, and for other purposes.” The Bill seems to target the import/export of drugs and other dangerous substances.

If this report is true, this can represent a noticeable shift in the mission and goals of ONDCP. The most recent Director of ONDCP, Michael Botticelli, had a Public Health background, working for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health from 1994-2012. He, himself, was also a former addict, and had a huge push for prevention and treatment policies during his time at ONDCP. Based on Marino’s one bill; however, we could see a push towards drug enforcement rather than prevention and treatment. Unfortunately, nothing has been confirmed yet, and ultimately only time will tell.

What do you think of the rumor? Comment down below.

Link to the story here.

CASAP News Round-up

7 April 2017| By: Kevin Trieu

Hello! Lots of news to cover today, so without further ado, here…we… go!

Report: 1 in 10 Deaths Worldwide are Caused by Smoking|According to a Global Burden of Disease Report, Smoking tobacco causes 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. The report was a study of 195 countries from 1990 to 2015. Despite the growing efforts and a better understanding about the harmful effects of smoking, we are still seeing a high prevalence of tobacco use. Tobacco Companies are constantly targeting developing countries and newer markets to advertise to. It is also important to note that 52.5% of the deaths reported occurred in just 4 countries: India, Russia, China and the US. Nothing surprising in this report. I just hope that this report and a few other would raise the global awareness about this issue even more, and finally stamp this out.

Study: 1 in 4 Youth exposed to second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes|CDC is reporting that in the past 30 days, 1 in 4 middle and high school students have been exposed to second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes. The number means that about 6.5 million teens were exposed, 4.4 millions of which, were not users at all. In the past, the US surgeon general has raised the concern over e-cigarettes harm to youth such as the exposure of nicotine or heavy metals. E-cigarettes are increasingly popular among youth and the study hopefully increases a growing body of concern over making sure our youth, are protected from these harmful substances.

FDA Nominee Mum of Flavored E-cigarette Ban|Speaking of e-cigarettesFDA nominee Scott Gottlieb, did not take a stance on flavored tobacco products, in a Senate Hearing. “I recognize there is a line here somewhere, and I don’t know where that line gets drawn,” Gottlieb said. He also mentioned that there are times where a ban may seem inappropriate and appropriate for others, but was unable to have a clear cut statement on the issue. In my personal opinion is that within his statement, therein lies the very nuanced issue of substance use. I believe that what Gottlieb is getting at is that of someone who is looking at 2 different groups: teenagers and adults (21 and over). If I, as someone who is over the age of 21, decided to have a flavored e-cigarette today for the first time, there is a very, very low chance that I will forever be addicted to e-cigarettes. However, if I were 16, and I decided to use a flavored e-cigarette for the first time, there is a greater likelihood of me becoming addicted, because of how the brain works at that time, and where the brain is on the development spectrum, and we see this all the time in substance use. If someone decided to use any drug, for the first time at age 21, science suggest that their possibility of addiction, would be relatively low vs someone deciding to use when they are 16. It is important to note, however, that Scott Gottlieb has financial interest in Kure, a vape store franchiser, according to The Hill report, but has committed in divesting from that company if he gets approved by the Senate.


1 in 10 Deaths Worldwide news articles here and here.

E-cigarette exposure news article found here.

Scott Gottlieb article can be found here.



Let’s End Adult Tobacco Use NOW

31 March, 2017| By: Kevin Trieu


In a report by the Core Team of Tobacco Control, 120 Tobacco Control Leaders called on the US to renew efforts to curb tobacco smoking. Smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths every year in the US, and the US currently has 40 million smokers. The report aims to reduce the numbers of smokers to 25 million by 2024. The main issue here: smoking cessation. We have made significant progress in tobacco prevention in youth. Our IYS data showed just 2% of 8th graders report smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days.

The report also recommended 3 key strategies to curb tobacco use among Americans.

  1. Raise taxes on combustible tobacco products, while keeping non-combustible tobacco taxes low.
  2. Increase access to tobacco dependent treatment i.e. gum, patch, etc etc.
  3. Updating policies to increase growth in development of safer nicotine alternatives such as ENDS.

The report is nothing new to me, and the strategies, don’t seem too out there. While, disappointing to hear that Tobacco 21 policy was not addressed, I am, however, very glad that this report was published. A report like this is needed to continue to raise awareness and the prevalence of smoking in our society. While, culturally tobacco is often looked down upon now, there as still a lot of people to who continue to smoke in the US. Any move or recommendation to greatly reduce these numbers is always appreciated.

What do you think? Comment down below.

Link to story here.

Link to full report here.

For a story on the Global cost of Smoking, please click here.

Announcing Results for the 2017 Tobacco Reward and Reminder

24 March, 2017 | By:Kevin Trieu


On February 20th, 2017 CASAP trained youth leaders in the Chinatown, Armour Square and Bridgeport area to participate in a program called Reward&Reminder (R&R). R&R is a program designed to see if if local retailers are following tobacco policies and guidelines about selling to underage customers (In Chicago, it is 21 years old.). We surveyed 7 different stores in the Bridgeport community. A team of students and adults would enter a store. Students would then attempt to purchase cigarettes without any ID. If the clerk asks for ID and turns down the student for not having any ID, then the student walks out of the store, and the adult walks up to the counter to give the clerk a certificate and a gift card, recognizing the clerk for keeping their community safe. If the clerk rings up the student without checking for ID, then the student would “forget to have their money” and walk out of the store without having purchased anything. The adult would then walk up to the store clerk and explain what our program is and leave them with a “reminder” of the tobacco laws and ordinances. Never during this process will students ever be lying to the clerk, and we will not be reporting the stores that fail to check the student’s ID, to the proper authorities.

Of the 7 stores that we surveyed, 5 of them refused to sell to our students. CASAP would like to take the time now to recognize these stores:

  • Walgreens, 3000 S Halsted St.
  • Marathon Gas, 659 W 31st St
  • Morgan Repair and Food, 3205 S Morgan St.
  • Gas Express/ Citgo, 501 W 31st St
  • Voss Pharmacy, 3303 S Halsted St

Thanks to every one of these stores for keeping our kids safe.

What did you think of these results? Comment down below.

Link to full press release here.