It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...
LOS ANGELES – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today joined Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Mark Ridley-Thomas and county Health Officer Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding to announce the start of the most aggressive, comprehensive anti-smoking campaign in L.A. County history to reach communities with high smoking rates across the county. This anti-tobacco effort will include several policy-based initiatives, social services and support for quit smoking efforts, as well as a high-profile and highly targeted media campaign to support a broad range of tobacco control efforts and raise awareness of free and low-cost resources to help smokers quit. These tactics will aim to ultimately reduce secondhand smoke exposure, discourage tobacco use, reduce consumption of tobacco products, strengthen youth smoking prevention efforts, and increase access to and utilization of effective tobacco cessation services.
“Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States,” said Secretary Sebelius. “The Department of Health and Human Services is committed to helping communities reduce smoking prevalence and decrease exposure to secondhand smoke. We are proud to be working with Los Angeles County, one of the leaders in tobacco prevention and control.”
While the overall smoking rate for L.A. County – at 14.3 percent – is substantially lower than the national average, there are still more than one million adults and adolescents in the county who continue to smoke. And smoking rates among certain populations continue to be much higher than the general population, including African Americans, Asian males, LGBT, those living in poverty, and those suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems. Among those racial and ethnic groups with smoking rates higher than the general population are:
African American males (32.1 percent) and females (19.6 percent)
Latino males (17.7 percent)
Korean males (44.8 percent)
Chinese males (16.4 percent)
Filipino males (17.1 percent)
Vietnamese males (24.8 percent)
“The stakes are too great for us to not step up our efforts. Over the next 18 months, the Department of Public Health will implement the most aggressive, targeted anti-tobacco campaign in L.A. County history,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “These funds are allowing us to build on our successes and redouble our efforts in the communities with the greatest need.”
In addition to Public Health’s 58 current partners – including CBOs, social service agencies and statewide partners – the county will be awarding grants to an additional 71 social service agencies, including homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities, throughout L.A. County to support tobacco cessation efforts. The county will also be working in more than 75 high schools throughout L.A. County, including continuation and alternative high schools, where approximately 32.4 percent of the students are current smokers.
“These efforts are ultimately focused on preventing the next generation of teenagers and young adults from using tobacco products. It is essential that we create more environments where tobacco use is not acceptable, where all county residents are protected from exposure to secondhand smoke, and where those who want help quitting know how and where to go get it,” said Dr. Fielding.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth.
Artist Amy Lay works on "Plastic: The Real Monster" at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium during their Ocean Appreciation Weekend on Sunday, August 22, 2010. The environmental art sculpture aimed at educating visitors about the dangers of single-use and common household plastics and the threat they pose to the marine environment.
Go-Topless Day - Images by Fabian Lewkowicz
Equal rights activists march along the Venice Boardwalk during the Third Annual National Go-Topless Day on Sunday, August 22, 2010. The Go-Topless Day rally was meant to proclaim women’s constitutional right to go bare-chested in public. Gotopless.org claims constitutional equality between men and women on being topless in public. Currently, women who dare to be topless in public in the US are repeatedly being arrested, fined, humiliated, criminalized. On Sunday August 22nd, 2010, topless women [will rally] in great numbers across the USA to protest this gross inequality in the law and [demand] that their fundamental right to be topless be acknowledged where men already enjoy that right according to the 14th amendment of the Constitution.
A Pacific angelshark (Squatina californica) eats her bi-weekly meal at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium on Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. She is latest resident of Santa Monica Pier Aquarium's Pier Habitat Exhibit. She is just under 2 feet long now, but will grow to about 4 to 5 feet in length. Angel sharks have flattened, sandy-colored bodies. They are ambush predator who conceal themselves on the sea floor buried in the sand and wait for approaching prey, primarily bony fishes and squid. The best time to observe this shark at the Aquarium is during feeding times on Tuesday and Friday afternoons; feeding of all the Aquarium animals begins at about 2:30 p.m.
The Santa Monica Plastic Bag Monster, Mary McNeil from the Surfrider Foundation, encourages people to call their senators and urge them to pass AB 1998 (Single Use Plastic Bag Ban) at the Santa Monica Boardwalk on Thursday, August 19, 2010. At 19 billion plastic bags a year, California is currently the biggest consumer of single-use plastic bags. AB 1998 will eliminate the distribution plastic bags in California by prohibiting grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and similar stores from distributing single-use plastic bags. Plastic bags are a primary component of urban litter pollution and marine litter pollution. Single-use plastic bags are a problem product because they are light, aerodynamic and are littered at a high rate. Once littered, plastic bags travel through the environment, ultimately ending up in the ocean and joining giant "garbage patches" circulating in ocean vortices.