Is free trade making us sick?

On May 20, the Jaime Lucero Institute on Mexican Studies at CUNY and the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute presented a workshop on free trade, health and nutrition in Mexico. The session was part of the Sobremesa, a festival on the role of food in Mexican communities in the United States and Mexico. The first presentation by Nicholas Freudenberg from City University of New York School of Public Health examined some of the ways that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) contributed to diet-related diseases in Mexico. View the presentation here.

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Alcohol Advertising Exposure Among Middle School–Age Youth: An Assessment Across All Media and Venues

The purpose of this study which appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs was to quantify middle school youth’s exposure to alcohol advertisements across media and venues, determine venues of greatest exposure, and identify characteristics of youth who are most exposed.

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NRA is now almost entirely a pro-Republican group, spending more money than ever to ensure Congress doesn’t enact any gun safety laws

For four decades, the National Rifle Association has pumped millions of dollars into federal elections, supporting both Republican and Democratic candidates who voted in accordance with the gun group’s strict view of the Second Amendment. That era is over, reports the New York Daily News and The Trace. “What you’re seeing is that the NRA is now operating at the core of the Republican national party coalition,” says Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, a leading think tank on money in politics. “They’ve essentially zeroed out Democrats. They used to give to them as a way to maintain leverage in both parties.”

Leaked TTIP documents released

Earlier this month, Greenpeace Netherlands released secret documents from the EU-United States Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. The 248 leaked pages comprise TTIP negotiating texts, including the US position, and internal EU documents outlining the state of play of the trade talks.  They are available at www.ttip-leaks.org. At the release, Jorgo Riss, director of Greenpeace EU, said: “Greenpeace Netherlands has made these documents publicly available to bring some much needed transparency to the debate on TTIP. We have seen grave concerns for environment and public health confirmed, and invite others with expertise in different areas to download these documents and analyse the impacts of this trade deal. The public has a right to know what is being traded away in their name.” The Greenpeace analysis of the documents is available here.

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The Potential That Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Can be a Disruptive Technology: Results From a National Survey

A new study evaluates the reasons for use and acceptance of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) among current and former cigarette smokers to assess if ENDS may become a satisfying alternative to cigarettes. Former smokers (the “Switchers”) report finding ENDS a satisfying alternative to regular cigarettes, with only 15.8% rating ENDS as less enjoyable than regular cigarettes. However, greater than fivefold more current smokers (77.3%) did not find them satisfying and stopped using them.  Being less harmful was the most highly rated reason for continuing to use ENDS among “Switchers.” Most (80.9%) “Switchers” reported that ENDS helped them quit cigarettes. Since many current smokers who have tried ENDS reject them as a satisfying alternative to regular cigarettes, ENDS will not replace regular cigarettes unless they improve.  Full citation:  Pechacek TF, Nayak P, Gregory KR, Weaver SR, Eriksen MP. The Potential That Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Can be a Disruptive Technology: Results From a National Survey. Nicotine Tob Res. 2016 May 3. pii: ntw102.

Beyond Obamacare: Stopping Corporations from Making People Sick

Cross-posted from the American Prospect

by Nicholas Freudenberg

The next generation of health reforms should loosen the grip of corporations on the health of Americans, an issue that will resonate with voters angry about special interests in 2016.

Since the sweeping health-care law best known as Obamacare took effect in 2010, Republicans have voted 63 times to repeal or gut it, and Democrats have argued over whether to expand it or scrap it in favor of a public single-payer plan. But not much attention has been given to going beyond the Affordable Care Act to take on the root cause of our nation’s most serious health problems: a corporate system that profits by sickening people.

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Changing Corporate Practices to Reduce Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries: A Promising Strategy for Improving Global Public Health?

In presentations on “Changing Corporate Practices to Reduce Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries: A Promising Strategy for Improving Global Public Health?” at Edinburgh University and University of Glasgow, Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at City University of New York School of Public Health, described the role of corporate business and political practices on the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases and injuries. He also analyzed what roles public health professionals can play in countering the adverse health effects of these practices. View the presentation.

Tracking the Effects of Corporate Practices on Health