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Monday, 26 September 2011

Public Health News Headlines. Jail, antibiotics, sex, tobacco and air

Monday’s always seem full of public health news headlines
1.      Groups opposing mandatory minimum sentencing
2.      Canada has some of the cleanest air in the global – but still affects thousands of Canadians
3.      Alternatives to antibiotics sought for farm animals
4.      More persons having unsafe sex
       And in the email box, a notice on the national consultation process for the Federal Tobacco Control

The previous blog article spoke to the insistent perversion of the current government to impose mandatory minimum sentencing when health advocated, judicial experts and rehabilitation specialists speak openly against the utility of such legislative strategies.  Mandatory Minimum sentencing a waste of wallet.
A WHO report on air quality ranked Canada and Australia tied for 3rd amongst 80 countries for the quality of air.   A subject that this blog will have to come back to.  Canada has some marvelous air quality scientists and was the first country to use a multipollutant approach to assessing air quality as it negatively affects health.
CBC is running a piece following an “announcement” on Marketplace that the federal government will invest $4 Million in looking to address antibiotic use in farm animals.   The good news is the government responded to the actions of  the media in forcing transparency.  The bad news is neither the government nor the CBC read the blog AMR and livestock Kicking the cat or for that matter the government has only minimally taken the advise by their own expert advisory panel report from almost 10 years ago now.  
 A pharmaceutical company sponsored study for today as World Contraception Day shows that increasingly sex with new partners is without any form of contraception in the developed world.  Press release Clueless or Clued up.  Some developing countries appear to be doing better with sex education.  Regrettably Canada was not part of the survey.   It does go to show that sometimes Big Pharma can be involved in some good work.
Finally, the federal government is calling for input on a one year federal tobacco control plan.   Tobacco Control Strategy consultation  What caught my eye most, was the initiative led by Health Canada, includes partnering with Public Safety, RCMP, Revenue Canada, Border Services and Public Prosecutions.  Of course Canada should be proud of its accomplishments to date in reducing smoking in this country.  Peak levels in the high 30% range have decreased to 17% and Canada has outperformed many developed countries in reducing tobacco use.  The emphasis of the strategy is on enforcement through penalizing those that sell to minors,  cracking down on smuggling, cracking down on counterfeiting, restricting advertising and at least making tobacco less attractive.  Missing of course are efforts to support a smoke free lifestyle, educational activities, cessation support and targeted efforts at two overrepresented groups, those with mental illness and our First Nation communities.  I suspect more fodder for the blog. 
Do your part, and submit something to the government supporting a positive approach to tobacco-free environments, supporting cessation, and developing directed strategies to work with First Nations and those afflicting by chronic mental illness.  

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