PHILADELPHIA–The Health Department’s latest Health of the City report shows declines in smoking and sweetened beverage consumption, both of which are behaviors that can lead to heart disease, Philadelphia’s leading cause of death. However, chronic diseases, the opioid epidemic, and a rising rate of gun violence continue to negatively impact the overall health of the city.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “The opioid crisis is both exacerbating the homelessness problem in Philadelphia and increasing the number of homeless people who die of drug overdoses. The health department is working with many other City agencies to reduce the number of people who become addicted and help those who are addicted – homeless or not – begin drug treatment.”
And most deaths in the city’s homeless population were due to overdoses, Hersh said. That’s a sea change from just a few years ago. Between 2009 and 2015, about 37% of deaths among the homeless population were from overdoses. Between 2016 and 2018, overdoses accounted for 59% of such deaths.
“Every day, too many young people in Philadelphia and across the nation are dying early from preventable causes,” said Raynard Washington, chief epidemiologist for the city Department of Public Health. “Substance use, gun violence, and smoking- and obesity-related chronic illnesses are the primary causes of premature death among Philadelphians.”
By Rita Giordano
PHILADELPHIA–Mayor Jim Kenney, with representatives from the Economy League and Health Department, announced the release of a report detailing opportunities to grow the “good food” economy. The report assessed the size and scope of the Philadelphia food economy to discover opportunities to reap the benefits of “good food” businesses and policies. The report showed that Philadelphia is home to 6,500 businesses that grow, manufacture, distribute, sell, or serve food, or eliminate food waste. The food economy employs 79,000 people, comprising 12% of all jobs in the City.
The info comes from a year-long project by the Health Department and the Economy League to quantify the restaurant industry’s growing contribution to the Philly landscape.
By Michaela Winberg
Meanwhile, Cheryl Bettigole with the Philadelphia Health Department says the bright spots here are that there are lots of small businesses focusing on healthy and quality food.
“We are starting to see reports come out about the burgeoning vegan food movement, healthy food movement in Philadelphia,” she said.
By Hadas Kuznits
Health officials are warning of possible Hepatitis A exposure at a Center City restaurant.
According to officials, they recently confirmed that a person who works at Ristorante La Buca, located at 711 Locust Street has acute Hepatitis A.
Anyone who dined at the restaurant between Monday, Oct. 28 and Friday, Nov. 15 should receive a Hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible, officials warn.
Those who have previously received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine or have had Hepatitis A in the past do not need to be vaccinated, the department said.
By Max Bennett
Anyone who dined at the restaurant between Oct. 28 and Nov. 15 would have been potentially exposed, according to health officials. The Health Department advises that people who haven’t already received two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine and dined at the restaurant should receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Those who’ve already received two doses of the vaccine or have had Hepatitis A in the past don’t need to be vaccinated, health officials said.
By Adam Hermann
Officials recommend anyone who visited Ristorante La Buca between October 28 and November 15 receive a Hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible after a person who works at the restaurant contracted the virus.
hia Department of Public Health (PDPH) reports promising reductions in new diagnoses of HIV. The number of newly diagnosed persons decreased 14.3% from 495 diagnoses in 2017 to 424 new diagnoses in 2018 with a notable decline of 35.8% in Black men who have sex with men (MSM); the City has experienced steady declines in new HIV diagnoses since the mid-2000s consistent with national trends.
The number of HIV diagnoses in Philadelphia has gone down, according to new date from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
The PDPH released the 2018 HIV Surveillance Report, which contains data reported through June 30, 2019.
By Max Bennett
The city has records of 19,011 people living with HIV, while another 2,019 people are estimated to have the virus without yet knowing. In 2018, Philadelphia’s 424 new HIV diagnoses were down from 495 new diagnoses in 2017. That continues a trend of steady declines since the mid-2000’s.
By Michael Tanenbaum
As dozens of vaping-related lung illnesses are being investigated across Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced Wednesday that they will introduce legislation to ban flavored e-cigarettes and vape pods from stores that sell to minors.
By Nina Feldman
“No one knows what’s in these products,” Dr. Farley explained. “Even the FDA doesn’t know, because they haven’t required manufacturers to submit a list of ingredients.”
Under the proposed bill, sales of various product types would be limited to adult-only stores that require patrons to be at least 18 years old.
The products listed in the legislation include e-cigarettes with more than 20 mg/ml of nicotine salts, e-cigarettes with flavorings and e-liquids with more than 20 mg/ml of nicotine salts or flavorings sold separately.
By Michael Tanenbaum
At a press conference on Wednesday, city health commissioner Tom Farley noted that 25 percent of high school seniors in Pennsylvania currently use e-cigarettes. (For comparison, less than five percent of the adult population currently vapes.) While the rate of teen vaping was previously declining in the state, the figure doubled from 2017 to 2019. “These teens are not smokers trying to quit,” Farley said, referencing the traditional argument made in favor of e-cigarettes. “These are kids getting addicted to an entirely new product.”
By David Murrell
Under this new legislation, e-cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes that contain higher levels of nicotine will only be sold in stores that service adults, not children or teens. Kenney said this is a crucial step to make since more and more kids are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes at a young age.
By Becca Glasser-Baker
Philadelphia is joining the crackdown on e-cigarettes as vaping-related illnesses are on the rise across the United States. Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Tom Farley announced new legislation proposing restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes to minors on Wednesday.
But Farley noted that many children are going straight to e-cigarettes.
“More than 25% of 12th graders are now vaping,” said Farley. “These teens are not smokers. They’re getting addicted to an entirely new product. No one knows what’s going to happen to these children’s lungs if they use these products for years or decades. We don’t want any more young people clinging to life on a ventilator.”
By Bethany Ao
Philadelphia Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley said, “It was done aware of the risks of preemption. But on the other hand, we feel we have to act. So if companies want to take us to court, take us to court. We believe this is the right thing to do to protect our children.”
By Bob Brooks
E-cigarettes typically contain 59 milligrams of nicotine per millimeter of liquid. Stores owners that want to allow teens and children inside would have to limit e-cigarette sales to products with no more than 20 milligrams per millimeter–and no added flavoring.
By Pat Loeb
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley also announced that “Behind the Haze,” a social media campaign spreading awareness on the dangers of vaping, is set to launch next week.
“It shows teens that e-cigarettes contain chemicals that are either of unknown risk or that are in fact known as carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer,” Dr. Farley said.
By Rudy Chinchilla and David Chang
E-cigarette manufacturers are not required to submit a list of ingredients to the federal regulators, said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a written statement.
By Michael D’Onofrio