Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Birmingham Becomes Smoke-Free!

Yesterday, I had the privilege of addressing the Birmingham City Council regarding the Clear Indoor Air Ordinance and its importance to the health of the citizens in our city.

The City Council heard from many sides of the issue, but in the end concluded with a unanimous vote to pass the ordinance. The new ordinance is among the toughest in Alabama, with a longer list of locations where smoking is prohibited,  including hotels, bars, lounges and outdoor patios.

This was, I thought, an historic event for Birmingham, and I applaud the council for their thoughtful deliberation and courage in moving forward with this. Birmingham now becomes the largest city in Alabama to go "smoke free." Maybe this will be the stimulus for a statewide smoke-free law. Let's hope so.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Disturbing Trend

Today's edition of The Birmingham News features a story that highlights a disturbing trend among Alabama teens - the increasing use of smokeless tobacco products. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, about 19 percent of high school boys in Alabama use dip, chew or other such products. The national average among this same age group is 12 to 15 percent.

This statistic is extremely concerning for many reasons. One is that if someone becomes addicted to tobacco at a young age, he or she is more likely to become addicted for life. This greatly increases their cancer risk, as smokeless tobacco can lead to cancers of the throat, mouth, larynx and stomach.

Another cause for concern is the misinformation surrounding smokeless tobacco. While we have made great strides in educating people about the dangers of cigarettes - and decreased the number of smokers in the process - many people believe that smokeless tobacco is less addictive and less harmful than cigarettes. Reports, most recently one by the Surgeon General, have shown that this is definitely not the case.

With April being Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, I encourage you to educate yourself and your children about the dangers of both smokeless tobacco and cigarettes by visiting the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and UAB Medicine websites. And when it comes to these products, remember to just say NO.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Young Professionals Help the Cancer Center Spring Ahead

Spring is always a busy time of year, and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is no exception to that. Today I had the privilege of attending the quarterly meeting of our Young Supporters Board, which is busily preparing for its annual fundraiser, Fiesta Ball 2012.

It always amazes and inspires me to see the tremendous energy and enthusiasm these young professionals have for the fight against cancer. Each one of them has been touched by cancer in some way and have chosen to give back and make a difference.

Today we had the pleasure of watching a video from the Cancer Center's Life Stories series, which featured Mary Ann Harvard, a charter member of the YSB and a five-time survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma. By sharing her story, Mary Ann serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of research and why we do the work that we do.

I encourage you to watch Mary Ann's video and learn more about the YSB by visiting our website or YouTube. We would also love for you to join us to celebrate Cinco de Mayo for a cause at Fiesta Ball 2012 on May 3 at B&A Warehouse. You can learn more about that event (and purchase tickets) by clicking here.

Again, the support of our community is critical to the mission and success of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. As always, I thank you for everything you do to help us achieve our vision of eliminating cancer as a major public health problem.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.