Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tobacco: The Kiss of Death

Arsenic is the poison used to kill rats. Did you know cigarettes and chew have that, too? Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is launching its ‘Kiss of Death’ multi-media campaign to educate youth and young adults about the harmful chemicals found in tobacco products and tobacco smoke.

According to the Surgeon General, nearly 9 out of 10 people who smoke, start by age 18, and 99% start before the age of 26. A recent study published in January 2015 found that teens believe that “light smoking” poses little or no risk. Through the ‘Kiss of Death’ campaign, JCPH hopes to shed light on the fact that even one cigarette or dip is too many.

“Misperceptions about the harms of tobacco still exist, and youth and young adults are continuing to become addicted. By raising awareness that tobacco products contain deadly chemicals like arsenic and formaldehyde, we hope teens and young adults will be discouraged from ever starting,” explained Zach Dunlop, Youth Engagement Specialist from Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative.

During the month of February, the ‘Kiss of Death’ campaign will be advertised digitally on Pandora and Facebook, and print versions may be viewed on beverage coasters at local bars and restaurants. Campaign messages will also reach youth and young adults at several area high schools and Red Rocks Community College. High school students will play off of the campaign’s edgy ‘kiss’ graphic during the week of Valentine’s Day by hosting events aimed to educate fellow students about the harms of tobacco use. These events will give youth the opportunity to interact with the campaign by writing “break-up” letters to the fictional character “Nic O. Tine” and spreading the word through social media using #KissofDeath.

Learn more about the toll of tobacco and how to get involved in local tobacco prevention efforts at

If you or someone you know needs help with breaking up with “the Kiss of Death”, consider some of the following FREE resources:
  • For telephone support, coaching and resources to help you or a loved one become tobacco-free; call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). The QuitLine also offers web-based support at This free service provides information and tools to develop your own personal plan for quitting.
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment offers, an online web hub that connects visitors to a variety of resources and topics including cessation services and information on preventing secondhand smoke exposure and youth tobacco use.
  • COQuitMobile is a free text-based program that places you on the path to a life free from tobacco.
Attend a free tobacco cessation group hosted by Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge on Tuesdays at 12:00 p.m. This is a six week drop-in group that provides adults who want to quit smoking with tools and support to achieve their goals. (You do not need to attend all six weeks in order to participate.)

You may also visit the Thinking of Quitting page on the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Website for a list of additional resources and videos that will encourage and help you to quit.

Have questions about sexual health? Go Ask TISH!

Jefferson County Public Health’s Family Planning program reminds adults and youth that preventing unplanned pregnancies is one of the most important things you can do for your reproductive health. In addition, February happens to be National Condom Month and a perfect time to remind everyone that safe sex means more than using birth control, it also means using a condom. Of all the birth control available, the condom is the most frequently used method that not only has a high contraceptive rate (98% effectiveness rate for male condoms and 95% for female condoms, when both used correctly and consistently) but even protects against the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. 

While various forms of birth control may prevent pregnancies, they do not prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs. If you are sexually active and have not been using a condom, you are at risk. Get tested at our clinic location in Lakewood. Call 303-239-7078 to schedule an appointment. If you have any questions and need answers, text 720 446-TISH (8474), the Text Information Sexual Health line is confidential and answered regularly by one of our public health nurses.

Anti-vaccination movement taken to task over measles outbreak

From January 1 to January 23, 2015, 68 people from 11 states were reported to have measles. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. The U.S. has already seen a record number of measles cases in the past year, with 644 cases from 27 states reported to CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in 2014. This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

Those infected with measles aren't the only ones suffering amid the ongoing Disneyland outbreak, as our partners at the National Public Health Information Coalition have recently shared, the anti-vaccination movement is enduring its fair share of criticism from the media. Here are just a few media excerpts:

Time magazine: “Less than two weeks into 2015 come the year’s first stories about the latest victims of the nation’s declining vaccine rate,” referring to the Disneyland outbreak. “And this time, ground zero is the self-proclaimed Happiest Place on Earth, which is in danger of becoming the decidedly less consumer-friendly Most Expensive Disease Vector on Earth.”

Los Angeles Times: “the anti-vaccination movement is a corner of the United States that is backsliding into medieval ignorance. Alarmingly, it finds a welcoming embrace in some of our most affluent and ostensibly educated communities, such as Marin County. Entertainment figures such as the starlet Jenny McCarthy and the talk show host Katie Couric have played their role in spreading the darkness.”

Bloomberg News: published an article about how measles may now be in the U.S. to stay, 15 years after it left.

Vox Media noted that this article, quoting Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, topped its list of most-read articles. "Women in the developing world know the power of (vaccines). They will walk 10 kilometers in the heat with their child and line up to get a vaccine, because they have seen death," said Gates. "We (Americans) have forgotten what measles deaths look like."

Jefferson County Public Health’s Immunization Program urges everyone to stay up-to-date on immunizations, including the Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Please call 303-239-7078 to schedule an immunization appointment.

The Public Health Strategy for Protecting Our Communities from Ebola

Public health agencies across the nation are working diligently to monitor travelers from Ebola-affected countries to protect the health of the public. In Colorado, the traveler monitoring program set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began in August of 2014. Travelers from the three Ebola affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone) are closely monitored as soon as they arrive in the United States at one of five international airports (New York, Virginia, Atlanta, Chicago or Newark). While Jefferson County Public Health, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), continues to monitor a small number of travelers who have returned from Ebola-affected countries, there are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Jefferson County.

View the JCPH Active Traveler Monitoring Program Fact Sheet

CDC/CDPHE and JCPH maintain efforts to ensure we have the most effective strategy possible to respond to a potential case of Ebola in Jefferson County. CDPHE and all of our County partners are strongly committed to protecting your health. Ongoing local public health activities include:
  • Tracking and monitoring travelers returning to Jefferson County from affected West African countries;
  • Supporting hospital preparedness efforts with education and information as they plan and prepare to medically support an individual with suspected or confirmed Ebola;
  • Improving and refining County-wide protocols to effectively handle a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola in Jefferson County.
Download the JCPH Ebola Disease Fact Sheet

For more information about Ebola, please view the CDC web site .
Information is also available on the CDPHE web site.

For more information contact Jefferson County Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness Program at
303-271-8394 or email Christine Billings at

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Get Your Heart Into It . . . Wear Red on February 6, 2015

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 1 million lives annually. Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease which is roughly the equivalent of a September 11th- like tragedy repeating itself every 24 hours, 365 days a year. But, heart disease is preventable and manageable.

Jefferson County Public Health recently completed a comprehensive health assessment and cardiovascular disease is also the leading cause of death in Jefferson County. It accounted for more than 24 percent of all deaths in 2011. Heart disease and stroke are the most common types of cardiovascular disease. Although cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Jefferson County, the number of deaths has declined over the past 10 years. Heart disease can often be prevented. Tackling known risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and inactive lifestyle can greatly reduce risks for illness and death from heart disease.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds everyone that Friday, February 6, 2015 is National Wear Red Day. Wearing something red on February 6, is a simple, powerful way to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke.

JCPH is organizing a photo opportunity at the Jefferson County Courts and Administration Building, 100 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 12 noon. Please join us and wear your favorite red.
Jefferson County Public Health is committed to promoting health, preserving the environment and preventing injury and disease for the residents of Jefferson County, Colorado. Please call 303-232-6301 or visit our web site at for more information.