Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Great Job “Kicking The Habit”, CVS

I applaud CVS’ leadership in promoting health and wellness in announcing that effective this October, their stores will no longer carry cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco. 

As a retail pharmacy with a national footprint, CVS stands poised to rise head and shoulders above its competitors with regards to “putting its money where its mouth is.”  There is no place for tobacco within establishments such as pharmacies that have come to be identified with health and wellness.  I encourage other pharmacies to follow suit and truly be beacons of health and wellness in their communities.

The life-changing impacts of tobacco use on health is clear – it is the number one preventable cause of heart disease, babies exposed to tobacco smoke are five times more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and those who smoke and have chronic illnesses are more likely to have poorer health outcomes than those who do not smoke.

Nearly a quarter of Baltimore City residents surveyed in 2011 reported that they were a current smoker. The city's Healthy Baltimore 2015 goal is to decrease the percentage of adults who currently smoke by 20%, and this decision by CVS, which has many Baltimore stores, will surely be a help as we strive to reach that goal.

Healthy Baltimore 2015 outlines 10 priority areas that account for the greatest preventable disease, disability and death and where we have identified goals to make Baltimore a healthier city in which to live, work and play. Among the areas that stand to benefit from this announcement include: 
  • Be Tobacco Free
  • Promote Heart Health 
  • Create Health Promoting Neighborhoods

We look forward to working with CVS and any other pharmacy willing to take a stand in promoting wellness in their communities by eliminating the sale of tobacco in their establishments. 

Take care, B’more.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Keep The Little Ones Warm AND Safe During The Cold Winter Months

It’s cold out there and we’re all bundling up with lots of layers.  These are times when parents and caregivers are especially concerned with keeping babies extra warm.    The reality is that more layers and more blankets are not necessarily the best way to keep babies safely warm.

Sadly, infant sleep-related deaths sometimes rise during the winter as parents think they are doing the right thing by “bundling up” their babies when putting them to sleep.  A desire to keep babies warm may inadvertently lead instead to tragedy.

Several risk factors in winter months can contribute to sleep-related infant deaths.  Babies can be overheated with too many layers on or can suffocate under blankets. Additionally, this risk can be compounded by greater exposure to tobacco smoke inside the home when windows are closed, or from congestion due to having colds.

Every parent and caregiver should observe the A-B-C’s of safe sleep.  All babies less than one-year-old need to sleep alone, on their back, in a crib - every time, no exceptions.

In the winter months, remember these tips:

·                     Babies can be dressed in a wearable blanket or one-piece pajama. For an extra layer of warmth, a onesie or undershirt can be put on the baby underneath either of these options.
·                     Avoid covering babies with blankets and comforters which can suffocate a baby.
·                     Hats should not be worn because they can slide down accidentally and cover the baby’s face.
·                     The room that a baby is sleeping in should be at a temperature comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult, such as 72 degrees.
·                     Babies should be sleeping alone, on their back, in a crib (ABC’s of safe sleep).

BCHD works with the Family League of Baltimore City to manage the B’more for Healthy Babies coalition, bringing together communities, organizations, and resources so that every baby might have the best start possible.  For more Safe Sleep tips, check out

For families who cannot afford to provide a safe sleeping environment for their infants, the Baltimore City Health Department will provide and set up a portable crib free of charge. For help in getting a crib, contact HealthCare Access Maryland at 410-649-0526. Also, resources on safe cribs is here:

Remember, everyone taking care of babies needs to keep them warm and safe as the temperatures get colder. Far too many babies in Baltimore City die before their first birthday, and many of these deaths are preventable.

Take Care B’More.