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Articles of Interest

Less harm does not equal harmless.
Vaping and e-Cigarettes in Kids: An Unprecedented Epidemic
Medscape

2015

Sipek, Sarah. "Through Hell and Well." Workforce, December 25, 2015.

Bill Baun is the wellness officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has been working in corporate wellness since its earliest days, and despite his own battle against cancer, his input continues to shape the wellness field today.

Benz, Edward J., Jr., MD. "How We Can Reduce Cancer Risk and Lower Health Costs." Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Insight, December 18, 2015 | Updated May 22, 2017.

Yesterday, the Boston Board of Health approved a policy raising the minimum age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21. This is great news. As a former smoker, I know how easy it was to pick up the habit at age 18. I know how quickly nicotine becomes addictive, and I know how hard it was to finally quit smoking at age 37. As a physician and president of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, I see daily the heartbreak and havoc that tobacco wreaks on patients, families and health care costs.

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today marked the first anniversary of ending tobacco sales at CVS/pharmacy by releasing new data showing a measurable reduction in cigarette purchases over the past year. The company also announced it is renewing its commitment to creating a tobacco-free generation througha joint initiative between CVS Health, its Foundation and Scholastic to launch a schoolbased tobacco-prevention program.

Implementing comprehensive tobacco policies in the workplace can rapidly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, gradually reduce the additional risk for cancers, improve worker productivity and therefore reduce the direct and indirect medical costs of tobacco use.

Gittelson, Celia. "A Field in Motion: Fighting Cancer with Exercise." Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - On Cancer, July 21, 2015.

Using an approach that spans basic and clinical science, exercise scientist Lee Jones, Director of the Cardio-Oncology Research Program (CORP), and his team are designing and testing the effects of individually prescribed exercise training to prevent or minimize the adverse cardiovascular side effects of cancer therapy. They’re also working to answer this potentially paradigm-shifting question: Can exercise be an effective treatment for cancer itself? Here, Dr. Jones talks about some of this work.

2014

CNBC interview with Mr. Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi and chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.

Bryla, Jacy. "Cancer Presents Complex Workplace Challenges—According to IBI Research." Integrated Benefits Institute, March 26, 2014.

Cancer typically costs employers about $19,000 annually per 100 employees in lost work time and medical treatments. Lost work time and underperformance at work (presenteeism) due to cancer costs employers $10,000 per 100 workers—more than half of the total costs associated with cancer—and medical and pharmacy treatments cost about $9,100. Employees with cancer are absent 3.8 more days per year than workers without cancer, and also lose the equivalent of 1.8 more days per year to presenteeism.

Richtell, Matt. "Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes." NY Times, March 23, 2014.

A dangerous new form of a powerful stimulant is hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon and even the barrel. The drug is nicotine, in its potent, liquid form — extracted from tobacco and tinctured with a cocktail of flavorings, colorings and assorted chemicals to feed the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.

Sherry, Mike. "KC employers urged to help fight cancer." Kansas Health Institute, February 13, 2014.

Fighting the nation’s second leading cause of death is a smart move for companies because it helps keep their workers fit and productive, a top U.S. health official with area connections told a business audience Tuesday at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.

The bad news for smokers goes well beyond CVS’s CVS, +1.06%   announcement Wednesday that it will stop selling all tobacco products. It turns out smoking cigarettes can be even deadlier than previously thought. And, according to a report released by the U.S. surgeon general, smokers could be paying for the added risks in more ways than one.

2013

Thorpe, Kenneth, written in partnership with Mary Grealy, President, Healthcare Leadership Council. "Value of Employee Wellness Programs." Huff Post Blog, March 18, 2013.

We’re writing this blog post because we have considerable experience, in our respective roles, working with employers who have put in place innovative wellness programs and are using metrics and their understanding of the unique nature of their respective workforces to continue fine-tuning these initiatives to strengthen their effectiveness. We believe it would be unfortunate if the idea that employee wellness programs bring no return on investment took hold and became conventional wisdom. These initiatives are critical weapons in the ongoing war against chronic disease.

Schroeder, Steven A., M.D. "New Evidence That Cigarette Smoking Remains the Most Important Health Hazard." New England Journal of Medicine, January 24, 2013.

Everyone knows cigarette smoking is bad for you. Most people in the United States assume that smoking is on its way out. But the grim reality is that smoking still exerts an enormous toll on the health of Americans, as documented in two articles in this issue of the Journal. Both articles review mortality trends over time for men and women according to smoking status, and both confirm that smoking remains a huge threat to the public's health.

2012

Viehbacher, Christopher; Martin Murphy, DMedSc, PhD, FASCO. "Encouraging, lauding steps to reduce cancer risks." The Oklahoman, March 18, 2012.

Public officials find it difficult to lead when personal lifestyle is involved, including choices about smoking, exercise and diet. Yet such prevention initiatives remain important levers for reducing disease. That's why we should be especially proud of Oklahoma's “CEO,” Gov. Mary Fallin, and her decision to prohibit tobacco use on state property. 

2011

"The Road to Wellville." Texas CEO Magazine, July 24, 2011.

A C-Suite discourse on the complexities of employee wellness

Henke, Rachel M.; Ron Z. Goetzel, Janice McHugh, and Fik Isaac. "Recent Experience In Health Promotion At Johnson & Johnson: Lower Health Spending, Strong Return On Investment." Health Affairs, March 2011.

Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies introduced its worksite health promotion program in 1979. The program evolved and is still in place after more than thirty years. We evaluated the program’s effect on employees’ health risks and health care costs for the period 2002–08. Measured against similar large companies, Johnson & Johnson experienced average annual growth in total medical spending that was 3.7 percentage points lower. Company employees benefited from meaningful reductions in rates of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition. Average annual per employee savings were $565 in 2009 dollars, producing a return on investment equal to a range of $1.88—$3.92 saved for every dollar spent on the program. Because the vast majority of US adults participate in the workforce, positive effects from similar programs could lead to better health and to savings for the nation as a whole.

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