Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Weapon in War Against Rx Drug Overdoses

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Every month, 21 Utah adults die as a result of prescription pain medications.  At third highest in the state, Downtown Ogden sees 29.6 deaths per 100,000 population. To combat the rising number of prescription pain medication overdoses in the Weber-Morgan area, officials from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Weber Human Services (WHS), and the Weber-Morgan Health Department (WMHD) have released a new toolkit to help community leaders and citizens prevent these tragedies.

“Over the past decade, prescription opioids have been responsible for more drug deaths in Utah than all other drug categories, including heroin and cocaine combined,” said Anna Fondario, UDOH epidemiologist. “This is a very real epidemic, and it warrants a strong public health response. If we work together, we have the power to save lives."

The toolkit was specifically designed to meet the needs of the Downtown Ogden area. In addition to local and national data, the kit includes information on: effective state policies; signs and symptoms of abuse; prevention tips for community leaders, parents, schools, health care providers, and law enforcement; recommendations for the safe use, storage, and disposal of medications; how to work with the media; and a list of Ogden-area resources such as locations of permanent drop-off sites and substance abuse treatment centers.

Another critical feature is a wallet-size card that explains what to do in case of an overdose and how to administer naloxone, a lifesaving rescue medication that can immediately reverse opioid overdoses.
“We look forward to using and sharing this toolkit,” said Brian Bennion, Executive Director, WMHD. “It will be a great resource as we look for ways to tackle the epidemic of opioid-related abuse and deaths in our community.”

Additional UDOH data show:

•   Utah ranks 5th in the nation for drug poisoning deaths; 49 Utahns die as a result of drug poisoning each month (1 death every 15 hours), and 75% of the deaths involve opioids such as oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone.
•   24.5% of Utahns reported using some type of prescribed opioid during the previous year. (Source: 2008 UDOH Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System)
•    2.6% of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 reported that they had used prescription drugs in the past 30 days that were not prescribed to them by a doctor. (Source: 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey)
•    From 2009-2012, the top five circumstances observed in prescription pain medication deaths in Utah were substance abuse problem (73.1%), physical health problem (67.7%), current mental health problem (65.5%), alcohol dependence/problem (19.4%), and history of suicide attempts (12.7%).

“We continue to see a rise in both the number of individuals entering treatment for prescription drug abuse and the severity of the problems presented by these individuals. It impacts nearly every aspect of their lives. We believe this toolkit can help slow or even reverse these troubling trends,” said Darin Carver, spokesperson for WHS.

The National Take Back Initiative is a nationwide event sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to encourage people to properly dispose of leftover medications. The UDOH, WHS, and WMHD encourage anyone with leftover prescription drugs to take them to one of the Take Back events throughout the state on Saturday, September 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A list of disposal locations can be found at

For information on the safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription pain medications visit

To download the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Toolkit visit

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Media Contact:
Jenny Johnson
Violence and Injury Prevention Program 
(o) 801-538-9416 (m) 801-298-1569

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

UDOH Honored as a Bicycle-Friendly Business

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Today, the League of American Bicyclists recognized the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Business℠ (BFB) award, joining more than 800 visionary businesses from across the country.

The UDOH was honored for promoting biking as a way to improve employee health and productivity by increasing physical activity levels and enhancing mental well-being. As the state’s leading health entity, the focus on biking sets the example for other businesses.

As a result of this designation, the UDOH is able to receive technical assistance on how to improve its standing. “It is our hope to share what we learn through this experience with other agencies and organizations throughout the state,” said Tania Charette, Health Program Specialist, UDOH.

To earn the designation, UDOH completed a detailed assessment outlining everything the Department has implemented throughout the years to encourage employees to bike to work. Most important have been a policy encouraging use of transit during red air days, including bicycling, and construction of secure areas to store bicycles.

"I love that UDOH not only supports my desire to ride to work, but actually makes it easy. It helps me to stay healthy and I feel more productive when I do it," said UDOH employee Brad Belnap.

The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.

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Media Contact:
Tania J. Charette, MPH, CHES
Health Program Specialist
(801) 721-4723

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Health Officials to Brief Media on State’s First Confirmed Cases of Enterovirus D68

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Test results returned today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed the presence of Enterovirus D68 in Utah. The positive results showed up in 12 of 22 samples sent to the CDC from Primary Children’s Hospital.

Officials from the Utah Department of Health and Primary Children’s Hospital will be available to answer questions from the media at 2:00 p.m. at the education center at the Eccles Primary Children’s Outpatient Building, located directly across the street from Primary Children’s Hospital.

“In addition to the 12 positive samples, Primary Children’s had 37 rhino/enterovirus positive admissions in the past week, and 10 of those were admitted to the Pediatriac ICU,” says Dr. Andrew Pavia, the hospital’s division chief of pediatric infectious diseases. “The rate of increase may be slowing but we don’t think we have passed the peak of the outbreak.”

Health care professionals in the U.S. are not required to report known or suspected cases of EV-D68 infection to health department because it is not a reportable disease in the United States. And, the CDC does not have a surveillance system that specifically collects information on EV-D68 infections. Utah health officials continue to work with the CDC, hospitals, and the health care community to closely monitor the situation.

Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.

Since there is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections, Dr. Allyn Nakashima, State Epidemiologist, Utah Department of Health (UDOH) says, “It’s important to remember that the best way to prevent spread of this severe respiratory illness is by practicing proper hygiene.” There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections other than management of symptoms, and no specific anti-viral medications currently available for this purpose.

Take steps to protect yourself and others from respiratory infections such as:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
Use the same precautions you would use to prevent the spread of influenza.

These prevention steps are especially important for individuals or persons with family members who are infants, or who have chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems. Symptoms of enterovirus illness can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body aches.

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The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public's health through preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to affordable, quality health care, and promoting healthy lifestyles.   

Primary Children’s is a 289-bed full-service pediatric hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the only children’s hospital in the Intermountain West equipped and staffed to treat the most seriously ill and injured children and infants, and is verified as a pediatric Trauma I Center. It is owned by Intermountain Healthcare, a not-for-profit hospital system, and is affiliated with the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Media Contacts:
Rebecca Ward, UDOH

Bonnie Midget, Primary Children’s Hospital
(o) 801-662-6590 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Falls a Major Risk for Injury, Death Among Seniors

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Every day, an average of eight Utahns ages 65 and older are hospitalized for injuries due to a fall. In 2012, there were 3,183 fall-related hospitalizations among older Utahns, costing more than $95 million in treatment charges.  The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) reminds everyone that injuries from falls are largely preventable. 

“Falls are not a normal part of aging,” said Trisha Keller, Program Manager, UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program. “Most falls are preventable if we can help older adults learn what hazards to remove from their homes and help them increase their strength and balance.”

Agencies across the Wasatch Front will host free events to help seniors remain active and reduce their risk of falling. Activities include one-mile walks, bingo games, health screenings, fitness demonstrations, and medication reviews. Events will be held at the following Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services Senior Centers:

Monday, Sept. 22 – Walk and health fair from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Taylorsville Senior Center (4743 S. Plymouth View Drive, Taylorsville)
Monday, Sept. 22 – Walk and super bingo from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  at the Columbus Senior Center (2531 South 400 East, Salt Lake City)
Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk and health fair from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Millcreek Senior Center (2266 E. Evergreen Avenue, Salt Lake City)
Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk and lunch from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. at the  Liberty Senior Center (251 East 700 South, Salt Lake City)
Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk and scavenger hunt from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Draper Senior Center (1148 East Pioneer Road, Draper)
Friday, Sept. 26 – Walk and health screenings from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Sandy Senior Center (9310 South 1300 East, Sandy)

Davis County facilities include:

Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Autumn Glow Senior Activity Center (81 East Center Street, Kaysville)
Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk from 11 a.m. to 12 noon at the North Davis Senior Activity Center (42 South State Street, Clearfield)
Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Walk from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Golden Years Senior Activity Center (726 South 100 East, Bountiful)

“Our goal is to help our citizens remain independent and healthy,” said Jessica Hardcastle, a health educator at the Davis County Health Department. “Even minor falls can have a dramatic impact on a person’s well-being and sense of safety.”

“Every year an average of 145 Utah seniors die from complications of a fall,” said Nichole Shepard, Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services.  “One fall can be the beginning of a downward health spiral that can include limited mobility, dementia from a head injury, and complications from major surgeries like blood clots and seizures.”

The UDOH recommends four basic steps to reduce the risk of falls:
Begin a regular exercise program. Exercise improves strength and balance, as well as coordination.
Have your health care provider review your medicines. Some medicines or combinations of medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and cause you to fall.
Have your vision checked. Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
Make your home safer. Remove tripping hazards like throw rugs and clutter in walkways and stairs. Install grab bars next to your toilet and shower. 

Utah will join 48 other states in recognizing September 23, 2014 as Falls Prevention Awareness Day. For more information about how to prevent older adult falls, visit

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Media Contact:
Cyndi Bemis
Utah Department of Health
(o) 801-538-6348
(m) 801-865-0648

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Data Reveal Health Problems, Risks by Neighborhood

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Data from a new Utah Department of Health (UDOH) report are being used to identify links between risk and health problems that impact “small areas” across the state. 

“Small areas” refers to a set of 63 geographic locales in Utah grouped by ZIP code and according to similar population sizes and political boundaries. These areas are especially useful for assessing health needs at the community level and targeting programs to those at greatest risk for injury and poor health outcomes. 

“This is the first time our department has put together a report with such a broad set of health indicators by Utah Small Areas,” said Michael Friedrichs, UDOH epidemiologist. “The indicators were chosen because they relate to long-term health outcomes in our state’s chronic disease and health promotion plan, and are critical to improving Utahns’ overall health.” 

The report identified six communities with both significantly higher rates of asthma emergency department visits and adults exposed to secondhand smoke. The areas include Kearns, Downtown Salt Lake City, Glendale, South Salt Lake, West Valley East, and Ben Lomond. Conversely, the same pattern was true for 10 small areas with significantly lower asthma ED visits and a lower percentage of adults exposed to secondhand smoke (Cache County Other/Rich County, Bountiful, Farmington/Centerville, Riverton/Draper, South Jordan, Cedar City, Summit County, American Fork/Alpine, Springville/Spanish Fork, and Utah County South). 

We know from national studies that environmental triggers like secondhand smoke play an important role in asthma severity and management,” said Lori Mau, UDOH Asthma Program. “The data underscore why it’s important to identify and control multiple asthma triggers at the same time, rather than focusing on just one management strategy,” Mau added. 

Tobacco use in Utah was also studied. “Even though Utah has the lowest smoking rate in the nation, we still have more than 200,000 tobacco users,” said Adam Bramwell, UDOH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. “The report is incredibly important to our smoking cessation efforts, as it shows right where tobacco users live. Now we’ll use the information to connect those residents to Utah’s many tobacco cessation resources available at our new website,” Bramwell said.

The report summarizes data on 17 different topics presented in tables, graphs, and maps to help the reader see where health problems are concentrated and how they may impact each other. Topics in the report include:

Prescription Opioid Deaths
Cancer Deaths
Cardiovascular Disease Deaths
Current Adult Cigarette Smokers
Adult Secondhand Smoke Exposure
Obese Adults
Physically Active Adults
Fall Hospitalizations, Ages 65+
Infants Receiving First Trimester Prenatal Care
Female Breast Cancer Screenings, Ages 40+
Colon Cancer Screenings, Ages 50+
Pre-diabetic Adults
Adults Controlling High Blood Pressure
Diabetic Adults Receiving Diabetes Education
Asthma Emergency Department Visits
Adults with Arthritis Limited by Arthritis 
For a full copy of the Bureau of Health Promotion Small Area Report, visit

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Media Contacts:

Michael Friedrichs (o) 801-538-6244 
Adam Bramwell (m) 801-380-0780

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Utah Teens Tanning Less

Salt Lake City – The Utah Department of Health recently published an article in the Journal of Skin Cancer regarding the effectiveness of mandated restrictions on youth tanning across the state.  Passed in 2012, Senate Bill 41 requires all minors to have parental consent or a physician’s note each time they visit an indoor tanning salon.

An evaluation of Utah students in grades 8, 10, and 12 who reported using an indoor tanning device in the year before the law went into effect and again the year after suggests the restrictions contributed to a significant reduction in self-reported indoor tanning. The 2013 rate of 7.7% is a 36 percent drop from the 2011 rate of 12%.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, including that from indoor tanning devices, is known to cause melanoma. Utah’s 2006-2010 melanoma incidence is 61% higher than the national rate, at 31 per 100,000 people and 19.3 per 100,000 people, respectively. Using indoor tanning devices during the teenage and young adult years significantly increases the risk of developing melanoma, which is one of the most common types of cancer among older teens and young adults.

The evaluation also analyzed characteristics of Utah teens who continued to use indoor tanning devices in 2013 despite the more restrictive regulations. It found that teen girls, older teens, and teens who use tobacco and alcohol were the most likely to continue tanning. Data were collected through the Utah Department of Human Services’ 2011 and 2013 Prevention Needs Assessment surveys.

While results of the study should be interpreted with caution due to limitations of the survey data and the potential effect of other ongoing sun safety campaigns, the findings do suggest that passage of the more restrictive regulations played a role in significantly reducing teen tanning in a relatively short period of time. Efforts to enforce tanning regulations and behavioral risk interventions may further reduce the numbers of teens who report using indoor tanning devices.

The article may be accessed online at
For more information on skin cancer prevention and education, visit


Media Contact:
Brenda Nelson
Media Coordinator
801-538-6189 (o) 435-849-1759 (m)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Safe Kids Coalitions Offer Free Car Seat Inspections During Child Passenger Safety Week

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Safe Kids Utah urges parents and caregivers to make sure their car seats and booster seats are properly installed during National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 14-20.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. “Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death in a crash by as much as 71 percent,” said Cambree Applegate, Safe Kids Utah Coordinator.

Car seat inspections offer drivers and caregivers the chance to get assistance and guidance from certified car seat technicians on how to properly install their child safety and booster seats.  “Car seats are complicated!” said Applegate. “But we know parents and caregivers want what is best for the ones they love, so taking just a few minutes to get your car seats checked is a simple way help keep children safe on the road.”

Free car seat checks will be held across Utah during National Child Passenger Safety Week.  Each event will have certified technicians on site to help parents ensure their seats are installed correctly. Technicians will also talk about steps to take as their child grows and best practices to make sure their child is as safe as possible while riding in the car.  Events will be held:

Monday, Sept. 15 – Information booth from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wasatch High School (930 South 500 East, Heber)
Tuesday, Sept. 16 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Hansen Motor Company (1175 South 500 West, Brigham City)
Tuesday, Sept. 16 – Car seat checks and information booth from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of South Valley (244 East Myrtle Avenue, Murray)
Wednesday, Sept. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Northwest Recreation Center (1300 West 300 North, Salt Lake City)
Wednesday, Sept. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at High Country Auto
(275 North Main, Richfield)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Tooele City Library (123 West Vine Street, Tooele)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checkpoint from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Farmington Old Navy (270 North East Promontory, Farmington)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checkpoint from 2 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Primary Children’s Riverton Outpatient Services (3773 West 12600 South, Riverton)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat class from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at Utah County Health Department (151 South University Avenue, Suite 2601, Provo)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checks from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wasatch County Health Department (55 South 500 East, Heber)
Friday, Sept. 19 – Car seat checkpoint from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Ogden Costco (3656 Wall Avenue, Ogden)
Saturday, Sept. 20 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Park City Walmart (6545 North Landmark Drive, Park City)
Saturday, Sept. 20 – Car seat checkpoint from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jordan Landing Old Navy (7113 Plaza Center Drive, West Jordan)
Thursday, Sept. 25 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Price Fire Station (87 North 200 East, Price)

For more information on child passenger safety and tips for keeping your kids safe while in the car, visit

Thursday, September 11, 2014

CDC Funds 32 States to Collect Data on Violent Deaths

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that Utah will be one of 32 states to receive more than $1 million over the next five years to collect and link data on violent deaths through the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).  

The NVDRS is a surveillance system that collects detailed facts from multiple sources such as death certificates, medical examiner records, police and crime lab records, and supplemental homicide reports. It also serves as Utah’s suicide surveillance system, providing critical information on circumstances surrounding suicide deaths which has been used in the state’s many suicide prevention efforts over the past several years. 

Violent deaths include homicides, suicides, deaths of undetermined intent, unintentional firearm-related deaths, and deaths where individuals are killed by law enforcement in the line of duty. In Utah, 879 individuals died from violent deaths in 2013*. Of these deaths, 579 (65.9%) were due to suicide, 246 (28.0%) were undetermined deaths (primarily due to drug overdoses), and 54 (6.1%) were homicides. 

“These data give us a more complete picture of the deaths, including details about victims and suspects, their relationships, important circumstances that contributed to a death, and weapons used,” said Anna Fondario, Utah Department of Health epidemiologist. “Knowing the who, when, where, and how these deaths occurred gives us insights to help prevent them from happening again.” 

Utah was first funded in 2004 and began data collection in 2005. The state has remained committed to tracking violent deaths and the circumstances surrounding them. 

Utah won the “Excellence in Collecting the Most Timely and Complete Violent Death Data” for participation in NVDRS in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Utah was also honored with the “Innovative Initiative of the Year” award from the Safe States Alliance for integrating unintentional drug overdose deaths into the NVDRS. 

For a list of all NVDRS-funded states, visit

For more information about violent deaths in Utah, visit   

*2013 data are preliminary and include occurrent deaths (i.e., all individuals who died in Utah, whether or not they were a resident of Utah).

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Media Contact:
Jenny Johnson
(o) 801-538-9416
(m) 801-298-1569

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Website Helps Utahns Live Violence- and Injury-free Lives

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Did you know that injuries are the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 1-44? The next time you wonder about how to keep your family safe, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) wants you to visit its new injury prevention website. The website features safety tips and data on a variety of topics including suicide, prescription drug overdoses, and sports concussions.

“For more than 30 years, our program has worked tirelessly to eliminate the needless suffering and death from injuries and violence,” said Trisha Keller, Program Manager for the UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program. “We are thrilled to have a more up-to-date website that shows the personal side of these topics and helps people live safer lives.”

Injuries can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to lead an active, fulfilling life. Every day in Utah:

•    4 people die from injury or violence (1,829 deaths ⃰ );
•    31 are hospitalized due to injury or violence (12,280 hospitalizations⃰ ); and
•    444 are seen in an emergency department due to injury or violence (154,047 visits⃰ )

In 2012, the top five injury-related causes of death in Utah were suicides, poisonings, falls, motor vehicle traffic crashes, and unintentional suffocations. The rate of injury deaths in Utah increased significantly from 2010 to 2012 (65.3 per 100,000 and 72.3 per 100,000, respectively). Research shows that most injuries are predictable and preventable.

The new website,, features 20 violence and injury topics that impact individuals across their lifetime. Stories and quotes from Utahns impacted by injuries and violence are also highlighted on the new website. The most recent data, prevention tips, and resources are provided for each topic, which include:

Bicycle Safety
Child Fatalities
Child Maltreatment
Child Passenger Safety
Dating Violence
Domestic Violence
Infant Sleep
Motor Vehicle Crashes
Pedestrian Safety
Prescription Drug Overdoses
Rape and Sexual Assault
Sports Concussions
Safe Kids Utah
Student Injuries
Teen Driving
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Violent Deaths
Youth Suicide

The new website is structured by lifespan and broken down into four age groups: Children (ages 0-14), Teens and Young Adults (ages 15-24), Adults (25-64), and Older Adults (ages 65+). “We’ve categorized these topics in age groups so the public can find information applicable to their own lives more easily,” said Katie McMinn, UDOH Violence Prevention Specialist.

The new injury prevention website is available at

⃰  2012 data

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Monday, September 8, 2014

September is Healthy Family Meals Month

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Utah Governor Gary Herbert has signed a declaration promoting  the importance and benefits of family meals, and is inviting Utahns to eat together as a family at least once a week during this month. To read the declaration go to

“The Governor has the right idea,” says Tania Charette, Health Program Specialist, Utah Department of Health. “Children who are engaged with their parents through supportive activities like frequent family meals are less likely to use harmful substances, more likely to be successful in school, and have higher self-esteem and lower obesity rates.” Studies show having meals together also helps children’s mental and behavioral health, communication skills, and leads them down a path to a lifetime of healthier eating habits.

To celebrate the declaration, the Utah Department of Health, Utah’s Local Health Departments, and other community partners like Intermountain LiVe Well, support the  new website. The site features healthful recipes and opportunities to win prizes.

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Media Contact:
Tania Charette

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Utah Adult E-Cigarette Usage Doubles in 2013

Utah Adult E-Cigarette Usage Doubles in 2013

(Salt Lake City, UT) – New data released Thursday from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) point to a huge increase in the use of electronic cigarettes.  The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s (TPCP) annual Legislative Report reveals that in 2013, 4.8 percent of Utahns reported a current use of e-cigarettes: more than doubling the 1.9 percent reported in 2012.  In the same time frame, adult cigarette smoking remained unchanged at 10.2 percent.

“A great deal can be learned about e-cigarette use patterns from the new data,” said Adam Bramwell, TPCP Media Liaison. “Put simply, if the rate of e-cigarette use has increased more than two-fold in just one year, yet the rate of cigarette smoking hasn’t changed, we have a problem.”

The report contains other data points related to e-cigarette use among Utah adults. According to a recent survey, 60 percent of Utah adults who use e-cigarettes also smoke regular cigarettes.  Additionally, nearly 15 percent of current e-cigarette users had never tried conventional cigarettes before picking up an e-cigarette.  Bramwell adds, “The industry is, in essence, addicting a new generation of users to nicotine delivered via a system it touts as a safe alternative to tobacco.”

Utah’s TPCP is a partnership between the state health department and Utah’s 12 local health departments.  UDOH Executive Director Dr. David Patton re-emphasized the official position of Utah’s public health departments on e-cigarettes.  “At the present time, no one knows the long-term effects of these products.”  Patton continued, “However, as these new data show, many Utahns are sustaining their nicotine addiction with daily use of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. And as has been known for decades, the health risks of tobacco use are great, so anything that is furthering that addiction is guilty by association.”

The UDOH report also underscores previously released data concerning teen e-cigarette usage in Utah.  Between 2011 and 2013, teen use of e-cigarettes tripled.  Currently, nearly 6 percent of Utah students in grades 8, 10, and 12 are illegally using e-cigarettes.  Of those using, nearly one-third said they had never tried a tobacco cigarette.  The youth use rate of conventional cigarettes is reported at 3.9 percent.

The Utah Department of Health encourages Utahns currently using tobacco and other nicotine devices to consider the long-term damage to their health, including emphysema, lung, mouth and other cancers, and tooth loss.  Information on how to quit and free cessation services can be found at the state’s newest resource,

To view e-cigarette data specific to your area in the TPCP 2014 Legislative Report, please visit:

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Media Contact:
Adam Bramwell
Media Liaison
Mobile: (801) 380-0780