To Smoke or Not to Smoke (At Age 18): That is the Question

As you may know, during the month of February the WellPower blog team has been considering the pros and cons of raising the legal age of cigarette smoking from 18 to 21. Our fellow colleagues at Campaign Consultation weighed in to let us know what they think about the Maryland Smoking Age debate.

I don’t think that the legal age to smoke should be raised from age 18 to age 21. Adults should continue to make decisions for themselves and deal with the consequences accordingly. – Adiyah Ali

 

 

 

 

 

I think smoking is a dangerous habit, …read more

Legally Responsible

 

its hard keeping this one on one hand and the camera on the other. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Senator Jennie M. Forehand (D-District 17) is retiring this year and her new bill is evidence she wants to end her tenure with a bang. Sen. Forehand is introducing a bill that would further restrict young adults in Maryland from purchasing cigarettes by three years – raising Maryland’s legal smoking age to 21.

Advocates for this bill are likely to argue the severe health detriments caused from first and second-hand smoke warrants such a law:

Pinpointing cigarette smoking as the leading …read more

Maryland’s Smoking Age Debate

Smoke (Photo credit: AMagill)

During the month of February, the WellPower blog team will be considering the pros and cons of raising the legal age of cigarette smoking from 18 to 21. This debate was prompted by legislation that will be introduced this year by Maryland State Senator Jennie M. Forehand (A Democrat from District 17 in Rockville) to raise the smoking age.

We’ll be blogging about the smoking age debate from different perspectives, and inviting others to weigh in on this issue throughout the month.

We would love to hear from you! Please tweet us @WellPowerBlog #SmokingAge …read more

Mother Nature: Better than Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup?

The trees that tower over neighborhood sidewalks are full of pleasant shade and squirrels for my dog to chase. Parks and their large expanses of grasses provide a serene and cool place to walk and rest.

As much as nature gives to us, recent reports show green space is giving even more than we think. It is making us healthier.

A study conducted in Amsterdam in 2009 determined that the annual rates of 15 out of the 24 diseases they chose to study were significantly lower among those living closer to green spaces. Research showed that the rates of depression, …read more

Baltimore Zoning Out Liquor Stores

English: Breckenridge, Colorado liquor store. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Over the past few months, the Baltimore City Planning Department has been hosting hearings concerning their proposal to revamp the city’s liquor outlet zoning code. The proposed change would force over 100 of the city’s liquor outlets to either stop selling alcohol, or shut their shops down.

For over 40 years there has been a zoning code that does not allow liquor outlets to exist in residential areas. But, the city has allowed existing stores to remain by “grandfathering” them. In recent years, the Planning Department has begun to analyze …read more

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Taking the Pulse of Baltimore’s Neighborhoods

Some of the more upscale rowhouses in Baltimore, like these brightly painted homes in Charles Village, have complete porches instead of stoops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you get to really know a neighborhood? You can walk around, talk to the people who live there, and interact with the physical spaces.

But what if you want to dive beneath the surface and delve into the details? The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore (BNIA-JFI) has collected and compiled data on 55 Community Statistical Areas (their term for neighborhoods) in Baltimore, measuring 150 different data …read more

Poverty a Risk Factor for HIV?

The correlation between poverty and an increased risk for contracting HIV/AIDS has recently been substantiated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In a recent study, it was shown that ‘about one in every 50 heterosexual Americans living in poorer urban neighborhoods is infected with HIV’. This is about 5 times the infection rate of the general population.

This study is particularly relevant as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of Maryland (DHMH) estimated that the Baltimore City-Towson area ranked as the metropolitan area with the 4th highest rate of adults living with HIV infection in the U.S. in …read more

Where Does Your County Rank?

When making the case for health programs and policies, it is critical to show data that can support the point at hand. Oftentimes, online searches will point to national-level data that lump together urban and rural areas, and don’t adequately factor in the social determinants that can affect health, like housing and education.

When looking up health data for my home city of Baltimore, I was relieved to stumble upon the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps website. The statistics showed that Baltimore City has the lowest rankings in the state of Maryland, with an uninsured population doubling that of our …read more

Maryland Surfaces as a Healthcare Reform Leader

Countdown to Health Care Reform (Photo credit: Truthout.org)

Key components of the healthcare law will surface in 2014, when the law will ensure that all individuals, families and small businesses can obtain coverage through state marketplaces. What healthcare might become in the next couple years, however, is already beginning to form and rise to the top.

Maryland’s health reform plans are quickly surfacing. State lawmakers submitted a plan last week for how they would apply federal healthcare reforms in Maryland in the new year, a plan that the Obama administration might be looking at to help shape health reform …read more