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Cold Weather Advisory

January 30, 2019.  Extreme cold weather is forecast in Brookline tonight and tomorrow. The Brookline Department of Public Health is urging residents to take precautions during this time. Stay indoors if you can. If you must go outside, dress in layers and make sure your car is equipped with cold weather gear and an emergency kit. Remember to check on your family, the elderly, or others with access and functional needs to make sure they are safe.

Cold Weather Advisory (press release)

TEEN VAPING, Update on An Epidemic

1)The US Surgeon General issued an urgent Advisory on E-cigarette Use (a/k/a Vaping) Among Youth on Tuesday, December 18, 2018:

“I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.


2) Local Reaction. On the heels of a new report showing an unprecedented spike in the number of teens who use electronic cigarettes, the state’s top health official says it’s a problem that needs immediate attention.“The report shows us is that there is a sharp increase in the prevalence of nicotine vaping among our young people,” says Dr. Monica Bharel, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health. “E-cigarette use by youth and young adults is really a public health epidemic right now.”

One person not shocked by the new data is Dr. Swannie Jett, Brookline’s director of health and human services. He says it’s been obvious for years that teen vaping rates are on the rise. “It’s a cheaper product and people seem to think it’s less harmful, even though it does still contain nicotine,” he says, adding that the industry is “crafty and innovative” in its product designs and marketing. In his view, combating the problem requires educating parents and cracking down on vendors that sell vaping products to minors. “We need a stronger campaign to educate parents about vaping” because some e-cigarette devices look like “something you plug into your computer,” he says, and many parents might not even recognize an e-cigarette as a vaping device. “And we have to become stronger on some of the compliance checks we do at the local level,” he says.

3) Wednesday, December 19, 2018, New York Times runs two articles on vaping: “Addicted to Vaped Nicotine, Teenagers Have No Clear Path to Quitting;” and “How to Help Teenagers Quit Vaping.”…/18/hea…/vaping-teens-nicotine.html, From the New York Times article, a section on how to help teens quit vaping:

“For starters, parents should recognize that they are confronting an addiction to nicotine, which is hard to break.

“You just found your child’s empty vaping pods. Now what?

Don’t panic. Also, don’t go ballistic.

Before you confront, educate yourself.

“What are good resources?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a useful website on what the federal government currently knows about vaping and e-cigarettes.

The Tobacco Prevention Toolkit, by researchers at Stanford, has a major unit on vaping and Juuls. It is not just for educators: Frequently updated, it has photos, charts and points of discussion that may help you engage your teenager.

“Now that I’ve got some facts, what’s next?

Try to see e-cigarettes from the perspective of teenagers. They know that on the scale of all things forbidden, lots of substances — prescription and street drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, to name a few — rank far higher than vapes. While adolescents are canny enough to hide their Juuls from you, they don’t really believe that vaping is harmful.

So if you unleash an angry outburst, they will likely push back, thinking you are making a big deal over nothing.

Also realize that the defensiveness and fibbing you’re hearing may not be just a child reacting to being caught — the sort of behavior that earns consequences and stern lectures. This is different.”

4)Brookline parents who would like information about getting help for a child who is vaping may contact the Brookline Health Department’s prevention team at Brookline High School, Mary Minott and Kendall Jones, 617-713-5155.

5)Useful sites:…/E-Cigs.html…/basic_informat…/e-cigarettes/index.htm

Population Health


I’ve been asked many times what population health is. Wikipedia defines it as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group." It is in essence, a strategic plan to improve the health of the entire population.

Health is a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (WHO, 1998) Public Health is “What we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy." (IOM 1988).

 Public Health 

  • Prevents epidemics and the spread of disease
  • Prevents injuries
  • Promotes and encourages healthy behavior
  • Responds to disasters
  • Assures the quality and accessibility of Health Services

 “Population health is public health”

  • A medical model saves lives one person at a time
  • Public Health saves lives millions at a time.

Through public health achievements life expectancy in the United States has increased from 47.3 years in 1900 to 78.1 years in 1996. That’s a 25+ years of life improvement.

Additional Information

Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Commissioner of Public Health, asks that you contact the Brookline Health Department at 617-730-2300 with any questions or requests for additional information.