AJPH September 2014 highlights

Date: Sep 11 2014

AJPH Research: Tobacco Direct Mailings to Young Adults, Unemployed Higher Income Family Health Care, Air Pollution in Hispanic Neighborhoods

EMBARGOED UNTIL September 11, 2014, 4 p.m. EDT

Contact: For copies of articles or full table of contents of this month’s released studies, call Kimberly Short, 202-777-2511, or email her.

1. Tobacco company direct mail promotes and sustains Midwest young adult smoking
2. Higher income families with job loss may experience greater loss of health care services
3. Hispanic neighborhoods experience higher air pollution exposure

Tobacco company direct mail promotes and sustains Midwest young adult smoking 
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that direct mail from tobacco companies to consumers is associated with developing smoking habits among non-smokers and relapse smoking for ex-smokers.

Researchers reviewed survey data from 2,622 participants of the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort.” Responses from participants, aged 20 to 28, were evaluated to determine the prevalence of direct mail, characteristics associated with receiving direct mail coupons for tobacco products and the effects of the direct mailings on participant smoking behaviors.

Results from the study found that one of 10 Midwest young adults receive direct mailings. Of those who receive mailings, 76 percent receive coupons for cigarettes and 56 percent receive coupons for other tobacco products. The study found an association between receiving coupons and nonsmokers and ex-smokers becoming current smokers.

“The lack of research in this area represents a missed opportunity for tobacco control because tobacco companies spend more money on direct mail marketing and providing coupons than advertising in magazines, in newspapers, on the Internet, and at point of sale combined,” the study’s researchers explain.

[“Frequency and characteristics associated with exposure to tobacco direct mail marketing and its prospective effect on smoking behaviors among young adults from the U.S. Midwest.” Contact: Kelvin Choi, PhD, MPH, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Division of Intramural Research, Bethesda, Maryland].

Note: The study was conducted while Dr. Choi was employed at the University of Minnesota. The opinions expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not reflect the view of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the U.S. government.

Higher income families with job loss may experience greater loss of health care services 
For higher income families, job loss was more strongly associated with unmet health care needs compared to lower income families that also faced unemployment, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health.

The study analyzed interview responses using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, operated by the U.S. Census Bureau. Researchers reviewed employment status, average household income and demographic information alongside participant responses to questions asking whether they “needed to see a doctor or go to the hospital but did not go,” or “needed to see a dentist but did not go.” 

Results from the study indicated that, collectively, individuals who experienced job loss had an increased risk of unmet health care needs. Unemployed individuals with higher income, however, experienced a stronger association between job loss and unmet needs in medical services when compared to unemployed individuals with lower income. 

“Negative income shocks generated by job loss may be more difficult for the higher-income unemployed because of their previous consumption level. Lower-income people may use healthcare less on a routine basis, perceive fewer health care needs than do higher-income families and perceive weaker impacts of job loss on their health services usage,” the authors explain.

“The finding of different associations by family income suggests that targeted outreach may be needed during periods of economic downturn to guide subgroups to health access and avoid delayed health care for the unemployed,” the authors conclude. 

[“Job loss and unmet health care needs in the economic recession: Different associations by family income.” Contact: Jin Huang, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri]. 

Hispanic neighborhoods experience higher air pollution exposure
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds an association between neighborhood racial composition and exposures to air pollution in which majority white neighborhoods had the lowest exposures and Hispanic neighborhoods experienced the most.

The study reviewed exposure to ambient air pollution among white, black, Hispanic and Chinese participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Researchers reviewed household-level fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides alongside neighborhood racial composition estimates for the 5,921 participants living in North Carolina, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois and California between 2000 and 2002.

Results from the study indicate that the racial composition and segregation of a neighborhood is associated with air pollution measures independent from individual race or ethnicity. Predominantly white neighborhoods were found to have the lowest air pollution exposures. Exposures were higher for ethnic minorities where Hispanic neighborhoods had the highest air pollution levels.

“The higher levels of exposure to ambient air pollution among ethnic minorities and minority communities in this study, which in some cases exceeded the EPA standards, contributed to environmental injustice and highlighted the need for additional strategies for reducing racial/ethnic disparities in air pollution exposure and air pollution-related morbidity and mortality,” the researchers conclude.

[“Race/ethnicity, residential segregation and exposure to ambient air pollution: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis,” Miranda Jones, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland].

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on Sept. 11, 2014, at 4 p.m. EDT below:

• Use of research evidence in state policymaking for childhood obesity prevention in Minnesota 
• The alcohol policy environment and policy subgroups as predictors of binge drinking measures among U.S. adults
• Regulating alcohol advertising: Content analysis of the adequacy of federal and self-regulation of magazine ads, 2008-2010 
• The relationship between gun ownership and stranger and non-stranger firearm homicide rates in the United States, 1981-2010 
• Home renovation, family atopy history, and respiratory symptoms and asthma in Chinese children: The Seven Northeastern Cities (SNEC) Study 
• Factors influencing adoption and adherence to indoor smoking bans among health disparity communities 
• Use of a learning collaborative to support implementation of integrated care for smoking cessation for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder 
• Cigarette smoking among adults with mobility impairments: A U.S. population-based survey 
• Transnational, social, and neighborhood ties and smoking among Latino immigrants: Does gender matter? 
• Implementation of tobacco cessation quitline practices in the U.S. and Canada 
• Sexual orientation, adult connectedness, substance use, and mental health outcomes among adolescents: Findings from the 2009 New York City youth risk behavior survey 
• Sexual identity, partner sex, and sexual health among adolescent girls in the United States 
• Physical dating violence victimization among sexual minority youth
• A statewide collaboration to initiate mental health screening and assess services for Indiana detained youth 
• Statewide job losses increase adolescent suicide-related behaviors 
• Can we trust weight loss information on the Internet? An analysis of the accuracy of search engine result pages 
• The impact of an exercise intervention on physical activity during pregnancy: The Behaviors Affecting Baby and You (B.A.B.Y.) Study 
• Effects of early dental office visits on dental caries experience 
• The Montana Radon Study: Social marketing via digital signage technology for reaching families in the waiting room
• Reduction in fatalities, ambulance calls and hospital admissions for road trauma following new traffic laws. 
• Adverse outcomes among homeless adolescents and young adults who report a history of TBI 
• An education in contrast: State-by-state assessment of school immunization records requirements 
• Enhancing diversity in the public health research workforce: The Research and Mentorship Program (RAMP) for future HIV vaccine scientists 

The articles above will be published online Sept. 11, 2014, at 4 p.m. EDT by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association.

The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by strengthening the profession of public health, sharing the latest research and information, promoting best practices and advocating for public health issues and policies grounded in research. More information is available at www.apha.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via email. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30 and online single article access is $22 at www.ajph.org or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email.

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, members from all fields of public health and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public's health. Visit us at www.apha.org.