Health Highlights: April 20, 2017

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

NYC to Raise Cigarette Prices to Highest in U.S.

A proposal to boost the base price of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13 would make cigarettes in New York City the most expensive in the country.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that and other proposed measures Wednesday at an anti-smoking event, USA Today reported.

"When it comes to New Yorkers' health, big tobacco is public enemy number one," he said. "Today, we are taking a stand against these companies to not only reduce smoking and tobacco usage in New York City, but also save lives."

The proposed anti-smoking measures include: raising the minimum price for all tobacco products; reducing through attrition the number of tobacco retailers; creating a license for e-cigarettes and limiting the number of sellers; banning tobacco sales at pharmacies; and requiring all residential building to implement smoking policies and informing all current and would-be tenants about it.

The objective is to reduce the 900,000 smokers in the city by 160,000 over the next three years, USA Today reported.

The City Council's Health Committee will review the bills on April 27.

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Obama Funding to Fight Opioid Abuse to be Handed Out by Trump Administration

Nearly half a billion dollars promised by the Obama administration for opioid abuse prevention and treatment programs will be handed out by the Trump administration.

The announcement about the $485 million in grant money was made Wednesday. Another half-billion dollars in state grants will be distributed next year, the Associated Press reported.

The grants will be used to train health professionals, for prescription drug monitoring programs meant to prevent abuse and identify patients who may need help, and to promote the use of overdose-reducing drugs such as naloxone.

In 2015, there were more than 33,000 overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription painkiller drugs and heroin, the AP reported. That was the highest death toll on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of the deaths involved prescription opioids.


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