As the respiratory virus covid-19 spread quickly around the world in 2020, US cigarette smoking fell to an all-time low with just 1 in 8 adults saying they were smokers. E-cigarette use fell, too. Separately, daytime napping among older people is linked to Alzheimer’s risks by a new study.
Associated Press: US Adult Smoking Rate Fell During First Year Of Pandemic
The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw more Americans drinking heavily or using illicit drugs — but apparently not smoking. US cigarette smoking dropped to a new all-time low in 2020, with 1 in 8 adults saying they were current smokers, according to survey data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult e-cigarette use also dropped, the CDC reported. (Stobbe, 3/17)
In other public health news —
The Boston Globe: Frequent Daytime Napping By Older Adults Linked To Increased Risk Of Alzheimer’s, Study Says
A new study from researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston links excessive daytime napping by older adults to a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the disease that causes severe cognitive decline. The study was published Thursday in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the hospital said in a statement. “The vicious cycle we observed between daytime sleep and Alzheimer’s disease offers a basis for better understanding the role of sleep in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults,” Dr. Peng Li, a lead author of the study who works in the Medical Biodynamics Program at the Brigham’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, said in the statement. (Andersen and Fox, 3/17)
Indianapolis Star: Walmart Fire Causes Air Quality Advisory For Central Indiana
The fire at a Walmart Fulfillment Center west of Indianapolis Wednesday sent a huge plume of smoke billowing up into the air that could be seen for miles away. In the aftermath of the fire, environmental and public officials in the area face a number of questions: How is this smoke impacting air quality? Are there toxins or other harmful substances in the smoke and debris? Is there any lingering threat to residents living or working in the path of the smoke plume? Barely 24 hours later, with the charred remains of the giant warehouse in Plainfield still smoldering, it remains unclear what the fire, smoke and debris could mean for the environment and public health. Officials from state and federal agencies are working to find answers. (Bowman and Schneider, 3/17)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 3 Wisconsin Children Have Died From Influenza, First This Flu Season
Three children in Wisconsin have died from influenza, the state health department announced Thursday. The news release reporting the first pediatric flu deaths this season did not say how old the children were or where in Wisconsin they lived. Flu seasons are typically tracked October through May in the United States. After an unusually mild 2020-21 season — which state health officials attribute to people staying at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic — flu numbers have bounced back in Wisconsin, but still are not as high as past years. (Heim, 3/17)
CNBC: If You’re Returning To Work After Retiring, How To Handle Medicare
It’s not uncommon to discover that retirement isn’t the ideal existence you thought it would be. If you are a retiree on Medicare who’s rejoining the workforce, be aware that you might have choices when it comes to your health-care coverage. Depending on where you work, you may be able to drop Medicare in favor of an employer health plan and then re-enroll down the road. However, there are a lot of rules and deadlines to know if you go this route. On the other hand, keeping your Medicare coverage could mean paying more for premiums due to the extra income from your new job (more on that below). (O’Brien, 3/17)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.