Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA News

Pittsburgh may be the City of Champions, but a high smoking rate is not the competition its residents should want to win, said Allegheny County Councilman Tom Baker.

PhotosNormandie / Flickr

Seventy years ago this month, Pittsburgh native George Pietropola battled frostbite in the Ardennes Forest during World War II. Just after the war ended, then-Staff Sgt. Pietropola was presented with a Bronze Star for his heroism under fire from February 9th to February 24th. 

"It looked more like a slaughter to me. It was terrible. That was one of the worst things I’d ever seen – that ever happened, all the time I was in the war." - George Pietropola

Pittsburgh’s Mercy Health System (PMHS) is the latest healthcare organization to expand its no-smoking policy by implementing tobacco-free work shifts.

Starting today, PMHS employees, volunteers and visitors are prohibited from smoking on property owned or rented by the nonprofit.

“The buildings have already been smoke free, but now the grounds are going to be smoke and tobacco-free,” Mark Rogalsky, manager of prevention services, said. “And also, we’re instituting a smoke-free work shift policy, so they will be unable to smoke during their work shift.”

If you’re planning to quit smoking in 2015, you’re not alone. After losing weight, it’s perhaps the most commonly made New Year’s resolution.

If you’re still smoke-free by June, you’re in much more select company.

West Penn Hospital Offers Free Lung Cancer Screening

Sep 15, 2014

With the hopes of catching lung cancer in its earlier, more curable stages, West Penn Hospital, is offering a free screening program for those at risk.

“If you find a patient and there at stage one they’re potentially curative the five year survivor rates are significantly higher, and it’s at almost 90 percent, so it places a huge impact on healthcare cost if you’re diagnosing patients at stage one versus stage four,”  said Dr. Lana Schumacher, Allegheny Health Network Esophageal and Thoracic Institute Co-Director.

Aliquippa-Born Doctor Was An Early Opponent Of Big Tobacco

Aug 12, 2014
United States Government

Only a few decades ago, the public’s attitude toward cigarettes was remarkably different. Cigarettes were smoked in public, they were recommended by doctors, and were even smoked by pregnant women. Awareness of the dangers of smoking, and the public change of opinion can largely be traced to one man: West Aliquippa native Jesse Steinfeld.

Steinfeld was the first surgeon general in the Nixon Administration and spoke out against cigarette smoking, bringing new attention to the risks it posed and leading to the ban of smoking in most public places. He died last week at age 87.

Stanton Glantz who studies the health effects of secondhand smoke at Stanford University, discussed the legacy of Dr. Steinfeld.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, no workers, visitors or patients will be allowed to smoke on any Allegheny Health Network grounds.

“Anybody whose walked into any facility, health care or otherwise, who has to walk through smoke or be exposed to smoke, it's not a pleasant thing if you're not a smoker," said Allegheny Health Network spokesman Dan Laurent, "particularly in a facility that’s dedicated to preserving health and promoting health.”

Smoking is already not allowed inside Allegheny Health Network facilities.

A $1 tax increase could cause 77,000 adults to quit smoking and prevent 85,000 kids from ever starting smoking in Pennsylvania, according to the American Cancer Society.

The organization and its affiliate the Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) are partnering with the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association to convince Pennsylvania lawmakers to consider adding a dollar to the $1.60 per pack tax.

The groups are saying that the increase could save almost 50,000 lives in Pennsylvania.

Kids Encouraged to Stand Up to Tobacco Industry

Mar 17, 2014

On March 19, kids across the country will show that the battle against the tobacco industry isn’t only fought in the courtroom, but on the playground.

The 19th annual Kick Butts Day, organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, is a celebration of youth leadership and activism in the battle against smoking and tobacco marketing.

A new report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association gives Pennsylvania lackluster grades with regard to anti-smoking laws and programs.

The State of Tobacco Control 2014 report gives the Keystone state an “F” for funding of tobacco prevention and control programs, a “C” for smokefree air, a “C” for tobacco taxation, and an “F” for cessation coverage by insurance companies.

A New Approach to Preventing Teen Smoking

Jan 15, 2014
UPMC / University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

A study published in the Journal of School Health finds media literacy is more effective in preventing teenagers from smoking than traditional anti-smoking efforts.

Dr. Brian Primack, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, and director of the Program for Research on Media and Health at University of Pittsburgh was lead author in the study.

Primack describes a hypothetical comparison from his study's findings.

Fifteen years after tobacco companies agreed to pay restitution to states for costs related to tobacco use, a new report finds that most states are not spending enough of that money on smoking prevention and cessation programs.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office plans to fight an arbitration related to tobacco settlement money, but in the meantime, the Department of Health has started cutting millions of dollars.

That's expected to shutter tobacco programs such as Tobacco-Free Allegheny which will now be operating on a week-to-week basis.

Starting July 1, 2014, UPMC is stubbing out the cigarettes of its employees, physicians, students and volunteers during their shifts.

UPMC has introduced a policy in which employees are not permitted to smoke at any point during their shift — even during scheduled breaks.

Tim Cline, senior director of clinical training and development, said exposure to tobacco smoke and the residual products of tobacco use is not safe on any level.