Press Releases


Entries in Public Health (88)


NH DHHS - Promotes Quitting Tobacco with Contest: Dear Me New Hampshire

Concord, NH—The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division

of Public Health Services (DPHS) is launching a contest with the

hard-hitting media campaign Dear Me New Hampshire. The contest is being

promoted in order to motivate New Hampshire residents to quit tobacco. The

campaign’s call to action, “No one can make me quit, but me,” was born out

of conversations with New Hampshire residents wanting to quit smoking or

using other tobacco products. The contest asks residents, “If you wrote a

letter to yourself about quitting, what would it say?” Those who see or

hear the statewide campaign will be encouraged to write a letter to

themselves with their personal reasons to quit tobacco and have a chance to

enter the contest by filming their own Dear Me video; submitters can

compete to be in a Dear Me New Hampshire ad featuring their own personal

story about wanting to quit tobacco.

“Encouraging people to think about the reasons they have for quitting

tobacco is a positive motivational force to get them to attempt to quit,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “And that is what

the Dear Me New Hampshire campaign is asking people to do. The Department

currently offers free tobacco treatment counseling and nicotine replacement

patches to residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and qualify.”

While entering the contest, residents can watch inspiring recordings of

people reading their Dear Meletters, read compelling letters, support other

people who are trying to quit and join the Facebook page, Dear Me New

Hampshire. Residents can enter the contest, view contest details and share

Dear Meletters at the NH Tobacco Helpline’s website,

The Helpline provides no-cost counseling and encouragement for quitting

tobacco use to all New Hampshire residents. According to the 2013

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, 60% of New Hampshire

adults who smoke report wanting to quit.

Contest information can be found at . For

information or free help quitting and nicotine patches, call the NH Tobacco

Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit .

For more information about the New Hampshire Division of Public Health

Services or the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program visit .


NH DHHS - January Is Birth Defects Prevention Month

Concord, NH – In honor of January as National Birth Defects Prevention

Month–2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) and the New Hampshire Birth Conditions Program, Geisel School of

Medicine at Dartmouth is inviting New Hampshire women and their families to

make a PACT to reduce the risk of birth defects in their future children by

making healthy choices throughout their reproductive years. Even though

not all birth defects can be prevented, women, including teens, can lower

their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect by following some

basic health guidelines throughout their reproductive years:

Plan ahead

Avoid harmful substances

Choose a healthy lifestyle

Talk with your doctor

Birth defects are common, costly, and critical. Every 4 ½ minutes a baby is

born with a major birth defect in the United States. In New Hampshire, more

than 2,800 new birth conditions have been reported to the NH Birth

Conditions Program since tracking began in 2003. Become an active

participant in Birth Defects Prevention Month and join a nationwide effort

to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and their impact.

“The health of women prior to pregnancy can affect the risk of having a

child with a birth defect,” said Stephanie Miller, Director of the NH Birth

Conditions Program. “Diet, lifestyle choices, factors in the environment,

health conditions, and medications before and during pregnancy all can play

a role in preventing or increasing the risk of birth defects.”

“Small steps, such as making healthy choices, visiting a healthcare

provider well before pregnancy, controlling your weight through healthy

diet and activity, and taking a multivitamin every day, can go a long way,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.

Women and their loved ones are encouraged to participate in their PACT and

take these important preventive steps that can lead to a reduction in the

number of birth defects. Learn more about the effect you can have on birth

defects at the National Birth Defects Prevention Network website at  and .


NH DHHS - Small Increase Seen in Youth Tobacco Sales in New Hampshire

Concord, NH - Tobacco sales to youth in New Hampshire, as measured by the

Synar compliance check program, increased a small amount to 12.9% in 2014,

up from 11.5% a year ago. Synar is a federally mandated effort from the

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to

reduce tobacco sales to youth. To hundred and ninety-six tobacco retailers

across the State were surveyed in this year’s effort.

In accordance with the tobacco regulations, states are required to provide

detailed information on progress made in enforcing youth tobacco access

laws. The Annual Synar Report (ASR) format provides the means for states to

comply with the reporting provisions of the Public Health Services Act (42

U.S.C. 300x-26) and Tobacco Regulation for the Substance Abuse Prevention

and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) (45 C.F.R. 96.130 (e)).

The results of the checks are well under the federal SYNAR requirement of

20%. Research demonstrates that lower tobacco use by youth also decreases

the chance that they will use drugs or alcohol. Data from the New Hampshire

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows 1,132 youth report they usually get

their cigarettes from a store or gas station. This indicates that there is

still a need for merchant education and enforcement in New Hampshire.

Joe Harding, Director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) at

the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said, “The 1%

increase from (11.8%) last year to (12.9%) this year shows that New

Hampshire still has some work to do relative to checking IDs for tobacco

products. BDAS will continue partnering with the Division of Liquor

Enforcement (DLE) as well as local coalitions to assist in education

efforts to reduce tobacco sales to youth. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey

reports that 86.2% of high school youth did not smoke cigarettes in the

last 30 days. This reflects well on the education and youth tobacco law

enforcement efforts of the Division of Liquor Enforcement, as well on the

education efforts of the New Hampshire Tobacco Prevention Program.”

BDAS partners with DLE to conduct and report on the results of the

compliance checks. In addition, DLE has been contracted by the US Food and

Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct additional tobacco retailer compliance

checks. The DLE offers trainings to both owners and store clerks to help

ensure that they do not sell tobacco to minors.

BDAS hopes to utilize the Thirteen (13) Regional Public Health Networks to

help assist NH in being able to check every store in the State.

BDAS and DLE plan to increase efforts to lower the number of sales to

youth. These efforts will include increased coordination with local law

enforcement and other educational efforts.


NH DHHS - Division of Public Health Services Supports Residents Quitting Tobacco

New Year Brings Free Nicotine Replacement Patches

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is offering free nicotine

replacement therapy, in the form of the patch, to New Hampshire residents

who want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco in the New Year.

For those whose New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, they are in good

company. It is a popular goal and many, many people succeed. Although 16.2%

of New Hampshire adults currently smoke, there are more former smokers

(31%) in New Hampshire. Planning ahead to quit tobacco use can help make

this healthy resolution a reality. Two good resources to help people quit

are and 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), where any

resident can get free advice, counseling, support, and while supplies last,

free patches.

“Making a quit plan for the New Year can be a step toward a successful

quit,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “And

quitting with both counseling and nicotine replacement therapy will

increase the odds of a successful quit. The Department currently offers

free tobacco treatment counseling and nicotine replacement patches to

residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and are eligible.”

To be eligible for the free patches, residents must be at least 18 years

old, be ready to quit within 30 days, be willing to participate in free

telephone counseling, and be screened for safe use of the patch. There are

more former smokers in the United States—nearly 50 million—than current

smokers. Planning ahead can help make your healthy resolution a reality.

For inspiration, look to successful quitters. Beatrice, a busy mother of

two boys, shared her quit story in CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign

For more information about the DHHS Division of Public Health Services or

the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program visit


NH DHHS - New Hampshire Residents Reminded It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate!

DHHS Recognizes National Influenza Immunization Week

Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is underway and the New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public

Health Services (DPHS) is encouraging any residents who have not yet

received their flu vaccination this year to do so. The flu vaccine is still

the single best protection against the flu. It is also helpful in reducing

the length and severity of illness if someone does get the flu. National

Influenza Immunization Week was established by the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the importance of continuing flu

vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

On December 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

announced that the strain of flu that is making most people in the United

States sick so far this season is in this year’s vaccine, but it is not a

perfect match. The influenza A (H3N2) strain has changed since the vaccine

was manufactured, which is not uncommon with flu strains. The vaccine does

still offer some protection against the flu and its complications.

“We want to make sure that New Hampshire residents are as well protected as

possible against the flu and the best preventive step is still to get

vaccinated,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “It

is also important that if you do think you have the flu, speak with your

healthcare provider as soon as possible and stay home from school and work

to avoid spreading it to others who are at risk.”

It is especially important that those at higher risk for influenza

complications be vaccinated. These groups include:

· Children aged 6 months through 4 years of age

· Pregnant women

· Adults 65 years of age or older

· People who are immunosuppressed

· People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, including

asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease.

People who live with or care for those at high risk of flu complications

should also be vaccinated including:

· Health care workers

· Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications from the


· Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger

than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).

Additionally, it is also important for patients who have flu symptoms, even

if they have been vaccinated, to seek medical attention. There are

antiviral medications that can be administered to shorten symptoms and help

prevent more serious illness and complications. These medications are more

effective the sooner they are administered after developing symptoms.

Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The

illness is spread from person to person through contact with respiratory

secretions including through coughing and sneezing. Typical flu symptoms

include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny

or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. An average of 23,000 people die each year

in the United States due to influenza. The vaccine itself does not give you

the flu and is very safe.

There is plenty of flu vaccine available, and vaccines are offered in many

locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, retail stores, pharmacies,

health care centers, as well as some employers and schools. To look for a

flu vaccine near you visit

For more information on influenza and the vaccine, contact the NH

Immunization Program at 1-800-852-3345 x 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the Bureau

of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x 0279 or 603-271-0279.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at for more information or the DHHS website at