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American Heart Association Releases 2018 Florida Policy Agenda

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 4 causes of death in Florida. One way the American Heart Association fights heart disease and stroke is by promoting public policies that will help prevent and treat heart disease and stroke.

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Earlier this month, the American Heart Association Florida Advocacy Committee voted on the organization's 2017-18 public policy agenda for the state. This year, the American Heart Association will advocate to: 

Ensure healthier food and beverage options in vending machines in public places - What we eat and drink impacts our health, but we tend to eat what is easily available. Making healthy food and beverages available in public places, such as parks, recreation centers, and other state and city buildings, lets children and families eat health, decreasing their risk for heart disease and diabetes. 

Require all 911 telecommunicators that provide dispatch for emergency medical conditions be trained in the delivery of high quality telephone CPR - When you call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency, you'll speak with a telecommunicator (or dispatcher) who will confirm your location, assess the situation, and dispatch the appropriate response. You'll often wait 5-10 minutes in an ideal situation for EMS to arrive. For acute conditions like cardiac arrest, CPR must be initiated in minutes. If the dispatcher would walk the caller through CPR, while waiting for EMS, the victim's chance of survival would increase. 

Set the minimum purchase age for tobacco at 21 - Evidence shows that the younger people are when they smoke their first cigarette, the more likely they will be a smoker for life. Raising the minimum legal sale age of tobacco to 21 would target the age range at which many habitual smokers consume their first cigarette. Further, it would combat the tobacco industry's desire to attract a new, loyal generation of users and to re-engage those who have already quit. This will reduce the number of premature deaths due to tobacco use. According to the CDC, one of every three young smokers will die of a smoking-related illness or disease. 

Secure transportation appropriations for Complete Streets and Safe Routes to Schools programs - Walking and biking are great ways for people to be active. Complete streets policies make communities and neighborhoods more liveable by ensuring all people can get safely to where they need to go - work, school, the library, grocery stores, or parks. Safe Routes to Schools programs specifically address the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging students to walk and bike to school. 

We hope you'll support us in these advocacy efforts! Stay tuned for future You're the Cure alerts about how you can help. If you haven't yet, we invite you to become a You're the Cure advocate today at www.yourethecure.org/join.

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