UofL experts to appear at public meeting about banning tobacco alternatives

A proposed Metro Louisville ban on the use of hookahs and e-cigarettes will be discussed in a public forum Wednesday, Sept. 28, with participation by two UofL researchers.

A community educational forum convened by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on the possibility of expanding activities covered by Metro Louisville’s smoke-free ordinance will feature two University of Louisville researchers who study the effects of environmental factors on health.

The forum will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Department of Public Health and Wellness, 400 E. Gray St. It will address the possible addition of bans on e-cigarette and hookah use in public places. Louisville enacted its smoke-free ordinance in 2008, prohibiting smoking tobacco products in indoor public places and worksites.

Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine and director of the American Heart Association Tobacco Research and Addiction Center (ATRAC) in the School of Medicine, and Robert Jacobs, professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, will participate in the forum.

Bhatnagar won a grant of $20 million from the NIH and FDA in 2013 to establish the ATRAC. It conducts multidisciplinary research to help inform the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products as they are regulated by the FDA. In 2014, he chaired a 10-member panel of fellow national experts that developed the American Heart Association’s first-ever policy statement on e-cigarettes, citing the paucity of research that has been conducted on the effects of e-cigarettes on health and the need for continued rigorous research.

Jacobs researches the health effects associated with indoor air and exposures to organic dust in agricultural and industrial environments, inhalation toxicology and international environmental and occupational health practices. He has published research on the health effects associated with specific components of inhaled organic dust and on the development of methods for exposure assessment of specific biological airborne contaminants in both the work and non-work environments.

Also on the panel will be Paul Kiser, PhD, assistant professor at Bellarmine University; Carol Riker, MSN, RN, associate professor emeritus, University of Kentucky; and Monica Mundy, MPH, community adviser, Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy.

More than 500 communities across the country, including 13 in Kentucky, already include e-cigarettes or hookah use in their smoke-free laws. Many local businesses, health care facilities and educational institutions in Louisville also include e-cigarettes or hookah in their own wellness policies.

For additional information, visit the Mayor’s website.

Source: Use of tobacco alternatives in Louisville may go up in smoke (UofL News, Sept. 27, 2016)