May 13, 2016 
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Inside this issue
  In the Spotlight  

E-Cigarettes to be Regulated by FDA:

On May 4, 2016, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was extending its regulatory authority to e-cigarettes. This landmark move makes it possible to regulate the formulation and sale of these products.

Under the FDA's authority, sale to children under age 18 will be banned and those under the age of 26 will be required to show a photo ID for purchase.

The harmful effects of tobacco do not entirely apply to the use of liquid nicotine products. The long-range health effects of e-cigarette use are thus far unknown, aside from what is known about nicotine addiction. There are concerns that the new regulations will bolster the profits of Big Tobacco companies that can afford to negotiate the regulatory process, thereby edging out smaller companies. The regulations go into effect in 90 days. Click here to read more.



  Legislation and Advocacy  

Keep Up to Date with Legislation

Help pass the Tobacco to 21 Act: The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) has a current advocacy alert for legislation (H.R. 3656/S.2100) to prohibit the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21. According to CADCA, "this would notably reduce tobacco initiation among high school aged youth (15-17 years old), among many other public health benefits, and CADCA is proud to endorse it". For more information and to sign onto this letter, go to Help Pass The Tobacco to 21 Act.

Federal heroin and opioid floor votes occurring this week: This week we will be watching for the passage of House Bill HR953, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and other addiction related bills in the House of Representatives. As details become available, NYS PTA will bring the information to you. To learn more about the bill, go to Make CARA Count.

Current Advocacy Efforts

NYS PTA has signed onto a statewide "Raise The Age" Campaign Letter sent to Governor Cuomo and the Senate and Assembly Leadership.

The letter states, "with the passage of the 2016-17 budget, you dedicated $110 million in funding toward raising the age and developing age-appropriate justice solutions for 16 and 17-year-olds. We thank you for this commitment and we urge you to pass legislation implementing the necessary reforms this year." To read the NYS PTA position paper on Juvenile Justice, click here.

This past week, President Bonnie Russell, Vice President Jane Harsha and Legislation Coordinator Susanne Smoller had a conference call with Deputy Secretary for Education Jere Hochman, Deputy Policy Director at the Office of Governor Cuomo Barbara Williams, and Assistant Secretary for Education Jamie Frank.

The focus was on the heroin/prescription opiate epidemic. We discussed the current position NYS PTA has on Heroin (read the Issues Briefs and Talking Points here) and the need for comprehensive evidence based environmental prevention, treatment, overdose prevention medication (Narcan) and physician education. We also discussed the need to address issues early and often, specifically youth development and early identification of mental health issues. NYS PTA welcomes working with the governor's office on this important issue.



  Special Education  

Nearly 2 million military children face unique challenges related to the service of their parents. Some of these children may even have special needs. April was designated as the month of the military child. It is important to be aware of these children and be available to support needs they may have. Additional information can be found at the following websites:




May 17: Annual School District Budget Vote and School Board Elections. To view the timeline for this process, go to 2016 Timeline budget vote and school board election.




Governor Cuomo recently announced a partnership with New Jersey to fight prescription drug abuse. New York will share their Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) data with New Jersey to prevent the stockpiling and the resale of controlled substances. This can help fight the abuse of prescription drugs. Governor Cuomo states, "sharing controlled substance data with neighboring states allows us to more effectively combat prescription drug abuse and fraud." Read more here.

The FDA granted emergency approval for the first commercial Zika virus test. Doctors will now have access to an off-the-shelf test to quickly diagnose patients with the disease. The Zika virus has been proven to cause catastrophic birth defects in infants including microcephaly and eye problems. Read more at: FDA approves Zika Virus test and Emergency Use Authorizations.

Governor Cuomo announced a $3 million program that will give cooling assistance to New Yorkers with heat related health issues. Starting on May 2, eligible households can apply for cooling assistance through the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's Home Energy Assistance Program. Households must meet income guidelines and include a person who suffers from a documented medical condition that is exacerbated by extreme heat. Read more about this program here.



  May/June Awareness Events  


Mental Health Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

National Youth Traffic Safety Month

National Bicycle Safety Month

National Celiac Disease Month

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

May 15-21: Hurricane Preparedness Week

May 18: HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

May 19: National Asian Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

May 23-29: Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

May 25: National Missing Childrens Day

May 31: World No Tobacco Day


Fireworks Safety Month

LGBT Pride Month

National Great Outdoors Month

National Safety Month

National Hunger Awareness Month

June 1-7: National Rip Current Awareness Week

June 4: National Trails Day

June 5: World Environment Day

June 8: National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

June 8: World Oceans Day