Wellness briefly

Dept. of Human Services reports compliance results

BISMARCK The N.D. Department of Human Services announced today that about 91 percent of licensed tobacco retailers involved in compliance checks in 2012 across the state did not sell tobacco products to minors. The results are part of a federally-mandated tobacco compliance survey the department conducts annually.

Three 15-year olds and three 16-year-olds, working under adult supervision, made 227 attempts to purchase cigarettes and were successful only 21 times, for a violation rate of 9.3 percent.

“We commend retailers for helping decrease youth access to tobacco by asking for identification and refusing to sell to youth under the age of 18,” said Elizabeth Cunningham, research analyst with the department.

The statewide survey was conducted between July and September 2012. The compliance checks do not involve area law enforcement. States are required to conduct the annual scientific survey to receive federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funding. If non-compliance rates are above 20 percent, a state could potentially lose up to 40 percent of its block grant funding.

Records show that North Dakota has made progress in addressing the sale of tobacco to minors. Prior to 2000, the state’s non-compliance rate exceeded 30 percent.

Survey results are online at the department’s website, (nd.gov/dhs).

Jill Hambek

‘AgrAbility’ focus of Trinity Health’s Ag Expo display

Farming is hard work, which is why Trinity Health is eager to let farmers and ranchers know there are steps they can take to make it less of a strain.

Trinity will use its presence at the 2013 KMOT Ag Expo to educate producers on a unique concept in agriculture, “AgrAbility.” AgrAbility refers to a wide range of solutions and techniques designed to keep producers on the farm by addressing some of the physical issues that can arise after years of wear and tear.

“The goal is to eliminate or minimize obstacles that inhibit success of an older farmer or any farmer or rancher dealing with physical problems such as knee pain, back pain, arthritis or other disability,” said Mike Rexin, coordinator of Trinity’s physical therapy department. Trinity’s booth will feature tips on how to adjust the work environment and offer information about the different kinds of equipment available to make farming a little easier.

The Ag Expo is scheduled to run Wednesday through Friday at the N.D. State Fair Center in Minot.

Jill Hambek

Dept. of Health highlights importance of HPV vaccination

BISMARCK January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. The North Dakota Department of Health is reminding adolescent and adult females and males, ages 11 through 26, about the importance of human papilloma virus vaccine for the prevention of cervical and other cancers, according to Mary Woinarowicz, NDIS Sentinel Site coordinator with the North Dakota Department of Health.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and currently affects more than 20 million Americans, with approximately 6 million more people affected each year. Almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV.

There are currently two vaccines available in the United States for the prevention of HPV infection and their associated cancers. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a three-dose series of HPV vaccine for all adolescents 11 to 12 years of age. The vaccine is most effective when given prior to the onset of sexual activity.

“It is important to be vaccinated against HPV to prevent the disease and its related cancers,” said Woinarowicz. “Anyone not previously vaccinated, even if they are already sexually active, should receive the full three-dose series.”

For more information about the HPV vaccine, contact Mary Woinarowicz, North Dakota Department of Health, at 328-2404.

Jill Hambek