To request copies of articles or for information on scheduling interviews with an expert, please contact Megan Lowry.

EMBARGOED UNTIL June 21, 2018, 4 p.m. ET

American Journal of Public Health August Issue research highlights:

Proposition 47 reduced racial disparities in California drug possession arrests

Newswise — In the month following passage of Proposition 47 in California, absolute black–white disparities in monthly felony drug arrests decreased from 81 to 44 per 100,000 and continued to decrease over time. During the first year after enactment, felony drug arrests fell by an estimated 51,985 among whites, 15,028 among blacks, and 50,113 among Latinos.

Researchers concluded that reducing criminal penalties for drug possession can reduce racial/ethnic disparities in criminal justice exposure and has implications for improving health inequalities linked to social determinants of health.

The study used data on all drug arrests made in California from 2011 to 2016, comparing racial/ethnic disparities in drug arrests between whites, blacks and Latinos, immediately and 1 year after policy changes, controlling for secular and seasonal trends.

[Author Contact: Alyssa C. Mooney, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, San Francisco, CA. “Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Arrests for Drug Possession After California Proposition 47, 2011–2016.”].

Teenagers at high risk of self-injury; higher among girls

As much as 30 percent of girls in some areas of the United States self-harm without the intention of suicide. This research found rates of boys reporting purposefully hurting themselves without wanting to die over the past 12 months ranged from 6.4 percent (in Delaware) to 14.8 percent (in Nevada). Rates for girls varied from 17.7 percent (in Delaware) to 30.8 percent (in Idaho).

Rates of self-injury declined with age and varied by race and ethnicity. Depression; suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts; sexual minority status; being electronically bullied; and smoking and substance use were associated with non-suicidal self-injury.

[Author Contact: Martin A. Monto, Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Portland, Portland, OR. “Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Among a Representative Sample of US Adolescents, 2015.”].

LGBQ adolescents at substantially greater risk of substance abuse

Researchers found that LGBQ adolescents were 1.12 times as likely as heterosexual adolescents to report any lifetime substance abuse and 1.27 times more likely to report past 30-day substance use. LGBQ adolescents had significantly greater risk for alcohol, tobacco and other illicit drugs.

LGBQ adolescents were more than 3.5 times as likely to use methamphetamines, more than 2.7 times as likely to use hallucinogens and more than 2.6 times as likely to use steroids or ecstasy. Study authors conclude policymakers should invest in prevention and early intervention resources to address substance use risks among LGBQ adolescents.

[Author Contact: John W. Ayers, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University San Diego, CA. " Substance Use Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Adolescents in the United States, 2015."].

Women’s cigarette use decreased; blunt use increased over time

This analysis of data from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use found among all women, cigarette use decreased, blunt use increased and cigar use remained stable between 2006 and 2016. Among pregnant women, smoking prevalence was highest in the first trimester. From 2006 to 2016, pregnant women were less likely to smoke cigarettes, cigars and blunts than were nonpregnant women, with declines in use occurring from first to third trimesters.

Across all years, the likelihood of pregnant women having smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days (14.5 percent) was lower than in nonpregnant women (26.4 percent). Similarly, the likelihood of pregnant women having smoked cigars (1.2 percent) was lower than in nonpregnant women (3.4 percent). The likelihood of pregnant women having smoked blunts (1.8 percent) was lower than in nonpregnant women (4.0 percent). The likelihood of blunt smoking is increasing among reproductive-aged women, with use in the second and third trimesters increasing since 2013.

Researchers concluded that pregnancy is an opportunity for mothers to reduce or discontinue tobacco use.

[Author Contact: Victoria H. Coleman-Cowger, Battelle, Baltimore, MD." Cigar and Marijuana Blunt Use Among Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women of Reproductive Age in the United States, 2006–2016."].

Residents of public housing and rental assistance twice as likely to have asthma

This research found the rate of asthma was 2.02 and 2.34 times higher among public housing development residents and rental assistance renters, respectively, than among homeowners in Boston. Researchers observed smoking-related effect modification. This heightened asthma rate remained consistent when researchers compared the rate with non-public housing renters who were eligible for subsidized housing according to income.

Smoking was found to modify the association between housing status and current asthma, and the associations of public housing residents and rental assistance residents were highest in magnitude among ever-smokers.

[Author Contact: Amar J. Mehta, Research and Evaluation Office, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA "Subsidized Housing and Adult Asthma in Boston, 2010–2015."].

Uninsured and minorities less likely to receive smoking cessation help from health clinics

Researchers found that odds of receiving counseling and medication from a health clinic to help quit smoking were lower among uninsured patients and those of a race/ethnicity other than non-Hispanic White. The odds of receiving smoking cessation help were also lower among patients with diabetes.

The odds of receiving smoking cessation assistance were higher for older patients, those with comorbidity, women and those with more visits. Authors concluded that disparities in smoking cessation assistance exist in health clinic settings.

[Author Contact: Steffani R. Bailey, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Department of Family Medicine, Portland, OR "Disparities in Smoking Cessation Assistance in US Primary Care Clinics."].

Find a full list of AJPH research papers published online below:

  • Austerity Policies and Mortality in Spain after the Financial Crisis of 2008.
  • Human Experimentation In Public Schools: How Schools Served As Sites Of Vaccine Trials In The Twentieth Century
  • Did Reducing Criminal Penalties for Drug Possession in California Affect Racial Disparities in Drug Arrests?
  • Prevention of Underage Drinking on California Indian Reservations Using Individual- And Community-Level Approaches
  • Substance Use Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Questioning Adolescents In The United States, 2015
  • Community And Street-Scale Supports For Walking In The US Virgin Islands Before The 2017 Hurricanes
  • Childhood Experiences Of Sexual Violence, Pregnancy, And Marriage Associated With Child Sex Trafficking Among Female Sex Workers In Two US-Mexico Border Cities.
  • Industry Support Of Patient Advocacy Organizations: The Case For Sunshine
  • Subsidized Housing And Adult Asthma: Findings From A Population-Based Health Survey In Boston
  • Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Among A Representative Sample Of U.S. Adolescents, 2015
  • Cigar And Marijuana "Blunt" Use Among Pregnant And Non-Pregnant Women Of Reproductive Age In The United States, 2006-2016
  • Early Childhood Caries: Determinants Of Country Level Prevalence And Data Availability
  • Disparities In Smoking Cessation Assistance In US Primary Care Clinics
  • Homeless Children Seeking Shelter In An Urban Pediatric Emergency Department After State Housing Policy Change
  • HPV Knowledge And Vaccine Awareness, Intention, And Uptake Among Adult Inmates In Kansas
  • When Inclusion Excludes: Epidemiological Reframing Of Behavioral Diagnoses And Home Experiences Of Deaf Children
  • Toward Real-Time Infoveillance Of Twitter Health Messages: Practical Considerations For Data Collection, Management, And Human Coding.
  • Incarceration And Health Of Sexual And Gender Minority Persons
  • Compliance In 2017 With Federal Calorie Labeling In 90 Chain Restaurants And 10 Retail Food Outlets Prior To Required Implementation

The articles above will be published online June 21, 2018, at 4 p.m. ET by AJPH under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. AJPH is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at

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