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The lawsuit, over the use of a hazardous gasoline additive, names defendants including British Petroleum and Exxon Mobile.

Johnson and Wales Goes Cold Turkey

Jul 1, 2016
Creative Commons

Johnson and Wales celebrated a new tobacco-free policy today over cold turkey sandwiches. The policy makes JWU the first institution of higher learning in Rhode Island to ban tobacco from their campus. Former student government President Ray Nuñez  says the new policy will focus on encouragement rather than punishment.

"This isn’t a (sic) anti-smoking police system. We’re not going to have people going around giving citations for smoking. It’s going to be a culture movement, where people are going to be respectfully telling people ‘hey, we’re no longer a smoking campus.’"

Researchers are warning residents to drink plenty of water and keep to the shade on hot summer days like today. A study from Brown University and the Rhode Island Department of Health finds that hot temperatures affect people of all ages, not just children and seniors.

Rhode Island’s ranking for child well-being has dropped from last year, according to a new report from the child advocacy group Kids Count. 


New legislation aimed at increasing access to experimental medical treatments was introduced Wednesday at the Statehouse.  It could broaden access to drugs not yet approved by the FDA.

There is already a process for patients with terminal illness to try out drugs that are still in testing… But Democratic Representative Joseph McNamara wants to make it easier.   He said all the red tape doctors and patients have to cut through takes too long for people who are critically ill. 

The Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council, or EC4 for short, meets today for the first time this year.  New faces will join the meeting.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island is marking World AIDS Day, Monday with an event at the Statehouse.  The goal is to raise awareness about progress made, and progress still needed.

Eighty-seven new cases of HIV have been reported this year. That’s up from the 74 cases reported in 2013, and 87 too many say doctors and activists.

It's back to school time for kids, of course (and teachers). But perhaps it's time to head back into the classroom or lecture hall yourself.

Need a refresher course in keeping healthy? Strategies for coping with chronic disease? Or perhaps you'd like to learn more about the vaccinations you need, or how to be a brand new parent. Whatever your curiosity or particular health challenge, there's probably a class, lecture, or program out there to help you.

Every Rhode Island county with an air quality monitoring device had slightly more smoggy days this year compared to last year, according to a report issued this year by the American Lung Association. The state will likely see those smoggy days dwindle in the future.

Courtesy Brown Medicine Magazine

This week, Rhode Island Public Radio is recognizing Brown University’s 250th anniversary with a series of conversations with Brown leaders and alumni.  We’re looking forward at what the future might hold for this institution of higher learning in our backyard.

Today, Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay speaks with Fox Wetle, head of Brown’s new school of public health. She asked Wetle, why start such a school to begin with, at Brown, when the university already has a medical school that’s starting to focus on public health issues, too?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s department of health director doctor Michael Fine plans to brief state lawmakers Wednesday on the state of the state’s health.

Fine will update lawmakers on the state’s progress on certain health indicators. Smoking rates are down to about 17 percent. New cases of HIV are falling. But since his last briefing for the General Assembly, Fine said, the needle hasn’t moved in the right direction on another major health challenge – drug addiction and overdose.

“Drug overdose death is what’s keeping us up at night. That’s our single biggest slippage," said Fine.

Lots of news organizations, including this one, are ticking off the year's top 10 stories. I'd like to run through some of Rhode Island's bottom health stories, meaning the ones least likely to have appeared on radar screens - but which should have. And don't worry: there's some good news in here too!

In no particular order:

Imagine riding in an ambulance without heat. That’s apparently been the reality for some people who use the New England Ambulance Company.  The state Health Department is putting a stop to the practice.

The Rhode Island Health Department has ordered the New England Ambulance Company to stop running vehicles without heat.  The department says it will issue fines of 100 dollars a day if the Johnston firm continues to do so.

Westerly’s Zoning Board is circling back to a cease and desist order against Copar and Westerly Granite. Tuesday's hearing picks up where the zoning board left off earlier this year.

Residents near Copar’s quary say it’s noisy and spews rock and dust into the air, causing health risks. Copar says the noise is no louder than a busy road.

Meanwhile, Copar and the Town of Westerly are locked in a lawsuit that the former town manager was hoping would be resolved in mediation.

Rhode Island collected more than 23-hundred pounds of pharmaceuticals this past Saturday during a statewide prescription drug take-back event.

The Attorney General’s office says that beats the record of all six previous take-back events in Rhode Island.

Rhode Islanders were encouraged to bring unused or expired prescription medications to several locations throughout Rhode Island for authorities to dispose of safely.