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New program aims to help Utah smokers quit

SALT LAKE CITY — Smoking may be less present in Utah than in other states, but it is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the state.

The Utah Department of Health is pushing people to kick the habit, and on Wednesday Adam Bramwell of the Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program came to the FOX 13 News studio to discuss their new campaign to help people quit. The new campaign is called Way to Quit, and it embraces the wide variety of methods people use to quit smoking.

See the video above for information about the program, and click here for more details as well as resources for those who hope to quit smoking.

Consumer Reports ranks SLC hospitals

Which Salt Lake City hospitals rank the highest? Dan and Kerri talked to a specialist at Consumer Reports to answer that question.

Watch the video above to see if your hospital of choice made the cut.

Proposed bill would provide more access to autism spectrum disorder care

SALT LAKE CITY — Insurance companies may soon be forced to recognize autism spectrum disorders and treat them.

A bill that would do just that and help thousands of Utah children passed a major hurdle on Capitol Hill Friday.

“What we did in the compromise is identify that group of children who are most vulnerable who would be helped by this particular legislation,” said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Brian Shiozawa of Cottonwood Heights.

Autistic children between ages 2 and 9 would have insurance coverage under Senate Bill 57.

“It doesn’t serve all of the families that we originally wanted to,” said Christine Passey, Vice-President of the Utah Autism Coalition. “But as legislation goes, we work through the process as we go and this is an amazing step, this is an amazing bill, and it was great.”

Experts promote heart health on Valentine’s Day

SALT LAKE CITY — This Valentine’s Day, University of Utah Health Care officials want everyone focus on the health of the heart.

“We are encouraging everyone to get out and get healthy with their sweetie today,” said Kelley Whalen of University of Utah Health Care.

Marcus Perry of University of Utah Health Care said the heart is a great place to start.

“A good start to get healthy is to focus on your heart because a healthy heart is a healthy body,” Perry said.

Nurses were at City Creek Friday, offering free blood pressure screenings and tips on how to be heart healthy.

“Today is the perfect day to remember about your heart and full of love and joy and what better way to bring heart awareness,” said Shana Riordan of University of Utah Health Care.

Shoppers stopped to check the health of their heart, and after just 30 seconds the results were in. Doctors said this is one of the simplest ways to take charge of your health.

Former White House adviser in Utah to discuss marijuana access

SALT LAKE CITY – A former White House drug adviser was in Utah Friday night to talk about what he calls the dangers of legalized marijuana, and he also spoke about efforts in Utah to give children who suffer from seizures access to a strain of cannabis oil that may help treat their condition.

Doctor Kevin Sabet’s visit comes the day after FOX 13 News’ Gene Kennedy brought us the story of a Utah family who uprooted their lives and moved to Colorado in an effort to get an oil made from marijuana plants that could help with their son’s seizures.

While speaking at Friday’s conference, Sabet said legal pot is the new big tobacco, and he said there are dangers there.

Expert fields questions regarding weight loss surgery

SALT LAKE CITY — Weight loss surgery is becoming increasingly prevalent, and on Friday an expert came to the FOX 13 News studio to answer questions and provide information regarding bariatric weight loss surgeries.

This type of procedure has helped FOX 13′s own Big Budah lose about 140 pounds in one year.

Kim Cundick is the patient education director for the Salt Lake Regional Medical Center Surgical Weight loss Center, and she fielded some frequently asked questions about the procedures they offer. See the video above for her comments, and click here to visit the center’s website.

Vet talks pet safety on bad air days

SALT LAKE CITY – Unhealthy air conditions prevail in the Salt Lake Valley again as inversion conditions return, and experts say the bad air is bad for pets as well as humans.

Veterinarian Scott Leiter has been in the business for about 35 years, and he said he usually notices a spike in animal visits when the air quality takes a turn.

“I have seen more cases of bronchitis always during the inversion period,” he said.

He said bronchitis, allergies and asthma can all be exacerbated by bad air quality.

“The inversion right now, we are seeing more cases of our feline asthma cases and also chronic bronchitis,” he said.

Leiter said chronic exposure to the bad air creates a problem, particularly among middle-aged or older animals. Leiter said precautions for pets mirror those prescribed for people.

“It’s probably safe to say that whatever is good for people is good for our pets.,” he said.