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Beginning this month, Iowa teenagers who smoke or use chewing tobacco may incur more than just bad breath and the disapprobation of health officials. They may also be fined up to $100 or be forced to do community service.

Under a law that was adopted by the legislature earlier this year and that went into effect on July 1, Iowa became the first state to prohibit smoking by teenagers under the age of 18. Minors who buy tobacco products face similar penalties.

Carol Sipfle, director of programs for the American Lung Association of Iowa, said she believes the law "is a step in the right direction."

She said state officials estimate that one in five Iowa teenagers use tobacco.

A new study by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine has found a causal relationship between the combined diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine and the rubella vaccine and certain health problems.

The study, which was required by the Congress as part of a 1986 law that established a federal compensation program for individuals who claimed they were injured by vaccines, examined the relation of the two immunizations to 20 potential health problems.

It concluded that a causal relationship likely exists between the dpt vaccine and anaphylaxis, a sudden, rare, and potentially deadly allergic reaction. It also found a causal relationship between the pertussis component of the vaccine and extended periods of crying and screaming, sometimes lasting more than 24 hours after the immunization.

For the rubella vaccine, the study found a causal relationship between it and acute arthritis in women.

Children are more likely to get injured or be poisoned at home than in child-care centers, a new study has found.

The study, which was based on a telephone survey of 1,775 households with 2,250 children under the age of 5, was completed by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. It was published in the July issue of the American Journal of the Diseases of Children.

Of the 171 reported poisonings in the survey, the study found, none occurred outside the home. And the overall rate of injury was more than 50 percent higher during in-home care than during out-of-home care, the study said.

Researchers also found that children who were cared for outside the home were more likely to be injured at home than those children who stay at home during the day. They hypothesized that the parents of children who attend day-care centers might be busy preparing dinner or managing the home after work, and do not monitor their children as closely.--ef

Vol. 10, Issue 40

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