September 2015

The California School Environmental Health and Asthma Collaborative (SEHAC)
brings together education and health professionals to promote indoor and
outdoor environments that maximize health and learning in schools. 
SEHAC Launches New Website
SEHAC recently launched a new website. This resource contains a great deal of information for school personnel, parents of students with asthma, students who wish to better understand their asthma, and other interested groups. 
The website is divided in four sections:
  • Asthma QuickTakes (AQT) - SEHAC's series of four-to-eight minute narrated films on important asthma-related topics.  AQTs are created with forr school personnel and parents, and include downloadable pdf documents on the issues addressed in the film.
  • Asthma Statistics - Information for the California Department of Public Health's Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report, the most comprehensive set of data available.  Additional data from, a program of the Lucille Packard Foundation for Children's Health. 
  • Documents and Online Resources - Extensive online information and tools for school staff, parents of students with asthma, student with asthma, and asthma stakeholders.
  • Information About SEHAC - A variety of documents detailing SEHAC's history, current members, a membership application, and contact information.
Also included are links to the bi-monthly SEHAC Newsletters, and Facebook page.

The SEHAC website was created to provide in one place a "go-to" resource that contains the information that schools and families need to understand and effectively address asthma. To visit the SEHAC website, click on this link: .

Bi-Annual California Asthma Summit
The Latest in Research and Interventions
October 14-15 in Los Angeles

Have you registered for the California Asthma Summit ? This two-day summit will is a great opportunity for school health professionals to learn about the latest in asthma research and school and community interventions. You won't want to miss these exciting sessions:
  • Healthy Schools: Reducing Absences due to Asthma
  • Healthy School Environments
  • A School-based Stress Management Intervention for 8-14 Year Olds with Asthma
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Asthma Screening Tools
  • Improved Air Quality and Children's Respiratory Health
  • Respiratory Toxicants and e-Cigarettes
  • Pediatric Obesity-related Asthma: Time for Recognition and Intervention.
Please visit to view the full agenda, see the great line up of speakers, and learn about continuing education opportunities. Click here to reserve your spot today!
E-Cigarettes and Asthma

By Pamela Luna, DrPH, MEd

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigs have become quite popular and have left many of us wondering about the safety of this and other "electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS)" such as hookahs and e-pens. There are still many questions to be answered.  However, new information is arising about these devices, which may prove useful   to people working with youth in schools and elsewhere. 

The first is a health a dvisory from the California Department of Public Health,
A State Health Officer's Report on E-Cigarettes: A Community Health Threat
The second is a study published in the New England Journ al of Medicine, by researchers at Portland State U niversity,  Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols . Both documents provide important information for people with asthma. 

Key findings from the State Health Officer's Report relevant to our work in asthma include: 

  • Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine and causes blood vessels to constrict and heart rate and blood pressure to rise.
  • Nicotine containing e-cigarettes causes lung irritation, inflammation, and its effect on blood vessels is similar to smoking a traditional cigarette.
  • Mainstream and secondhand e-cigarette aerosol has been found to contain at least ten chemicals that are on California's list of chemicals known to cause cancer, including acetaldehyde, benzene [and] formaldehyde.
  • Passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosol absorbs nicotine at levels comparable to passive smokers and ultrafine particles can travel deep into the lungs leading to tissue inflammation.
  • There is no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers successfully quit or reduce traditional cigarette consumption.
  • E-cigarette aerosol (vapor) contained a large amount of formaldehyde from the propylene glycol, glycerol, and flavorants in the "e-juice" that are heated during the vaping process.
  • Formaldehydes, like all aldehydes, are primary irritants that cause inflammation and irritation in the respiratory system. 
Although epidemiological studies on e-cigarettes are yet to come, people with asthma and other respiratory conditions have reason to avoid secondhand exposure to e-cigarette vapor/aerosol, just as is advised with conventional cigarettes.

Note: the California Healthy Kids Resource Center is a FREE leading library for schools. The Center funded by the California Department of Education and the California Department of Public Health, is in the process of acquiring educational materials on ENDS/e-cigs at

SEHAC Featured Member Organization
California Breathing, California Department of Public Health

California State Asthma Program
Provides Leadership and Resources
California Breathing , the asthma program in the California Department of Public Health, works to improve the respiratory health of Californians and reduce asthma-related health disparities through education and environmental interventions where we live, work, learn, and play.  Its work is guided by Strategic Plan for Asthma in California, a document encompassing all aspects of asthma-related research, policy and services.
California Breathing provides numerous services to the state's asthma and health communities.  Among these are:
Leadership: Leads asthma activities and coalitions, including California Asthma Partners (CAP), and California School Environmental Health and Asthma Collaborative (SEHAC), and participates on the California Healthy Housing Coalition.
Research Summit: Organizes a biennial asthma event focusing on promising research. 
Surveillance: m aintains an extensive asthma surveillance system that incorporates state and local asthma data from multiple data sources.
Schools & Childcare: provides resources for asthma management and environmental quality specifically designed for schools and child care providers
Housing: trains diverse stakeholders on healthy housing principles.
Health Services: works to expand access to comprehensive asthma control services through home- and school-based strategies.
Health Systems: works with the California Department of Health Care Services and health care organizations to improve coverage, delivery, and use of clinical and other asthma services, and to implement the California Wellness Plan.
Among the key resources and services provided by California Breathing are: 
Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report:  A comprehensive picture of the burden of asthma in the state, compiling all available asthma surveillance data into a single source.
Reports: Various documents including the Strategic Plan for Asthma in California, Healthy Housing Report, Climate Change Presentation, and others.
Fact Sheets: Documents on a variety of asthma-related topics, including pests, school absenteeism, obesity, emergency room visits, mold, disparities, cleaning products and code enforcement.
Child Care Guide: C omprehensive information for child care providers and parents of preschoolers with asthma
Collaborations: I nformation about California Asthma Partners (CAP), California School Environmental Health and Asthma Collaborative (SEHAC), and California Health Housing Coalition (CHHC)
California Breathing also provides leadership for the SEHAC, the organization that produces Asthma QuickTakes (AQTs) and other school-focused resources, funds student asthma projects, and produces this newsletter.
Contact Information
Scott Kessler, MA
Programs Manager

Help us improve the
SEHAC QuickNews

As we kick off a new school year, we want to make sure that the SEHAC newsletter is fully serving the needs of everyone in the school community.  Whether this is your first newsletter or you're a regular reader, please take a moment to tell us what you think by completing this brief survey:
Thanks in advance!
   - SEHAC Leadership Council

In This Issue
Resources for Schools
Asthma-Safe Schools Website
This website , developed by the Asthma Plan of Action, Government of Ontario, Canada, is intended for use by members of the elementary school community or any individual who seeks to create asthma-safe schools.
Webinar Series
This authoritative webinar series produced by the U.S. EPA, addresses key topics of interest on a variety of indoor air quality issues.

Wee Breathers Program
This program , from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, is designed to help health professionals who educate parents of children under age 7 learn to manage asthma. Complete info for parents of young children with asthma.

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