AMA Adopts New Public Health Policies at Annual Meeting

CHICAGO - June 20, 2012 - The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest physician group, voted today during the final day of its Annual Meeting to adopt the following new policies.

Adverse Heath Effects of Nighttime Lighting: The AMA today adopted policy recognizing that exposure to excessive light at night can disrupt sleep, exacerbate sleep disorders and cause unsafe driving conditions. The policy also supports the need for developing lighting technologies that minimize circadian disruption and encourages further research on the risks and benefits of occupational and environmental exposure to light at night.

“The natural 24-hour cycle of light and dark helps maintain alignment of circadian biological rhythms along with basic processes that help our bodies to function normally,” said AMA board member Alexander Ding, M.D. “Excessive exposure to nighttime lighting disrupts these essential processes and can create potentially harmful health effects and hazardous situations.”

“This type of disruption especially impacts those employed by industries requiring a 24-hour workforce as well those faced with unsafe driving conditions caused by artificial lights on cars and roadway illumination. By supporting new technologies that will reduce glare and minimize circadian disruption, the AMA is taking steps to improve both public health and public safety.”

Sales of Tobacco in Pharmacies: Expanding on current policy opposing the sale of tobacco by pharmacies, the AMA today adopted policy that would create a recognition program for pharmacies that voluntarily eliminate the sale of tobacco.

“Pharmacies that simultaneously sell tobacco cessation products alongside cigarettes and tobacco products are sending a mixed message to consumers, and the AMA wants to publicly recognize those pharmacies that put the health of their customers first by not selling tobacco,” said Dr. Ding. “Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in our country, and the AMA is committed to helping smokers quit and preventing kids from picking up this deadly habit.”

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Media Contact:
Shannon (O'Brien) Breymaier
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4443

About the American Medical Association (AMA)
The American Medical Association helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional, public health and health policy issues. The nation’s largest physician organization plays a leading role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information on the AMA, please visit