Iowa

Natalie Krebs / Side Effects Public Media

The federal government recently raised the smoking age to 21 to help curb teen vaping.  Some are applauding the decision as a win for public health. Others worry it was a knee-jerk reaction.

An "open tank" e-cigarettes sits on the counter at Mason Odle's vape store, Just Vapor. These larger, open tank systems are exempt from FDA regulations on flavors.
Photo by Carter Barrett/Side Effects Public Media.

Just a few weeks ago, some Midwest state legislatures were aiming to raise the legal age for smoking. But Congress moved first, setting a new national age limit of 21. Now, some anti-smoking advocates say that’s not enough. 

Natalie Krebs/Side Effects Public Media.

Rural areas in America have high death rates from car crashes, hunting accidents and other trauma. But many rural hospitals are only equipped to handle basic emergencies. In one Iowa town trauma experts are helping a small ER prepare for big emergencies.

Isaiah Seibert / Side Effects Public Media

Temperatures are soaring, and that means Midwesterners are headed to summer fairs and festivals. They’ll eat plenty of high calorie foods ⁠—from corn dogs to fried ice cream sandwiches ⁠— but some festivals are trying to include healthier foods.

Brenda Hummel and her 7-year-old daughter Andrea in their home near Des Moines, Iowa. Andrea was born with severe epilepsy and gets her health care through Medicaid.
Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Brenda Hummel’s 7-year-old daughter Andrea was born with severe epilepsy. Like many children with significant diseases or disabilities, she has health insurance through Medicaid. Hummel navigated Iowa’s Medicaid resources for years to find just the right doctors and care for her daughter. But now Iowa’s governor, Republican Terry Branstad, is moving full speed ahead with a plan to put private companies in charge of managing Medicaid’s services, and that has Hummel worried.