E-cigarettes: a solution to smoking?

“In addition to the unknown health effects, early evidence suggests that e-cigarette use may serve as an introductory product for preteens and teens who then go on to use other tobacco products.”

Because smoking still kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, back in July 2017, the Food and Drug Administration was considering a new rule that would require tobacco companies to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes.

Essentially the plan is to get people to quit by trying to make cigarettes less addictive. Tobacco stocks tumbled over the news. “But the FDA says the change will help the market innovate, and push people to turn to alternatives like e-cigarettes.”

There is evidence in England that as the popularity of e-cigarettes rises, more smokers are able to quit.

In the US, though, prelimary research shows that the fall in sales of traditional cigarettes, which had been dropping for decades, “slowed in 2015, while sales of e-cigarettes — which also pose health hazards — are skyrocketing.”

The National Institutes of Health notes: “E-cigarettes are popular among teens and are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. Their easy availability, alluring advertisements, various e-liquid flavors, and the belief that they’re safer than cigarettes have helped make them appealing to this age group. Further, a study of high school students found that one in four teens reported using e-cigarettes for dripping, a practice in which people produce and inhale vapors by placing e-liquid drops directly onto heated atomizer coils…

“In addition to the unknown health effects, early evidence suggests that e-cigarette use may serve as an introductory product for preteens and teens who then go on to use other tobacco products, including cigarettes… A study showed that students who had used e-cigarettes by the time they started 9th grade were more likely than others to start smoking cigarettes and other smokable tobacco products within the next year. However, more research is needed…”

E-cigarettes can also be dangerous to very small children who may access the product.

The e-cigarette craze may not be the panacea some had hoped for. For the Great American Smokeout, smokers might consider resources suggested by the American Cancer Society.

February rambling: expats, and the end of “Parenthood”

dance_as_tho

How America’s Sporting Events Have Turned into Mass Religious Events to Bless Wars and Militarism. Amen.

The Weekly Sift analyzes what the Atlantic article “What ISIS Really Wants” gets right and gets wrong. Also, ISIS Bans Teaching Evolution In Schools in Mosul, as well as art, music, history, literature and, of course, Christianity.

American ISIS: The Domestic Terrorist Fallout of the Iraq War.

Melanie: A Modern Day Scarlet Pimpernel and Human Trafficking.

Something most Americans know little or nothing about: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the latest trade deal being cooked up in secret by big corporations and their lobbyists.

John Oliver Eviscerates the Stunningly Corrupt Practices of Big Pharma. This IS journalism. I also LOVE how he takes on Big Tobacco and their bullying tactics internationally.

Here are Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2015. Obama Attacked for Telling the Truth about Christianity’s Bloody History and The Foolish, Historically Illiterate, Incredible Response to Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Speech. True this: Using religion to brutalize other people is not a Muslim invention, nor is it foreign to the American experience.

Is The Phrase ‘Playing The Race Card’ As Racist As It Sounds? You Bet It Is.

A Latin motto for Vermont? “I thought Vermont was American, not Latin?”

When a Puerto Rican Wins the Powerball.

When Hate Stays in the Closet: “Answering the most sympathetic and reasonable arguments against same-sex marriage.”

A cautionary tale: How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.

Amy Biancolli: The Weight of a Ring.

Uthaclena: Truth in Advertising, or The Eyes Have It.

Dear Student: Should Your Granny Die Before The Midterm … “Grandmothers are 10 times more likely to die before a midterm, and 19 times more likely to die before a final exam. Grannies of students who weren’t doing well in their classes were at even higher risk of meeting their maker.”

3 Tips For Being Awake In A World That Is Asleep.

Learning stuff.

Nancy Frank, organist at First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY, retires after 42 years. Not only is she a fine organist, but a great person as well.

Watch Middle School Kids Play A Led Zeppelin Medley … On Xylophones.

Vogue’s The 10 Greatest Oscar-Winning Songs of All Time.

Bob Dylan’s Full MusiCares Speech: How He Wrote the Songs.

Jaquandor is ranking the Bond songs!

The Real Instrument Behind The Sound In ‘Good Vibrations’.

Chuck Miller on the redemptive quality of Allan Sherman.

One of my favorite TV shows, Parenthood, ended this past month. Deleted Scenes Show Seth’s Return, Sarah’s Roast, and More.

Gary Owens of Laugh-In fame, RIP. Mark Evanier’s piece, and a story with Evanier’s mom, and the short-lived show Letters to Laugh-In. Plus Ken Levine’s appreciation.

What happens to someone who goes on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and loses $225,000?

Clowns: Beware of the Unicycling Clown and The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855.

Muppets: Miss Piggy and Constantine, the World’s Most Dangerous Frog, accept an award, and I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu) and Cookie Monster Chase. Also, ‘Big Birdman’ starring Caroll Spinney and Big Bird [Birdman Spoof] plus Simply Delicious Shower Thoughts with Cookie Monster and I’m Going To Go Back There Someday and The Muppet Movie can’t hide a soft heart beneath the silly gags. Finally, a Sesame Street discography.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.

Video Artist Eran Amir made this video that looks like magical things seem to happen because the video is being run in reverse — but this is not running in reverse…

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

Somehow, I have helped to encourage SamuraiFrog to compile a ranking of all of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs. THIS is a good thing that I will share with The Daughter.

Arthur wrote a GREAT piece, E is for Expat, about being a stranger in a strange land and how that changes over time, quoting others, as well as noting his own experiences.

Jaquandor answers my questions about changing his mind, but not about pie.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

Roger Green, from Sudbury, was named as the regional winner of the Churches Conservation Trust Volunteer Award… This is in recognition of the work he has done for St Peter’s Church, Sudbury, where he chairs the Friends’ group, facilitates regular markets, festivals, concerts and theatre productions, and has helped boost visitor numbers to around 60,000 a year.

Angry people: airline seats, nudies in the Cloud, tobaccoless CVS

The Puritanical “outrage” over nude pictures in the Cloud left me shaking my head.

disk_discs_compact_It’s 4:40 a.m., and if I were an independently wealthy/retired, there are any number of recent topics I might write about. But I’m not. So some scattershot thoughts before they go totally cold.

Reclining seats on planes

I’ve long hated airline travel; it’s a flying bus. The recent spate of fights over someone trying to recline his/her seat, and was inhibited by the person behind, have gotten so bad that three flights were diverted in ten days. This is inevitable, given the fact that the space between seats is getting smaller as the passengers, collectively, are getting larger. Of course, this totally screws up not only the lives of the passengers on those flights but those on connecting flights as well.

Mark Evanier reminded me that airline passengers’ occasional schmuckiness is not just a recent occurrence.

Physical music

Part of the reason I’m strapped for time, actually, is that I switched around three pieces of furniture that hold my CDs. One extremely heavy piece moved, two others replaced, which meant reorganizing almost every disc I own. I am reminded that Jaquandor recently noted that he hadn’t purchased a physical CD in four years, and Alan David Doane said the other day that he listened to an album all the way through for the first time in a long time. Whereas I, obviously an old person, listen to albums, all the way through, all the time, and purchased, or was given, maybe two dozen CDs in the past four years. Yes, I know they may deteriorate over time. Did I mention my vinyl collection?

The moving of these CDs actually made me nostalgic. When I was a new blogger eight or so years ago, Lefty Brown and some of his online cohorts (Greg Burgas and Mike Sterling and Eddie Mitchell and Gordon Dymowski, among others) put together a mixed CD exchange; those discs now have their own section in the new furniture.

There’s some comedy routine that ends with “no one understands the Cloud.” And while technically untrue, I sometimes feel that way. I’ve never been all that comfortable having my music there, and good thing; the stuff I used to have on Amazon seems to have disappeared.

Nude photos in The Cloud

And speaking of the Cloud, intellectual property lawyer/drummer Paul Rapp explains the misrepresentations about pix of Jennifer Lawrence, et al being accessed. I discovered amazingly heated conversations about this topic.

My feeling is that the hackers were – I already used schmucks this post – twerps. Others criticized the (mostly) actresses who stored the pictures and fall into a couple of subcategories: those who thought it was not safe to rely on the Cloud to keep nude photos, and those who wanted to slut-shame those who HAD nude photos of themselves. I sort of understand the former – though this should have known better talk irritated me. But the Puritanical “outrage” left me shaking my head.

As usual, Dustbury has an interesting take on the issue.

CVS bans tobacco

A month earlier than previously announced, the pharmacy CVS decided to ban the sales of cigarettes. The reaction by some baffled me “I don’t smoke, but I think it’s ridiculous. We can’t legislate everything.” Well, no, it’s not being legislated, it’s a business decision, which, in the short term will cost the company millions of dollars in sales.

The major complaint is that they aren’t banning cookies and chips and candy, which can also be bad for you. Sure, but in moderation, it won’t give one diabetes and heart disease, while cigarettes can kill even second-hand smokers. Much of the thread seem to scream about a loss of “freedom”, as though Walgreens and the corner store and thousands of other venues have begun banning them as well.

Gillibrand redux

I’ve mentioned the less-than-tasteful comments made by members of the US Congress toward Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). There are shrill calls saying she should be naming names. I don’t. 1) She’s made her point and 2) she still has to work with these guys, and even if they weren’t always using Senate decorum doesn’t mean that she should abandon same.
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Evanier pretty much nailed my feelings about Joan Rivers. Before she got nasty and spent too much time doing whatever schtick she did with her daughter, she was quite funny. The term pioneer is applicable.

Smoke Gets In Your Lungs

Non-smokers have come a long way since the days when I had to prevaricate in order to breathe cleanly.

November 17, 2011, is the Great American Smokeout when folks in the USA are encouraged to end their consumption of tobacco. I’m all in favor. I find myself increasingly sensitive to cigarette smoke; if my eyesight and hearing have diminished over time, my olfactory sense has not. In fact, it’s arguably stronger.

As I’ve noted, my father was a cigarette smoker when I was a child, and in those days, he could send me or my younger sisters to the corner store to buy him a pack of Winstons. His smoking was a source of some irritable conversations between us.

At college, I have a clear recollection during my freshman year in college, back in 1972, of going into the Faculty Tower to take the elevator to the 9th floor. Some guy I did not know was going to take his lit cigarette into the conveyance. I said, “Please don’t bring that thing in here.” He snapped, “Why? You have asthma?” “Yes,” I lied. And he then complied!

Non-smokers have come a long way since the days when I had to prevaricate in order to breathe cleanly. Airplanes used to have smoking and non-smoking sections. I remember sitting in row 22, the last non-smoking row. Wouldn’t you know that the smoke did not have the courtesy to go back from row 23, but instead wafted forward?

I still remember the VFW hall where a wedding reception was held and the smoke was so thick that I spent more time outside than in. Or going to a bar called Pauly’s in Albany to hear a band, but ended listening to them from the street; Pauly’s is reopening, I hear, and if I get a chance to see musicians, I believe I’ll be able to do so from inside the establishment.

Just last month, I was on a bus. This guy stood in the entryway of the bus, sucking in as many drags as he could before entering. As he walked down the bus aisle, people said, out loud, “Boy, something really stinks in here,” and the like. Not just one person but perhaps a half dozen. I agreed with their assessment, though not so much with their tactic.

Anyway, read about the Great American Smokeout, even if you’re not American. Here are ways to help you quit.