Politics can be a dirty game. Money talks and nonsense walks but things have a way of getting sticky when campaigns get shady donations. Every politician needs financial backing to run a campaign. Advertising and travel aren’t cheap, so they all rely on 3rd party supporters to donate money to their cause. Problem is, nothing is ever free. When donations are made, there’s an unwritten expectation on the part of the donator, to get some preferential treatment – or at least a chance to get the would-be politician’s ear.
Enter big tobacco.
According to a Deseret News article, alcohol and tobacco companies donated $96,000 to local Utah elections (combined) in 2012. Alcohol is responsible for $37,850 of it and big tobacco footed the remaining $58,200. The idea here is simple: alcohol and tobacco donate money and in return, expect to get (at the very least) a sympathetic ear from a newly elected politician. Given the type(s) of industry however, the public doesn’t tend to look favorably on politicians who accept these donations.
One candidate in particular, Governor Gary Herbert, denied the donation from big tobacco and even went so far as to return the check for $1000 that they sent. With all the new smoking laws and seemingly endless tax hikes on the price per pack, its no wonder that big tobacco is scrambling, looking for a way to stop – or at least slow the bleeding. They need lawmakers and decision makers to see eye to eye with them but a lot of people don’t look positively toward a product that they know is harmful. To make matters worse for big tobacco, all campaign contributions need to be reported and made public by any candidate. This means, that any candidate who accepts a big tobacco donation has to disclose that information and deal with potential backlash from the same community they are trying to solicit votes from. You can’t anger the public and expect them to write your name on the ballot.
Politics are a popularity contest and big tobacco is losing friends left and right.
We all know the dangers associated with smoking: lung cancer, heart disease and even impotence among others. With all the long-term health issues smoking creates we often overlook the short-term dangers.
Recently, a 2-year-old girl was hospitalized after being accidentally burnt in her eye by a lit cigarette. The child was at a state fair in Minnesota with her parents when it happened. While in a crowd, a nearby smoker lowered her cigarette after taking a drag and unknowingly put the lit end of the smoke directly into the girl’s eye. After being rushed to the hospital, it would be 18 hours before the girls could even open her eye.
Doctors expect the girl to make a full recovery but the incident, albeit accidental, raises some eyebrows about public smoking. As if the exposure to second hand smoke wasn’t reason enough for parents and non-smokers to be concerned about their proximity to smokers, burns are more likely to happen in crowded areas as this poor 2-year-old found out.
“With the thousands of people at the fair, I guess we feel there maybe should be designated smoking areas,” the girl’s mother said. “This could have been way more serious, this could have affected her vision for the rest of her life.”
Smoking is banned at the Minnesota State Fair but with 200,00 attendees on any given day, enforcement is a logistical nightmare.
Quitting sucks. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried. Nicotine has a strangle hold on smokers that is so incredibly tough to break that most smokers aren’t able to successfully quit on their first try. Not only is there a strong chemical addiction to nicotine that the body has a hard time shaking but there’s also a psychological addiction that a lot of people overlook.
Smoking is a routine for most people. They smoke at regular times such as work breaks, before or after meals, first thing in the morning and so on. So when a smoker wants to quit not only do they deal with their body craving the chemical but they also face constant reminders in their daily life when they enter a situation where they would have smoked. This gets even tougher when a would-be quitter finds himself or herself in a social situation where people around them are smoking. Temptation is everywhere.
In a new study overseen by UCSF, researchers may have found an answer that allows smokers to work toward quitting while allowing them to give in to temptation. New low nicotine cigarettes have lower amounts of chemicals and nicotine than the normal version and allow smokers to give in to the psychological addiction while they work toward their goal.
The study focused on 135 smokers between the ages of 18 and 70 and concluded that the smokers used the same amount of low nicotine cigarettes as they did when they smoked normal cigarettes; that is to say that they didn’t desire to smoke more to compensate for the lower amount of nicotine.
Researchers are working toward finding the exact amount of nicotine needed to maintain a chemical addiction. Once they find this number, smokers can wean their way to quitting by buying cigarettes with less and less nicotine over time until they break the addiction.
“The idea is to reduce people’s nicotine intake, so that they get used to the lower levels, and eventually get to the point where smoking is no longer satisfying,” said Neal Benowitz, the UCSF researcher who led the study.
While smoking rates are still declining all over the country, one in five deaths is still caused by the habit, which begs the question: Are more people quitting or are there just fewer smokers alive?
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Big tobacco spends $47.7 million to save a buck…kind of. Prop 29 is a California ballot measure that aims to add $1 to the already existing cigarette tax of 87¢ per pack, bringing it to $1.87. The extra dollar is designed to go toward cancer research. The move is designed to have a two-pronged [...]
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