Aug 26

With tobacco tax revenues in decline, hunt is on to find another way to fund free preschool It’s all about the money.

102317-leadTobacco tax revenues that pay for California preschool and other early childhood services are steadily declining as users give up smoking, and a scramble is on to find another source of funding.The tale of the shrinking funding source — now down to $350 million this year from $650 million in 1998 — starts at tobacco shops like Drive Thru Cigarettes. Tucked inside a strip mall on Huntington Drive in Duarte, the business and other nearby shops have seen sales drop to a trickle. Customer Eduardo Hernandez said he used to smoke a lot, but he’s down to a pack a day and looks forward to quitting — and relishing the money he could save from his Little Cesar’s Pizza server salary.“I know smoking is bad,” he said.But for now, Hernandez’s habit is helping fund free preschool for disadvantaged families and other early childhood programs. Eighty percent of tobacco taxes go directly to fund programs for children under five.How it beganIn 1998, California voters passed Proposition 10 to tax every pack of cigarettes 50 cents. Commissions called “First 5″ were created in every county to disperse the funds. “Fifty cents seemed like [a] significant amount of money at the time,” said Moira Kenney, who runs the First 5 Association of California. “In 1998, we were generating $650 million a year and that spurred extraordinary innovation across the state.”Prop 10 was ahead of its time, Kenney said. Back then, there wasn’t research as there is today showing the benefits of early education and baby brain development. Nonetheless, voters approved the dedicated pot of money for children’s programs.The funds were spent on such services as pre- and postnatal programs, nurse home visits for at-risk families, and quality improvements to preschools. From the outset, however, early education advocates knew the pot of money was not bottomless, Kenney said.“So we were challenged to find things [to fund] that would seem so necessary, so critical for every child

Source: Audio: With tobacco tax revenues in decline, hunt is on to find another way to fund free preschool | 89.3 KPCC

Aug 19

Wow! Obama drives down coal company stocks, and Soros buys them on the cheap – Christian Political Party

George-Soros-and-Barrack-ObamaI have always believed that global warming is a gigantic scam, driven by greed and lust for power. Now comes the shocking news, via Steve Milloy writing on Breitbart, that following President Obama’s use of CO2 emissions as a weapon to drive major coal companies near bankruptcy, the ultimate politically connected speculator George Soros is buying up stock in major coal producers on the cheap.I predicted last week that the left wasn’t going to kill off the coal industry so much as it was going to steal it. That prediction is already becoming true courtesy of billionaire George Soros.U.S. Securities and Exchange Act filings indicate that Soros has purchased an initial 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and 553,200 shares of Arch Coal, the two largest publicly traded U.S. coal companies. As pointed out last week, both companies have been driven perilously close to bankruptcy by the combination of President Obama’s “war on coal” and inexpensive natural gas brought on by the hydro fracturing revolution.Under the hypothesis that not even socialists would leave trillions of dollars worth of a perfectly safe and clean energy source in the ground for the sake of the imaginary “climate crisis,” I posited that once the existing coal industry ownership was wiped out by President Obama’s regulatory onslaught, a new politically correct ownership would rehabilitate the fuel by contributing to Democrats.Enter George Soros, a hardball investor and philanthropist to myriad left-wing causes, including the activist and “clean energy” rent-seeking movements that have helped take down the coal industry. In 2009, for example, Soros announced he would spend $1 billion in “clean energy” technology and create a San Francisco-based advocacy organization called the Climate Policy Initiative.Less than a year ago the Soros’ Climate Policy Initiative issued a major report concluding that the world could save $1.8 trillion over the next two decades by transitioning away from coal. The report referred to coal reserves as “stranded assets” that were losing value as they were no longer needed.For now, Soros’s investments are small scale (by his standards), but the reports end with June, so there is no

Source: Wow! Obama drives down coal company stocks, and Soros buys them on the cheap – Christian Political Party

Aug 17

Fears e-cigarettes lead children to smoke tobacco are unfounded, survey suggests – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent

14-electronic-cigarette-GettyElectronic cigarettes do not introduce children to traditional forms of tobacco, according to a survey of 11- to 18-year-olds which contradicts previous suggestions that the gadgets may lead young people to a far more dangerous form of smoking.Concerns that e-cigarettes, which are considered less risky than cigarettes because they result in tobacco vapour being inhaled that is free of the dangerous chemical constituents of cigarette smoke, could lead to a rise in smoking real cigarettes appears to be unwarranted, scientists said.The survey found that although more young people are now experimenting with e-cigarettes, the number using them on a regularly basis is still relatively small and most of these children have already been smokers.“These results should reassure the public that electronic cigarettes are not linked with any rise in young people smoking,” said Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at the anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which commissioned the research carried out by YouGov.“Although more young people are trying electronic cigarettes and many more young people are aware of them, this has not led to widespread, regular use or an increase in smoking,” Ms Cheeseman said.In 2013, about 4 per cent of 11- to 18-year-olds said they had tried e-cigarettes “once or twice”, and this rose to 10 per cent in 2015, the study found. However, regular use of the products where children said they used them at least once a month, remained relatively rare across the period, at just 2.4 per cent.Almost all of those interviewed who said they were regular users also said they had been or were still currently cigarette smokers.This occurred during the period when the awareness of e-cigarettes among the age group rose significantly – only 7 per cent were unaware of the products in 2015 compared with a third in 2013.

Source: Fears e-cigarettes lead children to smoke tobacco are unfounded, survey suggests – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent

Aug 13

Nicotine No Worse Than Cup Of Coffee – Report

E-CigarettesBy Poppy Trowbridge, Consumer Affairs CorrespondentA new report from the Royal Society for Public Health has found one myth about the dangers of smoking has endured for decades.The research suggests nine out of 10 people falsely believe nicotine is very harmful to their heath, when in fact it is no more dangerous than the caffeine in a cup of coffee.Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, said: “Getting people on to nicotine rather than using tobacco would make a big difference to the public’s health.Cigarette advertising was banned on television 50 years ago this month”Clearly there are issues in terms of having smokers addicted to nicotine but this would move us on from having a serious and costly public health issue from smoking-related disease to instead address the issue of addiction to a substance which in and of itself is not too dissimilar to caffeine addiction.”The worst damage to health is caused by the tobacco in cigarettes, which – when burning – exposes users to chemicals such as tar and arsenic. History Of Smoking In BritainTobacco also contains some nicotine, but according to the new report, nicotine itself isn’t harmful.Nicotine replacement products, like gum, patches and e-cigarettes, are therefore significantly less harmful than cigarettes themselves, according to the research.The RSPH is calling for these products to be mandatory in shops that also sell regular cigarettes – offering what they call a safer option to tobacco. HealthThey are also calling for e-cigarettes to be renamed nicotine sticks or vapourisers to distance them from cigarettes.Yet some medical experts say nicotine itself has some risks.Dr Hamed Khan, a GP and lecturer at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London, said: “Being addicted to nicotine obviously isn’t ideal.There is some evidence that shows that it may increase the risk of heart disease and also potentially increases your blood pressure.”But he agrees that nicotine replacement products themselves can be a useful tool in helping smokers to quit.

Source: Nicotine No Worse Than Cup Of Coffee – Report

Aug 07

Nicotine Itself Isn’t The Real Villain

casaa_sealThe man in charge of tobacco regulation at the Food and Drug Administration says we “need a national debate on nicotine.” Good idea. But first we need to understand what nicotine is – and what it isn’t.It isn’t the stuff that can cause serious illness and death from cancer, lung, and heart disease. Those culprits are the tar and toxic gases that are released from burning tobacco when you smoke.Nicotine is a chemical that is dangerous not because it causes cancer but because it can addict you to cigarettes. As Michael Russell, the father of tobacco harm reduction theory and the developer of nicotine gum, put it in 1976: “People smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar.”Mitchell Zeller, director of the Center of Tobacco Products, a division of the FDA, made his comments about nicotine in an interview with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera on the eve of his agency’s recommendations for regulating electronic cigarettes.The nature of e-cigarettes is that, like Russell’s gum, they contain nicotine and thus satisfy the cravings of smokers, but vaping – as puffing on an e-cigarette is called – doesn’t burn tobacco and release those carcinogens. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t understand that nicotine itself isn’t the villain.Adolescents in the early 1980s encountered an evil character called Nick O’Teen, created by DC Comics in collaboration with the Sacramento-based Health Education Council. Nick O’Teen sparred with Superman, who tried to guard Gotham’s children against cigarettes.But nicotine is only a menace when it can addict people to conventional cigarettes – that is, tobacco wrapped in paper. By contrast, in the process of vaping, nicotine carries little risk by itself. Negative health consequences have not materialized within the seven years e-cigarettes have been used in the U.S. – though it’s essential to keep monitoring.In the 1960s, most psychologists, psychiatrists, and pharmacologists viewed

Source: Nicotine Itself Isn’t The Real Villain

Aug 04

Lawmaker says anti-tobacco agency may be breaking law by opposing vaping –

Picture 16BISMARCK, N.D. — A state agency created by voters to combat tobacco use has lately turned toward opposing vaping — or e-cigarette — sales and use.One state lawmaker is wondering whether that crosses a legal line.In a letter to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem dated July 31, Rep. Mike Schatz, a Republican from New England, asks for a legal opinion on the matter.“Money from the tobacco settlement is being spent by the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy to discourage the use of e-cigarettes in the form of literature, verbal communication, and advertising,” the letter obtained by Watchdog states. “I am concerned this activity constitutes the use of state dollars for a purpose that has not been approved by the Legislative Assembly.”OTHER NEWS: Who is really green? Environmentalists in Vermont fight over renewable mandatesA message left for the Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy, which also operates as BreatheND, was not immediately returned.A search of the organization’s website turns up numerous publications of anti-vaping viewpoints. In a recent news article about state law prohibiting the sale of vaping products to minors under 18, center executive director Jeanne Prom described vaping products as containing “toxins” that “aren’t safe.”

Source: Lawmaker says anti-tobacco agency may be breaking law by opposing vaping –

Jul 21

Obama admin looks to ban some Social Security recipients from owning guns | Fox News

obam_martial_aThe Obama administration wants to keep people collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if it is determined they are unable to manage their own affairs, the Los Angeles Times reported.The push, which could potentially affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others, is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws that prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the United States illegally, and others, according to the paper.The language of federal gun laws restricts ownership to people who are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease” – which could potentially affect a large group within Social Security, the LA Times reported.If Social Security, which has never taken part in the background check system, uses the same standard as the Department of Veterans Affairs – which is the idea floated – then millions of beneficiaries could be affected, with about 4.2 million adults receiving monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”The latest move is part of the efforts by President Obama to strengthen gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

Source: Obama admin looks to ban some Social Security recipients from owning guns | Fox News

Jul 19

Vaping a slow burner in China, world’s maker of e-cigarettes | Reuters

E-Cigarettes-1When Qu Liang’s wife became pregnant, the 30-year-old Shanghai salesman switched from smoking to “vaping”, a practice uncommon in China although it is the world’s leading producer of electronic cigarettes.E-cigarettes were invented about a decade ago by a Chinese medical researcher and the country supplies nearly all global demand. Puffing on the devices, or vaping, is surging worldwide, but it forms only a tiny part of China’s 1.2 trillion yuan (about $200 billion) cigarette business.Now, rising public awareness about the hazards of smoking, coupled with China’s hardening stance on smoking in public, is opening up an opportunity for e-cigarettes to make inroads into the world’s biggest tobacco market.”As more and more places become off limits to smoking, I find myself using e-cigarettes more often,” said Qu. Since starting using the product six years ago for health reasons, Qu has started selling e-cigarettes himself, expanding the business from exports to the domestic market this year.E-cigarettes are mostly sold online in China, where government regulation around the product is still lax. Countries like Singapore and Brazil currently ban e-cigarettes.Centered in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen, Chinese manufacturers including Shenzhen Smoore Technology, FirstUnion Group, Shenzhen Seego Technology Co Ltd and Ruyan Tech make around 95 percent of the world’s e-cigarettes, slim, battery-powered metal tubes that turn nicotine-laced liquid into vapour that is inhaled.Vaping is potentially a healthier alternative to smoking as the absence of combustion averts some of the harmful side-effects of tobacco smoke. But a big issue is the lack of long-term scientific evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes, prompting critics like the British Medical Association to warn of the dangers of their unregulated use.Nevertheless, the e-cigarettes market is growing fast, although it is still only a tiny

Source: Vaping a slow burner in China, world’s maker of e-cigarettes | Reuters

Jul 19

Propylene glycol in e cigarettes might keep us healthy, says researchers

CDC SmallAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, during 2000-2004, “An estimated 443,000 persons in the United States died prematurely each year from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. During 2001-2004, the average annual smoking-attributable health-care expenditures nationwide were approximately $96 billion. When combined with productivity losses of $97 billion, the total economic burden of smoking is approximately $193 billion per year.” Comparing the health risks of tobacco smoking to the Swine Flu brings out some interesting and thought provoking statistics. According to President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology on H1N1, “A plausible scenario is that the epidemic could cause between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths in the United States.” That puts the comparison of real deaths of 443,000 smokers to a “war games guess” of 30,000 to 90,000 for the H1N1 influenza for which the government recently declared a Health Emergency. That declaration and the shortage of the H1N1 vaccine has caused a panic in the U.S. No study or statistic has been offered that points to the Swine Flu as being more deadly than tobacco cigarettes in causing death, yet a disproportional effort in preventative measures are currently being channeled to defend against a lower risk health issue. Toxic tobacco smoke contains many additional chemicals, including carbon monoxide and tar which is a sticky substance that accumulates in the lungs, causing lung cancer and respiratory distress. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world and is responsible for more than 5 million deaths each year. What the flu vaccine is to H1N1 as a preventative, the electronic cigarette may be for the tobacco smoker. An electronic cigarette is a futuristic advancement in science that makes it look, feel, and taste like a tobacco cigarette, as the user duplicates the mechanical motions. It expels an almost odorless water vapor that looks like smoke, but isn’t. The e cigarettes are battery-powered with a cartridge that typically contains nicotine in various levels (or none), propylene glycol and tobacco flavoring. In their October briefing, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the United Kingdom released a favorable position on electronic cigarettes.

Source: Propylene glycol in e cigarettes might keep us healthy, says researchers

Jul 18

New Study: Electronic Cigarettes Vapor Has NO Toxic Effect

scientific.study_-600x350In a recent study, scientists have found electronic cigarette vapor has NO toxic effect on the cells found in human lungs. Fresh research, funded by British American Tobacco (BAT), suggested inhaling nicotine vapor could be as safe as breathing air.To perform these experiments, the tobacco giant teamed up with the MatTek Corporation, maker of human cell models used in “in vitro” laboratory experiments. Scientists then used a “smoking robot” to expose these lung cell replicas to tobacco smoke, two different brands of e-cig vapor, and plain old air.After being exposed to old-fashioned smoke for six (6) hours, the cells died. However, after subjecting the cells to an “aggressive and continuous” dose of e-cig vapor, researchers claimed the damage to the airway tissue was “similar to that of air”. BAT spokesperson, Dr Marina Murphy, stated “by employing a combination of a smoking robot and a lab-based test using respiratory tissue, it was possible to demonstrate…. the e-cigarette aerosols used in this study have no [toxic] effect on human airway tissue.”There are plans to tests a wider variety of e-cigs, to prove its results. “Currently there are no standards concerning the ‘in vitro’ testing of electronic cigarette aerosols,” said Marina Trani, ‎Group Head Scientific Product Stewardship at British American Tobacco. “Our protocol could prove very useful in helping the process by which these guidelines might progress.”The debate about e-cigarette safety has been raging for several years. Study after study have highlighted health risks, although most experts agree vaping is much safer than smoking cigarettes. Dr Michael Siegel, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health, welcomed the latest study as evidence of the safety of electronic cigarettes; stating “Despite the limitations of the research, it adds additional evidence to support the contention that vaping is a lot safer than smoking.”He called on public health bodies and anti-tobacco groups alike to encourage smokers to swap to vaping; a step which would “transform the nicotine market and achieve a huge public health victory.” going

Source: New Study: Electronic Cigarettes Vapor Has NO Toxic Effect

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