Manhattan Beach Implements Strict Smoke-Free Ordinance

The Manhattan Beach City Council has just approved a new ordinance that bans smoking in many public areas. The new law has been implemented starting July 18.

quit smokingBranding itself as a smoke-free city, Manhattan Beach is now conducting the new ordinance, which broadens its existing laws to include electronic cigarettes. Scope of the smoking ban now includes many public places, including city streets and sidewalks, as well as public dining locations. Anyone inside the city may light a smoke in designated areas inside most hotels, and also residential areas and inside private moving vehicles.

Sona Coffee, who functions as the environmental program manager in Manhattan Beach, said that anyone walking through shops and other public areas can rest assured of their health. “The reason for that is we want to protect all of our visitors all of our residents from the impacts of second-hand smoke,” Coffee said in a news item.

Violators caught smoking in banned areas will be dealt with a $100 fine for the first offense. However, the city’s residents are given one month before the ordinance is set to full implementation and violators get slapped with the fine.

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Excessive Social Media Use Linked To Higher Risk for Substance Abuse

Spending too much time in front of the computer or TV screen may lead to a greater chance for kids to become dependent on drugs and other illicit substances.

teens using social mediaPartnership for a Drug Free Iowa, a group of experts who devise strategies to combat drug use in teens, said that youngsters are susceptible to substance abuse if they spend much of their time playing video games, logging in social media sites, or other non-social activities. The Partnership’s president Peter Komendowski said that “social media can be a very antisocial experience when it reduces actual time spent in activities with friends and family members.”

As a result of spending much time on antisocial activities, teenagers may be tempted to go down the spiral of depression and insecurity. “Excess social media and ‘screen time’ can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, setting the stage for substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors,” Komendowski said in a news release.

Furthermore, the Partnership revealed that an average teenager spends about 55 hours on social media and video games on a weekly basis, with the figure increasing during summer vacation. The group is advocating more parental intervention for teens engaged in excessive antisocial behavior.

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Study: Same-Sex Couples Produce Healthier Kids

Skeptical about raising kids within the LGBT community? A recent study found out that kids raised by same-sex couples eventually lead grow up healthier and better adjusted in society that children growing in traditional heterosexual couples.

kids raised by same-sex couplesLead study author Simon Crouch of the University of Melbourne said that their study suggests that the social stereotype against gays and lesbians may not affect the children too much. “It’s often suggested that children with same-sex parents have poorer outcomes because they’re missing a parent of a particular sex… But research my colleagues and I published in the journal BMC Public Health shows this isn’t the case,” Crouch said in a news item.

The study involved a survey of families to report the health of their children. The results revealed that kids raised by same-sex couples were six percent better in terms of health than those living in traditional family settings.

Crouch attributes this to the dynamics happening in same-sex couples. “It is liberating for parents to take on roles that suit their skills rather than defaulting to gender stereotypes, where mum is the primary care giver and dad the primary breadwinner,” he said.

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Washington Medical Marijuana Policy Loophole: No Age Restriction?

Medical marijuana legalization has always been a trending topic, but how’s this for a hot bit of news: A news item recently exposed that the medical marijuana law in Washington has no age limit.

teen marijuanaAccording to Seattle’s KPLU, the state’s law on medical marijuana procurement does not include any age restrictions or parental supervision. According to Bellevue drug counselor Paul Weatherly, he regularly meets with teenagers exposed to marijuana. One time, one of the teens told him, “Oh, I can hardly wait until I’m 18 and I can get my medical marijuana card.” Weatherly was reminded that “when I read the law, I didn’t see any age restrictions.”

This loophole may be exploited by teenagers who want access to a lot of marijuana, as well as scheming medical professionals who want to earn more, albeit illegally. In fact, Weatherly said he was able to talk to a kid who got the go signal to purchase marijuana from a physician through Skype.

Meanwhile, Lisa Sharp, a manager for Seattle Public Schools’ prevention and intervention, said that may teenagers already have authorization for medical marijuana, and can even visit pot dispensaries to get their daily dose. The rise in marijuana use on and off-campus has been observed by school staff as well. “We are seeing it all over our city, so in middle schools and high schools and elementary schools,” said Sharp.

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U.S. Kids Exposed To Vitamin Overdose?

While vitamin supplements may help in your child’s development, too much of a good thing is always bad.

cerealThe Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report that details the possible overdose of children in the U.S. over vitamins and minerals. Food products fortified with so-called essential nutrients may bring too much artifical nutrition to kids.

According to the report as cited in a news release, the two most popular fortified food products are snack bars and breakfast cereals, which were found to contain nutrients over and beyond the daily requirement of an average American child. “Fortified breakfast cereals are the number one source of added vitamin A, zinc and niacin in children’s diets,” the report stated.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set a maximum limit for vitamin and mineral content that is safe for children. The report by EWG stated that kids 8 years old and below may be at risk of exceeding the safe limit, even if they eat just one serving.

The report named 23 breakfast cereal products and 27 snack bars that exceed the IOM threshold. Some of the products come from famous brands like General Mills, Kellogg’s, Stop & Shop, and Safeway.

The EWG recommends regular consumers of these products to be aware and educated about the dangers of excess nutrition, particularly Vitamin A.

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Prescription Drug Drop-Off Station Now Permanent in Marion County

The National Drug Take Back Day has been very successful in collecting tons of unused and expired medicines all around the U.S. The annual event has been conduced by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) since 2010.

prescription drug drop off boxWith the success of take-back initiatives such as the DEA-administered events, a number of counties in Indiana are now installing permanent drop-off boxes for prescription drugs that are either expired or unused. Marion County is the latest in a strong of Indiana localities that have supported the drive against prescription drug abuse.

The drop-off box in Marion County is jointly handled by Drug Free Indiana and the county’s Sheriff’s Department. “Drugs that are leftover… in medicine cabinets… our youngsters can get a hold of. When I’m talking youngsters, I mean toddlers and on up,” said Sheriff John Layton in a news release.

The move came after Indiana figured in the top five states with the highest deaths due to drug overdose.

The Marion County Jail serves as the location of the drop-off box in the said Indiana county. Other central counties in the state have already installed their own boxes.

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