If you think the warning signs on your cigarette pack aren’t effective enough to help you quit smoking, this new invention might be the answer: A teenager from Dubai created a cigarette pack that talks!
Dubai resident Achilles Ash, 14 years old, created a special flip-top cigarette box that activates an audio-recorded message that tells about the health risks of smoking. The mechanism is similar to a musical birthday card that plays a tune when the reader opens it. The teenager believes that his invention would leave a more lasting impact on the smoker than the printed warning ads. “It would be much more effective than the written warnings. They are also economically viable as I was able to get a chip from a card I bought for (2 Dirham),” Ash said.
The whole idea sprung up when he remembered how amused he was with musical cards. “Suddenly, this idea stuck me and I bought a new musical card and took out the chip and tried working with it… My father brought me an old cigarette packet. I also attached the red light from the card on to the cigarette packet. So when the packet is opened, the red light shines to warn the person, and the recorded message starts,” Ash added.
Ash began his personal quest against smoking when he experienced his first puff at age five. “I tried a puff and that was it. I started coughing and found it very hard to breathe,” the young inventor said.
[ Image source: The National UAE ]
Pregnancy is a highly sensitive condition for many women, but a large proportion of teenage pregnancies are jeopardized by use of alcohol and drugs.
This was reported by a recent study by The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, in which Christopher Salas-Wright and a team of researchers investigated a possible link between teenage pregnancy and substance abuse. The research team discovered that 59 percent of pregnant teenagers have used drugs or alcohol for the past 12 months. It also revealed that 34 percent of pregnant adolescents aged 12 to 14 used controlled substances in the past 30 days prior to the survey. Details of the study were published in the Addictive Behaviors’ Spring 2015 edition.
The study used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2012, specifically on teenage girls 12 to 17 years old. Out of the representative sample of 97,850 female adolescents, 810 of them declared that they were with child. Questions from the survey included use of illicit substances such as cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and alcohol.
According to a news release by UT, alcohol tops the most commonly used substances by pregnant teens, pegged at 16 percent. Cannabis and other illicit substances follow suit at 14 and 5 percent, respectively.
Salas-Wright, an assistant professor at UT, said that their study was the largest research on teenage pregnancy and substance use. The team emphasized the importance of information to prevent substance use by pregnant teens. “Mothers’ substance use during pregnancy can have important consequences for the health and development of newborn babies. Despite efforts to prevent substance use among pregnant teens, our findings suggest that we still have a lot of work to do,” said Salas-Wright.
Although the state of Colorado allows medical marijuana distribution to patients with prescriptions, a recent incident highlights some restrictions to the bill.
Officials at Everitt Middle School confiscated medical marijuana from a teenager diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Fourteen-year-old student Jack Linn was allowed prescription of medical marijuana (in the form of cannabis oil) for his condition, but bringing it in school premises is not allowed by the school officials.
The school’s administration staff based its decision on federal law, which prohibits marijuana to be brought to schools and educational institutions. The confiscation occurred when Linn was found being treated with marijuana oil by his personal nurse on school grounds.
Stacey Linn, the teen’s mother, was furious with the incident, but blames the incorrect policy rather than the school implementing such federal restriction. “It’s outrageous. I’m not going to blame the school because they’re following a policy. I blame the policy. It scares me to death that medicine can be taken away from him. Medicine that saves his life,” Linn’s mother said in a news release.
The principal of Everitt Middle School said they will abide with federal law to avoid risk of losing financial support from the federal government.
In a bid to combat smoking and its adverse health effects at an early age, a senator from California pushed a bill to increase the legal age of smoking from 18 to 21.
State senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced the proposal as an answer to youth smoking. “We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while big tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them,” Hernandez said in a Reuters news item. The lawmaker heads the senate health committee.
The U.S. in general has posed the legal smoking age at 18, although some states have pegged the limit to 19. Meanwhile, Hawaii County and New York City have already implemented a legal smoking age of 21 within their respective jurisdictions.
Hernandez isn’t alone in this battle. Bob Ferguson, Attorney General for Washington state, recently filed a similar bill to place cigarettes and nicotine products on the same degree as alcohol and recreational marijuana, both legally procured and used at a minimum age of 21. In addition, Ron Chapman — director of Department of Public Health in California — declared that electronic cigarettes are addictive.
A new study warns parents about exposing their adolescent kids to TV advertisements, because they might acquire a bad habit in the future.
The study, conducted by researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, involved a survey through telephone and online channels between 2011 and 2013. More than 2,500 participants between the ages of 15 and 23 were asked to recall a television advertisement of any alcohol product from 2010 to 2011. The survey data were cross-referenced with the drinking habits of the participants.
Results showed that teenagers and young adults who were exposed to alcohol ads on TV were more likely to engage in binge drinking and other forms of dangerous alcohol consumption. The percentage of survey participants who had seen TV alcohol ads were 23.4% for ages 15-17, 22.7% for 18-20 age, and 25.6% for those aged 21-23. Binge drinking for all age groups accounted for 29 percent of the survey population.
Because of the results arising from the study, the researchers believe that the current efforts to hinder underage drinking and lawless alcohol intake are not effective. “Our study found that familiarity with and response to images of television alcohol marketing was associated with the subsequent onset of drinking across a range of outcomes of varying severity among adolescents and young adults, adding to studies suggesting that alcohol advertising is one cause of youth drinking,” said the study proponents as published in a news report. “Current self-regulatory standards for televised alcohol advertising appear to inadequately protect underage youth from exposure to televised alcohol advertising and its probable effect on behavior.”