Despite claims of its manufacturers that their products are unlike the conventional predecessor, electronic cigarettes are set to be considered for restriction in New York City.
This move by the City Council aims to categorize e-cigarettes just like normal cigarette sticks, and are also therefore subject to the same restrictions and prohibitions. Smoking is banned in most of the public places in New York City, most notably in offices, restaurants and even open areas like the beach.
Patrons have quickly picked up on the trend of using electronic cigars, claiming that these products are healthier because they help nicotine addicts kick the habit. However, recent studies have shown that e-cigs are not effective alternatives, because these can even fuel a deeper addiction to real cigarettes. Anti-smoking advocates are also adamant against the proliferation of these electronic variants, since these products still contain nicotine.
The bill, pushed by council speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and fellow councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), is being eyed for implementation within the year. “This is kind of a high-tech successor to the common-sense anti-smoking law we passed in 2002 that has yielded tremedous health benefits to the people of New York,” Gennaro said in a news statement.
Many government officials are supporting the bill, including New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A recent study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors revealed that teenagers who participate in sports are less likely to engage in the use of most illicit drugs.
While that finding is somewhat expected judging by the benefits that the youth get through sports, proponents of the study surprisingly discovered that this same demographic are more prone to alcohol abuse. Research team member John Cairney of McMaster University’s Offord Centre for Child Studies shared through Reuters the surprising results. “When we began our own review, we were shocked not only to find many new studies, but also ones that had been missed in previous reviews,” Cairney said.
The researchers from Canada reviewed previous studies published between 1982 and 2012, and dealt with monitoring people’s behaviors as a result of sports activities. It was through the comprehensive review that the benefit of sports activities in preventing drug abuse can be confirmed.
“We have enough data to show that sport participation could play an important role in substance use prevention. We need to understand what aspects of sport participation are most beneficial and design rigorous trials to see if sport interventions really can reduce or prevent drug use in youth,” Cairney added.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for marijuana and alcohol use, which young athletes were more susceptible to fall into. Also, the probability of prescription drug abuse — particularly in the use of painkillers and opiod medication — is higher for young people engaged in sports because these drugs are easier to get for them.
If you think that drug poisoning is deadly, wait until you see what the government has discovered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study that indicates a threefold increase in the number of drug-related deaths since thirty years ago. The three hundred percent jump includes deaths caused by use of illicit drugs and prescription medicine, but the study did not reflect how much of the statistic came from these particular drugs.
The research team led by study author Lauren Rossen attribute most of the cases of poisoning fatalities to drugs, both legal and illegal. “Mapping death rates associated with drug poisoning at the county level may help elucidate geographic patterns, highlight areas where drug-related poisoning deaths are higher than expected, and inform policies and programs designed to address the increase in drug-poisoning mortality and morbidity,” Rossen said in a news release.
On a more alarming note, the CDC reports that in the most recent decade, the surge in drug poisoning deaths was insanely high. From a drug poisoning death rate of 3 percent in 1999, the figure shot up to 54 percent in 2009. This confirms another finding that revealed a double-figure increase in prescription drug abuse for the past five years. This figure translates to roughly 12 million people admitting to ingestion of prescription drugs outside of their intended purpose.
High death rates were recorded in counties in Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico.
Colorado has been marked on the world map as one of two U.S. states to pass a measure to allow personal use and possession of marijuana for adults, including growing and selling them. It may seem that the Centennial State is loose when it comes to marijuana use, but this recent news item from Bloomberg revealed that not everyone is pot-loving.
Satellite TV supplier Dish Network Corp. fired one of its customer service agents, Brandon Coats, for drawing positive to a random drug test. The firing happened despite the fact that Coats lives in Colorado.
What made this bit of news more viral was that Coats is a quadriplegic who takes medical marijuana prescribed by his doctor to address muscle spasms. The fired agent figured in a car crash, resulting to his health condition. Coats himself was surprised with the company decision. “I had a doctor’s permission to do something I need to help me get on with my life.”
Despite the measure passed in Colorado, a particular case in the past involved the state court supporting a company’s rule to fire one of its employees for drug test failure based on federal law. The same ruling applied to Coats’ case, even through the appeals court.
Princeton’s National Workrights Institute president Lewis Maltby said that marijuana users should not be discriminated against. “Employers ought to reconsider their drug testing policies in states where medical marijuana is legal,” Maltby added.
As the use of e-cigarettes by kids continues to rise, the U.S. is struggling to enact laws to regulate these products.
Electronic cigarettes are considered by both pro and anti-tobacco activists as the primary alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. While the latter contains nicotine within the solid particulates of the cigarette, the electronic counterparts offer nicotine in water vapor. It’s the form and function of this product that has kept the opposition and the government scratching their heads, because these sticks are not covered by existing federal restrictions.
This confounding dilemma is made more complex because of one basic question: “What exactly is an e-cigarette?” After all, manufacturers can always claim that it is not a tobacco product. As a result, electronic cigarettes are not taxed heavily, and are not yet restricted for indoor use.
U.S. states have pushed to implement their own laws to regulate e-cigs, according to the Washington Post. Arkansas, New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah have prohibited these products for use indoors. Meanwhile, nine states including Colorado and New York have considered them as tobacco products, and are thus regulated by law. Other states are planning to ban e-cigarettes indoors, such as Massachusetts and California, with the latter already restricting online advertising for these sticks.
On the other hand, Alabama considers these products as alternative sources of nicotine, while North Carolina has categorized them as vapor products. Seven states are expected to support the treatment of e-cigs as non-tobacco products.
Everyone is awaiting the decision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the matter. As of this writing, the proposal is being reviewed by Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the White House, as well as the Office of Management and Budget.
Since 2010, the National Take Back Initiative has educated Americans about the dangers of leaving excess prescribed drugs inside their homes, and how a correct disposal method can become the first step to preventing prescription drug abuse. The most recent campaign was conducted last October 26, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Several counties and states have put their full support to this government activity:
- In Baltimore, the entire police force has coordinated with the DEA to push the event to the limelight, by offering their stations as drop off locations for those who want to throw away their unused medication. Lt. Michael Brothers of the Anne Arundel County Police shared in a news release that they will not interrogate locals who are planning to dispose of their medicine at the police stations. “We will not ask any questions. You can place them in the box and you can leave. No questions asked,” said Lt. Brothers.
- Government personnel and sheriff’s deputies at Harford County were assisted by DEA in transforming the county office parking lot into a drop off site. Doug Ellington of the DEA expressed his sentiments about the issue. “Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in this county… Non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as a drug of abuse,” Ellington said in a news item.
- The city of Huntington in West Virginia was able to amass about 30 pounds of prescription drugs across three Take Back stations. Cpl. Steve Vincent of the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department was surprised with the turnout. “We’ve been going for about an hour-and-a-half and we’ve already got two boxes filled up,” Vincent said.