Archive for January, 2015
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.”
It’s only a matter of time before scientists discover the cure for addictions to illicit drugs like cocaine.
A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Neuroscience and Pharmacology department claims to have stumbled upon the mechanisms surrounding dopamine, an amino acid found in the brain associated with processing motivation and addiction. Claus Juul Loland, one of the department’s associate professors and study co-author, said that this discovery could pave the way to eliminate addiction to cocaine. “If we have a better understanding of the dopamine transporter function we will become more proficient in developing an antidote against cocaine addiction,” said Loland in a news item.The research team investigated the dopamine transporter — which has the ability to control the mechanism of dopamine — and has found a way to manipulate the metabolism between dopamine and the transporter. Loland believes that by creating a mutated form of the transporter, the dopamine molecule can be “tricked” into binding with an inhibitor instead of cocaine. As a result, cocaine in the human body will not be processed and may subsequently prevent addiction to the drug. “Our objective here is that cocaine will not then work anymore as the antidote will inhibit the stimulatory response of taking this drug,” Loland added.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.