March 20, 2014 |
SMOKING. Cigarettes. Two words that provoke an ideological hatred whenever spoken, especially when rolling off the tongue of this country's politicians. Policymakers are terrified of smoking and its effects on public health, and because "cigarettes" remains in the name of our product, they jump to rash decisions regarding electronic cigarettes. It is in this haze of fear that politicians who are lobbying to ban electronic cigarettes end up leaning on preconceived notions, conflicting interests and few scientific findings to base their arguments.
March 17, 2014
THE MOST recent burning issue to be dragged before City Council resulted in both heat and light and a peculiar arrangement of the political constellation. Council was hearing testimony on whether electronic cigarettes, so-called smokeless cigarettes, which do not burn, should be treated the same as tobacco cigarettes, which do burn and emit smoke. Presenting the all-clear (among others) was Bill Godshall, executive director of SmokeFreePA, an anti-smoking organization opposed to the legislation sponsored by Councilman Bill Greenlee.
March 15, 2014 |
Twenty-one percent of Pennsylvania's adults smoke cigarettes. And if Michael Wolf has his way, none should be able to light up if they live in apartment or condominium complexes. Wolf, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, delivered that message to landlords at the beginning of the year. It was more of an encouragement than a mandate. But it appears to have resonated as housing sites across the state have either banned or restricted smoking. Forty-five of Pennsylvania's 67 counties now have at least one multiunit housing site that is smoke-free, said Judy Ochs, director of the state Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control.
March 14, 2014 |
A CITY COUNCIL committee yesterday agreed to treat e-cigarettes the same as the traditional kind, banning their sale to minors and applying the same no smoking limits. The action came despite e-cig advocates who say the legislation is a total puff piece. Opponents of the bill, sponsored by Councilman Bill Greenlee, came out in droves to testify against it. Sparks flew when Greenlee began to butt heads with Bill Godshall, executive director of Smoke Free PA. Godshall insisted that e-cig use is a safe alternative to smoking and that users should consider the vapors emitted no more dangerous than the carcinogens that can be found in the very carpet lining the council chambers floor.
March 10, 2014 |
Black, white, pink . . . I just wanted to see smoke. It was March 13, 2013. I was in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City awaiting smoke, smoke that would signal a new pope, or no new pope, or, maybe, a colorful statement by Catholic women protesters. Little had I imagined four months earlier when I booked my first Road Scholar trip that a pope would resign in February, and then a conclave would convene, and then the eyes of the world would be on the Eternal City the very week I was there.
February 22, 2014 |
TRENTON An Assembly committee advanced legislation Thursday that would make New Jersey the first state to ban smoking in all public parks and beaches. About one-third of New Jersey municipalities have some outdoor public bans in place, supporters said. "When you look at our public beaches and our public parks, we certainly do not want people to experience secondhand smoke. We certainly don't want to increase the litter of cigarette butts," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D., Bergen)
February 7, 2014
DURING the last decade, local, state and federal governments have sought to make smoking inconvenient by restricting where and when people can light up. They have made it more expensive by increasing taxes. They have tried to make it scary by requiring ever larger and blunter warnings about the health risks of smoking on cigarette packaging. And they have worked to make it un-cool, most recently with a new advertising and social-media campaign this week aimed at teens. But even as the efforts to convince people not to smoke have gotten more aggressive, the smoking rate has remained about the same.
January 25, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA At a meeting full of new business on everything from banning e-cigarettes to building a skyscraper, City Council on Thursday wrapped up an old debate from the two-year-old rewrite of the zoning code. This was actually the second time Council had changed the rules for "registered community organizations," the neighborhood and interest groups that must be notified and consulted on building projects launched on their turf. A year ago, Council approved changes championed by Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, even overriding a mayoral veto of her bill.
January 15, 2014
THE 1964 U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking - the first official acknowledgment by the federal government that smoking kills - was an extraordinarily progressive document for its time. It swiftly led to a federal law that restricted tobacco advertising and required the now-familiar warning label on cigarette packs. This past Saturday marked the report's 50th anniversary. The intervening decades have seen remarkable progress against smoking in the United States, despite the stubborn efforts of the tobacco industry, which lobbied, obfuscated and sometimes lied outright to the public about the dangers of its products.
January 11, 2014
A half-century after the historic U.S. surgeon general's finding that smoking sickens and kills, the Philadelphia region could be viewed as one of the nation's key battlegrounds in the continuing struggle to stem the health scourge, which leads to 443,000 deaths a year and costs billions of dollars in medical care and lost productivity. Despite the remarkable success in reducing national smoking rates by more than half - to 18 percent - Philadelphia stands out as having the highest rate of adult smoking, around 25 percent, among the country's 10 largest cities, according to the Pennsylvania Medical Society.