July 11, 2014 |
THE MARLBORO Man and Joe Camel helped push into legislative limbo a new $2-per-pack tobacco tax in Philly that would help to fund the city's public schools. Harrisburg lobbyists for the nation's largest cigarette company, the Altria Group - maker of the Marlboro, Parliament and Virginia Slims brands - initially had opposed the tax altogether. A lobbyist for the nation's second-largest cigarette company, R.J. Reynolds - maker of Camel, Pall Mall and Kool brands - also was involved in the effort.
July 8, 2014
AFTER THE Legislature passed a bill last week giving Philadelphia the right to impose a $2-a-pack cigarette tax to raise money for the city's schools, Gov. Corbett took a moment to congratulate himself. "We have worked for over a year, above the partisan politics, to put the students of Philadelphia first," Corbett told reporters. We don't know whether to laugh or to cry. In fairness, we don't know exactly what the governor means by putting the students of Philadelphia first.
June 28, 2014 |
TRENTON - In addition to passing a budget Thursday, New Jersey lawmakers voted on dozens of bills, ranging from bans on public smoking to barring employers from asking about job applicants' criminal histories during the initial phase of the hiring process. Legislation that would ban smoking in public parks and beaches passed both houses Thursday and heads to Gov. Christie. It would impose a complete ban in state, county, and municipal parks but allow for designated smoking areas in up to 15 percent of the area of a public beach.
June 19, 2014 |
HIS LIVING ROOM was a bit disheveled, the victim of last-minute haste. An enormous stack of silver and red sat in the corner. At the top was the square, metallic-blue helmet of Optimus Prime, overlooking the house with its antennae-like ears pointed upward. It was just four days until Wizard World Philadelphia and Eric "The Smoke" Moran was making the final alterations to his new lineup of costumes with the same fervor and excitement of a believer on Christmas Eve. In the basement of his Chestnut Hill townhouse, all four walls are covered with film posters, drawings and action figures - most still in their original packing.
June 12, 2014 |
Two Southwest Philadelphia honor students had a pretty good excuse for being 40 minutes late for school Tuesday: After two explosions and a fire in a neighbor's house, the pair of high school students broke a rear window, clambered over broken glass, raced up a smoke-filled staircase, pulled a sleeping boy out of bed, then hustled him out the rear door. "They're both heroes," exclaimed Rennu Teli-Johnson, principal of Motivation High School on Baltimore Avenue. "But one of them still owes me his senior-project topic.
May 1, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA Just in time for spring picnics and outdoor recreational sports leagues, Mayor Nutter signed an executive order Tuesday immediately banning smoking of tobacco in city parks. The order, which does not carry any penalties or fines, is an extension of the city's Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Act, which prohibits smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars. It is similar to a 2011 executive order that made recreation centers, pools, and playgrounds smoke-free. Those policies, Nutter said, have helped reduce the number of smokers in the city by 42,000 since 2010.
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.