Quit spreading germs – and rumors.
Maybe mom wasn’t always right.
Maybe mom wasn’t always right.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it will ban smoking in all of the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units. HUD Secretary Julián Castro said his main concern is cutting down on the dangers of secondhand smoke: “We have a responsibility to protect public housing residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the elderly and children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases.”
One major problem with this policy is it seems to single out low-income people for a problem that is universal — secondhand smoke can kill anyone who’s around it. While HUD’s jurisdiction is limited to public housing, the criticism is fair.
But there’s an easy solution to that: Indoor smoking should be banned everywhere — inside bars, restaurants, your home. Full stop. Smoking remains an enormous public health problem, and smoking bans actually do work to curtail the detrimental effects of one of the world’s most dangerous habits.
Although it gets considerably less press than it previously did, smoking remains a huge threat to public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data, smoking kills 480,000 people each year. Secondhand smoke alone kills nearly 42,000 people. To put that in perspective, that’s around 8,000 more people than die to either car crashes or gun violence.
So we’re clearly dealing with a major public health crisis. And the research shows that smoking bans can help, particularly with eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke.
VICE News journalist Nilo Tabrizy (https://twitter.com/ntabrizy) and VICE staff writer Alli Conti (https://twitter.com/Allie_Conti) joined On The Line to discuss “The Dangerous Rise of K2: America’s Cheapest High.” – http://bit.ly/1MvOpO3
K2 — the street name for plant matter sprayed with synthetic chemicals, designed to mimic the effects of marijuana’s active ingredient — is currently America’s cheapest way to get high. But the drug’s dangerous side effects have taken a toll on a wide variety of communities, particularly in New York City.
In “The Dangerous Rise of K2: America’s Cheapest High,” VICE News gets a glimpse of the challenges New York City is facing with K2 through the lens of volunteer ambulance corps and harm reduction specialists in its outer boroughs.
VICE News and On The Line want to hear from you! Let us know your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #ontheline, or send us a video message on Skype.
To send us a Skype video message, follow the instructions here: http://bit.ly/1Fpn9lC
White middle-aged Americans are dying at an increasing rate, a new analysis of government data shows, a startling turnaround suggesting a rising toll of addiction and mental-health issues is reversing decades of gains in longevity.
Suicides, alcohol and drug overdoses, and death from chronic liver diseases largely drove the reversal, which occurred between 1999 and 2013, according to the analysispublished Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The turnaround occurred primarily among men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 with no more than a high-school education, but rates of those causes of death rose for wealthier middle-aged whites as well as whites in other age groups, according to the study.
By contrast, death rates declined for blacks and Hispanics in that age group over the same period, the study found.
No other rich country has experienced a similar turnaround in mortality rates, said the authors, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, who are economics professors at Princeton University. Mr. Deaton won the Nobel Prize in economics this year for work that has involved improving the rigor of data on consumption, poverty, health and other measures that underpin public policy.
The findings reveal an under-examined public health crisis and illustrate tragic ways in which many people are responding to physical and mental pain, adversity and changing life situations, the researchers say. The behaviors they have turned to—drinking, drugs and suicide—are so widespread that they have offset declines in other major causes of death in midlife, such as lung cancer, according to the study.
“What we see here is a group that’s in quite a lot of distress,” said Ms. Case, an expert in development and health economics.