The case for banning smoking indoors — even in your home – Updated by German Lopez on November 12, 2015, 4:10 p.m. ET


Eric Feferberg/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Secondhand smoke kills more people than car crashes or gun violence

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.

Article continues:

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/11/12/9725176/smoking-bans-public-housing

On The Line: Nilo Tabrizy and Allie Conti Discuss Synthetic Marijuana – Vice News Published on Nov 9, 2015


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

The Death Rate Is Rising for Middle-Aged Whites – By BETSY MCKAY Nov. 2, 2015 4:24 p.m. ET


Addiction and mental-health issues largely drive a reversal of decades of longevity gains

A syringe along West Main Street in downtown Austin, Ind., earlier this year. A new analysis of government data shows white middle-aged Americans are dying at an increasing rate, largely driven by suicides, alcohol and drug overdoses.

A syringe along West Main Street in downtown Austin, Ind., earlier this year. A new analysis of government data shows white middle-aged Americans are dying at an increasing rate, largely driven by suicides, alcohol and drug overdoses. Photo: News and Tribune/Associated Press

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.

Article continues:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-death-rate-is-rising-for-middle-aged-whites-1446499495

 

The latest advance in 3D printing: replacement teeth – Dominic Basulto for the Washington Post Saturday 31 October 2015 07.00 EDT


Bacteria-fighting plastic could be the future of dentistry

3D-printed teeth

This dental replica was made using a 3D printer. Researchers are now working on ways to make 3D-printed teeth resistant to bacteria. Photograph: Stratasys

The latest 3D printing innovation could change the way you think about your visit to the dentist. That’s because Dutch researchers at the University of Groningen are working on the creation of a 3D-printed tooth made of an antimicrobial plastic that kills the bacteria responsible for tooth decay on contact.

Imagine teeth that remain white and pristine over time, without all the accumulation of bacteria that cause dental problems. While the thought of having a 3D-printed tooth inside your mouth might not sound so great, is it really any worse than dealing with the constant toothache from a decaying tooth?

For the Dutch researchers, the key step in developing the bacteria-fighting tooth was being able to find the right material to put inside the 3D printer. In this case, the researchers embedded antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts inside existing dental resin polymers. Once this mix is put into a 3D printer, it can be hardened with ultraviolet light and used to print out 3D replacement teeth.

To test the bacteria-fighting tooth in a lab environment, the researchers coated the material with human saliva and exposed it to the bacterium that causes tooth decay. The anti-bacterial tooth killed more than 99% of all bacteria and showed no signs of being harmful to human cells.

Article continues:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/31/3d-printing-plastic-replacement-teeth