Condom use falls and HIV Infections rise in South Africa

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 6th, 2014

Week in Review

The left is intolerant of so many things.  Cigarettes.  Sugary beverages.  Hamburgers.  And our lack of exercising, our insufficient consumption of fresh fruits & vegetables and our unwillingness to buy electric cars.  So they have implemented a lot of taxes, subsidies and regulations to alter our behavior.  To make us behave more ‘correctly’.  And they are always telling us what we should and what we should not do.  Except when it comes to sex and drugs.  No.  Here they pass out free birth control.  And make marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington.  Despite all of that unfiltered first, second and third-hand smoke.  Odd how these things pose no risk to us unlike drinking a large sugary beverage.

And it’s just not in the United States.  All around the world those on the left are telling their people how to live correctly.  Except, of course, when it comes to drugs.  And sex.  Because kids are going to have sex no matter what we say.  And if we tell them they shouldn’t it’s only going to make them want to have sex more.  Although it is funny that argument doesn’t hold up for cigarettes, sugary beverages, hamburgers, etc.  No.  For these they can roll up a newspaper and whack us across the nose all day long.  Figuratively, of course.  But when it comes to sex it’s more of a, “Whoa, now, let’s not say anything hasty here.  For who are we to say what is right or wrong for an individual?”  But with rising HIV infections perhaps we should be telling our sons and daughters that something bad can happen from having sex.  And they would be better off if they didn’t have so much of it before entering into a monogamous, long-term relationship.  For if we did and they did over 10% of our populations would not be infected with HIV (see Condoms rebranded in South Africa as HIV infections rise by AFP) posted 4/3/2014 on Yahoo! News).

South Africa is seeking to rebrand its free condoms to appeal to young people after a new study showed rising HIV infections and flagging contraception use, the health department said on Thursday…

South Africa has the world’s highest number of people living with HIV, a crisis that has seen millions of people placed on a vast state-sponsored treatment programme.

Around 6.4 million people — 12.2 percent of the population — were living with HIV or AIDS in 2012.

During the Eighties we didn’t know any better about HIV.  But we do now.  Even young people.  It’s why we give them free condoms.  Because of the risk of HIV (among other risks).  So it’s frustrating to see risky behavior in young people.  Especially those living in a nation with the highest number of people living with HIV.  When 12.2% of the population lives with HIV or AIDS it can’t be a secret that HIV is a serious risk.  But young people still engage in risky behavior.  Which is useful to those on the left.  For it helps them win elections.  For they are the cool party that doesn’t think drugs are all that bad.  And that a little promiscuity isn’t going to kill you.  “You’ll be fine,” they say on the left.  “As long as you don’t smoke a cigarette, drink a sugary beverage or eat a hamburger you should be able to enjoy all the sex and drugs you want to.  Because sex and drugs can’t hurt you.  Only those other things can.  Well, those things.  And global warming.  Those are the things to worry about.  Not catching HIV or AIDS.”  At least this is the message they’re giving our kids.

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The Left says Smoking Cigarettes and Drinking Alcohol are bad for you but Smoking Marijuana is OK

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 28th, 2013

Week in Review

You hear it all the time.  Smoking marijuana is no worse than drinking alcohol.  So we should decriminalize it everywhere.  And allow responsible adults smoke marijuana if they choose.  While at the same time they have banned smoking cigarettes just about everywhere outside of your own home.  Because smoking will kill you.  And anyone near you.  Funny how smoking cigarettes will kill you and anyone near you while smoking marijuana is no worse than enjoying a refreshing adult beverage.

What’s even funnier is that as they continue to make statements like smoking marijuana is no worse than drinking alcohol they are ramping up a war on alcohol.  As drinking alcohol is killing people at record numbers (see Raising the price of booze saves lives and money. Scotland is right to try it posted 12/21/2013 on The Economist).

AMONG man’s earliest artefacts are vessels to store and carry booze. Drunk from Stone Age jugs or Etruscan amphoras, fermented sugars have brought cheer for more than 12,000 years. And headaches too: alcohol stokes rage and gloom as well as jollity and dancing. For liberal-minded types, the downsides are a personal matter—we should be free to frolic.

Within limits. Where the harm extends beyond the individual, there is a case for intervention. Global alcohol consumption is stable. But some people are tippling more, in ways that hurt themselves and others (see article).

At stake are not just vomit-drenched streets. Deaths linked to drinking have tripled since 1990; in that time alcohol has gone from the sixth to the third leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The bill lands on everyone, as does booze-fuelled violence. Including lost output, the harm from alcohol costs Europe and America around 1.5% of national income.

The problem is worsening. Across the rich world, a small share of the population consumes a large share of the liquor. One reason is that many young people have upped their intake. More drinkers are also bingeing—even in southern Europe, where alcohol used to be taken mainly with food…

The best way to tackle excessive drinking is to raise prices through taxes levied on a drink’s strength, so that the most harmful drinks are more expensive. The resulting price-rise should cut the consumption of hard-up heavy topers (who are particularly partial to dirt-cheap supermarket booze) and young drinkers, who can afford only what’s cheap…

Public-health laws often require an unpopular move at the start, but new habits and attitudes can take root surprisingly quickly. A ban on smoking in restaurants and pubs seemed outlandish—until New York City introduced one in 2003. Much of the world quickly followed suit. Even diehard liberals like this newspaper, queasy at first about smoking bans, or mandatory crash helmets and seat belts, would hesitate to scrap those regulations now.

We are drinking ourselves to death three times as much as we were in the 1990s.  And one reason why is that young people are drinking more.  In fact many of the binge drinkers are young people.  It is less uncommon to read about a binge-drinking related death on a college campus.  It’s not happening all of the time but there are deaths.  And sexual assaults.

Getting a woman drunk has long been a prelude to sex.  That’s what singles’ bars were for.  Drinking to lower a woman’s inhibitions.  To get her to go home with a strange man for consensual sex.  But at a party on a college campus?  There’s no need to go home.  For there is always a bedroom or a couch or a floor available in a fraternity house, apartment or dorm room.  And young men with raging hormones in a sexualized culture will take advantage of a passed out college coed.  Even doing terrible things to her as she lay unconscious.  Or getting a video of her while she’s still conscious doing things she’d never do sober.  And posting it online.  Causing great pain and suffering for the girl.

Smoking marijuana will be no different than people enjoying alcohol.  So we should decriminalize it.  For what bad thing ever happened from enjoying alcohol?

Marijuana is a young person’s intoxicant.  We’ve all seen the stoner movies where high school teachers have to deal with stoners.  Like Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  And this was when the drug was illegal everywhere in the United States.  Imagine the Jeff Spicolis when the drug is decriminalized everywhere.  While being more potent than ever.  If new habits and new attitudes can take root surprisingly quickly then existing habits and attitudes and law should be just as easy to remain rooted.  Especially for marijuana.  For it combines the reckless abandon of youths to over consume like alcohol.  And the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes.

Would the left sacrifice our young just to get their vote?  Yes.  Of course they will.  And are.  For do you really think they care if these people die after they grow up and begin acting—and voting—responsibly?

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The Left wants to Criminalize Cigarette Smoking while Decriminalizing Marijuana Smoking

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

If you’re a smoker one California town has a message for you.  “You are not welcomed here” (see California Town Bans Smoking in Condos and Apartments That Share Walls by ALAN FARNHAM posted 11/21/2013 on Yahoo! News).

The town of San Rafael, Calif., has passed a ban on smoking that city officials have called the most stringent in the nation. The new ordinance makes it illegal for residents to smoke in their own homes if they share a wall with another dwelling.

The ban applies to owners and renters alike, and it covers condominiums, co-ops, apartments and any multi-family residence containing three or more units…

As justification for the rule, she cited studies showing that secondhand smoke seeped through ventilating ducts and walls, even through cracks. “It depends on a building’s construction,” she said, “but it does affect the unit next door, with the negative health impacts due to smoke…”

Does this apply to smoking marijuana, too?  If so then where are you to smoke your marijuana?

You have an entire coast pushing hard to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use.  Because responsible adults should be able to do whatever they want to do inside their homes.  Unless they want to smoke cigarettes, that is.  Because smoking will kill you.  And anyone near that burning tobacco.

This just goes to show you how irrational the left is.  As one type of smoking will kill you.  While another type of smoking will do no harm.  For the left wants to control our lives.  Telling us what we should eat and drink.  And telling us what not to eat and drink.  Or smoke.  But they sure enjoy getting high.  Probably to escape the horrible reality they’ve created with their onerous rules and regulations.

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All Tobacco is Bad for you Except the Kind that can Help you Get the Youth Vote—Marijuana

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 17th, 2013

Week in Review

Cigarettes will kill you.  And are addictive.  Which makes that killing you thing worse.  Governments have sued Big Tobacco for all the heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema their products caused.  Smoking is so bad for you that we’ve banned smoking in all public places.  We’ve also banned second-hand smoke.  And are discussing ways to band third-hand smoke (the stink of smoking left behind).  We ostracize smokers today.  And shame them.  Except in the movies.  Where people still love to smoke.  And they make it look so cool that kids who see them smoke want to smoke, too.

Apart from Hollywood, though, there is an outright war on smoking.  It’s just so bad that governments are doing everything they can to get people to quit smoking.  And prevent them from starting to smoke in the first place (see Fewer teens smoke but more use e-cigarettes, hookahs by Wendy Koch posted 11/14/2013 on USA Today).

Fewer U.S. teens are smoking cigarettes, but more are getting a nicotine fix from hookahs and electronic cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports today…

The CDC attributed the increase to lower prices for these products as well as their increased marketing and availability, and the perception that they are safer alternatives to cigarettes. It also found a slight uptick in high school students who smoked pipes and cigars, including the little ones that look like cigarettes but cost a lot less and come in candy flavors.

“This report raises a red flag about newer tobacco products,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in announcing the findings. “Cigars and hookah tobacco are smoked tobacco – addictive and deadly. We need effective action to protect our kids from addiction to nicotine…”

The CDC report, published in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reported that 14% of high school students smoked cigarettes last year, down from 15.8% in 2011 and 28% in 2000. It notes that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and nearly 90% of adult smokers began smoking by age 18.

Leading cause of preventable death?  And 90% of adult smokers started smoking by age 18?  Wow, smoking must be bad.  But if it is why the big push to decriminalize marijuana by the same people who want to criminalize every other type of tobacco product?  Simple.  Kids love getting high.  And if the Democrats are the ones to decriminalize marijuana they can count on the youth vote in election after election.  Until they die from heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema, that is.

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Prescription Pain Killers and Marijuana are the two most Abused Drugs in America

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 20th, 2013

Week in Review

Those who wish to decriminalize marijuana say only responsible adults will smoke it.  Just as only responsible adults smoke cigarettes.  And drink alcohol.  These are products that are legal only for adults.  So no kids use them.  Well, in theory, at least.  For with these being legal for adults makes it very easy for kids to get them.  Which is why so many high school kids smoke cigarettes and binge drink.  But that won’t happen with marijuana.  Or so say the heavy smokers of marijuana.  But cigarettes and alcohol are not the only legal products kids are getting their hands on (see The Dark Side Of America’s Rush Into Prescription Drugs Has Never Been More Obvious by Erin Fuchs posted 10/17/2013 on Business Insider).

The number of people in America who died from taking prescription pain killers quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, a new report from the Trust for America’s Health says.

These fatalities now outnumber deaths from heroin and cocaine combined, that same report found. More than 12 million people said they abused prescription drugs in 2010. The only other drug people abuse more is marijuana, the White House noted in a 2011 report.

More people die from prescription pain killers than they do from heroin and cocaine combined.  These prescription pain killers are legal.  Making it easy for kids to get their hands on them.  Even if you need a prescription.  Imagine how much worse this problem would be if you didn’t need a prescription.  If you could just walk in off the street and buy them.  Like they want to do with marijuana.  The only drug abused more than prescription pain killers.

If the abuse of prescription pain killers is bad and marijuana is abused more than prescription pain killers then perhaps we shouldn’t be decriminalizing marijuana.  Even if keeping marijuana illegal just saves one kid’s life.

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Decriminalize Marijuana and the Kids will Smoke more and Eventually Vote Democrat

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 28th, 2013

Week in Review

Teenagers typically vote Democrat.  In part because of the liberal bias in our public schools.  And in our colleges.  As well as in the mainstream media.  In Hollywood.  In television.  And the music industry.  These things do a lot to shape the way our kids think.  But there is another reason why our kids become Democrat voters.  Because it is the left that is handing out free birth control.  While their parents say ‘no’ the left says ‘go ahead.  Have fun.’  And then there is the push by the left to decriminalize marijuana.  Something else these kids’ parents say ‘no’ to.  While the left says ‘go ahead.  Have fun.’  Even if it may be harmful to them.  For what’s a few burnt brain cells in exchange for the youth vote (see Pot’s march toward mainstream by Alicia A. Caldwell And Nancy Benac, The Associated Press, posted 7/27/2013 on The Vancouver Sun)?

It is a moment in the U.S. that is rife with contradictions: People are looking more kindly on marijuana even as science reveals more about the drug’s potential dangers, particularly for young people…

Exploration of the potential medical benefit is limited by high U.S. government hurdles to research. Washington policy-makers seem reluctant to deal with any of it.

So we know it’s bad for the children.  But we really don’t know how bad.  For it is the only medicine (medical marijuana) ever allowed without proving the drug through clinical trials.  To make sure the drug works.  And it doesn’t cause irrevocable harm.  No pharmaceutical is allowed this luxury when bringing a new drug to market.  And we know how dangerous cigarettes and alcohol are.  But not marijuana.  No.  That drug we just accept on faith that it will cure us.  Besides just giving us a great high.

Opponents of pot are particularly worried that legalization will result in increased use by young people.

“There’s no real win on this from a political perspective,” says Sabet. “Do you want to be the president that stops a popular cause, especially a cause that’s popular within your own party? Or do you want to be the president that enables youth drug use that will have ramifications down the road?”

If anyone legalizes it will be the left.  Who are always attacking the right for hating children whenever they say we can’t afford to spend any more money.  But smoking pot harms kids.  And the left is okay with that.

“Having a regulated system is the only way to ensure that we’re not ceding control of this popular substance to the criminal market and to black marketeers,” says Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a trade group for legal pot businesses in the U.S. See Change Research, which analyzes the marijuana business, has estimated the national U.S. market for medical marijuana alone at $1.7 billion for 2011 and has projected it could reach $8.9 billion in five years. Overall, marijuana users spend tens of billions of dollars a year on pot, experts believe…

In Washington state, the Liquor Control Board is drawing up rules covering everything from how plants will be grown to how many stores will be allowed. It expects to issue licences for growers and processors in December, and impose 25 per cent taxes three times over – when pot is grown, processed and sold to consumers…

Marijuana advocates in Washington state…have projected the legal pot market could bring the state a half-billion a year in revenue…

Decriminalizing marijuana will make it easier for kids to smoke it.  Because it’s easier to get things that are only illegal for people under a legal age.  As opposed to being completely illegal.  Kids aren’t legally allowed to smoke cigarettes but they do.  In fact, it is fair to say kids smoke more cigarettes than marijuana.  Because cigarettes aren’t completely illegal.  They’re only illegal for kids.

So cities suffering under the crushing costs of their public sectors are looking at a windfall of tax revenue by decriminalizing marijuana.  And don’t seem to have a problem of people spending more of their money on getting high instead of saving for their retirement.  Paying for their kids’ education.  Or putting food on the table.  It was the same thing when cities scrambled to legalize gambling.  Because they wanted the tax revenue.  Despite people gambling away money that they should have spent on their family.  No doubt these cities would be disappointed if more kids didn’t start smoking marijuana.  So that when they grew into adults they would already have a healthy drug habit the city could tax.  To help pay for the crushing costs of their public sectors.

Of course, the states and cities will never see those rosy projections of tax revenue.  Because when they “impose 25 per cent taxes three times over” they will raise the price of legal marijuana so much that it will benefit, not hurt, the black market for marijuana.  Even if the black market price is below the official taxed price.  Why?  Because people smuggling cigarettes from a low-tax state to a high-tax state don’t do the time drug dealers do when caught.  Encouraging more people to sell a legal substance illegally.  To cheat the state out of that tax revenue.  And pot smokers, especially the kids, will turn to the black market for their pot.  Where it will be even more readily available when the growing, transporting and selling of marijuana is no longer illegal.  Like cigarettes.  Which kids have no problem buying.

California steps back California’s experience with medical marijuana offers a window into pitfalls that can come with wider availability of pot.

Dispensaries for medical marijuana have proliferated in the state, and regulation has been lax, prompting a number of cities in the state to ban dispensaries…

In May, the California Supreme Court ruled that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

A few weeks later, Los Angeles voters approved a ballot measure that limits the number of pot shops in the city to 135, down from an estimated high of about 1,000. By contrast, whitepages. com lists 112 Starbucks in the city…

In 2010, California voters opted against legalizing marijuana for recreational use, drawing the line at medical use.

But Jeffrey Dunn, a Southern California lawyer who has represented cities in pot cases, says that in reality the state’s dispensaries have been operating so loosely that already “it’s really all-access.”

“What we’ve learned is, it is very difficult if not impossible to regulate these facilities,” he said.

The people may have voted for marijuana in California.  But the people didn’t like living in a Cheech and Chong movie surrounded by stoners.  And seeing a pot shop every time they turned around.  Which is the last thing a parent wants.  To have it so much easier for their kids to smoke pot.  Or eat it.

A Denver-area hospital, for example, saw children getting sick after eating treats and other foods made with marijuana in the two years after a 2009 federal policy change led to a surge in medical marijuana use, according to a study in JAMA Pediatrics in May. In the preceding four years, the hospital had no such cases.

The Colorado Education Department reported a sharp rise in drugrelated suspensions and expulsions after medical marijuana took off.

“What we’re doing is not working,” says Dr. Christian Thurstone, a psychiatrist whose Denver youth substance abuse treatment centre has seen referrals for marijuana double since September. In addition, he sees young people becoming increasingly reluctant to be treated, arguing that it can’t be bad for them if it’s legal.

You decriminalize marijuana and, of course, kids will see that as an admission from the state that smoking pot can’t be bad for you.  So more kids use the drug.  Ending up in the hospital.  Getting suspended or expelled from school.  Or in drug rehab for a pot addiction.  But the left is okay with this.  Because, after all, it is the right that hates kids.  Whereas the left is the cool uncle that will let their niece and/or nephew smoke a joint.  Which is why the kids love the left.  They are always helping them do things their parents won’t let them do.

Legalization foes Opponents counter with a 2012 study finding that regular use of marijuana during teen years can lead to a long-term drop in IQ, and another study indicating marijuana use can induce and exacerbate psychotic illness in susceptible people. They question the notion that regulating pot will bring in big money, saying revenue estimates are grossly exaggerated…

They warn that baby boomers who draw on their own innocuous experiences with pot are overlooking the much higher potency of today’s marijuana.

In 2009, concentrations of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot, averaged close to 10 per cent in marijuana, compared with about four per cent in the 1980s, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

So the left will sacrifice our children for money.  So they can pay for those costly public sectors breaking their budgets.  They won’t take on the public sector unions.  But they will sacrifice our kids.  Because kids don’t pay taxes.  Or vote.  Yet.  But when they do they hope they will remember their cool uncle when in the voting booth.

The baby boomers, who filled the theaters watching Cheech and Chong movies, look back to their days of pot smoking with nostalgia.  Thinking they turned out all right.  And so will the younger generation.  As they anxiously wait for the decriminalization of marijuana so they can buy more.  And smoke more.  Loving the high potency of the new stuff.  Not at all like the stuff they grew up smoking.  Which still fried their brains.  Providing a head start to what dementia will do to them as they reach their golden years.

Kids will on average start smoking at an earlier age.  More of them will smoke because if it’s legal it can’t be bad for you.  And they will be smoking a more potent marijuana than their parents smoked.  Accelerating the damage pot smoking will do to them compared to what it did to their parents.  But the left is okay with that.  Because it is the right that hates the children.  Not the cool uncle.  At least that’s how the youth vote will see it.  Which is all that matters to the left.

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Glee Star Cory Monteith died from Heroin and Alcohol Overdose

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 21st, 2013

Week in Review

Few people start out shooting up heroin.  The big time of drug use.  There’s a progression to get there.  Typically people start out drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.  Something the high school kids do at their parties.  Then a few of them start bringing the marijuana to the parties.  Then come the pills from the parent’s medicine cabinet.  Then the harder stuff.  Ecstasy.  Meth.  Cocaine.  PCP.  Then comes the heroin.  When the other highs just don’t do it anymore.  They call it chasing the dragon.  The search for the drug that will make the next high better than the last high.

This is why smoking marijuana is different than drinking alcohol.  Because drunk is drunk.  There’s no dragon to chase.  There’s alcoholism.  Liver disease.  And alcohol poisoning.  Things that may take years of serious abuse.  Unlike sticking a needle in your arm.  That can take your like away in an instant (see Cory Monteith died of heroin and alcohol overdose: B.C. coroner by Marsha Lederman and Sunny Dhillon posted 7/16/2013 on The Globe and Mail).

Cory Monteith, the Canadian actor who rose to fame with his portrayal of quarterback-turned-crooner Finn Hudson on the hit television show Glee, died of a toxic mix of heroin and alcohol.

The B.C. Coroners Service released results of Mr. Monteith’s autopsy Tuesday. It found the 31-year-old’s cause of death was “a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol…”

Mr. Monteith’s substance-abuse problems were well documented. He had previously spoken of his drug and alcohol use as a teenager and sought help for substance addiction earlier this year.

He fought for a decade or more to kick his substance-abuse problem.  But it was just too hard.  He wanted to get clean.  But couldn’t.  For the pull of these drugs is that strong.  Which is why it is better to never start using in the first place.  Sadly, a lesson learned when it is already too late.  After the addiction has taken hold.

Decriminalizing marijuana makes it easier.  For you won’t have to sneak around and buy your drugs from some shady dealer.  They’ll be able to buy their marijuana as easily as they buy their cigarettes.  And smoke their marijuana as easily as they smoke their cigarettes.  Then more kids will start chasing the dragon.  And move on to the harder drugs.  Become addicted.  And die from an overdose.  Something that is, sadly, all too common.  Because these illegal drugs are all too easy to get.

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Mayor Bloomberg says Unhidden Cigarettes in Retail Stores encourage People to Start Smoking

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 24th, 2013

Week in Review

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg knows what’s best for New Yorkers.  Lucky for New Yorkers that they have Mayor Bloomberg to be their parent.  For apparently, without him, New Yorkers would be just too stupid for their own good (see New York mayor wants to ban stores from displaying cigarettes by Jonathan Allen posted 3/18/2013 on Reuters).

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday proposed requiring that cigarettes be hidden from view in retail stores as a means to reduce smoking in what he said would be the first law of its kind in the United States…

Bloomberg, a former smoker, is accustomed to industry opposition from previous measures to improve the health of New Yorkers, including bans on smoking in most offices, restaurants, bars, parks and on beaches.

Bloomberg has also taken steps to curtail the use of trans fats and salt in the city’s restaurants. Last week a court unexpectedly struck down his attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks, in part because it did not go through the City Council. The city is appealing that ruling.

“These laws would protect New Yorkers, especially young and impressionable New Yorkers, from pricing, discounts and exposure to in-store displays that promote tobacco products,” Bloomberg told a news conference at a city hospital.

“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity and they invite young people to experiment with tobacco. This is not a normal activity,” he said…

The proposal would also increase penalties on stores that illegally resell cigarettes smuggled in from states with lower tobacco taxes, which Bloomberg said cost the city $30 million in lost tax revenue every year.

Over the last 18 months, inspectors visiting 1,800 cigarette retailers found 46 percent were selling untaxed or unstamped tobacco products, city officials said. New York City cigarettes are the most expensive in the nation at around $12 or $13 a pack after federal, state and city taxes.

Cigarettes are a funny beast.  People like Mayor Bloomberg hate them and want to make it hard for people to smoke.  But he sure loves taxing them.  And when they find cheaper out-of-state cigarettes in stores what is his concern?  That these cheaper cigarettes will make it easier for poor people to smoke?  No.  It is the lost tax revenue to the city that these poor people aren’t paying.

People aren’t smoking because they see cigarettes for sale and say, “Hmmm, smoking looks irresistibly delightful.  I must try it.”  Kids smoke because their heroes in music, television and Hollywood smoke. They look cool smoking and these kids want to look cool like them.  And grown up.  For smoking is an acquired taste.  You have to work at it before you can stand the discomfort of smoking.  But kids do it.  Because they want to look older than they are.  And cool.  Like Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, etc., look on stage with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth as they play a low-slung guitar.  That gets them the ladies.  Like the suave movie hero that gets the ladies and ends up in bed with them.  Who both enjoy a satisfying after-sex smoke.  To be cool like womanizing Don Draper.  Who starts his day with a bourbon and a smoke.  And the cool and liberated women who work with him in the Sixties that smoke.  This is why kids start smoking.  To be like the people they want to be like.  Not because they can see cigarettes for sale.

So smoking is not a ‘normal’ activity.  Well, we don’t need smoking to sustain the human race.  For it serves no necessary biological function.  So, yes, smoking is not normal.  But neither is recreational sex.  Or male-to-male sexual contact.  Which provides no biological function whatsoever.  So one would assume Mayor Bloomberg finds male-to-male sexual contact not a normal activity.  Which can result in AIDS.  According to the CDC there were approximately 16,694 adults and adolescent-men who contracted AIDS in 2011 from male-to-male sexual contact.  In the previous year AIDS claimed 15,529 lives.  Is the mayor going to place restrictions on these activities, too?  After all, he has gone after cigarettes, trans fats, salt, sugary drinks.  What’s to stop him from entering the bedroom.  After all, it’s for New Yorkers’ own good.

Now there are those on the Left who support regulating Americans in their personal life.  Because they think average Americans may not be smart enough to know better.  But where does it end?  Something to think about now that the government will be picking up the tab for our health care thanks to Obamacare.  And we will have to do pretty much whatever they tell us to do if we want some of their health care services.  And to cut costs they may try to ban certain unhealthy lifestyle choices.  From smoking.  To excessive sexual activity that can result in sexually transmitted diseases.  After all they’re banning assault rifles that claimed 323 lives in 2011.  Why wouldn’t they try to ban something that kills more people.  Like male-to-male sexual contact.

When you allow the state to ban lifestyle choices it can start with smoking and sugary drinks.  But it can end with activity behind the bedroom door.  Such as the Left is always accusing the Right of wanting to do.  But it isn’t the Right trying to micromanage our private life.  All the hostility to cigarettes and the foods we enjoy is primarily from the Left.  From those in the nanny state.  So it’s just a matter of time before the Left starts regulating our sexual lives.  Which they will claim they have the right to do.  As Obamacare gives them that right.  Because the state will now be paying for the consequences of our lifestyle choices.

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Teens who Smoke a lot of Marijuana suffer Permanent Brain Damage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 1st, 2012

Week in Review

A new study is in.  And the conclusion is that marijuana use is bad.  Especially if you’re a teen (see Teen pot use linked to later declines in IQ by MALCOLM RITTER and NICK PERRY posted 8/27/2012 on the Associated Press).

Teens who routinely smoke marijuana risk a long-term drop in their IQ, a new study suggests…

Study participants from New Zealand were tested for IQ at age 13, likely before any significant marijuana use, and again at age 38. The mental decline between those two ages was seen only in those who started regularly smoking pot before age 18…

Pot is the most popular illegal drug in the world, with somewhere between 119 million and 224 million users between the ages of 15 and 64 as of 2010, the United Nations reported. Within the United States, 23 percent of high school students said they’d recently smoked marijuana, making it more popular than cigarettes, the federal government reported in June.

More popular than cigarettes?  Funny thing about a marijuana joint.  It doesn’t have a filter.  Smoking a joint is like smoking a Camel unfiltered cigarette.  Like people smoked once upon a time.  When smokers were smokers.  And smoked hardcore.  But now there is a war on smoking.  Something the Left endorses.  Yet those on the Left are generally in favor of decriminalizing drugs.  Especially marijuana.  The Left took Joe Camel off cigarette advertising because it was encouraging kids to start smoking.  So they got addicted to cigarettes.  They even sued Big tobacco.  But kids smoke more marijuana than cigarettes.  Getting more cancer-causing smoke in their lungs from illegal marijuana than from legal tobacco.  So while the Left plays nanny by trying to get cigarettes away from us they are trying to put kids at more risk.  For if marijuana is decriminalized it will be much easier for kids to smoke it.  Putting them at greater risk of lung cancer.  As well as that mental decline.  Guess the Left doesn’t like kids.

Young people “don’t think it’s risky,” said Staci Gruber, a researcher at the Harvard-affiliated MacLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. Gruber, who didn’t participate in the new work, said the idea that marijuana harms the adolescent brain is “something we believe is very likely,” and the new finding of IQ declines warrants further investigation…

The study drew on survey data from more than 1,000 people in New Zealand, everybody born in the town of Dunedin during a year-long span ending in 1973. In addition to IQ tests, they were interviewed five times between ages 18 and 38, including questions related to their marijuana use.

At age 18, 52 participants indicated they had become dependent on marijuana, meaning that they continued to use it despite its causing significant health, social or legal problems. Ninety-two others reported dependence starting at a later age.

Researchers compared their IQ scores at age 13 to the score at age 38 and found a drop only in those who had become dependent by 18…

Among participants who’d been dependent at 18 and in at least one later survey, quitting didn’t remove the problem. IQ declines showed up even if they’d largely or entirely quit using pot at age 38, analysis showed…

The researchers also surveyed people who knew the study participants well at age 38. They found that the more often participants were rated as marijuana-dependent in the surveys over their lifetimes, the more memory and attention problems were noticed by their acquaintances over the previous year.

I think we all know someone who was dependent on marijuana when he or she was a kid.  One of my best friends was your classic stoner in junior high school.  He smoked and partied through junior high and part way through high school.  When he had the first of five kids.  And then dropped out.  Got a job.  Became a Republican.  And a responsible parent.  Both he and his wife.  Who remained together to raise all five kids.  And struggled to counteract the liberal education of their children when they got home from school.

Sometimes during a conversation my friend would stop mid-conversation, cock his head and stare blankly as he tried to remember what he was saying.  Then he laughed and joked about all the brain cells he destroyed when he was a kid.  Wishing he could have them back.  I didn’t know him before the brain damage.  But he sure was a good guy after the brain damage.  I always wonder what he might have done if he and cannabis never crossed paths.  Engineer?  Physicist?  Doctor?  President?  Who knows what he may have contributed had it not been for his introduction to cannabis.  I never asked but I wonder about that first time.  Was it peer pressure?  Was it a funny movie with a lovable stoner character?  Or did he have a friend with a dad who smoked pot?  It was something.  And whatever it was it changed his life forever.

And I wonder what might have been with all those other stoners out there.  What they might have done had they not descended into drug use.  Which makes the drug debate a difficult one.  Much violent crime traces back to illegal drug trafficking.  So decriminalizing drugs would go a long way to reduce that crime.  However, this isn’t the same as repealing prohibition.  Sure, if you drink enough you can kill yourself.  And abuse your family.  You can even get a liver transplant.  But you can never recover your damaged brain cells.  Once they’re gone they’re gone.  And there’s no going back to who you were.

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Tasmania to Ban the Sale of Cigarettes to Anyone Born after 2000

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 25th, 2012

Week in Review

Tasmania is getting serious about smoking.  Really serious.  Unlike U.S. politicians.  Sure, they’ll put a picture of a diseased lung on a cigarette pack.  They’ll ban smoking in all public areas.  They’ll tax the bejesus out of cigarettes to ‘dissuade’ people from smoking.  They’ll even sue Big Tobacco.  They’ll do just about everything under the sun to protect the people from the evils of tobacco.  Except what Tasmania’s legislature is doing (see Tasmania move for cigarette sale ban by AAP posted 8/22/2012 on The Australian).

TASMANIA’S upper house is calling for a ban on cigarette sales to anyone born after the year 2000…

The ban would begin taking effect once people born in 2000 turned 18.

Independent MP Ivan Dean said the move would stop young people from taking up the habit…

Tasmania has the highest rates of smoking in Australia.

Wow.  This is serious.  They must really care about their people.  Would the U.S. go this far?  Some simple math will answer that question.

New York City (NYC) is probably the most liberal city in the U.S.  Pretty much anything goes there.  Except smoking in public areas.  But they allow the sale of cigarettes.  And they are the most expensive cigarettes you can buy in the U.S.  For they add $5.85 in taxes to each pack they sell.

NYC has a population of about 8.2 million people.  Approximately 19.3% of people smoke in the U.S.  So approximately 1.6 million people in NYC smoke.  If they buy a pack of cigarettes a day they generate approximately $3,397,754,206.96 in cigarette taxes for various levels of government.  That’s $3.4 billion of tax revenue from cigarettes.  And this is the reason why the U.S. government will never do what the Tasmanian government is proposing.

NYC used $3.5 billion in nonrecurring resources to balance their budget.  Otherwise they would have had a $3.5 billion deficit.  So imagine what giving up that $3.4 billion in cigarette tax revenue would do to the city.  So NYC will do everything in their power to get people to quit smoking.  Except for taking away their cigarettes.  Because without those cigarette sales they could easily double their deficit.  As would all cash-strapped cities with large public sector costs.

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