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Fewer Americans smoking, survey finds

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WASHINGTON — Fewer American adults are smoking, and those who still do are lighting up less, suggests a nationwide survey from the US Centers for Disease Control released on Tuesday.

Using data from 2005 to 2010, researchers with the US government agency reckoned that 19.3 percent of American adults — or 45.3 million people over the age of 18 — are smoking cigarettes, down from 20.9 percent in 2005.

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“There are three million fewer smokers in America than there were five years ago,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, elaborating on the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (www.cdc.gov/mmwr).

“People who are continuing to smoke are smoking less — but we can do much better by continuing to invest in tobacco control programs at all levels.”

Among smokers, the proportion of those who consume 30 or more cigarettes a day fell to 8.3 percent from 12.7 percent, although those who smoke nine or less cigarettes a day rose to 21.8 percent from 16.4 percent.

Despite the progress, the CDC’s findings — based on household interviews — indicated a slower rate of decline in smoking between 2005 and 2010 than in the preceding five-year period.

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Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke is the number-one preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, claiming an estimated 443,000 American lives every year.

Getting Americans to smoke less has been US government policy since the 1960s. Under its Healthy People initiative, the Department of Health wants to bring the national prevalance of smoking to below 12 percent by 2020.

“In many ways, the findings we are releasing today are good news,” Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s office on smoking and health, told reporters in a telephone conference call with Frieden.

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“It’s a slower rate of decline, but we are still moving in the right direction.”

Frieden and McAfee attributed the trend to sustained anti-smoking campaigns, including higher excise taxes on cigarettes and an “epidemic spread” of indoor smoking bans that now are in place in half of the 50 states.

“People are cutting back for health benefits, not for pure economic benefits,” added McAfee, although the CDC’s findings laid bare sharp regional and socio-economic contrasts.

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Smoking is most prevalent in West Virginia and Kentucky, for instance, with about one in four adults lighting up in both states. (The rates in Utah and California were 9.1 and 12.1 percent respectively.

It is also more common among men than women (21.5 percent versus 17.3 percent), those between 25 and 64 years of age, and those living under the poverty line (28.9 percent).

Excluded from the research were those under 18 — a major source of concern for public health authorities, given the danger of youngsters picking up the nicotine habit early in life.

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Separately, a study just published by the journal Pediatrics reported that children aged six through 11 with parents who smoke were more likely to miss school than those who did not. They also had more colds and ear infections.

The cost of cigarettes varies widely between states, but typically, a pack of Marlboro goes for about six dollars, according to cigaretteprices.com, a website that compares tobacco prices worldwide.

Last month, four US tobacco companies filed a lawsuit against the US Food and Drug Administration over new rules calling for graphic health warnings on cigarette packing, calling them “unconstitutional.”


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Trump gets triggered by ‘threats of impeaching’ Kavanaugh ‘over made up stories’ of sexual misconduct

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President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at Democrats who have called for the impeachment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

After fresh evidence of sexual misconduct came to light over the weekend, several Democratic presidential candidates said that they support the impeachment of Kavanaugh.

By Sunday afternoon, Trump fired back on Twitter, comparing the case to the impeachment proceedings he is facing.

Can’t let Brett Kavanaugh give Radical Left Democrat (Liberal Plus) Opinions based on threats of Impeaching him over made up stories (sound familiar?), false allegations, and lies. This is the game they play. Fake and Corrupt News is working overtime! #ProtectKavanaugh

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A dive into the ‘deadliest wave of the opioid epidemic’ is the most frightening book of the year — and mandatory reading

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First a spoiler alert: Among the multiple apocalyptic revelations in Ben Westhoff’s Fentanyl, Inc.:  How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic is sour news for all hard drug users, from casual weekend abusers to full-time cocaine cowboys. In light of developments presented in this epic book in gruesome and unprecedented fashion, putting questionable substances up your nose, in your veins, or even on your tongue is highly discouraged from here on in.

“Any drug where it’s a powder or a pill, you just can’t trust it,” Westhoff said in an interview about his latest project. “There can be fentanyl in anything … [Home drug-testing kits] are getting very sophisticated, and there are websites you can consult, but in terms of going to a party and someone offering you some blow or something like that, it’s over.”

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Activism

‘He didn’t do nothing’: Black kids confront white Philly cops as they terrorize innocent student at bus stop

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A group of children called out Philadelphia police officers who said that they wanted the kids to be "shaking" from the confrontation.

Video posted on social media over the weekend shows a white officer telling a shirtless African-American boy to get in his police cruiser.

The video was posted by Twitter by a user named Asia who claimed to be a student waiting for her bus.

Instagram is helping this get out, but it needs more attraction. This Happened in Philadelphia,Pa on Thursday. A group of school kids and I were waiting for the bus at the bus stop when a cop car came to us, slowed down and stared at us then kept going down the street. pic.twitter.com/OrvOvWf3Oh

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