Tag Archives: Smoking

UN Official: Better to Put Down the Fork and Pick Up a Cigarette

Food Tax Cigarette

According to an investigator with the United Nations, unhealthy diets pose a greater risk to global health than cigarettes and governments should move fast to tax harmful food products.

Olivier de Schutter, special rapporteur on right to food, told the World Health Organization’s annual summit that governments should launch negotiations on a global pact to tackle the obesity epidemic.

“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco. Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed,” he said.

Two years ago, in another report to the rights council, de Schutter called for similar action, encouraging governments to tax unhealthy products, regulate fats and sugars, crack down on advertising for junk food, and rethink agricultural subsidies that make unhealthy food cheaper. But apparently nothing happened and people just kept eating.

“It has been two years since my report on nutrition and the right to food, and ten years since the World Health Organization (WHO) launched its Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health,” he said. “Yet obesity continues to advance—and diabetes, heart disease and other health complications along with it. The warning signs are not being heard.”

Will anything change this time around? Probably not, but Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation are on WHO’s side, calling for greater regulation of the food industry. The two organizations said governments around the world should impose compulsory rules for the food and drink industry, similar to tobacco regulations. These rules could include pictures on food packaging of damage caused by obesity (similar to those on cigarette packets), reducing the levels of salt, saturated fat and sugar in food, improving food served in hospitals and schools, imposing stricter advertising controls, and educating the public about healthy eating.

Apparently global deaths due to obesity and general fatness rose from 2.6 million in 2005 to 3.4 million in 2010. Still, are fatty foods really worse than cigarettes? Just think of that awful stale cigarette smell… then again, a 500lbs man with Taco Bell gas probably smells just as bad. Verdict: it’s a tie.

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Marlboro Man Dies From Smoking (What Else?)… And Other News

Marlboro Man

And another Marlboro cowboy hits the dust.

Marlboro ad man Eric Lawson has died of chronic lung disease at the age of 72. Lawson, the actor who portrayed the rugged Marlboro man in cigarette ads during the late 1970s, is the third Marlboro cowboy to die from lung damage. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that there was some kind of correlation here…. Lawson, who began smoking at the age of 14, went on to appear in an anti-smoking commercial after his Marlboro days – despite the fact that he was still smoking. “He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” his wife said. “He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.” The Guardian

Quebec FireResidents of a retirement center in a rural town in Quebec were faced with an agonozing decision early Thursday morning when a fire broke out in the building: run outside into -30C weather and freeze to death or stay inside with 1000C weather and burn to death. The obvious choice is outside but 37 of inhabitants were at least 85 years old and only five of the residents were fully autonomous. As a result, the raging fire took the lives of 14 people and 18 are still missing. High winds, poor visibility and frigid temperatures are making the rescue effort incredibly difficult as firefighters attempt to recover the missing bodies. The local firefighter chief called it “a night from hell.” CTV News

south-korea-north-korea-Why can’t we be friends? Besides the fact that we continually threaten to nuke you off the face of the earth… North Korea’s National Defense Commission crafted a rather surprising letter to South Korea vowing to “halt hostile military acts” and “create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity.” Is this a new era of Korean friendship? Probably not. South Korea was a little skeptical about the letter. Especially considering the friendship outreach came with a few conditions: South Korea would have to stop any upcoming military drills with the United States and publicly support North Korea’s right of a “precious nuclear force for self-defence.” Washington Times

Fire CafeteriaLast week saw a truckload of school/mall shootings. Three people, including the gunman, died on Saturday after a shooting at a shopping mall outside of Baltimore, Maryland, one student was killed on Friday in a shooting outside an on-campus dorm at South Carolina State University, and a teaching assistant was shot and stabbed at Purdue University on Tuesday. Not a good week for gun violence. But this week, a student, presumable fed up with gun violence (and life), walked into his high school cafeteria in Colorado and lit himself on fire. About 65 students were in the cafeteria at the time and were promptly evacuated. A custodian quickly put the fire out with the extinguisher after a school cafeteria worker suffered a minor cut when she broke the fire extinguisher glass. The 16-year-old’s attempted suicide didn’t go as smoothly though. The teenager, who had reportedly doused himself with oil before setting himself on fire, survived but suffered burns on 80 percent of his body. Ouch. Maybe gun violence is the answer? USA Today

BarfThe only thing worse than getting food poisoning is getting food poisoning on boat with 600 other people who also have food poisoning. 577 of the 3,050 passengers and 49 of 1,165 crewmembers reported vomiting and diarrhea on a 10-day Royal Caribbean cruise ship. That’s a lot of diarrhea. The illness spread rapidly after the Explorer of the Seas departed New Jersey on January 21, en route to the Caribbean. Once the crew realized there was no way to stop the diarrhea, they decided to cut the trip two days short. The Center for Disease Control is investigating, and the ship is being sanitized, thank god. CNN

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