The debate continues to blaze over legalizing medical marijuana in New York, despite an overwhelming 71% of the public in favor of it. State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) has announced plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the coming weeks, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will refuse to sign the legislation if it is passed. 16 states, including Washington DC, have legalized marijuana. Legislators have attempted to pass a marijuana legalization bill three times over the past few years, but this one is a breed apart: if passed, this bill would only allow marijuana to be available through a licensed dispensary—only those who are too poor or live too far away from a dispensary would be allowed to grow their own plants. Medical marijuana would bring in revenue for the state, and Cuomo acknowledges the numerous benefits. However, he feels that the risks—such as unwanted attention for the state, increased work for law enforcement and possible legal entanglements—outweigh the benefits, since New York has what he calls a “terrible problem” with drug use.
The United Kingdom has banned a Budweiser ad in which a football coach preps young blokes for a night out on the town, telling them "Gentlemen, you were conceived on a night like tonight." Officials were unhappy with the way the ad implied a correlation between boozing and sex. "We considered the ad linked alcohol to sexual success and therefore concluded that it breached the Code", said UK industry watchdogs, The Advertising Standards Authority. The ASA's advertising codes were tightened in 2005 to ensure alcohol brands do not promote under-age drinking or "anti-social behaviour," with a specified restriction on connecting alcohol to sex. Budweiser's local brewers, InBev UK, denied they had crossed any boundaries, arguing that the company's advertisements abroad strive to uphold "the commonly attributed American values of optimism, free-spiritedness and a positive attitude" and this particular ad "was part of that tradition and was designed to capture the spirit of anticipation." In the spirit of anticipation, the ASA warned InBev against releasing any future advertisements indicating that getting drunk will get you laid.
Cigarettes flavored with menthol—a substance which triggers a sensation of "minty" coldness—have been tied to higher stroke risk, according to Canadian researchers. The FDA has long claimed that menthol cigarettes are more hazardous, and results of a new study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, confirms this—researchers found that the risk for stroke more than doubled for those who smoked menthols compared to those who smoke regular cigarettes. And the risk was more than three times higher for women and non-black smokers. Oddly, menthol smokers had no elevated risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, and the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). "One potential mechanism is that menthol stimulates upper-airway cold receptors, which can increase breath-holding time, which may in turn facilitate the entrance of cigarette particulate matter into the lungs," said lead study author Dr. Nicholas Vozoris of St. Michael's Hospital. "Why smoking mentholated cigarettes would not result in an increase in forms of cardiopulmonary disease, other than stroke, is not clear." Researchers built on data conducted during 2001-2008, from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys on more than 5,000 smokers age 20 and older. The study isn't meant to prove that smoking menthols is worse than smoking other types of cigarettes, but to inform people of the stroke risk that menthols carry. "There is no 'good' cigarette type," Vozoris said. "Smoking any kind of cigarette is bad for one's health, and serves to increase one's risk for a variety of cancers, heart diseases and lung diseases. However, this study shows that smoking mentholated cigarettes may place one at even higher risk for stroke than smoking regular, non-mentholated cigarettes."
- Florida Gov's Veto of Drug-addiction Bill Irks Lawmakers [Miami Herald]
- America's Prescription Addiction Suggests a Sick Nation [The Guardian]
- Teen Drinking May Boost Odds of Precancerous Breast Changes [US News & World Report]
- Black Market Booze, Fags and Diesel Have Cost UK £30 Billion in Recent Years [UK Mirror]
- Ten Surprising Benefits of Quitting Smoking [Ozarks First]
- ‘Fat, Drunk, & Stupid’ Goes Behind the Toga to Reveal the Making of ‘Animal House’ [Washington Post]
- Bonnie Rate Talks About Taking Control and Staying Sober [Colorado Chieftan]
In the world of scripted television, there's a slew of interesting actors playing many interesting characters, but few have overlapped as spectacularly as Edie Falco’s titular antihero Jackie Peyton on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, which entered its fourth season yesterday. Jackie has been an active drug addict for the entire run of the show. But now with her character newly-sober, Falco will be taking Peyton in a new direction—one that might echo Falco’s own experience as a sober woman with 20 years in recovery. In an interview with Slate, Falco talks about about the harsh realities of addiction, the consequences of which haven’t always been treated with suitable gravity on the show: “Addiction has had such an impact on my life and the people I love, and there really is not a lot about it that is funny.” She also opens up about her own past bouts of workaholism, which she claims is an addiction like any other. Whether the disease takes the form of snorting pills or working yourself to the bone, addictive behavior springs from the same source. “An addict is an addict,” she says. “If they’re not acting out in one area, it tends to come out in another.” Wise words.
When the drunk bus—that strobe-lit, retrofitted shuttle-bus hot mess-on-the-go—became an integral part of the American nightlife scene, was it ever in doubt that its photographic negative, the hangover bus, was close behind? It's come to pass in Las Vegas (where else?), where a new service called Hangover Heaven is launching this Saturday. Started by Duke grad anesthesiologist Dr. Jason Burke, Hangover Heaven is a mobile battlefield med unit for bros and bro-ettes who raged too hard the night before, and now need a high-test hangover remedy—delivered intravenously. Hangover Heaven currently offers two packages, with pick-ups at casinos all along the Strip: the Redemption ($90; just IV hydration) and the Salvation ($150; hydration plus IV anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea meds, plus IV vitamin supplements). According to one true believer who appears in a strangely dead-serious video promo for Hangover Heaven [below], it really works: “My hangover is absolutely gone,” the spiky-haired, still-puffy partier testifies. “No more nausea, no more headache. I’m ready to go back out.” The nation thanks you, Hangover Heaven, for patching up our boys in blue (or other shades of shiny, untucked “going-out” shirts) and getting them back out into the fist-pumping fray.