A major loss for tobacco companies: The Department of Health and Human Services has announced stricter marketing rules in attempt to cut youth smoking. Among the provisions: The FDA will impose a uniform nationwide ban on the sale of cigarettes to children under 18. The new law kicks into effect June 22:
At a news conference today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called her department's action a "historic" move that will cut youth smoking.
"Every day, nearly 4,000 kids under the age of 18 try their first cigarette," Sebelius said, "and a thousand of those young people become daily smokers. Part of the reason is that, despite a ban on direct marketing to young Americans, tobacco companies have still found ways to reach out to them."
This next story is nothing to sneeze at: The wet winter has made for an early allergy season. Allergies to pollen and ragweed have also doubled over the past two decades. So get ready to combat the sniffles and stock up on your favorite antihistamines or schedule an appointment with your doctor if over-the-counter meds don’t seem to cut it:
Spring is here, and you know what that means: no more marshmallow coats, no more wiping out on icy sidewalks, no more 48-hour “Monk” marathons on frigid weekends. But for nearly 36 million Americans, throw-open-the-windows season comes with a major buzzkill: allergies. And natural allergies are only getting more severe. Allergies to pollen, ragweed, and other common airborne triggers have doubled in the past 20 years — a 5 percent per decade increase since the 1970s — clogging up even those who've always been sniffle-free. Here are the three reasons your tissue box needs replacing more often — and what really remedies allergies.
A new study has given some weight to the idea of “pregnancy brain.” Researchers in London found that pregnant women have more trouble remembering where they left their possessions, possibly because of fluctuating hormone levels. The effects could last for up to three months after giving birth:
Diane Farrar, who led the research, said: “Forgetfulness and slips of attention are phenomena commonly reported by pregnant women, but scientists have yet to identify a specific mechanism by which this memory impairment might occur.
“The research presented here shows that expectant mothers may experience reduced spatial memory ability and this persists for at least three months following birth. Mood and level of anxiety improved following pregnancy, suggesting hormonal influences may be responsible.”
She added: “Altered mood and increased anxiety, which may be due to altered hormone levels or pregnancy related worries, may also adversely affect memory function.”