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Friday, May 6, 2011

Property Rights Newsletter

The Property Rights Newsletter

May 6, 2011 - Issue #611

"Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people."
- Charlie Chaplin
Property Rights for all include Smokers Rights!
Osama bin Laden banned smoking in compound.
Osama bin Laden's hatred of western decadence is well documented, but according to villagers close to where he was shot dead earlier this week, it seems he included smoking as one of its vices.
Shopkeepers where two of his close lieutenants did the bin Laden family shopping said they regularly bought one or two single cigarettes and smoked them immediately because they could not smoke them in their compound.
The apparent ban on smoking is in line with a Taliban ruling that while taking snuff is permissible, smoking tobacco is "haram" or forbidden by Islam.
Arshad Khan, described as a "fat" but polite and friendly man in his mid-thirties, and his younger thinner brother Tariq, regularly visited a row of poorly-stocked shops a few hundred yards from their compound to buy eggs, salt, milk and sweets for up to seven children in the compound.
The two brothers are believed to have been killed along with bin Laden in the US raid on their compound in Pakistan on Monday.
One of them, Arshad, is said to have been the trusted courier who unwittingly led American intelligence officials to discover bin Laden's hiding police after an eleven year search.
But according to local shopkeepers they were reserved, polite, generous and enjoyed a gossip and a furtive cigarette.
"They were good people. They were generous. They liked to mix with people and gossip," said tailor Yasir Khan, 28.

AND: Marijuana Crop Found Near Osama Bin Laden's Pakistan Compound.
Property Rights for all include Smokers Rights!
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Smoking Ban snuffed out in Macon

Smoking ban snuffed out as Macon council fails to overturn veto

By JIM GAINES

Two weeks of public back-and-forth and a wave of public comments about tighter smoking regulations in Macon weren’t enough to shift a single vote among City Council members.

Tuesday’s 9-6 decision was one vote shy of the 10 needed to override Mayor Robert Reichert’s veto of a smoking ordinance, falling in the same 9-6 margin as its initial passage April 19.


The vote means the smoking ban that would have prevented anyone from lighting up in various places, including Macon’s bars, won’t take effect later this year after all.


Council members signaled Monday that they would try to override Reichert’s veto, but no new arguments emerged Tuesday night despite half a dozen speeches from the public and a half-hour of debate among council members themselves.


Facing a packed council chamber, including a contingent holding “Breathe Easy Macon” signs in support of the smoking ordinance, Council President Miriam Paris limited public speakers to three who supported the measure and three who were against it.


The effort to override the veto headed the council’s agenda, and in a pre-council meeting Councilman Mike Cranford noted that according to the usual order, that vote would come before members of the public were allowed to address council -- and most of the intended speakers came to talk about just that subject.


Interim City Attorney Martha Welsh said the council could rearrange that, but Councilman Henry Ficklin disagreed. Though the arrangement was unfortunate, the council should stick to its usual rules no matter what, he said.


When Cranford moved in the actual council meeting to let the public speak before the smoking vote, only Ficklin opposed doing so.


Proponents of the new rules, which essentially would have banned smoking inside all bars and restaurants, plus at some outdoor locations such as playgrounds and amphitheaters, argued that it was a question of public health.


Dave Harvey, district health director for the Macon-Bibb County Health Department and a retired pediatrician, likened the restrictions to gun control laws.


“We’re not saying you shouldn’t have (a gun). We’re saying be careful where you shoot,” he said.


Opponents of the ordinance, such as Element nightclub owner Philip Sinclair, dismissed health arguments as a matter of individual choice and said the law would hurt his business, pushing bar customers to establishments outside city limits.


“I believe y’all are being completely fiscally irresponsible if y’all override the mayor’s veto,” Sinclair said.


When it came time for council members to speak, Ficklin said he backs anti-smoking measures but thinks the public didn’t have time to comment on this ordinance.


“I have no issue with the smoking ban, but what I do have an issue with is the process,” he said.


Cranford said he’s owned many businesses including bars, restaurants and a hotel, and that most council members can’t say they’ve dealt with “government bull” imposed on businesspeople.


“Small business is a minority, and if you’ve ever been part of a minority that couldn’t or wouldn’t be heard, you know what I’m talking about,” he said.


Bar and restaurant owners have threatened to sue the city if the ordinance passes, he said. The rules would be “reasonable” if done in conjunction with Bibb County, thus preventing customers from switching their business to nearby smoking establishments, Cranford said.


Councilwoman Beverly Blake asked colleagues to go ahead and override the veto, saying its backers were willing to hold two public meetings in the next 60 days to get public input for “fine-tuning” the ordinance before it went into effect Sept. 1.

Councilman Charles Jones scoffed at that, saying it was putting the cart before the horse to pass something and seek to fix it later; but Councilwoman Elaine Lucas accused opponents of foot-dragging by calling for joint action with Bibb County.


“I can smell a stall ... and you can, too,” she said.

After more in the same vein, Ficklin called for a vote. He, Cranford, Jones, Ed DeFore, James Timley and Virgil Watkins voted to uphold the mayor’s veto.


Council members Blake, Lauren Benedict, Nancy White, Tom Ellington, Paris, Larry Schlesinger, Lonnie Miley, Lucas and Rick Hutto voted to override the veto. Although that group of council members was in the majority, that left ordinance supporters one vote short of the two-thirds council majority to override a mayoral veto.

“The mayor’s veto is sustained,” Paris said.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tobacco-derived compound prevents memory loss in Alzheimer's Disease Mice

...

Tobacco-derived compound prevents memory loss in Alzheimer's disease mice

VA-USF study finds cotinine reduces the brain plaques associated with dementia

Tampa, FL (For immediate release) -- Cotinine, a compound derived from tobacco, reduced plaques associated with dementia and prevented memory loss in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, a study led by researchers at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and the University of South Florida found.

The findings are reported online in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in advance of print publication.
"We found a compound that protects neurons, prevents the progression of Alzheimer's disease pathology, enhances memory and has been shown to be safe," said Valentina Echeverria, PhD, a scientist at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and an assistant professor of Molecular Medicine at USF Health. "It looks like cotinine acts on several aspects of Alzheimer's pathology in the mouse model. That, combined with the drug's good safety profile in humans, makes it a very attractive potential therapy for Alzheimer's disease."
While the current drugs for Alzheimer's may help delay the onset of symptoms, none halt or reverse the processes of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, existing drugs may have undesirable side effects.
Some epidemiological studies showed that people who smoke tend to have lower incidences of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Studies have widely attributed this apparently beneficial effect to nicotine, which has been reported to improve memory and reduce Alzheimer's-like plaques in mice. However, nicotine's harmful cardiovascular effects and addictive properties make the compound a less than ideal drug candidate for neurodegenerative diseases.
The Bay Pines VA/USF team decided to look at the effects of cotinine, the major byproduct of nicotine metabolism, in Alzheimer's disease mice. Cotinine is nontoxic and longer lasting than nicotine. Furthermore, its safety has already been demonstrated in human trials evaluating cotinine's potential to relieve tobacco withdrawal symptoms.
The researchers administered cotinine daily for five months to young adult (2-month-old) mice genetically altered to develop memory problems mimicking Alzheimer's disease as they aged. At the end of the five-month study, the Alzheimer's mice treated with cotinine performed better on tasks measuring their working memory and thinking skills than untreated Alzheimer's control mice. Long-term cotinine treatment appeared to provide the Alzheimer's mice complete protection from spatial memory impairment; their performance in this area of testing was identical to that of normal mice without dementia.
The brains of Alzheimer's mice treated with cotinine showed a 26-percent reduction in deposits of amyloid plaques, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Cotinine also inhibited the accumulation of the amyloid peptide oligomers – a predecessor of senile plaques – in the brains of these mice. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that cotinine stimulated the signaling factor Akt, which promotes the survival of neurons and enhances attention and memory.
Senile plaques likely had not yet formed or were just beginning to accumulate in the brains of the young adult mice when long-term cotinine treatment was started. The researchers suggest that "cotinine may be useful in preventing cognitive deterioration when administered to individuals not yet exhibiting Alzheimer's disease cognitive impairment or those with mild cognitive impairment at early stages of the disease."
The researchers are seeking additional support for a pilot clinical trial to investigate cotinine's effectiveness in preventing progression to Alzheimer's dementia in patients with mild cognitive impairment, Echeverria said.
The VA-USF team is also studying the potential of the tobacco-derived compound to relieve fear-induced anxiety and help blunt traumatic memories in mouse models of post-traumatic stress disorder.
###
Study co-authors included researchers from the University of Miami, the University of Manchester (UK), Boston College, and Saitama Medical Center and Saitama Medical University (Japan). The study was supported in part by awards from the Florida Department of Health's James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program, the Alzheimer's Association and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Publication citation:
"Cotinine Reduces Amyloid-β Aggregation and Improves Memory in Alzheimer's Disease Mice," Valentina Echeverria, Ross Zeitlin, Sarah Burgess, Sagar Patel, Arghya Barman, Garima Thakur, Magorzota Mamcarz, Li Wang, David B. Sattelle, Daniel A. Kirschner, Takashi Mori, Roger M. LeBlanc, Rajeev Prabhakar and Gary W. Arendash, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 24 (4) 2011. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-2011-102136, IOS Press.
- About USF Health -
USF Health (www.health.usf.edu) is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida's colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician's Group. Ranked 34th in federal research expenditures for public universities by the National Science Foundation, the University of South Florida is a high impact global research university.
- About the VA Research and Development Program -
For more than 65 years, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Research and Development program has been improving veterans' lives through innovation and discovery. The VA Research program, unique in that it is the only research program focused wholly on conducting groundbreaking research to meet the full spectrum of veterans' medical needs, benefits from being part of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)—an integrated, national health care system with a state-of-the-art electronic health record. Through dynamic combination, the VA Research program is able to promote the quick translation of research findings into advancements in health care for veterans and all Americans.
- About the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD) -
The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (http://www.j-alz.com) is an international multidisciplinary journal to facilitate progress in understanding the etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, genetics, behavior, treatment and psychology of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes research reports, reviews, short communications, book reviews, and letters-to-the-editor. Groundbreaking research that has appeared in the journal includes novel therapeutic targets, mechanisms of disease and clinical trial outcomes. The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease has an Impact Factor of 3.82 according to Thomson Reuters' 2010 edition of Journal Citation Reports. It is ranked #19 on the Index Copernicus Top 100 Journal List. The Journal is published by IOS Press (www.iospress.com).

Monday, May 2, 2011

SHS has direct impact on brain

Exposure to secondhand smoke, such as a person can get by riding in an enclosed car while someone else smokes, has a direct, measurable impact on the brain — and the effect is similar to what happens in the brain of the person doing the smoking. In fact, exposure to this secondhand smoke evokes cravings among smokers, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The study, published today in Archives of General Psychiatry, used positron emission tomography (PET) to demonstrate that one hour of secondhand smoke in an enclosed space results in enough nicotine reaching the brain to bind receptors that are normally targeted by direct exposure to tobacco smoke. This happens in the brain of both smokers and non-smokers.

Previous research has shown that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the likelihood that children will become teenage smokers and makes it more difficult for adult smokers to quit. Such associations suggest that secondhand smoke acts on the brain to promote smoking behavior.

“These results show that even limited secondhand smoke exposure delivers enough nicotine to the brain to alter its function,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “Chronic or severe exposure could result in even higher brain nicotine levels, which may explain why secondhand smoke exposure increases vulnerability to nicotine addiction.”

“This study gives concrete evidence to support policies that ban smoking in public places, particularly enclosed spaces and around children,” said Arthur Brody, M.D., of the UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and corresponding author for the article.

The Surgeon General's Report concluded in 2006 that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and many serious health conditions in children, including sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory infections, and more severe asthma. According to the CDC, almost 50,000 deaths per year can be attributed to secondhand smoke. For more information or for resources to help quit smoking, go to http://www.nida.nih.gov/DrugPages/Nicotine.html.

The study can be found online at: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/.

How I got involved in smokers rights

(This is one of my first posts on here. But I'm bumping this up for new visitors.)

I first learned of smoking being a right when I heard about the NYC smoking ban. I knew CA was so antismoking back then. But I didn't expect anti poison-anda to spread across the nation. But I underestimated the power of their poison. Folks will believe ANYTHING antis say. And the antis' main goal is to have a tobacco-free USA in the long term.

Antis have no right telling me and other smokers how to live. If I have the right to live in America, and if America expects me to pay taxes, then I'm gonna smoke in America. And I definitely didn't like the idea of being forced to smoke outside. That's similar to someone pushing me around for just being an American if I lived in the old days. Anyone who knows me knows I don't take being pushed around or pushed outside with my cig very lightly.

I will never understand why people can't smoke in taverns. Non-smokers are not forced to enter taverns. And they even find a way to bring kids into those joints. Last time I checked, kids are not allowed in bars. Smokers represent the majority of bar customers. So how can the owners and workers make money in a smoke-free bar? When there are hardly any customers in there to begin with? How can I even enjoy myself in public with a smoking ban? I might as well stay home if I can't smoke in restaurants, bars, and sport stadiums!

Well, I met a smoking activist from Illinois a few years ago who had similar thoughts on staying home if you can't smoke in places. And the rest is history so to speak. I'm helping out with Illinois Smokers Rights as well. Helping out with the actual offline group that is (and not the IL Smokers Rights site itself).

I notice I reflected on one thing that makes smokers similar to "us" in terms of how both groups are treated. But there are a lot more similarities. I don't need to hear the anti argument of "Smokers are not comparable with blacks because blacks can't change their looks. You can quit smoking to stop the 2nd class SMOKING treatment though. And I never heard of a person getting killed for smoking in public."

With all due respect, the similarity between smokers and us lies within the discrimination. A smoker doesn't have to get killed. A smoker can get denied a job not for race, religious, gender, or sexuality reasons. That smoker can get denied a job for....drumroll please....smoking a LEGAL product in the privacy of his/her home! Smokers even pay more for insurance than nonsmokers! If that's not discrimination, then the anti needs to wake up from dreaming.

If you don't believe me on smokers getting fired for smoking off of the job and smokers getting denied jobs period, then you need to keep up with the news in the smokers rights community.

A blog with sightings of smoking ladies

If you're a smoking fetisher who's looking for a forum or blog dealing with sightings of smoking ladies in public, you can check out Mark's Smoke Blog. He posts a lot of his own sightings of smoking ladies.

MARK'S SMOKE BLOG


Thanks to smoking bans, it ain't common to see posts of smoking sightings on the net compared to say 10 years ago. When smoking forums used to be a lot more common online.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cig smuggling is on the rise. So lower cig taxes to only a dime per pack?

Most blog visitors think you'll see $15 as a pack price this year. I wouldn't be surprised if a pack is already $15 in some areas of the Northeastern states. However, some of those northeastern states are thinking of lowering their tobacco taxes.

I think (for example) NJ wants to lower the cig tax because that state is losing "cigarette business" to states with lower cig taxes within that same region. Smokers are driving to states with lower taxes, AND cigarette smuggling is more common as well. When smokers buy their packs from cig dealers in the streets, the hi-cig tax states are still losing money.

Buying a pack of Marlboros or Newports (or whateva brand) from a cig dealer underground is no different from smokers who used to buy cigs online. Obama made it possible for all states to stop losing cig tax money by signing the PACT Act. But that act still aint gonna stop cig smuggling. And it's not gonna stop someone from selling packs in the streets for only 5-6 bucks each.

The only way states in the northeast can stop losing cig tax money is if they lower the taxes to a lot more than juz a dime per pack. If a pack was only 2-3 bucks like it was in the good ol' days, then that would help put an end to cig smuggling.

And if cigs were more affordable offline in the 2000s, I bet online smoke shops (Indian smoke shops included) neva would have been successful. Why pay $20 (and shipping) for a carton online if I could get an offline carton at the same price?

My opinion on Red 100's

After trying a newer pack of Red 100's, I used to say how they taste like a light cig sometimes.

Well, they don't taste like a light cig to me now. They taste like a full-flavor (FF). Although Red kings and Marlboro 27s both have a bigger FF taste.

The strength of Red 100s is more like medium to me. Not really "light cig" strength. But not too strong strength either.

But they certainly have a smoother taste than the Red kings. And the Red 100s definitely feel more like a cig compared to a ML 100 when I smoke em.

While I can understand the point of 100's being a better deal than kings based on the price of cigs in modern times, I believe a 100 really doesn't have that much more tobacco in em compared to a king. And in the case of Marlboros, the king-sized cigs are the ones with the type of big strangth I'm used to feeling.

I think it's interesting even ML kings have a lil more strength and better taste than ML 100's.

I can definitely see smoking Marlboro 100s more often if I ever become a 2ppd smoker. Cause smoking 100s would make better sense for someone who smokes heavily. I can smoke at least a pack per day. But 2ppd is tough to do when you take smoking bans into account. And I definitely aint stooping to smoking like 2 cigs at once. I'd rather chainsmoke 4-8 Marlboros than to smoke 2 at once.

I don't ever remember chaining 8 Newport 100s when they used to be my primary brand. I think the most Newports I ever chained was sometimes 4 ports. Those cigs are a lot more stronger than any FF Marlboro brand.

My first choice for a Marlboro carton would be a tie between Red kings and Marlboro 27's. Followed by ML kings.

I will say ML Gold 100s taste better than ML MENTHOL 100s. But all smokers are different from me. Newport is still the best menthol out there period.