Drug Company to Put Up Giant Cigarette Butt in Dilworth Park Friday

Dilworth Park Cigarette Butt (photo illustration)

Photo Illustration, obviously

Every Philadelphian who has passed through the new Dilworth Park since its opening has come away with the same thought: This place could really use a 20-foot-tall cigarette butt.

Stop holding your breath and let out that last drag, Philadelphians: On Friday, GlaxoSmithKline will erect a 20-foot-tall cigarette butt in order to promote their Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ smoking cessation drugs. Hey, Dilworth Park wasn’t cheap.

The event will take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. And, to make this mashup of a drug company and a public park even better, Dancing with the Stars’ Mark Ballas — a paid GSK spokesman — will make an appearance to encourage people to quit smoking. Sure, why not? He quit smoking a year ago.

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CDC Warns of Increased Risk for HIV-Positive Smokers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s most recent ad campaign is a series of graphic TV ads called “Tips From Former Smokers” that outline—in gritty detail—the negative effects of smoking. They include Terrie, a 40-year-old woman diagnosed with oral and throat cancer; Amanda, a 30-year-old woman whose smoking during pregnancy resulted in a premature birth; and Brian, a 45-year-old gay man who suffered a stroke as a result of complications from smoking and being HIV-positive. (Check out his video above.)

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Expert Opinion: 3 Things a Philly Doc Thinks You Should Know About E-Cigs

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

You’ve probably heard the term “vaping” a lot recently. It’s used to describe the use of e-cigarettes and experiencing the inhalation of the “vapors”  from the product. Vape shops are cropping up everywhere in Philly, allowing customers to use e-cigarettes in their venues and tapping into the now billion dollar industry.

No doubt, sudden prevalence of these cafes is strengthening the marketing strategy for e-cigs, but it raises some questions, too. As a physician, it’s important for me to understand lifestyle habits of patients that may place their health at risk. I’ve added e-cigarettes to my history-taking list of questions. From a public-health perspective, here are some answers to some of the concerns:

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Mayor Nutter’s Public Park Smoking Ban Is Pointless Nanny-State Grandstanding

Nutter

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter seems to be in the middle of an existential crisis. Now, normally this confrontation with life, the universe, and everything is perfectly natural and OK. That is, most men react to these crises with something harmless like impulse-buying a sports car.

The problem here, though, is that Nutter is taking at least 375,000 Philadelphians along for his ride into the “What’s the point?” abyss with his new executive order “banning” smoking in public parks.

Nutter’s the guy who callously slashed library funding by $8 million in 2008, eliminating 117 library jobs. Later, Nutter tearfully “corrected” his wrong by putting back a fraction ($2.5 million) of the original cut in his proposed budget this year. He also proposed the new property tax valuations, called the AVI. It’s arguably a necessary fix but nobody’s happy about it, particularly because the AVI seems at best complicated and at worst arbitrary. And, Nutter’s the guy currently presiding over a police force disproportionately arresting black people while seemingly ignoring white people violating those very same laws.

Basically, Nutter seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis because he sure as hell looks a lot like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg right now.

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Philadelphia Bans Smoking in Public Parks

Thinking of lighting up a smoke in Rittenhouse Square? You can still do it, but you’ll be breaking the law.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law a bill banning smoking in the city’s parks. Per the mayor’s own words, the ban is “effective immediately.”

Nutter says there are no talks in expanding a smoking ban to public city streets. The new park smoking ban comes for the usual reasons governments pass them: Concerns over secondhand smoke, general environmental worries and as an encouragement for smokers to quit.

“Eliminating smoking in public parks is a commonsense policy that clearly aligns with our City’s existing smoke-free regulations for recreation centers, pools and playgrounds. Specifically, this policy protects the environment and the health and wellness of our citizens,” the mayor said in a release.

The ban will be enforced by staffers in city parks and essentially has no penalty associated with it. Per a city press release, the Parks and Recreation and Public Health departments will also be doing “No butts about it” PSAs.

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Study: Smoking Screws Up Your Taste Buds

 

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Shutterstock

In today’s scary smoking-related news: Apparently, smoking doesn’t just give you wrinkles and an inhaler dependency, it also messes with your ability to taste. According to the Huffington Post, a new study shows that both current and former smokers have more difficulty identifying the bitter taste of caffeine, compared with non-smokers.

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