‘In advanced economies, recipes are more valuable than cooking.’ –Paul Romer


[$12 a pack] It’s been six weeks since New York’s state government raised the cigarette tax to $4.35 a pack, and guess what? Cigarette sales have fallen by 35 percent. (…)

The crazy-high price of cigarettes here is sending New Yorkers over the state border to, say, Pennsylvania, where a pack of cigarettes can be obtained for around $5, or Jersey, where they’re $7ish. People are also heading to Indian reservations, where, according to a friend who does exactly this, you can get a carton for $22, and where sales have apparently gone up a whopping 300%.

{ Village Voice | Continue reading }

photo { Petra Collins }

‘I can’t go back to yesterday–because I was a different person then.’ –Lewis Carroll


{ A history of America in cigar consumption | Economist }

It’s all the streets you crossed, not so long ago


The promise—and the hype—of changing your DNA through behavior.

Studies showing how experience alters genes have been few and far between—which is why a new one on smoking and diet caught my eye.

The study of these kinds of changes in genes is called epigenetics. Crucially, the changes do not involve alterations of gene sequences, those famous A’s, T’s, C’s, and G’s that the Human Genome Project figured out. (…)

Scientists are now making specific, actionable discoveries in epigenetics. This week, for instance, researchers are reporting that eating leafy green vegetables, folate (found in these veggies as well as in some fruits and in dried beans and peas), and multivitamins can affect the epigenetics of genes involved in lung cancer in a way that could reduce the risk of getting the disease, especially from smoking.

{ Sharon Begley/Newsweek | Continue reading }

Wrapped the hills in a blanket of Patterson’s curse


You might have seen news reports about a recent study showing that religious people are no healthier than non-religious. (…)

Working out the relationship between religion and health is actually quite complicated. If you take the straightforward approach the answer is clear: religious people are unhealthier and die younger than the non-religious.

The reason for that is obvious. Religious people tend to be poorer and less well educated. As a result, most studies try to work out whether religious people are healthier after adjusting for these differences.

So the key question boils down to this: which differences should you adjust for? Your decision on this will affect the answer you get. (…)

Most studies adjust for basic demographic factors. Older people and women are more likely to be religious, and both these affect your chances of heart attacks. Most studies also adjust for education and income level. (…)

But there are also a host of lifestyle factors that make heart disease more likely (smoking, lack of exercise, overeating). Here’s where it starts to get more difficult, because religion could definitely cause you to be a nonsmoker.

Many studies adjust for these lifestyle factors. But you can go a step further - and that’s what they did in this study. (…)

They found that religious people smoked less. This was one of only two lifestyle factors that remained after they adjusted for all the demographic differences between the religious and non-religious (age, gender, race, education and income). That’s something that’s commonly observed, and it may be because religion provides social pressure and support to help people quit.

But the study also found that religious people were fatter (again, after adjusting for demographic factors). The effect was large - religious people were 50-60% more likely to be obese.

{ Epiphenoma | Continue reading }

photo { Katerina Jebb }

I’m always puffin on lah lah


{ Three-year-old reptile from Taipei in Taiwan has become hooked on nicotine }

And the words Sic transit gloria mundi are recited


{ Tobacco Smoke Enema (1750s-1810s) | via Barry Ritholz | Read more: Wikipedia }

Moving forward is about progress, not perfection


The movement to ban smoking in New York City has grown so quickly that no place seems immune — certainly not restaurants or bars, and public beaches and parks may not be far behind. Now the efforts are rapidly expanding into the living room.

More landlords are moving to prohibit smoking in their apartment buildings, telling prospective tenants they can be evicted if they light up in them. (…)

And the typical smoker’s refuge — directly outside the building — is also off limits; tenants must agree not to smoke on any of the sidewalks that wrap around the building.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy


{ A Dallas woman has filed a lawsuit seeking six figures from a former neighbor and landlord for damage she says was caused by cigarette smoke wafting through adjoining walls of her high-end townhome. Cary Daniel and her mother Chris Daniel no longer live in the townhome, and said they need to wear respirators and goggles when they return to the townhome to retreive their belongings. | Dallas News | full story }