Smoking at the Globe, Times

The days of the smokey newsroom are over but the papers are full of stories about evil weed.

A front page Globe story asks –Too many cigarette ads in lower-income neighborhoods?

A dozen years after Massachusetts attempted to ban storefront tobacco ads within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds, a prohibition thwarted by a tobacco company’s legal challenge, the signs remain prolific and prominent in Boston’s lower-income neighborhoods, especially those with substantial African-American and Hispanic populations.

On today’s Globe op-ed page, a wine shop worker bemoans his new title: “tobacco retail clerk“:

I work a couple days a week in a wine and cheese shop, which has a number of advantages, not the least of which is buying Hendrick’s gin at a good price.

Among the items offered for sale are cigarettes and cigars. That makes me a tobacco retail clerk. And that being so, I was recently informed that my training class was to be on such and such a day. Class? To sell cigarettes?

An editorial in Sunday’s paper said — Get the cigs out of the movies.

WATCHING CHARACTERS smoke in movies is the single most powerful pro-smoking influence for children: It accounts for 44 percent of kids who smoke pick up a cigarette for the first time, according to an analysis of four separate studies.

That’s why it is good news that the number of smoking incidents in movies has steadily gone down in the last few years, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco. The study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that among the top-grossing movies released in the United States between 1991 and 2009, smoking incidents peaked at around 4,000 in 2005 and have since dropped by half, to a little below 2,000 for 2009. Last year was also the first time that just over one half of top-grossing movies didn’t show any tobacco use at all. Encouragingly, and perhaps partly as a result, the nationwide rates of trying cigarettes among high-school students dropped from 54 percent in 2005 to 46 percent in 2009.

Hold onThe NY Times has a piece on “hold-out” smokers and their sidewalk community.

Parliament, Marlboro, Winston, Benson & Hedges glow throughout the day in this canyon as smoker after smoker dashes down, lights up and vanishes again like a wisp of smoke. Between drags, they gab into their cellphones, soak in the solitude, pace to the curb and back, or chat briefly, most conversations lasting only as long as the ember at the tip of their cigarettes.

Finally, if your doc prescribes the other weed, make sure your drug-testing boss approves it too. Also from the Times:

Residents in 14 states and Washington can now appeal to their doctors for prescriptions for medical marijuana to help them with their pain.

Their employers, however, may not be so understanding.

In some cases, workers have been fired for failing drug tests despite having prescriptions saying, in effect, that what they are doing is legal according to the laws of their states.

Though the number of such cases appears to be small, they are exposing a new legal gray area, with workers complaining of rights violations and company officials scratching their heads over how to enforce a uniform policy for a drug that the federal government has not recognized as having a legitimate medical purpose.

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