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Tobacco

The lighter's display indicates how many cigarettes you've smoked and how long it's been s...

There are plenty of trackers to promote healthy habits, but how about a device that discourages a not so healthy one? Quitbit is a smart lighter designed to help rein in smoking addiction by keeping tabs on how often you light up.  Read More

Bioglow's Starlight Avatar plants emit faint light similar in intensity to starlight – hen...

Ever thought the glowing forests from the movie Avatar were pretty cool and wanted one yourself? Bioglow is the latest company to attempt to put such autoluminscent plants in homes with its aptly named Starlight Avatar.  Read More

Vancouver's cigarette butts are being used to manufacture shipping pallets, among other th...

What can you say about cigarette butts? They instantly make wherever they are look seedy, they don't biodegrade, plus they're highly toxic to aquatic organisms. It turns out, however, that they are good for something. The City of Vancouver and TerraCycle Canada launched a first-of-its-kind pilot program this Tuesday, in which the butts will be collected for recycling.  Read More

Scientists have created what they claim is the world's first secondhand tobacco smoke sens...

While the detrimental effects of inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke are well-documented, it can be difficult to determine just how much of that smoke people are exposed to. After all, we know that smokers inhale smoke from each of their cigarettes, but what percentage of that smoke reaches their family members or co-workers? Scientists at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College have created a portable sensor, in order to find out.  Read More

Visualization: Re-Barn converted tobacco barn

With its Re-Barn concept, architectural planning consultancy autotroph has come up with a strategy to preserve not just one building, but a whole family: the endangered tobacco barn of Southern Maryland. The Re-Barn idea would see tobacco burns renovated into family homes, while maintaining their potential to run a working farm.  Read More

During the first 15 years of the Tobacco Control Program in California, which cost in the ...

In the past decade a line has been drawn in the sand in most major cities. Tax revenues from cigarettes are higher than ever, and most bars and restaurants no longer allow smoking within their confines. The days of smoking being the social norm are quickly turning into times when those lighting-up are viewed as an outcast minority, and when it comes to quitting, the evidence is clear that it's not just the smokers themselves who stand to benefit.  Read More

Opinion: Why has Porsche designed a Hookah Pipe?

We have to admit being more than a little surprised that in this increasingly health-conscious world, Porsche Design has released a new luxury Shisha waterpipe. Also known as a hookah or narghile, Shisha is becoming increasingly trendy in Western countries by "social" tobacco smokers and is already deeply embedded in African and Middle Eastern cultures. Porsche is one of the strongest, well respected brand names in the world, synonymous not only with uncompromising engineering and innovation, but with the deepest concern and respect for the safety of its customers. Why then would such a company create a product which is known to be so injurious to its users? Are Porsche's brand custodians asleep?  Read More

A scientific assessment of the harmfulness of the 16 most commonly used drugs

One of the more interesting news items of the last week came from the release of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs’ first piece of research – Drug harms in the UK: a multi-criteria decision analysis. The findings of the committee, based on wide ranging criteria, apply scientific methodology to answering the perpetually vexing question of exactly how much harm certain drugs do to their users and those around them. The table above summarises the findings and the full paper is available free on the web, where you’ll see just how complex the equation actually is. Most interesting of all was that without government meddling and industry lobbying, alcohol was rated more harmful than any other drug, while tobacco (the only other taxed legal drug on the list), is more harmful than cannabis.  Read More

The nicotiana tobacco plant

Smokers don’t get excited - science hasn’t found a way to genetically engineer tobacco for smoking to be good for you. What science has done however is to genetically engineer tobacco plants to produce medicines that could assist in the treatment of several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including diabetes.  Read More

Recreational Drugs and their level of harm

March 24, 2007 Just how dangerous are recreational drugs and what’s the most effective way to classify drugs as the basis for law enforcement? With the technologies for creating new substances now well ahead of the law’s ability to even recognise them, it’s clearly time for a new way of doing things. Last year, the UK’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee tabled a report entitled Drug classification: making a hash of it? which concluded that the current UK classification of drugs into A, B and C classes should be replaced with a new system more closely reflecting the harm they cause. One of the most striking findings of the report was that based on the committee’s assessment of harm, tobacco and alcohol (in red on the chart) would be ranked as more harmful than cannabis, LSD and ecstasy. The report also stated that, on the basis of harm, "alcohol would be classed as B bordering on A, while cigarettes would probably be in the borderline between B and C". Now a leading researcher on substance misuse has expressed concern that the proposed classification regime is too limited in its approach to serve as a basis for changes in the law.  Read More

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