Father of six dies after New York police place him in chokehold for selling untaxed cigarettes

© RawStory
A Staten Island man died Thursday after police placed him in a chokehold as they attempted to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes.

According to authorities, Eric Garner, 43, went into cardiac arrest and died at Richmond University Medical Center following the arrest that was filmed by several witnesses, the New York Daily News reported.

In the video, Garner can be seen telling police that he had not been selling cigarettes, repeatedly saying, " I didn't sell anything," before insisting, "I'm minding my own business, please leave me alone."

After a standoff, five officers tackled the 400-pound Garner - with one placing him in a chokehold - and wrestled him to the ground as they attempted to put handcuffs on him.

As Garner lay on the ground, with one officer pushing his head into the pavement, he can be heard saying, "I can't breath. I can't breath," over and over.

As the video ends, Garner appears to be unconscious as police clear onlookers while waiting awaiting paramedics.

Comment: See also:
  • NYPD Twitter campaign backfires, flooded with photos of police abuse
  • US is the Worst Police State in the World - By the Numbers


Let's all light up! What you don't know about tobacco

Everyone knows that smoking is a health hazard. Even Big Tobacco behaves in a way that screams 'GUILTY!'

Historically, smoking various plants was believed to be beneficial. But today, we know better, right?

Assuming smoking is unhealthy, the science should therefore support 'what everyone knows'.

But, as the following video shows, it doesn't.


British Medical Association seeks to permanently ban cigarette sales to everyone born after the year 2000

© Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett
A shopkeeper reaches for a packet of cigarettes in a newsagent in London
British Medical Association (BMA) doctors have voted to demand a permanent ban on selling cigarettes to those born after the millennium - i.e. kids who are currently 14 or under. The group's ambitious plan is to make British society tobacco free by 2035.

The motion was passed at a meeting on Tuesday.

"It is not expected that this policy will instantly prevent all people from smoking, but [rather it will] de-normalise cigarette smoking," said London research assistant in academic public health, Dr Tim Crocker-Buqué at the meeting. "The level of harm caused by smoking is unconscionable."

The decision was made at the British Medical Association's annual representatives' meeting on Tuesday. The doctors' voting in favor means that the doctors' union will push for the British government to introduce the ban.

Comment: "Sensationalist"? Maybe. Fascist? Most definitely.


Surprise! Mental health problems found to lower life expectancy more than heavy smoking

A serious mental health problem can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, according to a new analysis by psychiatrists.

In comparison, the loss of years due to heavy smoking is around 8 - 10.

Researchers from Oxford University analysed studies which included 1.7 million people, reporting 250,000 deaths to compare the effects of smoking and serious mental health problems (Chesney et al., 2014).

Comment: While smoking is constantly being demonized, it is not as injurious to health as is portrayed, and it does not cause lung cancer. Smoking commercial cigarettes with the toxic additives and fire-safe paper is not recommended, but pure tobacco has been found to be an anti-inflammatory agent, can prevent and treat Alzheimer's and delay the onset of Parkinson's disease. For more information see:

Health Benefits of Smoking Tobacco

'World No Tobacco Day'? Let's All Light Up!


The long forgotten healing properties of tobacco

© unknown
Tobacco's genus, Nicotiana, covers over 70 species. The name tobacco usually refers to most famous and widely used Nicotiana Tabacum and its shorter but more potent cousin Nicotiana Rustica, both native to the Americas.

Although it's hard to pinpoint when and where it was first cultivated, it is sure tobacco has been used for several thousand years before the time Christopher Columbus reached Americas in 1492, and after that it spread to the whole world.

Although in present-day society associated with a myriad of health issues, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, this plant has been used for medicinal, as well as ritual purposes for millennia. Only in the last decades tobacco has been aggressively proclaimed harmful. Up until the '50s they even had doctors promoting them. Why it is so?

Comment: See also:

'World No Tobacco Day'? Let's All Light Up!

Health Benefits of Smoking Tobacco


Strictest smoking ban in Russia's cafés, restaurants comes into force June 1

© RIA Novosti/Vitaliy Bezrukih
The strictest part of Russia's anti-tobacco law comes into force on June 1, making it illegal to smoke cigarettes in cafés and restaurants.

The smoking ban also spreads across to hotels and marketplaces, as well as long distance trains, train stations, and ships.

From now on, smoking areas will cease to exist in eating establishments across Russia, with special rooms for tobacco lovers also forbidden.

Café and restaurant owners must remove all ashtrays and hang warning signs which inform customers that smoking is prohibited inside the establishment.

A violation of the ban will result in significant fines - which must be paid by both the smoker and the owner of the establishment.

An individual owner will be forced to part with 30,000-40,000 rubles (around US$870-1,150) if one of his customers is caught puffing a cigarette. Meanwhile, a chain-run corporate business must pay a larger penalty of 60,000-90,000 rubles (around $1,700-2,600) for the same crime.

Comment: Bad move, Russia, really bad move. Putin doesn't realize it, but the anti-smoking program is a key plank in the 'fifth column democratization' agenda.
  • Let's All Light Up!
  • Pestilence, the Great Plague and the Tobacco Cure
  • 5 Health Benefits of Smoking


Chantix, anti-smoking drug, blamed for murder

© Handout/MCT
Army Pfc. George D.B. MacDonald says the smoking-cessation drug Chantix affected his mental health leading to his killing recruit Rick Bulmer. While the drug maker has denied the claims, others have blamed it for suicides, suicidal thoughts and other psychiatric problems.
Before Pfizer paid at least $299 million to settle claims that its anti-smoking drug Chantix caused harm, the pharmaceutical giant played hardball with Army Pfc. George D.B. MacDonald.

Charged with murdering fellow soldier and Fresno, Calif., native Rick Bulmer in May 2008, MacDonald claimed his mind snapped after using the medication to stop smoking. Chantix, MacDonald wrote, caused him to "go crazy for a while" before the assault in their Fort Benning, Ga., barracks.

During his court-martial, Pfizer resisted turning over certain documents to the defense team, including clinical trial studies that were conducted on Chantix.

"I mean, it is the United States and Pfizer versus Pfc. MacDonald here," MacDonald's attorney, Lt. Col. Jan Aldykiewicz, fumed at a pretrial hearing June 1, 2009, a transcript shows.

The trial judge disagreed and refused to compel the company, which wasn't a party to the case, to comply with a subpoena for the material. The military jury subsequently convicted MacDonald of murdering Bulmer, a 23-year-old private, and sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole.

Comment: 'Tis better to smoke tobacco. Let's All Light Up!

Anti-Smoking Drug Chantix May Pose Psychiatric Risks
Antismoking Pill May Ease Depression ... Or Cause Suicidal Thoughts
Lawsuits Claim Harm From Pfizer Quit-Smoking Drug
Suicide Warnings Required for Anti-Smoking Drugs
Smoking-Pill Suicides Overlooked in Missing Reports
Mind over matter: Anti-smoking drug linked to suicide
"Quit Smoking" drug Champix side effects prompt 818 complaints


Netherlands: Total ban on smoking in cafes and bars delayed by three months‏

Plans to reinstate the smoking ban in bars and cafes across the entire hospitality industry in July will not be achieved, junior health minister Martin van Rijn has confirmed.

'In practical terms, it will be very difficult to make it by July 2014,' Van Rijn told MPs. The delay has been caused by the slow processing of the legislation through parliament.

'We are ready to do so and café and bar owners know it is coming,' the minister said. 'I will try and implement it as soon as possible, perhaps by October.'

Study: Even casual pot use causes brain abnormalities

© Shutterstock
Even casual use of marijuana can cause significant abnormalities in two areas of the brain that regulate emotion and motivation, according to a new study.

The findings, published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, challenge the idea that casual pot smoking is relatively harmless, researchers said.

The study, which was conducted by Northwestern Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and funded in part by anti-drug government agencies, found major abnormalities directly related to the amount of weed smoked each week.

"Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week," said the study's co-author, Dr. Hans Breiter. "People think a little recreational use shouldn't cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case."

Inside New York City's cigarette smuggling industry


More than 900 cartons of contraband cigarettes were seized at a warehouse in the Bronx. Photo: New York Department of Taxation and Finance
Ask for cigarettes at one bodega in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and the owner will open a small drawer behind the counter and pull out your pack of Marlboros, Parliaments or American Spirits.

Why not keep the cigarettes on display? Because the bodega owner -- who asked not to be identified -- didn't buy these cigarettes for the legal price in New York, where high taxes on tobacco have fueled a multimillion-dollar tobacco smuggling industry.

"Every store in Brooklyn," the bodega owner said, buys cigarettes from someone who travels down South to states with lower cigarette taxes. In places like Virginia, North Carolina and Delaware, they'll buy cartons containing 10 packs of cigarettes for around $48 a pop, then come back to New York, where local stores will buy them around $55.

"My guy has 100 different businesses he sells to," the bodega owner said, gesturing across the street at a Chinese restaurant, a laundromat and a barbershop. "All three of those stores buy and sell smuggled cigarettes too," he said.