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After the Smoking Bans

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PostPosted: Mon 8:01, 27 Dec 2010    Post subject: After the Smoking Bans

“Calling marijuana ‘smoked medicine’ is absolutely incorrect,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych],” Kerlikowske said at a news conference in Washington to present the findings. Young people, he said,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], have taken the “wrong message” from the debate. In the survey, the proportion of 12th-graders who acknowledged daily use of marijuana reached 6.1% ― the highest point since the early 1980s ― and the numbers of eighth- and 10th-graders smoking pot daily also climbed, to 1% and 3%, respectively.
As these younger students advance toward graduation, rates of pot-smoking will continue to climb, researchers said. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called the rise in daily marijuana use particularly troubling given that frequent use has been shown to be more damaging to learning and memory than occasional use ― especially in teenagers, whose brains are still developing. Daily smokers are also at far higher risk of developing dependency on marijuana and other drugs, she said.
Attitudes toward the club drug Ecstasy also softened among eighth- and 10th-graders, and use increased. Researchers called the increase an example of “generational forgetting,” in which a lull in use is followed by an uptick among younger people who were not exposed to anti-drug messages. Among high school seniors, 8% said they had abused the prescription pain medication Vicodin in the previous year,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], down from 9.7% in 2009. Illicit use of the opioid painkiller OxyContin held steady in that group and was up among 10th-graders.
Twelfth-graders continued to report the nonmedical use of drugs prescribed for attention deficit disorder ― about 6.5% acknowledged taking them in the last year, and roughly the same number used amphetamines. Pot,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], however, outpaced all of those, with roughly 1 in 3 seniors ― and 1 in 4 10th-graders ― reporting that they had smoked marijuana in the last year. Children with asthma who live in areas with “smoke-free” laws may suffer fewer bouts of coughing and wheezing as a result, a new study suggests. The findings, reported in the journal Pediatrics, add to evidence that smoking bans in workplaces, restaurants and bars have produced health benefits.
But until now, most research has focused on adults. In the current study, researchers found that children and teenagers who lived in U.S. counties with smoke-free laws were no less likely to have asthma than kids in counties without such laws. Kids with asthma were, however,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], less likely to report persistent problems with wheezing and nighttime coughing bouts when they lived in smoke-free counties. The findings,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], based on a national government health survey, do not prove that smoke-free laws, per se, are the reason for the benefit. But the researchers were able to account for a number of factors that might explain the link, including race and family income. (Minority children, especially in urban areas, have an increased risk of asthma.) And they still found a connection between the smoking bans and a reduced risk of persistent asthma symptoms.

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