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FDA Considers Banning Menthol Cigarette Sales

By María José Zamora, M.D.

Based on recent studies, the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning sales of menthol cigarettes. For years, these were thought to be less toxic than regular cigarettes however, Dr. Mark Clanton, member of the American Cancer Society, denies that these have lower levels of tobacco, adding that removing them from the market would greatly benefit public health.

Studies have shown that their flavor makes them more attractive for specific groups, such as teenagers and women, who are the main consumers of these type of cigarettes. In addition, they are more addictive and therefore, it is also being considered whether to order that levels of flavoring in them be reduced.

Meanwhile, representatives from the tobacco industry argued before an advisory panel from the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, during a meeting held in March in Maryland, that menthol cigarettes are no more harmful than regular cigarettes, insisting that there is no evidence that shows an increase in the mortality rate among menthol cigarette smokers when compared to non-menthol cigarette smokers.

Every day, 10 people die in Costa Rica from medical conditions caused by smoking, making this a serious public health concern for the country. Convinced of the gravity of the situation, Health Minister, María Luis Ávila, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Red Nacional Antitabaco (Renata) (National Anti-Tobacco Network) requested President Chichilla to immediately resume the discussion and approval of Bill 17317 which, in addition to establishing a ban on smoking in public places, will impose high taxes on cigarettes and jail sentences for those who sell cigarettes to minors. At the insistence of various groups, the bill was reconvened by the Executive Branch for its discussion at the Legislative Assembly during the last week of March. Meanwhile, thousands of Costa Ricans have joined the Yo soy Tic@, YO NO FUMO! (I'm a Tic@, I DON'T SMOKE!) initiative, which promotes the right to smoke-free places, both through Facebook as well as on the media.



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CS: We both have been teaching Donna for years. And her husband, Steven, was very ill for, over seven years. And she was already very well versed in the practice of yoga with oils and healing touch. She had a lot of people around her that administered this sort of eastern kind of modalities that complemented Steven’s long struggle. More >

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VON: I would like to talk with you about gender roles in yoga practices. I don’t personally practice yoga but I have read that many men are hesitant to practice yoga because of gender roles and the fear that comes with it. What do you think about this? More >

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Several Ways To Maintain Your Presence

What does Nosara mean to you? To some, it might be surfing. Or maybe it's just a quiet vacation town to visit. Whatever your answer is, there is an undeniable and almost inevitable presence of yoga in this area. Effects of yoga surely depend on the person. Here are some forms of yoga that we encountered with along the way. More >

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Although it is yet to be determined whether it bears positive or negative health effects, recent studies show that the brain is affected by radiofrequency emissions from wireless phones. More >

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